Matt Vienneau's Pro Tour points have recently run out, but not before he snuck into Canadian Nationals by the skin of his teeth. He calls himself the "Jon Finkel of Canada," needing a miracle finish in order to qualify for Worlds.
His opponent is Mauro Bongiovanni, the top tournament organizer in Quebec. Mauro not only runs tournaments, but plays in quite a few as well, and has a few money finishes in Grand Prix to his name.
Vienneau, playing red/green, mulliganned an opening hand of four red lands, a Firebolt, a Fiery Temper, and a Violent Eruption. There would be only one reason to do such a thing – he knows his opponent is playing Psychatog. That was indeed the case, and his six card hand was a little better.
Vienneau led off with a Basking Rootwalla and a Wild Mongrel, but stopped at two land. Mauro put out not one but two Nightscape Familiars, countered a Meteor Storm, and then played a Psychatog. Vienneau got a second Meteor Storm to resolve, but it wasn't looking too good with only two land. He tried a Yavimaya Barbarian, but it was Memory Lapsed and then Counterspelled, and Mauro eventually cast a four-mana Upheaval, cast a Psychatog, and watched as Vienneau scooped 'em up.
Matt is in fact playing 24 land, but only drew 2 in about 20 cards.
Bongiovanni 1 – Vienneau 0
Both players bantered back and forth about the pace of play while shuffling up for game 2.
Vienneau: "Even though I was completely mana screwed, it still took you 20 minutes to kill me."
Bongiovanni: "I want to point out that it took you two minutes to decide to mulligan. I counted."
The conversation then turned to how good of a match-up Psychatog was for red/green. Vienneau claimed it was about 70% if the Psychatog deck "isn't prepared." But in this field, shouldn't they all be prepared?
Vienneau started strong with a Rootwalla and a Mongrel. Mauro cast a Familiar, but stopped at three land, one of which was a Cephalid Coliseum. Vienneau made a few goofs, like playing a Shivan Oasis when he should have played a Mossfire Valley, but Mauro's draws were very unkind. He tried to slow the beats by Force Spiking a Barbarian and Recoiling the Mongrel, but Matt had multiple Fiery Tempers and another Rootwalla, and Mauro never drew out of his mana problems.
Two games, two significant mana problems. Let's see how Game 3 goes.
Bongiovanni 1 – Vienneau 1
Matt's opening hand for Game 3 contained a Shivan Dragon. How interesting.
He started off with a turn-1 Grim Lavamancer, but that was about it for four turns.
Bongiovanni: "Your deck is very beatdown."
On turn four, Vienneau attempted a Meteor Storm, and it... resolved.
Bongiovanni: "Fact or Fiction."
Vienneau: "You're supposed to counter so you don't have mana to Fact."
Bongiovanni: "I'd rather Fact."
Bongiovanni's Fact got him a Repulse and two land, and then he cast another Fact or Fiction on his own turn. He was obviously looking for black mana. Matt put the Underground River in the unfavorable pile, but Mauro took it anyway, played it, and Ghastly Demised the Lavamancer.
Matt was now sitting pretty with six cards in hand, Meteor Storm, four mana, and Mauro at 12 with no creatures in play. But Mauro threw a wrench in the works with a kicked Probe. Matt pitched an FTK and his Shivan. Ah, well.
Vienneau realized he could do more damage by casting his spells instead of using Meteor Storm, so he launched a pair of Urza's Rages and a Firebolt at Mauro, putting him within range of one more Meteor Storm hit. But Mauro was ready, dropping Delusions of Mediocrity for a ten-point bonus, and then a Psychatog.
Matt Meteor Stormed a Fiery Temper away, and aimed all the damage at the 'Tog. Mauro countered the Temper, and removed six from the 'yard to keep the 'Tog alive. Another Fact or Fiction gave Mauro all the cards he needed, and the 'Tog came over for the kill. Amazing.
Final Result: Bongiovanni 2 – Vienneau 1
Wow. Three R/G vs. 'Tog matched in three rounds, and 'Tog has won all three.
Matt Vienneau, 4-2
Mauro Bongiovanni, 3-3