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Round 10: Mike Major vs Artturi Bjork

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Artturi is a player with plenty of experience at high level events. He’s attended Euros and several Pro Tours and isn’t put off by the big game pressure. Mike Major is well known in England but has yet to make his mark on the world stage, a top four for either of these players would give them another chance at making the big time – and they’re both hungry for it. One more win for Mike should see him into the top eight, but a draw wouldn’t guarantee it. Artturi only needs a draw and so offered when he sat down. “Ask me again after the first game” was Mike’s reply and they started chatting before the game.

Artturi won the die roll and both players shuffled up and drew their first seven cards. Choosing to play, Artturi looked at his hand and quickly put it all back and began to reshuffle.

“I’m hoping to get my opponent to mulligan down to three” Mike quipped, “he’s on six at the moment…” Artturi looked over at me and warned Mike about the sideboard coverage. “You’re going to look really nasty!” Mike grinned and asked “You going to quote that? That’s not a quote is it?” Well, yes it is, but it was all in good spirits and Artturi kept his next six cards, Mike kept his seven and they kicked off the match.

Mike played the first creature, a Wirewood Elf on his second turn but Artturi kept creature parity by dropping a Wingbeat Warrior into play on his next turn. Mike attacked for one, and dropped the bane of all morph cards: Elvish Warrior. Artturi swung in for two with his Warrior and passed the turn. Mike then piled on the pressure by playing out a Crested Craghorn and swinging in for seven.

Artturi wasn’t about to roll over and die and cast Pasifism on the Craghorn before swinging in again, knocking Mike to 16. Although his big hitter was now sitting out the game, Mike kept the pressure on by attacking with all of his men again and dropping a morph into play, and with Artturi down to nine he could ill-afford to draw anything but a good answer… and he did. Daru Stinger made it into play and Artturi showed three soldiers to make it a 4/4 that could kill all of Mike’s remaining attack force if only Artturi could get time.

Mike wasn’t about to let that happen and cast Wave of Indifference for one, allowing all three of his creatures to attack and knocking Artturi to four. Passing the turn Artturi’s Stinger became active and he could survive the next turn. He further stabilised with a Gustcloak Harrier and a Glory Seeker after attacking for a further two to knock Mike down to 12. With four power of flying attack Mike only had three turns to go to find a way around the Stinger, otherwise he’d lose a creature each time he attacked. He took a turn out to cast a Glowering Rogon, showing a second and a Battering Craghorn. Artturi swung once more with his two fliers but it was in vain as Mike drew his second Wave of Indifference and swung in with all of his beasts for the game win.

Artturi looked through his sideboard and chose not to bring anything in but Mike took out a Gempalm Incinerator for a Macetail Hystrodon.

“Would you like to take that draw now?” Artturi asked. “No, but I’ll take the concession,” Mike replied. Artturi laughed. “Would you like to draw first or play second,” Mike asked, needling Artturi a little more. “Neither” Artturi replied looking over at me scribbling away. “There’s so much pressure to be funny when you’re in a feature match. You always see them saying ‘Done’ and ‘Your go’.”

Both players finished shuffling, drew their cards and Artturi lead the way with a single Plains. He and Mike dropped land for a few turns and Mike dropped the first creature: his Wirewood Elf again. Artturi did nothing again save playing another land. “I’m saving all my creatures for my huge Amplifiers.” He said. “Must be” Mike countered as he played another land and dropped a morph creature and attacked with the elf for one.

Next turn Artturi showed he wasn’t making it all up, dropping a Daru Stinger and showing two Soldiers. Mike followed with a Crested Craghorn and provoked the Stinger, knowing it would wreak havoc if he left it alone.

Artturi was starting to run out of answers but kept up his reply with a Gustcloak Skirmisher that could fly over the top of all of Mike’s forces. Again Mike had the answer in the form of a Spitting Gorna but it didn’t live long as Artturi pumped his Skirmisher with a Piety Charm to kill the Gorna after Mike blocked.

Mike then busted out one of his rare bombs: Seedborn Muse. The Muse allows you to use all your mana and have mana left in your opponent’s turn and you can attack with creatures you’d like to have around to block with too! Artturi could do nothing but fly in with the Skirmisher and hope he’d draw into some more answers soon. Even so it was going to have to be something pretty good as Mike played out a Glowering Rogon, revealing a second in his hand, followed by a Macetail Hystrodon the turn after. Attacking at will, Mike knocked Artturi down to four and played his finisher: Flamewave Invoker. He passed the turn and untapped all his land in Artturi’s upkeep, killing him before he could draw a possible answer.

Mike wins 2-0.

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