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Round 4: John Ormerod vs. Sylvain Lauriol

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We could call this round "an Englishman surrounded by the French". Ormerod is facing Lauriol in the feature match table right next to a table with two very noisy French.

There should be no need to repeat who John Ormerod is but since he has been away from the top spots for a few tournaments we might as well recall that he is, without doubt, one of the top deckbuilders in the game.

Another member of the English portion of team Godzilla he was the one who came up with the first draft of the deck Zvi used to win Pro Tour Osaka. Last year he made the Top 8 at Euros before falling in the quarterfinals.

Some think Sylvain Lauriol's claim to fame is a Pro Tour Top 8 in Osaka, and more recently winning the French National championship, but he could also be known as a Chris Benafel lookalike who actually plays at a normal pace.

Game 1

Things didn't start off well for the French, who had to take a mulligan. John opened up the hostilities with Organ Grinder followed by Teroh's Faithful. Lauriol dropped a Stern Judge but Ormerod used Afflict to finish it off after combat.

Determined to stop the beating Sylvain played Aven Windreade but again Ormerod had the answer: Waste Away. A Second Thoughts took out the Grinder but John had a tricky replacement: Wormfang Drake hiding the Faithful.

Sylvain had his own Waste Away to kill the Drake, giving the Englishman another four life points. Very much in command of the game John played Wonder while Lauriol cycled Guided Strike looking for business spells.

The Wonder and Faithful dropped Sylvain Lauriol to six and he tried to play a blocker but Ormerod had the Repel for it. Another strike brought the Frenchman down to one single life point.

But you don't make a Pro Tour Top 8 without having a few tricks up your sleeve and Lauriol had one last option: Ancestral tribute for twelve life!

Sylvain: "I will survive."

Another swing brought him to eight. In came Treacherous Vampire and Skywing Aven to hold the fort. What looked like a lopsided game had suddenly changed. Ormerod needed to find another way to deal damage.

Lauriol played Psionic Gift on the Vampire and started pinging.

Sylvain: "I'll kill you in twenty-seven turns!"
John: "Yeah, I know that."

He meant it as a joke but the truth was the game wasn't moving along and the Vampire was pinging. The Skywing Aven got courageous and started helping out on attack. Ormerod's life totals were going down in chunks of three as both players counted Lauriol's mana to figure out when he could flashback the Tribute.

With a Military Monk attacking as well, Ormerod threw his Wonder in front of the Skywing Aven before finding Hallowed Healer and Cabal Torturer to play.

The Vampire ate up both creatures and Waste Away tried to take out the Patrol Hound. But Ormerod would have none of that and used Aven Warcraft to save it. Then the time came: Ancestral Tribute's flashback. Lauriol went up to twenty-four while John Ormerod's life total still deflated at a very steady pace.

The Englishman tried to outrun his impeding doom by getting rid of blockers to get back on offense but for each creature he killed Sylvain had another to lock things up.

Finally at four life Ormerod decided he wasn't going to win this game and scooped.

Sylvain 1-0 John

John: "When you were at one I was thinking I had the game won."

Game 2

Ormerod had to take a mulligan and Lauriol came out quickly with Benevolent Bodyguard and Compulsion.

John: "So you are the beatdown in this game? Compulsion? Compulsion is never the beatdown."

The Englishman bounced right back dropping Organ Grinder and Wormfang Drake. Lauriol discarded Valor to Compulsion prompting a "nice" from his opponent before playing Psionic Gift on his creature.

On the second Wormfang Drake Sylvain had the Second Thoughts to get rid of it before nuking the returned Grinder with the Gift. Proceeding with his flashy tricks the Frenchman discarded Hydromorph Gull before Zombifying it back in.

Afflict took out the Bodyguard but by now the Gull had Unquestioned Authority to turn it into a 3/3 unblockable flyer. Sylvain followed that with Skywing Aven while Ormerod played another Organ Grinder and Cabal Torturer.

With his back against the wall John Ormerod used Waste Away to take out the Gull, discarding Filth. This allowed him to attacked without regret since Lauriol had Swamp.

But Sylvain Lauriol found another threat to finish the game: Stern Judge.

John: "Come on deck, help me. That is another White card! That won't help."

He thought about it for a moment and extended his hand.

Final Result: Sylvain 2-0 John

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