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Round 5: Nicolas Labarre vs. Helmut Summersberger

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Both of these players have been around for a while. Labarre had a couple of good Pro Tours back around 1999-2000 and is one of few individuals to have beaten Kai in the Top 8 of a major tournament (GP Biarritz in the final). Summersberger managed a Top 8 at Euros a few years back but has been quiet of late.

Labarre has drafted the unpopular black-blue combination while Summersberger is also not quite conventional with his red-white deck.

Game 1

Summersberger won the die roll and elected to go first. Nothing much happened until Summersberger played a Pearlspear Courier on turn 3. Labarre cycled a Primoc Escapee and brought in a morph. Summersberger upped the game a little as he summoned a Flamewave Invoker and a Deftblade Elite that was potentially very dangerous in conjunction with the Courier.

Labarre brought out another morph and a Carrion Feeder. Summersberger could only pass on the next turn. Labarre did the same and the Austrian juiced up the Elite at end of turn. He then found a sixth land for a Swooping Talon for a more durable provoke threat.

Labarre flipped over an Exterminator to remove the problematic Courier. He then brought in a Glintwing Invoker as the two forces stared across from each other.

With two provokers Summersberger felt more confident about attacking. The Exterminator was dragged in to block the Elite and the Talon carried off a face down Seaswift Summersberger kept up the pressure with an Aven Redeemer.

Labarre struck back for six. Summersberger provoke tricks were starting to get annoying, especially as Dragon Scales came in on the Talon. Labarre was forced to cycle Dirge to prevent it eating a Runecaster and got to beat up an invoker for free in the process. Summersberger saved his goblin with a Redeemer.

The Talon became even more of a headache as Improvised Armor made it bigger. Summersberger made it lose flying to go after a morph only for Labarre to jump it out of the way by unmorphing an Ascending Aven.

The Frenchman's deck wasn't totally without defense. Nefashu came out with a pet Wretched Anurid in tow. Summersberger tried to stall up the board with a Noble Templar.

The next turn Labarre utterly wrecked him with an Essence Fracture. Templar and Talon vanished back to the Austrians hand and Labarre swung with everything, wiping out the rest of Summersberger's team with Nefashu.

Labarre 1-0 Summersberger

Summersberger got busy with a morph while Labarre didn't do much more than put islands on the table. Sparksmith looked ominous and Labarre tried to get going with a Runecaster. He followed with a Covert Operative that didn't stay around too long as a face-up Volcanist appeared to boost the 'Smith enough to send the Op to the 'yard.

A Frozen Solid held off an Improvised Armored morph and Chill Haunting took down the 'Smith. Labarre looked to stabilize further by summoning out a Keeneye Aven. Summersberger brought out a Gempalm Avenger and then cast Rush of Knowledge for 6.

Labarre couldn't handle the sudden crush of extra cards and it was time for a decider.

Labarre 1-1 Summersberger

Game 2

Labarre sent out morph and Keeneye Aven and got in first beats through the sky as Summersberger brought in Pearlspear Courier and a mystery morph of his own. Vengeful dead added to the Frenchman's army. Summersberger went after Labarre's morph with a Torrent of Flame and struck lucky as a face down Skin Thinner got toasted.

A Skirk Volcanist blocked a Vengeful Dead and flipped up at the cost of two Mountains to shoot down the attacking Aven. Labarre's zombie mutant, Nefashu, stepped into the breach and Summersberger had to enchant his Courier with Improvised Armor just to keep it alive. A Dragon Scales later it was starting to look a real threat.

The game was poised: Labarre on 9 life, Summersberger 12.

Labarre dropped an Unspeakable Symbol. It didn't look enough. Summersberger attacked with his multiple enchanted Courier. Labarre blocked with Nefashu, paid 6 life to make it big, and then made the Courier smaller with Chill Haunting.

Summersberger negated it by tapping the Courier to make itself bigger and then out-tricked Labarre with a cycled Avenger. Nefashu hit the graveyard and Labarre was down to chumping. A Frenetic Raptor appeared but wasn't necessary as Labarre ran out of chumpers

Final Result: Summersberger beat Labarre 2-1

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