Quarterfinals: Tommi Hovi vs David Linder

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Surprisingly, given the quality of players, this is the only all-Scandinavian Quarter-Final. Tommi Hovi, from Finland, became the first player to win two Pro Tours, claiming his second title back in Rome at ’99. Since then he’s been fairly quiet although he managed to grace the World Championship top 8 back in 2001. David Linder is from the host nation and although he’s made the top 8 at the last three Grand Prix he’s played in, this wouldn’t register as the Swede hardly travels and those GP top 8’s span three years.

Linder won the die roll and decided to go first. He had to mulligan his first hand. He cycled an AEther Spellbomb and his first creature, A Krark-Clan Grunt was dispatched to the graveyard by a Terror from Hovi. Hovi summoned a Spikeshot Goblin and then continued with the removal with a Consume Spirit on Linder’s Berserker.

Then began a war of Golems. Linder started with a Cobalt Golem, Hovi followed with a Pewter and then Linder topped it with a Mirror Golem. He decided not to attack with his Cobalt, perhaps valuing it more highly than Hovi’s Pewter.

Hovi then had a busy turn as he summoned an Alpha Myr and gave his Pewter Golem a Viridian Longbow.

Linder decided to go aggro, attacking with a flying Cobalt Golem and untouchable Mirror Golem. A Myr Enforcer appeared to hold the fort.

Hovi swung back with his equally tough to kill Pewter Golem and then brought out Myr Adaptor.

Linder ‘s creatures were better and he sent them all in, forcing Hovi to chump with the Alpha and take another 5 to drop him to 9 life. Linder had nothing to follow with and so took 5 back when Hovi charged with the Golem and Goblin. A Moriok Scavenger came out and fetched the Alpha Myr with it to provide some support on the ground for the Finn.

Linder still had the evasion creatures, but was looking in danger of being overwhelmed on the ground. He attacked with both Golems to leave Hovi one attack away from losing and then used an Inertia Bubble to deal with Hovi’s Pewter Golem.

Hovi now had to think carefully. He needed to deal with either Golem to survive Linder’s next attack. Instead he went for the throat. Irradiate removed Linder’s only blocker, the Enforcer, and Hovi was able to attack for 9 damage, 1 more than Linder’s current life total.

Hovi 1-0 Linder

Linder didn’t mulligan but the third turn was again the same as his first creature, a Neurok Spy, was dispatched to the graveyard with a Terror. The next turn was ominous as Hovi Fabricated one of the more powerful artifact uncommons in the set from his deck: A Crystal Shard. Linder zipped in with a Berserker, only for Hovi to timewalk him with the Shard on the following turn. He replayed a Neurok Spy instead to leave the mana open. Hovi’s Pewter Golem happened to be a good deal larger though.

Linder crashed in with the Spy and freshly cast Berserker, knocking Hovi to 12. Linder replaced the Berserker with a Cobalt Golem when it fell to an Irradiate, but suddenly the race was starting to look dodgy as Hovi attacked with his Pewter Golem and added a second.

Linder thought for a while before attacking with only the Spy. He cast Thoughtcast for an expensive 4 mana to build up his hand a little.

Hovi crashed in with both his Golems for 8 to leave Linder at a precarious 4 life. The game came close to ending right there as Hovi, with 4 swamps and 2 islands, cycled both blue through a Chromatic Sphere. Any land from the drawn card would allow him to Consume Spirit for the win. The land didn’t come so he had to cast a Moriok Scavenger instead.

Time was running out for Linder. His attack with the Spy left Hovi on 6 life, and although he summoned a Myr Enforcer he still had one less creature than Hovi. The Finn attacked with everything and finished the Swede off with Consume Spirit.

Tommi Hovi beat David Linder 2-0

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