Quarterfinals: Ken Krouner vs. Allen Sun

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Both players seemed confident in their chances of winning this match coming into the table.

Allen: “I think my deck can fly over Ken’s deck for the win. I have a lot of quick flyers, and his deck doesn’t really get going until it gets to five mana. The only card I’m really scared of is Contested Cliffs. By the way, tell your readers at home never to play White/Blue. It’s awful. You auto-lose to Wellwisher and Sparksmith.”

Ken: “I have a lot of really good cards, but I have to play a little bit of filler. I wish I had a couple of more beasts in the deck. Contested Cliffs will be an auto-win against my first round opponent, though I don’t think that I’ll win the whole Grand Prix.”

Game One:

Allen drew his opening hand and mulliganed. His new hand contained four lands, Dive Bomber and Ironfist Crusher. Ken cast a turn two Wirewood Elf, a fine play given the relatively high casting cost of the creatures in his deck.

Allen drew, played a land and his Crusher and passed the turn. Ken tapped his Elf and two lands, targeting the morph guy with Erratic Explosion. “Yeah! Mana screw!”, cheered Sun, thinking that Krouner had stalled on two lands. The Erratic Explosion turned over Elvish Warrior, blasting the Crusher straight to the grave. Ken then laid land number three and summoned Goblin Taskmaster. “Damn! You faked me out!”, cried Allen, disappointed that he wouldn’t get the easy win.

Allen started playing flyers, casting Dive Bomber and Gustcloak Harrier. Ken cycled Krosan Tusker, then played a second Erratic Explosion, blowing the four cast flyer to smithereens by revealing Tusker number two. Allen attempted to keep another morph creature on the board, but it died to Shock (Daru Lancer), while Ken played a ton of weenies including Spitfire Handler, Wirewood Herald, and a morph creature of his own. Sun kept on the offense with his bird soldier, bringing Ken down to thirteen. He then cast the not-quite exciting Fleeting Aven, which served to block an attacking Wirewood Herald.

Ken tutored for Symbiotic Elf. At the end of Ken’s turn, Allen cycled Renewed Faith, forgetting that the act of cycling would return the Aven to his hand. This took one of his two creatures off the board, and he was forced to go on the defense the next turn by casting Aurification with the life totals at 13-12 in Ken’s favor.

Not daunted by the enchantment, Ken swung with his pumper, Symbiotic Elf and morph creature, trading the morph for the Harrier (revealing Birchlore Rangers on the way out). This attack dropped Allen to seven life, as Ken cast yet another morph creature to keep on the offense. Sun debated for a while about his next play, deciding to drop a morph guy.

Ken swung into the breech, and his unrevealed creature ended up being Skittish Valesk. The beast dropped Allen down to just two life, though the returning Fleeting Aven held down the fort against Ken’s remaining non-gold critters, the Taskmaster and Wirewood Elf. Ken cast another Symbiotic Elf, and Allen swung for two with his flyer and cast Pearlspear Courier the following turn, with a Daru Encampment ready to pump the soldier.

With the life totals 11-2, Ken drew Barkhide Mauler. Symbiotic Elf traded with Pearlspear Courier, netting Ken two insect tokens. He then cast the 4/4 beast, to give him five attackers against Allen’s two blockers. Allen’s hand consisted of Mage's Guile, land and Sandskin. Allen cycled away the Guile, but it was to no avail-it took his Fleeting Aven and gave him no answers. He scooped up his cards, revealing his morph creature to be Ascending Aven.

Ken Krouner 1 - Allen Sun 0

Game Two:

Both players stuck with their initial seven, with Allen playing first but Ken playing the first card with Goblin Taskmaster. Allen played a second turn Shared Triumph, naming soldiers. This enabled him to play a 3/3 flyer on turn three and follow it with Sage Aven on turn four. His hand (land/Pearlspear Courier/Discombobulate) prompted him to order his top four cards (from first to last drawn) as Daunting Defender, Plains, Daru Lancer and Slate of Ancestry.

Meanwhile, over in Krounerville, Contested Cliffs came down, but Ken failed to draw past a third land. He played consecutive morph creatures, and finally drew land number four on turn six: Tranquil Thicket.

Ken untapped, and attempted to cast Explosive Vegetation. He reached to his library in anticipation of getting back into the game but was stopped as Allen cast Discombobulate. This play visibly shook Krouner, and drew the delight of many spectators and Allen Sun himself. Without any chance of stopping the flying guys coming at him or breaking through the Daunting Defender in type, Ken conceded.

Allen Sun 1 - Ken Krouner 1

Ken: “I got greedy and got mana screwed.”
Allen: “I got mana screwed too in game one!”
Ken: “I’d hardly call being stuck at five lands getting mana screwed.”

After the first game, Allen had sided in Sea's Claim to deal with Contested Cliffs. After the second game, he decided he didn’t need the enchant land and took it back out of his deck.

Game Three:

Ken, playing, drew a great opening hand consisting of four lands, Birchlore Rangers, Treespring Lorian and Symbiotic Elf. Allen’s second turn Glory Seeker shut down the Elf beats, but Ken drew Wirewood Elf off of a cycling land.

Allen got stuck at two lands, and dejectedly played Shared Triumph naming soldiers. His Seeker came in for three, and Ken counterswung for two, tying the score at 17-17. He then summoned Symbiotic Elf. Allen knocked on his deck, and drew---Island. With this third land, he cast a morph guy. Ken, on his turn, tapped all his lands and Elves, and dropped a fifth turn Krosan Tusker.

Allen: “Deck, don’t fail me now! Don’t fail me now, deck! Deck, don’t fail me! Please don’t fail me deck! *Knocks on deck* Come on deck! *Draws a non-land card* *Bleep!* you failed me, deck!”

He cast Chain of Vapor, which took the 6/5 beast off the board but allowed Ken to bounce the morph creature. Ken took the opportunity to cast Treespring Lorian, and Ken a Gustcloak Harrier. The two soldiers traded for the 5/4 beater. Double Dive Bomber hit the board, as did the returning Krosan Beast. Both players scrambled to deal lethal damage, with Allen leading 12-11. Ken turned his three elves and beast sideways, dealing eight damage to his opponent, but losing his Symbiotic Elf to Dive Bomber. This was fine, as two insect tokens came into play as did Barkhide Mauler. Allen answered with Daunting Defender, but Ken was not persuaded to hold back-he sent with his entire team.

Ken’s attackers: Barkhide Mauler, Krosan Tusker, Wirewood Elf, Birchlore Rangers, and two insect tokens.
Allen’s Blockers: Two 3/3 Dive Bombers and a Daunting Defender.

The two Bombers took out the two largest beasts, and the Defender gigged the Wirewood Elf. This left Allen at one life, as he dropped Pearlspear Courier, and a morph creature against Ken’s four attackers.

Allen: *Jedi Mind Trick* “You will not attack. Look behind you! Are you sure you want to kill me? Aren’t all those guys walls?”
Ken: “I don’t think I’ll click through my attack phase, sorry.”

Ken Krouner defeats Allen Sun 2-1

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