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Round 9: Eugene Harvey vs. Jens Thoren

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Both of these players have similar quiet and reserved personalities. Besides having that in common, Harvey and Thoren have both had tremendous, breakout seasons. Harvey went from a "relatively unknown" United States National Team member who many speculated couldn't get the job done, to a Grand Prix Championship and a 6-0 showing during the draft portion of Worlds. Thoren has gone from being one of the most underrated players on the Tour to being considered one of the best, thanks to a second place finish in San Diego and a Top Four appearance in Osaka. Today, he's going for the hat trick as he attempts to make it three Pro Tour Top 8s in a row.

Game 1

Thoren opened up right away with Chatter of the Squirrel, flashing it back on turn two. Harvey brought out Aquamoeba to stop the squirrel beats, and Thoren added to his side with Ember Beast. Patchwork Gnomes helped Harvey lock up the ground further. After some thought, Thoren sent both squirrels and the Beast into the Red Zone. Patchwork Gnomes blocked a squirrel, and Aquameoba blocked another. The Beast got through for three points, Harvey discarded a plains to regenerate his Gnomes, and Thoren rebuilt with Barbarian Lunatic. The Gnomes got through for two damage, and Harvey summoned Resilient Wanderer.

Just when the ground looked safe for Harvey, Thoren brought out Savage Firecat. He attacked with his whole team and Harvey's creatures took down the Ember Beast and the Lunatic, but the Firecat still got through for seven. Thoren's whole game was now riding on the back of the big cat, and Harvey had no choice but to send his creatures to gang up on it on the following attack. The result was a dead Cephalid Sage and Aquamoeba, while Harvey still had the Wanderer and Gnomes. Thoren summoned a Basking Rootwalla, and Harvey produced a substantial clock in Hydromorph Gull. Teroh's Faithful gave him more breathing room, and the Gull flew in for the victory.

Harvey- 1 Thoren- 0

Game 2

Thoren mulliganed to start, but brought out a turn one Basking Rootwalla, and attacked for three on the following turn. The next attack was for six, thanks to Reckless Charge. Harvey summoned Patchwork Gnomes, and Thoren sent in his Rootwalla once again. It was blocked, Thoren pumped, and Harvey discarded a land to keep his creature alive. On the next turn, Thoren cast Rites of Spring, discarding two lands and a second Rootwalla, which came into play thanks to madness. Aquamoeba showed up on Harvey's side to slow down the assault. Both Rootwallas attacked, and Harvey's creatures gang blocked one, and lived thanks to Embolden. Thoren played Chatter of the Squirrel, and was losing steam as Harvey had finally stabilized.

Krosan Archer was cast to give Thoren a bit more to work with, but it was clear that damage wouldn't be getting through until he cast a spell to break the stalemate. That card turned out to be Roar of the Wurm, and Harvey would now have to deal with two 6/6 monsters. Resilient Wanderer provided somewhat of an answer, but Thoren simply began to overwhelm Harvey, flashing back the Roar, and summoning Ember Beast. On the next turn he put all his chips on the table, attacking with everything. Cephalid Sage, Patchwork Gnomes, and Resilient Wanderer all took on a Wurm, while Aquamoeba blocked Basking Rootwalla. Thoren made a good situation even better with Temporary Insanity on the Sage. Embolden was used to do some repairs, but the damage had been done, and Harvey conceded.

Harvey- 1 Thoren- 1

Game 3

Harvey summoned a turn two Cephalid Scout, while Thoren had Werebear. The Scout attacked for a point in the air, and Harvey brought out Hallowed Healer. The next turn was explosive for Thoren thanks to the acceleration provided by Werebear. He summoned a Rootwalla and Ember Beast, giving him a total of three quality creatures on turn three. Floating Shield gave the Healer protection from red, which would prove to be a major annoyance for Thoren. However, he continued his great draw with a turn four Savage Firecat. Harvey built up some much needed defense with Hypochondria and Patchwork Gnomes, but it remained to be seen whether or not that would be enough.

Thoren attacked with Ember Beast and Savage Firecat, and Harvey's Gnomes, Healer and Scout teamed up to block the Beast. Harvey discarded Mystic Enforcer to regenerate his Gnomes, and was left with no cards in hand. He drew and played Mystic Zealot on the following turn. The pro-red Healer blocked the Firecat and shielded Harvey, but trample damage was still getting through. The plan was now for Harvey to use his Cephalid Scout and Hypochondria to achieve threshold, which would allow Hallowed Healer to contain the Firecat. The saving grace was that Thoren could not cast spells all the while, or he would lose his 7/7 monster. Once Harvey fully stabilized, Thoren would have no choice but to play more spells and lose the Firecat.

Eventually, that was just what happened. Thoren played Roar of the Wurm, which killed off the Firecat. Now that he was at threshold, Harvey's Zealot was putting Thoren on a significant clock. Dematerialize bounced the Wurm, but could not be flashed back yet since Harvey only had five lands in play. Harvey was in a fine position with four points of flying damage being dealt every turn, and Hypochondria and Hallowed Healer keeping things safe. Thoren had to go for the win, and had to do it as soon as possible. He played a Rootwalla and targeted it with Reckless Charge, and cast Temporary Insanity to take Harvey's Zealot, but Floating Shield was sacrificed to stop that from happening. Thoren then went all out, attacking with all his creatures, and played Rites of Initiation for two after blockers were declared. Harvey's team survived as he used the Healer, discarded a card to Hypochondria, and sacrificed it, and then attacked for the win.

Final Result: Harvey- 2 Thoren- 1

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