Live Coverage of 2004 France Nationals

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Game 1

Olivier's opening hand had a Razor Golem and no Plains, but he kept as he had at least got some castable cards. Caumes had the games first play, a Myr Servitor, and Olivier found a Plains for his Pteron Ghost, then a Krark-clan Stoker. He had to stop attacking when Ben played a Fatespinner. Both players built up, Olivier with the Razor Golem and an Auriok Windwalker, Benjamin with a Spire Golem, a Thermal Navigator and then a Quicksliver Behemoth.

They agreed to a split, the loser had to buy the winner a sandwich. At the venue's prices this was equivalent to a 50-50 split in a Pro Tour Final. Dinner dealt with, they continued the game. Ben attacked with the Behemoth and it was triple-blocked by Pteron Ghost, Krark-Clan Stoker and Razor Golem. Caumes Terrored the Stoker and forced Ruel to Bolt the Behemoth to kill it. Olivier was a few cards down, and in trouble when Caumes drew an Empryial Plate.

Caumes equipped it to the Spire Golem and attacked, Olivier blocked and cast Unforge on the Plate. This would have killed it but Ben remembered to sacrifice the Plate to his Thermal Navigator in response. The Auriok had taken two and Ben finished it with a Consume Spirit. Olivier drew a Loxodon Mystic but was still in trouble, it's hard to race when there is a Fatespinner in play. He had another good topdeck on his next turn, Loxodon Anchorite, allowing him to stabilize some more.

With no more damage getting through on either side, both players built up their forces. Ben had cast a Ensouled Scimitar, Lumengrid Sentinel, and Somber Hoverguard, Olivier a Darksteel Gargoyle and Leonin Battlemage. Olivier was choosing to skip his attack step to the Fatespinner each turn. Ben made a Hoverguard Observer, and then an artifact land, which allowed the Sentinel to tap the Darksteel Gargoyle. Caumes attacked for six in the air dropping Olivier to nine. He couldn't attack the next turn since he didn't draw another artifact to tap the Gargoyle.

Olivier drew a Healer's Headdress, it was looking like a long game at that point. Then Ben drew a Cackling Imp to change the games complexion entirely. Olivier answered with a topdeck of his own - Spikeshot Goblin. With the Battlemage in play, the Goblin would make short work of Caumes' team. Olivier drew a Taj-Nar Swordsmith and fetched his Longbow as well. Caumes didn't draw anything that dealt wih the Goblin or Longbow, and after getting a few of his creatures destroyed they moved on to Game 2. At this point there were less than twenty minutes left in the round.

Olivier Ruel 1 - Benjamin Caumes 0

Game 2

Ben had to mulligan at the start of Game 2, and then missed his second land drop despite casting a Serum Visions. Olivier played a Spikeshot Goblin, a Viridian Longbow and a Healers Headdress while Caumes struggled to find enough land to play anything. Caumes' second land allowed him to play an Empyrial Plate, and then a third allowed him to play Fleshgrafter.

Olivier had an Electrostatic Bolt in hand, but figured it wasnt worth trying to kill the Fleshgrafter as Ben almost certainly had an artifact in hand. Instead he cast a Razor Golem and they began to race.

Ben just had the Fleshgrafter and Olivier just played a couple of chump-blockers, Steel Wall and Taj-Nar Swordsmith. Ben was down to nine when he found a Terror for the Spikeshot. Olivier attacked him down to six with the Golem then put him to four with a Magma Giant. He was only on eleven himself so the Giant also had to chump-block. This left Razor Golem and an enormous Fleshgrafter as the only creatures. Caumes cast a Fatespinner to try and chump the Golem, but Ruel used the Electrostatic Bolt he had been holding the whole game and attacked for the win

Olivier Ruel 2 - Ben Caumes 0

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