arlier in the tournament, J. Gary Wise wrote about how Magic is entering its third generation of Pro Tour players
. Pierre Canali (11-2) is one of the new players, this being his first Pro Tour. Olivier Ruel's (10-3) first was Pro Tour Rome 1999 and he made the Pro Tour Points train one year after that.
Even the deck choices that these two made reflect the difference in generations. Ruel's deck was a Goblin deck with Living Death, while Canali decided to play an affinity deck not much different from its Standard counterpart. Ruel felt that he needed to finish off the day 2-1 at least to have a chance at playing Sunday.
Canali led with a first-turn Aether Vial off of a Darksteel Citadel while Ruel played a Shadowblood Ridge. Canali missed his second land drop but still managed to play a Chromatic Sphere. After Ruel played a Goblin Pile Driver, Canali used the Vial to place out a Disciple of the Vault.
Pierre Canali, left, and Olivier Ruel
Canali managed to find his second Chromatic Sphere on the third turn but no second land. He used Aether Vial to play a Meddling Mage, naming Goblin Warchief. He then played a Frogmite for free. The Frogmite didn't block the Goblin Pile Driver as it came across. The reasons for the apparent suicide attack became clear when Ruel Burning Wished for Cave-In. Ruel wasted no time, as he through out a Goblin Ringleader to play the Cave-In for free.
Canali sacrificed his Chromatic Sphere in hopes of finding his second land. He then sacrificed his other Sphere since he still hadn't received land number two. Finally, he found a Seat of the Synod. Canali used his Aether Vial to put out another Meddling Mage, once again naming Goblin Warchief.
Ruel played out a Goblin Matron on his turn and fetched a Mogg Fanatic. Canali attacked with Meddling Mage and then spent three for a Somber Hoverguard.
Goblin Matron went into the red zone for Ruel. After the attack he played the previously fetched Mogg Fanatic and a Skirk Prospecter. Canali attacked with the Somber Hoverguard leaving the lives at Canali 15, Ruel 10. He then cast a Myr Enforcer before passing the turn.
Ruel had managed to get a small swarm of goblins out and he sacrificed the Fanatic and Matron to help cast a Siege-Gang Commander.
Canali sent in the Hoverguard and the Enforcer. Ruel chump blocked with a token and took three down to seven. The next turn Ruel sacrificed all of his goblins to the Skirk Prospector to cast a Living Death. The Living Death brought six Goblins into play for Ruel, plus the three Goblin tokens that Siege Gang Commander brings with it. Canali was left with a Meddling Mage, a Frogmite and a Disciple of the Vault. A Mogg Fanatic killed the Disciple before Canali could untap.
Canali drew and played another Myr Enforcer while Ruel played a Goblin Piledriver. The next turn Ruel made an alpha strike that caused Canali to concede.
Ruel 1, Canali 0
In the first game Canali stalled on one land. This prevented him from being able to swarm Ruel's Goblin Living Death deck. Would Game 2 provide to be more favorable for Canali?
After Brian David-Marshall's comment that Canali's opening hand looked as if "someone had pulled seven random cards out of a box," it is no surprise that the Frenchman visited Paris for six new cards.
After the Mulligan Canali laid a turn one Arcbound Worker. Ruel played a Skirk Prospector. Canali played a Seat of Synod and a Chromatic Sphere followed by a Thoughtcast for one mana.
Ruel used a Cabal Therapy to first try for Engineered Plague and then he flashbacked the Therapy to get two Thoughtcast. Canali used his turn to play out both a Disciple of the Vault and an Arcbound Ravager. Ruel just passed the turn. Canali was merciless playing out a second Ravager and a Blinkmoth Nexus. If Ruel didn't do something about the beats soon it would be too late for a comeback.
While Canali did affinity/Ravager math, Ruel smiled about the dismal hand that he held. He conceded the game on the next turn playing out five or six more land from his hand to show how mana flooded he was.
Ruel 1, Canali 1
Ruel got to go first this game. Canali was thinking about mulliganing again as he looked at a hand that contained only two Glimmervoids for land. His second hand also contained only one land, a Glimmervoid, which would leave him vulnerable to any artifact kill so he sent it back once more. Canali finally kept a hand of five cards.
Ruel played a first turn Mogg Fanatic and a second turn Sparksmith. Canali had an Arcbound Worker but no second land. Sparksmith killed the Worker. Ruel used Duress on Canali taking one of his two Engineered Plagues. Ruel then used his Rishadan Port to tap down Canali's only land.
On the next turn Ruel played a Goblin Ringleader that turned over a Goblin Warchief and a Goblin Matron. When Canali failed to draw a land for the third consecutive turn he had no choice but to concede.
Olivier Ruel 2, Pierre Canali 1