Quarterfinals: Antoine Ruel (France) vs. Rui Mariani Rodrigues (Portugal)
By Rui Oliveira
The Ruel brothers are widely regarded as some of the best Limited players in the World. At the end of the draft most Pro players watching, agreed that both brothers had amazing decks and a great chance of winning the whole thing. On the other hand Mariani was involved in a few fights for colour during the draft so his deck wasn't expected to put up much of a fight.
Antoine came out at full steam with a Diving Griffin and tried a fourth turn Enslaved Horror but Mariani had a Daze to stop the madness. He then played a Blastoderm which looked scary until Antoine produced a Phyrexian Prowler that stopped it for a while. So while Antoine recollected his cool and playing a Mageta's Boon, Mariani kept trying to speed up things so he played a Blockade Runner. But Antoine would have none of that and gladly used a Vicious Hunger to stop the runner. Meanwhile that Griffin kept pounding in until Mariani found a Seal of Removal to bounce the Griffin and played a Rootwater Comando.
Antoine had to spend a turn recasting the Griffin and he took the time to drop a Bog Glider as well. That only got him in trouble since Mariani had a Withdraw waiting for Ruel to tap out, and played a Horned Troll and Viseling. Meanwhile Antoine replayed the Griffin, a Defender En-Vec, a Devout Witness and a Bog Glider which made Mariani concede since he was already very low on life and about to be overwhelmed.
This one was even faster and bloodier. Mariani had a fine start with a Cloudskate which went all the way (it's the same as saying that it attacked three times) and he dropped a Kyren Archive. The problem is that Antoine's hand was impossible to overcome: two Phyrexian Prowlers, a Seal of Doom and four lands.
Antoine totally ignored the Cloudskate and dropped a Diving Griffin, quickly followed by the two Prowlers. As the Cloudskate faded away Mariani had to find an emergency blocker. He dropped a Blockade Runner but Ruel had a hand full of removal. He used a Vicious Hunger to take out the speed bump, dropped a Seal of Doom (with a Sever Soul in his hand) which meant that Mariani needed to find three blockers just to survive an extra turn. Needless to say he did get it and the game came to an end.
At the end both players looked happy and so did the crowd. We knew it was very difficult for Mariani to win but deep down we all had some hope. In the end the best deck, or shall we say the best draft, won since it would be hard for any player to put up much of a fight considering the two decks.
Antoine Ruel 2
Rui Mariani Rodrigues 0