Gateway Top 8: John Ormerod vs. Franck Canu
by Mark Wraith
The Gateway Tournament had reached the last eight and both of these players needed to win only two more matches to qualify for the Masters Series.
John Ormerod is playing a blue-green Survival deck with heavy counterspells, and creatures such as Tradewind Riders, Spikes, and Quirion Rangers. The aim is to fetch a Squee, Goblin Nabob and gain massive card advantage. Franck's deck is also a Survival of the Fittest deck , a more traditional multi-colored version with a wider creature selection, but which also runs Squee, Goblin Nabob. The matchup should favor Franck slightly both before and after sideboarding.
Franch goes first in game one, and both players start out with a Tropical Island and a Birds of Paradise. John gets a Survival of the Fittest on turn two, and Franck shows off how useful his versatile creature base is, destroying it with a Monk Realist and laying a Survival of his own. John doesn't have enchantment removal main deck, so it's hard for him to do anything about this. Franck survivals first for Squee, then for mana producing creatures, and then for a Masticore. As John only has a Bird of Paradise and a Quirion Ranger, he is soon left with no board position at all, and realising that he will soon be locked by a Tradewind Rider, he concedes the first game.
Again both players get identical starts in game, laying out a forest and a Bird of Paradise. John plays out a Survival of the Fittest, joking that Frenchmen always have Monk Realists. Unfortunately for John this is true, and he also has an Emerald Charm. Franck destroys the enchantment and then uses his mana creatures to summon a Tradewind Rider. John's hand is full of land and creatures such as Quirion Rangers, too small to be of any real use. The game is slipping away and it gets a lot worse as Franck draws and plays a Survival of the Fittest. As Franck has two Squees, he soon gets his handsize back up to seven, with a Masticore on the table and the ability to produce more than ten mana, spelling the end for John.
In the final analysis the enchantment removal that Franck drew at the beginning of each game swung the balance. John was forced to play with the cards that he drew, while the Frenchman could look through his library for whatever creatures he liked.
Franck Canu beats John Ormerod 2-0 and now has to win only one further match to progress to the Masters Series