Local Hero Triumphant!

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This weekend millions of players across the globe will be tearing open brand new booster packs from the new Ravnica: City of Guilds expansion. In Russia things are a little different. Over here we have the 9th Edition release. This is not just any old release. This tournament marks the first expansion of Magic to be released using the Cyrillic alphabet. To commemorate the occasion sixteen of the World's best players have been invited over to take on the best that Russia, Ukraine and Belarus can offer in an exhibition tournament. For the full player list and profiles see here.

In the end the Local Heroes were not enough to stand up to the might of the Best of the Rest. The Best ran out 129-95 winners. But there was still the matter of the rotisserie draft for the top four players of each team.

Julien Nuijten was the top ranked player from Saturday and had the honor of taking the first pick in the Rotisserie draft. This draft featured every card in 9th Edition, in foil. Unsurprisingly, the World Champion took Loxodon Warhammer. It was not enough to save him from Antoine Ruel's clever, almost creature-less, blue-red deck in the semi-finals.

On the other side of the bracket Matvey Linov, perhaps better known as DuSheLov from Magic Online, was dismantling his opponents with an almost mono-blue deck. In the end it was the Russian player who caused the upset in the finals. His Mahamoti Djinn proved to be too tough to kill for the experienced French pro. The Local Heroes team might have been defeated by the Best of the Rest, but they were able to salvage some pride as Matvey Linov came out on top of the Rotisserie draft.

Overall the event was a massive success with many local players showing up to play in the 9th Edition release or to test their skills against the pro's on the gunslinging tables.

Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Julien Nuijten   Julien Nuijten, 3-1        
8 Kamiel Cornelissen   Antoine Ruel, 3-0
4 Antoine Ruel   Antoine Ruel, 3-0   Matvey Linov, 3-2
5 Olivier Ruel    
2 Matvey Linov   Matvey Linov, 3-0
7 Denis Tagunov   Matvey Linov, 3-0
3 Andrii Alieksieiev   Andrii Alieksieiev, 3-1
6 Alexander Gerasimenko    

 1.  Matvey Linov
 2.  Antoine Ruel
 3.  Julien Nuijten
 4.  Andrii Alieksieiev
 5.  Alexander Gerasimenko
 6.  Olivier Ruel
 7.  Kamiel Cornelissen
 8.  Denis Tagunov
Results Standings

  • Sunday, September 25: 2:23 pm - Gunslingers of Moscow

  • The Moscow Invitational is a pretty sweet deal for the Pro's invited. They get their expenses paid, a bit of spending money and they get to see the sights of Moscow. It isn't totally free though as one of the requirements is that the players who don't make the draft have to turn up today and gunsling. This is a bit meaner than the usual form of the gunslinging as all the pro's get to work with is five measly boosters of Ninth Edition. Unfortunately the locals aren't playing to the script and coming with all sorts of decks.

    I asked VP of TCG's Joe Hauck how it was going. He muttered something about a Psychatog deck. Oysp said he'd almost managed to pull it out against an Extended Survival of the Fittest deck, but his Naturalize ran into Force of Will. Masashi Oiso might be the best player in the world at the moment but I don't think he's beating Survival with a 9th Edition sealed deck either. Olivier found a convenient excuse (the third place matchup) just as a Balancing Act deck was setting up to demolish the world.

    You'd think they'd at least be more sporting. I dunno, maybe let the Pro's start with three land in play, or 40 life, or ten cards.

    I suppose it's all therapeutic. Come to Moscow. Crush a Pro.


    Anton Jonsson beat an Extended deck. But as it was a Balancing Tings deck I suppose that doesn't count.

  • Sunday, September 25: 4:56 pm - All Draft Picks

  • Here are all the draft picks from the Rotisserie Draft. For those that are unfamiliar with Rochester draft the pick order is as follows:

      Seat 1 Seat 2 Seat 3 Seat 4 Seat 5 Seat 6 Seat 7 Seat 8
    Pick # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
    Pick # 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9

    So in the following table Julien Nuijten had picks 1 and 16 while Matvey Linov had picks 8 and 9.

    Nuijten Gerasimenko A Ruel Tagunov Cornelissen Alieksieiev O Ruel Linov
    Loxodon Warhammer Vulshok Morningstar Icy Manipulator Wrath of God Royal Assassin Worship Plague Wind Confiscate
    Flame Wave Wildfire Shivan Dragon Millstone Phyrexian Arena Story Circle Grave Pact Mahamoti Djinn
    Shard Phoenix Silklash Spider Blaze Blinging Angel Hypnotic Specter Ballista Squad Nekrataal Air Elemental
    Pacifism Form of the Dragon Pyroclasm Chastise Mortivore Paladin en-Vec Hell's Caretaker Clone
    Master Decoy Orcish Artillery Flowstone Slide Aven Cloudchaser Sengir Vampire Dark Banishing Nightmare Puppeteer
    Serra Angel Naturalize Volcanic Hammer Angel of Mercy Phyrexian Gargantua Ancient Silverback Consume Spirit Fleeting Image
    CoP: Black Karplusan Yeti Tidings Kami of Old Stone Lord of the Undead Blanchwood Armor Nantuko Husk Thieving Magpie
    Savannah Lion Trained Armodon Shock Leonin Skyhunter Master Healer Viridian Shaman Gravedigger Temporal Adept
    Zealous Inquistor Order of the Sacred Bell Mana Leak Sanctum Guardian Enfeeblement Zodiac Monkey Ravenous Rats Boomerang
    Rukh Egg Llanowar Elves Guerilla Tactics Blinking Spirit Diabolic Tutor Oracle's Attendants Looming Shade Remove Soul
    Thundermare Rootwalla Rewind River Bear Mindslicer Giant Growth Cruel Edict Wind Drake
    Glorious Anthem Kavu Climber Aladdin's Ring Giant Spider Inspirit Pegasus Charger Will-o'-the-Wisp Time Ebb
    Veteran Cavalier Anaconda Disrupting Sceptre Seedborn Muse Bog Wraith Emperor Crocodile Coercion Phantom Warrior
    Glory Seeker Force of Nature Fellwar Stone Creeping Mold Gluttenous Zombie Llanowar Behemoth Highway Robber Thought Courier
    Skyhunter Prowler Utopia Tree Rod of Ruin Rampant Growth Zombify Might of Oaks Slate of Ancestry Slay
    Hill Giant Wood Elves Anarchist Hunted Wumpus Dancing Scimitar Aven Flock Bottle Gnomes Execute
    Threaten Beast of Burden Treasure Trove Elvish Bard Razortooth Rats Suntail Hawk Drudge Skeleton Azure Drake
    Flowstone Crusher Elvish Warrior Counsel of the Soratami Needle Storm Blessed Orator Maro Festering Goblin Horned Turtle
    Anaba Shaman Elvish Champion Archivist Samite Healer Foul Imp Crossbow Infantry Raise Dead Aven Fisher
    Rathi Dragon Natural Affinity Ur-Golem's Eye Aven Windreader Tempest of Light Grizzly Bear CoP: Red Lumengrid Warden
    Goblin Chariot Overgrowth Sift Dehydration Jade Statue Demystify Venerable Monk Persecute
    Soul Warden Craw Wurm Annex Trade Routes Hollow Dogs Weathered Wayfarer Horror of Horrors Slight of Hand
    Flowstone Shambler Kird Ape Quicksand Groundskeeper Deathgazer Yavimaya Enchantress Mind Rot Boiling Seas
    Ogre Taskmaster Panic Attack Flashfires Sage Aven Infantry Veteran Righteousness Marble Titan Peace of Mind
    Goblin Piker Enrage Traumatize Dream Prowler Blackmail Treetop Bracers Shatter Sea Monster
    Spineless Thug King Cheetah Demolish Daring Apprentice Giant Cockroach Gift of Estates Serpent Warrior Underground River
    Lava Axe Regeneration Baleful Stare Foot Soldiers Scathe Zombies Llanowar Wastes Sulfurous Springs Yavimaya Coast
    Battlefield Forge Karplusan Forest Magnivore Phyrexian Hulk Soul Feast Jester's Cap Caves of Koilos Brushland
    Bog Imp Verdant Force Underworld Dreams Reclaim Unholy Strength Rootbreaker Wurm Thran Golem Adarkar Wastes
    Reverse Damage Lightning Elemental Stone Rain Ley Druid Plague Beetle Scaled Wurm Spirit Link Withering Gaze
    Swarm of Rats Seething Song Biorhythm Elvish Piper Seasoned Marshall Mending Hands Cowardice Mind Bend
    Warriors Honor Sandstone Warrior Shivan Reef Tidal Kraken Ivory Mask Honor Guard Plagiarism Goblin Brigand
    Evacuation Goblin King Zur's Weirding Bloodfire Colossus Whip Sergeant Holy Strength Booby Trap Coat of Arms
    Rogue Kavu Stream of Life Sudden Impact Tanglebloom Holy Day Imaginary Pet Urza's Tower Wanderguard Sentry
    Balduvian Barbarians Elvish Berserker Relentless Assault Viashino Sandstalker Polymorph Greater Good Urza's Power Plant Urza's Mine
    Angelic Blessing Furnace of Rath Dragon's Claw Storm Crow Serra's Blessing Balloon Brigade Ornithopter Crafty Pathmage
    Web Verduran Enchantress Howling Mine Raging Goblin Demon's Horn Levitation Battle of Wits Tree Monkey
    Sacred Nectar Norwood Ranger Natural Spring Death Pits of Rath Final Punishment Exhaustion Defence Grid Puzzle Box
    Fear Summer Bloom Reflexes Reminisces Goblin Sentry Early Harvest Weird Harvest Blood Moon
    Goblin Mountaineer Wurm's Tooth Kraken's Eye Sacred Ground Contaminated Bond Megrim Yawgmoth Demon Damping Matrix
    Goblin Sky Raider Firebreathing Mana Clash Telepathy Angel's Feather Fishliver Oil Spellbook Fugitive Wizard
    Sea's Claim Flight

  • Sunday, September 25: 6:02 pm - The Top 8 Decklists

  • Kamiel Cornelissen
    2005 9th Edition Russian Release Top 8 Deck

    Gerasimenko Alexander
    2005 9th Edition Russian Release Top 8 Deck

    Denis Tagunov
    2005 9th Edition Russian Release Top 8 Deck

    Antoine Ruel
    2005 9th Edition Russian Release Top 8 Deck

    Matvey Linov
    2005 9th Edition Russian Release Top 8 Deck

  • Sunday, September 25: 6:21 pm - Top 8 Draft Report

  • The teams prepare to draft

    And this is the moment you've been waiting for. Given the choice of every card in 9th Edition, which card should you take first? Well there weren't too many surprises. Julien Nuijten, as the top ranked player in the swiss, got to choose first and rather predictably chose Loxodon Warhammer. As an indication of how powerful equipment is in the post-Mirrodin environment Gerasimenko immediately took Vulshok Morningstar. Antoine Ruel also plumped for an artifact, Icy Manipulator, before some people's top pick, Wrath of God, went fourth. Cornelissen opted for Royal Assassin; Alieksieiev, Worship; Olivier Ruel, Plague Wind and then Linov wheeled Confiscate and Mahamoti Djinn.

    Before the draft Olivier Ruel had said he'd wanted to build around Hell's Caretaker/Nekrataal Combo and also pick up Pague Wind and Grave Pact. I didn't think he'd get all four but he did. He also got Gravedigger, Rats, Highway Robber … you get the idea where this going. Hell's Caretaker would be a kill on sight card against his deck.

    His brother Antoine, and quarter-final opponent grabbed a Shivan Dragon second pick, but then steered away from creatures. He built a blue-red deck with burn, counters and card drawing and grabbed support from artifacts. With Traumatize and Aladdin's Ring it was interesting looking deck.

    Julien Nuijten looked to capitalize on the Warhammer with a very fast red-white deck with weenies and Glorious Anthem. He also got Flame Wave and Shard Phoenix, but left Seething Song too late and saw someone else snatch it. I only mention Seething Song because Nuijten had drafted three of then in a deck that featured Flame Wave and Form of the Dragon earlier this week, which only goes to show that the good players can always find a use for cards that don't immediately seem good. Fellow Dutchmen Cornelissen assembled a solid black deck.

    Denis Tagunov seemed to have a solid plan when he started with Wrath of God and Millstone. I thought he was going for a "stall the game out, deck you" kind of deck but then seemed to lose focus and get pulled into both green and blue.

    Nuijten secures the first pick of the draft

    Green seemed to be universally shunned until several players moved into it late and even then I was surprised at the order of the picks. I think the general depth of the green common creatures loses its appeal when you have access to every rare and uncommon first. Silklash Spider was the highest green rare pick with Ancient Silverback being snapped up later.

    Linov seemed to have almost free access to blue and wheeled Slay and Execute when they were available later.

    Some cards went surprisingly late. Poor old Serra Angel. She might be one of the poster cards but the lady took a long time to find a date in this draft.

  • Sunday, September 25: 6:43 pm - Quarterfinals: Antoine Ruel vs. Olivier Ruel

  • These two brothers came all the way to Moscow to play each other

    The two brothers Ruel get to battle it out in the quarter-finals. The draft was interesting as Olivier got to form the virtually mono-black Hell's Caretaker, Nekrataal, Grave Pact deck. Antoine responded by not drafting any creatures other than a Shivan Dragon and Anarchist, relying instead on burn or Traumatize backed up with counters to win his games.

    Antoine won the coin flip and opted to play first. His deck doesn't really do a great deal early. Olivier started with a Festering Goblin and then dropped a dangerous card in this matchup, Nantuko Husk. Antoine tried to burn it with first Guerilla Tactics and then Shock. The Husk munched down on a Festering Goblin and Looming Shade instead as Olivier kept a Will-O-the-Wisp in reserve.

    A Quicksand was thrown at the Husk. It ate some Highway Robbers and kept coming as Ruel drew cards off a Treasure Trove.

    Pyroclasm. The Husk ate some Ravenous Rats and just kept right on coming.

    Antoine drew for some answers with Counsel of the Soratami. He was down to four life.

    Ruel went for a Serpent Warrior and Antoine had to Rewind it. Olivier swung with the Husk but didn't try to end the game immediately as his only remaining creature was the Wisp and he didn't want to risk a trick in response.

    Antoine got him to sacrifice the Wisp to keep the Husk alive after it took a Hammer on the chin. A Shivan Dragon wasn't good enough as Olivier was holding onto a Consume Spirit.

    Olivier 1-0 Antoine

    Olivier led off with Ravenous Rats and then Drudge Skeletons as Antoine dropped a Disrupting Scepter and then ramped up his mana with Ur-Golem's Eye. Antoine Rewound a Horror of Horrors and got to work on Olivier's hand with the Scepter as Olivier only had the two one power beaters.

    A Nekrataal came out as an expensive 2/1 first striker and took a Blaze on the chin.

    The pace of the match was fairly breath taking. Either that or I'm way too slow a typist.

    The game state was Olivier with just some Ravenous Rats after Quicksand sucked down the Skeletons. Antoine was firmly in command now with Treasure Trove and then a Rod of Ruin.

    Traumatize smashed Olivier's library. However, a Grave Pact meant Shivan Dragon wouldn't be administering the coup de grace. With barely any library left Antoine Annexed Olivier's sole Plains.

    A Serpent Warrior was big enough to survive the Rod so Antoine buried it under a Flowstone Slide.

    A Nightmare showed up late but Antoine was able to bring back Blaze with an Anarchist and then Olivier ran out of library.

    Olivier Ruel

    Olivier 1-1 Antoine

    Antoine led off and Mana Leaked Olivier's turn two Ravenous Rats. A Fellwar Stone ramped Antoine up to Sift as Olivier replaced the Rats with Looming Shade.

    Olivier fetched back the rats with a Graverobber and shredded Antoine's hand with the Rats and Mind Rot. His Disrupting Scepter took Olivier's Gravepact straight back.

    A Flowstone Slide buried Olivier's board. And it seemed like Antoine had the game under control. Then his brother ripped Venerable Monk and then Nightmare. Antoine dropped a Shivan Dragon to intercept only for his brother to perform another stunning rip off the top of his library as Nekrataal appeared right on cue.

    Antoine pushed back his chair in shock before picking up the Nekrataal and throwing it to the far side of the room.

    I don't know how many times I've written this now in feature match reports.

    Olivier is very lucky.

    Olivier 2-1 Antoine

    My plan was to flit between matches and try and cover as much of the quarter-finals as possible, but with the speed these two play that just isn't possible. Even as I write this they're already five turns into Game 4.

    Olivier missed a few land drops but seemed okay with a Nantuko Husk until Antoine blazed it out of sight.

    An Annex exacerbated the screw and Antoine went for the throat with a Shivan Dragon.

    Olivier found some running lands and was able to Nekrataal the dragon. Antoine fetched back Blaze with an Anarchist and sent a massive hit straight to Olivier's dome.

    Olivier was in burn range and used a small Consume Spirit to pull himself back from the brink. Antoine was now dropping low. He cleared the board with Pyroclasm.

    A Hell's Caretaker showed up and promptly switched itself for two precious life from a Venerable Monk in the face of Antoine's Aladdin's Ring.

    It couldn't pull him out of range as a Guerilla Tactics administered the remaining points of damage.

    Now it was down to a decider.

    Olivier 2-2 Antoine

    Antoine Ruel

    The useful Nantuko Husk put in a crucial early appearance from Olivier as Antoine did nothing more than ramp up his mana with an Ur-Golem's Eye and Fellwar Stone.

    The extra mana proved very useful as Antoine as he attempted to bury Olivier's board with Flowstone Slide. The Nantuko Husk toughed it out only for Ravenous Rats to hit an unwelcome Guerilla Tactics. Undaunted, Olivier used Raise Dead to fetch the Husk straight back.

    Antoine was not losing control of this one though. An Icy Manipulator came out to handle the Husk and a Rod of Ruin to shut down the weenie support. With an Archivist out for Antoine, Olivier conceded as he recognized the game had gone away from him (I think Antoine may have showed him a Shivan Dragon and Traumatize in hand. When I got a chance to look up they were already packing up their cards. Slow motion replay anyone?)

    Antoine wins the battle of the brothers Ruel 3-2 and goes onto the semi-finals.

  • Sunday, September 25: 6:55 pm - Semifinals: Matvey Linov vs. Andrii Alieksieiev

  • Matvey Linov

    This match is to determine top dog amongst the Local Heroes in 9th Edition. Linov had close to free reign on the blue cards and assembled a fairly potent blue-black deck. Andrii Alieksieiev started out with Worship and then moved into green later.

    Game 1 was fairly short. Linov came storming out with a Wind Drake and Thieving Magpie and quickly outdrew his opponent. A Slay on a Llanowar Behemoth and Remove Soul on an Aven Flock ended Alieksieiev's chances of catching up.

    Linov 1-0 Alieksieiev

    Linov again had a first turn Sleight of Hand while his opponent cracked out of the blocks with a Grizzly Bear and Suntail Hawk. Linov tried to Persecute on white only to miss spectacularly as Alieksieiev was holding a Blanchwood Armor and some land.

    Alieksieiev armored up the Hawk and smashed Linov down to 8. Linov was quite happy to two-for-zero him with an Execute.

    Undaunted Alieksieiev boosted the bears with Treetop Bracers and knocked his opponent down to five. Linov got another big card swing as he Confiscated the Bears.

    Alieksieiev followed up with Llanowar Behemoth, Pegasus Charger and Emperor Crocodile. Still trying to keep on pressure. Unfortunately for him, Linov was getting closer to locking down the game with Temporal Adept and Puppeteer. A Mahamoti Djinn shifted the game further in the favor of Linov.

    A Ballista Squad might have made things interesting, but not against Puppeteer and Temporal Adept. A few swings with the big blue djinn and Linov was just a game away from the final.

    Linov 2-0 Alieksieiev

    Andrii Alieksieiev

    Alieksieiev led off, but didn't quite find a quick start. His third turn Paladin en-Vec was prevented from ever arriving with Remove Soul. Alieksieiev was not about to let it all be one-way traffic. His splashed Dark Banishing stopped a Temporal Adept from causing too much havoc.

    A Persecute missed again although Linov picked another two-for-nought with Slay on a Braced up Llanowar Behemoth. Only after Linov had Cloned it first, obviously. When Motty the Djinn entered play Alieksieiev's force of Viridian Shaman and Weathered Wayfarer seemed a little underpowered by comparison although the life totals were even at 8 a-piece.

    Linov wiped him out on the following turn as a Time Ebb and Boomerang left Alieksieiev with no creatures left to block the ten points of damage.

    Linov could cause an upset against the Best by taking the overall title as his deck looks more than a little useful.

    Matvey Linov beats Andrii Alieksieiev 3-0.

  • Sunday, September 25: 8:40 pm - Final: Matvey Linov vs. Antoine Ruel

  • Antoine Ruel

    Welcome to the final of the Moscow Invitational. Matvey Linov and Antoine Ruel have both battled to the top of their respective teams. Yesterday the Best of the Rest mauled the Local Heroes by around a 30 game margin. Matvey Linov can salvage some pride for the Local Heroes by taking the overall title. His deck is pretty good. He had the lion's share of the blue cards and has yet to lose a game in the top 8.

    Antoine Ruel drafted intelligently. Seeing that his brother (and quarter-final opponent) was putting together a creature murdering mono-black monstrosity he eschewed creatures completely apart from a Shivan Dragon and Anarchist, instead assembling a counter-burn blue-red deck with a hefty card drawing component and some powerful artifacts.

    Ruel went first and his deck was predictably quiet in the first couple of turns, making only an Ur-Golem's Eye.

    Linov got cracking on his life total with a Lumengrid Warden and Phantom Warrior. Cheekily, Ruel Annexed Linov's only source of black mana. Linov could fetch it back with his Boomerang but chose to go for the tempo option instead as his deck is virtually mono-blue in any case.

    Linov used the Boomerang on an Icy Manipulator that was keeping a Thieving Magpie at bay. That got him a free hit and a card and he used a Clone to double the number of Magpies. Ruel tried to hold back the beats with a Shivan Dragon. Linov sent it back to the top of Ruel's library with a Time Ebb and the tempo loss was too much to come back from for the Frenchman.

    I said this deck might cause problems in the final. Ruel had drawn twice as much land as spells though.

    Linov 1-0 Ruel

    Ruel Shocked an early Thought Courier and got down his Treasure Trove card drawing engine. A Rewind was waiting for an Air Elemental. Only a temporary setback as Linov Confiscated the Treasure Trove. Ruel Annexed an Island straight back. Not really a fair trade.

    Linov got to work on Ruel's life total with a Puppeteer and Wind Drake while the Frenchman got to work on Linov's hand with a Disrupting Scepter.

    A Wanderguard Sentry revealed a juicy hand of Flowstone Slide, Volcanic Hammer and Blaze. Unsurprisingly, Linov had his army buried in Flowstone.

    Linov came back at him. First an Aven Fisher and then, after a Pyroclasm, an Azure Drake. A Mahamoti Djinn joined the party to increase Ruel's woes.

    He tried to kill the big flier with a Blaze only for a Boomerang to mean it was no long there to take the burn. Motty came back and looked like a daunting proposition. A Hammer/Tactics combo accounted for the Drake but the Djinn was just too big. Ruel went looking for answers with an Archivist and found none.

    Matvey Linov

    Linov 2-0 Ruel.

    With one game to go for the title Linov found his deck stalling on him. Ruel tried to exacerbate a man screw with an Annex only for Linov to rescue it with a Boomerang.

    Ruel's deck was in full song this game though. Pyroclasm fried a Thought Courier and then Ruel powered out first Tidings and then Sift to pick up a full grip of cards. A Confiscate was met with Mana Leak and a rain of red removal kept Linov from ever having a creature on the table as Ruel whittled away at his hand with a Disrupting Scepter.

    An Icy Manipulator kept an Air Elemental occupied while Ruel pinged away with a Rod of Ruin. Then his Shivan Dragon showed up and the Frenchman was back in the match.

    Linov 2-1 Ruel.

    Linov brought some laugh from the crowd as he led off with a Fugitive Wizard. Ruel bashed one of his lands with a Stone Rain, but this time didn't have an Annex to really put the boot in. Linov wasn't really doing a great deal apart from nibbling with his meager 1/1 and so Ruel had time to power out a Scepter and Ur-Golem's Eye.

    Linov found his first substantial threat in the form of an Air Elemental. He Confiscated the Sceptre before he lost the enchantment but I wasn't sure this was the correct target. A Rod of Ruin or Ur-Golem's Eye felt like it might have been more damaging.

    Guerilla Tactics and Shock combined to bring down the Air Elemental. Linov recovered again with a Sea Monster and then a Clone for a second Sea Monster. An Archivist served up a Flowstone Slide for Ruel and the board was clear again.

    The Scepter was irritating but not really relevant. Ruel sent a massive Blaze at Linov's head rather than losing it. A couple of turns later an Anarchist allowed him to repeat the trick. Linov's life total wasn't high enough to survive the second blast.

    Linov 2-2 Ruel

    So now it's down to one game. Linov led off again with the usually awful Fugitive Wizard. Ruel ignored it and fried a Puppeteer with Guerilla Tactics instead. Shock took down a Wind Drake.

    And with a shake the tournament was over!

    A Wanderguard Sentry revealed Ruel was short an Island. He found it and stole one of Linov's with Annex. The theft was temporary thanks to a Boomerang.
    Wanderguard Sentry and Fugitive Wizard might not be the most exciting of creatures (actually, they're usually crap) but they were doing the job here, paving the way for a Mahamoti Djinn to leave Ruel in really big trouble.

    A Flowstone Slide dealt with the minor nuisances, but couldn't approach the high toughness of the Djinn. There wasn't much in Ruel's deck that could and two turns later Linov had taken both the game and match.

    Matvey Linov beats Antoine Ruel 3-2 and is the winner of the Moscow Invitational.

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