Semifinals: Olivier Ruel (France) vs. David Williams (USA)
By Kim Eikefet
Both the Ruel brothers made the semi-finals, and Olivier faced David Williams in the semi-finals. Olivier had a fast red and blue beatdown deck, while David had a white and blue aggro-controllish deck with two Stinging Barriers and several tricks.
Ruel won the coin flip and chose to play first. He dropped three lands and then a Battle Rampart that he later used to its fullest. Williams got out a Sword Dancer before the assault started. The Frenchman played a Rootwater Commando and started attacking at once, giving the creature haste thanks to the Battle Rampart. Williams summoned a Reveille Squad, and when a Zerapa Minotaur joined the Commando on the other side of the table, the Squad jumped out in front of it. David then tried to save it by casting an Orim's Cure, but Ruel sacrificed a Mountain to Thunderclap it in reponse and the Reveille Squad took an early night.
Williams then dropped one of his Stinging Barriers. But Ruel had an answer to that, too, he attacked, and when Williams blocked the Minotaur, he Lunged it for the final point of damage. The American then summoned a Flint Golem, but he was in trouble, already at 12 after the attacks.
Things looked even worse for him when he found himself facing a Flowstone Overseer. The Overseer, the Minotaur and the Commando came for a visit and brought Williams down to three life. Ruel tried to cast a Sliptide Serpent, David had a Rethink but in the end, there was nothing he could do to survive and he scooped.
Ruel 1 - Williams 0
The first game was over fast, and the second one didn't take long either. Williams played first, he dropped three lands and a Ribbon Snake but then he stalled on three lands for two turns. Ruel on the other hand, had a really nice mana curve. He cast a turn three Fault Riders, a turn four Zerapa Minotaur and a turn five Gush to re-fill his hand.
Williams was only able to play a Mageta's Boon on the Ribbon Snake, but he didn't block the attackers. Dropping a Crenellated Wall, he seemed to be able to stabilize - until Ruel attacked to bring him down to six and then dropped Alexi, Zephyr Mage.
Unable to deal with the super-bouncer, Williams cast Noble Purpose and attacked with his Ribbon Snake just to gain three life, which put him at nine. But Ruel just had the better draw. The Frenchman Lunged the Wall to deal two extra damage to Williams before bouncing the two creatures. In response, David cast Angelic Favor to earn some time. At this time, the audience started buzzing as Angelic Favor can only be cast during the attack phase. The two players made several quick plays after this, but when head judge Cyril Grillon came over to check what had happened, Williams just conceded - after all, there was nothing he could draw to win anyway.
Olivier Ruel 2 - David Williams 0