by Kim Eikefet
In the tenth round, Canadian Ryan Fuller was paired up against Polish Radoslaw Gromko. Gromko played in the Masters Workshop with Sigurd Eskeland and Brian Hacker this summer, and obviously it helped - at least he had a very solid 8-1 record after round nine.
Fuller won the die roll and chose to play. He cast a turn two Agent of Shauku, a turn three Undertaker and a turn four Agent of Shauku. Gromko mulliganed once, but he still cast a first turn Seal of Strength, a third turn Seal of Fire that burned up the Undertaker and then a turn four Rib Cage Spider that stopped the two Agents pretty much dead in their tracks.
Fuller had an even bigger Spider though, a Spitting Spider that hit the table on turn five. He also played a turn six Cateran Brute, but the Brute died when it blocked Gromko's Rib Cage Spider that all of a sudden was Invigorated. Still, the Spider hit hard, and when Fuller removed a Rushwood Herbalist by Snuffing it Out, he could attack with everything to bring his Polish opponent down to eight life.
Radoslaw just couldn't draw his second forest, which was a problem for him as he couldn't really spend his mana in the most efficient way. However, by Rupturing his own Seal of Strengthed Rib Cage Spider, he managed to kill all the creatures on the table - except from the Spitting Spider. At four, he figured he could survive at least for one more turn, but Fuller had a Maggot Therapy and attacked for the victory.
Fuller 1 - Gromko 0
In the second game, Gromko managed to get the correct mana. He also got a pretty good mana curve, playing a turn three Fault Riders, a turn four Fault Riders and a turn five Seal of Fire, Rib Cage Spider. Fuller, on the other hand, again got a turn two Agent of Shauku. He attacked for one before Gromko's horde hit the table, and then he dropped a Notorious Assassin - that got Seal of Fired. Finally, he played a Plague Witch.
Radoslaw sent his three Critters in and brought Fuller down to nine life. A Vintara Elephant made the situation look even worse for Fuller, whose only answer was a Spore Frog. The Plague Witch killed a Fault Riders and Ryan was down to two with a Frog in play that would save him a turn - if Radoslaw hadn't had the Rupture that killed him.
Fuller 1 - Gromko 1
So Fuller went first in the final game. He dropped a turn two Undertaker and a turn three Belbe's Percher. Gromko had to mulligan again, but he had the Seal of Fire for the Undertaker and he also cast a turn three Fault Riders.
After three turns, Gromko had one Mountain and two Forests in play, and Fuller Despoiled the Mountain. Forgetting that he could sacrifice it to the Fault Riders, Gromko took two. He had another Mountain though, avoiding the colour screw Fuller probably had been hoping for. Still, he took two from the Percher. But that was all. The Polish player drew his Rhystic Lightning and finished off the nasty flyer.
Fuller got out a Cateran Persuader. So when Gromko sent over his Fault Riders, he blocked, and when Gromko sacrificed a Mountain to pump it, Fuller played his Snuff Out. The Canadian followed up by casting Woodripper and Murderous Betrayal. Going down to seven, he killed Radoslaw's newly played Cinder Elemental. Radoslaw popped the Elemental to take out the Persuader, but the Woodripper continued the assault to the bitter end.
Fuller 2 - Gromko 1
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