Finals: Alex Borteh vs. Tom Van de Logt

Posted in Event Coverage

By Toby Wachter

Tom Van de Logt

After three days of competition and a day of Top 8 matches, it all came down to Alex Borteh and Tom Van de Logt for the Magic: The Gathering World Championship. The difference between the first and second place payouts meant that both players were essentially playing a $12,000 ante match. There were no real losers, since the finalist would still walk away with at least $23,000.

Analyzing the matchup is a bit ugly, because Van de Logt's black-red deck is a nightmare for Borteh's Merfolk Opposition. Van de Logt has cheap, efficient targeted removal in the form of Terminate, Vendetta and Urza's Rage, in addition to Plague Spitter, which can wipe out a Merfolk army all by itself. Borteh's only chance is to get out Static Orb, which can at least slow down Van de Logt's mana hungry deck. Even then, Borteh will have a hard time keeping his Opposition lock around, because Van de Logt has so many ways to kill off creatures. Considering that this match is best three out of five, it would take nothing short of a miracle for Borteh to walk away with the World Championship trophy.

Game 1

Borteh went first and dropped an island, while Van de Logt put down Urborg Volcano. A second turn Merfolk Looter was summoned by Borteh, while Van de Logt used Dark Ritual to Duress Borteh. He saw Static Orb, Counterspell, Thwart, Opposition and an island. Borteh lost the Static Orb and Van de Logt played Rishadan Port, and used the leftover floating mana to bring out Plague Spitter. The Looter was activated on Borteh's turn, and was followed by Vodalian Merchant. Plague Spitter activated on Van de Logt's upkeep, killing off the Looter. Van de Logt played a mountain and ended his turn, and Ported down an island during Borteh's upkeep.

Alex Borteh

Blazing Specter came out on turn four and resolved. It headed straight for the Red Zone and dealt two damage, causing Borteh to discard Thwart. Borteh untapped and added two blue mana to his pool, and played an alternate casting cost Gush. This was followed by Opposition and Borteh now had a fragile way to deal with the Specter, as he could tap it down with the Merchant. However, Van de Logt continued to apply pressure, and summoned a second Specter on his turn. The Merchant tapped down one, and the Spitter and Specter came through for four points of damage. Borteh discarded island.

Lord of Atlantis now showed up, giving Borteh two answers on table to the Specters. Still, Borteh was at ten life, and Plague Spitter was plinking away at his life total. Both Specters were tapped during the attack step, and the Spitter attacked for two, bringing Borteh down to eight life points. At this point, Van de Logt was content to sit back and Port Borteh twice, instead of playing one of the two Crypt Angels he had in his hand. He also had Urza's Rage, and could use it in the right situation.

Borteh summoned a Merfolk Looter, and Van de Logt used Urza's Rage on end step to kill off Lord of Atlantis. He also tapped down one of Borteh's islands, leaving him with only one untapped land. At this point, Borteh realized he could not win, and conceded.

Borteh- 0 Van de Logt- 1

Game 2

As the players looked at their opening hands, Borteh didn't seem too happy with his draw, but kept it anyway. Merfolk of the Pearl Trident came out on turn one, and went into beatdown mode on the following turn. Vodalian Merchant was played on turn two, and Borteh discarded an island. Van de Logt simply played another land, and was sitting comfortably with Terminate and Vendetta in hand. Borteh continued his weenie swarm, busting out another Merfolk of the Pearl Trident and Lord of Atlantis. Terminate targeted the Lord during the attack step, but Borteh brought back all the lands he had in play to Thwart it.

Van de Logt now untapped, and played a second Terminate on the Lord. This time, it resolved. Borteh attacked for three with his team, and went back to square one by playing his only land. Pyroclasm was then cast by Van de Logt to take out Borteh's Merfolk army, resulting in cheers from the crowd. Blazing Specter was summoned on the following turn and attacked for two, as Borteh discarded island. Lord of Atlantis then showed up, and Flametongue Kavu shot it down. The Specter attacked again, and Van de Logt was gaining so much card advantage and dealing enough damage for Borteh to simply comment, "Disgusting! How am I supposed to win?" Another Lord was destroyed with Vendetta, and Van de Logt completed his perfect draw with Skizzik to take the second game.

Borteh- 0 Van de Logt- 2

At this point, Borteh seemed to have no hope at all, as he talked about this being the "quickest final ever," and joked "Maybe I should side in Mana Maze just to be funny." He even asked "What would you need to draw to lose?" Van de Logt said that it would probably take mana screw or a really bad draw.

Game 3

Borteh played the first spell of the game when he summoned a turn two Merchant, and discarded Lord of Atlantis. On the following turn, Borteh played a Lord, which died to Terminate when the Merchant attacked. Van de Logt then untapped and summoned Plague Spitter, which got some cheers out of the crowd. Borteh was at least having fun with it, as he turned to the crowd and nodded his head in approval. He added "This is a freakin' nightmare . . . there's just no way to win this." He did play Static Orb, which at least slowed things down. At this point, Van de Logt had to use his resources wisely, because he couldn't maximize his turns by playing a powerful spell every turn. He cast Addle naming blue, and saw Waterfront Bouncer, Static Orb, Thwart and Teferi's Response. Van de Logt made Borteh lose the Thwart.

Things now looked safe and Van de Logt played Flametongue Kavu, but Borteh had topdecked a Counterspell to handle it. A few turns later, Van de Logt used Dark Ritual, and brought out Phyrexian Scuta with kicker. Borteh took his turn, and tapped out to play Opposition. Van de Logt then untapped two lands and played Addle, naming blue. He saw the Response, two Bouncers, and Static Orb. Borteh lost the Response, and Van de Logt used Urza's Rage to kill off Vodalian Merchant. Borteh, either out of depression or out of need to entertain the crowd, let out a despondent "that's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen" Before heading to the graveyard, the Merchant tapped down the Scuta, but Plague Spitter still got through for two damage.

Guess who won

If Borteh's board position could be described in one word at this point, that word would be "desperate." He played a Waterfront Bouncer for the purpose of being a one-shot Icy Manipulator, and it tapped down the Scuta before it died to Plague Spitter. This left the path clear for the Spitter, which attacked for two damage. Borteh then played Lord of Atlantis, which tapped down the Scuta during Van de Logt's turn. A second Bouncer was played, and Urza's Rage targeted the Lord on Borteh's end step.

Van de Logt untapped, and his Spitter killed off the Bouncer, which tapped down the Scuta. Plague Spitter attacked for two damage, and the following turn didn't look good for Borteh, who was all tapped out and had no creatures out, and was staring down an attack from the Scuta and Spitter on the next turn. Borteh realized this and untapped, extended his hand and told Van de Logt "You're the champ."

Final Result: Borteh- 0 Van de Logt- 3

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