Finals: Kai Budde vs. Patrick Mello

Posted in Event Coverage

By Rui Oliveira

Kai Budde They started off by denying the rumor they are roommates. They say they couldn't be since they are fighting all the time. Besides really good friends, they live five minutes away from each other.

So they probably woke up one day and decided to come down to Lisbon and rule the Grand Prix. They sure chose the right deck to do it. They survived some nasty Sligh scares to get here (see Budde's semifinals) but they did it crashing Grow variants left and right.

Game 1

They went through the usual "Draw-Drop dual-make joke in German" mode complete with a sprinkle of card drawing for the first few turns. Mello made the first real play with a Powder Keg, which Kai quickly matched with his own Keg.

Both of them had counter-heavy lands and Kai drew Blessing so he tried to recur some cards. This whole match up comes down to keeping the Blessings going to deck your opponent or getting lucky with your Treetops.

It must be great to be able to speak in a language hardly anyone around can understand and they probably traded some very nice jokes between them. Reporters should be forced to learn German with Budde and friends winning almost every title available.

Both of them played another Keg and Kai played a Spike Feeder as well - in fact he had all his three creatures in hand from the start. Mello dropped an Oath and the Feeder went away before it could give Patrick a chance to find a creature for free.

It got to a point were Budde was discarding Oath of Druids showing how comical the mirror can get sometimes. He found a Treetop Village and for once it seemed the game would actually come down to the Red Zone.

They got into a counterwar over Mello's Fact or Fiction that Kai eventually won. Kai let Mello's first Gaea's Blessing and a subsequent Fact or Fiction (getting a Disrupt and two dual lands) as well.

Mello played a Wasteland and the Village suddenly got shy staying away from the Red Zone. Unsurprisingly the crowd decided to check the Spanish and Portuguese players doing a world of noise at the end of the room, Oath mirror match is not the most interesting of viewing choices.

Again Mello's Fact or Fiction was the instigator of a massive counterwar but this time Patrick won. He got Impulse, Swords to Plowshares and Flood Plains out of it.

The next time both blinked it was Budde's turn to go for the Fact or Fiction and again they got into a fight. In the middle of it Patrick Mello used his own Fact or Fiction to generate mayhem in the Red Zone stack pile.

Mello got two Swords to Plowshares and a Wasteland and Kai Budde got to shake his head at the mess. His Fact or Fiction was finally countered. With a groan Mello dove into the real battle: Kai's second Gaea's Blessing.

Several card drawing spells later Patrick could only shrug and let the Blessing resolve. He then untapped and used three Wastelands to get rid of all of Budde's untapped lands. With that extra security he launched his second Blessing which resolved.

A hundred thousand million turns, or what felt like it, they again had a war over... yes, you figured it: Fact or Fiction. By then they had a Keg each, yet again. Most of the crowd was now gone and the few, the brave, the fearless that still fought on eyed Patrick Mello's small library with sanguine glee. Sooner or later one of them had to win...

When Mello played a second Oath of Druids most of us laughed at the sheer pain. We could only pray that the sideboard would chance this pace. These two great players truly did not deserve, and neither did the crowd, such an eye-gauging matchup.

Mello tried to save things by casting a Feeder and moving counters to his Village for the extra edge on the block but Budde had a Swords ready for it. Mello Impulsed and stared at the four cards remaining in his deck: Swords, Brainstorm and two Counterspells.

He went for the Gaea's Blessing and Kai couldn't counter it. Budde needed time rebuild his hand so Patrick Mello set about the arduous task of setting up the eternal recursion of Wastelands to deplete his friend's land supply. Slow, yes but also effective.

A few loops later Kai, with his library running out, finally decided to put up a fight and four counters into it Mello asked how many counters Kai still had in the library. He dropped his hand showing three Counterspells, more than enough to hold of anything.

Patrick 1-0 Kai

Game 2

The face-up sideboarding They discussed the first game and for probably the first time in the Pro Tour they sideboarded with the cards in the table showing what they are going to do. They decided to take out all the Oaths and as many counters as they could to speed things up as much as possible: OathBeats anyone?

When Kai Pyroblasted Mello's first turn Brainstorm the crowd decided to clap to encourage them go for the throat. Mello played out a Powder Keg with only two Wastelands after Kai blew up his lone Tundra.

Mello drew the third Wasteland and decided to do something he called "ridiculous": he blew up all of Kai's lands. They went about rebuilding their mana base and Kai actually got a Call token to enter the red zone. People started flocking back to the table as the story of the "open sideboard" spread.

A Keg finally took out the token and Kai replaced it with a Spike Weaver but Patrick Sworded it away before it could even attack. Mello played a Fact or Fiction and Kai had to slow him down because they still had a Force of Will in the deck. Patrick kept Pyroblast, Hydroblast and Morphling over a Treetop and a Flood Plains.

Kai: "If he plays lands during the next few turns he wins."

Budde flashbacked his Call for an extra token and Patrick got a token as well. A Sword got rid of Mello's token. A second Call of the Herd gave Mello another elephant to screw up the attack phase and we were back to a standstill.

But another Swords showed up. Patrick used it to get rid of Kai's token before playing his third Call of the Herd (a Keg had eaten away the second one). Keeping with the farming theme Kai Budde Sworded the brand new elephant.

Still they fought on. Mello flashbacked an elephant and we were of to the races once again. They went back to their old ways with another counterwar over a Fact or Fiction that Kai got to resolve.

A Fact or Fiction brought up a Gaea's Blessing so Mello used it to shuffle his whole graveyard into the deck. As we all started to give up Mello cast his Superman! All was well! Morphling would save us.

But it wasn't to be. See Kai had a solution for that. Yup, a solution for Morphling. Another Morphling, of the top by the way. Two Morphlings facing each other with loads of mana available. What a nightmare.

A Spike Feeder came in to give Mello an extra edge. Tiredness was starting to sink in and Budde missed a chance to kill Mello's Morphling by picking the wrong Fact or Fiction pile. If he picked the one with Wasteland and Pyroblast he could have blown Patrick's last blue source and blow the Morphling up with the Pyroblast. Or maybe we missed something there. We were all too tired.

Mello sent the troops in and moved the counters from the Feeder to the Morphling when Kai's Superman showed up to block the Spike.

Mello: "It's a SuperMorphling. Ahhh, this is Extended."

Not to be outdone, Budde played a Feeder of his own. They traded blows for a while and Patrick played a Call of the Herd, flashbacking it for an extra attacker. Kai got himself a SuperMorphling and got ready for the fight.

A Keg from Patrick would be a solution (killing the Morphlings) and leaving the tokens alone but Kai had the lone Force of Will for it. Finally the light shone at the end of the tunnel. When deciding which creature to block Kai Budde found out he had his little total mixed up.

Kai: "Oh-oh. I screwed this game up."

The SuperMorphling blocked a Call token and a Swords ate the other one. Had Mello attacked with the Treetop as well as this point he would have won the game but this way he left Kai at five life.

By now we had been sitting here for over two hours.

Kai: "We wanted a fast game so we took out the counters."
Patrick (pointing at the Morphlings): "Yeah, but we forgot about those."

Without counters and with two Morphlings locking the table the only thing the spectators were waiting for was to see if any of them could still win this game.

Rune (Head Judge): "I want to remind you of the immortal words of Jamie Wakefield: Concede You Stupid Punk!"

Suddenly the difference between both decks showed up: Mello had a Serrated Arrows where Budde had a fourth Powder Keg. The Morphlings collided in the red zone and Kai Budde explained he needed to draw a way to deal with Morphling on the next turn as Mello pumped his Morphling into "SuperBallLightning" mode.

Both Morphlings died to the sheer unadulterated joy of the morbid spectators who despite being allowed to leave at any single moment still stuck around watching us all suffer.

Kai: "I have the Wasteland, I got it from the Fact!"
Patrick: "I'm sorry. I didn't remember that. It was thirty minutes ago! Can't I just win some way?"

We were free of the Morphling but there was a world of elephants showing up. Patrick tried to play a Serrated Arrows and Kai said "Why am I always a good player?" before Forbidding with buyback.

Somehow, I must admit I missed it: Kai managed to smash through Mello's defenses and forced us to endure a third game.

By the way the second game lasted more than one hour and a half.

Kai: "I'm so sorry!"
Peter Norris: "Just fix your sideboard."

Patrick 1-1 Kai

Game 3

Despite having nothing of interest to bring in, they took out the Blessing and the Morphlings. To make things more interesting they decided to start with zero cards.
The things these guys come up with at this time of the night with so much money on stake.

After a few Wastelands Mello couldn't cast his Feeder because he didn't have a second green mana. Budde blew up the green source and played a Treetop and a Keg. He followed that with an attempt to play Weaver that Mello Forced.

Almost all search spells got countered until Kai resolved a loudly acclaimed Fact or Fiction in another top deck.

Ben: "Check the back of that card!"
Patrick: "I'm very close to conceding here."

Patrick MelloKai flashbacked a Call and Mello Impulsed for an answer. He found himself a Call as well but Kai promptly Sworded it. Kai launched his second brutal Fact or Fiction.

A Wasteland brought Mello down to two lands and the Treetop joined the token in its efforts to finish the Grand Prix. Patrick found a third land and played another Call. That got Sworded as well and again Kai's creatures attacked.

Mello was really into elephants so he flashbacked another one to again try to block. They launched into a long argument about was the luckiest pointing at cards on the graveyard and play.

As the decisive game of the tournament played out Peter Norris and Gary Wise traded "Survivor" stories. Go figure. Somehow the two German players had managed to grind the game into a halt. Thank your favorite Deity, the Morphlings were sitting this one out.

Mello got his Serrated Arrows and another elephant while Kai got two Kegs to deal with those two problems.

Kai: "I'm so sorry. We couldn't sideboard the Kegs out as well."

To rub things in, he played another Keg when Patrick flashbacked his second Call of the Herd. The third flashbacked Call got Sworded and the last Keg killed the Arrows. Kai had a Treetop but obviously Patrick had a Wasteland.

And as soon as Kai flashbacked a Call Patrick laughed and showed a Swords.

Patrick: "He only has three ways to win, while I have six."
Gary Wise: "Yeah but you both have a thousand ways to kill those win conditions."
Kai: "I think he is going to deck me."
Patrick: "NOOOOOO!"

Up came another Call for Kai and they had a counter war over an Impulse. In the end Patrick obviously found a way to solve the token: Swords to Plowshares. In came another Call token and a Spike Feeder and the crowd chanted for Fact or Fiction.

Kai: "No, that is my job."
Patrick: "Hey I deserve it."

He drew a Brainstorm that gave him a Fact or Fiction and a Counterspell amongst cries from the remaining crowd (those crazy kids). He Pyroblasted a Force with a "go away!" to punch the Fact through.

That got Patrick a brand new Powder Keg to screw up the math. He blew up the Keg to kill the elephant dropping down to five. Alone the Feeder attacked bringing up the suspense, and Mello down to three.

It looked like the end until Patrick dropped a Spike Weaver. But Kai wanted to finish things up right now and he Sworded it. He then Impulsed, getting a Call of the Herd. And chanted for Mello to draw a land and put an end to the three-hour match.

Patrick drew the card faced down and slowly turned it over... Flood Plains. Another legend for the Kai Budde's story book.

Final Result: Kai 2-1 Patrick

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