Gateway Round 5: Frank Karsten vs. Alexander Witt

Posted in Event Coverage on May 2, 2002

By Toby Wachter

Game 1

Karsten had a turn one Mogg Fanatic, while Witt brought out Meddling Mage, naming Firebolt. The Fanatic came through for a point of damage, while Karsten cast a Cursed Scroll. Witt untapped, floated two mana, and played Gush with alterate casting cost. He then replayed a land and summoned Waterfront Bouncer. Karsten thought for a bit and took a gamble, targeting Meddling Mage with Cursed Scroll even though he had five cards in hand. The weird thing was, Karsten named "Firebolt" even though he only had one copy of the card in hand, and two copies of Fireblast. When Fireblast was the random card picked, an awkward situation occurred, with Karsten assuming the Mage was dead, and Witt not understanding what was going on. A judge confirmed that Karsten had indeed named the "Bolt", and not the "Blast".

Meddling Mage traded with the Fanatic, and Witt brought out Werebear. Karsten Firebolted it, and Witt responded with Daze. The one mana was paid, leaving Karsten with two available mana. Witt then added Foil to the stack, which countered the Firebolt and provided threshold. Karsten sacrificed two mountains to Fireblast the now 4/4 bear, but Witt had Force of Will. A desperation second Fireblast was used a turn later to kill the Werebear while Cursed Scroll took out the Bouncer, but Karsten was left with practically no resources available. Witt summoned Meddling Mage, hoping to finish the job, but Karsten had a Mogg Fanatic ready to trade. Price of Progress brought Witt down to eight, and Karsten's Scroll soon became active as he drew a third land. A Werebear was then summoned by Witt, but Karsten showed him Fireblast on end step with the Scroll. Another two points of damage were dealt on upkeep, as Witt suggested, "Are you sure you don't want to name Firebolt?" The final four damage from Fireblast brought Witt to zero life points.

Karsten- 1 Witt- 0

Game 2

Karsten used a Wasteland to slow the early game down and then summoned Jackal Pup, which was taken out by Swords to Plowshares. Cursed Scroll was then cast, and a second Pup was Dazed. Mogg Fanatic then showed up on Karsten's side, and an end step Brainstorm was countered by Pyroblast. Chill hit play on the following turn, but Karsten had no trouble keeping the pressure on, attacking with the Fanatic and dealing two damage to the dome with a three mana Firebolt. Witt untapped, mana was floated, Gush was played, and followed by Sleight of Hand. A second Chill was then cast, and Swords took down the Fanatic. Cursed Scroll dealt two points of damage to Witt, bringing him down to 16, and Karsten played a Powder Keg, which was countered. Karsten now had no cards in hand, and his Cursed Scroll had a lot of work to do.

Werebear and Quirion Dryad soon showed up on Witt's side, giving him a significant clock. Karsten tapped six mana and Incinerated the Dryad, but Witt drew a Winter Orb, getting a "How lucky!" out of the crowd. With his ability to cast spells almost entirely locked down, Karsten had one hope left: Powder Keg. The artifact could potentially blow up the Orb and Werebear, but Witt had Mystic Enforcer to take the game.

Karsten- 1 Witt- 1

Game 3

Karsten opened strong with Jackal Pup, which Witt countered with Force of Will, pitching a second "FoW". Wasteland took out Witt's Flood Plains, and a second stripped away Tropical Island. Witt cast Brainstorm in response, but Karsten countered it with Pyroblast. Land Granted revealed Chill, a pair of Swords to Plowshares and a Werebear, and Chill hit the table. Meanwhile, Karsten was stuck at one land, although he eventually found a second and brought out Powder Keg. Witt cast another two Land Grants in the following two turns, as the 4/4 Werebear put some pressure on Karsten. A Firebolt brought Witt to 17, while Karsten summoned Mogg Fanatic. Powder Keg took down the Werebear, and Swords eliminated the Fanatic. Sleight of Hand helped Witt dig into his deck, and Winter Orb was cast, slowing Karsten's mana hungry Sligh deck to a crawl.

Still, there was some hope left. Karsten brought out Chimeric Idol past the Chill, but Witt answered back with Mystic Enforcer. At this point, Witt had a smile on his face and knew he had the game won. Karsten floated four mana and attacked for three with the Idol. He then played Fireblast, prompting Witt to adjust his life total before Karsten explained he was targeting the 6/6 monster. A second Fireblast followed, but Witt had Force of Will to protect the Enforcer and take the game, moving on to the Masters.

Final Result: Karsten- 1 Witt- 2

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