Casey McCarrel (USA) vs. Shawn Keller (USA)
- Kim Eikefet
In the finals, Casey McCarrel met Shawn Keller in a weird matchup. The two of them played nearly identical decks, and thus the draws would have a lot to say in the $10 000 ante match.
The first duel was over pretty quickly, though. Keller went first, and he cast a turn one Island and a turn two Grim Monolith. McCarrel got a very good start, though; he cast a turn one Voltaic Key, and during his second turn, he cast a Grim Monolith and a Phyrexian Processor, paying ten life to make 10/10 Minions.
But Keller wasn't worried about that. He Tinkered for a Colossus, and during his fourth turn, he attacked for eight and cast an Arc Lightning to finish McCarell off.
McCarrel 0 - Keller 1
Both players sideboarded for a while, and a lot of Weatherseed Faeries, Rack and Ruins, Confiscates and even Meltdowns were shuffled into the two decks. Even though McCarrel lost the first duel, he chose to draw instead of playing, and so Keller went first. Unfortunately, he had to mulligan, but he got a pretty decent second hand and played a turn one Voltaic Key, turn two Grim Monolith, Worn Powerstone, Temporal Aperture.
McCarrel had a decent draw, but he only had two lands, so during the first two turns, he played three Voltaic Keys and nothing more. Meanwhile, Keller got his Temporal Aperture going, and a Rack and Ruin destroyed two of McCarrel's Voltaic Keys.
Fortunately for McCarrel, Keller then got three lands in a row when he activated the Aperture, but as he was low on life, he was unable to take advantage of this. Keller even Confiscated one of his mountains to stall him further.
But McCarrel came back, and when he finally drew land, he Rack and Ruined Keller's Temporal Aperture and Voltaic Key, and cast a Temporal Aperture of his own.
Keller, who had gained some card advantage by using the Aperture, had drawn another Confiscate, though, and he tried to steal McCarrel's Aperture to abuse it further. In response, McCarrel Rack and Ruined his own Aperture and Keller's Voltaic Key, and as if that wasn't enough, he even played another Temporal Aperture.
Keller then drew one of his Weatherseed Faeries, and the Faeries flew into play. But soon the air was moving again, as McCarrel had an even bigger flier - a Shivan Hellkite.
Keller then drew another Temporal Aperture, and after getting a few lands and some mana artifacts, he finally got something really useful; a Shivan Hellkite of his own. But he was getting pretty low on life, as McCarrel had been able to tap down his blocker with a Ring of Gix.
The two players started a damage race, but as Keller had much more mana available, he shot down McCarrel's Hellkite, and things looked kind of bad for the 17-year old, even though he was at 18 life. So he gambled that the Aperture would get him something useful.
McCarrel was able to activate it twice during his turn, but the first activation only got him a Tolarian Academy. But as he flipped over a card for the second time, an "ooooh" was heard from the audience even though they sat in a different room - it was a Confiscate.
Suddenly, the tables were turned, McCarrel stole Keller's Hellkite, and as Keller was at six life, he had to topdeck to survive. Keller activated his Temporal Aperture. He got a Ring of Gix. He tried again. He got an Academy. During his next turn, he tried again. He got a Voltaic Key. He tried again. He got a Wildfire, played it, and tried one last turn. Only three cards could save him; a Confiscate, another Wildfire or an Arc Lightning - but the card he flipped over was a mountain, and he conceded.
McCarrel 1 - Keller 1
McCarrel kept a one-land draw in the third game, and while Keller went turn one Voltaic Key, turn two Grim Monolith, Voltaic Key, he sat there with one mountain and one Key.
He did draw a land in turn three, though, and thus he was able to play both a Grim Monolith and a Temporal Aperture. McCarrel didn't get to use the Aperture, though, as Keller had a Rack and Ruin that took out both the Aperture and the Monolith.
Keller then cast a Weatherseed Faeries, and he attacked a few times and cast a few artifacts. During turn five, though, McCarrel cast a Rack of Ruin, destroying Keller's artifacts.
McCarrel stalled on three lands for three turns, but he was able to cast another Rack of Ruin and take out two more of Keller's artifacts. Eventually, he drew blue mana, and he cast a Weatherseed Faeries and started attacking himself.
Keller didn't seem to draw much, but now, luck was on McCarrel's side, and again, he cast a Shivan Hellkite. He also Confiscated Keller's Faeries, and Keller's life total was rapidly reduced to zero.
McCarrel 2 - Keller 1
The fourth game was very long. Keller went first, but neither him nor McCarrel cast anything during the first two turns. During turn three, there was some action, though. Keller played a Ring of Gix, and McCarrel played a Grim Monolith, Worn Powerstone.
Keller used his Ring of Gix to tap McCarrel's Worn Powerstone, though, but he couldn't prevent him from spending the mana to untap his Grim Monolith so that he could cast yet another Worn Powerstone. Thus it was time for another strategy, and a Powerstone and the Grim Monolith was Rack and Ruined.
Keller continued to tap down some of McCarrel's mana during his upkeep, but McCarrel drew enough land and cast a Weatherseed Faeries. Then he tried to Confiscate Keller's Ring of Gix, but Keller didn't want to, and cast his second Rack and Ruin, getting rid of the Ring and McCarrel's second Powerstone. He even drew some Weatherseed Faeries himself, but McCarrel then drew his Mishra's Helix, and the game changed character.
After trading creatures, McCarrel started tapping down all of Keller's lands during his upkeep. By wasting a Tolarian Academy, Keller was able to play a Phyrexian Processor, paying seven life so that he could activate the ability in his upkeep, using the mana that would be tapped anyway. But McCarrel could also play the Rack and Ruin game, and the Processor was soon in Keller's graveyard instead of being producing big, scary Minions.
During the next turns, McCarrel tapped all of Keller's lands in his upkeep while waiting for a kill card. He even Stroke of Geniused himself for six, and eventually, he found a Weatherseed Faeries. Unfortunately, but then Keller had drawn another Rack of Ruin, and the Mishra's Helix was destroyed.
After this, the two players started a hard battle over the Weatherseed Faeries and artifact superiority. Keller Confiscated them. McCarrel answered by Rack of Ruining Keller's artifact mana and then Confiscating them back. Keller cast a Temporal Aperture, a Worn Powerstone. McCarrel Rack of Ruined them and attacked with the Faeries. Keller Confiscated them again. McCarrel topdecked yet another Confiscate.
Keller then tried another strategy; he played a Ring of Gix so that if he couldn't have the Faeries, then he could at least tap them so that McCarrel didn't get to attack. But McCarrel didn't care about the Ring. He cast Meltdown, destroying all artifacts on the table, then he cast two Voltaic Keys, a Grim Monolith and a Temporal Aperture, and started the Aperture action.
His first try netted him nothing but a Smoldering Crater, but the second try gave him a Morphling. As he didn't have any blue mana untapped, he didn't play it, but he left it on the top of his library and played it during his next turn and attacked with the Weatherseed Faeries to knock Keller down to five measly life.
Keller drew a Confiscate, but still, he couldn't deal with the Morphling, and thus Casey McCarrel won the game and the match to become the 1999 Pro Tour New York champion.
McCarrel 3 - Keller 1