Posted in Event Coverage on November 2, 2003

By Paul Sottosanti

Eugene Harvey has had a number of strong performances over the past couple years, starting with US Nationals in 2001 where he won a Grinder and then went on to make the National team. Amongst his major accomplishments are a win at Nationals the following year, a win at Grand Prix Atlanta, and a Top Eight at Pro Tour Chicago. He's an integral part of the CMU-TOGIT puzzle as he grew up in New Jersey, playing at TOGIT, but now lives in Pittsburgh with Mike Turian as part of the CMU contingent. He is playing their finely tuned version of Tinker with three maindeck Chalice of the Voids.

Rickard has three Grand Prix top eights, including a win in Warsaw, a top eight at Euros, and recently a second place finish at Pro Tour - Boston as part of the team Original Slackers. He's bringing Tinker Stax to the table today.

The tone of the match was rather subdued, perhaps in acknowledgement of the weight it carried, or perhaps just because it was early in the morning. Eugene chose to keep his first seven cards, while Rickard opted to throw his back. He was satisfied with his next six.

Eugene began with Ancient Tomb and Grim Monolith, but had no further play. Rickard matched that with City of Traitors and a Grim Monolith of his own, but also had a Voltaic Key as well. On his second turn Eugene played out Island, Thran Dynamo, a Chalice of the Void set to one, and Tangle Wire, then passed the turn back with two cards in hand. The Chalice was important as it shuts down Rickard's Goblin Welders, which could otherwise be a problem in this matchup. In addition, it provided an extra permanent to tap for the Tangle Wire.

Österberg floated mana so as to let his Grim Monolith stay untapped and then entered his main phase. He pondered his options, then put a Great Furnace in his mana zone, placed his City of Traitors in the graveyard, and ended his turn. Eugene tapped his Ancient Tomb, Tangle Wire and Chalice, then added a Rishadan Port, and that was all.

Rickard again used the stack to let his Monolith enter his main phase untapped. This time he took advantage of it by using a fresh City of Brass to generate colored mana for a Tinker that exchanged the spent Grim Monolith for, well, something. As he pondered, he asked Eugene's life total (which was sixteen), thinking about whether to try for beatdown with Bosh, Iron Golem or additional mana with a Gilded Lotus. He chose to retrieve Bosh, a sizable threat in this matchup of monolithic artifacts.

Harvey tapped all of his available mana sources and placed a massive Upheaval on the table, floating five mana and turning it into Thran Dynamo, Grim Monolith, and Chalice of the Void, again with one counter. Not only did this continue to shut down Goblin Welders, it also meant that Rickard's Voltaic Key was trapped in his hand.

Rickard played Furnace, passed the turn. Eugene played Island and passed it back. Rickard played Seat of the Synod, Eugene cast Stroke of Genius for four on end step. He untapped, replayed Ancient Tomb and Tangle Wire, and then added a Metalworker. Rickard simply played his City of Brass and said done.
Metalworker activated, showing four artifacts, and the mana was used to pay for Mishra's Helix and a Chalice of the Void with two counters. Eugene ended his turn with a board full of permanents opposing Rickard's lonely three lands. During his upkeep Rickard tapped out to cast Thirst for Knowledge, then packed it in to Eugene's relatively hard lock.

Eugene Harvey 1 - Rickard Österberg 0

Rickard sideboarded as follows:

-1 Voltaic Key
-1 Chromatic Sphere
-2 Lightning Greaves
-1 Citanul Flute
-1 Masticore
+3 Rack and Ruin
+2 Shattering Pulse
+1 Mindslaver

And Eugene sideboarded like so:

-1 Phyrexian Colossus
-2 Tangle Wire
-1 Mishra's Helix
-3 Chalice of the Void
+3 Chain of Vapor
+1 Mystical Tutor
+1 Oblivion Stone
+1 Triskelion
+1 Masticore

Rickard was unfortunately forced to mulligan for a second time this match. He looked unhappy with his six card hand but had no choice but to keep. Harvey pondered for a while and then chose to stick with seven.

Rickard led with Shivan Reef while Eugene had Island and Voltaic Key. Österberg then added an Ancient Tomb but still had no play. Eugene, on the other hand, made good use of his second turn by powering out a Tinker with City of Traitors and fetching Gilded Lotus. During the end step, Rickard quenched his Thirst for Knowledge, discarding a Pentavus.
A second Shivan Reef was placed alongside the first one, and Rickard took three more points of pain from his lands to cast Metalworker and Goblin Welder. Harvey pondered for a short time, then tapped the Gilded Lotus to Mystical Tutor for a Tinker, taking two mana burn in the process and bringing the somewhat irrelevant life totals to 18-14.

Eugene drew his Tinker, played Voltaic Key, generated five mana with his Lotus, and turned the Voltaic Key into a Mindslaver. He immediately activated it.

Rickard's hand was not what Eugene was hoping to see. City of Traitors, Seat of the Synod, Great Furnace, Metalworker, and Grim Monolith gave him few options. The last hope was the draw step, but that only yielded a second Metalworker.

He activated the existing Metalworker, floating eight mana, and Welded the Metalworker into a Pentavus. He created four 1/1 Pentavites, then placed the sacrifice ability on the stack four times. In response to that, he created another Pentavite, killing the Pentavus and fizzling the four counter adding activations. He then tapped all of Rickard's lands for four points of pain. The net result was that Rickard's Metalworker turned into a 1/1 flier and the life totals were 18-10.

During Eugene's main phase, he targeted Goblin Welder with Chain of Vapor. Rickard sacrificed one of his two Shivan Reefs, copying it to Eugene's Gilded Lotus, which was tapped to produce three mana. City of Traitors provided two more and the Lotus came back onto the table.

Österberg began his turn by attacking for a point with the Pentavite token, and finished it by again playing out Goblin Welder and Metalworker. Eugene simply played Seat of the Synod, losing his City of Traitors, and cast a Thran Dynamo with two cards in hand. He then gave the turn back to Rickard, which couldn't be a good sign as it meant the Welder was now active. Österberg activated his Metalworker, showing two artifacts, then played Seat of the Synod and Tinker. The Pentavite token suddenly morphed into a Mindslaver that was, as usual, immediately activated.

Prior to the slavery taking effect, Eugene cast Stoke of Genius for two with a blue mana in his pool, presumably for Chain of Vapor. He then conceded the game rather than let Rickard view his hand.

Eugene Harvey 1 - Rickard Österberg 1

For the third game, both players chose to keep their hands. Eugene led off with the traditional Tinker opening of City of Traitors, Grim Monolith, and Metalworker. Rickard had Ancient Tomb and Monolith, but nothing else.

Metalworker tapped to reveal Tangle Wire, Thran Dynamo, Triskelion, and Voltaic Key for a total of eight mana. Voltaic Key came down, untapped Metalworker for another activation, and Eugene had enough mana to play out all four of those artifacts and also untap his Monolith. He finished his second turn with six permanents and only one card in hand.

Rickard took three points of damage to untap his Grim Monolith, and then played a Seat of the Synod that threatened to enable Tinker. Sure enough, the Grim Monolith turned into Mindslaver and Rickard ended his turn.

Harvey untapped everything except Tangle Wire, Voltaic Key, and Metalworker. Triskelion entered the Red Zone for four damage and took Österberg to twelve life. He the added a Thran Dynamo to his already crowded board. Rickard could only play a Shivan Reef and ship the turn back, still with a full grip of cards.

Metalworker teamed up with Triskelion to attack for five, then Eugene summoned another Metalworker. The Tinker deck has a high mana to threat ratio because it needs to power out expensive cards, but unfortunately this means that sometimes you just keep drawing more and more mana production.

On upkeep, Rickard tapped all of his lands and activated his Mindslaver. On end step, Eugene shot Rickard with all of Triskelion's arms, bringing him to a precarious two life. The lone card in his hand was Tinker but Eugene was still without blue mana. Conveniently, the draw step provided an Island. Rickard sacrificed the Tangle Wire to a Tinker that retrieved Mindslaver. He activated it targeting Eugene, misunderstanding that the effect of this would be that Eugene would take Eugene's next turn, which just so happened to be the normal course of things anyway.

Rickard played a second City of Brass, which didn't seem strong considering his scant two life. He did, however, have a Tinker, which turned his Seat of the Synod into a Platinum Angel. Now he would have free reign to use his Ancient Tomb and Cities of Brass as long as he could protect the Angel. Rickard was still thinking that he would control Eugene's next turn, but Eugene informed him that this wasn't the case, then untapped and attacked with both Metalworkers, losing one and taking Rickard to zero.

On end step, Rickard cast Thirst for Knowledge. He needed to end this game soon, as Eugene had seven spells in his deck that would immediately win: three Upheavals, three Chain of Vapors, and an Oblivion Stone. Platinum Angel attacked for four. Goblin Welder and a second Mindslaver resolved, representing near infinite recursion of Mindslaver and giving Eugene one turn to draw an out.

Eugene drew, sighed, and packed up his cards. It was an incredibly close game but after an explosive start, he simply drew blanks for one too many turns in a row.

Eugene Harvey 1 - Rickard Österberg 2

Eugene mulliganed a hand consisting of lands, Chain of Vapor, Upheaval, and Triskelion. He looked unhappy but chose to stick with the new six. Rickard looked dissatisfied as well, but kept his initial seven.

A lone Island on Harvey's side was trumped by Ancient Tomb, Grim Monolith and Metalworker on Österberg's. On Eugene's second turn he caught up with Rishadan Port, Grim Monolith, and Metalworker, but the Metalworker was bound to be less impressive than Rickard's due to his mulligan. Rickard untapped and activated, showing Tangle Wire, Lightning Greaves, and another Metalworker for a total of six mana. He cast Tangle Wire and the Metalworker, then added a second Ancient Tomb and shipped the turn, perhaps with a threat-light draw.

In response to the Tangle Wire tapping effect, Eugene activated Metalworker showing Thran Dynamo and Masticore, moved into his draw step, and untapped his Grim Monolith. The Thran Dynamo came into play courtesy of the Monolith and a fresh Island, and Eugene was done.

Any hopes of a threat light draw went at least partially out the window when Rickard activated both Metalworkers and showed Mindslaver and Lightning Greaves. He cast the Mindslaver and gave the turn back to Eugene, who thought for a while about how to minimize the upcoming damage. Rishadan Port, Metalworker, and Island were tapped to the Tangle Wire, then a new Island was played and the turn was shipped back.

Österberg tapped both Metalworkers, showing Greaves again, and activated the Mindslaver. "Take your turn." Eugene flipped over a hand of Masticore and Oblivion Stone, with the draw step yielding a Grim Monolith. Rickard then realized that they had forgotten to resolve Tangle Wire's effect. The table judge conferred with head judge Mike Guptil, who backed up the game state to upkeep. Rickard chose to tap Rishadan Port and Island, leaving him with access to twelve mana this turn.

He activated Eugene's Metalworker for six mana, then cast all of the artifacts and activated the Oblivion Stone, leaving Eugene with only three Islands and a Rishadan Port and himself with only two Ancient Tombs but four cards in hand. Rickard was still at eighteen but the pain from his land base could eventually become a factor.

No new lands meant that Rickard had to pass the turn back. Eugene played the Ancient Tomb he drew and Ported Rickard on upkeep. He cast Lightning Greaves and then ended his turn again, now with five in hand. Eugene kept the card he drew and again used the Rishadan Port. Rickard still drew no land and was done.

Eugene showed why he had kept his last card when he played Voltaic Key followed by an all-important Tinker for the card his deck gets when it wants to end the game, Myr Incubator. Rickard drew his card for the turn after having a Tomb tapped down and played out a City of Traitors. He used the mana to pay for a Tangle Wire in hopes that it would help.

Eugene, not being one to make mistakes, simply activated his Incubator in response to the Tangle Wire's effect. He pulled nineteen artifacts out of his deck and created an army.

Rickard had an actual answer in the form of Tinker, trading in his Tangle Wire for a Platinum Angel. It grabbed the Lightning Greaves and charged into the Red Zone for four points. The Greaves meant that Chain of Vapor wouldn't save Eugene, and his Oblivion Stone was already gone, so he would need to draw Upheaval. Off the top it came.

Sheer mastery.

Eugene Harvey 2 - Rickard Österberg 2

Rickard sided in a Chromatic Sphere and another Lightning Greaves, taking out Gilded Lotus and Pentavus.

Rickard again looked unhappy but still chose to keep, as did Eugene. Rickard led with City of Brass and was done. Eugene thought before starting with Ancient Tomb and Grim Monolith.

Österberg had a City of Traitors, which made a Grim Monolith, which tapped along with the City of Brass to allow Tinker. Grim Monolith became Bosh, Iron Golem as Rickard went for the quick beatdown, forcing Eugene to produce an answer quickly.

He played out Island and two Voltaic Keys, used them to produce mana with the Monolith, and Tinkered away a Key for a Mindslaver with an immediate activation.

He ended his turn and Rickard flipped up his hand: three Thirst for Knowledges and Rack and Ruin. The draw step produced only a Voltaic Key, meaning that Eugene didn't have access to the four mana needed to activate Bosh or to cast both the Key and Rack and Ruin. His only out was to cast Rack and Ruin targeting Bosh and one of his own artifacts. Eventually he chose his own Key, leaving himself with two lands and a Monolith.

Eugene played out a second Ancient Tomb and took four points of pain to play out a clock in the form of Masticore, leaving two cards in his hand. Rickard untapped and unsurprisingly cast Thirst for Knowledge in a search for lands. He then lapsed into thought, making small gestures in the air as he attempted to come up with a plan for dealing with a regenerating 4/4. Eventually he played Seat of the Synod and sacrificed his City of Traitors.

Eugene paid for the upkeep with Triskelion and attacked for four, evening the life totals at twelve. He tapped both Ancient Tombs, untapped his Grim Monolith, and sent the turn back. Rickard played a second Seat of the Synod and Tinkered one away, producing Mindslaver. This would eventually answer the Masticore problem as he can simply choose not to pay the upkeep.

Eugene decided to beat him to it by letting the Masticore die on upkeep and stared at his hand of Thran Dynamo, Oblivion Stone, and Upheaval. He tapped his Monolith and cast the Stone, then immediately used it, ridding himself of the Mindslaver but falling to four from his lands in the process. It was now two Ancient Tombs and an Island on Eugene's side and City of Brass and Seat of Synod on Rickard's.

Österberg untapped and cast Thirst for Knowledge off of the Seat and a freshly played Ancient Tomb. He thought for a long while about what to discard, but settled on Seat of the Synod. He then attempted to play Ancient Tomb and Tangle Wire, but that was his second land for the turn and the game state was again backed up, at which point Rickard was done.

An important consideration at this point was that Rickard's other Mindslaver would actually kill Eugene if he could ever play and activate it, as Eugene was within lethal range of damage from his own lands.

Harvey played out a Rishadan Port and attempted to tap Rickard's City of Brass on upkeep. He floated a blue mana and entered his draw step, then cast Thirst for Knowledge off of Ancient Tomb, setting the life totals at six to four. He discarded Lightning Greaves, then played Shivan Reef and tapped two lands for Grim Monolith with five cards left in hand. That was tapped for Tangle Wire.

The Wire tapped Eugene down completely, although he played a Seat of the Synod so that he would have access to two lands on his next turn. Rickard tapped Ancient Tomb, Shivan Reef, and the Wire on his upkeep. He placed his second Ancient Tomb on the table, legally this time, and then cast Chromatic Sphere.

On upkeep Rickard chose to tap the Tangle Wire and an Ancient Tomb, then Eugene Ported the City of Brass. Österberg floated a mana and filtered it through Chromatic Sphere to draw a card. He then went to this main phase, mana burning so that the life totals were even at four.

Rickard was beginning to show signs of strain under the tension from the excruciating closeness of the match. Eugene simply seemed annoyed that his opponent's decisions were at this point each taking multiple minutes. Rickard eventually tapped two lands, cast a Grim Monolith, and ended his turn.

Eugene chose to tap both his Tombs, then played a new Seat of the Synod and was done. On upkeep he tapped Rickard's City of Brass again and took him down to three. Rickard played a third Ancient Tomb, shook his head and fell to one to cast Platinum Angel. It resolved. He then fell to negative one to cast Lightning Greaves, motioned to equip it, and looked at Eugene.

Harvey's hand included Gilded Lotus and Upheaval, but no Chain of Vapor. Game and the three hour match to Österberg.

Eugene Harvey 2 - Rickard Österberg 3

Pro Tour New Orleans: Tinker

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Pro Tour New Orleans: Tinker Stax

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