Quarterfinals: The Ben Seck vs. Peter "The South African Sensation" Klein

Posted in Event Coverage

By Chris Pikula

Ben Seck went into the top 8 Rochester draft planning on drafting blue, with either black or white as his second color. This was no surprise- all the great players in Magic history (Jon Finkel, Tommi Hovi, Ben Seck) prefer blue to the weaker colors. The tendencies of the other players at the table were mostly unknown to Ben going in, but he expected green to be overdrafted. Ben had the disadvantage of being in the eighth seat, a historically dismal place to be.

I've never actually Rochestered with Odyssey, so I'll give a quick summary of the draft rather than an in-depth and possibly poor analysis. Wagner in seat one opened up the first pack and picked Resilient Wanderer, and Justin Polin of the United States sent a strong signal by taking Psychatog. This wasn't what Ben was looking for, he would rather people near him draft red and green. When things wrapped around to the end of the line seat seven draft Anarchist leaving the wheel of Psionic Gift and Fledgling Imp. Peter Klein, Ben's first round opponent, picked Ghastly Demise. The second pack was very weak in blue and black, and Justin first picked Deluge rather than straying from the Psychatog path. Peter took the Mystic Visionary, showing an interest in B/W, and Ben got Cephalid Scout and Morgue Theft with his two late choices. Pack three once again had very weak blue cards, and Ben took a Diligent Farmhand rather than some cards with basically no text. Pack four gave Peter a first pick Gravedigger and Ben a Dreamwinder. Pack five is where things started to get interesting. The pack was full of strong cards: Beast Attack, Repel, Aven Flock, Krosan Beast, Puppeteer, Mystic Zealot and Childhood Horror etc. Andrew first picked the Beast Attack as expected and Robert in seat six took the Puppeteer Ben was hoping for. When things got to Ben, he suddenly took Mystic Zealot! Why did he not take Repel? He had forgotten that Wagner on his lift was drafting white and thought he was going into an underdrafted color. When Wagner took the Flock behind him Ben nearly vomited onto the table. Ben decided to stick with U/W though, and over the next few rounds he drafted good blue and white cards while his first round opponent Peter was drafted quality white cards and getting passed very strong late pick black cards, including two Morbid Hungers. There were also some beatings given back and forth between players. Wagner savagely thieved Dreamwinder on a wheel from Justin, and then Justin took a late Dreamwinder over Gravedigger leaving no blue or white cards for Ben. In pack twelve Polin tried to continue to destroy the people around him by randomly taking Cloudchaser Eagle, leaving Ben with nothing at all. Then in pack thirteen Justin took Thermal Blast, taking a quality card of a fourth color. Two packs later, Justin was rewarded for all his weirdness by opening Iridescent Angel , making the Cloudchaser Eagle look like a very saucy choice. Once again, Ben Seck vomited onto the table. The fact that he was able to get a Second Thoughts out of the pack despite Wagner being W/G was good enough to make him suck that vomit back in and get himself back into good spirits. The next few packs were fairly uninteresting, although in my notes here under pack sixteen I have the words "hot girl spotted" written down. That sounds good to me. Pack twenty gave Ben another beating, as Peter opened up and took Wayward Angel. To balance that out, in the very last pack Ben busted Stalking Bloodsucker and doomed himself to three colors.

Ben's deck ended up having very good cards, and he was hoping the two blue sac lands that produce any color and his two Looters would fix his mana. The only thing he seemed unhappy about was the fact that his black splash (Stalking Bloodsucker is a heckuva splash) would make him susceptible to his opponent's two swampwalking shades. A first glance at Peter's deck showed it be solid but, except for the Angel, unspectacular.

Game One- During this game I was running back and forth between the match and the final match of the Invitational so I missed a few things here and there. Early in the game TBS Syncopated a Dusk Imp, which allowed Peter to Innocent Blood away Cephalid Looter while he didn't have a creature of his own on the table the next turn. A Zealot from Ben combined with an Afflict took out Peter's first Dirty Wererat, but he had more where that had come from and soon the situation was stalled. Ben's side was Aven Archer, Zealot, Scrivener (which had brought back Syncopate), and Dreamwinder and Peter's board was Fright Crawler, Zombie Assassin, Dirty Wererat, and Childhood Horror. Peter had Diabolic Tutored, and TBS was playing as if he assumed he had tutored for the Angel, which Pete had. So, TBS had Syncopate, Peter had the Angel, and both players knew it. Peter drew and cast Aven Flock, which Ben allowed. Then Peter ran his Frightcrawler into painful death at the hands of Aven Archer. How embarrassing (one of my catchphrases). TBS also chose to Demise the Flock, which put him into a position where he would have to Syncopate the Wayward Angel. This plan turned out to be terrible, because Peter drew back to back swampwalkers, and TBS had to counter both (he had drawn the other Syncopate). This left Peter free to cast the Angel, but TBS drew Stalking Bloodsucker, Scrivenered back a Demise, Demised the Angel, and smashed.

Game Two- This game didn't last very long. TBS drew his protection from black Pilgrim, cast Psionic Gift on it, and starting eating Peter's various small black creatures. There wasn't much Peter could do. Except draw the Angel, cast it, and bash TBS's face in very quickly.

Game Three- This one was quick and interesting as well. For some reason, Peter kept mulliganing and mulliganing until he had only four cards. His first few hands really weren't all that bad. It was all very strange. But, oh what a four card hand! Swamp, Plains, Crypt Creeper, and Frightcrawler. Ting-a-ling. Then his next three draw phases were Swamp, Swamp, swampwalker! It wasn't enough however, as Ben's draw included Syncopate, Patriarch's Desire, and Second Thoughts. Due to the mulligan Peter had no backup plan and a Stalking Bloodsucker ended his dreams of a Grand Prix title.

Final Result: The Ben Seck wins, 2-1.

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