Quarterfinals: David Humpherys vs. Wolfgang Eder

Posted in Event Coverage on August 10, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on DailyMTG.com, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Wolfgang Eder was one of three hometown heroes looking to take home the World Championship titles today in Berlin. He has been making quite a name for himself recently. He finished highly at the European Championships with the extremely powerful Goblin Bidding deck. The deck remained under the radar until the Japanese added Goblin Matron and tore up Thailand with the deck. The deck was backtracked to Eder and he is now credited with the original design.

The deck was pronounced dead in Standard with the rotation of Goblin Matron but Wolfgang Eder was not ready to give up on the deck—actually thirty-one other players were not either—and he backed it up with a Top 8 performance. Standing in his way was YMG's Dave Humpherys and Standard's workhorse—Blue-Green Madness. All of the pundits heavily favored the goblins to take the match.

Dave Humpherys had all the resources of YMG at his disposal last night to test for this match-up. They learned a valuable piece of information key to boost Dave Humpherys chances for victory...

He would need to win the die roll.

And he did.

He needed to get his Wild Mongrels and Arrogant Wurms into play before the goblin deck can develop its board. Sparksmith and Sharpshooter—although Eder's build only runs two—can demolish the Madness deck, picking off Arrogant Wurms at will. If Dave can do enough damage fast enough, the Sparksmith will become less effective. It is all about life management.

Game 1

Dave had a textbook Madness hand but would it be enough to cope with the power of goblins? Eder was holding Piledriver, Siege-Gang Commander and Goblin Warchief. Dave led with a turn two Aquamoeba and Eder was hoping to keep the blue beast at bay for a turn with his Piledriver but Dave discarded Wonder and flew over for three damage. He played his third land and passed the turn with the threat of Wurm looming.

Eder cast the Goblin Warchief and waited for responses. Dave revealed nothing with his taciturn, "Yup." The threat of the Wurm was too great for Eder and he passed the turn. Dave did indeed have the Wurm which he cast EOT via madness.

The Hump bashed in with both and discarded Roar of the Wurm—his deck could not perform more ideally. Eder fell to ten and Dave had the Island to make a 6/6.

Eder did not have the mana for the Siege-Gang Commander in his hand—which would let him crack back for...not quite enough. He looked for an answer and cycled a Gempalm on the Wurm and found nothing.

Scoop. Possibly the fastest match Dave Humpherys has ever played under the lights.

Dave – 1 Wolfgang – 0

Game 2

Eder kept a two land hand with a pair of Gempalms, Dark Banishing, Goblin Sharpshooter and a Goblin Taskmaster and he cast the beater on the first turn.
Dave played a forest and took his first damage of the match on the German's attack step. Dave played a turn two Wild Mongrel after Eder added a Grappler to his board.

Eder cycled a Gempalm on the next turn—he was out of land and hoped to "hymn' Humpherys who discarded Roar of the Wurm to save it. Eder found no land and passed the turn. Eder was holding Smother and Dark Banishing so he was still in pretty fair shape for this match.

Dave attacked with the Mongrel and Eder took two. Dave was also out of lands and passed the turn. He was obviously frustrated at his inability to press his advantage with the Arrogant Wurm he was holding. Eder made a Warchief and attacked with everyone. Dave tried to get Eder to provoke the Mongrel but Eder wasn't buying. Dave fell to fifteen.

An Island from Dave meant he could get in for three and make the Arrogant Wurm—and he did. Eder played his Goblin Sharphooter and a fourth land—he fell to fourteen from his Mire—and shot the Mongrel and Gempalmed the Wurm for four. Dave was tapped out and could do nothing about it. He shot the Mongrel and Dave had to think...he discarded Wonder to save it—for the time being. Eder attacked with everyone and provoked the 3/3 Mongrel that had two damage on it. Dave stacked damage and discarded another Wonder but Eder's Shooter untapped and pinged the Mongrel again. A third Wonder saved it and left the Sharpshooter tapped. Dave was holding three cards with the life totals 12-15 in his favor.

Dave attacked for two damage in the air and flashed back a 6/6 wurm. Gempalm, Smother, Banishing and Siege Gang were all in his hand and he chose to Gempalm the Mongrel—his Sharphooter was still jammed—Dave put it in the yard. Eder drew his fifth land and shot the Hump with his rare goblin. He Smothered the Wurm and attacked for three. The life totals were still in Humpherys favor at 8-12 but Eder ruled the board.

Aquamoeba offered little in the way of answers and Dave was only holding one card—not a position he is used to being in. Siege-Gang Commander saw play on the next turn and the YMGer could only wait to make sure the German attacked and then prepared for Game 3.
Dave – 1 Wolfgang - 1

Game 3

Dave kept a hand with Careful Study along with the requisite Rootwalla and Roar of the Wurm. He was also holding an Aquamoeba, Unsummon and some lands. He kept it. Eder was looking at four lands, a Sledder, Piledriver and Gempalm. He shipped it back for a Prospector, Piledriver, and Warchief along with three lands. He had to keep it.

Dave opened as expected and had made a Rootwalla. Eder played the rookie of the year-- Skirk Prospector. City of Brass was a risky bet for Dave and he played a painful Wild Mongrel after attacking for one. Eder took one from a Mire and played the Piledriver—he could have ritualed out the Warchief and had two Piledrivers and another Goblin for turn three but he chose the safe play.

Dave got in with his Mongrel and discarded an Arrogant Wurm into play. Eder fell to fifteen and played a Warchief on his turn. He sacrificed his Prospector and made a second Piledriver and swung in with everyone. The Piledrivers each received bonuses of +4/+0 and Dave explored his options. He double checked to make sure Eder had played a land already. He triple checked life totals and decided to chump a Driver with a Rootwalla and eat the Chief with his 4/4. He dropped to thirteen but had six to crack back with and an Unsummon if the situation got hot.

Dave sent in the Wurm and left the Wild Mongrel to guard the house. He also made a 6/6 to keep it company. Eder was holding a pair of lands and a Prospector after his next draw step and he played the 1/1 and passed the turn back to the American.

"You're at eleven?" A wonder would win the game for Dave if the one card in his hand was not a removal spell. Dave looked at his opponent's yard and contemplated the ramifications of a successful Bidding. He wanted assurance from the judge that if he unsummoned a Warchief that any goblins that came into play that turn would no longer have haste. The judge assuaged his fears—about that anyway—and he attacked with everyone. Dave was holding four cards—at least one goblin would die in combat if Eder wanted to live. The Prospector took the big hit from the Wurm and Dave discarded another. He played it from his yard and left a City untapped for Unsummon.

Eder drew for his turn—Smother was a few turns too late. He killed the freshly baked wurm but could not conceivably attack. Dave was all over the attack step though and swarmed in with Eder at four life—any creature hitting meant certain death. Even if he had the removal spell he would lose both of his creatures.

Eder sighed and they reached for their sideboards.

Dave – 2 Wolfgang – 1

Game 4

On the play, Eder was siding in an additional Bidding and taking out a Taskmaster. On the draw Dave was siding out a Rootwalla and another card and bringing in his Stupefying Touches. A turn two Sparksmith spelled almost certain doom for him and he needed an answer.

Three Sledders, a Gempalm and an Incinerator greeted Eder on the draw. He kept his hand. Dave had Careful Study and one-upped Eder's 1/1 with a pair of his own. The Sledder bravely dashed into the red zone and Dave took one after a quick run down of options. Two more Sledders hit play leaving Eder with Piledriver, Gempalm and land while Dave's grip swelled to seven.

Dave tried to get a read on Eder's eyes but the German remained expressionless throughout the match. He played a Wild Mongrel and discarded Wonder and his Rootwallas flew over for two.

Eder Incinerated the Wild Mongrel and Dave discarded an Island and Careful Study to make it heat resistant. Eder pushed his three guys into the red zone and Dave put the dog in a goblin's path. Eder allowed damage to go on the stack and Dave discarded a Phantom Centaur to save it. Dave played an Island and swung in and pumped a Rootwalla. Eder fell to twelve. He drew a Warchief off of the top and played it. He lost another point to his Mire and played a Piledriver. When he announced his attack Dave did not have the Unsummon and Eder busted through for eleven and Dave fell to six.

This turn saw the return of the Dave we all know and love. He did mathematical calculations on a piece of paper and played out scenarios under his breath. His hands gestured and tallied and finally he sent his Mongrel and Rootwalla into combat. They were both at six. He had left a Rootwalla back on defense but Eder drew a Gempalm and smoked the little guy to force the rubber game.

Dave – 2 Wolfgang - 2

Game 5

While Eder took a bathroom break Dave fumed at his Game 2 draw, "Aaargh! Why couldn't I have drawn a land in Game 2? I had Wonder and Arrogant Wurm on the draw. I went too many turns without a land. If I had just drawn land a little sooner it could have been a nice little three-oh."

Dave's opening hand had a pair of Wurms, Wild Mongrel and Aquamoeba as well as the land to cast everything. He played the Wild Mongrel following Eder's Sledder and it was Smothered. Dave could have led with Aquamoeba knowing that Eder had Banishings. If Eder wanted to keep a Madness enabler off the table he would have had to Smother the blue creature and he would not be able to Banish the Wild Mongrel as long as Dave had a card in hand. Dave could obviously not know that Eder was holding both removal spells.

Dave followed up with his Aquamoeba and Eder chose to play a Warchief instead of killing the beast. He was holding another Warchief and a Sparksmith along with the Banishing and a Grappler. Dave discarded Wonder and attacked for three.

Eder played the Sparksmith and the Grappler and Dave let them resolve. Eder attacked and kept his Smith back on four goblins—enough to kill the evident Arrogant Wurm. Humpherys made his opponent take four by playing the Wurm and the scores were 13-15 in Dave's favor.

The Aquamoeba attacked for another three and Dave discarded a Roar of the Wurm. When Eder made another Warchief and attacked with everyone, Dave played his second Wurm. Eder sacrificed the Grappler to pump his Sledder and shot the Wurm. The life totals were 9-6 still in Dave's favor.

Dave sent in the Aquamoeba and dropped Eder to three by discarding a Quiet Speculation.

Eder drew the Siege-Gang and for the first time all match his demeanor changed. He sighed audibly and leaned back in his seat. He went for it and played the Commander. Dave had two cards. Was one of them Circular Logic?

Out came the pen and paper and Dave did his math.

Was the sum Circular Logic?

Yes, it was. He hard cast it not wanting to put his Aquamoeba to 3/1.

Eder attacked with everyone and Dave fell to four.

The problem for Dave was that he could barely afford to pump his Aquamoeba. Eder could sacrifice two goblins and go to one from his Smith. Again with the pen and paper, Dave did his sums.

He slowly sent his man into the red zone but could not bring himself to let go of the creature. Finally he did and checked with the judge to make sure the Arrogant Wurm had resolved and Eder had allowed it to. When Eder shot the Aquamoeba Dave could switch it back to 1/3. He knew that he could not save it by switching it back if Eder had shot it in response . Once the stack started to resolve it would die as soon as it switched back.

He was trying to get Eder to make the wrong play. He did. Eder sacrificed another goblin and took one and the Aquamoeba lived. Eder compounded his mistake by sacrificing both of his Goblin Warchiefs. If he had kept those two alive he still could have won by Banishing the Wurm and attacking for the kill.

Final Result: Dave – 3 Wolfgang - 2

David Humpherys

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Wolfgang Eder

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