Round 10: Ben Seck vs. James White

Posted in Event Coverage

By Sideboard Staff

Round ten saw the showdown of the Invitational hangers-on. While Dan Clegg and Kai Budde were duking it out across the room for the title of Invitational champion, Ben Seck and James White sat down to determine which of them deserved the title of Invitational lackey. The incomparable Ben Seck was the unofficial tour guide and card lender in Sydney last year, and came to Cape Town in part for the Grand Prix and in part to hang out with the Invitational competitors. James White is a friend of Scott Richards from New Zealand who tagged along for the free ride, but he more than carried his weight, usurping Ben Seck's role in Sydney as semi-official card lender for the constructed portions of the Invitational.

The similarities between the two went even further as they sat down to play their match. Not only are they from the same part of the world - Ben from Australia and James from New Zealand - but they both wore stylish personalized shirts, Ben's with the anagram "TBS" plainly displayed on the front and "The Ben Seck - That's all you need to know" on the back, and James' sporting his team letters "PPG" on the pocket. As if that weren't enough, they both drafted remarkably similar, extremely defensive blue/white decks that stalled the ground and won with flyers. Very spooky indeed.

The players talked amicably at the start of the match, and flipped one of James' New Zealand coins to determine who got the choice to play or draw. James won the flip with a call of "Kiwi" and chose to draw. That's when the real excitement began. Each player laid out land after land, tossing in a few generally irrelevant creatures here and there that more or less just stared at each other in a thorough stalemate. The only creature having any apparent affect on the game was James's Millikin, which he was using with abandon, apparently anxious to reach Threshold. Ben complained loudly when the first four cards milled were lands, leaving James' deck rich with spells, but that advantage didn't seem to be doing James any good, as the board remained entirely tied up, with a Puppeteer, Mystic Zealot, and Hallowed Healer on Ben's side staring down an Aven Cloudchaser and Hallowed Healer for James. More creatures slowly joined the fray on each side, but none had any impact on the game until Ben played Cephalid Broker and counted only twelve cards remaining in James's library. "At the end of your turn, I'll break you" said Ben as he forced James to draw and discard four cards with his Broker/Puppeteer combo. "That's broken" is all James could retort, and two turns later he was decked.

James chose to draw first again in game two, but after he saw his opening hand he probably wished he'd have chosen to play. With a turn two Patrol Hound and turn three Auramancer, James began applying the beats quickly, and while Ben managed to stem the bleeding with an Angelic Wall, he stalled at three land without an answer. The beats continued for a few turns, but James had yet to draw an Island to capitalize on Ben's mana problems, and had only an Angelic Wall of his own that he could play. Ben cast Predict on himself and named Plains, and sure enough the top card of his library was just that kind of real estate. A few turns later James's beatdown was looking rather paltry, as his pair of 2/2s were staring down an Aven Fisher and a Puppeteer. Ben's life total had sunk to a precarious eight points, but all that was moot when he drew a bomb in the form of Psionic Gift. Pretty soon his Angelic Wall had strange mental powers that allowed it to tag team with Puppeteer and gun down James's Patrol Hound and Auramancer alike. James finally managed to draw blue mana, but at this point it was far too late. Even an Aven Cloudchaser on the Psionic Gift couldn't get him back into the game, as Ben merely Auramancered the enchantment and replayed it the following turn. The game lasted for a few more turns, with fairly irrelevant creatures grappling in combat each turn, but it wasn't long before James fell to the rampaging Angelic Wall, and Ben Seck proved himself to be the one and only true Invitational lackey.

Final Result: Ben Seck wins 2-0

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