by Matthew Vienneau
After quietly spending the early rounds in the middle of the pack, Ben Rubin began doing some serious winning late in the second day and found himself in a five-way tie for first place at the beginning of the 11th round. He was playing Dave Price's Pro Tour LA Tempest Block mono-red deck that was hotly contested and he began each game with seven cards but only thirteen life. Ironically, Ishii started each game with seven cards and eighteen life despite using Jakub Slemr's World Championship black/blue/red *Standard* deck with small creatures and kill. Only in the Auction of Champions does a Standard deck cost less than a block deck!
Ben came out in true Dave Price style as he played a first turn Mogg Conscripts, second turn Mogg Raider (allowing the Conscript to attack) and third turn Mogg Raider. The problem was that he still only had one land and when Ishii cast Choking Sands on it after Incinerating the Conscript, Rubin's board began to look a bit troubled.
Rubin was unable to draw a Mountain as Ishii played a Man O' War, Fallen Askari and Shadow Guildmage. As a second Man O' War came into play and removed Rubin's one remaining permanent, Ben conceded the game.
Rubin again started out strong with a first turn Mogg Fanatic that killed a Shadow Guildmage followed by a Canyon Wildcat and then Stone Rain. Ishii slowed down the board with not one but two Black Knights. A well played Contagion, after tapping out for Choking Sands before attacking to make himself look vulnerable, destroyed three creatures as Rubin attempted to pump up his Canyon Wildcat with two Raiders to block a Black Knight.
Rubin's board looked poor with two Black Knights facing him and no creatures, but a Cursed Scroll has changed many a board position in its time as has been seen in recent Extended Grand Prix events. After removing both Knights Rubin dropped a Scalding Tongs and a Mogg Raider and appeared to be in good shape. But with grim foreshadowing, Ishii randomly Incinerated Rubin at the end of his turn knocking him to six life. As Rubin no doubt expected, two untap phases and two more Incinerates later, Ishii had made Ben pay the price for starting with only 13 life and burned him to death.