Round 12: Michael Pustilnik vs. Elijah Pollock

Posted in Event Coverage

By Toby Wachter

Michael Pustilnik vs. Elijah Pollock

"Mikey P" went pro this year, and it definitely paid off. He made Top 8 at Pro Tour-Chicago, and won Pro Tour-Los Angeles. Since then, he hasn't done as well on the Tour, but he is coming off a 4th place finish at Grand Prix Columbus last week. Elijah Pollock is a member of the Canadian National team, and more importantly, is just happy to finally have a Feature Match. He came in second at Canadian Nationals, but didn't have one match covered for the Sideboard all weekend.

As they shuffled, Pollock asked, "Remember a while back when Matt (Vienneau) asked you to team with him and some other random Canadian kid? Yeah, that kid was me."

Game 1

Pustilnik went first, and cast Lay of the Land to get a swamp. Pollock had his own first turn play, as he summoned Tidal Visionary. Pustilnik played Llanowar Dead on turn two, while Pollock cast Dream Thrush. Llanowar Dead attacked for two damage, Pustilnik played Verduran Emissary. Pollock took his turn and was a bit color screwed with only three islands, but thanks to his Dream Thrush, he was able to play Sunscape Familiar. Pustilnik played Thunderscape Battlemage with black kicker, and Pollock discarded Aurora Griffin and Faerie Squadron. Even though he only had one card left in hand, Pollock wasn't out of gas. He played his fourth island, and cast Minotaur Illusionist, which would hold off Mikey P's Gray Ogre army.

Mike played Bloodfire Dwarf and sacrificed it, killing off Tidal Visionary. This seemed a bit strange, until Pustilnik played Recover to get it back, and obviously wanted to draw the card. A second Thunderscape Battlemage with black kicker was played on the following turn, but Pollock had an Exclude this time. Pustilnik then decided to "dwarf it up," and sent the turn over. A Coastal Drake was now played by Pollock, giving him a way to get some damage through.
The synergy of Pustilnik's deck now started to reveal itself, as he played Sparkcaster, bouncing back Thunderscape Battlemage. Pollock played Quicksilver Dagger on his Sunscape Familiar, and probably knew what was coming next. The Battlemage was replayed with both kickers, and Pollock drew a card in response with the Dagger. This gave him two cards in hand, which were lost due to the black kicker. The Sparkcaster attacked and was bounced back with the Drake, and was replayed on Pustilnik's turn, bouncing the Battlemage once again. This was not a pattern Pollock wanted to continue, although taking five to the face isn't exactly a great option either.

Death Bomb was played, sacrificing the Dwarf, and killing off the Coastal Drake. Sparkcaster attacked on the following turn, and the Illusionist blocked it, and took out Verduran Emissary after damage went on the stack. This left Pustilnik with only a Llanowar Dead in play, while Pollock just had the Familiar. However, Pustilnik got ahead right away, and played Urborg Uprising to get back his creatures and gain some massive card advantage. The next two turns saw Pustilnik rebuild his army, bringing out Slingshot Goblin along with the revived Sparkcaster and Verduran Emissary. At this point, Pollock was simply outnumbered, and conceded.

Pustilnik- 1 Pollock- 0

Game 2

Elijah Pollock

Pollock chose to draw first, and Pustilnik started off with Lay of the Land. Once again, Pollock had a first turn play of his own as he summoned Reef Shaman. Stormscape Familiar followed on turn two, and Reef Shaman was used on Pustilnik's upkeep to "Port" one of his lands. Bloodfire Dwarf was summoned, and Pollock played a turn three Aurora Griffin. Pollock pointed out that the Shaman gave him the white he needed for the Griffin, and he mentioned that Dream Thrush allowed him to cast his spells in the first game. Pustilnik agreed and untapped, and played Thornscape Battlemage, saying "I hate to do this, but I need to kill that Reef Shaman!" Pollock summoned a Tundra Kavu, which would ensure that he still had access to white mana.

Pustilnik summoned a Quirion Trailblazer, and Pollock attacked with his army, dealing three damage. Tundra Kavu made a plains, allowing Treva, the Renewer hit play, and for only five mana thanks to the Familiar. Pustilnik thought for a bit, and attacked with all his creatures. Pollock didn't feel like losing his dragon to a combat trick, and took four damage. Pustilnik did have an answer though, as he sacrificed Bloodfire Dwarf to Death Bomb, and took out the 6/6 flying monster. He also summoned Slingshot Goblin.

Even though losing a dragon is a morale killer, Pollock persisted, attacked with five damage with his creatures. He also played Ceta Disciple, which was safe from Slingshot Goblin thanks to Aurora Griffin. Pustilnik attacked with his army, and played Explosive Growth with kicker on one of his creatures, which brought Pollock down to one life point. Things looked bad, but Pustilnik was at eight, and doubted that victory was his. He questioned whether or not it was the right play, but mentioned that he could draw Sparkcaster for the win. Pollock had a strong counter-attack available with Pustilnik's forces tapped out, but could only deal seven damage total. Therefore, he could only attack with one creature and stay relatively safe. He also summoned Coastal Drake, giving him some breathing room.

Thornscape Battlemage attacked, and traded with Coastal Drake. At this point, Pustilnik had only one card in hand, which meant that his resources were meager, but a simple topdeck could end the game. On the other hand, Pollock could do little but attack with the Familiar every turn, which would deal a point of damage and put Pustilnik on a small, but relevant clock. Pustilnik soon conceded, as Pollock showed me his hand of Exclude and Prophetic Bolt.

Pustilnik- 1 Pollock- 1

As the players shuffled, Pustilnik discussed with Pollock whether or not he should have shot down the Aurora Griffin with the Battlemage. He felt that the Reef Shaman was more important at the time.

Game 3

Michael Pustilnik

Pollock had to mulligan his opening hand, and while he shuffled, Pustilnik showed me a slow draw that contained Shivan Emissary, Thunderscape Battlemage, and no other creatures. Pollock played Razorfin Hunted on turn two, and Pustilnik cycled Aggressive Urge on end step. Coastal Drake showed up on turn three, while Pustilnik's turn four resulted in nothing being played. The Hunted and Drake now went to work, dealing some damage to Pustilnik. Things didn't look too bad, as Mikey P untapped, and played Pernicious Deed.

Now that mass removal was impending, Pollock was in no position to overextend. The Drake and Hunted continued going to work, and Pustilnik blew up the world on his turn. Pustilnik was now at thirteen from the damage of those two creatures. However, he was in the late game, where the Battlemage and Emissary would prove useful. Pollock untapped and played Dream Thrush, Sunscape Familiar and Stormscape Familiar all in one turn, which got an "I'm terrified" out of Mikey P.

Thunderscape Battlemage was now played with black kicker, and Pollock discarded two islands. This left Pollock with one card in hand, and Pustilnik asked to see "that big card you've been saving." Pollock joked that his "big cards" were already on the table, referring to his dorky flying beatdown squad. He did play Coastal Drake, and Dream Thrush was used on Pustilnik's upkeep to deprive him of green mana. Pustilnik now used Plague Spores to take out Coastal Drake, and Pollock's only plains. This left Pollock with only three lands in play.

Pustilnik played Shivan Emissary with kicker, and killed off Dream Thrush, declaring "Leave my land alone!" He would now have access to green mana on his next turn. Pollock's Stormscape Familiar continued to attack, but Pustilnik still had a hand filled with cards, while Pollock only had one. Lay of the Land and Quirion Trailblazer were played on the next turn, thinning out two lands from Pustilnik's deck. He also played Slingshot Goblin, and attacked with the Battlemage and Emissary. The Familiar blocked, and the Emissary got through for one damage . . . which brought Pollock to 19. Prophetic Bolt was played by Pollock on end step to kill off the Goblin, and the four cards revealed presented a tough decision. He could take Treva, and hope to draw white mana, or take Sea Snidd, which would at least give him a much needed blocker and access to white mana when necessary. He took the Snidd and played it on his turn, but Pustilnik killed it off with Death Bomb.

Urborg Uprising was now played by Pustilnik, which provided a huge shift in game advantage. Bloodfire Dwarf killed off Ceta Disciple, and Slingshot Goblin came out once again. Sparkcaster bounced the Battlemage, and things now looked quite bad for Pollock. However, the Stormscape Familiar continued to attack, and brought Pustilnik down to five life points. Once the Goblin became active, it shot down the 1/1 flyer, while Sparkcaster attacked for five damage. Thunderscape Battlemage was played with black kicker and Excluded, but Pollock still needed an answer for the Sparkcaster, and needed one right away. He played Quicksilver Dagger on the Familiar and used it to draw a card, but found no answer and conceded.

Final Result: Pustilnik- 2 Pollock- 1

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