Round 13 Feature Match: Ken Ho vs. Alex Borteh

Posted in Event Coverage on December 18, 2015

By Ben Bleiweiss

Ken Ho vs. Alex BortehBoth competitors were anxious coming into this match, as a possible top 8 slot was on the line. Alex played a Blue/Black deck featuring multiple Ghastly Demises and Cabal Patriarch, while Ken brought a Green/Blue aggressive creature deck to play.

Game 1

Ken won the die roll and lead with a Forest and Diligent Farmhand. Alex matched with an island, but passes his turn without playing a creature. Ken increased the pressure with a Thought Eater, and traded his Farmhand for a newly summoned Frightcrawler the next attack. He decided not to search out a land with his creature, instead opting to cast a Nantuko Elder from his hand, as he would have to discard a card from his otherwise five-card hand.

Alex, having been left with no creatures in play, cast an Innocent Blood. Ken pondered the situation for a moment, and ended up sacrificing his mana producer. The Eater was held back the following turn after Alex summoned a Dusk Imp, but that was all that he was stuck on three lands. Ironically, even a Predict targeted at his own deck naming swamps would not allow Alex to draw into a fourth land, as the card milled was an Island!

Ken played to capitalize on this situation, swinging with a Werebear he had summoned a turn earlier, which Alex traded for his Imp. This cleared the path for the Eater to go back on the offensive, but before it could deal further damage, it met with Ghastly Demise. Ken then summoned a Dreamwinder (above average when two Blue mages face off), which promptly was sent to the graveyard by a second Demise.

Ken HoOn the 7th turn, Alex finally drew his fourth land, which allowed him to use Gravedigger to return his Frightcrawler to his hand. Ken, holding a hand full of land, drew a Peek off the top of his deck and immediately cast it, hoping to draw a creature which would have helped him regain momentum in the game. Unfortunately for him, Alex's hand was filled with amazing cards, including Cabal Patriarch, which is considered by many to be the best Black card in Odyssey for limited formats.

The Peek resulted in a Cephalid Scout for Ken, which he played directly from his hand. He only drew a single card from the Cephalid before it died to an Afflict. Aided by a Peek of his own, Alex had no trouble drawing two lands due to his multiple cantrips, and brought the Patriarch into play. Shortly thereafter Ken conceded, having drawn no answers to the 5/5 monster.

Alex 1, Ken 0.

Game 2

The game started slowly, with Ken using an early Farmhand to accelerate his mana base, and Alex playing no cards other than lands. On turn 3, Ken attempted to cast a Zoologist. Alex sat there for a good minute, commenting on how he had never seen that card in action before, and had no idea if he should use the single Syncopate in his deck to counter the creature. Eventually he removed the Zoologist from the game with his counterspell, but commented to Ken, "I don't know what to do about this, you may have just mised."

Alex BortehAlex passed his turn with only a land drop, and Ken summoned an Aven Fisher when his turn came around. Alex cycled an Afflict on the Fisher (drawing a much-needed fourth land in the process), and cast a Diabolic Tutor on his 4th turn. Although he had many choices of cards to put in his hand, Alex eventually decided to get the largest creature in his deck, the Cabal Patriarch which had won him game one.

On his turn, Ken cast a Cephalid Scout, which was Demised on Alex's turn. A Frightcrawler came into play on Alex's side, followed a turn later by a Cabal Pit and Cabal Patriarch. Ken summoned a Limestone Golem the following turn, hoping to delay Alex's assault, but Alex simply Demised the artifact creature and swung with his team. The legend and horror were joined by a Gravedigger.

Ken drew his card and shook his head no, obviously dismayed at the prospect of facing the Patriarch again. He decided to try and go on the offensive, casting Sylvan Might on his flyer, and Dematerializing the Patriarch while at six mana. This brought Alex's life total to eight, while Ken was sitting at a more comfortable 13. Once again, the game swung momentum as a Scrivener on Alex's side returned Ghastly Demise to his hand, which was immediately cast to kill the Kingfisher. He then attacked with both his creatures, bringing Ken to 10.

Ken got right back into the game, summoning both a Dreamwinder and a Wild Mongrel to his board. Alex declined to attack on his turn, instead bringing the long-absent Cabal Patriarch back into the game. Ken attacked with everything, and Alex lined up all the creatures on both sides, taking into account the possibility of the Sylvan Might plus another creature enchancing spell cast from the hand might kill him. Eventually he traded the Mongrel for the Gravedigger, and the Patriarch for the Dreamwinder plus the flashed Might. The turn ended after Ken summoned his Thought Eater.

The previous attack had easily brought Alex into Threshold. He used his Pit to kill the Thought Eater, and attacked again with his Frightcrawler and Scrivener, bringing Ken down to 5 life. Even a flashbacked Dematerialize the following turn by Ken could not prevent a loss, as he could not find a card to deal with Frightcrawler in the long term. He extended his hand and wished Alex good luck in making the top 8.

Final Match Count: Alex 2, Ken 0

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