Round 13: Ken Krouner vs. Mike Pustilnik

Posted in Event Coverage on August 15, 2002

By Toby Wachter

Ken Krouner is an old school player, and was a friend of Team Sped, which included players such as Jamie Parke and Ben Farkas. The team isn't exactly active, but they do exist as a clan on Magic Online. Krouner has had a string of good finishes lately, including ninth at US Nationals and multiple Top 16s at Grand Prixs. He started 0-3 this tournament, but has gone on a tear since then, losing no matches. Pustilnik of course has Masters, Pro Tour and Grand Prix titles under his belt, but has yet to get a Pro Tour Top 8 this season. He's certainly proven himself capable of doing it, and he has never played on Sunday at Worlds.

Game 1

Both players mulliganed to start. Pustilnik's Wild Mongrel was answered by Krouner's Werebear, and Pustilnik made a Basking Rootwalla on end step. This let him get through for five damage on the following turn. Krouner summoned Wonder to get a chump blocker. Grizzly Fate a turn later gave Krouner two flying bears, which double blocked the Mongrel on Pustilnik's following attack. Pustilnik discarded two lands and a Wonder to keep the Mongrel alive, and played a Wonder as well. Krouner had a second Werebear, but was five cards short of threshold. Grizzly Fate was eventually flashed back, but Pustilnik's board was still superior. Elephant Guide made Pustilnik's already dominating Wild Mongrel a monster, and the game ended soon after.

Krouner- 1 Pustilnik- 0

Krouner- "I would have been okay if I had drawn some more lands."
Pustilnik- "What you actually needed was to draw more cards....oh, I get it! I'm really swift today."

Krouner- "I've got some bad news Mike...I've yet to lose a match where I lost the first game.
Me- "You mean just this week right?"
Krouner- "Yeah, just this week. Not lifetime."
Zvi (from the crowd)- "That would be impressive!"
Krouner- "I'd just concede Game 1 every time."

Game 2

Pustilnik mulliganed his opening hand once again. Krouner started with Careful Study, discarding another Careful Study and Roar of the Wurm. Quiet Speculation on the following turn got the other three Roars into the graveyard, and Krouner was in prime position to start spitting out 6/6 monsters every turn once he got to four lands.

Pustilnik- "I don't like the way this is going."
Krouner- "I have no idea what you're talking about."

Krouner did miss his third land drop, but made it on the following turn and played Catalyst Stone. This certainly looked threatening, but Krouner needed a forest to make it work. Pustilnik wasn't doing too much better in the colored mana department; he had two forests and drew Tarnished Citadel, which got a few jokes out of both players. Two Careful Studies put Pustilnik's board at two Rootwalla and Sylvan Safekeeper, with Wonder in the graveyard. Krouner untapped, and finally drew a forest.

Pustilnik- "I'm in trouble now."
Krouner- "I'd like to think so."

Rather than flash back a Roar right away, Krouner summoned Werebear so he could make at least two Wurms on the following turn. Elephant Guide enchanted Pustilnik's Basking Rootwalla, and Krouner lifted two Wurms from the graveyard into play. Pustilnik played his own Quiet Speculation, but it seemed less than impressive due to Krouner's Catalyst Stone. He got Roar of the Wurm, Moment's Peace and Krosan Reclamation. Pustilnik attacked with both Rootwallas and only pumped one, missing the fact that he could have won right there by pumping both of them and attacking with his Safekeeper as well; Krouner didn't have Wonder, and couldn't block. This mistake visibly rattled Pustilnik when he realized it. A Krosan Reclamation later put Wonder back into Pustilnik's library, and Krouner rode his Wurm advantage to victory.

Pustilnik- 1 Krouner- 1

Game 3

Krouner's first turn Careful Study got Wonder in the graveyard, while Pustilnik cast Wild Mongrel. Krouner answered back with Werebear, and got threshold rather easily thanks to Mental Notes. A Mongrel joined his side, and Pustilnik gained some card advantage with Deep Analysis. Pustilnik then put Wonder and Roar into his graveyard with the help of Careful Study, and had just enough mana to flashback the Roar right away. Aether Burst killed it off, and Pustilnik was visibly frustrated; he had Sylvan Safekeeper in hand, and had taken a gamble that didn't pay off.

Meanwhile, Krouner flashed back a Roar, and had the board in his favor for the moment. Pustilnik went digging with Deep Analysis, and played the Safekeeper, followed by Wild Mongrel. Krouner's Quiet Speculation drew Circular Logic from Pustilnik, who had to discard two cards before casting it to make sure Krouner couldn't pay for it. Krosan Reclamation shuffled Pustilnik's Wonder back, and that cleared the way for a lethal attack.

Final Result: Pustilnik- 1 Krouner- 2

2002 Worlds (OBC): Quiet Speculation

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Worlds 2002 (OBC): Quiet Speculation

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