Round 15: Scott Richards vs. Kai Budde

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2015

By Matthew Vienneau

It is the last round of the 2001 Magic Invitational and Kai Budde, who has been in contention for most of the tournament, is facing off against the late-surging Scott Richards who is on an 8-0 streak going into this match. In an attempt to generate a competitive attitude it was pointed out that while Kai may have won four Pro Tours, he has never won a match in Uruguay or New Zealand, Scott's home countries. Scott, however, has won many matches in Germany when he placed in the 40s at PT Mainz. Kai, on the other hand, only placed in the 50s at the particular event, but it didn't seem like he was intimidated.

Whoever wins the match is definitely in the finals while whoever loses is in bad shape, though Kai is probably still in. Kai is playing "The Crew!" (Legends) by Shotaro Mori and starting each game with five cards and ten life while Scott is playing "Battling of the Beards" by Oliver Mayes and starting each game with seven cards and twenty life. Despite everyone denouncing the Dwarf deck as horrible, Scott has managed to pilot it to a 2-0 record so far, much as Darwin Kastle piloted the much-ridiculed Olle Rade Spider deck last year to a 2-1 record.

Game 1

"Are you already at 10 life?" - Scott Richards

A turn two Dwarven Soldier looked like it would quickly put Kai below ten life as Kai played a Mox Pearl and Birds of Paradise, but no Legends. The very wily Dwarven Warriors quickly followed the Soldier. Kai Harrowed at the end of Scott's turn and in a sudden turnaround, used Eladamri's Call to fetch and play Tahngarth on turn three. The dwarves looked like they were in real trouble at this point!

With the help of the Warrior, the Dwarven Soldier snuck in for another two damage, and a Dwarven Lieutenant and Dwarven Berserker joined their vertically-challenged friends. And it looked like they would have to finish the game by themselves as Kai played Global Ruin to clear away all but one of Scott's Mountains, while sacrificing no lands himself.

Scott began suicidal attacks with his dwarves, but Kai asked for Mirri and Mirri answered off the top of his deck to help Tahngarth block and Scott was quickly defeated.

Budde - 1
Richards - 0

Scott seemed a bit overwhelmed by the turn three Tahngarth beating, while Kai was acting pretty gleeful, as could be expected. It's interesting that while almost every picture of Kai paints him as a stoic and grim looking German, in person he's actually outgoing and on occasion even a bit cocky. But having won so much, can anyone blame him?

Game 2

Again Scott's early Dwarves seemed woefully inadequate against Kai's turn three Mirri, Cat Warrior and turn four Starke of Rath. Again the Dwarven Warrior allowed Scott to hit for two each turn with Dwarven Soldier, plus an additional two from mana pumped through the Dwarven Lieutenant. But once Starke became active Kai would be able to stop those shenanigans, though at the cost of trading controllers.

But those dwarves are canny and they used their Dwarven Catapult to kill Starke before he could interfere with their plans. With only Mirri back on defence, and facing four unblockable damage the next turn, Kai drew and threw down Tahngarth as he conceded.

Budde - 1
Richards - 1

Kai pondered for a while whether to play or draw, but eventually decided he needed the extra card more than the extra turn to prevent the beatings. Again Scott burst out of the gates with a turn two dwarf, but as there are no other plays in the deck, this was no surprise. Kai again had a turn three Mirri, but a Dwarven Catapult took it out of play allowing the Dwarves to scurry through for four more damage on turn three.

At this point there was a loud distraction as famed Meddling Mage Chris Pikula burst into the Hokey Pokey at the next table in order to give his Knight of the Hokey Pokey protection. Wily like a dwarf, Mr. Pikula managed to begin and end his dance before any of the many cameras in the room could get focused, thus saving him from years of humiliating Internet spreads.

Back in the feature match, Kai's only play the next turn was to Harrow and play Squee in an attempt to buy him time against the plethora of 2/1 Dwarves that Scott kept bringing out. Kai continued to Harrow and brought out Tahngarth next, just in time to block one of the dwarves and stay alive. Scott played his eighth land on turn eight and seemed understandably disappointed that he couldn't seem to draw any spells. As Kai brought down Gerrard, it seemed that Scott's only hope was a massive Dwarven Catapult to clear the board, but it seemed unlikely to be enough as Kai played a Legacy Weapon.

Finally Scott fired off his Catapult and cleared all of Kai's creatures into the graveyard. Squee didn't stay there for long and after a quick Eladamri's Call he was joined by the second Tahngarth. Scott played his thirteenth land in thirteen turns and Catapulted again to clear Kai's board during his upkeep (allowing Kai to destroy Scott's just-played Dwarven Berserker when Tahngarth became active). Kai just calmly drew another Call and searched out Sisay and Scott conceded after drawing yet another land.

Afterwards Kai asked Scott why he didn't pump up the dwarf that Tahngarth blocked and kill Tahngarth? Scott commented that he played horribly during the game and he just wasn't doing things right. Kai seemed very relieved to have escaped with a win and couldn't believe that his opponent had made such an error. As it often seems when watching the best players play, they just make less mistakes than their opponents!

Final Result: Budde 2 - Richards 1

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