Round 2 Feature Match: Brian Kibler vs. Trevor Blackwell

Posted in Event Coverage

By Randy Buehler

Trevor Blackwell

"Dragon Lord" Brian Kibler is at it again. His "Hippo-Geddon" deck for Tokyo includes not one, not two, but three dragons. It's a domain deck that uses Harrow to get one of each basic land type into play so his spells like Collective Restraint, Ordered Migration, Global Ruin, Allied Strategies, and Worldly Counsel will be maximally effective. With access to all five colors of mana, Kibler could run pretty much any spell in the format. He decided to sideboard fatties against red/green beatdown decks and thus Treva, Dromar, and Rith are hanging out (along with Ertai) in his sideboard. Kibler's teammates actually disagreed with him and put a different dragon - Draco - into their own sideboards with visions of gaining 16 life from Reviving Vapors dancing in their heads.

Kibler's second round opponent was Pro Tour L.A. 2000 champion Trevor Blackwell, who was running black/red. Kibler was able to play a turn 3 Collective restraint thanks to Star Compass, but all three of his lands were Islands so it wasn't even as good as a Propaganda. He eventually found a Plains and took a Forest from Reviving Vapors. Allied Strategies allowed him to draw three cards while Blackwell just kept attacking with Pyre Zombie and then Skizzik. Kibler was at 7 when he played Questing Phelddagrif. Blackwell stopped attacking and instead pointed a Ghitu Fire for 5 at Kibler's head. With Pyre Zombie in play and Kibler on 2, they both knew the game was over unless Kibler could somehow gain some life. Worldly Counsel for 3 plus Fact or Fiction failed to find a Reviving Vapors so Kibler scooped.

Brian Kibler

Blackwell tested a bit on Thursday night with fellow San Franciscan Ben Rubin, who was also working with Kibler as members of The Jumble. Thus Blackwell knew all about the power of Collective Restraint and included a couple Thunderscape Apprentices in his sideboard so he would be able to use its black ability to deal damage without attacking. Blackwell also brought in Shivan Zombies that can't be blocked by Phelddagrif. Kibler spent his sideboarding time lamenting his inability to draw even a second basic land type before turn 5 and both players laughed about the vagaries of a 5-color mana base. Kibler then put his sideboard way announcing that he wanted to make sure it was "out of Ed Fear range" and the players were ready for game 2.

Fertile Ground, Harrow, and Star Compass helped Kibler play both Questing Phelddagrif and Collective Restraint before Blackwell could even find black mana. Kibler applied mad beats with a Latin, foil pre-release stamped Phelddagrif that Blackwell had loaned him the night before. When Kibler played Global Ruin, Blackwell just scooped up all his cards and started shuffling for game 3.

Kibler had another good mana draw in game 3 with a turn 4 Harrow giving him all five basic land types. His only spell, though, (a Reviving Vapors) was removed from his hand by Blackwell's Addle. Blackwell didn't have much offense so when Kibler top-decked a second Vapors and used it to find a Phelddagrif, he seemed to be in pretty good shape. The protection from red and black ability of the Phelddagrif meant that Blackwell couldn't usefully attack with either his Plague Spitter or his Skizzik. Kibler next drew five cards via Allied Strategies and they both knew he was in complete control. Kibler's deck was working just the way he drew it up. Global Ruin knocked Blackwell down to 2-mana and meant it would be extremely hard for Blackwell to ever deal enough direct damage to win the game. Kibler followed up Global Ruin with Fact or Fiction and found Questing Phelddagrif #2 so he could start attacking. Hippo-Geddon indeed! Global Ruin #2 ruined all Blackwell's chances.

Final Result: Kibler 2 - Blackwell 1

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