The heady heights of the second round of the Masters Series is a new experience for Kai Budde. Despite winning more Grand Prix and Pro Tour than anyone else, he had never even one a single match in the Masters Series prior to this one, with three first-round losses.
After this match the winner will have the chance to draft another deck in the final eight.
Bob started, and Kai was less than impressed by Maher's Thought Nibbler and Escape Artist. "I drew from the bottom half of my deck," Bob explained. Kai played a Wild Mongrel and the players traded blows with Kai discarding a land to his Mongrel just so that he could play Ghastly Demise on Bob's Cephalid Looter.
Bob swung back, saying "At least none of my creatures die to Elephant Ambush." Kai did have an Ambush and saved it for Bob's end step instead. The game was in the German's favor at this point. Finally Bob played a substantial blocker, although his Dreamwinder was short-lived, it died after blocking when Kai used Muscle Burst.
Bob played Halberdiers on consecutive turns which finally did look like they might hold Budde off, even though he cast Beast Attack as soon as he found his fifth land. The game became stalled for a few turns, except for the Escape Artist that was still plugging away for a point a turn.
It was Bob who finally drew something that would break the deadlock - a Savage Firecat. Budde used a Morgue Theft to fetch back his Wild Mongrel. The Mongrel had been killed a couple of turns previously by a Thermal Blast. The Firecat attacked and was killed by an Elephant token and a Beast token. This left the board with Kai having a Wild Mongrel, a Fledgling Imp, a Filthy Cur, and a Leaf Dancer, and Bob with two Halberdiers and an Escape Artist.
Kai attacked in the air with Fledgling Imp, and followed it up with a Dusk Imp, putting Bob on five. Maher used Thermal Blast on Kai's Filthy Cur in his end step, dropping Budde to five life as well. An all out attack from Bob then forced the German to chump-block a Halberdier with a Leaf Dancer and go down to one life.
Bob then used Cultural Exchange to trade his two Halberdiers for Kai's two untapped creatures. "I'm not used to making this sort of trade," Bob said. Kai drew his card and then conceded as he would die to the Escape Artist.
Bob Maher 1 - Kai Budde 0
Budde started off with a Filthy Cur. "It's no Wild Mongrel," he said. Maher's play was marginally worse, though, he played a Thought Nibbler and was forced to discard. Kai then hit him with a Last Rites, taking Repel and Halberdier and leaving Bob with Balshan Griffin, Pardic Firecat, and only one land.
The game was pretty disappointing as a competition. Bob didn't draw another land and the only spell he cast in the game was an Engulfing Flames, while Kai played an Elephant Ambush, and a Gravedigger to fetch back the Dusk Imp he had discarded, ending the game mercifully quickly.
Bob Maher 1 - Kai Budde 1
Kai made Bob start in the deciding game. The early turns saw Maher play a Halberdier and a Treetop Sentinel and Kai summon a Fledgling Imp and a Dusk Imp. The Halberdier got in some damage for Bob. Budde used Muscle Burst to get his Dusk Imp through the Sentinel. Maher had another flyer - an Aven Fisher which netted him card advantage when it traded with the Dusk Imp.
Kai summoned a Nantuko Disciple with both players on fourteen life. Another Halberdier hit put Kai on eleven, and Bob asked an immediate question by playing Savage Firecat. The German needed to find an answer inside of two turns. He played a Crypt Creeper and a Diligent Farmhand, and blocked the big Cat with everything. This left him with just a Nantuko Disciple.
Maher used a Repel on the Disciple and attacked to put Budde on ten. He then dropped a Kamahl that he had just drawn. Two turns later the game was over. Kai showed after the game that it was closer than it appeared. He had Infected Vermin in his hand when he died and if he had one more mana he could have played and activated it in the same turn. This would have killed Bob's Kamahl, Pit Fighter and Halberdier.
Final Result: Bob Maher 2 - Kai Budde 1