Round 2: Snug as a BUG in a RUG

Posted in Event Coverage on May 28, 2010

By Dave Guskin

Ben Rubin (Green-Blue-Black Landfall) vs. Josh Utter-Leyton (Blue-Red-Green Combo)

With such a quick match between Ruel and Martell, there was plenty of time to reveal the secret second feature match between superstar Josh Utter-Leyton and Pro Tour Hall of Famer Ben Rubin. Utter-Leyton was up a game with his Blue-Red-Green control deck versus Rubin's Green-Blue-Black landfall control-combo deck, which they described as "a good game, until the Comet Storm for 10." A quick turn three Jace followed by a turn four Oracle of Mul Daya gave Utter-Leyton a huge land advantage, so that he was ready on the last possible turn with a gigantic Comet Storm to take down Avenger of Zendikar and all of its Plant brethren.

Josh Utter-Leyton 1, Ben Rubin 0

Game 2

Both competitors led with Halimar Depths, but Rubin was first into the nonland portion of the battlefield with Lotus Cobra. Utter-Leyton took an opportunity to increase his card quality by fetching away the top cards into Forest, Explore, Island. The arms race for mana acceleration continued as Rubin went Verdant Catacombs into Harrow, but had no follow—uponly the beats, bringing the life totals to 20-17 his favor.

Lotus Cobra

Utter-Leyton had his own Lotus Cobra, and used the mini-boost in mana to make its twin. Rubin wasn't comfortable with that much potential on the other side of the table, so he end-stepped a Vendetta on the second Cobra. On his turn, he fetched again, and with five lands and two Cobra mana, he made an Avenger of Zendikar with five Plant buddies.

Utter-Leyton calmly untapped and cast Vapor Snare to snare himself his very own Avenger. Rubin had nothing but the five Plants, so he passed, and Utter-Leyton began the beatdown with the Avenger. Rubin bashed back with an activated Creeping Tar Pit, mostly evening the score at 13–14 to Utter-Leyton's advantage.

Utter-Leyton cast a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and used the Brainstorm ability to continue to press Rubin, but had no response to Rubin's Rampaging Baloths and two accompanying Beasts off a fetch.

With the life totals in his favor with 12–15, Utter-Leyton decided to continue to improve his game with an Oracle of Mul Daya and a free Kazandu Refuge (and life point) off the top. He left his stolen Avenger back to block any Beasts that might rumble over.

Unfortunately for Josh, Ben's turn was full of excitement: another swing from the Creeping Tar Pit assassinated Jace, and then a Jace of his own bounced the Avenger back to his hand. Content to ride out his massive turn-by-turn advantage from the Baloths, Jace, and the soon-to-be-replayed Avenger, Rubin passed it back to Utter-Leyton.

Utter-Leyton seemed out of excitement of his own, merely casting another Explore and playing more lands. When Rubin attempted to recast his Avenger, though, Utter-Leyton was ready with Deprive resetting his Halimar Depths. Rubin was unfazed, however, activating Jace's Brainstorm ability, making another Beast off of a land drop, and then crashing over for 14. Utter-Leyton, with only the meager Oracle for defense, conceded before taking the Beastly damage on the chin, evening up the duel at one apiece.

Josh Utter-Leyton 1, Ben Rubin 1

Game 3

The players sideboarded in silence, with only a brief break for confirmation about how much time remained in the round—only ten minutes. Utter-Leyton, now on the play and looking to finish his opponent quickly, found his opener and replacements both inadequate and mulliganed down to five. He led with a Halimar Depths, attempting to regain some measure of control over his draw step. Rubin matched the Depths with his own.

Oracle of Mul Daya
Growth Spasm

Utter-Leyton broke a fetch for a Forest and a follow-up Lotus Cobra, but Rubin had the appropriate counter in Swamp, Vendetta. Utter-Leyton had only a Raging Ravine, while Rubin continued to ramp with a Growth Spasm and resulting Eldrazi Spawn token.

Luckily, Utter-Leyton's sorcerous apprentice Jace, the Mind Sculptor arrived to dig him out of his mulligan woes, and he passed after an activation of Jace's Brainstorm ability. Jace looked to be not long for this game with an Oracle of Mul Daya arriving and revealing another copy of Jace on Rubin's deck. Rubin used Halimar Depths again to rearrange slightly, garnering another land for his trouble and resetting Jace on top.

Utter-Leyton, with his own Jace's time running out, again activated the planewalker's 0: ability and found Burst Lightning for Rubin's Oracle of Mul Daya. He finished his turn with an Oracle of his own.

Rubin cast Lotus Cobra and used the additional mana and his Spawn token to bin the two Jaces. He then cast Vendetta on Utter-Leyton's Oracle and passed, with the life totals at Rubin 17-19 Utter-Leyton. The board was now mostly clear, and when Utter-Leyton added his own Cobra, it looked like a Snake race might be on. Rubin looked to step up the pressure with an Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and a Khalni Garden, draining Utter-Leyton to 14.

Ob Nixilis, the Fallen

Utter-Leyton had a nigh-perfect answer, however, with Vapor Snare. Rubin responded by breaking his remaining fetch land, and the life totals went to 14-11 after a Cobra attack by Utter-Leyton.

The one-upmanship continued with Rubin's Naturalize on the Vapor Snare. Creeping Tar Pit and his own Cobra swung through for five, taking the life totals to 14-6 in Rubin's favor. Another two draw steps yielded no ancient, powerful magics for Utter-Leyton, and after chumping Ob Nixilis, the Fallen and dropping to 1, Utter-Leyton extended the hand.

Utter-Leyton 1 – 2 Rubin

Josh Utter-Leyton's Blue-Red-Green Control

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Ben Rubin's Green-Blue-Black Landfall

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