Round 3: How Can You Beat That Which Does Not Kill? – Kyle Sanchez vs. Orrin Beasley

Posted in Event Coverage on August 5, 2011

By Marc Calderaro

"Yo, you a net-decker?" Kyle Sanchez snarked at his opponent. He may have been away from Magic for a while, but he still knew how to toy with an opponent.

"Maybe," a meeker Orrin Beasley replied.

"I tell ya, man, there's no pride in Magic anymore." Kyle shook his head disdainfully and shuffled his cards. His unique mill deck had been taking down some unlikely contenders so far, and we'll see how it fairs against Beasley's CawBlade. Sanchez said in his testing with Pro Tour—Hollywood winner Charles Gindy, this match was 80% in his favor. 80% seems pretty darn good. Those are close to Owling Mine numbers, I think.

But it's time for Kyle Sanchez to put his money where his mouth is.

Game One

Sanchez started off with an Island into a Ponder, yielding a nice turn-two Lotus Cobra and a turn-three pre-fetchland Hedron Crab. However, the Crab was promptly Mana Leak ed by Beasley, who spent his own first turns Preordain ing and keeping mana up for said counterspell things. Oblivion RingSquadron HawkDay of JudgmentSpellskite and a Sword of Feast and Famine lay waiting in Beasley's hand.

Turn four Sanchez had up 2 Islands, a Forest and a Mountain, and thanks to Lotus Cobra, cast Archive Trap on his opponent.

"A couple Swords and a Hawk. Not bad." Kyle mused.

Beasley's Squadron Hawk in-hand came down and searched two buddies, then Beasley laid the Horror artifact creature.

Sanchez cycled a Visions from Beyond (rather than Ancestral Recalling with it), revealing his desperation, then laid a Jace, Memory Adept, drew a card while casting a free Glimpse the Unthinkable, then shipped his turn. Sword of Feast and Famine came down, equipped, then aided Beasley's attack to make the totals 17-16 in Sanchez's favor. Post-combat, Beasley O-Ring'ed away the opposing Planeswalker. Sanchez had some tricks to foil the Sworded-up bird, but totals still became 9-14. And single digits was not good for Sanchez and his milling compatriots.

Facing lethal next turn, as more birds and more Swords cluttered Beasley's side, Sanchez drew, sighed, and scooped up his cards.

Orrin Beasley 1 – 0 Kyle Sanchez

Orrin Beasley

Game Two

Dueling Preordains, and Sanchez followed with a Hedron Crab and a Terramorphic Expanse. Beasley simply held up Mana Leak mana, and caught a second Crab, then swept the O-G Original Crab with an O-B O-blivion Ring.

A turn or two passed before Kyle cast Into the Roil at the end of Beasley's turn to get his Hedron Crab back in time to have two uncracked fetchlands (an Scalding Tarn and a Misty Rainforest ) in play. After some cracking and some fetching, Beasley got his turn back with 21 cards in his graveyard. He calmly tapped out for a Gideon Jura, and was caught in an Archive Trap at the end of his turn. He had 5 cards in his hand, and only 15 cards left in his library.

Two Visions from Beyond restocked Sanchez's hand (this time they Recalled), allowing Sanchez to cast Explore, play a Forest and a Misty Rainforest (milling for nine in the process), then two Lotus Cobras and a Preordain. He bottomed two lands, drew an Island, and passed the turn with a Jace, Memory Adept and a third Lotus Cobra alongside the unwanted blue land.

Gideon was lonely. Sanchez was still at 17 life, and Beasley's library was low. Very low. Jura did what he could. He grabbed a Sword of Feast and Famine and took Sanchez to single digits, but Sanchez's Jace was more than willing to take Beasley's remaining cards and throw them in the trash.

Orrin Beasley 1 – 1 Kyle Sanchez

Kyle Sanchez

Game Three

These early cyclers are getting a bit predictable, but thankfully, Sanchez fought Beasley's Preordain with a turn-one Hedron Crab, and Beasley decided a Squadron Hawk, searching up for two friends, was a better second-turn play than holding up Mana Leak mana. The library searching allowed Sanchez to Archive Trap for free. This was important because after a Ponder, Sanchez's hand was merely four lands and another Archive Trap. If his Hedron Crab bit the dust, he might have some trouble on his hands.

It was about to do just that to a Dismember the following turn, but Sanchez had drawn an Into the Roil, like a curly-haired boss, to save it. Beasley's board was three Hawks, and he was able to Mana Leak Kyle's re-cast Hedron Crab. Sanchez was ok with that though; he had another one sitting in his hand, again, like the aforementioned boss.

Sanchez knew how to play this deck. Every time I got up to count the cards in Beasley's graveyard, he would say the number immediately when I put the deck down.

"25?" he asked. I nodded.

Sanchez's various Preordains and Ponders found him more Crabs. One was Oblivion Ring -ed while a Spellskite joined the 1/1 Hawks. Sanchez sunk to 9, milled his opponent with his remaining Crab, then cracked fetchlands to mill some more.

"You should have 10 cards in your library?"

"11."

"Ok. Hm. How many Spell Pierces are in your 'yard?" He silently counted them up. It was clear Sanchez had a plan.

"On your upkeep, Archive Trap ?" Ah yes, that plan.

Beasley thought for a moment, then scooped up his cards. It looks like that 80% win rate might not be too skewed after all.

Kyle Sanchez 2 – 1 Orrin Beasley

Kyle Sanchez's deck has some really neat tricks up its sleeve, and some that he requested I not reveal this early in the tournament. Stay turned for more on this surprising little deck.

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