Round 5 Feature Match:

Posted in Event Coverage on March 27, 2004

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

At various times in their careers each of these players has been considered the best American player in the game. Ben once was thought to be in the same rarified air as Finkel and Budde but he was not willing to commit the energy to the game that such domination requires. He has recently returned to competitive play and has two Grand Prix Top 8 finishes in Oakland and Anaheim. He won the latter with his innovative Dump Truck deck.

Eugene is the principal catalyst for the merger of the CMU and TOGIT teams and is certainly among the best players in the game to have not won a Pro Tour. He first became part of the Magic public's consciousness when he came out of seemingly nowhere at US Nationals to take the title.

Game 1

Ben kicked things off with an Alpha Myr. Eugene had no creatures but played a Mask of Memory in anticipation. Ben got in for two and sent the turn back with three different colors of mana at is disposal. When Eugene cast Wizard replica he Electrostatic Bolted it EOT.

Eugene had no play for his fourth turn after much deliberation. When Ben played his fifth land he was leery of attacking into the open mana. "Did anyone pass you Needlebug?" Ben had no other play and attacked. Eugene had an unentwined Barbed Lighting and seemed irked to have to kill the much-maligned beater.

Eugene made a Vulshok Morningstar and then Crystal Shard over the next two turns but neither player had a creature to be seen. Ben was on seven mana and decided to cast Psychic Overload on the Crystal Shard. With the Shard incapacitated he tapped out to play a Silver Myr.

Eugene took that window to cast Arcbound Bruiser and supersized it with a Morningstar. Ben had an Icy Manipulator ready to go and was able to negate the 5/5 creature. Eugene put the Mask on it anyway with no other critters in sight.

Barbed Lightning

Rubin was able to get his beat on with the Myr and Eugene fell to fifteen. He fortified with Nim Replica. Eugene used an Essence Drain on it and Ben activated the artifact creature's ability to counter the life gain. Eugene still had nothing and rolled his eyes when Ben added an Arcbound Hybrid to his meager team.

Eugene's long-awaited creature turned out to be a Wall of Blood. It stymied Rubin and he chose not to attack. He wanted leave his Icy back for the Bruiser. Eugene played a Scavenging Scarab and moved his Mask over to equip it. Ben seemed concerned--he had ten mana in play and no action.

Eugene's deck was finally responding to his pleas and he Dismantled the Icy. Ben Tapped the Bruiser in response but Eugene was still in his main phase and moved the Morningstar. He sent his Scarab in to eat the Hybrid. Ben was able to cast Pewter Golem on the next turn with enough mana to regenerate it three times. Harvey Bolted the now 3/3 Myr EOT.

He untapped and cast Fireball--splitting it three and three to the Golem and Rubin. He attacked for eight and drew two cards and discarded land. Ben had no play the next turn and hid behind his Golem waiting for his deck to deliver something--anything--beside lands.

Harvey and his deck were having a love fest. Prior to combat he played an Arcbound Ravager. After Ben took three and blocked the Scarab he played a Spikeshot Goblin. Ben' deck finally gave him something to do with all his mana. He played land number twelve and cast a Pentavus complete with M&M counters. Ben was at six and Harvey at eleven.

Harvey moved his Morningstar to the Spikeshot and Ben responded by making a pair of candy coated Pentavites. Harvey played a Myr and passed the turn. Rubin took Harvey to eight with three points in the air but he could not step the Goblin from doing six between his EOT and Harvey's upkeep and scooped.

Game 2

Ben's opening hand had one land and he wasn't going to keep it on the play even with a Talisman and a Myr. He kept his second set and had a Morningstar in play on turn two. Harvey had a Grimclaw Bats complete with Mask of Memory for the third turn. Ben untapped for turn four and Electrostatic Bolted the flier. Harvey cast Nim Replica and equipped it. Ben passed the turn back with five mana open and when Harvey attempted a Ravager, Ben smoked it with Barbed Lighting. Harvey shrugged and cast a Spikeshot Goblin.

Ben still had no plays during his own turns but cast Echoing Decay on the Ravager when Harvey attacked. Finally he played an Arcbound Hybrid and made it a 4/4 with the Morningstar but left it back to watch the gates.

Ben made a sour face when Harvey Dismantled the Guardian and attacked with a 4/4 Myr. Ben played a six-mana Behemoth but Harvey had the Fireball and kept getting cards with his Masked Myr. The card advantage was too much for Ben to keep up with.

When he tapped out for Pentavus he did not seem surprised that Ben could get it out of the way with Electrostatic Bolt and his Goblin.

Final result: Ben Rubin - 0 Eugene Harvey - 2

Ben Rubin

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Eugene Harvey

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