by Pete Norris
Past Pro Tour winner Olle Råde took on Pro Tour Regular Tony Dobson in Round 5 of Grand Prix Amsterdam. The diminutive pair have met, but never played before, having ID'd there only meeting in New York 1998. Olle had taken a bit of a break from Magic, and has only recently started playing competitively once more, with a 20th place finish in Florence and a qualifier win for Pro Tour Tokyo. Tony, on the other hand, is a regular at large tournaments, but has been struggling to reclaim the form he showed during his excellent 99-00 season.
Dobson's start was pretty slow with him not making a creature until a turn 5 hooded Kavu. Olle also started off slow with a turn 4 Razorfoot Griffin and a turn 5 Cloak. The Griffin soaked up an Agonizing Demise, leaving Olle happy to drop Rith the awakener, followed by Serpentine Kavu. Dobson scooped next turn.
Olle changed deck entirely for game two, switching into a Blue White Black control deck, that was designed as an anti beatdown deck. Dobson was slightly perturbed by this and didn't know what to expect as they entered game two.
This time Olle came out quicker with a Vodalian Zombie and Stalking Assassin on the board by turn fourth. Dobson used a zap to get rid of the menace, and started to beat down with a hooded Kavu and a Nomadic Elf. Olle made a Stormscape Apprentice to slow the beats, and a Crimson Acolyte to absorb Dobson's red beats. He then cast a Benalish Lancer with kicker, and the pair started racing, except Dobson had a Necropolis and thus an edge. The board stalled with Dobson on five life, and Olle on four. Dobson passed the turn and said go, planning to use his Necropolis twice for the win. Olle on the other hand was drawing cards like a mad man with his Heralds, looking for one of his three or four auto-wins. He managed to Orim's Touch one of the Necropolis burns, but there was no win in his next three cards, and lost to the Legendary land the next turn.
Olle opened strongly again Game 3 with his Crimson Acolyte on turn two, followed by Wings of Hope, and then Benalish Heralds. Dobson started slower with a third-turn Hooded Kavu, before Lightning Darting the Heralds. Olle made a Razorfoot Griffin, and they started racing once more, although this time it was Dobson who was on the back foot. Dobson's second hooded Kavu joined the fray, and soon both players were at ten life. Olle then made his Benalish Trapper and looked good for the win. Dobson played the Necropolis, and thought a long while before throwing one of his Kavu at the Griffin. Olle calmly Orim's touched the Creature and beat down for the win two turns later. Both players agreed that the Acolyte was key, and that Olle had been lucky to see him both games.
Final Result: Olle Råde 2 - 1 Tony Dobson