Round 7: Ben Rubin vs. Kai Budde

Posted in Event Coverage on November 8, 2002

By Randy Buehler

There aren't that many people who would turn down an intentional draw offered by Kai Budde, but Ben Rubin is one of them. Budde and Rubin got paired up in round 7 – the final round of Day 1 – knowing that 13 points were required to advance to day 2 and they each had 12. An intentional draw would send each of them through at 4-2-1, but if your goal is to make Top 8 then 4-2-1 isn't nearly as good as 5-2, especially when so many other players are expected to draw in at 4-2-1. Budde liked his odds of winning money as long as he made Day 2 and he didn't think he was going to win this Pro Tour anyway because the field has so much hate for Reanimator decks like the one he is playing so he offered the draw. Rubin, however, turned him down cold. He thinks his Psychatog deck (designed by Brian Kibler) can win this thing and he didn't want to give up the opportunity to win 3 points. The round 7 draw debate has been raging for years and most players seem to prefer playing it safe and making sure they get to play a second day of Magic. Personally, I agree with Ben – it's really all about trying to play three days of Magic and the round 7 I.D. does nothing but hurt your chances of playing on Sunday.

Rubin got to go first in game 1 and he used a pair of Force Spikes to counter Budde's first two spells – an Entomb and a Mesmeric Fiend. Budde wasn't out of gas there, though. He baited another counter with an Exhume (threatening to bring out the Fiend) and then baited yet another with Duress. That cleared the way for a Careful Study and a Reanimate, bringing Multani Maro-Sorceror into play. It seemed impressive, but Rubin is running main deck Diabolic Edicts for situations just like this one and as soon as he untapped Multani headed for the bin. Rubin also dropped a 'Tog, tapping out. Budde Exhume the Multani back into play, but it was only 5/5 so he didn't bother blocking the 'Tog. Rubin showed him both Fact or Fiction and Gush and that was more than enough to deal lethal damage.

Budde played Duress on his first turn and took one of the two Mana Leaks from Rubin's hand, leaving him with both Force Spike and a Duress of his own. Rubin thought long and hard on his turn about whether to play an island for the Spike or a Swamp for the Duress. Budde spent this time doing his best to look disinterested by watching an adjacent feature match. Rubin went with the Island plan and Budde tapped out for turn 2 Mesmeric Fiend anyway, letting Rubin Spike it. When Rubin then played his Duress on turn 2 he got to find out way – Budde had two copies of Exhume in his hand. One got Duressed, but the other could bring back the Fiend to nab the other Mana Leak. Budde promptly top-decked a second Fiend and Rubin found himself with no spells in hand. He drew and then hard-cast a Wonder, much to the delight of those watching the feature matches. Budde didn't' have much gas either, but he did finally draw blue mana and that allowed him to play a Shadowmage Infiltrator.

Budde's Infiltrator found him a Multani and a Reanimate. Careful Study let him put his Multani in the 'yard and 6 life later it came out to play. The only bad news is that it was a mere 3/3. Rubin countered by top-decking and playing out a Psychatog. Budde Entombed Wonder so his Infiltrator and his Multani could attack in the air. He left back a pair of Mesmeric Fiends to defend against Rubin's lethal-Tog. Rubin ripped Engineered Plague off the top, killed the Fiends, and ended Kai Budde's Pro Tour.

Final Result: Rubin – 2, Budde - 0

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