Round 7: Mike Pustilnik vs. Kamiel Cornelissen

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2015

By Andrew Johnson

The first round of the Rotisserie draft gave us a rematch of the finals of last year's Pro-Tour Los Angeles. While Mike had bested Kamiel in Invasion Rochester, it remained to be seen if Mike could defeat the Dutch wunderkind in this format seen only once before as far as I know. Rotisserie draft seemed to originate from the Event Horizons Invitational, which borrowed its overall format from the real Invitational. The Event Horizons Invitational is an event that has occurred the last couple of years, with invitees being the best Texas players.

Going into this round, it seemed like Kamiel should have an advantage over Mike, since he such cards as Concentrate and Persuasion, excellent cards in a match that should take a lot of time. Mike would certainly not roll over to Kamiel though, since he had a whole bag of tricks of his own including Screams of the Damned, Tattoo Ward, and Shelter, not to mention Kirtar's Wrath.

Kamiel got off to an excellent start game one with a Cephalid Scout on Turn two, a Cephalid Looter on turn three, and a Mystic Zealot on turn four. It did seem a bit strange when Kamiel opted to loot on turn four and five when he could be hitting with his Looter, but perhaps this is indicative of some of the qualities of the format. Kamiel felt that increased card quality and threshold made up for the damage he lost early on. Kamiel only managed to reduce Mike to his early teens before the game stalled out. Despite all of Kamiel's looting, and his turn five Concentrate, he could not quite get through Mike's horde of creatures. Mike's life got precariously low after a Skeletal Scrying, and on top of that a careless mana burn, which would prove to be quite awkward for his game plan involving Screams of the Damned later. Not to be outdone by Mike's slip-up, Kamiel proceeded to view the same card of Mike's library with Aven Windreader twice. Later, after Screams of the Damned had stabilized Mike's position somewhat, Mike sat on one life. When Kamiel drew his Iridescent Angel, the game ended the following turn when Mike failed to draw his Kirtar's Wrath. Mike agreed that had he played a bit better, the game should have at the very least been a draw. Even the greats cannot be at their best all the time.

In game two, Kamiel once again came out of the gates fast with a turn two Patrol Hound, turn three Looter. Mike didn't even play a spell until his turn five Screams of the Damned. But, once again, Kamiel played a more controllish game, looting with the Cephalid every turn. While it remains unclear whether or not Kamiel could have won the game playing in a different fashion, he certainly had many other options to consider. It can be a difficult decision between two points of damage a turn and a bit of card selection and graveyard advantage. Mike was eventually able to play out some creatures. His board eventually deteriorated, but when he Wrathed away the board and Mindslicer leaving Morgue Theft in his Graveyard, he was able to clinch game two. It would be interesting to see how this game would have ended up if a more aggressive player sat in Kamiel's seat.

The deciding game did not start out as quickly as the first two. On turn four, the players started summoning creatures, but the game stalled out with both players controlling flyers and ground creatures, and both players sitting in the high teens. All of a sudden, Screams of the Damned wiped out most of the board, leaving Mike with a lone Angelic Wall. Over the next few turns, Kamiel drew creatures, but refused to play them, since Mike could wait for at least two creatures before he used Screams of the Damned. Finally Kamiel found his Persuasion, and used this to take the Wall, and lay his Windreader and Patrol Hound. Mike used his Screams to once again put the board back to just an Angelic Wall, this time under Kamiel's control. Patiently, Mike waited with his Aven Cloudchaser, since the Wall was not really affecting the game, since both players were merely summoning parity in creatures. Then, Kamiel decided to put Psionic Gift on the Wall, and Mike decided to reclaim his upgraded Wall. Soon, Mike developed a flying advantage, and with the help of his Gifted Angelic Wall, repeated the outcome of Pro-Tour LA.

Final Result: 2-1 Mike Pustilnik

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