Round 8: Alex Borteh vs. Christian Lührs

Posted in Event Coverage on May 4, 2002

By Craig Jones

Alex Borteh is an American player on a hot streak since finishing the runner-up at last years World Championships. His opponent is the solid German player Christian Lührs.

Both players ended day 1 with 5-2 records but have mediocre looking decks to start day 2 with. Lührs does have an Overrun and Breakthrough in his blue-green deck though and Borteh some solid creatures and removal in his black-green deck. Borteh is also splashing blue for a Persuasion.

Game 1

Borteh won the die roll and elected to draw. The game started at a fairly sedate pace. Borteh summoned the first creature, a Fledgling Imp, and Lührs passed his 4th turn with four land and no other permanents.

Elephant Ambush
Of course 2GG open usually signifies an Elephant Ambush is on the way and Borteh had to pitch a card so the Imp could avoid a messy death. Lührs then enchanted the Elephant token with Seton's Desire and swung it into the red zone.

Borteh's creature enchantment was much better as he dropped an island and then sac'ed a Timberland Ruins to "persuade" the elephant it wanted to be on his team.

Lührs chucked out some Squirrels with Acorn Harvest but didn't want to start chumping just yet. Flashing back the Harvest gave him two more Squirrels but left him on 3 life.

Not good when your opponent has a Morbid Hunger in hand.

Borteh 1-0 Lührs

Lührs made Borteh go first as he suspected the other's mana base may be a little dodgy.

"Double blue, double black, maybe even double green," he said.

Lührs dropped a Millikin and started towards threshold while accelerating out a Nantuko Disciple. He followed it next turn with a Cephalid Scout while Borteh got a hit in with a Twigwalker.

Next turn Borteh dropped an island, sac'ed a Timberland Ruins and the Nantuko Disciple decided it didn't want to be on Lührs's team any more.

This time the German had an Aether Burst and the Nantuko Disciple overcame the effects of Persuasion to return to Lührs's side.

Both players decks were not really bringing out the class as Borteh summoned a Krosan Restorer. Lührs had two Phantom Whelp in the graveyard but at least they'd been put there by the Millikin.

Lührs used Acorn Harvest to add four Squirrels to his Millikin, Disciple and Scout.

Squirrels aren't to be ignored in Magic. Especially when backed up with an Overrun.
One Anurid Scavenger on defensive duties got trampled over and so did Borteh.

Lührs 1-1 Borteh

The quality of cards in game 3 was again blinding as Lührs's turn 2 Phantom Whelp was followed by Borteh's Krosan Restorer.

The Krosan Restorer turned out to have its uses as it first allowed Borteh to have double black to cast a Sadistic Hypnotist. The two creatures were flung at Lührs's hand forcing the German to discard two Aether Burst, a land and Nantuko Disciple. The remaining card was an Elephant Ambush so Lührs hadn't been completely gutted, although he had no cards in hand while Borteh had five.

Borteh couldn't capitalise and the Elephant and Whelp knocked the American down to 8 life. He finally found a Nantuko Disciple only for it to be matched by one from Lührs.

Borteh used Far Wanderings to search out a second swamp so Lührs decided not to pump the Elephant with the Disciple in case the American had Morbid Hunger.

After a promising start Borteh was now in trouble as the Whelp returned on Lührs's side with a Diligent Farmhand for company. The American brought out a Fledgling Imp and enchanted it with Strength of Lunacy.

Lührs sent in the Whelp, Farmhand and Elephant. Borteh blocked the Elephant with the Imp and the Farmhand with a Disciple. Lührs pumped the Farmhand with his Disciple forcing Borteh to use his own Disciple on itself to save it while the Imp and Elephant traded. The Farmhand hunted out a third forest and Lührs laid a Centaur Garden to be able to recast the Phantom Whelp.

Borteh was now on 3 life.

Crippling Fatigue on Lührs's Disciple bought some respite but a Muscle Burst from Lührs on his Whelp got rid of Borteh's Disciple also.

Morgue Theft ensured the Disciple's stay in the graveyard was temporary and was then flashed back to bring the Fledgling Imp.

Even land was pretty good for the German at this point as he reached 8 mana and flashed back the Ambush and then followed with a Basking Rootwalla.

Centaur Garden
Borteh summoned a Childhood Horror to prevent Lührs gaining an overlap, but the next attack promised to be messy. Borteh had to think carefully about how to block and use the Disciple. He used it on itself to save itself once damage was on the stack but once the dust settled Lührs still had an Elephant and a Rootwalla with the threat of a Centaur Garden still lurking. Borteh needed to draw a creature or removal spell to back up his lone Disciple. He didn't find either.

"I needed a second black source earlier to be able to use Crippling Fatigue," Borteh said afterwards.

Final Result: Christian Luhrs beat Alex Borteh 2-1

Pro Tour Nice, Third Booster Draft

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Pro Tour Nice, Third Booster Draft

Download Arena Decklist

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