Round 9 Feature Match:

Posted in Event Coverage on March 27, 2004

By Duncan McGregor

Antonino's flamboyant personality, combined with his Magic skills, have made him a high-profile member of the Pro Tour, and he has many successes at Grand Prixs. Ken and him are friends, and they had talked about drawing into day 2, but they had decided to play, knowing that the loser would be knocked out of contention. Matt Rubin walked by while they were shuffling and asked why they weren't drawing, and Antonino replied, "Top 8, Matt! Think high!" Ken won the die roll, and they were off.

Game 1

Ken started with an Island and Antonino with a Mountain, neither with any turn one plays. Ken's second turn was Island, go, while Antonino found an Island and a Talisman of Dominance. Ken played a turn three Spikeshot Goblin, but Antonino had no play, just sending the turn back. "Go? Wuss," Ken taunted Antonino, who came back with, "I have twelve mana sources in my hand."

Ken played another land, a Welding Jar and an Arcbound Stinger. Antonino still just played land, and at end-of-turn Ken pinged him for one with the Spikeshot, calling, "Face!"

Ken continued by attacking with the Stinger and tapping out for a Juggernaut. "Didn't attack with Spikeshot," Antonino noted, and Ken replied that he didn't want to walk into a Needlebug. Antonino had a big turn coming, though, with a Domineer for the 5/3 and an Oxidda Golem to attack for three. Ken had an even bigger comeback, though - his Crystal Shard bounced the treacherous Juggernaut back to his hand. He attacked with the Stinger and the Spikeshot to take Antonino to sixteen.

Antonino aimed an Echoing Ruin at the Shard, and when Ken sacrificed the Welding Jar to keep it around, he finished the job with a Shatter. Another attack with the Oxidda Golem knocked Ken to fourteen. Ken replied with an attack from his Stinger and replayed the Juggernaut.

Antonino played a Plains and a Spire Golem, with enough left over to play Vulshok Gauntlets but not to equip them. He chose to leave the Oxidda Golem at home to block the Juggernaut, but Ken had an Echoing Ruin of his own and disposed of the Oxidda Golem. Antonino chose not to block the Juggernaut with his Spire Golem, and fell to nine. Ken also played a Thoughtcast and a Mountain before passing the turn back.

Antonino could only muster an Iron Myr, which died to the Spikeshot during end step. The Spire Golem was shot down by a Shatter, and Ken hit Antonino down to three and played a Somber Hoverguard. Antonino's draw of Alpha Myr didn't help him any, and he scooped.

While Antonino sideboarded, some of the spectators were asking again about them drawing. Ken told them, "Antonino said, if you're playing against someone with a bad deck, you should play." Antonino confirmed this, and they continued to Game 2.

Game 2

Spikeshot Goblin

Antonino led with a Mountain. Ken found a turn one play this game, with Bonesplitter off Seat of the Synod. Antonino played a Talisman of Unity on turn two. Ken found a Welding Jar and an Iron Myr. Antonino powered out a third-turn Vulshok Berserker and hit Ken for three.

Ken drew and then frowned at his hand. "How greedy am I?" he wondered aloud. "You're really greedy," replied Antonino, and Ken played a Thoughtcast for one mana, nodding his head in agreement. He still didn't have a land to play, but was able to drop a Leaden Myr. Antonino swung in again with his Berserker and played a Neurok Spy, but no fourth land.

Ken found an Ancient Den, which let him play a Spikeshot Goblin, then play a Leonin Scimitar and equip the Goblin. He passed the turn to Antonino, who exclaimed "Yes!" after he drew.

"What did you draw?"

"A land." With five mana available, Antonino's Echoing Ruin took out the Welding Jar, and then his Unforge took both the Leonin Scimitar and the Spikeshot off the board. His attack knocked Ken to nine. Ken drew a land as well, and his Crystal Shard bounced the Spy back to Antonino's hand. He also played a Bonesplitter and equipped the Leaden Myr as a blocker for the Berserker.

Antonino could only replay the Neurok Spy on his turn before saying go. Ken swung in for three with the Leaden Myr and then moved the Bonesplitter to the Gold Myr. Antonino attacked with his Spy to take Ken to seven and played a Wizard Replica.

Ken thought for a while about his next play, and attacked with the equipped Myr before playing a Vedalken Engineer with his only blue mana and moving the Bonesplitter back to an untapped Myr. "Your window is open," Ken said, gesturing at his land, but Antonino was not fooled. "You have three mana for Crystal Shard?" The Spy and the Wizard Replica dropped Ken to four, and Antonino played a Vedalken Engineer of his own.

Ken finally found an Island, and with two blue mana played his Broodstar - at three mana for a 7/7 a real bargain - but it was too little too late. Antonino's splash of white came home with a Blinding Beam on the Broodstar and the equipped Myr, and Ken scooped.

Antonino resideboarded after that game, showing Ken the Myr Matrix that he didn't think would be a good play against Ken's multitude of Myr. He also started talking about a draw again, but Ken cut him off with, "Hush! Present your deck." Both players kept, and Ken led with an Island and a Necrogen Spellbomb. Antonino just had an Island.

Ken played a Leaden Myr on turn two, while Antonino had an Arcbound Stinger. Ken followed this up with an Iron Myr and a Thoughtcast. Antonino's third turn was an attack with the Stinger and then a Wizard Replica, which prompted an "Oh, dear," from Ken.

On his turn, Ken tapped three mana, but hesitated before making a play. Antonino started chanting "Not Shard, not Shard…" and Ken obliged him, playing a Neurok Transmuter. He also cycled the Necrogen Spellbomb for a card, then played an Arcbound Worker before saying go.

Antonino attacked with his fliers for two, then played a Vulshok War Boar, sacrificing the Arcbound Stinger and putting it's counter on the Replica. Ken was not happy with this turn of events, and his turn consisted only of playing a Welding Jar and a Steel Wall. "Your deck seems to have run out of gas, my friend…" Antonino observed.

Ken chose not to block the Boar when Antonino attacked, and that plus the Replica dropped him to ten. Antonino also added a Neurok Spy to his team before sending the turn back to Ken. The reason for Ken not blocking became clear: he needed the extra artifacts to play Broodstar while being able to pay for Wizard Replica if needed. The Broodstar came into play as a 5/5.

Antonino attacked with the War Boar and the Neurok Spy, and this time the Boar was chump-blocked by the Leaden Myr while the Spy knocked Ken to eight. Antonino's deck continued to provide more attackers, and he played a Goblin War Wagon. Ken played a Seat of the Synod to bring the Broodstar back up to a 5/5 and said go.

Antonino played Vulshok Gauntlets, equipped the War Wagon and attacked with them, the Boar and the Spy. Ken blocked the Boar with the Broodstar and the Wagon with his Arcbound Worker, then started turning his creatures into artifacts with the Transmuter, making his Broodstar big enough to live through combat. He even got to put the counter from his Arcbound Worker on the Broodstar when it died. But the Neurok Spy got through to take Ken to six, and with Antonino having the Vulshok Gauntlets, six was not a good place to be.

Antonino again offered the draw. He pointed out that he was going to kill Ken next turn with the Spy, but Ken just played a Lifespark Spellbomb and drew a card with it. Vedalken Engineer didn't change the board any, and Ken said go. Antonino untapped, equipped the Spy with the Gauntlets, and attacked. He offered his hand one last time, saying "Draw?" This time, Ken took it.

Final Result: Antonino de Rosa - 1 Ken Krouner - 1

Ken Krouner

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Antonio De Rosa

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