Round 9: Noah Boeken vs. Arjan Van Leeuwen

Posted in Event Coverage on March 24, 2002

By Rui Oliveira

Yes, two Dutch players. In the top places as usual (8-0 so far). So once again we are in for another match full of great plays and totally undecipherable witty comments (I swear I'll start working on my Dutch real soon. Editor's Note: You better.).

Noah: "Are you writing that I'm going to smash him or the other way around?"

Boeken is playing a blue-black fast deck and you might want to check Edward Fear's coverage of van Leeuwen's draft for more precise info on his deck.

Game 1

A second turn Windmilled Rotting Giant got a "Wow" from van Leeuwen. That was quite understandable since his first play was a lowly Filthy Cur. When he followed that with a Phantom Whelp and a Cephalid Scout even Pro Tour San Diego champion Farid Meraghni, watching in the sidelines, laughed!

Boeken decided to put an end to the freak show with Sickening Dreams for two. The Giant was now the only creature on the table and had a handful of cards in the graveyard to fuel its attacks.

Arjan: "How lucky!"
Noah: "SO lucky!"

But van Leeuwen wasn't sleeping on the job and dropped Aven Windreader to retaliate. He even had the Afflict for Boeken's next recruit: a potentially troublesome Painbringer.

Despite pounding his deck the best Noah could do was Churning Eddy to get Windreader out of the way. By now the Giant had Arjan at seven. In fact van Leeuwen's opinion of the Rotting one was so high he tried to steal it with Persuasion. Now running on fumes and praying for another creature Boeken couldn't afford to lose his monster. He used the Syncopate he had been hoping to save for the Windreader.

With his back against the wall, at one life, van Leeuwen found a Shambling Swarm to drop in front of the Giant. This time Boeken couldn't get it out of the way right away but he played a Puppeteer to finish things on the next turn.

Noah (pointing at the Giant): "SO good!"

A Floating Shield made sure Noah couldn't toy with the Swarm and the former European Champion was unwilling to risk an all out attack fearing a trick from Arjan. Thus van Leeuwen got a free turn. He used it to play Skywing Aven and Compulsion.

What Boeken needed was a way to break through. What he played was Chainer. Van Leeuwen frowned and started digging with his Compulsion. Although he was at one, if Arjan could find an opening he might be able to finish what his Windreader had started. All he needed to do was survive until he could deal the final six points of damage.

Finally Noah made his move. Arjan sacrificed the Shield to nullify the Puppeteer for a turn and Noah dropped a Gravegouger. Van Leeuwen Compulsioned again but couldn't come up with the goods. Chainer recruited the Windreader and on the next turn van Leeuwen resistance came to and end.

Noah 1-0 Arjan

Game 2

While they discussed the last turns of the first game Farid got them some drinks. See, being a Pro Tour champion doesn't mean you can't be nice to your friends! Noah had to take a mulligan and Arjan took the time to find out how my Dutch is coming along. Another trademark of the Dutch players: nice guys.

Again Noah brought a Rotting Giant to the fray on his second turn. This time van Leeuwen decided he would rather start with Looter. Aiming for speed Boeken bounced it with a Ghostly Wings and his Giant started to carve out large chunks of Arjan's life points.

The Looter came back followed by Treetop Sentinel while van Leeuwen fought to slow the game down with Aven Windreader. The Sentinel, waiting for the freshly casted Puppeteer to become active, stayed back but the Giant was on a rampage.

Noah: "Ah, the Ghostly Wings beatdown!"

Van Leeuwen was tired of being the punching bag and retaliated with his Windreader before dropping a certified ground staller: Shambling Swarm. Still the Puppeteer was more than a match for any blocker. Boeken was slowing down but still riding his initial speed.

He pounded his deck praying for some extra fuel for his Rotting Giant but got no help. His Puppeteer was putting a damp on van Leeuwen plans but between the Windreader and the Swarm Arjan was balancing things out.

Arjan returned the bouncing Ghostly Wings trick on the Puppeteer and Boeken figure it was a very good time to drop a Gravegouger before the opposing Cabal Torturer could reach threshold and terminate his tapper.

Things were becoming hectic and the damage math complicated. Even with the clock winding down – less than ten minutes in the round – they took their time figuring out what to do.

Crippling Fatigue took out the Windreader, with the game even at five life, and a Churning Eddy got the Swarm out of the way. Once again the Giant was free to enter the Red Zone.

Cabal Tortuter chumped the Giant and killed the Gravegouger. Noah's tempo plays had brought Arjan down to three. The Swarm returned but the real problem was the Sentinel. Van Leeuwen bounced it once with Aether Burst.

It looked like he had no way out of it but on his next turn he played the perfect solution: Persuasion.

Noah: "Let me guess? Persuasion. What a miser!"

Two turns later, with a handful of lands Noah Boeken conceded shaking his hand. They had a little more than three minutes on the clock. When the shuffling ended they both didn't seem in the mood to play the third game. Eventually they decided they could hardly find a winner in less than the one minute remaining.

Final Result: Noah 1-1 Arjan

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