Round five: Haibing Hu vs. Sterling Savage

Posted in Event Coverage on June 7, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

Haibing Hu is an up and coming player with a respectable $570 money finish at PT Chicago earlier this year. His opponent—Texas State Champion Sterling Savage—rarely gets to play at all, much less compete at a higher level. He will not even be able to attend the upcoming Regionals tournaments due to his job a Heroes & Fantasy in San Antonio. Hu is playing a Necro deck while Savage is with mono-white control.

Game one

Haibing led the game off with Duress and took away a Story Circle with other options including Opal Guardian, Gerrard’s Wisdom and an Oblation. Hu played a turn two Nakaya Shade and Savage answered with an Opal Guardian. Cabal Therapy took the Oblation on the next turn and Savage passed it back without a play but Hu wasn’t done and Vampiric Tutor found him Necropotence, which he cast on the next turn and promptly set aside five. Realizing he would nbeed all the life he could muster Savage gained six off of the Wisdom.

Hu played another Shade which woke up the Opal and swung in for three points of damage. Savage used Enlightened Tutor during his upkeep and found and played Story Circle. Hu was able to sneak a point or two past Savage’s tapped Plains and Soul Burned the Opal for two. Savage played a Voice of All naming black but Hu had the Mutilate and used it. He played another Shade and kept digging for answers to the Circle. Unless Hu was spalshing green for Pernicious Deed—highly unlikely since he was using Cabal Coffers—there was no way for him to remove enchantments and Savage kept playing them out… Seal of Cleansing and Worship hit the table and Hu had to consult for Braids and got one. Savage was still at 17 life and despite having to sac lands in pretty good shape. When he played Light of Day, Hu finally conceded.

Hu - 0 Savage - 1

Game two

Things started off badly for Hu when Savage played a turn one Cursed Scroll. He gamely put out a Skittering Skirge and hoped to get lucky on the artifact. Savage’s third turn play was Story Circle and you could hear the tumblers clicking into place on the lock—despite a turn three Necropotence. When a Duress revealed four Plains on the next turn…

Hu was forced to play a Braids despite all the land in Savage’s hand. Scrying Glass was sacrificed only to be returned with a Treasure Hunter and Savage was way ahead on the permanents count. Voice of All naming black was the finishing touch.

Hu - 0 Savage - 2

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