Round Seven Feature Match: Jonathon Becker vs. Mike Abraham

Posted in Event Coverage on October 18, 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.

Both players came into this round with undefeated records. While Jonathan is an old hand at the Pro Tour and Grand Prix circuit, Mike was relatively unknown. He did not know who Jon Becker was but assumed he should since he assumed he could not be the catalyst behind the decision to feature their battle.

“Have you ever read the curmudgeonly articles by the guy who complains about everything on Star City?”

“What is Star City?” Mike was, of course joking. He has been playing Magic competitively since Masques was introduced at State Championships and even has a GP Top 8 to his credit. “I’m not a nobody. I’m a classic Modo trash talker but I have one GP Top 8—in Denver, though.”

Jon was impressed, “That’s one more than me.”

Game One

Jon won the flip and chose to play. When their preparations were interrupted by the judge bearing playmats Jon asked grumpily, “Do we have to have playmats?”

Mike was a bundle of energy and wanted all the amenities, “Dude, the Red Zone is great! I love the red zone.” Jon kept his opening hand but Mike mulliganed and kept his next six.

Mike had a turn one Longbow while Jon did nothing for two turns. Mike had the Longbow combo with a Leoinin Den Guard. He played a Mask of Memory on turn three and equipped his guy with the curiosity-equipment instead. Mike drew a pair and discarded a Fists of the Anvil.

Jon had two plains and two forests and when Mike went for another two cards. Jon cast Blinding Beam with entwine. “What does that do? I really have no idea.” Mike played a Cobalt Golem and Jon enchanted it with Arrest. Jon played a Copper Myr and after Mike played a Krark-Clan Grunt Jon dropped his Luminous Angel.

The grunt picked up the mask and charged in. Mike pitched an Island and played a Spikeshot Goblin and a Leonin Skycub. “You have only played three spells and you’re beating me?”

Jon got in with his Angel and played a Soldier Replica and a Myr Enforcer. Mike put the Longbow on his Den Guard and shot the Angel with his pingers and finished it off with an Electrostatic Bolt. He masked up the Skycub and drew two cards. When he discarded an Alpha Myr, Jon had an opportunity to express his controversial opinion that Omega Myr is better than the Alpha one.

“Omega Myr?!? Alpha Myr kills him.”

Jon shrugged, “ I have always had an unnatural fondness for Squire.”

“What is Squire?”

A Bonesplitter on Spikeshot Goblin made things rough on Becker. He sent his Myr Enforcer and his token into the red zone but Mike put a Grunt in the way. He sac’d a Golem and shot the Enforcer with his Longbow. Jon played One Dozen Eyes “with kicker”.

Mike was still in a solid position and when Jon drew his next turn he asked, “Did you peel?”

Jon had another One Dozen Eyes that he entwined on the next turn which stunned Abraham, “Not a peel?”

Jon looked exasperated, “You would think that with thirteen guys on the board I would feel better about this game.”

The Skycub kept plugging away and drawing cards. Mike was able to chump block the 5/5s and was able to finish Jon off with a Bonesplittered Spikeshot Goblin

While they sideboarded for the next game Mike looked around to find his peanut gallery had drifted off, “My boys have left me already?”

“Dude, they saw how you savaged me game one and that was all they needed to see.”

Mike ignored him and began to talk bout his struggles to grow a beard. “I have a hard time pushing out the facial hair. I hope to grow a beard one-day—and a mustache would be gas.”

Jon – 0 Mike - 1

Game Two

Jon made some drastic changes to his deck. He took out some of his slower green creatures and brought in a Shatter and Goblin Replica to deal with Mike’s equipment. He also put in an Electrostatic Bolt for the Spikeshot and exchanged a Needlebug for a Wizard Replica.

When he looked at his openers he mulliganed to six. Jon kept his next hand and Mike played a Viridian Longbow and followed it with Bonesplitter. Jon played a Sun Droplet which sent Mike out of his chair. “I have never seen that card before.”

Mike had a Goblin Replica and Jon answered with a Tel-Jilad Exile and an Iron Myr. Mike had the Spikeshot Goblin but Jon was ready and had the arrest, “I don’t think you have a license for that Spikeshot. There was a warrant out for him since last game.”

Jon shattered the Goblin Replica. Mike recalled Jon complaining about not having any artifact removal and Jon pointed out that he merely wished he has some artifact removal—he never claimed he had none. When Jon revealed he was a lawyer Mike began rattling off a litany of attorney jokes. Mike was out of creatures and Jon pressed his advantage with his 2/3 and his 1/1 and a recently played Wizard Replica. He added a Warwagon.

Mike played a Skyhunter Patrol and Boneslpittered him. Jon attacked into it. When Mike blocked Jon cast Turn to Dust on the Splitter but Mike had the Fists of the Anvil. In killing the Warwagon he fell to three. Jon played a One Dozen Eyes to make five 1/1’s and Mike scooped a turn later.

“It was all about the Sun Droplet.”

“That was double mulligan that game.”

“Who mulliganed that game, me or you?” asked a stunned Abraham. Thus far both players who mulliganed had won their games.

Jon – 1 Mike – 1

Game Three

Mike sided outs Fists of the Anvil and brought in the Leoinin Bladetrap to deal with the 1/1s.

Mike had no play for the first two turns but Jon had an Iron Myr that was Bolted. Jon had another Myr—Copper this time. Mike tapped four mana—a Seat of Synod—to cast Thoughtcast. Jon missed a land drop and played a Wizard Replica.

Mike made a crucial blunder this turn when he went to cast the Bladewarden in his hand but accidentally placed a Razor Barrier on the board after tapping his mana. Jon would not let him take it back and asked which land was getting protection from what. Mike appeared to lose some of his manic energy he had exhibited earlier in the match after his misplay.

Jon made a Tel-Jilad Exile and Mike played a Silver Myr and a Bladewarden. Jon cracked in for three and played a Loxodon Warhammer but he was still stuck on three lands. Mike played a Myr Enforcer and got in for one with the Silver Myr. Jon Hammered up the Replica but it was Bolted in combat—still no fourth land.

Mike got in for five on the next turn. Jon found his fourth land played a Soldier Replica and got in for two with the Exile. Jon took another five from the enforcer and played another land on the next turn, “One Thousand Eyes?” But Jon had something else up his sleeve. When his supporters came back to see how Mike was doing he hashed them, “I already blew it, you have to be quiet now.” Creeping Mold took out the Enforcer and Jon swung in. Mike still had some game left in him and the Silver Myr blocked the Exile and Mike took it out with the Bladetrap. He was not happy though, “That’s two cards for one. You’re not doing so bad.”

Jon played a Myr Enforcer of his own and Hammered up his Soldier for an eight point swing. Mike had nothing and passed it back to Jon with a Den Guard on the defensive. Mike double blocked the Replica and pumped his Den Guard. Jon used his Replicas ability and made sure both blockers died. He added a Fragren Hunter and Mike had nothing but land in his hand.

Jon – 2 Mike - 1

Jon Becker

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Mike Abraham

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