Semifinal: David Brucker vs. Victor van den Broek

Posted in Event Coverage on June 30, 2002

By Kim Eikefet

In the semifinals, David Brucker from Germany faced Victor van den Broek from the Netherlands. Brucker played Psychatog, and he had quite a few creature removal spells, which could be strong against Victor's aggressive red and green Frog in a Blender deck.

Game 1

Van den Broek won the coin flip and chose to play first. He drew his seven cards, looked at them, and decided to take a mulligan. After drawing six, he chose to keep, and then it was Brucker's turn to mulligan—he had drawn a rather weak hand with five lands. Brucker then drew a one-land hand, but he decided to keep it anyway.

Victor played a turn one Karplusan Forest, Basking Rootwalla, and started hitting. Brucker drew a second land, and played it. He chose to Counterspell a Grim Lavamancer, and then he drew a Chainer's Edict that killed the Basking Rootwalla, missing his third land drop.

Victor got out a Meteor Storm, and Brucker couldn't counter it as he was tapped out after playing the Edict. The German drew lands, at least, but Victor started some Meteor Storm action, and he was soon down to six life. The German needed a solution, and he cast Fact or Fiction, flipping over an island, a swamp, a Cephalid Coliseum, a Salt Marsh and a Chainer's Edict. Victor put the two basic lands in one pile. Brucker picked it.

The Meteor Storm took Brucker down to two life, and with one card in hand, Victor would kill him during the next turn. Brucker used another Fact or Fiction, this time flipping over two Probe, a Coliseum, a Repulse and a Circular. Van den Broek put the Circular Logic and a Probe in one pile, and Brucker picked the other one.

Brucker had to Probe with kicker to get rid of Victor's card before he could draw another one and activate Meteor Storm. This gave him one turn to come up with something. He did—an Upheaval—but it hurt him as well as he had to discard a lot of cards. The two players went on to play lands, and then Victor tried to cast a Yavimaya Barbarian. Brucker Memory Lapsed it.

With plenty of cards in his graveyard and hand, the German could play a Psychatog and win by attacking once, but at the same time, he needed to be able to counter any direct damage spell from Victor. Thanks to the Memory Lapse, however, it was rather safe to play the Psychatog. But van den Broek got out a Yavimaya Barbarian that could possibly win him the game if allowed to live. It wasn't. Brucker had a Chainer's Edict that removed it, and the Psychatog went in for the kill.

Brucker 1 – 0 van den Broek

Game 2

Van den Broek chose to play first after sideboarding. He had to mulligan again, then he kept his second hand and played a Karplusan Forest and a Basking Rootwalla. He also tried to play a turn two Wild Mongrel, but Brucker had drawn one of his Force Spikes, and countered it.

A Ghastly Demise killed the Rootwalla, and Victor needed another threat. He played a Kavu Titan without the kicker, but a Chainer's Edict killed it. A Grim Lavamancer hit the table, and it actually lived long enough to be able to attack. The attempt to play a Yavimaya Barbarian, though, was promptly stopped by a Counterspell.

Brucker wanted cards, and he played a Fact or Fiction, flipping over an island, an Upheaval, a Force Spike, a Probe and a Memory Lapse. Victor put the Probe and an island in one pile, and Brucker went for it. The German then played Probe with kicker, stripping Victor down to one card in hand. He got a Violent Eruption to his head and went down to nine, but he was still well out of reach of any direct damage spells.

The Lavamancer took Brucker down to eight, and then van den Broek played one of his sideboard cards: Nantuko Blightcutter. Blightcutter was bad news for Brucker, who held two Psychatogs in his hand and no way to get rid of the Blightcutter. He decided to play one of the Psychatogs.

During his following turn, van den Broek wondered whether to attack or not. He had threshold, and so the Blightcutter would get to deal three damage a turn, but at the same time, he wouldn't be able to survive an unblocked Psychatog attack. The Dutchman decided to cast a Yavimaya Barbarian, but it was Counterspelled. Then he ended his turn.

Brucker seemed to be on a roll. He top-decked a Repulse, and he Repulsed the Blightcutter and attacked with his Atog. Van den Broek had to block with his Lavamancer, and he used the ability to bring Brucker down to six before the Lavamancer died. Then, he tried to re-cast his Nantuko Blightcutter, but Brucker had a Counterspell and could attack for the victory during his following turn.

Brucker 2 – 0 van den Broek

Game 3

After a break for the World Cup finals between Germany and Brazil, the two players were back at the table for what could be the final game of the semi-finals. The match was moved in front of the cameras, and while Brucker didn't seem all that displeased even though Germany lost the finals, he was unhappier about having to draw from the right side of the table.

Van den Broek chose to play first, and yet again, he had to take a mulligan. He drew six, and kept, and then Brucker had to take a mulligan as well, having drawn a one-land hand. Unfortunately, he drew another one-land hand, but he chose to keep it and faced a turn one Basking Rootwalla.

Victor attacked and pumped, while Brucker failed to draw a second land. The Rootwalla knocked him down to 14. Again, Brucker failed to draw a land, and he had to discard a Probe. Van den Broek chose to Firebolt Brucker, then he attacked with the Rootwalla to bring his opponent down to 9.

Finally, the German drew his second land. He held a hand full of blue spells, however, and had no way of removing the Rootwalla. He was able to Memory Lapse a Kavu Titan, and he Counterspelled it when Victor tried to re-cast it. At that time, however, he was down to four life only.

Finally, he drew a Ghastly Demise that took care of the Rootwalla, but a Firebolt sent him down to one life. He was able to Memory Lapse a Meteor Storm, but that only won him a turn. When the Meteor Storm hit the table, Brucker scooped.

Brucker 2 – 1 van den Broek

Game 4

Brucker chose to play in the fourth game, and he kept his hand. Van den Broek had to mulligan yet again, and he looked fairly frustrated when he shuffled up for his fourth mulligan of the match. He kept his second hand, though, and got out a turn one Basking Rootwalla that took Brucker down to 17.

Van den Broek then attempted to cast Call of the Herd, but Brucker had a Counterspell for it. At this point, Brucker had played four islands only, however, he was holding an Underground River in his hand. After letting Victor flashback the Call, he played Fact or Fiction, flipping over three lands, a Psychatog and a Counterspell. He picked the pile with the Psychatog in it.

With three Psychatogs in his hand, Brucker decided to play one. Van den Broek answered by playing another Basking Rootwalla. Brucker played Psychatog number two. A Fiery Temper knocked him down to twelve. Then, he Memory Lapsed a Meteor Storm, got hit by a second Fiery Temper, played the third Psychatog, Counterspelled the same Meteor Storm and Chainer's Edicted away a Rootwalla. Victor played a Wild Mongrel.

Brucker started attacking with his Psychatogs, and van den Broek was down to 17 life. The Dutchman chose to attack with his three creatures. The Elephant token and the Wild Mongrel were blocked, and Brucker pumped his two Psychatogs. Van den Broek chose to pump the Rootwalla that got through the defence. In addition, he discarded two cards to the Wild Mongrel after damage was on the stack, one of them a Violent Eruption that he played the madness cost of, targeting Brucker for four damage. The Eruption was Counterspelled. Brucker went down to six life.

Van den Broek went down to 15 after an attack from two Psychatogs. The Wild Mongrel was Ghastly Demised, but the Rootwalla attacked, forcing Brucker to remove three cards in his graveyard to save his blocker. Brucker was down to two cards in his hand and one in his graveyard, not close to enough to finish Victor off. And when a Nantuko Blightcutter hit the table, things looked bad for the German.

"Yes, I have threshold, you killed all my creatures," van den Broek replied when Brucker wondered how big the Blightcutter was. He attacked with his three Psychatogs, and van den Brock blocked—and that's where he lost the game. Brucker let one of his Psychatogs die, the Blightcutter turned 4/4 instead of 5/5, and after getting his Fires of Yavimaya Counterspelled, Victor was only able to knock Brucker down to two. That way, he could go down to one and flashback his Chainer's Edict, and the Blightcutter died.

The Psychatogs continued hitting at van den Broek. A Yavimaya Barbarian didn't live long enough to do much, it got killed by a Chainer's Edict. A Wild Mongrel couldn't block both the Psychatogs, and Brucker could attack for the victory.

Final Result: Brucker 3 – 1 van den Broek

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