Semifinals: Brian Kibler vs. Antonino De Rosa

Posted in Event Coverage on October 19, 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.

Antonino won the even/odd game and opted to play. Both players were running fast red/x decks. DeRosa’s was green-red with Glissa while Kibler had a sporty red-white model with almost all of the usual suspects. Spikeshot was notably absent.

Antonino played a Liar’s Pendulum on turn two and Kibler came back with Iron Myr. DeRosa had the Goblin Replica but it didn’t offer much of an answer to the Slith Ascendant that Kibler played on the next turn—although he was he was stuck on two lands one of which was an Ancient Den.

Antonino activated his Liar’s Pendulum and named Tel-Jilad Exile. Kibler was dubious, “Is that even a card—you don’t have it.” He did have it and DeRosa drew a card.

Kibler got in for one in the air but was still missing land. DeRosa added insult to injury by Shattering the Myr. The prophesied Exile hit play on his next turn. Kibler continued to grow his Slith but could not expand his mana base and had to discard. DeRosa played a Triskalian and was able to kill the Slith at the expense of three counters. Kibler kept discarding and Antonino pressed his advantage by killing an Ancient Den with his Replica. Kibler finally gave up the ghost and they were onto game two.

Kibler – 0 De Rosa – 1

Game Two

DeRosa went straight for his sideboard taking out his Liar’s Pendulum, “You are too smart for me to leave this card in against you. If I play someone I don’t think is very smart I leave it in. If I play someone smarter than me…”

Kibler couldn’t believe what he was hearing, “That is the funniest reason for siding out a card I have ever heard.”

Kibler chose to play and both players kept their openers. Kibler came out of the gate with a Leonin Scimitar and DeRosa played a Pyrite Spellbomb. Kibler had an Atog on the next turn and DeRosa played a Leaden Myr that stepped aside when Kibler sent his equipped tog into battle. A third land for Kibler—for the first time in the match—made a Vulshok’s Gauntlets. DeRosa fortified with another Myr and his own Gauntlets.

Kibler attacked with the Tog and then made a 4/4 Skyhunter Cub by moving his Scimitar. DeRosa Shattered the equipment on the next turn and finished off the now 2/2 with his Spellbomb. He got in for two with his pair of Myr. Kibler equipped his Tog with the Gauntlets and got in for five—DeRosa fell to 11. He removed the Cub from Kibs yard with a Mirror Golem but Kibler Shrapnel blasted it with his Gauntlets and got in for a point. Skyhunter Patrol arrived on the scene.

DeRosa played an Icy Manipulator and a Myr Retriever on his next turn and tapped the flier when Kibler announced attackers. He put his Retriever in the way of the Tog and regrew his Mirror Golem which removed the Myr Retriever when he played it he next turn.

Kibler played a Slith Ascendant and DeRosa came back by putting Gauntlets on a Myr and swinging in for eight. He was able to move the Gauntlets to his other Myr and still had mana to tap the Slith when Kibler wanted to attack.

Slagwurm Armor hit play and was picked up by the Patrol. DeRosa only pushed the Golem into the red zone and Kibler fell to five. DeRosa added a free Frogmite to his frontline. He had no response when Kibler announced attacks, which earned a, “bleahhhhh” from Kibler.

He thought for a while and asked, “You’re at ten?”

DeRosa looked confident, “Yeah, if you win this game you are a master. I will bow down to you. Well you are already a master so you will become a true lord.”

He ultimately sent in his two fliers and took Antonino to seven.

Antonino took some time to think about going in for the win.

“I’ll tap your Atog…”

“I’ll declare an attack.”

Kibler waved him over and DeRosa pushed everyone into the red zone with some trepidation. The last card in Kibler’s hand was Grab the Reins and he killed both of the big artifacts with it taking three and falling to two.

Now DeRosa had to think when Kibler announced attackers and tapped the Slith letting the Patrol and Atog have their way with him but Kibler had no attacks though and passed the turn.

DeRosa equipped his Myr with the Gauntlets and played Lightning Greaves that equipped the Frogmite. “You’re at two right?” He tapped one of the two blockers and swung in for the kill.

Kibler – 0 DeRosa - 2

Kibler had been hoping that when the Mirror Golem came back it would again remove a non-artifact creature. “You would have equipped it and I could have killed you with Grab the Reins—“

Nate Heiss walked over and shocked Kibler when he announced he was DeRosa’s opponent for the finals, “We truly are in Oz and not Kansas. Nate Heiss is in the finals of a GP.”

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