Semifinals: Kai Budde vs. Julien Nuijten

Posted in Event Coverage on May 30, 2004

By Ruud Warmenhoeven

This semifinal sees the veteran of the game versus one of it´s youngest stars. This is not your average ´best player of the world versus new guy that nobody knows´ Well, actually it is, but Julien is no slouch. He does repeatedly well in Dutch tournaments and is seen by the Dutch pro scene as their youngest addition and is tipped off by many to win his Nationals this year.

About Kai… well he just wanted to mention that the German national soccer team is terrible since they couldn´t even beat Iceland in the qualifiers for the European Championship. Oh, and he won some tournaments over the years.

The match-up at hand is Affinity vs. Goblins, favoring Kai´s affinity pre-board but turns around post board in favor of Julien´s Furnace Dragons.

Game 1

Kai leads blazing with a first turn Frogmite of off two Welding Jars. Second turn Myr Enforcer isn´t too shabby either. Julien has a Skullclamp to dig for answers to the quick beats Kai that applies. Third turn Julien just lays a Sledder, using the spare mana to Shatter the Enforcer in Kai's next attack step, killing off a Welding Jar and preventing 4 damage in the process. The second Jar has to go as well, courtesy of Electrostatic Bolt. When Julien is stabiliysing with a Sharpshooter. Kai has to start digging for a quick finish in the form of Arcbound Ravager to complement the Disciple in his hand. He actually held on to this Disciple from the beginning, chosing not to expose it to all the red removal the Goblin decks sports. A pair of Thoughtcasts find him a Skullclamp but he can´t go loose with the active Sharpshooter still on the board. Julien's clamp is netting him an insane amount of cards in the meantime, all the while pecking away at Kai´s life total. Siege-Gang Commander decreases Kai's time and provides a stream of chump blockers for the clamped Enforcer. Clamping on Julien finds mostly lands, but still dominates the board with his Sharpshooter. Kai draws lots of lands too but he has to make a move now. The move is trying to trick Julien by casting Arcbound Worker, prompting a strange look from Julien. Another one follows but when he tries to move his clamp around the youngster will have none of it and quickly dispatches of both Workers. When he gets to untap next turn his Siege-Gang gets to team up with the Shooter to deal the final 8 points.

Kai 0 - Julien 1

Game 2

This game sees Kai starting of with a dilemma. After staring at Seat of the Synod, Arcbound Worker, Frogmite, double Chromatic Sphere, Detonate and Welding Jar for a while he decides to throw it back, mentioning that a Skullclamp in the same hand would have made him keep. His second hand is good enough for him, and after Julien also throws back his initial six they can start. Kai comes out fast again with Worker, Ravager and Frogmite. Julien misses his second land drop and answers after some thought with Mox, Mox, Sharpshooter. Kai has the Shrapnel Blast for it and after a Bolt takes care of the Frogmite he now relies completely on his Ravager to bring this game home. Welding Jar makes him relax a little and when the few draw phases Julien still has provide him with nothing he scoops his cards.

Kai 1 - Julien 1

Game 3

In the deciding game of this nailbiter semifinal Julien is faced with yet another tough mulligan, shipping away a removal heavy hand with only one land for a nice Skullclamp fueled package. Kai gets a clamp of his own so the unfairness of this format can now begin. Clamping up his Workers gets Kai to a clamped Frogmite, with a Welding Jar protecting both. Julien clamps his way to a clamped Warchief. With Kai having a full hand it does look dangerous for the youngster, even though he is well on his way to one of his sideboarded Furnace Dragons. Kai in the meantime is looking for a way to deliver the final points of damage, probably with Ravager/Disciple. So the race is on, Furnace Dragon versus Ravager, who´ll draw it first?

After some more clamping Julien gets to Siege-Gang commander and has a full grip including Furnace Dragon and is all set up to unleash it next turn when Kai plays Disciple of the Vault and flings two Shrapnel Blast ´kiddie-style´ at Julien´s head, netting him a spot in yet another GP final.

Final Result: Kai beats Julien 2-1 and advances to the finals.

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