Pro Tour-Chicago 1999
Round 13 Feature Match

Posted in Feature

By Wizards of the Coast

Justin Gary vs. Stephan Valkyser

In the same round where Tony Dobson and Christian Luhrs took an intentional draw in order to get to 31 points, Justin Gary was trying to beat Stephan Valkyser to get there. Valkyser, who went into the round at 9-3, needed at least 4 more point sto make the top 8. Gary is one of the Your Move Games team members playing their Trix deck while Valkyser is running a fairly old school looking Sligh deck. He does include Land Grants and Taigas to thin in deck and support the Emerald Charms in his sideboard.

Justin won the die roll and that probably decided game 1. Justin's first turn Bird got Fanaticed, but he was able to play Survival of the Fittest before Stephan could play his Jackal Pup and use a Wasteland. Justin's only other land was a Phyrexian Tower, but with Survival in play that was good enough to allow hi to go get a Wall of Roots and then play it on his next turn. Stephan's Goblin cadet became fairly worthless with the Wall available for blocking and Justin was even able to Survival for a Verdant Force and Recur it into play before Stephan could cast Ball Lightning. Fast Verdant Forces are almost impossible for Sligh to beat and with the Verdant and Spike Feeder already on the table and Justin at 8, Stephan chose to concede as a response to a Duress rather than show Justin the Land Grant (and Shock) in his hand.

Game 2 was equally affected by who got to go first. Stephan's opening draw included Jackal Pup, Mountain, Shock, and 2 Wastelands. Stephan played a Pup and then Justin played a Bird. Stephan Wasted and Shocked plus attacked for 2 on turn 2. Justin played a land on his second turn, but it too got Wasted and Justin didn't have a third. Stephan summoned Ball Lightning and still had a second Ball Lightnng to spare after he'd done 20 damage.

Things were looking pretty good for Justin in game 3 when he saw 3 land, a Bird, and a Wall of Roots in his opening hand, especially when Stephan mulliganned down to 6. Stephan's second hand had only one Mountain to go with 2 Ball Lightnings and a Fireblast, but it did have a Pup and Stephan decided it was better than going down to 5 cards. Justin led with Bird of Paradise and Stephan couldn't kill it, so he played his Pup. Justin played two different Walls of Roots on turn 2 and seemed very happy to have 0/4 and 0/5 blcokers in play while still at 20 life. Nothing much happened for several turned while Stephan tried to draw land and Justin tried to draw spells. Justin drew Worship right after Stephan Wastelanded his only Savannah (the Bird had been dead for a few turns by now).

Justin never found a Survival and still just had the two Walls aroudn turn 10 when Stephan finally built his way up to 3 mana. Stephan's 3rd land came via Land Grant, which he cast by showing Justin his hand. Stephan showed Justin 2 Ball Lightnings, a Fireblast, and a Reckless Abandon. That's a lot of damage. Justin's 0/5 Wall of Roots stepped in front of the first Ball Lightning and then Justin top-decked Phyrexian Tower, which allowed him to sacrifice his other Wall and actually cast Verdant Force. With Justin on 12 life, Stephan drew a card and summoned the other Ball Lightning. Justin put Verdant in front of it and used the Saproling to block a Goblin Patrol, but he still took 3 down to 9. 9 was low enough since Valkyser had just drawn Mountain #4, which allowed him to point a Fanatic at Justin's head, cast Reckless Abandon and cast Fireblast.

Valkyser - 2
Gary - 1

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