Pro Tour-Chicago 1999
Round 2 Feature Match

Posted in Feature

By Wizards of the Coast

Pat Chapin vs. Dirk Baberowski

Dirk Baberowski

Pat Chapin and Dirk Baberowski

Reigning Pro Tour Chicago champion and Rookie of the year Dirk Baberowski sat down for this match with a green-blue Oath of Druids deck in his hand. The Germans decided to drop out all the white mana from the traditional Oath deck because they wanted to use Thawing Glaciers and you just can't run enough basic land in a 3-color deck to take advantage of the thaw. Pat Chapin was playing a mono-black Necro deck with 12, count them, 12 "free" spells. In order to fully take advantage of the power of the skull, you need to be able to use as many cards per turn as possible once Necropotence is in play. With this in mind, Eric Taylor (who designed the deck) chose to include four copies each of Contagion, Unmask, *and* Spinning Darkness.

Dirk won the flip and chose to go first. Pat could have Duressed Dirk on turn 1, but he saw that one untapped blue mana and wisely chose to wait. On turn 2 Chapin Duressed, Dirk Countered, but then Chapin Duressed again. This play allowed Chapin to take Dirk's last counter -- a Force of Will. On his next (third) turn, Chapin cast Necropotence -- but Dirk had just top-decked a Counterspell! "Who does that?" On his next turn Dirk then chose to activate and attack with Treetop Village. Chapin then surprised him by removing three cards from his graveyard to cast Spinning Darkness on the invading monster. Dirk was visibly surpirsed, but he had just drawn a Force of Will and he decided to use it to defend his land-beast. Chapin immediately cast Demonic Consultation (naming Necropotence), untapped, cast it, and began to harness the power of the skull. The rest of the game was just ugly. Chapin went through about five cards every turn, Spun the Treetop again, Unmasked Dirk a couple of times until he had no hand at all, built up his mana supply, and finally started throwing Drain Lifes and Corrupts at Dirk's head. When the edt-Necro deck has Necro in play, the engine looks amazing.

Pat and Dirk both went into game 2 knowing that their entire matchup probably just boils down to whether or not Chapin could force Necropotence through Dirk's permission. Dirk led with an island in game 2, but when he followed that up with a Wasteland instead of a second blue source, Chapin saw his chance. He Consulted for Necropotence and then used Dark Ritual to cast it on turn 2. Dirk tapped his one blue mana for Annul! Ouch.

Dirk then did a main phase Impulse on his third turn to look for more land. He found an island, played it, and then had to hope Pat didn't draw one of the 3 Necros remaining in what was left of his library after the Consult (which was only 15-20 cards). Pat didn't draw it. The players then traded two Masticores for two Counterspells while Dirk drew and played a Thawing Glacier. When Dirk started to Thaw he had only 4 land in play, but his hand included all four of his Force of Wills! He eventually drew more permission while Chapin was pretty much out of threats. Pat knew his chances were slim as Dirk Thawed out pretty APAC Island after pretty APAC Island. He tried to cast Necro -- it didn't work. He tried again to cast Necro and jokingly begged for Dirk's pity, insisting that the game would be more fun if they *both* had a hand full of cards. Dirk didn't buy it and countered the Necro. A couple turns later Dirk chose not to counter a Duress so Pat could see that his hand consisted of 7 assorted permission spells. Pat immediately conceded. The turn 2 Annul was good, but it was really the power of Thawing Glaciers that won that game for Dirk. Even after the recent errata, that card is still "some good" and the German team's decision to drop white from their Oath deck so they could run it looks pretty good.

In game 3 Chapin once again saved his Duress for turn 2. Dirk led with a Treetop Village and then Pat Duressed him. Pat had Necropotence in hand, but only 2 Swamps. His choices were Counterspell, Force of Will, Compost, and Oath of Druids. Pat saw that Dirk only had one blue mana source in his hand (a Tropical Island) so he took the Force of Will, knowing that if he just got Necro into play he could find an answer to Compost. But then he didn't draw the necessary Swamp (or Dark Ritual) while Dirk did draw the island he wanted on turn 3. Pat drew land #3 on turn #4, but it was too late. Baberowski cast Counterspell and then drew a card from Compost. On Pat's next turn he cast his other Necro, but Dirk once again countered it and drew a card from Compost. That left Pat with a Stupor as his most threatening card. It's not very threatening with Compost in play but Pat cast it anyway. Dirk used Disrupt to counter it and drew *two* cards. The game lasted another 20 minutes, but it was basically over on turn 3 when Pat didn't draw black mana, but Dirk did draw blue mana. In addition, Dirk's sideboard plan of Annuls and Composts, along with a couple Disrupts, looked quite good in this matchup. Dirk started attacking with Treetop Villages after Thawing all the land out of his deck, but Pat conceded rather than sitting through the endgame.

-Randy Buehler

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