Pro Tour-Chicago 1999
Round 3 Feature Match

Posted in Feature

By Wizards of the Coast

Michael Turian vs Masaya Mori

Round three pitted Pro Tour Veteran Mike Turian, the only player from Pittsburgh competing in this weekend's tournament, against reigning APAC champion Masaya Mori. In a somewhat rare event in Extended, both players were running multiple Tradewind Riders and designed their decks to lock up their opponent. Turian's deck is essentially an Extended Squirrel Prison deck. He uses Force of Will, Impulse, Ophidian, Tradewind Rider, and half a dozen Walls to supplement the Opposition/Deranged Hermit aspect of his deck and he also uses Winter Orbs as an additional way to send his opponent to jail. Mori's deck is basically a Survival/Recurring Nightmare deck, but Mori uses 2 Tradewinds and 4 Quirion Rangers as his primary route to victory.

Game one saw Mori play a turn 2 Survival of the Fittest while Turian failed to draw his third land so he could answer with Ophidian. Mori's third and fourth turn were fairly obscene: Survival for Wall of Roots, cast it, put a counter on it to Survival for Squee, Goblin Nabob and say done. Then he put another counter on his Wall during Mike's end step to turn Squee into a Tradewind Rider (let no one say that evolution isn't powerful). After returning the pesky goblin to his hand, Mori played a 2nd Wall of Roots and the Tradewind Rider, suddenly threatening a turn 4 Tradewind lock. Luckily for Mike, he had a Force of Will in hand to stop the madness temporarily, but Squee turned into another Tradewind by Mori's next turn and Turian couldn'tcounter this one.

At this point Mike had finally built up to 3 lands and a Wall of Roots so he could play a Tradewind of his own, but missing those early land drops left him way too far behind to catch up. It isn't clear that he could have fought Mori's Survival engine even if he had drawn enough land. Mori spent the next few turns bouncing Turian's Tradewind and Survivalling Squee for more and more Quirion Rangers. Turian usually thrives on complicated board positions and confusing situations - that's what his deck is supposed to do - but Mori played quickly and precisely too. Mori clearly understands his (rather complicated) deck very well and Mori might even like Quirion Ranger even more than Mike does! Mori quickly locked Mike up and Mike conceded.

Turian sideboarded in two Phyrexian Furnaces and an Emerald Charm while Mori had four Pyroblasts and several Lobotomies available in his own sideboard. Turian went first in game 2 and dropped a turn 1 Furnace, but then Mori Duressed Mike's Impulse, reducing the rest of Mike's draw to just one Winter Orb and a bunch of land. Turian did draw a Tradewind Rider by turn 4, but Mori had both Nekrataal and Pyroblast to deal with it. Quiron Ranger tricks let Mori Nekrataal the Tradewind even though he only had 2 lands and a Wall of Roots. Mori continued to not draw land for several turns, but Turian never drew any business spells that would allow him to take advantage of Mori's misfortune.

Eventually, Mori cast a Survival of the Fittest. Turian's Furnace prevented Mori from going nuts right away, but the Survival did allow Mori to fix up his mana supply with Birds and Wood Elf. After a few turns, Mori was ready to make his move. He Survivalled both Krovikan Horror and Squee into his graveyard, along with some other creatures. Turian sacrificed his Furnace to remove the Krovikan from the game, but he was clearly disappointed to see that Mori had two creatures that he could use to abuse Survival of the Fittest.

With Turian continuing to draw no business spells, it didn't take long before Mori had 2 tradewinds and 2 Quiron Rangers among his 7 creatures in play. There was one amusing exchange when Mori cast a Recurring Nightmare. Mike said "OK." More, surprised, asked "OK?" Turian shrugged and said "yup." That Recur brought Sliver Queen into play. Turian's Deranged Hermit dragged things out for a few turns and gave Turian the opportunity to show off his assort Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins, and Pirates sports figure squirrel tokens, but even the power of cool tokens couldn't hold off the double Tradewind lock. Turian conceded once Mori locked him up.

Mori - 2 (2-1 overall)
Turian - 0 (1-2 overall)

-Randy Buehler

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