Pro Tour-Chicago 1999
Round 4 Feature Match

Posted in Feature

By Wizards of the Coast

Worth Wollpert vs. Kurt Burgner

Worth Wollpert and Kurt Burgner are two of the regulars on the Pro Tour. Each has been playing for years and each is currently on the "gravy train", meaning they have enough Pro Tour points to qualify for each event. They've played multiple times in the past and they joked before and during the round about how Kurt has owned Worth. Burgner is playing a copy of the Squirrel Prison deck designed by Mike Turian while Worth is running a Suicide Black deck that is only a couple cards off from the one being used by Dave Price. To add a further twist to the match, the two friends knew the contents of each other's decks almost exactly.

Burgner won the all-important coin flip and, of course, chose to go first. Kurt led off with two islands while Worth played a Swamp and Consulted for Hatred. On his second turn Worth summoned Dauthi Slayer and then watched Kurt tap out for an Ophidian. With Dark Ritual, land, and Hatred in hand Worth starting talking out loud about the fact that he knows Kurt only has 2 copies of Force of Will in his deck. "We're going to see if you've got it - I'll pay 18 life." Kurt's response was "I'll pay one life" - he did have it. Ophidian actually dealt damage, what with Worth at 2 and the game was over in two turns. Interestingly, it turns out Worth was wrong about the exact number of Force of Wills in Kurt's deck. Burgner (like Turian) runs 3 in the main deck and 1 more in the sideboard. (And that's their only permission.)

Game 2 was equally swift. Worth went first, played a Swamp, a Ritual, and a Negator. What's green/blue supposed to do about that (when it doesn't have Force of Will)?! Worth backed up his 5/5 trampler with a turn 2 Duress, seeing that Kurt had nothing but Walls and Birds. Kurt "went off" on turn 3, playing a second Wall of Roots and 2 Birds of Paradise. Worth promptly used Demonic Consultation to find a Perish, swept Kurt's side of the board, and continued with the Negator beatings.

Kurt got to go first in game 3 and kept a hand with good mana, 2 Ophidians, and no Force of Will. Worth had to mulligan a no-land, but that doesn't actually hurt his deck that match. It's designed, in part, to mulligan very aggressively in order to set up quick wins. Chris Pikula describes Suicide Black very well at last year's Invitational when he referred to it as "a combo deck without that dirty, combo deck feeling." However, with Negators and Consults now added to the mix, it's becoming degenerate enough to make some players feel a little bad about some draws. Worth got one of those when he went down to 6 cards.

Worth played a turn 1 Sarcomancy and his hand on turn 2 included Dark Ritual, City of Traitors, Duress, Hatred, Demonic Consultation, and Swamp. You just cast Hatred and win right? Nope - wrong play. You and I know Kurt doesn't have a Force of Will, but Worth doesn't know that. Worth just attacks for 2 and says done. Kurt taps out for Ophidian on turn 3. Now the Sarcomancy can't get through and Kurt doesn't even need a Force of Will, right? Worth untaps, Consults for Phyrexian Negator, plays City of Traitors and uses it to cast the Negator. That leaves worth with 2 Swamps and a City of traitors in play. That's just enough mana to cast (next turn) the Duress, Dark Ritual, and Hatred that are in his hand. Why risk losing to Force of Will when you can actually play around both it and any potential blockers! It was a nice display of properly played Magic. Of course Kurt didn't have the Force of Will and Worth didn't need to play perfectly to win this particular game, but I, for one, still appreciated watching it.

The worst part of the match was that Kurt never got to show off his stuffed squirrel Beanie Baby squirrel tokens.

Kurt Burgner - 1
Worth Wollpert - 2

-Randy Buehler

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