by Randy Buehler
Coming into this tournament, one of the most popular picks to win it all was Billy Jensen. "Baby Huey" followed up his Top 8 at the last limited Pro Tour by winning grand Prix San Diego and some consider him the best limited player in the world. He started out 3-0 this weekend, but had lost 2 in a row when he sat down to play Michael Sochon in round 6. The winner of this match could draw into day 2 and the loser was eliminated.
Jensen had mana problems early in game, but Sochon's 3-color special was unable to mount any real threats before Jensen drew into lands 3 and 4. Sochon's Instigator made it hard for Jensen to block, but Mercadian Atlas allowed Jensen to draw so many extra cards that he could use Waterfront Bouncer and still playa blocker every turn. Sochon almost overwhelmed Jensen by putting 5 2/2's into play with Midnight Ritual, but Billy was able to recover while at one life. Jensen was serving with Nightwind Glider every turn and looked like he was about to win when Michael top-decked Volcanic Winds (the reason for his third color). Luckily, Jensen had Tidal Bore in his hand so he could untap his Bouncer as a response and bounce the Glider back into his hand. the Glider delivered the death blow 2 turns later.
Sochon mulliganned to start game 2 and Jensen faked disappointment in a fine hand. Sochon had all t colors of mana and a Spidersilk Armor, but not many spells. Jensen made a textbook play by leading with Blockade Runner in order to bait Sochon's removal and clear the way for Ballista Squad. Sochon did indeed use his Maggot Therapy on the Runner and was helpless once Ballista Squad hit the table. Nightwind Glider also came out to play and Jensen clearly sensed that the kill 9and the advancement to day 20 was in hand. Sochon tried to cast Thrashing Wumpus, but Jensen Counterspelled it. Mercadian Atlas ensured that there was no way for Sochon to come up with answers to all Jensen's threats. Jensen dropped Stinging barrier and shook his head in amazement at how good his hand was. "Tight ... tight!"
Jensen - 2
Sochon - 0