by Randy Buehler
Dave Price and Trevor Blackwell met in a battle of Pro Tour LA champs. Price won LA-3 while Blackwell took LA-5 a few months ago. Price had an amazing draft. He first picked a Stinging Barrier, but he saw no quality blue cards in his next 6 packs. The 8th pack he drafted from still had a Maggot Therapy in it so he decided to take it and see what happened. His next picks went Cateran Persuader, Cateran Persuader, Silent Assassin, Cateran Summons. Then in Prophecy he got rewarded handsomely for figuring out to switch into black. After first picking an Agent of Shauku, he got passed Plague Winds, then Avatar of Wore, then another Avatar of Woe! And his 5th pick was a Troubled Healer, consider by many the best common in the entire format! Blackwell sat down with an unspectacular blue/white deck and had little idea what he was in for. Price played out a Persuader and a Silent Assassin and managed to deal a quick 9 points of damage before Blackwell used Mageta's Boon (on Spiketail Hatchling) and Saprazzan Outrigger to stabilize the board. Blackwell started attacking with Stormwatch Eagle and Price life total was dropped by 2 a turn. Price eventually drew Rathi Fiend and knocked himself to 11 and Blackwell to 8. Price's Rathi Intimidator was now a real threat. Blackwell sent in his Outrigger to force Price to block with a Persuader. Two turns later Price was ready to go for it. He attacked with everything, expecting Blackwell to block two creatures and take 3 from two others. Price could then tap all 6 of his lands and sacrifice three of them to give his unblocked creatures a total of +6/+0 with Agent of Shauku. Blackwell had a Flowering Field, but that still adds up to 8 damage.
Blackwell made a really interesting play. He decided not to block with Saprazzan Outrigger. That left him with 7 power worth of attackers available for the next turn while Price was at 7 with no untapped creatures. "That really made me think," said Price after the match. Now Price only needed to pay 4 mana and sacrifice 2 lands to deal lethal damage, however, if Blackwell had a trick (like Orim's Cure, for example), then Price would immediately lose. Price other option was to play conservatively and summon a blocker instead of going for it. However, after a few minutes of silent debate, Price did decide to go for it. And it turned out Blackwell was bluffing. It was an extremely well-executed bluff (Price even complimented Blackwell on it after the game) but Price didn't buy it and thus Price won game 1.
Game 2 was ugly. Price led with Agent of Shauku and Rathi Intimidator. Blackwell answered with Stormwatch Eagle and Saprazzan Outrigger. Blackwell served with his Outrigger so he could get it off the table long enough to use Topple to remove the Intimidator from the game. Price followed up with Ballista Squad and he recruited Silent Assassin out of his deck. Blackwell was once again forced to serve with the Outrigger so he could use a 2nd Topple on the Ballista Squad. When Price played out Belbe's Percher and Troubled Healer, Blackwell just laughed. Price's deck looked amazing even though he hadn't drawn Plague Winds or either Avatar. Price recruited another Persuader and a Spineless Thug and then it was time to attack with everyone. Agent of Shauku made it impossible for Blackwell to survive.
Price 2 (now 1-0)
Blackwell 0 (now 0-1)