Round 2: Brian Selden vs. Gary Krakower Baby Hermit vs. Accelerated Blue

Posted in Feature

By Worth Wollpert

This match pitted a former World Champion in Brian Selden against a former Canadian National Champion in Gary Krakower. Selden is a bit of an anomaly in the Magic community, he has shown up for two events so far this year, and placed in the top 8 in both of them. Selden was playing the Mogg Squad/Germany creation that Gary Wise dubbed "Baby Hermit." Between school at UC Berkely and surfing the waves of sunny Southern California, Selden isn't playing Magic quite as much as he used to, but you could never tell. Krakower is a grizzled Pro Tour veteran, with many high finishes to his credit, along with the Canadian National Championship a few years back, and he was playing a somewhat standard version of accelerated blue.

Selden started off playing first in game one, and led with a forest and a Llanowar Elf. Krakower opened the first couple turns with 2 Faerie Conclaves after Selden followed his elf with a Bird of Paradise and a Rishadan Port. On Seldens third turn, he took advantage of Krakower's tapped lands, and cast a Blastoderm. Krakower played a port of his own and waited to take five from the monster on Selden's next turn. Sure enough Selden sent his 'derm in, and after Krakower ported Selden's port, Selden dropped a Karplusan Forest and laid Blastoderm number two. Still calm, Krakower untapped and cast a Masticore, a regenerating blocker for the massive beasts on Selden's side. Selden untapped, sent in his force and Krakower calmly went to five life with the look of stabilizing the turn after. What follows is probably the most brilliant display of Magic skill I think I have seen in a long time. After his attack Selden started playing with his port a bit, just to get Krakower to notice it, and then passed the turn to Gary. As Krakower is untapping and moves to tap an island via Seldens port, Brian says, "Hold on a second...no, go ahead and leave it, I'll tap it during your draw step." Without thinking, Krakower moved straight into his draw step, drawing a card and trap was sprung. Upkeep had come and gone for Krakower, and with it, no card paid for Masticore. Krakower realized his mistake shortly thereafter, as did I when I looked over and saw Brian with a giant size cheshire cat grin on his face. To his credit, Krakower was very professional about the whole situation even going as far as to lean over to me after he had conceded game one (to the two remaining unopposed Blastoderms) with a smile on his face and say, "Please be kind."

The second game of the match was much much longer. The only notable play in the first 10 turns or so was when a turn 4 Morphling (via Grim Monolith) was killed with Selden's Earthquake. Krakower managed to neutralize Selden's early threats and actually take the offensive in the midgame with multiple Faerie Conclaves, getting Selden down quite low. Selden was fighthing back with multiple Avalanche Riders getting rid of all but one of Krakower's conclaves. Selden finally managed to draw a Dust Bowl to deal with the remaining conclave and the Rath's Edge that had been picking at his life total all game long. After Selden rid Krakower of his remaining conclave, Gary had a one turn window in which to draw a mana and activate his Rath's Edge to do the last point of damage to Selden. It was not to be, as Krakower drew his card and frowned, passed the turn to Selden who eagarly untapped, finished off the Rath's Edge with his Dust Bowl and breathed a sigh of relief. Back to stalemate for now. At this point both players are essentially in top deck mode, as Krakower's early Veiled Serpent is holding off various 1/1 and 2/2 creatures on Selden's side. Finally after a few more Avalanche Riders and Boils and Ports for Selden, Krakower is fighthing to even have one land untapped per turn., and the 2/2 creatures are mounting up. A Blastoderm attempt by Selden gets Foiled, but after that various other 2 power creatures come down and finally after a Tectonic Break for five, many many small creatures come over and even though Veiled Serpent fights the valiant fight Krakower goes down to a horde of Uktabi Orangutans, Llanowar Elves, Yavimaya Elders and Avalanche Riders, five minutes before time runs out.

Final Score:

Brian Selden (2-0-0)

defeats

Gary Krakower (0-0-2)

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