Round 10: Ben Rubin vs. Josh Smith

Posted in NEWS on January 4, 2016

Ben Rubin vs. Josh Smith

The only undefeated player in the tournament, Ben Rubin has an impressive resume including numerous Pro Tour Top 8's and two Masters Series wins. Josh Smith, a player from Boston, is generally regarded as one of the best players in his area not to have qualified for a Pro Tour. Smith is 8-1 and playing a U/B/G control deck featuring Shadowmage Infiltrators, Pernicious Deeds, Fact or Fictions, and maindeck Diabolic Edicts. Rubin is with the Miracle Grow variant which includes White.

Game 1

Both players got off to a brisk start with a mulligan. Smith Duressed and took Winter Orb, seeing Meddling Mage and Merfolk Looter. The Mage came out next turn and named Pernicious Deed. A second Meddling Mage met a Force of Will (with a second Force pitched) from Smith. Rubin thought and decided to play a Force of his own, pitching Merfolk Looter. The Meddling Mage named Call of the Herd, which was not in Smith's deck. Smith cast Gaea's Blessing retrieving a Force of Will but did nothing else, under pressure from the two Mages. Smith then Fact or Fictioned into Pernicious Deed, Shadowmage Infiltrator, and three land. Smith took the pile with Finkel, Deed and one land. Subsequently he played out the Finkel. Rubin played Gush, but Smith responded with Forbid, pitching two Pernicious Deeds to pay the buyback cost. Smith used his Forbid again next turn to counter a topdecked Werebear.

Ben Rubin

A Faerie Conclave stabilized the ground but Rubin continued to draw action in the form of Gush. He was forced to burn for two, however, as he had no play. Smith used Wasteland to take out a Tropical Island, leaving Rubin with a Flood Plain and a Savannah. Smith then Edicted Rubin, and Rubin sacrificed his Meddling Mage which had previously named Call of the Herd. Finally Smith's Finkel could start attacking and Rubin was in trouble. A second Finkel came into play meeting no resistance two turns later. Smith's hand contained 2 Force of Wills and a Counterspell. Rubin's creatures were either countered or Diabolic Edicted for the rest of the game. A lone Merfolk Looter got onto the table, but it was not enough to battle two Finkels, two Faerie Conclaves, and a full hand.

1-0, Smith

Smith brought in an astounding thirteen cards including Submerges, Powder Kegs, and Disrupts. Rubin added 3 Annul, a Winter Orb and a Submerge but it seems that Smith's deck has a distinct advantage in the post-sideboarded games because most of his cards are important threats against Miracle Grow.

Game 2

Rubin began again with a mulligan, and Smith punished him further by Wastelanding his first land, a Flood Plain. Rubin was not severely disrupted, however, as he follows up with another Flood Plain and then a Tropical Island. Rubin cast Winter Orb, which posed a large problem for Smith when it resolved. Rubin played Land Grant, revealing Force of Will, Werebear, Annul, Swords and Land Grant. Smith played a Pernicious Deed backed up by Disrupt on the following turn and the Deed destroyed the Winter Orb and Werebear. Smith resolved another Pernicious Deed as Rubin sighed in disappointment.

Rubin Gushed twice during his next turn, once paying the actual casting cost. Rubin played out a Quirion Dryad but Smith's attempt to swing with his Faerie Conclave was met with Swords to Plowshares. Smith then Edicted away Rubin's Dryad and followed up strong the next turn with a Shadowmage Infiltrator. Rubin cast Brainstorm, Submerged Smith's Infiltrator, and then counters it with Force of Will when Smith attempted to reintroduce it onto the table. \

Josh Smith

Rubin played Winter Orb and had six lands on the board with an empty hand. Smith himself has a two-card hand but the Pernicious Deed on the table gave him a big edge at this point in the game. Two turns later, Rubin played Gush and then dropped a Merfolk Looter, which he resolved. During Rubin's end of turn step, Smith blew his Pernicious Deed to destroy the Looter and the Winter Orb. On his turn Smith played a Powder Keg to rebuild his defenses in anticipation of Rubin's future threats.

Both players did nothing for many turns, refilling their hands. The stalemate is broken by a Werebear from Rubin. Smith attempted to Diabolic Edict it at the end of Rubin's turn, but Rubin Forced the Edict. Smith had a Disrupt which netted him a card, but the Edict is still countered. Smith then blew the Keg and tried to replace it with another Keg on the next turn, but Rubin had Annul. Smith went for Pernicious Deed but Rubin used Foil to nip that problem in the bud. Rubin then successfully resolved Meddling Mage on his own turn, naming Diabolic Edict. Smith promptly Submerged the Mage and then stops it with Force of Will before it could do any damage. Smith then played a Finkel on his turn, and Rubin followed with a Quirion Dryad. Rubin attempted to Plow the Finkel but Smith used Counterspell to save it. When that resolved, Smith Submerged Rubin's Dryad and played Morphling the next turn. Another Meddling Mage is then countered and Rubin, at nine, was running out of time. Rubin's Dryad was not enough. The Morphling and Shadowmage Infiltrator cruised to victory.

Final Result: 2-0 Smith

Ben Rubin, Round 10 Feature Match

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Josh Smith Round 10 Feature Match

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