Daniel Kwiatkowski is the reigning King of the Hill. Kwiatkowski enters the second day of competition with an unscathed record. A top 32 at the Indianapolis Legacy Grand Prix shows that Kwiatkowski has what it takes to compete at the highest level. Kwiatkowski is armed with Boros Burn, one of Standard's premier strategies.
His opponent, Steven Rubin, is a two-time Pro Tour competitor (Atlanta and Montreal) that piloted his Black Devotion strategy to an undefeated record through the first nine rounds. Rubin's sideboard features Brindle Boar and Duress to augment the Grey Merchant of Asphodel in his maindeck. These lifegain effects could prove difficult for Kwiatkowski to overcome.
Kwiatkowski won the roll and both players kept their opening hands.
Chandra's Phoenix came down for Kwiatkowski and flew directly across the table for two points of damage. It met Hero's Downfall on the following turn, but Kwiatkowski's Warleader's Helix ensured that it would be back to fight another day.
Chandra's Phoenix returned to the board, but the freshly cast Desecration Demon from Rubin kept it on the defensive.
Kwiatkowski 1 - 0 Rubin
Rubin's matchup improved significantly after sideboarding. The dangerously painful Underworld Connections and the clunky Hero's Downfall were replaced with Duress, Brindle Boar, and cheaper spot removal.
Duress plucked Skullcrack from Kwiatkowski's hand, and Rubin saw an opportunity to play Pack Rat. Kwiatkowski had no cards that interacted when Rubin used his Duress, and a few Pack Rat activations would be very difficult for the Burn deck to race.
The game stalled out for a moment as Kwiatkowski drew too many lands and Rubin couldn't draw enough. Eventually, Rubin found Overgrown Tomb and used it to cast Brindle Boar, which would block and activate when Kwiatkowski's Mutavault entered the fray on the following turn.
The game turned into a race when Lifebane Zombie and Mutavault began trading blows. Kwiatkowski broke serve with a Skullcrack to leave Rubin at three, but Rubin responded with Abrupt Decay targeting Chained to the Rocks.
Pack Rat on the following turn closed the game quickly while Kwiatkowski drew one too many lands to contend.
Kwiatkowski 1 - 1 Rubin
Kwiatkowski started the third game on six cards and quickly went down to five when Rubin cast Thoughtseize. Kwiatkowski revealed three copies of Eidolon of the Great Revel and a Skullcrack. After some thought, Rubin decided to take one of the eidolons.
It was a cunning move. Rubin had Bile Blight in hand and was hoping that by taking Eidolon of the Great Revel he would be able to induce Kwiatkowski to cast both copies, thus giving him a two for one against what would surely be the most important card of the game.
Rubin blocked the first Eidolon with a Mutavault of his own, but the second copy followed shortly thereafter.
Rubin struggled to hang on, but his hand was filled with burn spells that target himself thanks to the opposing eidolon.
Kwiatkowski 2 - 1 Rubin
Daniel Kwiatkowski defended his King of the Hill title, winning in three games!