Round 12: (17) Steve Rubin vs. (6) Jacob Wilson

Posted in Event Coverage on August 29, 2015

By Chapman Sim

The prestigious World Championship is the most difficult tournament to qualify for, and for good reason. It is the gateway to becoming a World Champion and entry is kept extremely exclusive. Against all odds, everyone present today has found a way.

Maybe your name is Shahar Shenhar and you're returning as the reigning World Champion. Maybe you won a Pro Tour. Or maybe you got so many Pro Points that you secured an "At Large" invitation. Both (17) Steve Rubin and (6) Jacob Wilson were invited in this manner, owing to their spectacular 2014-15 season.

Among the entire crop of 24, three players have cashed in all the four Pro Tours the previous season. (1) Eric Froehlich is one of the three players, placing 37th, 5th, 19th, and 19th at Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir, Pro Tour Fate Reforged, Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir and Pro Tour Magic Origins respectively. (3) Paul Rietzl is another, placing 49th, 36th, 27th, and 60th.

And who was the third you may ask? Steve Rubin, of course! He pretty much amassed his bunch of Pro Points the same way, placing 31st, 40th, 20th, and 75th.

Despite also having a lot of Pro Points himself, Wilson didn't have as smooth-sailing a journey as Rubin. In fact, it was a rather nail-biting and nerve-wracking experience in Vancouver. After the dust settled and the numbers were confirmed, Wilson found out that he was the recipient of the final "At Large" invitation and thanked his lucky stars for being able to return to the World Championship for the second year running.


Steve Rubin and Jacob Wilson were now fighting for their tournament life.

Both players are still in contention for the Top 4, but only barely. Sitting at 6-5, they would need to defeat one another and win the last two matches for the glimmer of hope.

Rubin and Wilson are piloting the most heavily-represented decks in today's Standard metagame. It was probably also an expected clash between Mantis Rider and Siege Rhino, a scenario that they've both played out many, many, MANY times, on Magic Online, on paper, and in their heads.

The Games

Recognizing that this was an attrition war, Rubin quickly forced Wilson to ditch Dig Through Time and Ojutai's Command with a pair of Thoughtseizes.

Unfortunately, Rubin was stuck on three lands and was forced to tap out for Courser of Kruphix in a desperate attempt to find additional mana. Wilson finished it off with Stoke the Flames before untapping to drop both Mantis Rider and Goblin Rabblemaster.

Despite having Hero's Downfall for Goblin Rabblemaster, Rubin was quickly overwhelmed by the 3/3 Monk and the 1/1 Goblin token. Failing to find a fourth land, he scooped up his cards a couple of turns later and reached for his sideboard.


Wilson makes quick work of a stumbling opponent.

Rubin opened the second game with Fleecemane Lion, and used his next two turns to kill Soulfire Grandmaster and Goblin Rabblemaster with a pair of Hero's Downfall. Before Rubin could reach five mana, Wilson decided to exile Fleecemane Lion with Glare of Heresy so he didn't have to deal with a hexproof annoyance.

The first of Rubin's Siege Rhinos met Valorous Stance, but it was returned by Den Protector. The Rhino took a couple of bites off Jacob's life total before a second Valorous Stance sent it back into the bin. These series of "Rhino" triggers, coupled with the few attacks, reduced Wilson to just 3 life.

After this flurry of exchanges, both players tried to eke out any edge they could. Rubin tried to gain some advantage with Tasigur, the Golden Fang, while Wilson dug for gas with Dig Through Time and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy.


Rubin maintains the pressure that Abzan is known for.

When Rubin activated Tasigur for the first time, he flipped over two lands and Wilson was forced to grant him Den Protector. This allowed him to resurrect Siege Rhino for the millionth time, but Wilson countered it with Disdainful Stroke to avoid the lethal trigger.

Fortunately, Wilson had completed Jace's transformation and used Jace, Unbound Telepath to flashback Valorous Stance. That put a stop to any further Tasigur shenanigans and Rubin was close to being exhausted of resources.

Eventually, Wilson found time to drop a pair of Mantis Riders on the board and started to soar through the skies to whittle away at Rubin's positive life total. On the turn that Rubin resolved Elspeth, Sun's Champion, it was already inconsequential. Another attack, in combination with Lightning Strike, ensured Wilson's victory.

Rubin 0 – Wilson 2


Steve Rubin's Abzan Control - 2015 Magic World Championship

Jacob Wilson's Jeskai - 2015 Magic World Championship

 

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