Round 14: Corey Burkhart (Red-Green Landfall) vs. Peter Vieren (Esper Dragons)

Posted in Event Coverage on October 17, 2015

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Belgian Peter Vieren is playing in his twelfth Pro Tour this weekend after just getting his second Grand Prix Top 8 in Prague. Vieren represented Team Belgium at the World Magic Cup in 2012 and is hoping to clinch his first Pro Tour Top 8 this weekend.

His opponent, Corey Burkhart, has been a mainstay in the Open Series circuit for the last few years and, thanks to a Top 8 finish at Grand Prix San Diego, he's getting his second chance to play on the Pro Tour this weekend. Burkhart has a staggering 65% win percentage at the Grand Prix level, but his only previous Pro Tour saw him put up a disappointing 2-5 record. Burkhart is also looking to make his first Pro Tour Top 8 this weekend.

The players introduced themselves and talked about the tournament as it had unfolded thus far. Corey had apparently only lost two games in Standard up to this point, and was still 7-0 through the Constructed portion of the event. His drafts hadn't gone as well, however.

Vieren's losses were more spread out, with a 5-1 Limited record and 5-2 Constructed record up to this point in the event.

Corey Burkhart and Peter Vieren both represented opposite ends of the Standard spectrum, with each player hungry for their first Pro Tour Top 8.

The Games

Both players kept their opening hands in the first game, and Vieren used Duress right away to pluck a copy of Become Immense out of Burkhart's hand. Burkhart stuck a Scythe Leopard and the game was underway. Another Duress from Vieren whiffed and Burkhart advanced his board with another Scythe Leopard and a Monastery Swiftspear.

A fetch land on the following turn threatened a lot of damage, and Vieren used Ultimate Price to kill one of the Scythe Leopards. Burkhart further advanced his board with a morphed Den Protector.

Complete Disregard dealt with the morph, but Burkhart had a pair of Titan's Strength on the following turn and that was good enough to get Vieren down to 2. Vieren had Foul-Tongue Invocation, however, and was able to bounce back up to 6 and stabilize the board against a lone Monastery Swiftspear.

Burkhart isn't one to be deterred in the face of a rough situation.

Vieren's Dig Through Time and Jace, Vryn's Prodigy on the following turn meant that Burkhart would need to find a way to finish off his opponent quickly. The action wasn't there. Burkhart could only find lands on the top of his library and Vieren was firmly in the driver's seat as he resolved Dragonlord Ojutai and Dragonlord Silumgar in succession.

Burkhart tried to fight his way back into the game, but there was no breathing room remaining and Vieren was able to secure the first game in a very difficult matchup.

The players remained quiet as they shuffled up for the second game of the match.

Again, Vieren had a turn one Duress, this time taking Atarka's Command out of Burkhart's hand.

Burkhart played Den Protector and followed up with Scythe Leopard, but no turn one play meant that he wasn't applying a ton of pressure against his opponent, whose cards were bigger and more well-suited for the late game.

After a difficult to win first game, Vieren's chances greatly improved in the match.

Arashin Cleric came down for Vieren and, with his life total not under much pressure, it looked like he might be able to win a pair of games in a row.

Burkhart powered his way through the Arashin Cleric with Atarka's Command, but things started to seem grim when Vieren had Tasigur, the Golden Fang on the following turn. However, Burkhart was able to stick Outpost Siege and it looked like he might be able to out-card Vieren's control deck.

Dragonlord Ojutai offered up a potent threat on the other side of the table and Vieren decided to stay at card parity and present a two-turn clock by sending both of his creatures into the red zone. Another Outpost Siege meant even more card advantage for Burkhart, but now he was the one under pressure and an attack for nine from his opponent threatened lethal on the following turn.

Out of options, Burkhart was forced to leave both of his creatures back to block. In chump-block mode, with no options remaining, Burkhart was forced to concede.

Burkhart 0 – Vieren 2

Corey Burkhart—Red-Green Landfall

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Peter Vieren—Esper Dragons

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