Round 14: Kyle Boggemes vs. (3) Eric Froehlich

Posted in PRO TOUR DRAGONS OF TARKIR on April 11, 2015

By Josh Bennett

Three rounds to go. This is where the pressure really starts to mount, especially when you're already saddled with three losses. Win your next two, and you can likely draw in. Lose, and even winning out might not be enough.

Kyle Boggemes is best known as the finalist at Pro Tour San Diego 2010. After reaching those dizzying heights, however, his career hit a bit of a slump. He rallied in 2014, claiming his first Grand Prix title in Cincinnatti, and now he's looking to get back in the Sunday spotlight. He comes into Standard armed with Blue-Black Control.

Eric Froehlich, currently ranked third in the Top 25 Rankings, had a reputation as a person whose glass is not only half-empty, but also leaking and about to fall over despite impossible odds against that happening. However, since reflecting on how he approaches his fortune at Pro Tour Journey into Nyx, Froehlich has turned this around. The glass is half-empty far less these days, and his Pro Tour career has been a long and decorated one. He scored his first Pro Tour Top 8 in 2002, and his fourth just recently at Pro Tour Fate Reforged. He also recently joined Marshall Sutcliffe's Constructed Resources podcast to no small fanfare. His name is frequently bandied about in discussions of Hall of Fame ballots, but Froehlich insists he has more to prove before deserving that honor. This weekend, he is playing a supercharged Jeskai Tokens deck.

Kyle Boggemes sought out a second chance at a Pro Tour victory. Meanwhile, third-ranked Eric Froehlich was looking to make a potential fifth Pro Tour Top 8 the one he wins.

The Games

Boggemes won the right to play first. Both players spent the early turns scrying and sorting out their colors. Boggemes had Hero's Downfall for Froehlich's first play of Goblin Rabblemaster, but had to pass his fourth turn without playing a land. Froehlich tried another Rabblemaster, but it fell to Ultimate Price. Boggemes hit land on his next turn, and Anticipate served up another after Froehlich resolved Jeskai Ascendancy. They settled in for a long battle.

After a couple turns of lands and a Dragon Fodder mopped up by Bile Blight, Froehlich tried a second Ascendancy. This one also resolved. Boggemes went for an end-of-turn Dig Through Time, but was stopped by Disdainful Stroke. He untapped and passed it back, stopping Treasure Cruise with a Stroke of his own. However, all this looting was keeping Froehlich's hand stocked with action. Boggemes decided it was time to risk tapping out for Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and was dismayed to see Froehlich tap two mana for yet another Disdainful Stroke. Froehlich played Raise the Alarm at the end of the turn and untapped.

With a Pro Tour finals appearance to his name, Boggemes is hardly new to the game, and he's looking to return to the Sunday stage.

With Boggemes tapped out, Froehlich was free to resolve a second Cruise, looting away more duds. Next came a Stoke the Flames directed at Boggemes, the soldier tokens providing a discount and then untapping thanks to the Ascendancy triggers. A second Stoke the Flames prompted a question from Boggemes.

"How big are they now?"

"7/7s once the triggers resolve."

"Okay, you win."

Again there was no action until turn three during Game 2. Froehlich played a Raise the Alarm off two Mystic Monastery, which Boggemes allowed, and then revealed that he had failed to find land number three. Boggemes Anticipated and then untapped, adding Perilous Vault to the board. Froehlich missed again on his draw and had to discard Goblin Rabblemaster. His next turn offered faint hope in the form of Anticipate, but Boggemes was only too happy to Dissolve it.

He untapped and played a main phase Dig Through Time, tapping out. Froehlich hit an island off the top and shrugged a Rabblemaster into play. Boggemes got another land into play and passed. Froehlich went to combat, then tapped three tokens and a land for Stoke the Flames, bringing Boggemes down to 10 life. Boggemes activated his Perilous Vault to wipe the board. He untapped and brought out Jorubai Murk Lurker.

Froehlich was after more than his fifth Pro Tour Top 8. He was also after first place in the Player of the Year race.

It was looking good for Boggemes. He was padding his life total, and he had answers for Froehlich's next couple of plays. However, Froehlich managed to resolve Jeskai Ascendancy, and then had Disdainful Stroke for both Jace's Ingenuity and Silumgar, the Drifting Death. Boggemes countered a Treasure Cruise and tried to resolve Tasigur, but again Froehlich had the counter. He went for yet another Treasure Cruise, and that one resolved.

That was the beginning of the end. His next play was Dragonlord Ojutai. Boggemes had drawn blanks and could only watch as the big dragon served up smore cards to Froehlich. Life gain from his lands kept Boggemes alive, but he was too far behind to recover. It was over in short order.

"Two Disdainful Strokes in the main?" asked Boggemes.

Froehlich shook his head. "More. It's just good against every deck. They all have some big spell they want to resolve."

They talked briefly about the match, and almost as an afterthought Froehlich said, "I actually misplayed the first game pretty badly. I had Valorous Stance and played my second Rabblemaster instead of the Ascendancy. If I play Ascendancy first, then Rabblemaster and Valorous Stance your removal, I'm way ahead."

I asked Froehlich if Ascendancy was a must-counter in the matchup, given how it had fueled his draw in the first game. He could only laugh at this. "It's a must-counter in every matchup. The card is insane."

Eric Froehlich's Jeskai Tokens

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Kyle Boggemes's Blue-Black Control

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