Quarterfinals Stage 2: Pierre Dagen (Blue-Red Spells) vs. Ben Hull (Red-White Vehicles)

Posted in Event Coverage on October 16, 2016

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for DailyMTG.com, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

On one side, we have a mad scientist, holed up in his Dynavolt Tower, storing up epic amounts of energy, ready to unleash it at a moment's notice, whenever his wild and whimsical mind desires it. Every spell he casts charges his machine up more, and the higher the charge, the more our scientist can throw around bolts of lightning willy nilly.

On the other side stands a daredevil, piloting all manner of vehicles, racing to the finish line, looking for speed, speed, speed. Proud, fast, and strong, he wants to get to the finish line as soon as possible. Electricity might slow him down, but even then, he's still faster than the competition.

Our mad scientist in this match is Pierre Dagen, a former Pro Tour runner-up (Pro Tour Theros, in Dublin) who has piloted his Blue-Red Spells deck deftly through a field that didn't see it coming. While the lynchpin of the deck, Dynavolt Tower, has been a favorite of control mages all weekend, Dagen centered his deck around it, with virtually no other way to win the game.

Our daredevil is Ben Hull, piloting a—pun intended—White-Red Vehicles deck. He already avoided crashing and burning in a near-mirror in the first quarterfinals stage against Lee Shi Tian, but racing into a tower of lightning is a completely different story. Especially since there's a bit of a gap in experience between these two players.

Dynavolt Tower manager Pierre Dagen faces off against Vehicular expert Ben Hull.

Hull bills himself as largely a Limited player. He plays less than he used to, due to school commitments, but qualified via a Regional Pro Tour Qualifier for this Pro Tour. He said that illness kept him from testing properly for this Pro Tour, so he chose White-Red Vehicles as a way to get aggressive in the format. This is his first Pro Tour.

Meanwhile, this isn't even Dagen's first Pro Tour Top 8. He's a gold-level pro with three Grand Prix Top 8s and, now, a pair of Pro Tour Top 8s. He's been part of a number of powerful teams, and he's one of the most successful players on the Pro Tour today.

So, advantage Dagen, right?

Not so fast. Hull may be new, but he can definitely play. In Stage 1 of the quarterfinals, he dispatched Lee Shi Tian—a player with five Pro Tour Top 8s—3-1. He defeated Pro Tour Hall of Fame member Brian Kibler early on in the tournament, and Kibler had this to say about Hull:

So it's the seasoned mad scientist against the raucous, rookie daredevil, with a semifinals berth on the line.

The Games

The first game started off fairly typically for both players. Hull resolved a Smuggler's Copter and began crewing it with the finest pilots around, and then Dagen started burning them with fire. He then went about accumulating some knowledge with Take Inventory, before resolving a Dynavolt Tower that would, he hoped, take over the game.

But Hull had a garage full of Copters, deploying two more and a Fleetwheel Cruiser, crashing in as Dagen went empty-handed to deal with, well, just some of the threats. Even with all of the inventory taken by the mad scientist, Dagen was unable to stop Hull's relentless attacks. He hadn't even been able to charge up his mad scientist tower (read: Dynavolt Tower) enough to start shooting things, and Hull just kept deploying new threats every turn.

Tower did manage to crash and burn the third Smuggler's Copter, but Gideon, Ally of Zendikar showed up to crash the party, and there wasn't enough mad scientist lightning left to toss his direction.

Hull came out of the garage with both engines blazing.

In the second game, Dagen climbed into his mad scientist tower as soon as turn three, giving him far more time to charge up the diabolical device.

Our story's daredevil, however, wasn't planning to wait. Another Smuggler's Copter, more pilots, and more damage was all that was on Hull's mind as he stuck a few Thraben Inspectors to try and keep pilots in the seats.

And with Copter charging in every turn, Dagen had trouble keeping up. He was looking a bit frazzled as Hull kept finding more and more gas for his sleek engine. But Dagen wasn't out of tricks. His third Take Inventory gave him eight cards in hand, and he used his discard step to get a discount on Fiery Temper. That, finally, let his Tower take out the Copter. While clever, it turned out this play was one of necessity. Dagen had drawn only lands that come into play tapped, and he couldn't afford to play them and fall behind further.

Eventually, Gideon, Ally of Zendikar once again leapt into the fray. Short on lands, time, and energy, Dagen couldn't seem to find a way to invent himself out of the onslaught coming his way. More pilots, more, vehicles, and Hull, the rookie, found himself up 2-0.

In the third game, now with sideboard strategies engaged, Dagen looked less mad scientist and more resigned. His first hand wasn't good enough, and he looked for help in his six. There, he found three lands and a pair of burn spells plus a Torrential Gearhulk. It wasn't pretty, but it had to be enough or he was going home.

Dagen does the best he can do against a deck that attacks at a blistering rate.

But this game had a different tone. Hull took his pedal off the medal and brought in some answers. Yes, he still had the same pilots ready to crash in, but he also dispatched two Thing in the Ice with Declaration in Stone, and took out the Dynavolt Tower with a Fragmentize. Hull had deftly sided in creature removal against a deck that, typically, did not have many creatures. It was an impressive move from a player who had been impressive all weekend. And it might have been the move that gave him the advantage he needed.

Because even as Dagen burned away pilots, Hull found more to jump into his Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. One big hit from that and Dagen was in range. The French pro turned to some Tormenting Voices for help, but, finding none, could only shake his head and extend his hand to the rookie pilot known as Hull, and now also known as semifinalist at Pro Tour Kaladesh.

Ben Hull defeats Pierre Dagen 3-0 and advances to the semifinals!

Pierre Dagen- Blue-Red Spells

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Ben Hull - Red-White Vehicles

Download Arena Decklist

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