Round 12: Rich Hoaen (Temur Aetherworks) vs. Makis Matsoukas (Red-White Tokens)

Posted in Event Coverage on October 15, 2016

By Adam Styborski

Stybs has played Magic the world over, writing and drafting as part of the event coverage team and slinging Commander everywhere his decks will fit.

Rich Hoaen was known as a Limited master. Having cut his teeth—finding premier event success—over a decade ago, he came back to the game in full force with the return of Team Limited Grand Prix. Racking up two wins as part of teams at Kyoto in 2013 and Beijing in 2015, as well as a finalist team finish in Washington, D.C. this year, Hoaen's return to modern Magic needed Constructed success as well to put him back among widely-known elite.

Makis Matsoukas had earned his way to Pro Tour Kaladesh from a Regional Pro Tour Qualifier on Magic Online. Entering the final stretch of Swiss rounds with just one loss—from Limited—put him well on the path to a potential Pro Tour Top 8 in his first Pro Tour appearance.

He'd just have to overcome a legend hungry to return to the game's top to do it.

This feature match represented a huge discrepancy in Pro Tour experience, but it did not deter newcomer Makis Matsoukas as he squared off against longtime pro Rich Hoaen.

The Decks

Hoaen's Temur Aetherworks deck is exactly like the name sounds. Aetherworks Marvel does one thing: Cast expensive Eldrazi for free, and the rest of the deck sets that up. Attune with Aether, Glassblower's Puzzleknot, and Woodweaver's Puzzleknot, all followed by Contingency Plan, meant a fourth turn Aetherworks Marvel firing off a monster was not just possible, but likely. Ending the game with Emrakul, the Promised End or Ugin, the Ceaseless Hunger was elementary from there.

Matsoukas's choice of Red-White Tokens was among the least popular builds of aggressive decks, but it used similar tools. Pia Nalaar was a standout, adding an evasive creature alongside her and serving as a way to transform Clue tokens into extra damage by clearing out a blocker for a turn. With Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Toolcraft Exemplar, and Smuggler's Copters to join in, attacking for a ton early and often was easy.

The Games

For the first game, Matsoukas's early plays were as you'd expect for Red-White Tokens: Make creatures, like Thraben Inspector and Toolcraft Exemplar, then attack. Hoaen, of course, was content to ignore the aggression to play lands and Glassblower's Puzzleknot to set up Aetherworks Marvel.

It went off on his fourth turn, casting Emrakul, the Promised End. Using Matsoukas's removal to clear away the battlefield, that was the end for the aggressive player.

Promised End, indeed.

The second game started as the first, with Matsoukas leading with Toolcraft Exemplar, this time followed by Smuggler's Copter, and attacking early. Hoaen used Attune with Aether and Glassblower's Puzzleknot to again begin powering up for Aetherworks Marvel.

Hoaen hopes to power through his Constructed rounds with his Aetherworks Marvel.

Matsoukas put Hoaen down to 11 life on his next attack, but Hoaen continued with his plan: Attune with Aether into Contingency Plan set up Aetherworks Marvel for the following turn, and Matsoukas's Gideon, Ally of Zendikar into an emblem meant Hoaen fell to just 2 life on the attack.

On queue, Aetherworks Marvel fired into Emrakul, the Promised, and Hoaen took Matsoukas's next turn. However, just Aether Hub and Pia Nalaar were in Matsoukas's hand this time, leaving few options for the Canadian. Though the Smuggler's Copters were both taken down thanks to Pia Nalaar and an attack into Emrakul, Matsoukas was still left with more creatures and power than Hoaen had blockers and life.

"I was hoping you'd make a mistake," Hoaen said as Matsoukas's evened up the score.

To start the third game, Hoaen used Glint-Nest Crane to find Aetherworks Marvel, then used Aether Meltdown to stop the damage of Matsoukas's Smuggler's Copter. It bought time to cast Contingency Plan for an apparent Aetherworks set up.

Matsoukas, undeterred, crewed his powerless Copter anyway to dig for more things to attack with. Glassblower's Puzzleknot continued Hoaen's march to the monster, but Matsoukas's continued attacks and put the Canadian down to 13 life.

Undeterred by anything, Greek player Matsoukas battles on.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and a Thraben Inspector added to Matsoukas's full battlefield. Popping the Puzzleknot, Hoaen finally pulled the trigger on the Aetherworks Marvel waiting in hand. Woodweaver's Puzzleknot was the less exciting find, but it meant another shot of the Marvel was coming on the next turn.

But Matsoukas's deck had already turned the corner.

Using Pia Nalaar's "can't block" ability on Hoaen's lonesome Glint-Nest Crane, Matsoukas's attacked for 17 life. Hoaen counted the damage.

"17?" he said, counting across all the attacking creatures. He extended his hand. "Alright, you win."

"Good luck," Matsoukas returned. "Nice playing with you."

Hoaen nodded in agreement. "I hope you keep winning."

Hoaen 1 – Matsoukas 2


Rich Hoaen - Temur Aetherworks

Download Arena Decklist

Makis Matsoukas - Red-White Tokens

Download Arena Decklist

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