Round 16: Frank Lepore (Processor Eldrazi) vs. Bart Lewandowski (Abzan Company)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 7, 2016

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

Bart Lewandowski is still fairly new to the Pro Tour. This young Polish player put up a tremendous 11-4-1 record at Pro Tour Magic Origins, his first big event. Lewandowski secured Silver status with that finish and a Top 4 at Grand Prix Krakow, and was able to use it to play in this weekend's Pro Tour. A win in this round would give Lewandowski a tremendous Top 16 Pro Tour finish to add to his young career.

His opponent, newcomer Frank Lepore, has a lot more on the line. Lepore is a well-known Magic personality that regularly produces content and entertains countless viewers on his popular online stream. This may be Lepore's first Pro Tour, but he's already making his mark, and a win in this round could propel him to a Top 8 berth at his very first big show!

The two discussed the possibility of drawing into Top 16, but the conversation didn't last long. Lepore let out a deep breath and held his hands together. "Let's just play, I guess," Lepore said. "What's one more round of Magic?"

Frank Lepore and Bart Lewandowski were down to one round in the Swiss. A win for Lepore was likely a lock. A win for Lewandowski was a hope. Whose dream would remain alive?

The Games

Lewandowski kept his opening seven and Lepore went in search of a better six, which he found.

Lewandowski started accelerating with Birds of Paradise and Lepore began churning away with Scrabbling Claws. Lewandowski needed to read the card, "What's this do? May I read it?"

Lepore smiled. "Of course you can!" he said.

"So, it's a worse relic."

"That's rude."

"Not rude, just the truth."

Voice of Resurgence and Spellskite came next for Lewandowski. Lepore tried to use Wasteland Strangler to get Birds of Paradise off the table, but Lewandowski used his Spellskite to redirect the triggered ability of Wasteland Strangler and maintain his growing board state.

Kitchen Finks joined the party for Lewandowski while Lepore was still just working with a Wasteland Strangler and Scrabbling Claws.

Melira, Sylvok Outcast came next, and it became clear that Lewandowski was close to a combo finish. Lewandowski blocked Wasteland Strangler with Kitchen Finks and expected it to come back, but Lepore had other plans and used Scrabbling Claws to exile the Kitchen Finks with the persist trigger on the stack.

"Ack!" Lewandowski winced.

Another Kitchen Finks meant that Lepore was still under a lot of pressure, and he needed to find a way to turn the tides. He was still trying to operate without Eye of Ugin or Eldrazi Temple and his draw hadn't given him the ability to accelerate as he would've liked to. Worse, he was forced to leave mana open to activate the targeted ability on his Scrabbling Claws in case Lewandowski had Chord of Calling to search up a sacrifice outlet to combo off.

Lewandowski has impressed many in his relatively short career.

Lewandowski did have Chord of Calling, and he used it for two after declaring a block with Voice of Resurgence on Lepore's Wasteland Strangler.

Lepore tapped out for Blight Herder, and Lewandowski tried to combo. Lepore used Scrabbling Claws to exile Kitchen Finks with the persist trigger on the stack. Lewandowski had another Chord of Calling, though, and was able to search up Murderous Redcap and deal lethal damage by repeatedly sacrificing it to his Viscera Seer with Melira, Sylvok Outcast in play.

"I threw away a Kitchen Finks for nothing," Lewandowski lamented. "I thought you would need to sacrifice your Scrabbling Claws."

Lepore nodded politely.

In the second game, Lepore led things off with Relic of Progenitus.

Lewandowski began accelerating with Wall of Roots, which enabled Sigarda, Host of Herons on the fourth turn.

Lepore had Matter Reshaper and Reality Smasher, and the race was on. The two traded blows while trading bodies on the ground, and Lepore was eventually able to break serve and secure victory with Drowner of Hope to tap down Lewandowski's remaining blockers and attack for lethal damage.

Both players kept their opening hands to start the third game, and Lewandowski got things going fast with Birds of Paradise. Next came Voice of Resurgence and Noble Hierarch. Lewandowski was already able to make 5 mana on his third turn!

Lepore had Eldrazi Mimic, and Lewandowski completely whiffed on a Collected Company, which is extremely rare for this Abzan deck that's built around the card. Lepore used Surgical Extraction targeting Collected Company, and Lewandowski revealed that he had a second copy in his hand. Now, Lepore only needed to battle his way through a pair of Voice of Resurgence and the cards that came off the top of Lewandowski's deck.

Lepore has made the most of his first Pro Tour appearance.

Wasteland Strangler took Birds of Paradise off the table and traded with Voice of Resurgence on the following turn, while also pumping up Eldrazi Mimic to be sent into combat. Lepore cast Thought-Knot Seer and continued attacking with the Eldrazi Mimic that he had played on the second turn. Matter Reshaper was next, and Lewandowski could only cast Fulminator Mage before attacking.

Lewandowski's Voice of Resurgence tokens had grown quite large, and he attacked for five with one of them, prompting Lepore to double block with Thought-Knot Seer and Matter Reshaper.

Wasteland Strangler took out Noble Hierarch, and Lepore continued pressuring Lewandowski's life total. Lepore was presenting lethal damage on the following turn, and Lewandowski would need to start chump blocking if he wanted to survive.

Fulminator Mage traded with Wasteland Strangler and Lepore dropped Lewandowski down to a precarious 3 life before passing the turn back.

Once again, Drowner of Hope came down, and Lepore was able to tap down enough of Lewandowski's blockers to attack for the last three points of damage.

Lepore 2 – Lewandowski 1

Bart Lewandowski - Abzan Company

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Frank Lepore - Processor Eldrazi

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