Round 12: Christian Ahlström (Atarka Red) vs. Kyle Boggemes (Green-White Constellation)

Posted in PRO TOUR MAGIC ORIGINS on August 1, 2015

By Josh Bennett

Having escaped Limited with Top 8 dreams intact, these two players get to return to their Standard decks in a bid to make them a reality. Their 8-3 records leave them no room for error, however, so every match is a must-win. Never mind that every win after the ninth comes with Pro Points.

Kyle Boggemes is best-known as the finalist from Pro Tour San Diego 2010. Since then, he's had some trouble putting up big finishes, with "just" a Grand Prix win at Cincinnati last year. He had a heartbreaker ninth place finish at Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir, and he's looking to build on that to get some Pro Tour Players Club status for the coming season. His deck is one of the surprises of the tournament: a Green-White Constellation deck that makes use of the newly-printed Herald of the Pantheon.

He was facing off against Sweden's Christian Ahlström. This was Ahlström's first Pro Tour, an invitation he earned with a Top 8 finish at Grand Prix Utrecht. Making Day Two on your first outing is achievement enough, but Ahlström has his eyes on the prize. He's piloting an Atarka Red deck reminiscent of Martin Dang's winning Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir list.

While Christian Ahlström was representing an aggressive ol' faithful, Kyle Boggemes brought an interesting brew to the table.

The Games

Ahlström got things started with the textbook open of Foundry Street Denizen into Dragon Fodder. Boggemes got out a Herald of the Pantheon. Ahlström weighed his options, then played a scry-land, Monastery Swiftspear, and convoked a Stoke the Flames to get the Herald off the table. Boggemes replaced it with Nyx-Fleece Ram.

Main-deck Nyx-Fleece Ram is no joke. Ahlström, however, had a hand full of fire. He turned his creatures sideways and dropped Boggemes to 7 with Atarka's Command. He went back up to 8 on upkeep, and then played a Courser of Kruphix and land to make it 9. Again, Ahlström's creatures crashed in. Courser stepped in front of Foundry Street Denizen, and Ram blocked Swiftspear. Ahlström tapped two and showed his second Atarka's Command.

Boggemes was down to just 4 life after the gains on his next turn. He solidified his board with a second Ram and a Banishing Light on Monastery Swiftspear. This tapped Boggemes out, and when Ahlström showed him that his last card was Stoke the Flames, his face betrayed that he couldn't believe it.

Despite a start with the potential for some solid life-gain, Boggemes still lost out to the aggressive red deck in Game 1.

Ahlström's draw was a bit slower in the second game, with only an Eidolon of the Great Revel (immediately Silkwrapped) before his third turn. He brought out Mana Confluence and summoned a replacement. Boggemes was ready with a second Silkwrap. He added Herald of the Pantheon to his board and passed.

Ahlström poured out a sequence of Foundry Street Denizen and Hordeling Outburst into Stoke the Flames on the Herald. Boggemes put up Eidolon of Blossoms as a flimsy barricade and had no illusions about what was to follow. Ahlström sent in the whole team and dropped the signature Atarka's Command, trading off his Denizen for the Eidolon and knocking Boggemes down to 8.

Ahlström commands some killer attack steps in this match.

Boggemes took a moment. He knew things were precarious. He decided his best line was to lead off with Kruphix's Insight, which added Courser of Kruphix, Nyx-Fleece Ram, and Banishing Light to his hand. He tapped the rest of his mana to bring out the Courser and mentally crossed his fingers.

It was not to be. Ahlström tapped three and dashed in Goblin Heelcutter. Boggemes could only shake his head as he packed up his cards.

Christian Ahlström 2 – Kyle Boggemes 0

You'd have thought a deck that starts Herald of the Pantheon, Nyx-Fleece Ram, and Courser of Kruphix would fare well against red, but after that slaughter, I wasn't sure. I asked Ahlström if it was as lopsided as he'd made it seem.

"No, I think I'm favored if I'm on the play in the match, but in these games I drew very well," he explained. "I didn't prepare against this deck, but Nyx-Fleece Ram is one of the reasons to play a token strategy instead of red burn. It only gains them a little bit of life."

I asked him if he felt confident for the remaining rounds.

"Well, I went 3-2 in Standard yesterday. I really hope I don't play any more of the artifact decks that have Tomb of the Spirit Dragon. I played one yesterday, did 60 to him and still lost. I think this deck has a lot of good matchups besides that, though, so we'll see."

Meanwhile, Kyle Boggemes had been spirited off for an on-camera Deck Tech on his exciting brew.

Christian Ahlström's Atarka Red

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Kyle Boggemes's Green-White Constellation

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