Round 12: Kyle Boggemes (Bant Company) vs. Steve Rubin (G/W Tokens)

Posted in Event Coverage on April 23, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

Steve Rubin was likely the breakout story of last season. He finished consistently high in Pro Tours and earned three Grand Prix Top 8s. But somehow, he remained decently under the radar. He used to joke that he was the only Platinum-level Pro no one had ever heard of.

Kyle Boggemes is a Michigander Magic mainstay. He won Grand Prix Cincinnati and is the Pro Tour San Diego 2010 finalist. This weekend, he's rocking Bant Company in Standard, the deck with a big target on its back. But Boggemes didn't seem to mind, and is still in strong Top 8 contention.

Rubin will be shooting for the bull's-eye with Green-White Tokens, and the match is a bit uphill for Boggemes. As he admitted, the multiple Planeswalkers require him to lose out on a lot of potential damage by having to attack them instead of the opponent. "If you don't, they just keep producing blockers and you can't get through."

Boggemes still thinks his deck has some good play, though. "I think it's 40/60," he said. "I really have to hit Reflector Mage to bounce his early Plant tokens."

Two players from two close but different eras of the Pro Tour faced off in the first round of Standard for Day 2.

As the two were shuffling in the feature match area, Steve Rubin looked up, and squinted a bit in the lights. "I've never had a Pro Tour feature match before," he said. "It's definitely bright."

"Wait, what?" Boggemes was flummoxed. How could that statement be true?

"I've never had a Pro Tour feature match before," he confirmed. This is really in line with Rubin's "only unknown Platinum Pro" thing. For someone like Boggemes, who's been under the lights plenty of times, things just didn't quite compute.

"Really?! That's so weird," Boggemes said. "You've just gone so deep in the last ones, I kind of assumed."

The two finished up shuffling, and the Platinum Pro prepared for his first Pro Tour feature match.

The Games

Kyle Boggemes was on the play, and he wasted no time. He cast and transformed his Duskwatch Recruiter into a Krallenhorde Howler in successive turns. Then, he went back-to-back with Reflector Mage, bouncing Steve Rubin's first-spell Hangarback Walker, and a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar token. Boggemes had set himself up pretty well. He was assaulting both Rubin's life total, and his Planeswalker. He was in control.

On what looked to be the turn of the game, Rubin cast an Archangel Avacyn, then a 0/0 Hangarback walker to transform her on Boggemes' upkeep. But Kyle saw it coming, and defended with an Avacyn of his own before the 3 damage would wipe his entire board. All his creatures gained indestructible for a turn and lived. Then, he took out Rubin's planeswalker for good measure.

But this was all part of Rubin's plan. He now possessed the 6/5 Avacyn, and had air superiority. It was Avacyn, the Purifier versus Archangel Avacyn. We know how it goes. If all other things are equal, bet on the crazy one. And Rubin was able to peck away a lot of life thanks to that red Avacyn. With his opponent at 12 life, Rubin made the play to change his match in his favor. He used Dromoka's Command to make the Avacyns literally fight, and I was proven correct about the crazy version winning.

While unaccustomed to the Pro Tour feature match's lights, Steve Rubin has proven to be an excellent player.

It was like the whole shoulder-angel-fighting-shoulder-devil. Except with fewer shoulders. And more humans. The 6/5 ate the 4/4, then swung Boggemes down to 6 life.

Boggemes had no flyers and no way to deal nearly enough damage as he'd need to. Even Collected Company couldn't save Boggemes.

In the second game, again Boggemes started more aggressively than his opponent. He went with Sylvan Advocate, Reflector Mage, and Tireless Tracker. He was trying to get his opponent down to a critical life total before Rubin could put his pants and shoes on. In this analogy, Rubin's shoes represent his two Planeswalkers, Gideon, and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and the pants is Archangel Avacyn.

Rubin used two Dromoka's Command and a Nissa, trying to stave off damage, but still sunk to 8 life and couldn't keep his Planeswalkers on the battlefield. Even a Gideon was being groomed for slaughter.

Boggemes attacked Gideon with two Reflector Mage and a Den Protector, into a 1/1 Hangarback Walker 2/2 Thopter token. Rubin cleaned his board of creatures to keep his Gideon on the battlefield at one counter. But the Gideon was lonely, and Rubin was dreadfully behind.

Boggemes was running away with the game. He cast post-combat Deathmist Raptor and Tireless Tracker. He was ready to continue the assault on the next turn. It was just that. Boggemes and killed Gideon and sunk Rubin even lower.

Boggemes was well accustomed to the Pro Tour, and he had no qualms playing the expected deck of the tournament.

Rubin loaded the board with tokens and cheap creatures hoping to make it unprofitable to attack. But Boggemes had other ideas. He cast Sylvan Advocate—with six land in play—then activated Lumbering Falls, now a 5/5, and swung for the fences. Rubin didn't even declare blocks. He just scooped them up and went for the rubber match.

In the third game, the lines were defined early for Rubin. He had a Tragic Arrogance in his hand, so he'd attempt to extract as much value from it as he could. He cast just one creature spell in the early game—a Sylvan Advocate that gained a +1/+1 counter—then leaned on Nissa, Voice of Zendikar for plant-making blocker support.

Speaking of plants and value, Evolutionary Leap came down for Rubin, and started putting those 0/1 plants to work.

Throughout this time, Boggemes had been slowly adding creatures to the board, just like Rubin wanted. And just like Rubin wanted again, Boggemes couldn't quite attack into the enlarged Sylvan Advocate. Things were shaping up nicely.

That's when the Tragic Arrogance struck. Rubin only had to lose an Oath of Nissa, but a tapped-out Boggemes lost two Sylvan Advocate and a face-down Den Protector. He was able to keep a 2/2 Duskwatch Recruiter. It was little recompense.

With all the extra cards off Evolutionary Leap, after the board sweeper, Rubin had multiple Hangarback Walkers and an Archangel Avacyn left in hand. Boggemes did not recover. Though he was not Kytheon, his landscape was also altered by Tragic Arrogance.

It was a tight match-up. But the blow-out Tragic Arrogance for Steve Rubin will be the defining memory in his first-ever Pro Tour feature match.

Boggemes 1 – Rubin 2


Kyle Boggemes – Bant Company

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Steve Rubin – G/W Tokens

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