Arjan van Leeuwen is another Limited specialist, going from zero to twenty Pro Tour points in no time last year. He’s been losing a lot lately though and is on the verge of falling off the train. After deciding to skip Yokohama he needs some good finishes to keep himself above the magical 20 Pro Tour points.
Ruud has had a fabulous season so far but now finds himself unqualified for the limited Pro Tour with 16 points in tow. He’s also looking for those extra couple of points to put him over the top.
Ruud drafted a real theme deck with lots of provokes, creature pumpers and two Crown of Fury. Arjan has a self-described pile of blue and red cards with no early, late or mid game. He’s in for a tough ride.
Arjan won the toss and went first, his Sledder delayed by a first turn Forgotten Cave. Ruud had no such problems playing a Deftblade Elite turn one and a Crown of Fury turn two for the mini-Abyss. Arjan had no creatures that could stand up to the little beater and resigned himself to drawing cards and saying go. Meanwhile, Ruud wasn’t doing much of anything either, cycling Lay Waste, Akroma’s Blessing and Forgotten Cave but not playing a second creature. On turn six Arjan finally found a 3/3 in Synapse Sliver that threatened to get him more cards if Ruud wouldn’t add something to the board himself. A Savior was a suitable answer to the Sliver but Arjan had a Crown of Fury of his own to get the Sliver past the big Bird. A Goblin Grappler was the best thing he could find in his seven card hand. Ruud provoked it away and played a Goblin Dynamo threatening to end the game in two more turns. Arjan drew another card with his Sliver but he couldn’t even stop the provoke, sac Crown, sac Dynamo plan.
Another turn one Deftblade Elite for Ruud and no plays for Arjan on turn one and turn two. Turn three saw a Mistform Wall come into play on Arjan’s side, giving him a creature that could withstand the Crown – Elite fix. Ruud went to the air with Harrier and Arjan only had a Goblin Grappler. Ruud did indeed have the Crown to finish the Grappler off and save the Elite with it’s ability after first strike damage resolved. Synapse Sliver came to the rescue again for Arjan, but Ruud had the Savior again and the game looked to be slipping away again. When Ruud ran his Elite into Arjan’s board of Mistform Wall and Synapse Sliver and Arjan didn’t block Ruud knew something was up. Sure enough Crested Craghorn came down to pave the way for the Sliver and finish off the Savior. The game entered a stalemate for a couple of turns until:
“Das ist ein Butcher Orgg.”
Arjan’s deck had some late game after all. A Crown of Fury turned the Butcher Orgg into a veritable killing machine but a Wingbeat Warrior and a Crown trick of his own at least allowed Ruud to take the Orgg down. He was left with a lone Deftblade Elite though, to Arjan’s Synapse Sliver, Wall and Ascending Aven. A Daru Lancer was enough to dissuade the Sliver from attacking over the next couple of turns but the Aven started taking healthy chunks out of Ruud’s life total, helped out later by a Covert Operative. When Ruud topdecked a Pacifism the game seemed to stabilize as he could kill the Covert Operative with the Deftblade Elite and the Goblin Sharpshooter and neutralize the Ascending Aven with the enchantment. He decided to Pacifism the Mistform Wall instead and went aggro with his Daru Lancer. His reasoning soon became clear as he unmorphed his Skirk Marauder to kill the Covert Op and kill the Aven with the Sharpshooter. At this point Arjan’s deck had no threats left and Ruud had no problem killing Arjan from there