en Rubin and Gerard Fabiano are about as different as two Magic players can come. Ben is very serious but increasingly casual and laid back about the game of Magic. He was playing a meta-game deck he designed called the Dump Truck. Gerard, on the other hand is one of the most happy-go-lucky players on the Pro Tour. His approach to the game has been increasingly serious and is always looking for advice from what he considers to be the best players in the game. Gerard was with Scepter-Tog.
Gerard put two trading cards featuring scantily clad women from GenCon. He placed them facedown and nudged them toward Ben, "Pick the Asian girl for choice." Ben picked a buxom blonde and Gerard elected to play. "Ben did you quit Magic? Why weren't you in New Orleans?"
"I don't like New Orleans."
"What about Amsterdam?"
"If I don't like New Orleans I certainly don't like Amsterdam."
Gerard pushed Ben to find out if he was quitting the game. Ben explained that his approach had changed, "I had a bad time at Boston…"
Gerard nodded and asked when Ben's face might show up again on the Tour, "What about Kobe?"
Gerard frowned, "Its always sad when someone like you quits the game…"
"Thanks but I still play. I go to school, I play games…"
Gerard continued to banter with Ben but Ben wasn't interested, "I don't want to talk about this…"
"What do you want to talk about?"
Ben tugged on his shirt, which featured a portrait of Che Guevara, "Do you know who is on my shirt?"
"I don't know--it kinda looks like Sudam Hussein?"
Ben rolled his eyes and laid out the whole story of the Cuban Revolution for a rapt Gerard. When he was all done Gerard asked, "So to America he is a bad guy, huh?"
More of the rolling eyes from Ben, "Yeah, but to most people with a conscience he is pretty tight."
Gerard opened with Delta and Ben answered with Island-watch out, long match coming.
Ben Brainstormed during the end of Gerard's turn who was trying to puzzle out his opening hand, "I wish I was good as you or Finkel so I could play these difficult decks."
Ben attempted a Meddling Mage but Gerard had a good old-fashioned Counterspell. Gerard played and sacrificed a Bloodstained Mire for a Swamp and played a PsychAtog straight up on turn three. Ben had a creature of his own-a face down Angel. Gerard confirmed how to pronounce Che's first name and Fire/Iced the morph top death and attacked for one.
Ben offered a Shadowmage Infiltrator and Gerard muttered to himself, "This deck looks scary." But it resolved. Gerard had no attack and left his Tog back to block.
Ben Brainstormed and shuffled some unwanted cards away with his fetch lands. Ben cast a second Shadowmage and shipped the turn back to the TOGIT standout. Gerard busted out pad and pen and started doing some calculations. Finally he sent his Tog into the red zone to do battle with the Shadowmages.
"I think I win-unless you have something. That would be really bad." But Ben had only a Caves of Koilos up for mana-what could he have, Awe Strike?
Gerard broke a fetch land to cast Fact or Fiction and Dazed it. He then Dazed his Daze to allow his Fact or Fiction to resolve-returning two Islands to his hand in the process. Ben split the piles into three and two. Gerard demonstrated that he could do fifteen but Ben was unconvinced, "Do what you are going to do."
Gerard pitched his hand and removed his graveyard. "Do we agree that it is fifteen damage?"
Gerard explained that he was lucky to win, "It kept adding up to fourteen until I realized I could double Daze. I meant to hardcast the Daze on turn two for the Mage but I messed up and cast Counterspell. I was lucky that happened though."
Ben kicked off Game 2 with a Delta, which he quickly converted into Swamp for Duress. He saw two lands, Tog, Fire/Ice, Isochron Scepter, Cunning Wish and Brainstorm-he took the Brainstorm.
"Good one, I would have taken the same one."
Ben had Meddling Mage and named Fire/Ice. Gerard asked a number of different ways about imprinting the Fire/Ice on a Scepter but was thwarted at every turn. He opted to imprint Diabolic Edict instead but Ben had the Disenchant.
Gearard had no third land and passed the turn back with a frown. Ben attempted a Vindicate on an Island but Gerard had the Counterspell. He had no land again but another Counter for the next Vindicate. When a member of the peanut gallery assured Gerard he would draw a third land, Gerard declared him a genius upon drawing Shivan Reef.
Ben attacked for two and played a Shadowmage. It resolved and Gerard cast Cunning Wish EOT, "Let's see what I have left." He decided to retrieve the Edict he had lost to the Scepter.
No fourth land greeted Gerard on the next turn but he did Brainstorm into a Mountain. Ben attacked for three and a card and the played another Finkel. When Ben tapped out for Brainstorm Gerard feinted a Daze but allowed it to resolve.
Gerard cast a main phase Fact or Fiction and flipped over two lands, Chrome Mox, Tog, and Engineered Plague. Gerard took the pile with the first three cards and played a Swamp and a Chrome Mox, imprinting the useless Fire/Ice. He cast Diabolic Edict and Ben sacrificed the Meddling Mage with Fire/Ice out of the picture. Ben attacked Gerard down to seven life and drew another two cards and then Vindicated the Swamp.
Gerard played and sac'd a Delta-he was way ahead on mana now despite his early stumble. Ben was stuck on four lands despite abundant card drawing. Gerard played a PsychAtog and passed the turn back to Ben who had an Edict at the ready.
Gerard sighed audibly, "Bad for me…good for you!"
Ben found a fifth land and played a morph. Gerard scooped and did a quick morph check to see an Exalted Angel.
While they prepared for Game 3, Ben asked Gerard if he ever played GO. Gerard countered with an offer to play Monopoly and then showed off his broken-possibly counterfeit-Movado watch.
Gerard opened with a Mire and passed the turn to Ben who cast Duress off of a Caves of Koilos. Gerard Tutored in response and showed Ben the Island prompting the Californian to laugh, "You don't have to show me."
Gerard showed him a hand with Brainstorms, Cunning Wish and Isochron Scepter, "It would have been pretty obvious-do you keep that hand?"
Ben concurred and took a Fire/Ice. Gerard Brainstormed on his next turn and the turn after that sandwiching Ben's play of Seal of Cleansing. He Duressed a Brainstorm out of Ben's hand but had no third land. Ben played a Shadowmage Infiltrator and Gerard responded with another Tutor. He flipped over the Swamp, "I'll show you again."
He Edicted the Finkel away. Ben cast Deep Analysis on his next turn and Gerard played a Tog with no fourth land in sight. Ben flashed back his card drawer and fell to fifteen. He went to fourteen to Brainstorm and Duressed Gerard seeing a Tog and an Engineered Plague-he had to take the Plague. He sent the turn back with only an Island untapped.
Gerard attacked for one and played another Tog-still no fourth land. Ben Brainstormed EOT and when he untapped he checked to see how close Gerard was to killing him. There were only nine cards in Gerard's bin so he had some room to maneuver. He sacrificed a fetch land and took a little painland damage but Vindicated both Togs.
Gerard cast Engineered Plague on wizards and passed the turn to Ben who made an Exalted Angel. Ben took his turns very quickly in an effort to get the match over with before time ran out. Gerard fell to two on turn one of extra turns and had to find an Edict to force a tie. Ben cast Lobotomy and chose to take nothing-he saw only a Chrome Mox. Gerard drew an Isochron Scepter and extended the hand, "That's game."
Final result: Ben Rubin - 2 Gerard Fabiano - 1