Round 12: Chris Benafel versus Peter (PTR) Szigeti

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No love was lost between these two competitors. The trash talking started almost immediately, with PTR jokingly referring to himself and Benafel as “real class acts”. Benafel, hailing from Portland, OR had a very aggressive mono-black deck with 2 Screeching Buzzards, 2 Wretched Anurid, and triple Crown of Suspicion. PTR is a local anti-hero, drafting the rarely seen Green/Blue combination. Ravenous Balroth leads the charge on an impressive collection of beasts, along with 2 Wirewood Savage and some flexible blue cards.

Both players had turn 2 plays. PTR a Wirewood Elf, Benafel with a Shephard of Rot. Turn three also saw the board being developed with Benafel playing the amazing Nantuko Husk and PTR matching with Mistform Dreamer. On his next turn, PTR attacked with the Dreamer and laid a Leery Fogbeast to hold the ground. Chris plays a morph (Haunted Cadaver) and passed with no fourth land. PTR again swung with the Dreamer and played another evasive creature, Elven Riders.

Benafel untapped and studied the board.

PTR: Hurry up
Benafel: We’ve got plenty of time.
PTR: With you, we never have plenty of time.

Benafel decided to attack with his morph and Husk. PTR immediately put his Fogbeast in front of the Husk. Again Benafel studied the situation longer then PTR thought appropriate.

PTR: I’m going to have to call a judge.
Benafel: I’m going to have to call a judge.
PTR I’m serious.
Benafel: Serious…

Chris decided to sacrifice his Shephard and morph after damage was on the stack, saving the Husk. After combat, he laid his fourth land and Frightshroud Courier. PTR untapped and attacked with Mistform Dreamer and Elven Riders, bringing Benafel down to 10. Benafel attacked back with Husk, putting PTR at 11. End step, PTR cycled Choking Tethers, tapping the sole untapped creature on Benafel’s side. PTR laid a land, made his Mistform Dreamer an elf and swung with Mistform Dreamer, Wirewood Elf, and Elven Riders. Tribal Unity was cast for 2 and they were shuffling up for the next game.

PTR 1, Benafel 0

Game 2:

Game 2 started with both players much more quiet and serious, with both playing at an accelerated pace. Benafel, playing first, went turn two Shephard and a turn three morphed Cadaver. PTR’s first play was a turn three Leery Fogbeast, which traded with the morph. After the double homicide, Benafel played a Screeching Buzzard. Next turn he played a Shephard of Rot and cast Crown of Suspicion on the Buzzard, swinging for four. PTR made a Mistform Dreamer. Benafel thought and brought in the 4/1 bird, trading with the Mistform. He then went Aphetto Dredging for 1, bringing back the bird. PTR cast a second Fogbeast, probably not the pressure he was looking for. Benafel continued to use Shephard. Benafel recast Screeching Buzzard, and it and the Shephard were returned to Benafel’s hand with Essence Fracture. The Fogbeast attacked Benafel’s now empty board and brought the life totals to 7 for PTR and 11 for Benafel. Benafel recast the Buzzard and Shephard. PTR cast the massive Ravenous Balroth, giving him a potential 8 life on command.

Benafel, undaunted by the rare beast, attacked with the Buzzard, bringing PTR to 5. He then cast Buzzard #2 and a morph. PTR attacked with the Ravenous Balroth, which was unblocked and brought Benafel to 7. PTR then laid a Wirewood Savage and passed the turn, with 1 card left in his hand. Benafel used Shephard, untapped and studied the situation.

At this point head judge Sheldon Menery stopped the game and issued Benafel a warning for what he determined to be slow play. Somewhat incredulous, Benafel attacked with the 2 Birds, which was negated by Fogbeast being sacrificed. PTR attacked with his Baloth and his Savage. The last card in PTR’s hand was Primal Boost, giving him the game if either creature were unblocked. Benafel took no chances, putting the morph in front of the Savage and the Shephard chumping the Balroth. Boost was cycled to save Savage. Benafel untapped, slammed down Shade's Breath with many, many swamps in play, and they were shuffling for game 3.

PTR 1, Chris Benafel 1

In between game 2 and game 3 a conversation took place that I’m not allowed to recreate here, for fear of young children learning new words. Suffice to say, both players were strongly motivated going into the final game.

PTR playing first and went land, land, land Savage. Benafel gambled on his one land hand playing second. Benfael went land, discard, discard, discard, concede. Neither handshake nor “Good Game” was offered by either competitor.

PTR 2, Benafel 1

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