Yet another constructed Pro Tour and yet another great showing from Your Move Games. Store owner Rob Dougherty had his break-out performance way back at PT new York '99 when his Utility Belt deck broke the Urza-block constructed format wide open. His Benzo deck put two teammates into the Top 8 in New Orleans – the most recent Extended-format PT – and he's been using the same basic design to great effect here in Houston. Dougherty was 7-1-1 when he sat down for a round 10 feature match against Swede Mattias Jorstedt, who was also 7-1-1, running Team Punisher's Aluren deck.
Dougherty's turn 1 Duress showed him that Jorstedt had every piece of his combo except the Duress-able one: four lands, Cavern Harpy, Wirewood Savage, and also a Raven Familiar with which to go digging for Aluren. Dougherty had no second land, but he did have an Entomb, which he used to bury a Petradon. Still operating off just one land on his third turn, Dougherty Reanimated his Petradon and deprived Jorstedt of both his lands. Jorstedt still had enough lands and chump blockers in his hand to get his combo cranked up so Dougherty (who had drawn a second Swamp and a City of Traitors by now) Vampiric Tutored and then played out his silver bullet against Aluren: Stronghold Taskmaster! Jorstedt's Cavern Harpy would now come down as a 1/0 creature and die before Jorstedt could "go off." Jorstedt couldn't find any answers and Taskmaster plus Petradon beatdown didn't exactly give him much time anyway. Game 1 went to Dougherty.
Between games Dougherty and Jorstedt talked about the field. Dougherty offered up that Aluren had been his #2 choice. He couldn't find any way to beat a Hatred deck and that bothered him. Jorstedt just shrugged – he agreed that a dedicated Suicide Black would just beat him, but he didn't think there would be enough of those to make Aluren a bad choice. Mostly Jorsedt's mind was still on game 1 – wishing he had played the Living Wish he drew on turn 2 immediately to go fetch a Gilded Drake. Instead he played a Hickory Woodlot (which comes into play tapped), Dougherty brought out the Petradon, and then Dougherty Duressed away the Wish before he got back to 2 mana again.
Dougherty kept attacking Jorstedt's hand in game 2: City of Traitors let him play Last Rites for 4 on turn 2, taking away every spell in the Swede's hand. Dougherty got back the Nether Spirit he had discarded to Last Rites on his turn 3 and also added a Phyrexian Negator to his board, followed by an Engineered Plague set to "beasts" on his next turn. Essentially, Dougherty transformed his deck after sideboarding into a suicide black deck quite similar to the test decks that he had never been able to beat with Aluren. Jorstedt top-decked a couple Brainstorms, but he was unable to find anyway to deal with either the Plague or Dougherty's beatdown.
Final Result: Dougherty – 2, Jorstedt - 0