Even though he's still relatively young, Ben Rubin is one of the Pro Tour's most experienced, accomplished and respected veterans. His first Top 8 appearance was back at Pro Tour Los Angeles 98, where he lost in the finals to eventual champion Dave Price. He went on to make yet another finals appearance that year at Worlds. Last season saw him win two Masters tournaments. Needless to say, with a resume like this, it's no surprise that Rubin is considered one of the best players in the world.
Rubin's first pack contained Firebolt, Psychatog and Patriarch's Desire as potential picks. He took the 'Tog, and second picked a Werebear over a Shelter. He was now leaning towards three colors, but with the help of green's mana fixers he could manage to pull it off without much of a problem. The rest of the pack was very kind, and probably made Rubin happy that he went into green even though he had already started off blue/black. Rabid Elephant, Diligent Farmhand, and a fifth pick Werebear all came to him, along with a Syncopate, Sadistic Hypnotist and Darkwater Egg to help fix the mana.
The second pack contained Rabid Elephant and Morbid Hunger as potential picks, and Rubin took the Elephant. The second pick presented a third Rabid Elephant, but he decided to take a Psionic Gift, which is interesting since that card usually doesn't go as early as second pick. A third pick Cephalid Looter was a fine present, and was followed by AEther Burst, and a second Psionic Gift. Rubin also took Rites of Spring over a second Syncopate, since he needed it to make his mana more consistent.
At this point, Rubin had a solid creature base, but was lacking removal. Going into Torment he was hoping to get some creature kill, but not much came. Chainer's Edict was picked first over Centaur Chieftan. Deep Analysis, Mesmeric Fiend and Aquameoba were all picked up, and the only thing resembling removal that found its way to Rubin was Sickening Dreams. In fact, Rubin did not see one Faceless Butcher or Cripping Fatigue the whole draft.
I sat down with Ben to get his thoughts.
Sideboard: So how do you feel it went?
Rubin: Pretty well...let me just take a better look (lays out cards)
Sideboard: I noticed you didn't get much removal.
Rubin: Yeah, just Psionic Gifts.
Sideboard: Why did you take Psionic Gift over the third Rabid Elephant? Was it that you just didn't want your curve to be too high?
Rubin: Well, I had two Rabid Elephants already, and I needed removal of some kind. I didn't have anything.
Sideboard: You also took your second Rabid Elephant over Morbid Hunger. Do you think it's just a better card?
Rubin: They're pretty comparable cards and I was definitely playing green, and the Elephant is only one green, and I was only going to have a little bit of black.
Sideboard: So you ended up splashing blue for the Syncopate, the Looter...
Rubin: ...Psychatog, two Psionic Gifts, AEther Burst, Deep Analysis, Aquameoba. I'm actually pretty well even in all three colors, but I have a lot of mana fixers.
Sideboard: That's why you took Rites of Spring over the second Syncopate?
Rubin: I already had a Syncopate, so I figured just to be safe I should get another mana fixer. I'm not sure I even want another Syncopate.
Sideboard: Were you expecting to get removal in the third pack and it just didn't come?
Rubin: Yeah I thought I'd get some better blue or black, and I got almost nothing in the third pack.
Sideboard: Is that why you took the Diabolic Edict over the Centaur Cheiftain? Just because you needed some removal?
Rubin: Yeah, and I think Edict might be better than Cheiftain, but I do need some removal. With Psionic Gift I can kill their bad creatures, so I don't get wrecked by Chatter of the Squirrel or anything like that. So, Edict should kill two good creatures.
Sideboard: Any predictions? How well do you think you can do with this deck?
Rubin: I think I'll do well. 3-0-1.
Sideboard: You're going to draw in the last round?
Rubin: I'm not going to try to, I just usually get one.