The United States of America has been having a pretty weak year, but don't tell that to these guys. Pro Tour champions Mike Turian and Mike Pustilnik have been putting up consistently good finishes on Tour for years now, and show no signs of slowing down. Each won two of his first three matches Saturday morning, but there's a world of difference between 3-1 and 2-2. Turian fed Pustilnik during the booster draft and Turian wound up with green-black (plus a touch of red) while Pustilnik drafted black-white.
Neither play had a good draw in game 1. Turian's first creature was a Rabid Elephant, which is normally a painfully slow position to be in, but all Pustilnik could manage was a lonely Pilgrim of Justice. Pustilnik just sat there, looking helpless while Turian read him for the Second Thoughts that he did indeed have in hand. Turian was content to leave his Elephant back while his turn six Nut Collector started putting squirrels into play. Every time Pustilnik tapped below five untapped lands, Turian attacked him. Every time Pustilnik left his mana open, Turian hung back.
Pustilnik's deck delivered up a nice rare bomb: Wayward Angel
, but then Turian dropped a rare of his own: Last Laugh
. Pustilnik had to read it, then study the board. After a few minutes he apologized for taking so long, commenting, "This is mind boggling." A few minutes later came "this is a joke, right?" Turian was ahead on life, so as soon as a single permanent went to the graveyard, all his squirrels would die and Last Laugh
would set off a chain reaction that would blow up the world and, more importantly, would blow up Pustilnik!
Pustilnik blocked so that nothing would die, but he dropped to 3. Then on his own turn he was able to attack back and drop Turian to exactly three while Turian's one blocker died. So that meant they were each at eh same life total (3) when the world blew up. Last Laugh triggered ten times, but no one got the last laugh as the game ended in a draw. Turian then spent the sideboarding time kicking himself for not playing around Embolden perfectly ten turns earlier. He could have gotten through one more point of damage if he had, which did indeed wind up mattering.
Game 2 wasn't nearly as interesting. Turian drew 9 lands and just three creatures while Pustilnik just beat him down with a Cloudchaser Eagle. Pustilnik's Wayward Angel
showed up to help out with the last few points of life and soon they were on to game 3. Or, effectively, game 2 since a relatively recent rules change allows them to keep playing until someone wins two games (as long as time remains on the clock).
Turian had another slow draw in game 3, but once he was finally able to start playing creatures, they were huge. Rabid Elephant, Arrogant Wurm, and Dwarven Strike Force (with Nantuko Disciple backing them up) made Pustilnik's life kind of tough. However, Pustilnik never backs down from a challenge. Second Thoughts dispatched one fatty and Waste Away dispatched another. A pair of Zombifys allowed Turian to keep up the heat, but meanwhile Pustilnik was beating down with a thresholded Dirty Wererat that Turian couldn't even block if he wanted to because of Zombie Trailblazer. Pustilnik drew a seemingly never-ending supply of chump blockers and he needed every single one of them to survive just long enough to win with his swampwalking Wererat.
Final Result: Pustilnik wins 2-0-1
Pro Tour Nice, First Draft Deck
Pro Tour Nice, First Draft Deck