Top 4 Draft: Lovespell vs. The Jokas

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No one should be surprised to see Lovespell in the Top 4. Eric Froehlich, Alex Borteh and Chris Benafel are three relatively young, yet very accomplished players. Borteh and Benafel have earned quite a bit of money over their careers, and Froehlich burst upon the Pro Tour scene with a Top 8 finish at Pro Tour San Diego. Consistent finishes since then have caused Randy Buehler to call Froehlich "the hottest player in America today". On the other hand, The Jokas are a bit less known. Eric James and Norman Woods aren't familiar names to the average Pro Tour fan. In fact, Kyle Rose may not be either. Even though Rose has quite the resume with a National Championship and Pro Tour Championship under his belt, his presence is not quite as strong as other personalities on the circuit. Still, his skills should not be underestimated, and his accomplishments speak for themselves.

Benafel opened the first pack, and it was certainly a good one. Chris picked up Beast Attack, and Froehlich gladly grabbed Amugaba. James took Fledgling Imp, while Woods got Flame Burst and a Halbredier. Surprisingly, Borteh took Scrivener and Kirtar's Desire even though he was in the "A" seat, which lends itself to drafting black. This was quickly changed, as Borteh went into black/blue. Froehlich added a Looter to his blue arsenal, while Benafel started building on his Beast Attack with red cards, such as Engulfing Flames and Ember Beast. Meanwhile, Woods was putting together a savage little green/red deck of his own, with Wild Mongrel, Squirrel Nest, and Call of the Herd.

A bit of fighting occurred between Borteh and Froehlich, since they were both drafting blue. A Cephalid Broker went to Borteh, so Froehlich had to "settle" for Aven Windreader. Another small argument resulted when Aven Smokeweaver was opened, and it went to Borteh as well. In Torment, Rose picked up Vengeful Dreams, which could prove to be great against Benafel's green/red deck. Woods added to his already sick green/red deck with Arrogant Wurm, while James picked up a pair of Cabal Torturers. Benafel's green/red deck kept right up, getting Basking Rootwalla, Temporary Insanity, and Narcissism. James drafted Shambling Swarm, while Borteh got a Butcher. Froehlich's deck got a very nice boost in the form of Ambassador Laquatus.

Judgment resulted in a strange occurrence: three Wonders in six packs. One was counterdrafted, one went to Rose, and the other went to Borteh. Woods added even more gas to his already incredible green/red deck with Ernham Djinn, and Arcane Teachings. Benafel kept right up, with a pair of Sudden Strengths. Another interesting moment saw The Jokas gladly pass along a Guiltfeeder to Borteh, taking Vigilant Sentry and Anurid Barkripper. They made a few motions to suggest they were not concerned with the potentially devastating black creature, since Borteh was facing James' black deck anyway. As a result, the Guiltfeeder's Fear effect would be much less of a concern, and the potential for damage was drastically reduced. As the packs winded down, Borteh got Filth, which has potential to bust any stalemates wide open in his favor.






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