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Round 10: Prodigy vs. Ubermenschen

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The Ubermenschen are long-time teammates and Pro Tour veterans Ken Ho, Ben Rubin, and Brian Kibler, come into this round needing a win in order to be able to draw into the Top 4. Prodigy, on the other hand, are comprised of Floridians James Duguid, Charles Gindy, and Manny Orellana. Though the individual members of the team are relative unknowns, they are currently 9-0, and are looking to continue their winning ways.

The lineup for the match has Brian Kibler facing James Duguid in seat A, Ben Rubin facing Charlie Gindy in Seat B, and Ken Ho facing Manny Orellan in Seat C.

Kibler won the coin toss and chose to play, but he had to go fishing for a new hand and parised down to 6.
In the B match, Rubin started with an early Weathered Wayfarer, which proved necessary since he was a bit land light. Gindy played a turn 3 Gustcloak Harrier that was followed by a morph from Rubin, and then trumped by Ageless Sentinels, to which Ben replied "Hmm, guess I won't be attacking."

In match A, Duguid's board consisted of 2 Stonewood Invokers and an Everglove Courier, while Kibler had a Taunting Elf, a Wirewood Elf, and their big brother, an Elvish Soultiller. James sent his Invokers into the red zone with all of his mana untapped and Kibler chose not to block, as he didn't want to lose the Soultiller to the formerly unplayable (at least until Scourge was released) Courier.

Down the table in Match C Ho brought a Ridgetop Raptor to bear against Orellana's Wall of Deceit and Goblin Grappler. Manny decided blocking was not an acceptable option however, as Ken's Raptor was backed up by a Skirk Volcanist hyped up on Lavamancer's Skill.

Kibler stabilized the board by casting accelerated mutation on a blocking Taunting Elf, taking down one Invoker while his partner was killed by a blocking Soultiller. He then had another answer for Duguid, as Nantuko Vigilante disenchanted Duguid's Alpha Statused Krosan Drover, shrinking the Drover's ego and size at the same time and killing him when damage resolved, but Brian was still taking beatings from an Aphetto Vulture that was quickly whittling down his life total. Brian cast Scattershot on the Vulture the next turn, but ran out of answers as Duguid just had too many creatures and too much tempo to overcome.

Meanwhile in match B, Rubin was getting his beats on with a Dawn Elemental backed up with artillery support from Gravel Slinger and a Daru Stinger with three counters, but the board was wiped clear as Gindy cast Akroma's Vengeance, punishing Ben for an apparent overextension. Rubin quickly recovered though, and cast Dragon Stalker, Daru Sanctifier, and a Dive Bomber to Charles Zealous Inquisitor and morphed Sootfeather Flock.

Meanwhile in Match C, Ken Ho maintained board control with a fistful of cards, and continued applying pressure with Ridgetop Raptor and Mistform Seaswift. Manny drew another card and decided there was nothing else he could do and it was on to Game 2 for them as well.

...Just in time to see another grimace from Kibler in Match A as James cast a turn four Forgotten Ancient while Brian mouthed the words on the mind of every opponent that faced Mr. Babycakes this weekend, "I haaate that card."

Fortunately for Brian, he was ahead on tempo on his side of the board, with Krosan Warchief, Krosan Vorine, and Barkhide Mauler all entering the red zone. The Vorine provoked the Ancient and was then regenerated by the Warchief, resulting in 6 more damage for Duguid, taking him to him to 6. Brian then cast Fierce Empath fetching Wirewood Guardian and passed the turn.

Rubin and Gindy were still in Game 1 locked in a creature stalemate that was broken by a Piety Charm on Dragon Stalker, taking down a Sootfeather Flock; the only remaining obstacle in the Stalker's way. This was followed up by a Dive Bomber, and the next turn saw Ben swing with the Stalker, the Bomber, and a morphed Zombie Cutthroat for the win.

The Menschen were now up two games to one.

Meanwhile in Match A, Forgotten Ancient was up to five counters, and James decided it was time to rearrange the possible beatings more strategically, moving one counter to his Stonewood Invoker, two counters to the Everglove Courier, leaving Mr. Babycakes with two of his own that grew to three as James cast a morphed Krosan Colossus on his turn, which was subsequently taken down by Kibler with a time Scattershot.

In match C, Ken Ho moved through Game 2 with the same avalanche of beatings that he ended Game 1, crushing Orellana beneath the weight of Beasts (Battering Craghorn), Birds (Ascending Aven), and Wizards (another skilled Skirk Volcanist). Ho has been an absolute wrecking ball on the weekend, thus far going undefeated through both the Sealed and Draft portions of the event.

Ubermenschen 1 – Prodigy 0

Match A gradually turned into a stalemate as Kibler's attack grew stifled by Forgotten Ancient's counters until he drew... his Taunting Elf. Duguid drew his card for the turn, but didn't see any answers in his hand and scooped his team away as he shuffled up for game 3.

Brian was impressed by this win, since he was a little worried about his chances when the Ancient first hit the board. "I just beat a turn four Forgotten Ancient, I feel like a real champ. I did get a turn three Warchief, turn four Mauler though, so I guess my draw was pretty good as well," which James later commented was probably the only draw that Brian could have had in order to defeat him that game.

Match B paused for a moment as Rubin asked for Oracle wording for a card, but the board at this time showed 5 creatures on Ben's side including a Cloudreach Cavalry, a Stinger with two counters, a Wayfarer, an Aven Farseer, and a morph, to just a morph and a Sootfeather Flock for Charlie.

Back in game 3 of Match A, Duguid's turn 2 Stonewood Invoker was matched by Kibler with a turn 2 Wellwisher (with exclamations of "How Lucky!"). Unfortunately Brian was having mana problems, sitting on three Forests for some time, while Duguid ramped up to 8 mana, and a Dragon's Shadow-enchanted Stonewood Invoker. Kibler's Wellwisher was doing overtime, gaining Brian 4 life a turn, but it would have a hard time slowing down an unblockable 8/7 Invoker.

Match B again slowed to a B-W mirror match crawl, as Daru Stingers clogged up the attacking lanes while both players continued to match each other, creature for creature.

Back in Match A, Kibler again proved his ability to draw answers in this matchup, as he drew out of his mana screw and played two more Elves on the board, including Elvish Soultiller and his band of little brothers. The next turn saw him reduced to 4 life by Duguid's attack, but Kibler untapped, played Wave of Indifference on the Duguid's untapped Invoker and attacked. Duguid responded by casting Vitality Charm to create an Insect blocker, but Kibler again had an answer, burning it away with Scattershot and dropping James from 10 life to zero.

Kibler's and Ho's victories mean that a draw in the next round will put them into the Top 4.

Ubermenschen 2 – Prodigy 0

Meanwhile back in Match B game 2, a glacier had formed in the red zone, as there were 18 creatures on the table when time ran out for the round for the other players, but 5 minutes remained in the feature match due to time extensions. Akroma's Vengeance from Charlie cleared away around 21 creatures, but Rubin had been holding flying beatsticks in his hand for just that purpose, and dropped 2 Dive Bombers and a Dragon Stalker on the table after the vengeance, forcing a concession from Charlie.

Even though Prodigy lost, they were excited, because with a draw in the next round, they too will make the Top 4, and Charlie will be able to stop taking so much flack for disqualifying them from the amateur prize. A guaranteed $2000 and a spot at Pro Tour Boston will do that.

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