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Gateway Round 5: Ben Stark vs. Antonio De Rosa

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Both of these players are from the Florida area, and are friends who test together. Stark talked about his deck and mentioned, "The decklist is mine, the cards in it are his." Stark is running Psychatog with lots of point removal, including Innocent Blood and Chainer's Edict, as well as Complusion to improve card quality and power Circular Logic. De Rosa has a typical blue/green madness deck, and is also running Deep Analysis, Roar of the Wurm and Quiet Speculation.

Game 1

Stark mulliganed his opening hand. De Rosa summoned a turn two Aquamoeba, which died to Chainer's Edict, but not before Roar of the Wurm was discarded. Basking Rootwalla came out on turn three, and died to Innocent Blood. Roar of the Wurm was flashed back and Counterspelled, and both players drew more cards with their own Deep Analysis. Stark tapped out for Psychatog, and De Rosa flashed back Deep Analysis, then cast Careful Study. Stark asked, "Double Rootwalla? He gets that a lot in playtesting." De Rosa did have three mana up, and was able to madness out Arrogant Wurm. Psychatog got past the Wurm for a point of damage, and Stark played Compulsion. De Rosa's Looter was met with a Compulsed Circular Logic, and De Rosa added his own Logic to the stack. With one mana available, Stark discarded a Logic to Psychatog to counter the Looter that was still waiting to resolve. The Wurm attacked for four points of damage, and was joined by Wild Mongrel.

Psychatog attacked, and De Rosa got to work doing the math to see if he would die to the attack, yelling out in agony, "This is too hard!" Stark made things easier by telling De Rosa that the 'Tog couldn't kill him unless he had other things in his hand. This was enough to convince De Rosa to let it through for a point of damage. The Wurm attacked back, and Stark cast Cunning Wish. As he thought about what to take, De Rosa started to name the cards in his sideboard.

De Rosa- "You can get a Mana Short, Ghastly Demise..."
Stark- "You actually forgot one."
De Rosa - "What is it?"
Stark- "It rhymes with Doffin Murge."
De Rosa- "...I'm not very good at this."
Stark- "Coffin Purge!"
De Rosa- "Oh, that wasn't on the list I had."
Stark- "Yeah, last minute addition for Reanimator."

Stark got Ghastly Demise and killed the Wurm, and then took care of the Mongrel with Smother. Compulsion kept making Stark's graveyard bigger and his Psychatog more intimidating, but he found himself in a position where he had only one card in hand. A potential chump blocker in Wild Mongrel resolved, but Stark had Chainer's Edict to clear the way for the win.

Stark- 1 De Rosa- 0

Game 2

De Rosa started off with Aquamoeba, and attacked. "You're going to break Jeff Cunningham's rule...always pitch a card to Aquamoeba!" That wasn't the case, as De Rosa had a Deep Analysis and attacked for three. Quiet Speculation resolved, getting two more Deep Analysis and Roar of the Wurm. Stark was stuck at three islands, and had no black source to cast spot removal. Aquamoeba attacked for three again, pitching a Basking Rootwalla into play. Stark played a fourth island and cast Deep Analysis, and De Rosa increased the pressure with Arrogant Wurm. Stark took three more damage when he flashed back Deep Analysis, and scooped right after.

Stark- "I've seen closer games."

Stark- 1 De Rosa- 1

De Rosa- "I like to sit on my leg but it hurts after a while because I'm too fat."
Stark- "Make sure you get that in the feature match coverage."
Me- "Do you mind Antonio?"
De Rosa- "Do people actually want to read that?"
Me- "Sure, every little bit helps."

Game 3

Stark played Compulsion on turn two, while De Rosa had Merfolk Looter. It died to Innocent Blood, leaving Stark with two blue up for countermagic or Complusion. A second Looter resolved, and De Rosa was stuck at two islands. It died to Smother, and Stark was stuck at three lands, but had Complusion to eventually make things better. De Rosa started pounding on the top of his deck, but land didn't come. Stark tapped out for Psychatog, and De Rosa found a forest and summoned Wild Mongrel. It was targeted with Smother, and a Circular Logic war resulted which caused the removal spell to resolve, but not before De Rosa pitched Wonder and put Basking Rootwalla into play. Stupefying Touch made the Psychatog less than impressive. "The only reason I brought them in was that you said you wouldn't side in Upheavals." Both players were still at three land, and the game seemed to be even until Stark countered De Rosa's Aquamoeba, and Demised the Rootwalla to clear his board.

Stark summoned another Psychatog, and told his friend "If you (Stupefying) Touch him, I'll vomit." That wasn't the case, but De Rosa flashed back Roar of the Wurm. Once again, the Psychatog math became a group effort between both players, and De Rosa let it get through. "If that thing kills me, I'm never talking to you again." De Rosa summoned Wonder, and Stark stopped to think.

Stark- "I hate the math, can you do it for me?"
De Rosa- "If you want to be here until the Pro Tour starts. The DCI needs to invent a Psychatog calculator."

It resolved, and Stark fetched Ghastly Demise with Cunning Wish. It killed the Wurm token, and Psychatog got through again after assurance from Stark that it couldn't get the job done just yet. This was followed by Stark's fourth land of the game, which got a sarcastic "What?" from De Rosa. Aquamoeba was countered, and Quiet Speculation resolved, getting three Deep Analysis. Deep Analysis gave Stark enough Psychatog fuel to make it fatal, and Chainer's Edict cleared the path for the win.

Final Result: Stark- 2 De Rosa- 1

PT Chicago Masters Gateway 2003: Psychatog
Ben Stark

PT Chicago Masters Gateway 2003: U/G Madness
Antonino DeRosa

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