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Pro Tour-Chicago 1999
Round 9 Feature Match

Darwin Kastle vs. Michelle Bush

In the first ever feature match pitting girlfriend against boyfriend, Darwin Kastle and Michelle Bush faced off with nearly identical Trix decks (that's the Survival/Recur deck with the Enduring renewal/Goblin Bombardment combo built in). They actually have met once before on Tour - they played in Dallas and Michelle won.

Michelle won the die roll, leaned across the table to kiss Darwin, and then they agreed to play serious and tight. Darwin elected to keep a one land draw and Michelle made him pay for it. He did have a Birds of Paradise (otherwise I'm sure he would have mulliganned), but Michelle had 2 Wastelands and a Goblin Bombardment. Darwin managed to get a Wall of Roots into play before she destroyed all his (other) mana sources, but when she played Survival of the Fittest and used it to Bone Shredder his Wall, Darwin knew he wasn't going to win so he conceded to save time.

Game 2 went many turns and neither player was able to establish an advantage for long. They kept trading Funeral Charms for Academy Rectors and enchantment removal for Goblin Bombardments and Survivals. Neither player kept Survival of the Fittest on the table for long enough to abuse it. Eventually Darwin drew his second Academy Rector and finally got to actually use the ability without having Michelle remove it from the game as a response. He got Survival of the Fittest and started abusing it with Krovikan Horror. He sacrifices yet another Rector to Recurring Nightmare so he can get Goblin Bombardment into playa nd kill Michelle's Devout Witness. Eventually he was able to Survival for Academy Rector #4 and kill it off to bring Enduring Renewal into play, thus piecing together his combo while Michelle drew land, land, and land. The short version of the game is that the first person to keep Survival on the table for long won, but it took so long to get to that point that they went into game 3 without a lot of time left on the clock.

While shuffling, Darwin confirmed that the floor rules still allow any player to concede at any time and for any reason. The rules do not allow collusion so they do prohibit any form of negotiating about who should concede, but he certainly planted the idea in everyone's mind that the two of them are collectively better off with a win and a loss rather than a pair of draws. Since they both already had one draw, a second draw would be almost as bad as a loss.

Both players mulliganed before game 3 and Darwin kept yet another draw with Bird of Paradise but only a single land. Michelle had Goblin Bombardment once again, but she had no cheap creatures and Darwin was able to Charm it before she could kill his Bird. He put Survival into play and started building up his position. Michelle had Academy Rector and was able to kill it using Krovikan Horror's "other" ability, but Darwin's Ebony Charm shut her down. She Realisted his Survival, but he drew another one. She then drew Emerald Charm and killed that one too. Darwin then dred Survival #3, but by now time had expired and they are in their final 5 turns.

With Michelle's hand completely empty, it was obvious that Darwin had board advantage and he would only need 2-3 more turns to kill her, but the game ended in a draw. When Michelle ended her final turn without conceding, Darwin was silent. He stayed silent as the crowd began talking to the players - after all, the match was over. The fireworks, however, were not over. Gary Wise asked if they had any form of prize split (the answer is yes, but only 10%). He commented that they shouldn't have let themselves get a draw. Darwin bellowed "NO SHIT!" and it was clear that he felt Michelle should have conceded the match to him. Michelle explained later that she was "too proud for that." She wanted her one point so she could try to make the top 32. That's becoming hard to do now that she's 4-3-2, but she is still very much in position to become the first women ever to win money at the Pro Tour (one previous woman made the top 64, but that was at PT 1 when the money only went down to 32nd).

Darwin and Michelle have a reputation for fighting when they play and their relationship has had somewhat of an on again, off again character over the years. This match certainly adds to that legacy.

Darwin Kastle - 1
Michelle Bush - 1



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