Pro Tour-Los Angeles 1999
Day Two Recap
- Kim Eikefet
The play field had been stripped down to 96 players after day one, and most of those who were still in dutifully got up early to play during the second day. The third draft started around 9:00 a.m. Saturday morning, and most of the players were focused and concentrated even though not all of them had got as much sleep as they would have desired.
Unlike Friday, a lot of players seemed to have changed their minds about which colours to draft. Fewer people tried to force black from the start, while red and green was a very popular colour combination, drafted by for instance Hashim Bello, Don Gallitz, Brian Hacker, Nate Clarke, Mike Long, Kyle Rose and Daniel O'Mahoney-Schwartz.
Mike Long actually forced red and green from the start. He was number two in his pod, and he chose a Hush over a Corrupt. A first pick Viashino Runner also gave a strong signal to the other players close to him, and they let him have those colours and chose black and white instead. Mike played 16 fast creatures, two Symbiosis, one Arc Lightning, a Fault Line and some other spells and went 3-1.
After the first draft, Worth Wollpert was in the lead with an impressive 10-1 record. Worth had several feature matches, but proved that he had overcome his curse and won them all. "Two Pestilences, two Corrupt, three Befoul, Expunge, Despondency, Skirges. You can quote me on that," Wollpert grinned after going 4-0. He hoped that a Deadguy would "win the boat" this year as well - last year, Price won Pro Tour LA. "Finkel will make top eight too, so we have two shots at it. I hope I meet Finkel in the finals. You can quote me on that, too."
While some players fought for fame and money in the Pro Tour, others had to play side events or do other things. Some of them, for instance Sturla Bingen, Brian Weissman and Chris Pikula, were gunslinging in the upper regions of the ship, while others were deck doctors for a day. "It was cool, basically people came to me with constructed decks and asked for my help in making them better. I do that kind of thing in my store all the time, so I'm used to it. But I'd rather play in the Pro Tour. This was the worst I've ever done in a Pro Tour, and it was hard for me not to go back to my room and cry," Darwin Kastle admitted.
At least he learned something from doing deck doctoring. "Most of the time it was pretty easy, but at least one guy came to me with a copy of a deck I played at the Invitational, and he wanted advice on how to tune the deck against a particular decktype. His ideas were better than the ones I actually had, so I just decided that I would use his ideas," Darwin said.
The last draft was extremely important to a lot of players. No-one was safe into the top eight before the draft, even though some were close. Still, there wasn't much counter-drafting on the top tables. Quite on the contrary, players tried to cooperate and share the colours between them as much as possible.
David Price drafted perhaps the funniest deck of the day. In 1998, Price won Pro Tour Los Angeles playing a mono-red deck. In the last draft, Dave actually drafted a mono-red deck that had seven Goblins, one of them a Goblin Lackey. But he didn't go mono because he wanted to play Goblins on the boat again. "I drafted black, but I had enough red cards to go mono red. That's what came to me," Price explained. Unfortunately, Price lost to a RoP: Red in the 12th round, and thus he was out of top eight.
Before the final round of the swiss, Lucien Bui, Worth Wollpert, Terry Lau and Pat Chapin were ready for top eight. Eight other players had to fight for the last four slots. Jon Finkel drew with his teammate Wollpert and took one of the slots, Mike Long defeated Erik Lauer and took one of them. Svend Sparre Geertsen played against Brian Hacker and beat the American out of top eight, while Steven O'Mahoney-Schwartz defeated Justin Gary to be the last person into top eight.
While most of the top eight players were well-known names, the leader after day two, Lucien Bui, played in his very first Pro Tour. The Frenchman had absolutely not expected to make top eight, but thought it was fun. "Now I'll try my best to ti win, but it isn't important if I lose," Bui smiled after his impressive performance.