Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2000
by Randy Buehler
Shawn "Hammer" Regnier returned to the Queen Mary four years after triumphing here in the second-ever Pro Tour. In round two he sat down across from one of the least loved players on tour -- Trey van Cleave. Hammer's blue/white control deck contrasted starkly with Trey's green/black beatdown deck and the games reflected these differences in style.
Trey won the coin flip and played a turn 2 Vine Trellis in game 1. He then busted out with turn 3 Lumbering Satyr. 5/4 is pretty busty for turn 3, but Hammer had a Waterfront Bouncer to slow things down. While periodically bouncing the Satyr to make Trey replay it, Hammer built up an offense with Steadfast Guard and Saprazzan Outrigger. He Muzzled the Satyr and started racing the rest of Trey's creatures by Forestwalking past them. That Satyr may have looked good on turn 3, but it ended up costing van Cleave the game. When van Cleave's life total hit 10, Hammer started sending the Outrigger. Van Cleave had a Panacea to slow down the bleeding, but Hammer sped up the clock by bouncing his own Outrigger after damage went onto the stack so he could replay the Outrigger right away instead of having to redraw it. Game 1 to Hammer. Afterwards Hammer asked Trey it the Satyr was "a metagame call against green?" Trey responded "No -- I play this guy all the time. He's a beast!"
Game 2 was also all about Lumbering Satyr. Trey played it on turn 5 and Hammer once again answered with Saprazzan Outrigger. This time, though, Trey had a Snuff Out to clear away the 5/5 and Hammer didn't have a Waterfront Bouncer to slow things down. Hammer took 5 for 3 straight turns while attempting to construct a defense. He played out a Stinging barrier and when Trey dropped Cateran Overlord, Hammer used Cho-Manno's Blessing to creature a pro-black Barrier that could prevent the Overlord from attacking. Of course, the Overlord can still fetch mercenaries and so that's what van Cleave did. After gating out an Alley Grifter, van Cleave attacked with everything (including 2 Deepwood Ghouls). Hammer lined up some blockers and shot one of the Ghouls with his Barrier. Trey paid to life to regenerate it and then both players realized that Hammer never discarded a card for blocking the Alley Grifters. They backed up and did that, but Trey got distracted by this and forgot to put up a regeneration shield around his other Deepwood Ghoul.
He started processing combat damage and said "these both die" while picking up one of his own creatures and pointing to one of Hammer's. He then realized his mistake and tried backing up to set up a shield. He spent ten minutes arguing with judges and trying several approaches, but none of them worked because what he said clearly indicated that combat damage was resolving and it was thus too late to set up any shields. The lost Deepwood Ghoul gave Hammer some extra time to top deck his way out of this situation and Hammer did just that. He drew a chump blacker and then a Muzzle for the Satyr. In retrospect, if Trey had kept his Ghoul, he would have won the game two turns later (and forced game 3), but in the game that actually got played, Hammer won very slowly with all the damage being dealt by Stinging barrier and Deepwood ghoul regeneration shields.
Shawn Regnier - 2
Trey van Cleave - 0