Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2000
Round 9 Feature Match
by Randy Buehler
Dave Williams and Stephan Valkyser both apologized to each other before their match about the terrible cards they were about to play! Neither player seemed happy about the way the draft went this morning and both lost last round. Williams was particularly depressed about his chances after passing Cho-Arrim Bruiser to Valkyser (who sat on his right during the draft) and then being forced to go into white anyway. Valkyser recognized the common run and knew Williams had first-picked a Waterfront Bouncer.
Anyone who knows Dave Williams knows he always drafts blue-white. He used it to make the Top 8 of grand prix San Diego and he drafted amazing u/w deck after amazing u/w deck during practice on Thursday. This one, however, was less than amazing. It was all balanced out, though, by the fact that Valkyser was forced to play 3 colors and even with 3 colors to choose from he had to include bad cards like Deadly Insect, Howling Wolf, and Revive. Neither player was kidding about their pre-game apologies.
Valkyser dropped turn 4 Hunted Wumpus in game 1 and Williams did get to play a Blockade Runner for free, but he had no way to deal with the Wumpus. He did draw and play a Stinging barrier, but he was still forced to start chump blocking after taking just one hit. Valkyser used Tiger Claws to give the Wumpus trample and then Invigorate to deliver the deathblow.
Williams went into his sideboard to search for a Wumpus answer and all he came up with was a Hunted Wumpus of his own. So he sided it and a couple Forests into his deck! The players traded 2/2 creatures for a while in gamed 2 and Valkyser Lunged a Blockade Runner. Williams was up on board position when Valkyser played bargaining table, but Valkyser had enough life that it looked like he could play for a card advantage victory. However, Williams returned two islands to his hand to cast an amazing gush. It both made it harder for Valkyser to draw extra cards and allowed him to find what he needed to go Forest - Wumpus. And Valkyser didn't have any creatures in his hand.
Valkyser came up with a Charm Peddler while taking a hit. The extra cards he was drawing allowed him to feed cards to the Peddler and hold off the Wumpus, but when Valkyser later played his own Hunted Wumpus, Williams dropped a surprise Balloon Peddler, untapped, sent Wumpus to the air, and Valkyser couldn't help but take a lethal hit from Williams' air force. Williams's comments after the game included "I learned that from you" and "if you can't beat them, join them"
Williams led with a Darting Merfolk and then a Nightwind Glider in game 3. Valkyser played a turn 4 Snorting Ghar that spent the entire game Dancing with that Darting Merfolk. Williams block, bounced, and recast the Merfolk no less than 5 times during the game. Valkyser kept playing land during these turns, but he couldn't draw any Plains. His second spell came on turn 7 and was preceded by "this is so embarrassing." When Williams saw Deadly Insect hit the table he managed just an "Oh my." The Insect looked a little scarier on the next turn when Stephan played a War cadence, but Williams had a Disenchant ready. The Insect would also have comboed well with the Cho-Arrim Bruiser that Stephan was holding, but Dave killed him with fliers before Stephan ever drew white mana.
Valkyser - 1
Williams - 2