Pro Tour-New York 2000 Semifinal Recap
by Gary Wise
In a match featuring members of two of PTNY's strongest teams, The Jumble's Ben Rubin, playing in his fourth top 8, matched up with the European Alliance's Warren marsh in a match up of two very different Rebel decks. While Marsh, whose team includes Kai Budde, John Larkin, Tony Dobson and a dozen others was playing a highly metagamed mono white deck, Rubin, who is affiliated with such veterans as Terry Tsang, LanDHo and Don Gallitz, was playing the Jumble's White Green deck, using Blastoderm and Saproling Burst to aid his Rebels in stepping all over opponents.
In game one, Ben, playing first, came out strong with a first turn Sergeant and a second turn Fresh Volunteers, but his beatdown was halted by Warren's casting Lin Sivvi on turn three. Continuing to try a frontal assault, Ben played Blastoderms on both turns five and six, but to no avail as one of Warren's four main deck Story Circles hit the table. When Ben then tried a different approach with Voice of Truth, Warren responded with a second Story Circle, and then it was only a matter of time until Warren was able to deal massive amounts of damage with a load of Rebels and Reverent Mantra.
Interestingly, Warren chose to take his Circles out of the deck for game two. Looking at his opening hand, it looked like the gambit may have worked, as he'd drawn three of his sideboarded Defender En-Vecs, a very tough card for Rubin's deck to get around. Again, Rubin came out fast with Sergeant and Volunteers, adding to Warren's slow start by using his Port, but when Warren finally got Lin Sivvi in play on turn four, the game quickly moved towards stabilization. Having played his second Defender, Warren had to decide whether to play yet another Defender or the Jhovall Queen he had in his hand. Deciding on the Queen, Warren paid dearly, when Ben's Reverent Mantra cleared the path, enabling his creature swarm to ride to victory.
Game three saw a very slow start for these two decks, with the first spell cast being Warren's third turn Sergeant. When Ben finally plays a Blastoderm on turn 5, it is greeted by a turn 6 Jhovall Queen, which warren knew he could safely use to block the green beast as Rubin had no Ramosian Rallies in main deck or sideboard. Ben played a Parallax Wave, clearing Warren's side of the table long enough to get some damage, but when the Wave faded out of existence, Ben's second Wave met an untimely doom to Warren's Disenchant, with Warren attacking for lethal damage soon thereafter.
In the final game, Rubin met his demise at the hands of a mana problem. Drawing his one Rishadan Port, Ben found himself with only two forests, one of which Warren was tapping every turn with his own Port. This meant that Ben wasn't able to play his Blastoderms, enabling Warren to Cast Reverent Mantra naming white, and ride to victory. If Rubin's one Port had been a thirteenth Forest, he likely would have won with his own Mantra, forcing a fifth and final game. Warren, playing in his first top 8, now moves on to a final which will see the tourney's two dominant decks, Rebel and Waters, face off for $25000.
Marsh 3 - Rubin 1