Round 8: Reid Duke vs. Caleb Durward
Reid’s piloted a throwback from Legacy past, Natural Order RUG, to his 6-1 record right now, while Caleb is running Punishing RUG, a more controlling RUG variant that eschews many of the normal RUG cards for Punishing Fire, and arrived here with the same record. Which of these big name writers piloting unusual red, blue, and green decks can finish the day with a near perfect record?
Before starting Reid asked about the new legend rule’s impact on Elves, since Caleb has some experience with the little green men. “It has had a big impact today,” replied Caleb. “My opponent tapped a Gaea’s Cradle for four, then played another one and tapped it for four, then cast Craterhoof Behemoth. That was fun.”
That's why they call him the Duke!
Reid won the die roll and elected to go first. With the play, Reid led things off with Noble Hierarch.
“That is an uncommon card to see cast these days.”
Rather than see what Reid was trying to accelerate into, Caleb used Lightning Bolt to kill off the 0/1 Conflux rare. Reid simply played a fetchland and passed on turn two, and Caleb did the same… and then Reid did the same… and then Caleb did the same (though Caleb’s land drop was Grove of the Burnwillows). Reid played land four and passed, and using the Grove dealt Reid a total of one damage.
Augur of Bolas is also an odd card to see ‘round these parts, and it whiffed just like it does in Standard. Reid used Brainstorm and fetchland activation at end of turn before untapping. Green Sun’s Zenith for two was the play, and after it resolved 3/4 Tarmogoyf entered the battlefield for Reid. Caleb found his fifth land and then tried to cast-rebuy-cast Punishing Fire to kill off the offending Llurgoyf, and though Reid cast Brainstorm in response the Future Sight creature still hit the bricks.
At end of turn, Reid used another fetchland to search up Dryad Arbor… and then Natural Order happened. Caleb immediately fired off Force of Will in response (removing Spell Pierce), but Reid’s Force of Will (removing Ponder) meant that the Visions rare resolved. Reid’s big green Tinker found Progenitus, and knowing that every card in his deck fell under the subset of ‘everything’ (which, conveniently, Progenitus has protection from) Caleb scooped and went directly to sideboarding.
Reid 1, Caleb 0.
“It actually makes me happy to see you doing well with that,” Caleb commented.
“Do you remember when you smashed me in some GP when I was playing this?”
“Yeah, but you had top 8’d a Legacy GP before then right?
“That was when Mental Misstep was illegal though.”
Caleb has the Fire today!
Caleb kept, while Reid mulliganed to six. After his opponent decided the half dozen he drew was good enough, Caleb played a basic Island before passing. Reid followed suit, playing a slightly older basic Island of his own. Grove of the Burnwillows into Tarmogoyf (an 0/1 currently) was Caleb’s play, and Reid’s play was to use a fetchland to find Taiga and Lightning Bolt the now 2/3 creature. Caleb untapped and cast Brainstorm in concert with Misty Rainforest to drop Augur of Bolas. Augur found Force of Will before Caleb passed back to Reid, who cast Tarmogoyf of his own (it resolved).
Caleb played Wasteland and passed. Reid, now able to go on the offensive somewhat, swung in with his 4/5 (after casting Ponder) and dropped Caleb to 15. Augur put Reid down to 19, and Caleb didn’t add anything after that. The beats kept coming, and Reid was intent to trade damage if that’s what Caleb wanted to do… but Punishing Fire-rebuy-Lightning Bolt threatened to take out the ‘Goyf. In response, Reid cast Vendilion Clique, but Caleb used Force of Will (removing Force) to try to counter the 3/1 legend. Reid, still in response, added to the now quite busy stack by using a fetchland to get a land to be able to counter Force of Will with Pyroblast. Revealing Submerge and Punishing Fire, Reid put the troublesome Zendikar burn spell on the bottom with the Vendilion Clique ability… and Tarmogoyf died as well.
Got all that? Okay, now the board is just 1/3 Augur for Caleb and 3/1 Vendilion Clique for Reid.
“That looks bad for me…”
Reid dug with Brainstorm and then (after playing his fifth land) cast Tarmogoyf to try to keep pace, though the Punishing Fire at this point could even keep ‘Goyf-sized guys (4/5) down when combined with an Augur of Bolas block. Board clear and with Caleb only having two cards in hand, Reid (with four) searched out Dryad Arbor and cast Natural Order. Unfortunately for The Duke, one of Caleb’s last cards was Force of Will and another was a blue card, so Natural Order was countered.
Wasteland took out Tropical Island on Caleb’s turn to knock Reid’s mana even further down. Reid used Ponder to search for a way out of this mess, and Reid’s solution was to simply play yet another Tarmogoyf. Punishing Fire dealt Reid a very expensive one damage, to set life totals at Caleb 5 and Reid at… 20. Those Grove of the Burnwillows triggers stack up!
Green Sun’s Zenith was countered by yet another Force of Will, this one cast for the little-used alternate cost of five mana. Reid simply attacked one more time to put Caleb to 1, and unable to find what he needed (and one mana short of buying back Punishing Fire) Caleb extended his hand.
Reid 2, Caleb 0.
The Grand Prix Miami champion and StarCityGames.com writer has ended Day 1 at 7-1, in excellent shape to make a run at the top 8. But the Legacy master and Open champion is also in good shape heading in to Day 2, sitting pretty at 6-2. Tune in tomorrow to see how these fellas capitalize on their quality starts!