icolai Herzog has been a consistent finisher for years, particularly in limited Pro Tours. After losing to Kai in the finals of Chicago at 2003, he came back to the Sunday stage in Amsterdam and took it one step further, winning the whole thing. Thus far he's already made back-to-back Limited Pro Tour Top 8's, and with three more wins he'll make it back-to-back championships
. I sat down with Herzog as he was building his deck to see how it went, and what he thought his chances were to repeat as champion.
Herzog: I hate Barter in Blood.
TW: So why are you playing it?
Herzog: I have to. I also need to add one more card, maybe two.
TW: So right now you're deciding between these (Myr Matrix, Death Mask Duplicant, Disciple of the Vault, Culling Scales)?
Herzog: Yeah, more or less. I'm considering Myr Matrix because this deck is really controllish. It goes fine with the rest of the deck, and I actually have two Myrs. And I'm probably not going to run Culling Scales main. It may hurt me more than him. It's just not good enough with the rest of my removal and all, it won't fit in. I need to see the rest of his deck before I bring in Culling Scales.
TW: And you said that you're a little worried that your Terrors won't be great against Ben Stark because he usually goes black?
Herzog: That might be the case, yeah. He might be red-black or something random like that, so I could kill a Berserker or two. Actually, I've never run this card before (Myr Matrix). I've been crushed by it once. I think that if I'd run it in any deck, this would be it.
Herzog: Controllish, lots of removal. Actually, I have three Myrs (Lodestone Myr)! I just realized that. That's fine synergy with the rest of my deck, and it doesn't matter that it's slow because of all of my removal. That's what I'd think anyway, fine time to try it out for the first time.
TW: So you're not playing the Irradiates because you already have enough removal?
Herzog: No, because I simply don't have enough artifacts. At least I think, I'm still considering them. I've got ten artifacts, and these three (more expensive ones) don't really count. They're way too slow anyway.
TW: Do you think this draft went well overall? You've got plenty of removal, that's for sure.
Herzog: It went relatively well. I first picked Electrostatic Bolt over Betrayal of Flesh.
Herzog: Betrayal is better, but it's not that much better. The Bolt has a good purpose for the early game. I was hoping to go red-green, because I don't think Oiso has drafted green once. I don't know that for sure, but I get that feeling. In that case, Electrostatic Bolt is incredibly important.
TW: So you don't regret that pick then?
Herzog: It's fine, it's quick removal. Betrayal is slow anyway. Yeah, I think that pick was fine.
TW: Do you think this deck is good enough to win a second Pro Tour?
Herzog: It is good enough. It's not amazing, but it's good enough to conceivably win. We'll see what happens.