Semifinal Feature Match: Darwin Kastle (United States) vs. Mark Le Pine (United States)
by Kai Budde
Darwin Kastle is one of the most prominent players around. He made five PT-top 8s and won the first team-PT in Washington DC. Additionally he played in every Duelist-Invitational but the very first in Hong Kong.
His opponent, Mark LePine, is also a pretty big name. He reached the top 8 at PT-Mainz, PT-Rome and the 99 World Championships where he finished 2nd.
Both players' draft decks were using at least three colors. Darwin was running heavy red and black and splashed for a few blue cards. Mark was even running all five colors.
Darwin won the toss and chose to go first. Both players kept their hands. Darwin had a decent start but was missing islands. Mark on the other hand got off to a great start. Casting cards like Samite Archer, Tribal Flames, Armadillo Cloak and Atalya, Samite Master up to turn 6, Darwin could do nothing but to concede in disbelief of the power of that five colored deck.
LePine 1 - Kastle 0
Darwin elected to go first once again. Mark had to mulligan this time. He kept a 2 plains hand but drew into 2 forests while Darwin missed his turn 4 and 5 land drop. While Mark tried to get his mana base going, Darwin dropped a couple of early creatures and dealt Mark 10 damage before he could muster a defense. Then Darwin dropped his bomb, a Pyre Zombie. It looked like Mark would lose the race but he proceeded to draw into an Exclude and a Goham Djinn. When he got his Collective Restraint into play, Darwin's offense was complete.
Making his attack step fairly useless, Darwin proceeded to recur the Zombie and throw it at Mark's life total. At 2 life, Mark drew into a Tribal Flames but that and his creatures could only deal a total of 11 damage while Darwin was at 12!
Mark could do nothing but pass the turn and watch as the Pyre Zombie was returned, came into play and was sacrificed to even the score at one game a piece.
LePine 1 - Kastle 1
The third game was rather anticlimatic. Mark went first and kept a one plains/harrow hand. He missed his turn 2 and 4 land drop and when he could finally drop his Urborg Shambler to stop the three black creatures on Darwins side, it was repulsed and finally Soul Drained which forced Mark to wish Darwin luck in the finals vs Englands John Ormerod.
LePine 1 - Kastle 2