Finals: Kai Budde vs. Tomi Walamies
Kai Budde vs. Tomi Walamies
Kai Budde's first Pro Tour came at Mainz in 1998. Since then he's won four Pro Tours, four Grand Prix, one World Championship, two Player of the Year titles and an Invitational. Tomi Walamies has been on the Pro Tour for five years, and before today, he's never played on Sunday. In a study of contrasts, it's ironic that it's the unsung Finn, with longer experience than his omnipotent opponent, who is charged with the task of ending Kai's Sunday streak.
Game one started with a Walamies mulligan, his first of the day, suggesting a certain truth to the suggestion of Kai's karmic Sunday dominance. After keeping six cards, Walamies started with three land and Call of the Herd, while Budde's Donate deck lay uncharacteristically dormant until casting Brainstorm at the end of Tomi's turn three. After Kai played a land and said go, Tomi cast Seal of Cleansing, which surprisingly met little resistance. With a second Elephant token entering the fray, Tommi soon had Kai down to ten and on an apparent two turn clock, but when Tomi tapped out to cast two Impulses, Kai responded by casting Capsize with buyback, 'killing' an elephant, but informing his opponent that he had already found a way to deal with the Seal.
The remainder of Kai's draws came up sorely lacking. Turn after turn, he found himself staring at land, eventually sitting with nine in play. His only draw of note was Merchant Scroll, by which time he was so far behind that he had no choice but to get a two-card Accumulated Knowledge. With the Elephant taking him to one point of life, Kai cast another Scroll, getting his third Knowledge, casting it, then Brainstorm, and discarding down to seven.
During Tomi's upkeep, Kai cast (Fire/)Ice in an attempt to tap the Elephant. After a long look at the Juggernaut's graveyard, Tomi cast Counterspell, and when Kai countered back, Tomi had a second counter, forcing the German to Force of Will, leaving him at zero.
Walamies 1, Budde 0
Noting that this was the first time he'd lost game one of a final, one couldn't help but wonder if perhaps Budde would be a little shaken. However, he knew coming in that the match up wasn't a good one in game one, so one had to think he'd go unphased. Unfortunately, his deck apparently didn't, with his business spells staying away from his opening hand of five lands, Fire/Ice, Sapphire Medallion and he was forced to mulligan.
After a quick shuffle by Walamies, Kai drew a more suitable six-card hand and declared his readiness, but Tomi was ready to follow suit, going to six before Kai played his opening Island and then a Sapphire Medallion. Nothing much happened for the next few turns, though Walamies did play his fifth and sixth Impulses of the match before Kai cast his second Accumulated Knowledge. Tomi then cast Fact or Fiction, which Kai manually Force of Willed as he tried to further the gap between his and Walamies' hands.
With Kai sideboarded into a Morphling control deck, he knew it would be important to keep playing land, so he cast intuition for three Shivan Reefs. After playing the one Tomi chose, Kai Accumulated Knowledged for three in response to a Fact or Fiction, then Pyroblasted the FoF, but Walamies had Hydroblast waiting and the instant resolved.
The most important card Walamies got out of the Fact or Fiction was Rootwater Thief, Mike Long's card from his Invitational win in Barcelona, and he cast it on the next turn in the hopes it might remove Kai's win conditions before he could draw them, but the Juggernaut had Intuition in hand and used it to get three Fire/Ices, one of which killed the 1/2 creature. Kai then untapped, Merchant Scrolled for Counterspell and relinquished the turn.
Tomi's upkeep saw the two players get into a massive counter war, with an attempted Accumulated Knowledge by Kai eventually being countered. Tomi drew and said go, then Kai drew and found the perfect card: Merchant Scroll. He cast it and got Stroke of Genius, his anti control sideboard card and cast it on Tomi's upkeep with no resistance.
With Budde tapped out, Tomi had no choice but to go on the offensive, casting Morphling in the face of massive card advantage. Unfortunately though, Kai was about to start to dominate. In Tomi's end step, Budde cast Capsize, and with three Medallions in play, it only cost a total of three to buy back. Returning three Islands to Walamies hand, Tomi cast Fact or Fiction in response to the third, but let the bounce spell resolve, then Kai untapped and cast it twice more before Walamies cast Brainstorm. He then cast it a third time, reducing Walamies to three lands as the Morphling raced to finish the German off before there wouldn't be blue mana left to protect it with. The Shapeshifter took Kai to five and was joined by Call of the Herd, but Kai was then able to Pyroblast the Morphling, and Walamies knew the game was done.
Budde 1, Walamies 1
With neither player mulliganing for a change, the Finn started this game out right, with Rootwater Thief coming into play on turn two followed by Call of the Herd after the Thief was tapped by Ice, with no red mana with which to cast Fire in sight. Kai's next turn saw him cast a main phase Impulse for a land, allowing Tomi to come in with his two creatures, allowing him to remove an Accumulated Knowledge from the deck. On Kai's turn, the Juggernaut Intuitioned for three Shivan Reefs putting the selected one into play, and when Tomi Impulsed, tapping out, Kai Pyroblasted the annoying Merfolk.
Tomi untapped and tried to cast a second Herd from his graveyard only to have it Force of Willed, leaving Kai at eleven and staring at an Elephant that could kill him in four turns. A turn later he was at eight and then at five. Kai Stroke of Geniused for two cards then went to four life when casting a Force of Will in an attempt to protect his Capsize. The Capsize was Countered, Kai went to one, untapped and cast Morphling. Tomi had Wrath of God waiting, but this left him with one card in hand, and Kai cast his second Morphling after Knowledging for two, then cast AK for three. With Tomi so close he could taste it, he had to know just how far away he really was at this point, and four turns later, with Morphling doing its job backed by numerous counters and Pyroblasts, he conceded.
Budde 2, Walamies 1
With Kai taking his turn to mulligan, he reacted in amazement when Walamies sacrificed his Flood Plains, remarking that Tomi was especially good at drawing Impulse. While Kai obviously knows Magic, his foresight wasn't too good this time around, as Tomi merely went to his turn to draw, playing a land and casting an Elephant.
Kai's turn saw him Intuition for Accumulated Knowledges, then he Force of Willed the Flashbacked call, casting Accumulated Knowledge for three and playing a land on his own turn. Tomi then cast another Call of the Herd, which Kai Counterspelled, then could only wince as Budde drew four cards from Accumulated Knowledge on his turn. The initial Elephant took Kai to nine as Tomi played his fifth land and gave the turn up without recasting the Call. Kai cast Merchant Scroll, finding Force of Will, then Pyroblasted Walamies' Fact or Fiction. The Elephant then took Kai to five life, with Tomi ending his turn.
During the Finn's upkeep, Kai attempted to Capsize the Elephant with buyback, but Tomi had Counterspell and Hydroblast for Kai's Pyroblast. Kai untapped and cast Morphling, Counterspelling Counterspell in the process, but Tomi had Wrath of God waiting and followed it up with Rootwater Thief. Two turns later, the Thief had dealt two points of damage, and won Walamies the game.
Walamies 2, Budde 2
On the same day as the seventh game of baseball's World Series, the Pro Tour championship would come down to this one game. Kai was pleased to be keeping his opening hand, but for the third time this match, Walamies decided to go to six cards. The first spell of the game was the Finn cast Gaea's Blessing in order to draw a card, opening the door for Budde to cast Intuition unhampered by countermagic, getting three Accumulated Knowledges.
Tomi's turn saw him cast the ever reliable Call of the Herd, with the resulting Elephant attacking for three a turn later, but it didn't look to be winning any races, as Kai drew three cards, then four from Accumulated Knowledges, Pyroblasting Forbid and getting Sapphire Medallion into play in the process. Tomi did manage to get another Elephant into play, with the original getting Kai to thirteen, then ten as the rookie elephant was tapped by Ice. Kai cast Stroke of Genius for three cards and Pyroblasted Fact or Fiction, but suddenly found himself with a handful of land and needing a topdeck after being reduced to four life. Kai drew Morphling and cast it, leaving himself two mana for either Counterspell or to pump Morphling and after a Walamies attack, he found himself pumping, leaving him at the familiar one life. Tomi cast Wrath of God, but Kai countered, leaving Morphling to take the Finn to eight, and when Kai then cast Merchant Scroll for Counterspell, things seemed to be turning. Tomi cast the Morphling he got from Fact or Fiction, but Kai had the Counterspell. Morphling then reduced Tomi to five, and a turn later Walamies could do nothing but extend his hand to the best player in Magic history.
Final Result: Budde 3, Walamies 2