Pro Tour-New York 2000 Round 8 Feature Match
by Randy Buehler
One of the big stories from last year's Pro Tour New York was the success of a conglomeration of players known as "The Jumble." Around 20 players from all over the United States banded together to share deck building advice, ideas, and playtest data. Last year's PT New York winner -- Casey McCarrel -- was a member as was Top 8 competitor Terry Tsang. This year the Jumble returned with a somewhat different lineup, but similar success, so far anyway. The 17 Jumble players ran a total of 5 different decks yesterday and all five decks put someone into day 2. Ben Rubin and William Jensen were two of those players and they met in round 1.
"Baby Huey", as Jensen is popularly known, is a Boston area player, but he is not of Team Your Move Games. He and Pro Tour regular Mike Bregoli call T.J.'s Comics and Collectibles "home." Their recent success has put T.J.'s, and Milford, MA, on the map of hot places to play Magic. Jensen ran an aggressive Rebel deck this weekend while Rubin ran a Rebel deck that splashed green for Blastoderm, Invigorate, and Saproling Burst. Both players went 6-1 on day 1 and were in very good position to make the top 8 as day 2 began. Neither was happy to be forced to play a teammate in round 8. Of course, neither was surprised to be forced to play against another Rebel decks. Rebel decks made of 43% of the field at the beginning of the tournament and then posted a 55% winning percentage overall. There are 55 Rebel decks among the top 96 players (that's 57% of the field). Only Rising Waters decks posted similar success with 14 of the 26 players who ran it advancing to day 2.
Jensen led with a turn 1 Sergeant in game 1 and recruited his way up to Lin Sivvi. he had "Lin Sivvi advantage" for the entire game, but Rubin played a turn 4 Voice of Truth. Jensen's mono-white deck had no answer for the pro-white angel other than trying to outrace. Of course, since it's only 2/2, outracing it isn't impossible. However, Rubin played a Blastoderm and recruited out enough 2/2's to keep the ground stalemated. Once he knocked Jensen down to 12 and built up 13 power worth of creatures in play, Rubin cast reverent mantra to give all his creatures protection from white so they would be unblockable. Jensen didn't have any tricks up his sleeve so they moved on to game 2.\
In game 2, Jensen once again got out the first Lin Sivvi. Rubin tried to remove it from the game for a while with Parallax Wave, but Jensen had a Disenchant ready. Jensen then used Lin Sivvi to bring a pair of Ramosian Sky Marshals into play and Rubin couldn't deal with the 3/3 fliers.
Jensen had to mulligan before game 3 and Rubin had a very aggressive draw. Many have questioned his decision to use green spells in his Rebel deck, but they looked awfully good in the deciding game of this match. Rubin's turn 4 Blastoderm put a lot of pressure on Jensen and Rubin's turn 6 Saproling Burst turned the heat up even higher. When Ben followed with Parallax Wave he could remove all of Jensen's blockers from the game and attack for more than enough damage to win. Jensen had sideboarded his way up to 6 Disenchant effects, but he didn't draw any and couldn't deal with Rubin's assault.
Rubin - 2
Jensen - 1