by Jessica Lawson
After facing each other in the last round of the Swiss portion of the tournament, Ben Rubin and John Hunka were paired together again in the first round of the Top 8. Since Rubin won Saturday's match 2-0, Hunka was hoping that his luck would be better today. The matchup seemed to favor Rubin's Green/White rebel deck over Hunka's mono-white Rebel deck.
The addition of Green to Rubin's deck for the four Saproling Bursts and four Blastoderms, with three Invigorates in the sideboard proved to be very wise against the predominantly white Rebel environment. Rubin also started with four Voice of Truths in the main deck. The matchup looked bad from the start for John Hunka. Both players started with 4 Parallax Waves and 4 Reverant Mantras, two of the strongest white cards in this format and they were the keys to Rubin's success.
In Game 1 both players were happy with their draws and Hunka, who won the coin toss, chose to play. Hunka got in an early hit with a turn two Steadfast Guard, but Rubin's turn 4 Voice of Truth and turn 5 Blastoderm soon shut that down. Rubin was able to remove both of Hunka's blockers with a Parallax Wave and get 7 points of damage through. After casting a Saproling Burst and removing three tokens from it, he was able to attack with the three tokens, the blastoderm, and the Voice of Truth, cast a reverant Mantra to turn all creatures pro-White and finish Hunka off.
Hunka was able to come back and beat Rubin in Game Two after sideboarding in two Fresh Volunteers, a Defiant Falcon, and 3 Seals of Cleansing. Hunka got his rebel search engine going early and churned out 10 rebels. He then attacked with all of them except Lin Sivvi and was able to cast 2 Ramosian Rallys, dealing 12 damage to Rubin and winning the game.
In Game Three, Rubin chose to play first. Hunka decided to Mulligan and starts off with six cards. Rubin gets out a turn four Voice of Truth, a turn five Ramosian Sky Marshall, and a turn six Blastoderm. On turn seven, he attacked with the Blastoderm and gave it pro-white with Reverant Mantra. Hunka goes down to 12 life. Then Rubin casts his second Blastoderm. At this point, Hunka seemed to know that Rubin has a second Mantra in his hand and that the game is pretty well over. On his turn Hunka plays a Plains and is done. Rubin attacked with both Blastoderms, a Sky Marshall, a Voice of Truth, and a Ramosian Sergeant, casts Reverent Mantra and the game is over.
Before Game Four, Rubin mulliganed down to six cards and Hunka chose to play first. Rubin got out a first turn Ramosian Sergeant and starts attacking with it. Hunka couldn't seem to draw any of his Rebels and his first spell was a Parallax Wave. The only thing he could do is remove the Sergeant from the game. Rubin got out a turn four and a turn five Voice of Truth and started attacking with them. He then put out a Sky Marshal. Hunka had only cast two spells at this point and had seven land on the board. When Ben Rubin got out a Parallax Wave with Hunka at four life, Hunka conceded.
Ben Rubin goes on to face Warren Marsh's Rebel deck in the Semifinals.
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