Pro Tour-Los Angeles 2000
Round 12 Feature Match
by Randy Buehler
David Bachmann and Mike Long had never met in the Pro Tour until today. A crowd gathered to watch including Chris Pikula, who commented "I'm rooting or the double DQ." Always good for a laugh or a story, Chris also looked over at the next feature match table and wondered aloud "Pete Leiher and the Daddy [John Yoo]? Is that on the Senior's Tour?!"
Before the match, mike noticed that he didn't have a pen and so he stole Bachmann's from the top of Bachmann's scorepad. Dave didn't notice. About 4 turns into the match when Dave first went to adjust his life total he was a bit confused and pointed at the pen on top of Long's scorepad and asked if that was his pen. "No, actually that's my pen," replied Long. Bachmann believed him (despite the fact that Long was wearing a pen cap around his neck and the pen he was using (Dave's pen) had a cap stuck on the end of it). Bachmann was forced to borrow a pen. These are trained professionals, ladies and gentlemen. Don't try this at home.
Before the match began Bachmann offered a draw. Both players felt they probably needed to go 2-0-1 to make the top 8 and thus it was OK to pick up a draw now and just try to win the next two. However, the math isn't entirely clear and it's possible that they could each go 2-1 from here and get in at 31 points. Long declined the draw.
The key to game 1 was Hunted Wumpus. When Bachmann dropped it, Long finally got the chance to show off his deck -- he put a Howling Wolf into play and then searched his library for 4 more, putting them all into his hand. Of course, you're only allowed to get 3 Howling Wolves at a time and a turn later this was pointed out to Mike by a judge. He was forced to shuffle one back in. "Be careful, Mike," was all Dan Gray had to say.
On the next turn Long lined up three blockers in front of Bachmann's Hunted Wumpus, but Bachmann had a Thunderclap ready to take out one of the blockers. The Wumpus then killed the other two and lived to attack again on the next turn. Long's next answer to hunted Wumpus was Story Circle. He announced "green", but never removed his hand from the card and eventually changed his mind and went with red. Other than the Hunted Wumpus, most of Bachmann's creatures were red and Long was obviously trying to figure out how best to win the game in the long term, trusting his deck to deliver an answer to the 6/6 Wumpus. Two turns later Long was forced to start chump blocking the Wumpus and by the time he drew a Muzzle, he didn't have enough blockers or Plains for the rest of Dave's army.
With game 1 decided in favor of Bachmann, Long asked, "So you still want to take that draw?" Bachmann shook his head "no." Continuing to try to engage his opponent Long commented that "that Thunderclap was clutch." Bachmann just nodded. Long got his Howling Wolf engine going again in Game 2. He took some damage from Horned trolls until he was able to put Tiger Claws on one of his Wolves. Eventually Long's board included 6 Howling Wolves and a Silverglade Elemental. He was, however, running dangerously low on life and Bachmann had a War Cadence on his side of the table.
The game was decided when Long commented that it was time to gain some life and so he played Noble Purpose. 17 power worth of creatures can indeed gain you some life when that card is in play. Bachmann responded by sacrificing three Mountains and pointing three thunderclaps straight at Mike. "You're at 8? Thunderclap you for 9." Of course, Thunderclap can only target creatures and so Dave was instructed to put his Mountains back in play and his Thunderclaps back into his hand (since he had declared illegal targets). Instead Bachmann just conceded to the power of Long's unprecedented Noble Purpose/Howling Wolf swarm-combo.
Tied at 1-1 and with only 15 minutes left in the round, Long offered the draw again and Bachmann accepted. Bachmann explained that "I don't have a Tranquility and with only 15 minutes left we'll probably draw anyway." If 31 points is enough to make the Top 8 then they both just made a mistake - sure, they are now both in a position where 2-0 puts them into the top 8, but with 25 points, then the loser (even after losing this match) would still be in a position where 2-0 gets them into the top 8. It just doesn't make sense to throw away an opportunity at the extra 2 points that come from actually winning a match. However, if it's going to take 32 points then their decision makes more sense (although it's still a judgement call).
Bachmann - 1
Long - 1
(Intentional Draw after game 2)