Gerry Thompson is no stranger to an Open final—this is his fourth one total and his first of the season. Gerry has the distinction of having never walked away the winner losing each and every Open he's finals'd in well the finals. That had to give Iain Bartolomei a pretty fuzzy feeling. Fate was already on his side.
Iain won the die roll and Gerry grimaced. “Typical die roll typical Goblin player” he said. “Dude never plays Legacy.” Both players hung onto their hands and Iain passed with no plays beyond a Mountain. Gerry laughed playing a Scalding Tarn while Iain began the beatdown with a Badlands and a Mogg War Marshal. Gerry's Tarmogoyf nearly met a Warren Weirding on the next turn but a Force of Will saved him at the price of a point and a Repeal. Wasteland took out Gerry's Tropical Island and Iain passed.
Gerry went on the offensive with his Tarmogoyf attacking Iain to 15 and playing a Misty Rainforest. The Goblin player went for a Matron on his fourth turn searching up another Weirding. “Makes sense” Gerry said. Two tokens swung Gerry to 16 and Iain passed. Gerry continued attacking earning a chump from the Matron and he added Top and Scalding Tarn to the board before passing the turn. Warren Weirding successfully killed the big Goyf and a second Mogg War Marshal flooded the board with more Rashad tokens.
Gerry cracked his Misty for a Tropical after getting bashed in order to Top but needed a way to clear these little idiots. He was on 13 and when he cracked Scalding Tarn for a basic Mountain Iain sat up. “Uh oh” he said and Gerry made good with a Firespout leaving a single token alive. Iain drew Goblin Ringleader to rebuild his board finding a Warchief and a Piledriver in the top four cards. “Could be worse” he said. The ensuing attack knocked Gerry to 9 and Iain passed.
A Tarmogoyf would once again be blocking Iain's path but he drew a Mogg War Marshal. That combined with his Gempalm Incinerator would give him enough Goblins to kill the Tarmogoyf on the next turn. He could also precombat the little guy and send in his men hoping Gerry would block Ringleader. Instead Iain went for Warchief Piledriver and Mogg War Marshal leaving Gerry in serious trouble. Even trading with the Piledriver put him to 2 which was functionally 1 since he had a Misty he needed to crack. He did crack that Misty—but for a precombat Swords via Tundra stymying Iain for now.
Gerry untapped and Topped in search of a second Firespout. He found one wiping away the red men and leaving Iain with just an Incinerator in the grip and a token on the field. A Goblin Lackey off the top wasn't much but it was all he had. Iain waited until after an upkeep Top to Port Gerry's Mountain but all Gerry had was a second Goyf after connecting with Iain's dome. This time Gerry declined his opportunities to top so a draw step Top was in order. When Gerry revealed a third Firespout it was over.
Gerry 1 Iain 0
Iain had nearly seized that game twice but Gerry's timely spouts of fire had put it in the bag. Whose sideboard would prove superior in the next game? Gerry might not even have much to bring in considering how metagamed his main seemed to be against aggro. “Need these points man” Gerry pleaded. “I'm trying to collect them all.” Iain had the play in this game but with no Mountains he'd be all-in on Vial. “I'll mulligan if you will” Gerry offered and Iain consented. Gerry flashed a hand low on lands and heavy on Forces laughing.
Iain quickly kept the next six as did Gerry. Iain had just a Mountain and a pass while Gerry played Misty Rainforest for a Tropical Island and a Sensei's Divining Top. Iain had a Rishadan Port but no 2-drop and Gerry saved him the trouble of Porting with a Top during the upkeep. Scalding Tarn would easily dodge the Port and Iain cycled a Gempalm for action on Gerry's end step. Arid Mesa found Iain a Badlands and he played Goblin Matron. Gerry responded by cracking Scalding Tarn to get Volcanic Island and Topping electing to allow the Matron after a quick peek. Iain grabbed a second Goblin Ringleader to go with the first one he'd drawn and passed the turn.
Gerry naturally had Counterspell for Ringleader after a turn of draw-go and he played the same game again on the next turn. Iain's second Ringleader merited a fetch for Tundra and a Counterspell—but Iain had just drawn Pyroblast this turn! Gerry responded by cracking Misty for Volcanic Island and casually playing Blue Elemental Blast. “Must be nice” Iain groaned. Gerry untapped into Counterbalance and passed with just Tundra up.
Iain Ported the Tundra before combat forcing Gerry to stack the deck blind. He attacked for one and then managed to resolve Piledriver. Firespout cleared the little beaters and Iain passed with nothing better to do than Port three of Gerry's lands leaving him with just a Volcanic Island. Gerry passed and Iain played his fourth Rishadan Port to laughter. Gerry continued to Top as Iain manned the Ports. A Pithing Needle for Gerry in Rishadan Port was pretty absurd. “Blowout” Iain admitted but he did get to resolve a topdecked Goblin Ringleader for War Marshal and Warren Weirding on his own turn. The attack put Gerry to 11 and Lackey encouraged him to pop his Top for Counterbalance. That gave Iain room to resolve a War Marshal but Firespout reduced Iain to just a token once again.
Iain attempted to Warren Weirding himself after combat on the following turn and Gerry allowed it. Gerry was on just lands and the lock now so those tokens were actually quite threatening—he was at 8 life. “This is gonna be embarrassing when I lose” Gerry groaned as he went fetching for solutions with every three card set becoming more dissatisfying. He fell to 7 after a Swords on one token with a lot more time on his side now.
Gerry continued to Top and do nothing while Iain tried to resolve a Goblin Piledriver. Gerry had to pop his Top and hardcast a Force of Will for that one! “Oh yea” Gerry said drawing for the turn. Brainstorm followed by Sower of Temptation removed Iain's clock but a second Piledriver actually resolved. Gerry began to beat with his little flier and fell to 5 to fetch up a fresh top three cards. Those had him thinking but he eventually decided to just replace them and pass.
Iain tried a Goblin Matron and he found Siege-Gang Commander. His attack with the Piledriver earned a chump from Gerry's token and Iain passed turn rather than deploy his army in a can. Iain probably smelled a Firespout and knew Gerry would have to play it just to beat the Piledriver. Gerry began counting his fetches with a laugh—he'd taken 7 from them in this game with an eight point occurring when he popped his most recent one. He'd be hoping to set up Firespout with Force of Will on top of the deck here and that would probably be enough with just SGC in Iain's hand—but there was no help in those three either. “Rats” Gerry said.
Gerry 1 Iain 1
Gerry had the plan in this one while Iain had the Vial—it would be interesting. Vial resolved after Gerry played a Misty Rainforest and he searched up a Tropical Island to go with his Volcanic as he played Tarmogoyf. Gerry seemed to like taking an aggressive stance in the matchup pushing at Iain and forcing him to block the big monster earlier than he might otherwise like. Mogg War Marshal was more than up to that task and the token chumps hit the board on the following turn.
Gerry declined an attack now with little to be gained and passed after playing Misty Rainforest. Vial ticked to 2 counters and Iain decided to let the Marshal die. A second Vial was all Iain played planning to Vial in War Marshal during the end step and use Gempalm Incinerator to take out the Tarmogoyf. Gerry had to respond with an awkward Swords on Mogg War Marshal turning Goyf into a 3/4 and saving it. Warren Weirding for Iain took care of the monster on his own turn.
Gerry fell to 15 and Vial popped out a Goblin Matron which found a Ringleader. Gerry had no permanents facing this horde and looked like he was in real bad shape. Two Warchiefs and a second Matron joined the circus after that Vial ticked up and Iain began doing math. He made a simple attack putting Gerry to 9 and playing Rishadan Port which he used to lock up a Volcanic Island. Gerry cracked Flooded Strand to find another one and played Firespout to stem the bleeding. An end step Piledriver via Vial kept up the pressure as did a second Ringleader via Vial and a Warchief via the other Vial. Iain could have played a couple more Goblins the old-fashioned way but he instead just attacked letting Gerry Swords the Piledriver himself and preventing a blowout Firespout should the boy survive.
“Seems pretty bad” Gerry said but he did have a Firespout to stay alive on the following turn. Vialing in Warchief and casting a Goblin Matron for a Ringleader he could also Vial in gave Iain more than enough damage to close out the game but a Swords from Gerry on the Warchief let him stick to 2 life. with a Matron Lackey and Ringleader on the other side of the field. Iain had a Matron still in hand so it seemed that anything short of Firespout plus Goyf was going to fail here. Once Gerry dropped to 1 for a fetchland he needed to have even more.
The top card of the deck unfortunately for Gerry was not Firespout. Iain Bartolomei is your StarCityGames.com San Jose Legacy Open champ!
Gerry 1 Iain 2