Gerry Thompson made Level 7 on the back of a Standard Open victory and a Legacy Open Top 4 last weekend. If he wins this last match he'll not only have won two Opens in a row—he'll have also ascended to Level 8 in our Player's Club earning a playset of every Standard-legal card. In his way? Caw-Blade ringer Rick Zou.
Rick won the die roll but instantly mulliganed while Gerry kept his hand without too much deliberation. Rick kept his six cards and got the game started with Celestial Colonnade. Gerry had only an island powerless against Rick's Squadron Hawk for a trio of Hawks. Never one to be trumped Gerry cast Stoneforge Mystic on the second turn to find Sword of Feast and Famine passing the turn back to Rick. He dug with a Preordain followed by an attack with his Hawk. An Island and a second Hawk hit the field as he continued to apply pressure.
Gerry cracked Marsh Flats for a Swamp and cast Inquisition of Kozilek to see Mana Leak Jace two Hawks a Colonnade and Tectonic Edge. He took the Leak now virtually required to represent a Leak of his own despite lacking a fourth land. He wanted to cast a Hawk and begin trading birds also but that Jace was a big problem. He eventually decided to cast the Hawk and search up a couple friends passing turn to Rick and giving him permission to cast Jace. He did so brainstorming with the planeswalker immediately.
Gerry traded Hawks when Rick left one back on defense and he drew Darkslick Shores—the wrong land. Stoneforge attacked Jace as a Hawk replaced itself and Gerry dropped the Shores before passing the turn conscious of Rick's now-active Tectonic Edge. Rick cast Gideon Jura rather than bother with that fatesealing Gerry with Jace. The card proved pretty interesting but Rick chose to let Gerry draw Inquisition. Gerry sent both creatures at Gideon and then discarded Rick's Spell Pierce before casting Jace Beleren to trade blue planeswalkers.
A Jace the Mind Sculptor off the top for Rick drew him a few more cards Gerry smiling. Gideon assassinated Gerry's Hawk and Rick passed the turn. Gerry remained stuck forced to spend his turn poking Gideon and again trading Jaces. A Stoneforge for Rick was bad news for Gerry as he found his own Sword of Feast and Famine short the land he needed to cast and equip it. Tectonic Edge zapped Gerry's Darkslick and Rick pounded for one with a Hawk as Gideon forced the attack rather than entered the red zone.
Gerry added a Seachrome Coast and Squadron Hawk to the board sending the turn back to Rick after he attacked. The game had favored Rick heavily thus far but he needed to close it out—Gideon began doing just that now attacking for 6. Gerry fell to 10 life and a second Tectonic Edge destroyed his Coast. He cast Squadron Hawk and passed after drawing a Marsh Flats giving Rick the opportunity to drop his Sword into play. Rick cast Day of Judgment to clear the board threatening to send Gideon and the Sword in for almost-lethal but Gerry used Mana Leak to counter it. Only Gideon attacked earning a Stoneforge chump from Gerry.
Creeping Tar Pit off the top wouldn't let Gerry trade Gideons but he appeared to be already dead to Rick's represented Mana Leak. He cast Sword of Feast and Famine and passed—Rick added Sylvok Lifestaff to the board during his end step. Another Mind Sculptor from Rick was enough to convince Gerry that he should pack it in.
Rick 1 Gerry 0
Gerry kicked off the second game by mulliganing a planeswalker-filled hand while Rick put more thought into an eventual mulligan. Both kept six and opened on their respective manlands with Gerry first to the board thanks to Squadron Hawk for two Hawks. He cast Preordain after playing a Seachrome Coast hanging onto an Inquisition as he bottomed a land. A second Hawk resolved and Gerry passed the turn. Rick had no play on the third turn as the beatdown continued and Gerry took the lay of the land with an Inquisition of Kozilek after playing his fourth land to protect against Mana Leak. Gerry saw a hand filled with two Leaks Spell Pierce Divine Offering and Jace the Mind Sculptor.
If Gerry passed without casting a Hawk here he'd likely be able to convince Rick to wait a turn to play Jace with Pierce for backup—that's exactly what he tried discarding Divine Offering and leaving Rick with the Pierce insurance. Rick drew and passed the turn with just his fourth land taking 2 from the Hawks as Gerry passed back. He'd drawn Stoneforge but he'd hoped to convince Rick to hold again—that did not happen and Jace landed on the board.
Both Hawks pegged Jace to 1 and Stoneforge Mystic dug for Sword of Feast and Famine. Gerry had needed a black source to Tar Pit Jace there and failing to find it was proving costly. He moved more aggressively landing a third Hawk alongside his board of other little guys. Gideon Jura would protect the Mind Sculptor death and Rick from a Sword and he passed the turn. Gerry lacked the land he needed to trade Jaces through a Pierce this turn. He eventually decided to Stoneforge for a second Sword and cast a Hawk reasoning that Rick would've probably played Day already if he access to one. One Sword landed and the Hawks swung in for 3 to Gideon.
Rick continued to draw cards with Jace now clearing the board with Day of Judgment. Rick used a Tectonic Edge to pop off Gerry's Tar Pit and it looked to be all over now. Gerry's mana stumbles would keep him locked out of the game against Rick's Spell Pierce and Mana Leaks and the only card he could resolve during this window was one last Hawk. Stoneforge for Sword of Feast and Famine from Rick followed by a brainstorm with Jace put him farther ahead and Gideon used his +2 to guarantee the way would be clear on the following turn.
Rick 2 Gerry 0