Finals: AJ Sacher vs. Andrew Boswell
AJ Sacher has taken the innovative W/B Humans deck all the way to the finals. His opponent? The format’s bad guy: Jund. Can AJ win one for the Human race?
Andrew is Hunting for the win!
AJ elected to take the play, and began with a mulligan, while Andrew decided to keep. Once AJ kept six, he led with Doomed Traveler and then turn two Orzhov Guildgate. Andrew developed his mana over the first two turns with a tapped shockland and Farseek. AJ cast Xathrid Necromancer with his third turn, then Andrew fell to 18 thanks to the Travelin’ man. Andrew’s third turn was Huntmaster of the Fells, able to play offense, defense, and special teams (gaining two life to go back up to 20).
AJ pondered over his next play, ultimately deciding to play a second Xathrid Necromancer and then attack with his little Doomed Traveler. Andrew swung with his Wolf token, dropping AJ to 18, and made no further play. The Huntmaster knocked off a Necromancer when it became Ravager of the Fells and replaced it with two comes-into-play-tapped Zombie tokens, also dropping AJ to 16. AJ added Cartel Aristocrast, and in response Tragic Slip took down the other Xathrid Necromancer (and added one more Zombie). AJ only added Mutavault, and passed.
Andrew checked to see if the Bonfire of the Damned would show up as his draw step, and when it did not Olivia Voldaren instead made its way onto the battlefield (with two mana available). AJ proceeded with caution, playing Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and using the -2 to gain an Emblem before passing. Olivia Voldaren knocked off the Doomed Traveler at end of turn, and then…
Bonfire of the Damned for two killed everything but the Cartel Aristocrat, and then 4/4 Ravager and Olivia entered the red zone. Andrew then cast a pair of Farseeks, making Huntmaste rof the Fells go back to daytime and Andrew up to 21.
That’s a decent turn…
AJ searched for outs, but did not find them and quickly scooped.
Bonfire of the Damned is a decent card.
Andrew 1, AJ 0.
Once more on the play, AJ was able to keep his seven and led without a one-drop. AJ’s second turn was Gather the Townsfolk, and Andrew did not have the Farseek this game so AJ was a bit in the clear to proceed without the prospect of turn three Huntmaster and early Thragtusks. The two 1/1 Humans entered the red zone and were joined by Cartel Aristocrat. Right on time, Farseek found Andrew another land but let AJ continued with the beats. Sorin Emblem meant that Andrew fell to 11 before any defensive measures could be set up.
AJ has his eyes on the prize!
Thragtusk is a good defensive measure, and the world’s biggest Doomed Traveler (hey, it’s two bodies!) also gained five life. Gather the Townsfolk was AJ’s choice, and Andrew took five more to fall back to 11, then another Cartel Aristocrat joined the fray. Andrew tried to keep up with the plethora of Humans (that also had an Orcish Oriflamme thanks to Sorin’s Emblem) by dropping Olivia Voldaren with two mana available. The Vampire shot AJ’s lifelinking Vampire, to which AJ responded by getting that 2/1 out of dodge before Olivia could gain any counters.
Another Emblem meant Dynacharge for the rest of the game for AJ, thanks to the brace of Emblems. A third Gather the Townsfolk and a Lingering Souls precombat gave the pair of Cartel Aristocrats plenty of protection, and in addition to the rest of the attacking tokens he dealt lethal damage.
Andrew 1, AJ 1.
“The game is a lot easier when you don’t have Bonfire of the Damned or Curse of Death’s Hold… or all those other cards I can’t beat…”
Andrew had the honor of the play in the final game of the final match of the tournament, and he used it to tank for a considerable amount of time on whether to keep his opening seven before leading with Blood Crypt. AJ started things off with naught but a Swamp, and Andrew played his second red-black land of the match… which was why the mulligan decision took so long. Gather the Townsfolk tokens entered the red zone, and Tragic Slip traded with half of the spell.
AJ, who had both of his colors of mana right from the get-go, considered his options before dropping Lifebane Zombie. His options were: Huntmaster of the Fells, Arbor Elf, and Scavenging Ooze (with Farseek and Curse of Death’s Hold the other choices). AJ selected to deprive Andrew of Huntmaster before passing. Andrew continued to fail to find Forests, and simply passed right back.
Four damage dropped Andrew to 15, and another Gather the Townsfolk was followed by Doomed Traveler. Another brick draw step, and another attack from AJ, this one bringing Andrew all the way to 3 thanks to a Sorin Emblem. He prayed for Bonfire… but Brave the Elements would have knocked it out even if it were there.
AJ 2, Andrew 0.
After the match, Reid Duke and Huey Jensen congratulated both players. They informed him that they too would have kept the close hand, and would have done everything exactly the same. A nice consolation prize for second place.