Finals: Alex Bastecki vs. Steve Mann
Finals: Alex Bastecki vs. Steve Mann
It's time! On one side of the table, we have Alex Bastecki and Grixis Delver. And on the other, is Steve Mann and Sultai Delver. Which competitor will win the Season Three Invitational, the $10,000, the trophy, the invite to the Players' Championship and – most importantly – their likeness on a token?
Alex, as the higher seed, chooses to play first. Alex has to mulligan to six, but Steve keeps his opening seven. The finals of the Season Three Invitational have begun!
Alex Bastecki and Steve Mann battle it out for the championship!
Alex leads with Misty Rainforest, into a Volcanic Island, followed by casting a Ponder. He decides to shuffle his library, drawing the card off of Ponder, and passes the turn to Steve. Steve's first turn starts with a Flooded Strand, fetching out an Underground Sea, with an attempt to cast a Deathrite Shaman, but that is Dazed by Alex. Alex then Wastelands Steve's Underground Sea, and passes the turn back to him.
Steve fetches a Tropical Island with his Scalding Tarn to start his second turn, followed by casting a Ponder and shuffling his library. After drawing his card, Steve passes the turn. Alex plays a Volcanic Island, into a Delver of Secrets. Steve adds a creature of his own to the board, by playing a Tarmogoyf. Alex attempts for counter the Tarmogoyf with a Force of Will, pitching a Brainstorm, but Steve has his own Force of Will, pitching Delver of Secrets, to make sure the Goyf sticks. With the two mana beater in play, Steve passes back to Alex.
Alex's Delver does not transform, and he starts his turn with a Ponder and a shuffle. This is followed by a Gitaxian Probe, showing Steve's hand of Abrupt Decay, Dig Through Time, and Delver of Secrets. Steve starts his turn with a casting of Delver of Secrets, followed by an attack with a 4/5 Tarmogoyf. Steve uses Wasteland on one of Alex's Volcanic Island and passes the turn. Alex's Delver does transform this time, but all he can do is Wasteland Steve's Underground Sea and pass. Steve draws a Wasteland of his own, uses it on Alex's last Volcanic Island, attacks with the Tarmogoyf, and passes the turn to Alex. Alex, with no lands in play, simply draws and passes. Steve draws an Underground Sea, plays it and then Brainstorms, putting to cards back. He attacks with his Tarmogoyf again and passes back to Alex. Alex takes one more draw step and decides that it is time to move on to sideboard games.
Steve wins Game 1 of the Invitational Finals! He leads, 1-0!
After sideboarding, Alex will be on the play for Game 2. Alex has to mulligan to six, while Steve keeps his opening seven. Alex leads with a Misty Rainforest, into a Volcanic Island, followed by a Delver of Secrets. Steve will have none of that early Delver action, as he casts a Darkblast on Alex's Delver. Alex has no land for his second turn and plays another Delver of Secrets. Steve decides to Dredge back his Darkblast, and kill the second Delver.
Alex has no plays on Turn 3, simply drawing his card and saying "go." Steve takes the opportunity to resolve a Tarmogoyf, and pass. Alex draws his card and passes, still on one land and no other cards in play. Steve starts his turn with a Brainstorm followed by a second Tarmogoyf, putting the pressure on fast and furious.
Steve wins Game 2 and is one win away from winning the Invitational!
Steve Mann ponders his plays!
Needing to comeback from being 0-2 down, Alex takes the play in the third game. Unfortunately for him, the mulligans keep coming, as he is once again forced to go to six cards. Steve keeps his opening seven.
Alex starts with a Flooded Strand, and passes the turn. Steve has a Turn 1 Delver of Secrets, thanks to a Tropical Island. Alex finds a second land in Volcanic Island, then fetches an Underground Sea, enabling him to play a Young Pyromancer. Steve starts his turn with an attack with his untransformed Delver of Secrets, followed by cracking Misty Rainforest for an Underground Sea and casting a Tarmogoyf, followed by passing the turn back to Alex.
A lethal Lightning Bolt to the Steve's Tarmogoyf is where Alex starts his turn, making an Elemental token in the process. He then attacks with his Young Pyromancer, followed by using a Wasteland to get rid of Steve's Tropical Island. But Steve has a second Tropical Island and a second Tarmogoyf for his turn, this time a 3/4 Tarmogoyf. With that, he passes the turn to Alex.
Alex plays a Misty Rainforest and uses a Pyroblast to kill Steve's Delver of Secrets. He then fetches for a second Volcanic Island, and casts a Gurmag Angler, delving away all of his graveyard in the process. Alex then passes the turn. But Steve has plans to block the 5/5 Zombie Fish with a True-Name Nemesis.
Now staring down a Tarmogoyf and a True-Name Nemesis, Alex goes into the tank for a minute, before deciding to start his turn by attacking Steve with his Gurmag Angler and two Elemental tokens. Steve double blocks the Gurmag Angler, killing both it and his Tarmogoyf in the process. Alex then passes the turn.
Steve casts Ponder on his turn, keeping all three cards on top and drawing one. He then casts a Delver of Secrets and a second Ponder, deciding to shuffle this time. After drawing his card, Steve says "go" to Alex. At the end of Steve's turn, Alex Bolts the Delver, making an Elemental token. On his own turn, Alex attacks with three Elemental tokens, and casts a Delver of Secrets, trying to race Steve's True-Name Nemesis.
A Dig Through Time is where this turn starts for Steve. He takes his two cards, and then plays a Wasteland and a Tarmogoyf, and passes the turn back to Alex. Alex flips his Delver with a Brainstorm, and attacks with the Insectile Aberration. He then casts Brainstorm, followed by playing a second Delver of Secrets. He passes back to Steve.
Steve attacks with his True-Name Nemesis, and plays a second Tarmogoyf and passes. Alex flips his second Delver with a Gitaxian Probe, which he casts, making Steve reveal his hand of Abrupt Decay, Thoughtseize, and Daze. An attack by both of Alex's Delvers makes Steve use that Abrupt Decay on one of the flying Insects. Alex then casts Dig Through Time, making another Elemental token, and netting two cards in the process. He then passes the turn to Steve.
On his turn, Steve draws his card and goes into the tank for a minute. He simply passes the turn back to Alex, who casts a Gitaxian Probe. Steve shrugs his shoulders, and scoops up his cards.
Alex wins Game 3, pushing the series to 2-1 in Steve's favor!
For the first time this match, Steve will be on the play. Steve keeps his opening hand, and looks at Alex.
"I rather lose than mulligan." Alex keeps.
Game 4 is underway.
Steve starts with a Polluted Delta for a Tropical Island, followed by a first turn Deathrite Shaman, which is Force of Willed by Alex. Alex starts his turn with a Gitaxian Probe to see Steve's hand of Thoughtseize, Tarmogoyf, Deathrite Shaman, Daze, and Wasteland. After drawing his card, Alex uses a Wasteland to destroy Steve's Tropical Island and passes the turn.
Steve plays his Wasteland and passes and Alex decides to play a Delver of Secrets off of an Underground Sea. Steve draws his card, but he has no more lands, so he Wastelands Alex's Underground Sea and passes. Alex's Delver of Secrets flips off of a Gitaxian Probe, which he casts, but he also has no land drop, and just attacks Steve for three, thanks to the Insectile Aberration. Steve draws a card for his turn and passes without a land drop. Alex draws his card for his turn, attacks for three, and also has no land drop. Steve draws his card for the next turn and plays a Wasteland. Nobody can cast any spells!
Finally, Alex draws a Misty Rainforest. He attacks Steve for three again, but then cracks his Misty for an Underground Sea in order to cast a Gurmag Angler. He passes back to Steve, who draws and plays a Scalding Tarn. After some thinking, Steve fetches an Underground Sea and plays a Deathrite Shaman and passes.
Alex starts his turn with a played Scalding Tarn and then a Ponder. He shuffles the cards away from his Ponder, then draws and attacks with his team. Steve chooses to go to one life by not blocking anything. Alex cracks his Scalding Tarn for a Tropical Island and casts a Deathrite Shaman, which is Dazed by Steve. Steve draws a card for his turn, shakes his head, and scoops up his cards. We are going to a deciding Game 5!
Alex wins Game 4, and ties the series at two games each! One game to decide it all!
Alex Bastecki stays cool under pressure!
In this deciding game, Steve chooses to play first. Steve keeps his opening seven, but for the fourth time in five games, Alex has to mulligan to six.
Steve leads on Flooded Strand, pass while Alex has a Misty Rainforest into Underground Sea into Deathrite Shaman as his first turn play. Steve draws his card for the turn and then cracks his Flooded Strand for an Underground Sea, plays a Tropical Island, and casts Abrupt Decay on Alex's Deathrite Shaman. He then passes back to Alex.
Alex plays a Wasteland and a Deathrite Shaman, then uses the Wasteland on Steve's Tropical Island. For his turn, Steve casts Brainstorm, followed by playing a Polluted Delta, cracking for a Tropical Island, and casting his own Deathrite Shaman.
A Gitaxian Probe from Alex reveals Steve's hand – Dismember, Dig Through Time, Force of Will, and Abrupt Decay. After drawing from the Probe, Alex casts Brainstorm, which is Force of Willed by Steve, exiling Dig Through Time. Alex then casts Cabal Therapy, taking the Abrupt Decay from Steve's hand as well. Alex then passes the turn back to Steve.
Steve draws for his turn and then passes the turn. Alex casts two Delver of Secrets, but at the end of his turn, Steve casts Dismember on Alex's Deathrite Shaman, and Darkblasts one the newly played Delvers. He then eats a land with his Deathrite Shaman and then gets to take his turn. Steve draws his card for his turn and then eats Alex's Cabal Therapy from his graveyard with his Deathrite Shaman and passes.
Alex can only draw his card and say go, as Steve draws his card and attempts to eat Alex's Brainstorm on his turn. However, Alex delves away the Brainstorm in an attempt to cast Dig Through Time, but Steve has the Daze for it. Alex draws for his turn and can only pass back to Steve.
Steve draws his card for the turn and plays a Delver of Secrets, followed by passing the turn. Alex plays a Pyroblast to kill the Delver, and passes back. At the end of Alex's turn, Steve eats the Pyroblast. Steve just draws his card for the turn and passes, while Alex has a Young Pyromancer, followed by a Gitaxian Probe to make an Elemental. Steve reveals his hand – just a Dismember – and Alex says "go."
Steve Dredges his Darkblast to kill the Young Pyromancer, which Alex responds by killing the Deathrite with a Lightning Bolt, leaving him with two Elemental tokens. Steve passes back to Alex. Alex attacks Steve with both Elementals, and passes back to Steve. Steve decides to draw a card, and simply passes back to Alex.
Alex attacks with his tokens, and passes back. Steve draws a card again, and attempts to cast Brainstorm, but Alex has the Pyroblast to counter it. Steve has to pass again. Alex attacks with this tokens again, and then passes. Steve Dredges his Darkblast, uses it to kill one of the tokens, and passes back to Alex.
Alex draws and plays a Young Pyromancer for his turn, attacks with a token, and passes back to Steve. Steve Dredges the Darkblast again to kill the Pyromancer, but in response, Alex Lightning Bolts Stephen, making another token, and the Pyromancer dies. But Alex gets to attack for two again, chipping away at Steve's life total. Steve decides to draw instead of Dredge, plays a land and passes back.
Alex draws his card and Ponders, keeping one card, and attacks with both Elementals. He keeps getting closer and closer to killing Steve. Steve Dredges Darkblast, kills a token, and passes the turn. Alex draws his card, attacks with one token and plays a Lightning Bolt, dealing lethal to Steve.
Alex Bastecki completes the comeback and wins the Invitational, 3-2! Alex Bastecki is your Season Three Invitational Champion!