Finals: Brad Nelson vs. Chi Hoi Yim
These two fierce competitors have four invitational Top 8s and four Open Series trophies between them. Would it be Chi Hoi Yim with Miracles or Brad Nelson with U/G Infect to hoist yet another trophy here in Atlanta?
Brad probes and records.
Brad led things off with a Gitaxian Probe, seeing a hand of Pyroblast, Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, Counterbalance, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and two lands. He followed up with an Inkmoth Nexus, and then cast a Blighted Agent on his second turn. Chi Hoi fetched up Volcanic Island and attempted Pyroblast. Brad let it resolve, but used a Daze during Chi Hoi’s turn when he attempted a Counterbalance. Brad replayed his Tropical Island and fired up Inkmoth Nexus, poking across for one infect damage.
Chi Hoi was content to play his third land and pass, and Brad contemplated for a moment before playing a second Inkmoth Nexus and activating the first. When he attacked, Chi Hoi flashed in Vendilion Clique to block, seeing a hand of Glistener Elf, Force of Will, Pendlehaven, and a pair of fetchlands. Brad cast the Glistener Elf post-combat, but it stick around, as Chi Hoi immediately miracled a Terminus to send it to the bottom, and passed right back.
Brad attacked with his Nexus again, then attempted another Glistener Elf. Chi Hoi responded with a Brainstorm and found another Terminus on the first card drawn. It hadn’t been his plan A, but he took the opportunity to miracle it, sending the Inkmoth Nexus to the bottom. Glistener Elf resolved, but Chi Hoi used Swords to Plowshares immediately to get rid of it. He still hadn’t found a fourth land however, and shipped the turn right back to Brad, who followed up with a Blighted Agent.
The Blighted Agent came swinging, and Pendlehaven buffed it up to bring Chi Hoi to 4 infect damage. Chi Hoi flashed in Vendilion Clique in Brad’s end step to take a peek at his hand. Brad showed him a land and two Force of Wills, which Chi Hoi allowed him to keep. He untapped and cast Snapcaster Mage, flashing Back Swords to Plowshares to keep Brad without an infect threat.
Over the course of the next several turns, Brad found himself without a means of dealing damage, while Chi Hoi’s wizard attack force knocked away his life total in chunks. He fell to 12, and then to 7. An end step Crop Rotation found Inkmoth Nexus, but Brad could find no pump spells to close things out, and within another turn cycle he was picking up his cards for the next game.
Chi Hoi with the clutch Pyroblast.
Noble Hierarch got the party started for Brad, and an Inkmoth Nexus came down the next turn. He animated it the turn after and swung in for 2, which Chi Hoi allowed without response. The Inkmoth Nexus came in for another two on the following turn. Chi Hoi had Izzet Staticaster in hand and the mana to cast it, but chose to hold off, going up to 4 poison counters.
Brad swung in for a third time with his 2/2 Inkmoth Nexus, and for a third time Chi Hoi declared no blocks. This time Brad went for the kill, casting a kicked Vines of Vastwood that would bring Chi Hoi evenly to 10 poison. Chi Hoi cracked his fetchlands and tapped out for Venser, Shaper Savant in a bid to stop it.
Brad: “THAT’S your plan?”
Chi Hoi: “Does that mean I’m dead?”
Brad: “Five cards in hand? I thought we were gonna have a rumble.”
Brad showed him Daze, the Venser was countered, and Chi Hoi was, in fact, dead.
On the play for the first time in the match, Chi Hoi led off with Karakas into Sensei’s Divining Top. Brad wanted no part of that, and pitched Flusterstorm to cast Force of Will. Brad had no turn 1 play, but on his second turn he found and cast a Glistener Elf. It resolved, but Chi Hoi attempted to sweet it away with a Pyroclasm on his own turn. Brad fetched up Tropical Island and cast Spell Pierce, letting him keep his infect threat in play.
With Chi Hoi tapped out, the shields were down. Brad used Invigorate to pump his Glistener Elf to a 5/5, but didn’t press further, and Chi Hoi took 5 poison damage. A second copy of Glistener Elf post-combat turned the screws a little tighter, and things started to look worse for Chi Hoi when he untapped, drew, and simply said go, failing to make a third land drop.
Brad attacked with his two 1/1s, and the two players stared each other down for a moment. Chi Hoi had no effects, and neither did Brad, and Chi Hoi went up to 7 poison damage. Chi Hoi flashed in an end step Snapcaster Mage, which ended up looking a little odd when he found a Terminus on top of his deck on his very next draw step. It resolved, and just like that the board was clear. Without missing a beat, however, Brad topdecked and cast another Glistener Elf, threatening another scary attack.
Vines of Vastwood made the Glistener Elf a lethal attacker on Brad’s next turn, and it came crashing in. Vendilion Clique jumped out as a blocker, and it took a peek at Brad’s hand to find an Invigorate in wait, which Chi Hoi sent to the bottom. The Clique was thrown under the 5/5 infect bus, and Brad cast a post-combat Noble Hierarch. Chi hoi simply drew and passed, his hand full of unhelpful spells. Brad poked for another 2, bringing Chi hoi to 9 poison damage, and passed back.
It was now or never for Chi Hoi. He drew a Brainstorm and cast it, allowing him to tuck a Terminus on top of his Library, and finding a Sensei’s Divining Top to allow him to cast it at instant speed. He passed the turn back with a plan, but Brad broke up the Miracle interaction with a Krosan Grip, destroying Top and leaving Chi Hoi without his Terminus for a crucial turn. Brad swung for the win, but Chi Hoi made a last ditch effort, flashing in Snapcaster Mage to chump block. He succeeded! Chi hoi quickly untapped and miracled his Terminus, and a dejected Brad slid his creatures to the bottom of his library.
It was draw-go on both sides for several turns after that. Brad eventually found an Inkmoth Nexus, which prompted Chi hoi to cast the Blood Moon he had been sandbagging. It resolved, and both players drew and passed back for several more turns. Brad broke the silence with a Gitaxian Probe, seeing a hand of Wear/Tear, two Force of Wills, and a land, but had no further play. After another turn cycle, Chi Hoi attempted a Venser, Shaper Savant to get the beats started. Brad pitched Daze to cast Force of Will, but Chi Hoi fought back, pitching Force to cast Force and sticking his 2/2.
Venser, Shaper Savant began the campaign, swinging across and dropping brad to 12. When Chi Hoi attempted the same attack on his next turn, Brad used the “hidden” mode on Berserk, pumping the Venser to 4/2 in order to kill it off, but falling to 8 in the process. Chi Hoi was unfazed, and topdecked a Sensei’s Divining Top to get his engine started, spinning up a Counterbalance and immediately drawing it and putting it into play.
With the Countertop hard lock in effect, Chi Hoi went to work finding a win condition. The Top spin on his next turn found him a Snapcaster Mage, which provided the four turn clock he was looking for. The Mage dropped Brad to 6, then to 4, then to 2. Unable to resolve a spell through the Counterbalance, Brad extended the hand in defeat.