Finals: Brandon Nelson vs. Brandon Downs
Mountain and Forest mirror match for this Easter finals, and it was a Brandon mirror as well! The player compared lists before starting the battle, noting the dissimilarities and where each might be able to gain an edge.
Note: Brandon Downs officially conceded this match to Brandon Nelson in advance of playing, but they played it out for @SCGLive and the trophy.
Turn 1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim for Nelson, while Downs had Llanowar Elves. Nelson could Blast it, but he decided to drop Sword of War and Peace instead. When Downs tapped out for Sword of Feast and Famine, that gave Nelson the advantage for now. He swung after equipping and passed with Rootbound Crag untapped.
Downs lost his Elves to Galvanic Blast when he tried to equip, but had a second. Nelson jumped to 28 after attacking Downs to 5 life, and passed the turn with four mana up, including Wolf Run. He’d missed a point here, but could also potentially bluff a few tricks now and probably get in for lethal… unless that didn’t work.
Equipping, Downs added Garruk’s Companion to the board and then connected with his Feast and Famined Elves. Downs didn’t have the red mana he needed for Huntmaster of the Fells, and thus couldn’t generate a block strong enough to shut down the Sword of War and Peace. He made his Companion four toughness, and passed.
A fifth land gave Nelson one short of lethal if Downs couldn’t get a card out of his hand. Sword of War and Peace landed for Downs on the Companion, jumping him way ahead against Nelson’s no creatures. When another land came off the top for Nelson, he scooped ‘em up to two Swords and a man.
Downs 1, Nelson 0
After tanking for a long time and eventually keeping, Nelson watched Downs drop to six cards. Copperline Gorge from Nelson was trumped by Gorge and Birds from Downs, but Nelson did have Green Sun’s Zenith to get his very own 0/1 on the next turn. Kessig Wolf Run from Downs gave him the third mana he needed for Sword of War and Peace, however—now it was a game.
Nelson played Arc Trail and Llanowar Elves before passing the turn, ready to untap with six mana on turn 4 if Downs lacked a reply. Avacyn’s Pilgrim and his own Arc Trail temporarily restored equilibrium—Nelson had Huntmaster of the Fells to regain his advantage and create a defense against the Sword.
Downs evaluated the likelihood of Nelson having a Metamorph as he considered his play, not eager to enter the wrong race. He equipped and attacked, Nelson deciding to take the 5 damage as Downs went back to 20. Strangleroot Geist after combat, and Downs passed with a resilient defender in place.
Nelson swung 2 with his Wolf token and cast Llanowar Elves rather than passing, eager to get Primeval Titan online. Nelson took 4 on the next attack, going to 13. Sword of Feast and Famine for Downs gave him a lot of racing power on the board, but he might not be racing Primeval Titan…
Going to zero cards after an attack for 3, Nelson searched up two Wolf Runs and passed the turn. Downs was on 17, and he wouldn’t need too many chops to put Nelson on zero—his Sword triggers would float him the necessary life. He put both blades on Strangleroot Geist and dropped Nelson to 7, on 19 himself and immune to most ways Nelson could theoretically kill him.
Green Sun’s Zenith for Thrun put Downs in a strong spot, although he offered to concede to Ancient Grudge on the spot! Nelson drew Increasing Savagery instead, giving him a 7/7 Huntmaster before attacking for not enough to survive the Strangleroot.
Downs 2, Nelson 0