Finals: Brennan Decandio vs. Tyler Wilkerson
Having just dispatched of a Mono-Blue opponent in the semifinals, Brennan turned his attention on Tyler’s Islands. Could he put the finishing touches on a tournament well won, or would Tyler manage to pull off a storybook ending of his own?
The players discussed their mutual love of Taylor Swift before the finals.
“Well, she is America’s sweetheart,” chimed Brennan.
Tyler hope the specter of winning this event isn't a mirage!
“I think I’m a close second,” replied Tyler.
Brennan, as the tournament’s top overall seed with a 9-0-1 record in the Swiss, would remain on the play all through the top 8. He had a turn two Thoughtseize as his first play of the game, which revealed Domestication, Thassa, Nightveil Specter, and Frostburn Weird. He elected to snag Thassa before passing. Tyler cast his Weird on his second turn, and Brennan dropped Underworld Connections on Mutavault before passing right back.
Tyler amassed much devotion on turn three, casting Nightveil Specter, and attacked Brennan to 17. But Brennan stumbled on his next turn, not finding a fourth land with which to drop Desecration Demon nor fiding a kill spell for Specter. So Devour Flesh ate Weird, but Nightveil Specter remained in play. Cloudfin Raptor and a second Specter joined it, and Brennan found himself on the losing end of some Specters.
Brennan’s Mutavault joined Tyler’s board after both 2/3s hit, and the cascade effect of the stumble compounded. Even his own Nightveil Specter on defense didn’t help, as Tyler continued the steady stream of beats. Brennan fell to 1 after that, and a turn later it was over.
Tyler 1, Brennan 0.
Brennan elected to once more take the play in game two.
This time, he had turn two Pack Rat.
Not to be outdone, Tyler dropped turn one Judge’s Familiar followed by turn two Cloudfin Raptor.
“Right on time.”
In came 2/2 Pack Rat, and Tyler fell to 18. Then two 4/4 Pack Rats (thanks to a Mutavault activation), and Tyler fell to 10. Tyler played spells and lands, using Jace, Architect of Thought on turn four to effectively Cumber Stone Brennan, but in the face of the ever-growing army they appeared quite insignificant.
“This Pack Rat’s a good card for me.”
Brennan's hoping his connections prove profitable!
Judge’s Familiars went on chump block duty for a turn, and then Curse of the Swine cleared out three 4/4 rats to become 2/2 Boars. But with each turn bringing another rat lord Tyler finally succumbed to the pressure Brennan applied with that one single two mana creature on turn two… and a few activations on subsequent turns.
Tyler 1, Brennan 1.
Tyler thought long and hard before ultimately deciding to mulligan, while Brennan decided to keep seven. The mulligan was further exacerbated by turn two Thoughtseize, which snagged Tyler’s Thassa from a hand that also included both Jace and Rapid Hybridization. Judge’s Familiar on turn one was all of Tyler’s action for now, and he was put to a test when turn three Brennan dropped Pack Rat. Ultimately, Tyler decided to turn the Rat into a Frog Lizard. Mutavault into Bident of Thassa on turn four turned the lowly 1/1 and potential 2/2 changeling into a card drawing machine though, so Brennan (after attacking with the 3/3) elected to use Hero’s Downfall on the Familiar. That plan was foiled by Rapid Hybridization of his own though, and now both players had 3/3 Frogs!
Brennan once again was stumbling on mana. He found only spells, and sat back on his token for defense. Ultimate Price on Tyler’s Frog was met with Dissipate, and the blocking frog token killed Tyler’s Mutavault. Brennan began to dig out of his mana issues with Temple of Silence, and the scry to the top signaled another land soon. Pack Rat also joined the party for Brennan before he passed right back. Thassa, God of the Sea made Tyler’s Frog unblockable, dropping Brennan to 7 along the way.
Brennan did indeed have the fifth land, but he now needed to decide whether playing Blood Baron of Vizkopa would be good enough. He decided that it would be, and after dropping Tyler to 16 he played the lifelinking 4/4. Jace, Architect of Thought brough Tyler’s devotion to five, so he made Thassa unblockable and dropped Brennan to 2. Brennan attacked Tyler, and the Jace triggers meant that Tyler took six to fall to ten.
Razor thin margins were what this game was all about, and nowhere was that more evident than the last turn of the game.
Tyler made two of his creatures unblockable on his turn. If Brennan had one more mana to cast the second copy of Last Breath in hand, or if Brennan was at one more life (for example, if Jace had -2’d instead of +1’d), or if a scry or draw had broken slightly differently, then the game could have been different. But it wasn’t, and Tyler Wilkerson becomes our Standard Open champion!
Tyler 2, Brennan 1.