Finals: Brian Braun-Duin vs. Josh Snyder
Two players had battled to the top of the heap in this draft, and the winner would claim victory of StarCityGames.com’s first Sealed Open. Would it be Brian’s Esper build or Josh’s Bant concoction?
Brian, always good for a laugh.
Simic Guildgate for Josh while Brian got out of the gates quickly with Azorius Arrester. No turn 2 for Josh, with Brian swinging for 2 damage and passing the turn with no third land drop and no blue mana. Josh’s first play was Drakewing Krasis, while Brian continued to swing and miss on land.
Josh attacked with the Drake and played nothing, Brian smelling a trick on the other side of the table. He attacked anyway, putting Josh to 14 and playing the Island he’d drawn. He tapped out for Azorius Cluestone and nodded as Josh played Deputy of Acquittals for another beater. That put Brian to 12 when Josh attacked, but Josh made no other plays.
Zarichi Tiger for Brian met Mystic Genesis, giving Josh a 4/4 Ooze and putting Brian far behind. “I had plans for the Tiger, man,” Brian said. “I had serious plans.” He traded with Deputy and fell to 5 life, casting Pilfered Plans only to get Spell Ruptured, prompting a concession.
Josh powered through the draft with a ton of tokens!
Josh 1, Brian 0
With his back against the wall, Brian was fighting for his first Open Series trophy. Brian led Swamp after Josh mulliganed, and neither player made a turn 2 play. Brian was first to the board with Wind Drake as an attacker, while Josh whiffed on his third land.
“Turnabout’s fair play?” Josh asked, and Brian laughed. He had no turn 4 play on his own turn except for a land, but the Wind Drake began attacking at least. Josh went to the cleanup step on the next turn, pitching Maze Glider, while Brian showed up with Nav Squad Commandos. His next attack put Josh to 11, and Tithe Drinker joined those creatures.
Verdant Haven for Josh left him open for business, and Brian attacked for 8 damage, leaving Josh on 5 life as Brian cast Stealer of Secrets with extort for one more point. Josh drew, looked at his life pad, and announced that he was done showing Brian cards.
Josh 1, Brian 1
Simic Guildgate for Josh and Azorius Guildgate for Brian, while Josh had an ideal turn 2 Centaur’s Herald and another Guildgate. Brian made no turn 2 play, while Josh had a land and the intent to make a 3/3. He did so, once Brian tapped out for Orzhov Cluestone.
That knocked Brian to 17 on Josh’s fourth turn, and Drakewing Krasis increased the clock for Josh. Turn 4 Nav Squad Commandos locked down the 3/3 for now, but Drakewing Krasis began wielding Civic Saber in an effort to fly in for lethal over the next few turns. Brian needed a solution to the threat, and quickly—Mind Rot failed to qualify.
Josh discarded Maze Glider and Deputy of Acquittals, while Brian added Wind Drake to the board afterward. Josh wasn’t eager to trade but did so, declining to assign trample damage, and Josh tapped out afterward for Scion of Vitu-Ghazi to make a Bird and populate his Centaur. Brian’s Commandos were tough—but 11 power and a Civic Saber to boot might be too tough for them!
He drew, debated his choices, and ended the turn. Josh fused Alive//Well to gain some life prior to attacking, but Brian flashed in Skyline Predator to punish this alpha strike. He blocked both Centaurs and took 6 damage, falling to 6 life but with a stable position for now—Scion picking up Civic Saber was the most threatening possibility.
Tithe Drinker and Zarichi Tiger with an extort trigger boosted Brian back up to 7, and Josh stared at Brian’s board of four creatures. “That’s a mean Drake,” he decided before ending the turn. That was music to Brian’s ears, with Orzhov Cluestone immediately hitting the bin in a search for spells. Brian passed right back, making no plays.
Josh’s land off the top didn’t change anything, and he again ended the turn as Zarichi Tiger began doing its work. Josh drew a potential game-changer in Deputy of Acquittals, which he cast to bounce his Scion of Vitu-Ghazi, making another Bird and another Centaur to further clutter up the board. This one wasn’t ending anytime soon!
The Tiger got Brian to 11, and he drew in search of something to get him on top. Azorius Arrester gave him an extort trigger and detained the Scion, leaving Josh in the same stalemated position as before. Brian had zero cards and Josh had just lands—neither could break through, but the Tiger was putting Brian back to a healthy life total. Syndic of Tithes was mostly relevant for what it added to Brian’s potential future draws—more extort!
Josh moved Civic Saber to Scion and passed the turn back to Brian. “I wonder who gets decked first?” he asked, and Brian admitted it was probably him. Josh hoped to get him before that point, playing Species Gorger to start bouncing his Scion each turn! That would quickly build an insurmountable advantage if left unchecked, and Brian started to attack.
Skyline Predator ate a Bird token, and Brian cast Stealer of Secrets for two extort triggers but lost the Stealer to Spell Rupture. This was probably too aggressive a Rupture—Josh would want to save it for a spell that might get Brian back into the game. When he drew Urbis Protector, his Scion suddenly had a much more popular choice to populate!
More lands for Brian, and now his demise appeared to be inevitable. Scion populated the Angel and a Bird token after Josh’s swing for 4 damage, but Brian continued to Zarichi Tiger in the hopes of finding a spell that would claw him back into a stable board.
Another land didn’t do it, and when Josh drew Mystic Genesis the game was all but locked up. After a few turns, it was officially over.
Josh 2, Brian 1