Finals: Carl Dillahay vs. Kurt Crane
Kurt’s Elf Wave deck has been the talk of the tournament here in Buffalo. After Kurt’s top decked Green Sun’s Zenith in game 3 of the semifinals to steal the win from Alex Neufeldt, and Carl’s ability to fight through triple Stonehorn Dignitary in his last match, both players are very happy to be here… but that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to fight just as hard for the win!
Carl has had the play through the entire top 8 and chose to take the play yet again. Carl kept, but Kurt mulliganed to three! That seems pretty grim, but he did win on the mull to four in game three of the last round of the Swiss rounds to make top 8, so not all is lost.
Carl led with Gitaxian Probe, and Kurt revealed Elvish Visionary, Razorverge Thicket and Sunpetal Grove. Quite a good three, if I do say so myself. He then laid Seachrome Coast and cast Ponder. Kurt led with Sunpetal Grove. Carl played an Island as his second land and passed. Kurt played the turn two Elvish Visionary, which resolved after Carl Thought Scoured himself, and passed right back.
Carl cast Snapcaster Mage and that in turn allowed him to cast Ponder again. He once again found the droids he was looking for on top and, after a brief rearrange, ended his turn. Kurt played a Forest on his third turn and had no further play. Carl swung in with his 2/1 Tiago Chan, dropping Kurt to 18, and put Talrand, Sky Summoner onto the battlefield. Kurt seized the opportunity with Carl tapped out to Green Sun’s Zenith for Elvish Archdruid. Carl untapped and Pondered yet again, this time with a 2/2 Drake as a bonus. He then used Gitaxian Probe to show Kurt’s hand, which now showed a Genesis Wave and a Sunpetal Grove. Thought Scour from Carl drew another card and made another Drake token. He attacked with Snapcaster Mage and passed. Kurt went for the Genesis Wave, with x equals four, but Carl had Mana Leak, and his army of drakes took Kurt down to 4 on his next attack step. Kurt untapped and Genesis Waved again, this time for five, but Carl had yet another Mana Leak and that ended the game.
Carl 1, Kurt 0.
“If either of those Genesis Waves resolve you might be dead. Isn’t that scary?”
“Yeah actually, that is pretty scary.”
“That’s the best mull to three ever!”
Indeed, Kurt’s deck is deceptively resilient, able to survive several sweep effects and other disruption, and if Carl hadn’t had a pair of Leaks he might’ve lost despite his four card advantage.
Kurt Crane's Elf Wave deck has been the talk of the tournament!
This time around Kurt kept his opener, and Carl had to mulligan. That’s just always the way, isn’t it? He didn’t go down to three though, and kept his six. Kurt led with Arbor Elf off of a Forest and Carl led with Delver of Secrets off of an Island. Commons and basic lands are awesome! Kurt attacked and played land number two and passed. Carl failed to flip his Delver, a theme for him in this top 8, and cast Ponder. Land number two, another island, came down and Kurt went to 19 after Carl’s attack.
Elvish Visionary from Kurt was followed up by Razorverge Thicket. Delver revealed Mental Misstep, but it was quickly Plummeted. Ponder from Carl allowed him to shuffle, and after a Glacial Fortress he passed the turn right back. The Elf player played his fourth land and attacked Carl down to 17 with a pair of angry 1/1s. Kurt attempted a Bird of Paradise in his second main phase, but Mental Misstep took care of those shenanigans. Carl also Thought Scoured on Kurt’s turn turn, and he then untapped, played a land, and passed. Kurt continued to flood the board, this time adding Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to the mix, and 1/1 beats continued.
A Delver of Secrets for carl with four mana up was his next play, but he didn’t have any further play after that. Kurt, however, did. He attempted a Green Sun’s Zenith for 3 (paying for Thalia as he did so), but a three mana Negate took care of that. A Gut Shot on top Flipped Delver of Secrets into Insectile Aberration, and an attack took life totals to 16 for Kurt and Carl at 11. Kurt cast Elvish Visionary and laid the land he drew, putting both players on six lands apiece. Kurt attacked for one, played Bird of Paradise, and passed.
Carl, with a 3/2 flier but no other board presence, thought about how to proceed. He decided not to attack and keep the Human Insect on guard duty instead of attacking. Kurt attacked for one anyway, perplexing Carl and putting the fear of the sideboarded Mortarpods into him, but not to the point that he would not block the paltry 1/1. Kurt simply played Llanowar Elf and passed after that, and Carl without so much as a land drop did the same on his next turn.
Kurt attempted to Green Sun’s Zenith for three, but a Snapcaster Mage with Negate in the graveyard put an end to that. Kurt attacked in with the 2/1 first striking Thalia without fear of Restoration Angel, and after setting Carl down to 8 he passed. Carl now felt safe enough to attack with his Insectile Aberration, because in his second main phase he cast Talrand, Sky Summoner and Gut Shot targeting Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, so the Phyrexian burn spell also came along with a 2/2 flier. The Gut Shot did drop Carl to a dangerously low 6 life, despite his legendary Merfolk Wizard and its implied air force. Ponder also added a Drake for Carl before his turn was over.
It was at this point there was a judge stoppage. After a brief meeting, Carl received a game loss. It seemed that the judge said that Carl, who had white sleeves, had distinguishable Delver of Secrets through the sleeves. In addition, some of Carl’s foils were warped to a noticeable point. These two infractions led to a game loss at that point from the judge, so they headed into game 3.
“That was my mull to three.”
Kurt 1, Carl 1.
In between games, Carl replaced the actual Delvers with checklist cards and swapped out some of the more warped cards, which had no distinguishable pattern, with much more flat cards.
Carl Dillahay is ready to put up a fight with "Mono" Blue Delver!
With Carl’s deck now judge-approved, the players got ready for the final game of the match. Carl and Kurt both kept, and Carl led with Delver of Secrets off of Seachrome Coast. Kurt led with Arbor Elf off of Forest. Carl blind-flipped the Delver with Mental Misstep on top and took Kurt to 17. Kurt went for Thalia on his next turn, but it met a Mana Leak. Carl Pondered on his next turn , played an Island and passed after taking Kurt to 14. Kurt resolved a Green Sun’s Zenith for 3, after Carl Thought Scoured the top of his deck away, and he searched up Elvish Archdruid.
Carl’s turn four consisted of attacking and playing a land and nothing else. Kurt’s turn four was just Arbor Elf, which suffered a Mental Misstep for its trouble. Carl attacked yet again with the Insectile Abberation, and when Kurt cast Restorastion Angel during the attack step Carl responded with Snapcaster Mage on Mana Leak. Kurt took some damage, but with Carl tapped out he had a turn to try to go turn the game around and answer Carl’s flying menace. He led the turn off with Arbor Elf, then cast Mortarpod, then another Elvish Archdruid. Mortarpod dealt one damage with a Germ token and one with the Arbor Elf to the flipped Delve, which was placed in Carl’s graveyard. On his next turn Carl attacked for two with the Snapcaster Mage, which took Kurt to six and left Carl at a comfortable 17. He played Talrand and passed.
Kurt played Llanowar Elf and then played the biggest beater he has access to, a hardcast Craterhoof Behemoth off of his pair of Elvish Archdruids. The 9/9 rumbled into Carl and suddenly set him to eight life. Carl paid two life for Gut Shot at the end of kurt’s turn to deal a damage to Kurt and to make a Drake, meaning all Carl needed was a vapor Snag or a Gut Shot to win the game. Ponder on Carl’s turn found Ponder, which shuffled into Thought Scour which found Augur of Bolas. Now tapped out, the only out for Carl was to find one of the remaining Gut Shots on top of his deck. He looked at the top three cards, and revealed…
Carl attacked and after damage Kurt went to one life, which was all Gut Shot needed to finish the job and Carl took the win!
And for even more dramatic effect, Kurt flipped the top card and revealed a Restoration Angel, which would have been yet another heart-pumping last second fadeaway Craig Jones moment, but unfortunately for Kurt it was not to be. Carl Dillahay is your SCG Buffalo Standard Open Champion!
Carl 2, Kurt 1.