Finals: Charles Gordon vs. John Harduvel
The traditional Elves vs. Stoneblade matchup has changed recently. The printing of True-Name Nemesis hasn’t just given Stoneblade a new weapon—it’s given the archetype more incentive to run sweepers like Zealous Persecution and Supreme Verdict!
John's Elves deck trims the white and plays only two colors.
Tundra and Ponder began the game for Charles, while Bayou and Deathrite Shaman got thing started on John’s side of the board. Charles had no turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic, passing after playing Flooded Strand, but after John played Wirewood Symbiote, two Heritage Druids, and Nettle Sentinel with Gaea’s Cradle, Charles appeared to be behind.
Fetching with Flooded Strand, Charles cast Engineered Explosives for one and immediately detonated it, with only Deathrite Shaman surviving the blast thanks to Wirewood Symbiote. The Shaman rejoined the board, and John passed despite having Green Sun’s Zenith. He either had bigger plans in mind, or wanted to ensure he could access Viridian Shaman if the time came.
Once Charles played True-Name Nemesis, John used Zenith for two to get Elvish Visionary, drawing a card and ending his turn. Charles went on the offensive with his Nemesis and then had Vendilion Clique in the draw step to strip John of his Glimpse of Nature, leaving him on Behemoth, Dryad Arbor, and Nettle Sentinel, with a fresh draw off the top.
Casting Nettle Sentinel and then Birchlore Rangers, John passed after playing his Dryad Arbor. Charles attacked John to 9 life, then played Supreme Verdict, losing 2 life to Deathrite Shaman. Each player was back to square one, but John drew Wirewood Symbiote to gain a lot of live topdecks on his next turn. Charles had a second True-Name Nemesis, and went on the offensive immediately.
Falling to 5 to fetch, John thinned his deck before drawing a blank Cradle on his turn. A dead Glimpse left him dead to the Nemesis on the next turn.
“I came to beat creatures,” Charles admitted.
Charles 1, John 0
John kept, hoping the play would give him enough tempo to get Charles before a sweeper crushed his board position. Starting with Quirion Ranger, he passed the turn. Charles fetched on turn 1, finding Scrubland and casting Thoughtseize. Revealing Wirewood Symbiote, Abrupt Decay, Glimpse of Nature, Craterhoof Behemoth, and Gaea’s Cradle, John lost his Glimpse. He drew Wirewood Symbiote and played it immediately, earning some Force of Will consideration from Charles before he added Gaea’s Cradle to the board.
Charles played Island and then Swords on the Symbiote, keeping it under control and weakening the Cradle. John drew Natural order and attacked for a point of damage, playing a third land. Charles had turn 3 Stoneforge Mystic to dig up Umezawa’s Jitte, leaving John knowingly reliant on his Abrupt Decay.
Finding a fourth land on top of the deck, John had the option of jamming Natural Order and declined. Not only would the represented Force of Will do him in, but Charles had Supreme Verdicts in the deck if he had brought in Progenitus—it wasn’t going to work.
Fetching Dryad Arbor in the end step, John drew a pause from Charles, who considered the possibilities that such mana could bring him. Charles activated his Mystic, putting a naturally-drawn Batterskull into play—not the expected Jitte. Charles held onto his Jitte, declining any attempted equip, and just attacked with Batterskull. John thwarted that with Dryad Arbor’s bounce via Quirion Ranger.
Charles cast Snapcaster Mage and flashbacked Thoughtseize, disappointed to see two Abrupt Decays now stood in the way of his Jitte running wild once he dealt with the Ranger loop. Taking Natural Order, he followed by fetching Tundra and casting Path to Exile on the Ranger. Path before combat could’ve squeeze in some Batterskull damage, but perhaps Charles had thought it was possible to incentivize a burned Decay somehow.
Playing Dryad Arbor, John cast Green Sun’s Zenith for three—Force of Will countered, his attempt to find Viridian Shaman thwarted. With only Dryad Arbor in play, he at least didn’t need to fear Jitte. Charles dropped it into play, but it would earn an Abrupt Decay and not do much outside of kill the Arbor.
Verdant Catacombs from John was a blank, but he did fire the Decay off on Jitte. Even so, on 14 life he was under a two-turn clock from Charles. It would require a response, and fetching another Forest in order to Abrupt Decay the Germ token bought him time, falling to 10 life. Lands were no good, and Batterskull returned to hand. Charles attacked John to 7 life and passed with five mana up, holding onto Batterskull and representing Force of Will alongside it.
Heritage Druid was something, and Charles changed his tune—only Snapcaster Mage attacked, Mystic now ready to redeploy the Batterskull. When John tried to cast a drawn Symbiote, that merited the hardcast Force of Will from Charles. Attacking John to 3, he passed once more with the Mystic untapped, and John’s deck could not cough up a solution.
Charles 2, John 0