Finals: Dan Musser vs. Erik Finnegan
“Man, Sin Collector might not be completely dead against you,” Dan noted as he looked over the decklist for his Selesnya opponent. All those populate cards and token creators were dangerous over a long game, but Dan’s Junk list had the tools to disrupt those synergies.
Erik's token-based offensive is unique within the Top 8.
A keep from Erik preceded a mulligan from Dan. Forest and Experiment One gave Erik a threat, while Dan scryed with Temple of Silence. He had a respectable curve in his hand already, but he knew that Erik’s deck was capable of going over the top of his own creatures. Dryad Militant was the least threatening evolve option on turn 2 for Erik, but Dan did fall to 18.
Debating the merits of a shockland, Dan decided not to take 2 for Scavenging Ooze and just make his land drop. Call of the Conclave enabled an attack for 5 from Erik, but Dan fell to 11 for the shockland he needed to cast Loxodon Smiter on defense. Could he avoid Selesnya Charm and Rootborn Defenses long enough to mount the comeback?
The Smiter hopped in front of the Militant in an attempt to restrict those blowouts to the minimum, and Dan fell to 5 life. When Erik ended the turn, it seemed very likely that he was holding Advent of the Wurm or Boon Satyr. Dan drew and passed, lacking a fourth mana, and had Doom Blade for the Advent of the Wurm... but Selesnya Charm sealed the deal for Erik anyway.
Erik 1, Dan 0
Mutual keeps, and Dan led Godless Shrine. Experiment One from Erik matched up poorly against Voice of Resurgence, but Dan was a little land-light. Erik declined to evolve on turn 2, instead casting a second Experiment and playing a shockland.
Erik wasn’t able to break through yet but he was getting closer. Rootborn Defenses here would enable a reasonable attack and play around future Doom Blades on the token, but Erik appeared to lack the trick. He cast Boon Satyr on his own turn, evolving his Experiment Ones before ending the turn.
Dan sent the turn with four mana up, accessing both Advent and Doom Blade + Abrupt Decay on Erik’s turn. Erik drew and attacked with everyone—somebody was going to get hurt! Dan decided to Advent before blocks, giving Erik an opportunity to Rootborn Defenses for pretty good value still. Erik appeared to debate a Charm, but decided to allow blocks and then play Defenses, getting in 3 damage and eating the front side of Voice of Resurgence while creating a Centaur.
It’s possible Dan should’ve considered the riskier block with just Smiter and Voice, using Abrupt Decay to kept Defenses from putting Erik too far ahead. Now, he was facing five creatures... and Erik still had four cards in his hand. The gain here was that now Dan had the opportunity to actually race! Considering how to initiate that, Dan lined up his Elemental and his Wurm before just sending in the 5/5 and passing.
Erik had to attack carefully, as he wouldn’t want to leave himself dead to a second Advent of the Wurm. In fact, Dan had exactly 15 damage in play—an alpha strike that didn’t kill Dan or force some trades would leave him dead if he didn’t muster a blocker! On Dan’s end, the two removal spells and second Advent of the Wurm left him feeling confident.
Erik sent everyone, which meant Dan should be looking to just block, leaning on his removal spells to eliminate potential blockers or pumped creatures, keeping them from trading. That’s exactly what he did, going right to blockers and dropping Smiter and his Elemental in front of the Experiment Ones while allowing 10 damage through from Boon Satyr and two Centaurs. Erik only had three mana, but he burned two for Selesnya Charm in an attempt to kill the Elemental in combat.
Dan's Junk list has rough mana but strong cards.
Another Wurm kept the Elemental alive, and Dan took 10 as the Experiments regenerated. Dan untapped and attacked back for lethal.
Erik 1, Dan 1
All the marbles were up for grabs in game 3! Erik mulliganed his opener, and Dan picked up seven hoping to find a strong keep. Six lands and a Loxodon Smiter, however, did not qualify. Each player had good sixes, however, although Erik only had Temple Garden on turn 1. Overgrown Tomb for Dan landed, and he had Doom Blade at the ready for the Fleecemane Lion Erik deployed—but cast Sylvan Caryatid instead, getting ready for turn 3 Advent of the Wurm.
No turn 3 for Erik meant potential Boon Satyr territory, and Dan decided to just cast Scavenging ooze on his turn while taking a shock to keep up Doom Blade. When Erik played Boon Satyr in the end step, Dan cast Doom Blade on the Fleecemane Lion—after significant deliberation. The Satyr swung, and Dan debated blocking to force out the trick, eventually doing so. At a minimum, it might bait out Selesnya Charm and preserve his upcoming Advent of the Wurm!
Erik burned Rootborn Defenses to keep his Satyr, and swung again when Dan passed the turn. Advent of the Wurm came in, but bestowing Boon Satyr allowed Erik to keep a 4/2 when all was said and done. Shadowborn Demon ended that creature, but Dan was running low on cards as Erik played Fleecemane Lion on the next turn.
Sacrificing a Caryatid, Dan swung for 5 damage. The Lion went monstrous when it attacked on the next turn, and Dan dropped to 11. Sacrificing that Caryatid, he drew and blanked on a land. He’d needed something here—Whip would’ve been especially helpful—but really any creature had the potential to keep him ahead. Playing a land, he attacked Erik to 10.
Attacking with the Lion, Erik was relieved to see it go unblocked. Bestowing Boon Satyr, he put Dan to 3 life and drawing thin. One more land off the top sealed the deal for Selesnya.
Erik 2, Dan 1