Finals: Dylan Donegan vs. Dan Jessup
Dan Jessup and Dylan Donegan both came into this weekend right on the cusp of a Player’s Championship invite, and now it was down to just the two them in the championship match. Would it be Dylan Donegan’s Jeskai Tokens to earn a trophy, or would Dan Jessup punch his ticket to Roanoke with Abzan Midrange?
Dan puzzles out a tricky Thoughtseize.
Both players had Temples to begin the game, and Dan led off on turn 2 with a Thoughtseize, seeing Hordeling Outburst, Goblin Rabblemaster, Treasure Cruise, Jeskai Charm, and Battlefield Forge. He took the Rabblemaster, but Dylan was still able to mount an offensive with Hordeling Outburst. He attacked Dan down to 15, but Dan went right back up to 18 on his fourth turn as Siege Rhino entered the battlefield. Dylan had an end step Raise the Alarm, but untapped and passed back without a play, as he was missing blue mana.
Dan had Sorin, Solemn Visitor next, and made a 2/2 Vampire Token, but chose not to attack with his Siege Rhino. Dylan used Lightning Strike at the end step to kill off Sorin, but was still without a play on his own turn. Dan drew and cast Sylvan Caryatid and passed, and Dylan found an Island and triumphantly slammed Jeskai Ascendancy into play. He passed back, needing another untap step to begin casting spells and triggering the Ascendancy. Unfortunately for him, Dan had a doozy in store—the one-of Duneblast, which swept away all of Dylan’s tokens and left him with a Siege Rhino, which came swinging in and dropped Dylan to 7.
Another Hordeling Outburst gave Dylan something to work with, but his life points were in short supply, and he blocked with one token when Dan next attacked, taking 3 trample damage but staying out of Siege Rhino range. Dan cast Courser of Kruphix post-combat and passed. Dylan began his turn with a Treasure Cruise, then attacked with his two 2/2 tokens. Courser of Kruphix blocked one, and a Lightning Strike grew the token to a 3/3 and finished the Courser off. It wouldn’t do Dylan any good, however, as Dan had Abzan Charm to exile one of the tokens, leaving Dylan without enough blockers to survive another hit from the Siege Rhino.
Dan Jessup 1, Dylan Donegan 0
Dylan had a lightning-quick start in the second game, with a turn 2 Raise the Alarm into a turn 3 Goblin Rabblemaster before Dan had a chance to cast a spell. Dan’s turn 3 play was Read the Bones, which contributed little to his hopes of stabilizing. He found Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and Utter End, fine cards both, but neither of which could solve the more pressing Rabblemaster problem.
The Rabblemaster attacked for 4 along with four tokens, dropping Dan to 9. Dan took a peek at his top card, didn’t find a sweeper, and picked up his cards.
Dylan Donegan 1, Dan Jessup 1
Dan’s turn 2 Thoughtseize revealed two lands in Dylan’s hand along with Treasure Cruise, Disdainful Stroke, Goblin Rabblemaster, and a pair of Stoke the Flames. After a bit of calculation, he sent the Disdainful Stroke to the graveyard. Dylan had no turn 2 play, and Dan stuck a Courser of Kruphix. The 2/4 blocked a hasty token when Dylan cast a turn 3 Goblin Rabblemaster, and Dan was quick to dispatch the token-maker with a Bile Blight on his own turn.
Chandra, Pyromaster was the threat of choice for Dylan, who ticked it up to drop Dan to 16 and passed the turn. Dan had plenty of options on his own turn, but chose to cast a Siege Rhino, dropping Dylan to 15, and attack Dylan himself with the Courser, leaving Chandra at five loyalty. The Chandra’s +0 ability produced a Hordeling Outburst for Dylan, which enabled him to cast a Stoke the Flames killing off the Courser of Kruphix. Dan attacked in with his Siege Rhino, then used Utter End to dispose of Dylan’s planeswalker.
Dylan used the tag-team duo of Lightning Strike and Stoke the Flames to kill off Dan’s Siege Rhino, while Dan was quick to rebuild with another Courser and a Bile Blight to sweep away Dylan’s tokens. Unfazed, Dylan cast a Hordeling Outburst and then used the tokens to cast another Stoke the Flames, killing off Dan’s Courser of Kruphix. Dan had only Sylvan Caryatid as a follow up on his own turn, and passed the turn out of gas.
The trio of Goblins began swinging in, and Dan fell to 12. Dan drew his card and passed, and Dylan added two more tokens to his board with Raise the Alarm. He attacked Dan down to 8, and Dan again drew a land and passed back. An end-step Hushwing Gryff allowed Dylan to knock Dan down to 2 on his next attack, and he showed a Lightning Strike to close things out.
Dylan Donegan 2, Dan Jessup 1
Dylan Donegan is your Season 4 Invitational champion!
The fourth game developed at a somewhat slower pace, as Dan didn’t have a play for the first three turns, and it was Dylan on the draw who was first to the board with a turn 3 Jeskai Ascendancy. Dan had Siege Rhino on turn 4 to make up for lost time, and it was a suitable blocker for Dylan’s 1/1 Goblin Token after he cast a Goblin Rabblemaster on his next turn. He untapped and killed off the Goblin with a Hero’s Downfall, then rumbled in with his rhinoceros to drop Dylan to 13.
Dylan had another Goblin Rabblemaster, but Dan had a Bile Blight before combat, and kept the board clear for another turn while he attacked Dylan down to 9. Dylan next attempted a Hordeling Outburst, which prompted an Utter End targeting Jeskai Ascendancy in response, but Dylan countered back with a Disdainful Stroke. He got his tokens, and kept his enchantment. Dan hoped it wouldn’t be enough, as he knocked Dylan down to 5 with his Siege Rhino and cast Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, adding three 1/1 Soldier Tokens to his board.
A second Hordeling Outburst from Dylan grew his first three Goblins to 2/2s, and he attacked Elspeth, prompting chump blocks by all of Dan’s 1/1 Soldier Tokens. He had a Raise the Alarm post-combat, and passed to Dan, who drew and promptly cast an Utter End, exiling the Jeskai Ascendancy. Dylan refueled with a Treasure Cruise, then passed back. The Siege Rhino came swinging again, and Dylan chose to block with his two soldiers, falling to 2, then cast Stoke the Flames post-combat to finish off the Rhino. Dan made three more tokens and passed, with Elspeth at 7 loyalty and her ultimate ability looming.
With his back against the wall, Dylan carefully pieced together a way out. It started with a Jeskai Ascendancy from his hand. He then tapped four Goblins to cast Stoke the Flames on the Elspeth, growing his Goblins to 2/2s and untapping them all. Dylan attacked Elspeth with all of his tokens, and Dan elected not to block any of them, hoping his six 1/1s would be good enough against an opponent at 2 life. Dylan played a Plains post-combat and cast Treasure Cruise, untapping all of his Goblins, and passing the turn on a stable board.
Another Elspeth, Sun’s Champion from Dan threatened to overrun Dylan’s tokens, as he went up to 9 1/1 Soldiers, and passed. Dylan cast a second Jeskai Ascendancy to grow his Goblins, then attacked Elspeth, and Dan again elected to let the planeswalker go without any blocks. A follow-up Hordeling Outburst untapped all of Dylan’s Goblin tokens and got him back to parity. This time Dan had only a Sylvan Caryatid.
A third Jeskai Ascendancy came down on Dylan’s next turn, and after all the triggers had resolved, Dylan sent in nine 3/3 Goblin Tokens for 27 damage. Dan crunched the numbers and blocked with all but two of his tokens, and fell to 17. Dylan passed, and Dan found another Elspeth, but Dylan was ready with Negate when he moved to cast it.
A pair of Raise the Alarms later, and Dylan was attacking nine 7/7 Goblins. Dan had nothing, and extended the hand in defeat.
Dylan Donegan 3, Dan Jessup 1