Finals: Eric Becker vs. Andrew Schneider
Eric needs to goldfish a turn 4 kill in this matchup pretty much every time.
Andrew confessed his unfamiliarity with the enemy, examining the physical cards to assure himself that he knew each text well enough to play the match. In truth, it would probably be pretty one-sided either way; Andrew needed to kill Eric before he could build a certain combo finish, while Eric needed to survive the combination of disruption and aggression, avoiding dying to a faulty Meditate or the like.
Seven for each player, with Andrew on the play fetching Volcanic+Island and casting Delver+of+Secrets. An Island and Preordain for Eric, but Andrew didn’t need much setup—his Delver flipped on turn 1, attacking immediately for 3 before a Brainstorm drew some cards. Fetching Volcanic+Island afterward, Andrew cast another Delver.
That’s more pressure than Eric wanted to see this early. He paused to collect his plans, deciding to Preordain before playing another land—no Daze from Andrew, although he did have one. Island and Ponder followed afterward, the top three drawing concern for Eric, although he eventually decided to leave them there, ending the turn.
The second Delver didn’t trigger, but Andrew did have Goblin+Guide to compound Eric’s life total woes. With two lands available, Andrew passed the turn—Eric was already on 11 life, and facing lethal damage if the second Delver flipped and Andrew had some form of Lightning. Casting Merchant+Scroll, Eric tutored up High+Tide and passed the turn after Preordaining, hoping he’d survive long enough to try and go off.
Lightning+Bolt during the end step put Andrew within range of a lethal attack if Delver flipped, with Andrew also sitting on Snapcaster+Mage and Daze. Eric allowed the Bolt to resolve, and Andrew fetched another Volcanic+Island prior to untapping. Running a bit of flash, Snapcaster+Mage flashbacked Brainstorm during the upkeep, rather than the definitely lethal Bolt—Eric Force of Willed, falling to 7 life, and Andrew went to zero cards for Daze. If he didn’t hit a spell, he’d have to give Eric another turn… but Chain+Lightning was the first card off the top.
Andrew 1, Eric 0
Eric’s clock had suffered from being on the draw in that game—would the play reverse his fortune? Eric kept, with Andrew keeping immediately after—so fast! Ponder for Eric merited some time in the tank, but he eventually kept the three in place. Andrew led Volcanic+Island into Goblin+Guide, revealing High+Tide and starting the beats.
Island for Eric gave him Ponder again, and he passed with one mana up. Andrew played another Goblin+Guide, crashing in for 4 damage and giving Eric an Island before revealing Brain+Freeze. Post-combat, he declined to cast Ponder in order to hold open Spell+Pierce and keep Force+of+Will reliable. Eric played Scalding+Tarn on turn 3… and passed afterward, implying he had a Cunning+Wish or Intuition.
The Guides revealed Cunning+Wish at first, but Eric fetched an Island to buy a second shot at land. This time, he hit Merchant+Scroll and went to 9 after damage. Post-combat, Chain+Lightning made that 6 before Andrew Pondered into Pyroblast, although he couldn’t Pyroblast and Spell Piece due to casting that Chain+Lightning first. During the end step, Eric Wished for nothing thanks to Spell+Pierce.
He untapped and likely felt the pressure to go off this turn, although Andrew in truth lacked a way to kill him if he untapped, having bricked burn or Snapcaster in that Ponder but kept it for Pyroblast. Casting High+Tide, Eric earned the expected Force+of+Will from Andrew but had his own, pitching Brain+Freeze. Eric played a land and then cast merchant Scroll for Turnabout, untapping his four lands on zero mana.
Floating two mana, Eric cast Time+Spiral and rolled the dice. Preordain followed, keeping a card—bad news for Andrew. Eric cast High+Tide, now earning three blue from his Islands, and Ponder followed afterward, but shuffled the deck. He had mana, but appeared concerned… was a whiff possible? Eric Brainstormed to draw three more cards, putting two back before casting yet another High+Tide. Cunning+Wish for Eric left him on one mana with eight more available as he went into the sideboard, choosing to take Brain+Freeze. He followed that with a Wish for Remand, and went to zero mana to Brain+Freeze twice, decking Andrew.
Andrew 1, Eric 1
Andrew's relying on some quick advice and theoretical strategy against this opponent.
Eric mulliganed, while Andrew led fetchland for Volcanic+Island, casting Goblin+Guide to start the beatdown. He revealed Scalding+Tarn upon attacking, and passed. Eric made Island and cast Ponder, keeping the top three cards in place. Andrew’s Brainstorm on turn 2 resolved, tossing back some burn that he shuffled away in order to enable two Goblin+Guides—revealing two lands!
A big grip for Eric now, who faced a mild clock but probably not enough pressure to make him do anything crazy. He played Island, passing the turn after discarding two Scalding+Tarns. Brainstorm for Andrew resolved, but the top of the deck presented nothing in the way of disruption; disruption that Andrew badly needed.
He played a fetchland and Pondered without cracking, seeing two of the same cards—that didn’t seem right, and he wound up shuffling the deck in search of something more useful. He attacked with Goblin+Guides, spotting Force twice, and sending turn over to Eric, who sat pretty at 10 life, for now. He played Island, and passed right back.
Fetching Volcanic+Island and casting Bolt during the end step, Andrew sought to threaten lethal with Snapcaster+Mage. The Bolt resolved, and the Guides attacked on the next turn. Andrew knew there was a Force to get through and had only Pyroblast to counter it—he’d be in trouble if Eric had two counters and he went for it. Best to wait until the end step at least, which he did.
Eric’s Cunning+Wish during the end step resolved, grabbing High+Tide. Eric cast the instant upon untapping, and Andrew Pyroblasted it. Force+of+Will pitching Disrupt would easily counter the Pyroblast, but Snapcaster+Mage for Lightning+Bolt in response sealed the game and the match for Andrew!
Andrew 2, Eric 1