Finals: Galen Lemei vs. Phillip Contreras
The Legacy Open finals was an exercise in contrast. On one hand, Phillip's Bant deck is a throwback to the days when Legacy was called Type 1.5 and ruled by Scryb Sprites and Flying Man pumped up by Unstable Mutation and Blood Lust. The creatures have been upgraded to powerful versions with hexproof, but Unstable Mutation made the cut regardless. Galen's notoriously challenging Ad Nauseum combo deck, on the other hand, didn't exist until a few years ago and played no creatures whatsoever, focusing on getting a critical mass of spells to power a lethal Tendrils of Agony. Phillip was here after crushing his semifinal in a few minutes, while Galen's match had taken over an hour to finish. One had glasses, the other had a hoodie, one was from Oregon, the other from Sacramento, but both were after the same trophy.
A load of cantrips flew from Galen's hand to graveyard as he set about assembling the perfect hand to combo off, while Phillip tried to recover from his mulligan with Birds of Paradise and Wasteland to stagger Galen's setup. Troll Ascetic gave him a beater, but it was anyone's guess as to when Galen was going to explode.
Sacramento local Galen Lemei looks to defend his hometown's pride.
Infernal Tutor picked up a copy of Cabal Ritual, and he emptied the tank for both copies of it, netting him eight black mana with threshold. Lion's Eye Diamond left him with just Grim Tutor in hand and he fired it off for Past in Flames after sacrificing both Lotus Petal and Lion's Eye Diamond. Past in Flames turned on his full-stocked graveyard and he refilled his mana with Dark Ritual and the pair of Cabal Rituals.
Infernal Tutor plucked Tendrils of Agony out of his deck with a ton of storm already loaded up, but he wanted to be sure the coast was clear and played Grim Tutor for Thoughtseize, seeing Spell Pierce, Daze, Unstable Mutation and Spectral Flight. Daze was the only relevant card as Phillip was tapped out and Tendrils of Agony blew Phillip's face off.
Galen 1, Phillip 0
The players sat in complete silence as they sideboarded for the second game and only Phillip's tsk at his opening hand broke before he announced that he would keep. Galen threw his opener back for a better set, and he let out an ambiguous groan at Phillip's leading Wasteland.
Polluted Delta found him a basic Swamp and a Lotus Petal enabled an early Dark Confidant. Phillip's retort of Tundra, go was underwhelming, and the Dark Confidant got in there. Duress followed the combat step, but Brainstorm tucked all of its targets away and Galen got to look at a hand of Geist of Saint Traft, Geist of Saint Traft, Troll Ascetic and three lands before saying go without a second land.
Phillip mistakenly played a Forest for his turn, wincing as he was forced to pass the turn right back as his Forest, Tundra, Wasteland setup didn't afforded him no plays. Dark Confidant struck home again after finding Lion's Eye Diamond and Galen played Flooded Strand before saying go.
Geist of Saint Traft finally made its way into play, but Phillip had to hope it would be in time. He brightened up when he was able to Mindbreak Trap Ad Nauseum for free on his own end step after Galen blew a pair of Dark Rituals to power it, making sure to exile the spell so that Galen couldn't reuse it with Past in Flames.
Dark Confidant flipped a land and attacked into the Geist of Saint Traft, hoping for a trade. Galen of course allowed it in as he was actively looking to race Galen's slow plan. He stuck the Geist of Saint Traft in and Chain of Vapor offed the angel token, letting Galen sacrifice his Forest to copy it on Dark Confidant and turn off Galen's card flow. Troll Ascetic followed the attack step and now Galen was onto a different plan.
Oregon's Phillip Contreras wants to take that trophy with him.
Lion's Eye Diamond and a lot of match led him to a line of Infernal Tutor and responding to it by cracking the Lion's Eye Diamond, discarding his hand of Past in Flames and Dark Confidant to grab another Dark Confidant after some deliberation. He played it and passed the turn, trading with the Geist of Saint Traft when Phillip sent his team in. The rest of Phillip's team knocked him down to 8, and the second Geist of Saint Traft replaced the first. Ponder drew him Galen into nothing and we were onto a final game.
Galen 1, Phillip 1
Galen took his time sideboarding, not wanting to make a mistake. All that care didn't prevent him from having to take a mulligan, however. Phillip kept his opener and we were off.
Scalding Tarn pulled up a basic Island that allowed Galen to Ponder, and he kept Brainstorm, Polluted Delta and Cabal Ritual on top of his deck while Phillip played Birds of Paradise with a Tropical Island.
Brainstorm into fetchland meant Galen got to get busy on his second turn, putting a couple of unwanted cards back into his library and pointing a Thoughtseize at Phillip. He fell to 16 as he looked over Qasali Pridemage, Unstable Mutation, Spell Pierce, Geist of Saint Traft and a fetchland. Spell Pierce hit the yard and it was up to Phillip to find a way to end it before Galen could go off.
Phillip sat calmly as Galen ran through more mental calculations, shrugging as Infernal Tutor went to find a copy of the Cabal Ritual Galen revealed. Polluted Delta dropped Galen to 15 as he grabbed an Island and cracked his Lotus Petal to cast both powered-up copies of Cabal Ritual, topping it off with a hellbent Infernal Tutor for Ad Nauseum, leaving him with just one black mana after casting it.
The first spell out of the gate was a second Ad Nauseum, knocking off a huge chunk of his life and potential card supply, but he was fully committed and had to keep going for a mass of Dark Rituals. Instead, a bunch of chaff fell off the deck including a multiple copies of Duress, Ponder, and lands that combined to knock Galen's life down to a tiny 2. It was too late to stop, but Past in Flames flipped over and ended the game and match out of nowhere.
Phillip Contreras wins the match and is the Sacramento Legacy Open champion!