Finals: Gerry Thompson vs. Shaheen Soorani
“The funny thing is, I have every Invitational trophy except the second-place one.” Shaheen pondered this. “So you want the second?” “Nope,” Gerry snapped off, smiling. He wouldn’t mind owning two winners.
Gerry's Shardless BUG deck showcases the power of Tarmogoyf!
Gerry kept, Shaheen mulliganing to six cards. His next hand earned a wrinkle of the nose, and a long-considered mulligan to five. Fetching on turn 1, Shaheen grabbed Underground+Sea and cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek. “I have cards in my hand that cost three or less,” Gerry announced, revealing Thoughtseize, Brainstorm, Abrupt+Decay, and Force+of+Will alongside three fetchlands.
“Well that card does nothing,” Shaheen said, tossing away Decay and considering which of the other spells to discard, very frightened of Thoughtseize but forced to get rid of the powerful Brainstorm and blue card. Gerry opened with a fetch for Underground and Thoughtseize, revealing Shaheen to have Brainstorm and Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor alongside another land in his hand, losing the latter.
Shaheen Brainstormed after playing Flooded+Strand, fetching afterward for Scrubland and casting Thoughtseize to take away the Abrupt+Decay he’d previously labeled as “useless.” Gerry laughed, casting Deathrite+Shaman on the next turn and passing. Shaheen, of course, had Stoneforge+Mystic on turn 3 to find Batterskull and create a fast threat.
Needing spells, Gerry fetched in the end step and found a nice one—Hymn+to+Tourach. That left their Squires facing off, with Gerry’s active and able to zap Shaheen in the face turn after turn. Gerry exiled Thoughtseize and then drew Tarmogoyf, now clocking Shaheen in a big way. He exiled Brainstorm in Shaheen’s upkeep, and that significantly weakened a potential Snapcaster+Mage.
Shaheen confirmed the Tarmogoyf was a 5/6 before ending the turn, and Gerry attacked into the chumping Mystic on his own turn. Shaheen Brainstormed for more help, and passed after playing a land, losing his new Brainstorm to Deathrite+Shaman. Gerry knocked Shaheen to 4 and cast Thoughtseize, revealing Stoneforge+Mystic and Lingering+Souls in his hand. Binning the Souls, Gerry exiled it to put Shaheen on 2 life and then played Creeping+Tar+Pit, earning the concession after Shaheen flipped a lackluster Supreme+Verdict off the top of his deck.
No turn 2 for Shaheen beyond a fetchland, and Gerry ticked down Visions before drawing a card. Considering his many options, Gerry Thoughtseized before doing anything else, earning a Spell+Pierce. He followed that with a fetchland and another Ancestral+Visions. Uh-oh!
Shaheen drew and then fetched, finding Scrubland and casting Inquisition+of+Kozilek to see Nihil+Spellbomb, Brainstorm, Tarmogoyf, and Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor in Gerry’s hand. It looked like Shaheen might be land-light, making him vulnerable to the pressure, but he binned the Brainstorm... and then indeed passed without a land.
Deathrite+Shaman and Nihil+Spellbomb pulled Gerry farther ahead, the Shaman a real problem for Shaheen. He cast Stoneforge+Mystic to find Batterskull, but Gerry had plenty of action. He found a land and resolved Jace, with Wasteland looming to strap Shaheen’s mana as well. Sighing, Shaheen elected to concede rather than try to battle back from so far behind.
Gerry 2, Shaheen 0
Each player kept seven once more, Shaheen fetching Underground+Sea on turn 1 to cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek and reveal Ancestral+Visions, Abrupt+Decay, Jace, Wasteland, and some other lands. The draw spell went straight into the graveyard, and Shaheen shipped the turn. Gerry Wasted him, and shipped back.
Just the Strand for Shaheen on turn 2, while Gerry played Tropical+Island. Shaheen fetched for Tundra on the third turn and Brainstormed before playing Polluted+Delta and fetching up Underground+Sea, which he used to cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek, stripping Shardless+Agent. That stung—Gerry was back to the top of the deck for help.
He made a land drop and ended the turn, Shaheen casting Ponder on his turn and then resolving Stoneforge+Mystic for Batterskull—the Mystic met an Abrupt+Decay in the end step, of course, and Gerry tried to get big while Shaheen was tapped out with Hymn+to+Tourach. “Had it,” he joked, shipping Spell+Pierce and Batterskull into the graveyard. “Hitting that Batterskull should be the end of this game,” Shaheen sighed as he cast another Stoneforge+Mystic, this time just for Jitte.
Shaheen was tapped out after playing Jitte, so Gerry fearlessly fetched his fourth land and dropped down Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor. The bounce tossed Stoneforge back into Shaheen’s hand, and he cast Lingering+Souls to threaten the planeswalker this time. Gerry had Nihil+Spellbomb to take care of the back end on Souls, which he began the next turn with. He bounced a token, choosing to avoid the détente of fatesealing.
Equipping his token with Jitte, Shaheen lost it to Abrupt+Decay when he attacked. Stoneforge+Mystic was still a threat with Jace on one loyalty, but Gerry was untapping with full use once more. He cast a Brainstorm before using Jace, then fatesealed Shaheen to leave Tundra on top prior to casting two Deathrite+Shamans.
Perish from Shaheen triumphantly killed them all, and he swung Jace down to two loyalty while adding counters to his Jitte. Gerry once more Brainstormed, this time hanging onto a pretty big Tarmogoyf—5/6 was just right to stave off that Stoneforge+Mystic. Debating his choices with Jace, Gerry bounced the Mystic to put Shaheen on the defensive.
Casting the Mystic and equipping, Shaheen ended his turn. Gerry threw away Jace to bounce the Mystic again, then cast a fresh one and fetched to clear away the top of the deck before brainstorming once more. Swords+to+Plowshares exiled Tarmogoyf, but Gerry used Thoughtseize to snag Shaheen’s Mystic and leave him with no cards and a Jitte.
He drew and passed, Gerry’s Jace taking over the game from here. Shaheen had Marsh+Flats to block fatesealing, but Gerry was content to net the advantage as a scry in conjunction with one more Brainstorm. He sent Hymn+to+Tourach at Shaheen on the next turn, revealing his opponent had drawn only lands, before drawing to find Tarmogoyf.
Swords off the top handled the Tarmogoyf, but Gerry’s Jace was on seven counters and continuing to brainstorm. He failed to find a threat this time around, simply suspending two Ancestral+Visions to press his long game. He scryed again after drawing, moving Jace to nine loyalty. On the next turn Gerry resolved Nihil+Spellbomb, breaking it to draw before using Jace to fateseal.
That did get Shaheen to crack his fetchland, revealing he was shuffling away a Brainstorm. “Jace!” Shaheen called out, and that’s exactly what he drew. Gerry shrugged and then dropped another Jace on the next turn, fatesealing once more. In a turn, Shaheen would have to deal with two Ancestral+Visions coming off suspend—that’s an avalanche of cards he’d be unable to beat.
“Should I keep playing?” he asked after drawing Thoughtseize. “It’s fun for me,” Gerry said with a smile, and Shaheen laughed. “Well then, I’m definitely not playing!” He extended the hand in defeat.
Gerry 3, Shaheen 0