Finals: Jeremy Dombek vs. Shawn Herr
These Esper Sun+Titan decks have been performing well in recent weeks, with Michael Belfatto seizing the Columbus Standard Open just a week ago. Now, Jeremy Dombek was looking to take down his third Delver player of the Top 8 for the trophy, and make it two-in-a-row for Titans. Could Shawn Herr shut him down?
Shawn's starts in the finals had to contend with some powerful plays early from Jeremy.
Jeremy had the play, and Shawn began the match by mulliganing—looking better and better for the Esper player! Isolated+Chapel on turn 1, while Shawn started with Probe to see Alchemy, Lingering+Souls, Day+of+Judgment, Gideon+Jura, and two lands. Island and Ponder followed, with Shawn digging for enough action to overcome those very powerful cards.
Darkslick+Shores and pass met Fortress and the same from Shawn, with Jeremy playing Plains on turn 3 but declining to cast Lingering+Souls. Shawn made a beater in Geist+of+Saint+Traft on turn 3, prompting Forbidden+Alchemy from Jeremy. The spell binned several lands, and Jeremy tapped out to Day+of+Judgment the hexproof 2/2 while he still could.
Shawn cast Ponder on turn 4, then played Moorland+Haunt. Jeremy played a Ponder of his own, then a tapped land and Lingering+Souls. Those Spirits would match off against Shawn’s singleton, created during the end step. Vapor+Snag and Gut+Shot made room for Shawn’s Spirit to attack, and he played Delver+of+Secrets.
The flashbacked Souls brought more tokens to the board, and Jeremy played his sixth land prior to passing. Vapor+Snag nabbed one of those tokens, but when Delver failed to flip Shawn could only afford to send the Spirit, which Jeremy did not block. On his own turn, Jeremy made a land and shipped.
No flip meant no attack once again, and Shawn decided to go for the throat—Geist+of+Saint+Traft with just two mana up. Jeremy flashbacked Forbidden+Alchemy to dig, and drew for turn. After another Alchemy he still didn’t have Day+of+Judgment, but Gideon+Jura was nearly as good—maybe better! That forced Shawn to hit a flip for Delver on the spot, which he managed to do before attacking, clearing Gideon on the process.
Tapping out for Elesh Norn, Jeremy crossed his mental fingers—it worked! Shawn binned his board, and could only muster Restoration+Angel during the end step. He swung for 1, putting Jeremy to 13, but he evened the score with an attack from Elesh Norn to drop Shawn to 12.
Jeremy 1, Shawn 0
Jeremy's Esper list thrives in the late game.
Shawn again began with Ponders—two of them, in fact, as Jeremy played just Evolving+Wilds on the first turn. Shawn made his second land and Jeremy fetched up Swamp in the end step. He played Ratchet+Bomb on turn 2, and that left Shawn choosing which threat to present on turn 3—he decided to go with Geist+of+Saint+Traft.
Phantasmal+Image traded after Jeremy boosted hi Bomb, and he played Drowned+Catacomb. Another Geist for Shawn gave him potential, with Jeremy ticking the Ratchet+Bomb to two. He played a fourth land and passed, no doubt planning to use the Bomb to beat Geist. He took 6 from Shawn, falling to 14.
Shawn’s Snapcaster+Mage flashbacked Ponder after combat, and he passed with a mana up. Jeremy tried to pop the Bomb on his own turn, but Vapor+Snag saved Geist. Jeremy had a backup plan, tapping out to pump Gideon+Jura against just Snapcaster+Mage, and Shawn might just need to get Geist back on the board to beat the planeswalker.
He attacked, played another land, and cast Delver+of+Secrets. Passing turn afterward, he settled in for a grind. Dead+Weight from Jeremy on Delver tried to kill it, but Shawn cast Snapcaster+Mage to try and flashback Vapor+Snag in response—Mana+Leak countered the 2/1.
Locked down, Shawn put Gideon back to six loyalty and cast Geist+of+Saint+Traft. “That card’s pretty good,” Jeremy admitted after drawing, and Phantasmal+Image was indeed quite good. Shawn saved Geist in response with another Vapor+Snag, but that gave Jeremy Snapcaster+Mage and the ability to Ponder, which he decline. Only sitting on one untapped blue source and five lands, he was playing carefully.
Sword+of+Feast+and+Famine for Shawn landed on his Snapcaster+Mage, but Jeremy chumped it up with the Image before drawing for turn. Gideon killed the Snapcaster+Mage on Jeremy’s turn, and he tapped out to Sun+Titan for two Images and Ratchet+Bomb, putting the board very far in his favor.
Shawn drew one more card, checked for options, and conceded after finding none.
Jeremy 2, Shawn 0