Finals: Joe Lossett vs. Branson Mitchell
Joe’s been here before—the Denver Legacy Open finals. In 2011, he fell short while piloting Cephalid Breakfast. Today, his Counterbalance deck has a fantastic matchup against Branson’s Belcher build. Can he make good, or will the Goblins run wild?
After a mulligan, Branson led Lotus+Petal, Elvish+Spirit+Guide, Pyretic+Ritual, and then Seething+Song... headlong into Force+of+Will. On two cards, Branson passed as Joe played Tundra and passed right back. Turn 2 Counterbalance was terrible news for Branson, and now the writing was on the wall for the Belcher player.
Joe played lands as Branson passed over and over, dropping Top with three up to seize control more forcefully. Lotus+Petal merited a spin of the Top, with Glacial+Fortress countering the artifact via Counterbalance.
Belcher is once more in the Legacy Open finals!
The Fortress hit the battlefield, and Joe was nearly ready to Brainstorm his way into a sizable Entreat+the+Angels. Land+Grant revealed Elvish+Spirit+Guide, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Empty+the+Warrens, two Burning+Wish, and Desperate+Ritual. Joe responded with Brainstorm to put Counterspell on top of his deck with the Entreat, effectively locking up the game on the spot against those particular cards.
He declined to make Angels on his turn, drawing his Counterspell and passing. Spell+Pierce countered a cast Chrome+Mox, and Joe made two Angels during the end step by popping the Top. He swung for 8 damage, and continued to Top as Branson struggled to rebuild.
After one more attack, Branson drew a card and scooped.
Joe 1, Branson 0
Branson mulliganed and made no plays on turn 1 in game 2, biding his time. Joe fetched for Tundra and cast Sensei’s Divining Top, with Counterbalance and Meddling+Mage in his hand as well. Another pass from Branson, and Joe fetched his second Tundra to cast Counterbalance.
Another pass from Branson—this game began to look just lopsided. Joe drew Brainstorm, a variety of costs in his hand making the spell effectively a hard counter alongside Counterbalance. He dropped Meddling+Mage and named Goblin+Charbelcher. During Branson’s end step, Joe fetched a third Tundra to Top, while Branson discarded Empty+the+Warrens.
Joe's looking to improve on last year's runner-up with a trophy!
Swing for 2, play a fetch, and pass for Joe. Brainstorm threw back Swords and a redundant Top, shuffling those away to find an Island with his fetchland before Snapcaster+Mage let him Brainstorm again. Lands and a Spell+Pierce—he tossed back Terminus and a land, Branson binning Burning+Wish.
Joe swung Branson to 14 then cast Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor with a mana up. He brainstormed, putting Terminus and Portent on top this time. Branson continued using his cleanup step with no spells yet cast, discarding Xantid+Swarm.
Falling to 10, he then discarded Tinder+Wall.
He fell to 6, and Joe cast another Meddling+Mage to present lethal, naming Burning+Wish. Branson drew... and cast Gitaxian+Probe, falling to 4 life. Joe shrugged, and fanned out Force+of+Will, Spell+Pierce, Spell+Snare, and Portent.
Branson conceded on the spot.
Joe 2, Branson 0