Finals: John Runyon vs. Charles Gindy
“Felt like it was always going to be us here,” John said as they each sat down, and Gindy laughed. “Yeah, we did sit next to each other for pretty much the whole tournament.” Considering that time had mostly been spent in the feature match arena, it was clear that these players had been operating at a high level for the entire event.
Starting the match on the play, John picked up no lands in his starting seven and went to six cards. Gindy kept quickly, and awaited his opponent’s mulligan. John stayed on six, and started with Seachrome Coast. Gindy made just Island on turn 1, and John missed his two-drop and passed with only a Plains. The race began with Gindy’s turn 2 Invisible Stalker.
Charles Gindy shuffles up for his last match of the Standard Open.
Mirran Crusader was certainly up to the task of racing, and Gindy decided to make no plays on turn 3 beyond a land after his attack. He fell to 16 when the Crusader swung, shrugging as John played Fiend Hunter just for the 1/3 beats—Gindy’s Midnight Haunting kept him in fine shape, and he swung for 3 on the following turn to even the score, casting Sword of War and Peace afterward with one mana open.
John attacked Gindy to 11 and cast Hero of Bladehold plus Gideon’s Lawkeeper, but Gindy had wisely sandbagged Vapor Snag for the Hero and kept it off the board. He put Sword onto Invisible Stalker and attacked with all of his creatures, leaving John on 8 life. Gindy ended the turn with two mana open, representing Mana Leak.
He had the Leak when John tried to recast Hero of Bladehold, which mean John could only afford to swing for 5 this time—Gideon’s Lawkeeper remained on defense to keep a Spirit token at bay. Gindy knocked John down to 3 life with his assault, and John went to the top of the deck for help. He didn’t find anything, and they were off to game 2.
Gindy 1, John 0
John Runyon offers a handshake before the finals begins.
Sword of War and Peace had decisively shifted that game in Gindy’s favor, reversing John’s ability to race. Postboard things would change, with each player boarding carefully after considering what the other might be bringing in on their end. John made a quick keep in game 2, but Gindy went to six cards just as fast.
John’s start was Plains and Doomed Traveler, while Gindy just had Seachrome Coast. He fell to 19 when John attacked, but John made no turn 2 other than Glacial Fortress. Gindy played Ratchet Bomb and shipped the turn, displeased to see Geist of Saint Traft hit John’s board on turn 3. He gave his Bomb a counter, and then moved to his own turn—which included just a land.
Attacking, John had Mana Leak to protect his Geist from an Ambush Viper Snapcaster Mage, landing a blow for 7 damage. Gindy gave a heavy sigh and moved to his own turn, playing a fourth land and passing with Ratchet Bomb on two counters now. He had 11 life left, but it was a scarce resource against the Geist.
Vapor Snag on John’s Angel took a healthy chunk of the damage out of the equation, and a second Snapcaster Mage to Vapor Snag the Doomed Traveler kept Gindy on 11, trading with Geist. John bounced back with Hero of Bladehold, demanding an immediate answer from Gindy—after moving Ratchet Bomb to three counters, a second Vapor Snag did the trick nicely.
Now facing Ratchet Bomb on three counters, John was reluctant to recast the 3/4. He played Doomed Traveler and Honor of the Pure instead, at which point Gindy decided to bump Bomb to four counters. It was an odd choice, but explained immediately by the Oblivion Ring he had for Honor of the Pure. Delver of Secrets followed, giving Gindy a threat.
“Gross,” Gindy said as John landed Sword of War and Peace on the Traveler and attacked, dropping him to 7 life. John passed afterward, and Gindy missed hitting his Delver’s flip. He swung for one, and shipped the turn. John attacked again to deal 4 damage, gaining 4 life, and had no other plays. Hitting Ponder to flip, Gindy cast Ponder to shuffle the deck and hit a big card—Oblivion Ring! He removed the Sword and attacked for 3 damage. Just as quickly as Gindy’s fortunes had improved, they shifted back—John’s own Oblivion Ring gave him back his Sword for the kill.
Gindy 1, John 1
Another game decided by Sword of War and Peace—would the third game go the same way? Each player kept their openers in game 3, and Gindy began with turn 1 Ponder. John had just Plains, and didn’t mind seeing no threat from Gindy on turn 2. He tried Honor of the Pure, but Gindy had Mana Leak to shut him down.
Geist of Saint Traft gave Gindy a major threat, but John tried to defend with Timely Reinforcements for just the men. Shutting that defense down, Gindy cast Ratchet Bomb, popped it, and attacked for 6 damage. He had Mana Leak for the Hero of Bladehold that followed, rapidly extending his lead.
John fell to 8 life as Geist swung once again, and Gindy cast Delver of Secrets with four mana untapped. Was his last card a Snapcaster Mage? Was The Kid just that good? It didn’t matter—John passed without a play. When the top of Gindy’s deck flashed a Midnight Haunting it gave him lethal damage, and John extended the hand in congratulations.
Gindy 2, John 1