Finals: Jonathon Habel vs. Justin Crandall
Four months ago, Jonathon Habel defeated CVM in a semifinal Monsters mirror on his way to a Standard Open trophy in St. Louis. Now he’s hoping for history to repeat itself, but Justin Crandall and his Naya Midrange deck stand in his way in the finals.
Justin checks his sideboard.
It felt like a bizarre mirror match at first, as both players had Temples on turn 1, mana guys on turn 2, and Polukranos, World Eaters on turn 3. Jonathon attacked with his on his turn 4, and Justin took the damage. Post-combat, Jonathan put an Overgrown Tomb into play untapped and passed.
Justin sent his own Polukranos over, and then cast a Voyaging Satyr, using Selesnya Charm to kill off the opposing Polukranos when it predictably went monstrous to kill off the Satyr. Jonathon had a Domri Rade to follow up, and a Dreadbore to get rid of Polukranos, but Justin replaced the pressure with a Xenagos the Reveler, going after Domri Rade to drop it to just 1 Loyalty.
Jonathon found no further action with his Domri, and passed with mana up and an Elvish Mystic to block. Justin went to 9 on his own turn to play a shockland and cast Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, putting one +1/+1 counter on each of his two Satyr tokens and on his Voyaging Satyr. They all attacked Jonathon, and he threw the Elvish Mystic in front of one 3/3, falling to 6 in the process. He checked the top card of his deck, found no help, and conceded the first game.
Justin Crandall 1, Jonathon Habel 0
A turn 2 Voyaging Satyr from Justin was the first play of the game, and Jonathon got on the board on turn 3 with a Domri Rade, which failed to find a creature. Justin matched him with his own Planeswalker, a Xenagos the Reveler, and used a 2/2 satyr to drop the Domri to 2 loyalty. After taking a moment to consider various lines, Jonathon cashed in the Domri Rade on the following turn, first casting a Scavenging Ooze, then using Domri to fight and kill Justin’s Voyaging Satyr.
Justin fortified his defenses on his own turn, casting a 3/3 Mistcutter Hydra and making a second Satyr token with his Xenagos. Jonathon’s turn was much more low-key, simply casting an Elvish Mystic and passing the turn. H was a turn away from an overloaded Mizzium Mortars, but Justin put the pressure on pre-combat, casting Ajani, Mentor of Heroes, putting counters on each of his attackers, and crashing in. the Mistcutter Hydra fell to Putrefy , and the rest of the damage went through, dropping Jonathon to 13.
Jonathon had a big turn as planned, overloading Mizzium Mortars to clear Justin’s board of creatures and then attacking away the Xenagos. Justin was still in decent shape, as he cast Courser of Kruphix and put three counters on it with his Ajani. Jonathan attacked the planeswalker with a 3/3 Scavenging Ooze on his own turn, and Justin, smelling Ghor-Clan Rampager, simply let it through. The Rampager predictably killed off Ajani, and a follow-up Rakdos’s Return cleared out Justin’s hand.
Unfazed, Justin slammed the Mistcutter Hydra from the top of his library into play as a 5/5, and attacked with both of his creatures to drop Jonathon to just four life. Jonathon had to pump the breaks, simply drawing his card and passing, and Justin found another Xenagos, the Reveler next, making a token and doing some math before deciding to shove with his whole team. Scavenging Ooze ate the Satyr Token, Jonathon’s two mana creatures chump blocked, and the Scavenging Ooze ate them both post-combat, growing to a 7/7 and bringing Jonathon to 7 life.
The Scavenging Ooze attacked Xenagos away, and Jonathan looked to turn the corner with a topdecked Polukranos, World Eater. Both players sat behind their two giant creatures for a few turns, playing draw-go. Justin finally made his move: He overloaded Mizzium Mortars, then cast a second Mizzium Mortars on the Scavenging Ooze, then attacked with both of his creatures, forcing Jonathon to trade his Polukranos for one of them. Jonathan found a replacement Polukranos, but it didn’t protect him from the Stormbreath Dragon that emerged next from Justin’s deck, and sealed the deal.
Justin Crandall 2, Jonathon Habel 0