Finals: Lauren Nolen vs. Simon Stahl
Mono-Black Devotion has won the last two Standard Opens, and former Invitational winner Lauren Nolen hopes to make it a hat trick here in Detroit. Simon Stahl has other plans, however, as he and his U/W Control deck stand in Lauren’s way.
Lauren employs Pack Rat, the boogeyman of Standard.
Lauren has the first play of the game, casting a turn 1 Thoughtseize to see Supreme Verdict, Dissipate, Fated Retribution, and three lands. He took the Dissipate. Simon continued to play his lands, and Lauren set off some alarm bells when he passed without making his second land drop! Simon played a land and passed, and Lauren found a Mutavault, then cast another Thoughtseize, revealing Supreme Verdict, Fated Retribution, Azorius Charm, and Jace, Architect of Thought, sniping the planeswalker.
Lauren committed a Pack Rat to the board, and Simon simply cycled his Azorius Charm and passed back. Lauren attacked for one with his Rat and cast Underworld Connections, which resolved. Another Jace, Architect of Thought showed up for Simon, and he used it’s -2 to gain a Sphinx’s Revelation. On his turn, Lauren attacked the Jace with his Pack Rat, but Simon activated Mutavault to jump in front. Lauren made a backup rat, and the creatures traded.
Another activation of Jace for Simon revealed Sphinx’s Revelation against Divination and a land. After some consideration, he picked up the two card pile, made his land drop, and passed back. Knowing about the sweepers in Simon’s hand, Lauren had no interest in growing a Pack Rat army, simply attacking for one and passing, hoping to pull ahead with his Underworld Connections. Simon shocked himself to play his seventh land untapped, casting Supreme Verdict to dispose of the rat and leaving up three mana for Dissipate.
Desecration Demon was the threat of choice for Lauren, and Simon decided it was good enough to counter. Simon untapped, drew his card, and shipped the turn right back, sitting on his Sphinx’s Revelation. Lauren cast a Pack Rat, passed with three mana open to activate it, and Simon fired off his Revelation for 4.
After Simon played his land and passed, Lauren activated the Pack Rat to make a copy at end step. He attacked for 4, and there was a brief game of chicken in which both players hoped the other would make a move, but Simon held off on using his Fated Retribution, taking the four damage. Post-combat, Lauren cast a second copy of Underworld Connections, and Simon swept the Pack Rats away with his retribution at Lauren’s end step.
Simon had Detention Sphere on his own turn to get rid of both Underworld Connections, then passed with five mana up and a full hand. Lauren cast Lifebane Zombie, revealing Celestial Flare, Divination, Sphinx’s Revelation, Aetherling, and Detention Sphere in Simon’s hand. Gray Merchant of Asphodel came next, bringing Simon down to 12 and Lauren back up to 14.
Knowing he needed to get some pressure going, Simon cast Aetherling on his own turn, leaving up four mana. Lauren simply attacked for 3 with his Lifebane Zombie and passed. On Simon’s turn, the Aetherling attacked, and Lauren threw the Gray Merchant under the bus. He attacked Simon down to 4 on his own turn with Lifebane Zombie and Mutavault, but Simon fired off a Sphinx’s Revelation for 5 to regain the ground. He untapped, Detention Sphered away the Lifebane Zombie, then swung with his Aetherling, drawing a Hero’s Downfall out of Lauren’s hand.
Thoughtseize from Lauren dropped him to 12 and revealed Dissipate, Divination, Celestial Flare, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, and three lands in Simon’s hand. Lauren took the Elspeth, then added Lifebane Zombie to the board. Aetherling’s next attack drew another Hero’s Downfall, leaving Lauren still on a two turn clock. Lauren untapped and activated both of his Mutavaults, crashing in with three creatures. Simon activated two Mutavaults of his own, but Lauren killed one off with one with a Hero’s Downfall before blocks. Aetherling blocked the other Mutavault, and Simon got rid of the Lifebane Zombie in the end of combat step with a Celestial Flare.
Another Aetherling swing put Lauren on a one turn clock. He drew his card, assessed the board, and packed up his cards.
Simon Stahl 1, Lauren Nolen 0
Full hand, clean board, lands untapped? Simon's in the drivers seat.
Lauren was again a little slow to get on the board. His second land was a tapped Temple of Deceit, which meant that his first play, a turn 3 Pack Rat, was exposed to Simon’s Dissolve. Lauren had Thoughtseize on his next turn, revealing Azorius Charm, Divination, Supreme Verdict, Celestial Flare, Sphinx’s Revelation, and Hallowed Fountain. Simon lost his Sphinx’s Revelation, but still drew some extras on his next turn by casting the Divination.
Lauren found his third land, and cast an Underworld Connections, but Simon exiled it with Revoke existence before Lauren had a chance to use it. Lauren, unfazed, simply played another. Simon, who hadn’t missed a land drop yet, slammed Aetherling into play with two mana up to protect it.
Lauren activated his Underworld Connections, found another land, and used it to cast a second copy of Underworld Connections. This was fantastic news for Simon, who sniped them both with Detention Sphere before swinging with Aetherling. Lauren drew his card, saw the writing on the wall, and conceded the match.
SIMON STAHL 2, LAUREN NOLEN 0