Finals: Max Tietze (Punishing Maverick) vs. Nick Spagnolo (BUG Loam)
Max Tietze - will he be the first StarCityGames.com Invitational Champion of 2012?
“I’m not sure how I’m supposed to win,” Max laughed. Nick’s deck featured haymakers like Dread of Night and Night of Souls’ Betrayal to really put a damper on the tiny creatures Max used to attack people to death. Still, Max’s beatdown deck had plenty of late game and some big, scary monsters.
Nick had the play thanks to Max’s position after the Swiss, and kept seven while Max mulliganed. Misty Rainforest for Nick concluded his turn, while Max started with fetching Savannah and casting Mother of Runes. Nick responded with Misty Rainforest to fetch Underground Sea, Darkblasting the 1/1—bad news for Max!
Polluted Delta on turn 2 for Nick, and Max tapped out for Qasali Pridemage. Nick drew and passed the turn, stuck on two lands, and he fell to 16 when the Pridemage attacked. Wasteland reduced him to one land, and when Max played Jitte Nick decided to fetch Island and Spell Pierce it.
Drawing another nonland, Nick ended the turn. Max kept the beats up with Pridemage before passing the turn with just Windswept Heath. Nick drew Wasteland, and Max attacked him to 9 before casting Scavenging ooze. Nick Force of Willed removing Jace, and Max was done for the turn.
Another draw, go, and another attack from Max. Nick hit a live card in Ponder, finding Polluted Delta and fetching up Bayou for Innocent Blood, killing Mother of Runes. Noble Hierarch gave Max the exalted trigger he needed to lock up the win, and Nick conceded.
Max 1, Nick 0
Well, mana screw was certainly one way Max could win these games! “I’m going to try playing again,” Nick said, picking up seven cards with still just two lands but considerably more card draw. He kept, and Max followed suit. Starting with a fetch for Underground Sea, Nick cast Ponder and happily kept a pair of lands on top.
Taiga and Noble Hierarch for Max, while Nick cast Inquisition of Kozilek to see Choke, Punishing Fire, Stoneforge Mystic, Grove, Dryad Arbor, and Gaddock Teeg—he discarded the powerful enchantment and played Polluted Delta, Spell Snaring Max’s Stoneforge Mystic on the following turn after taking 1 damage from Hierarch and fetching Tropical Island.
Nick played Creeping Tar Pit and passed the turn, taking another 1 from the Hierarch while Max cast Gaddock Teeg. Nick Force of Willed, removing Brainstorm before untapping to tap out for Jace, the Mind Sculptor and a fateseal of Red Elemental Blast—good hit! Max drew and considered how to contain the planeswalker, deciding to attack him for 1 damage and then pass.
If Nick brainstormed, the Punishing Fire could get Jace, but three cards was a lot of heat. Nick decided to draw, hitting removal spells rather than action. When he tried to fetch, Max pointed one shot of Fire at Jace, and Nick grabbed Bayou. He then animated Mishra’s Factory to attack for 2 damage before pointing Ghastly Demise at Noble Hierarch, making sure his Diabolic Edict remained live. Max finished Jace on his own turn and played a second Grove.
Nick, naturally, drew another Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Casting the planeswalker, he fatesealed himself to chuck a fetchland and force Max to have another untapped land in order to kill Jace. Max frowned after drawing for his turn, seemingly lacking the land. Sure enough, he played Dryad Arbor and ended the turn. Nick decided to fateseal himself once again and leave the card before attacking with Mishra’s Factory for 2 damage.
He Edicted the Arbor away as Max put Jace down to three loyalty, and then used Spell Pierce to protect Jace on Max’s turn when he tapped out to shoot at Jace again, leaving Nick on 20 life with a Jace on one loyalty. Max had just Grove untapped, and ended his turn.
Now, Nick Brainstormed. Drawing mono-removal, he replaced two kill spells to play a land and attack for 5 damage with his manlands, leaving Max on 9 life. Then Jace finally died, ending Max’s nightmare for the time being. Nick had to slow down himself, with his lands vulnerable to the Fire—he played Pernicious Deed. Max popped Horizon Canopy, then drew for turn after getting back the burn spell. He cast Knight of the Reliquary…but Nick had Innocent Blood.
Or will it be Nicholas Spagnolo?
Nick went 21 as Punishing Fire began to ping his dome, but he had time. An eighth land for Max developed his burn potential farther, and he passed. Nick took a net 2 damage from max’s current setup, although a ninth land would make it 3. Max popped his fetch to go to eight officially, and passed. Nick took 2 more damage.
Green Sun’s Zenith for two from Max threatened to find Qasali Pridemage, and Nick allowed it, trading his enchantment away. Nick took 3 damage this time around, with the Punishing Fire staying in the graveyard. Nick’s hand was filled with removal spells and a couple counters, but his deck was threat-light against the recurring Shock combo.
Max gamely cast Mother of Runes and then Knight of the Reliquary, but Nick Darkblasted her during the end step and had Innocent Blood on his own turn (with Spell Snare just in case of Scryb Ranger), followed by a swing from Creeping Tar Pit, Spell Snaring Max’s attempt to Punishing Fire the manland and putting him to 5 life, although Max did end the turn with Punishing Fire in his hand.
Untapping for Scavenging Ooze, things got real on Max’s side. He followed with Noble Hierarch and removed Darkblast from the game before passing. Nick used Wasteland on a Grove of the Burnwillows during his next turn, hoping to bait Max into a rash action, but Max just floated a green and grew his Scavenging Ooze. During the end step, he declined to Fire Nick and just made his Ooze enormous at 5/5. Attacking for 6 damage, he made it two more with activations prior to damage, ending the turn.
Peeling another land on 9 life, Nick destroyed a Grove of the Burnwillows. Max cast Punishing Fire to put Nick on 8 after returning it, and then attacked for 8 with his Scavenging Ooze. Mishra’s Factory mysteriously succeeded in blocking, and Nick conceded on the following turn.
Max 2, Nick 0