Finals: Melissa Detora vs. Eugene Hwang
2273 players entered the tournament on Saturday, and now only 2 remained. Would it be Eugene Hwang with his aggressive Mardu deck or Melissa Detora with Temur who hoisted the GP Orlando trophy?
Melissa is in the hunt for a Grand Prix trophy.
Eugene opened up the action with a turn 2 Ghostfire Blade, while Melissa had the first creature in the form of a turn 3 Alpine Grizzly. Eugene plopped a facedown 2/2 into play on his own turn 3, hoping to block, but Melissa used Temur Charm’s fight mode to clear the way, swinging in for 5. A replacement Mystery Morph came right behind for Eugene, and with his spare mana he equipped the Ghostfire Blade to bring his facedown threat to 4/4.
After the Alpine Grizzly got through for another 4 damage, dropping Eugene to 11, Embodiment of Spring came as a follow-up. Eugene swung right back, knocking Melissa down to 16, then exploded onto the board with Mardu War-Shrieker into another facedown Morph. Now on the backfoot, Melissa could only play a Temur Banner and pass the turn back with mana up. Eugene used Arc Lighting to clear the Alpine Grizzly out of the way, then came in swinging. The Embodiment of Spring blocked the 4/4 Morph before being sacrificed, but the other creatures got through, and Melissa fell to 11.
Desperate to re-establish a board presence, Melissa cracked her Temur Banner to draw a card. She found Smoke Teller and passed it back to Eugene, who wasted no time bringing the beats. Force Away from Melissa sent the 4/4 Morph (revealed to be Krumar Bond-Kin) back to Eugene’s hand, while Smoke-Teller traded with the other. She fell to 8 from the War-Shrieker, and Eugene replayed his Morph and re-equipped it before passing back. Melissa found Bear’s Companion waiting on top of her deck, but Eugene had Throttle to get rid of the 4/4 token, and his two beaters outclassed the Bear’s Companion itself. Melissa was forced to chump block on Eugene’s next attack and, failing to find any solutions, conceded the game after her next draw step.
Eugene Hwang 1, Melissa Detora 0
Melissa took the play in the second game, but it was Eugene who was first to the board with a face-up Ruthless Ripper on turn 2. Both players had facedown 2/2s on their third turns, but Melissa didn’t get to keep hers for very long, as Eugene used Mardu charm to clear it out of the way and attack for 3. Melissa had Embodiment of Spring and Temur Ascendancy to follow-up, while Eugene simply played another facedown Morph and passed back, leaving his Ripper back on defense in the face of a potential haste threat.
The haste threat arrived just as promised, as Melissa tapped low on her next turn for a Snowhorn Rider. She drew a card from the Temur Ascendancy, but declined to attack into the 1/1 deathtouch blocker. Eugene took control of the Rider with a Jeering Instigator and came swinging, dropping Melissa to 9. She untapped and dropped Alpine Grizzly and Jeskai Windscout into play in a bid to stabilize. Eugene no longer liked his attacks, but was happy to develop his board as well, casting Mardu roughrider.
Savage Punch from Melissa looked as if it might turn the tides, as she pumped her Snowhorn Patrol up and punched away the Mardu Roughrider. She had a second copy of Snowhorn Patrol post-combat to really put the screws to Eugene, but chose to sit behind her ground-pounders and only attack for 3 with her Jeskai Windscout. Eugene added Swarm of Bloodflies to his board to stabilize in the air, then passed back to Melissa, who gassed up her hand with a Treasure Cruise and added another enormous beater, Tusked Colossodon, to her army.
Bring Low from Eugene knocked Melissa’s Jeskai Windscout out of the skies, and his Swarm of Bloodflies got in for 3 damage, dropping Melissa to 7. Melissa untapped and crunched some numbers, then decided it was time to get aggressive. She used Force Away to get rid of the Ruthless Ripper, Temur Charm on fight mode to get rid of the Swarm, then added Smoke Teller to her board and crashed in with everything. Eugene chump blocked with his team to stay alive, untapped and drew his card, then began shuffling up for the decider.
Melissa Detora 1, Eugene Hwang 1
Eugene unleashes the Mardu Horde.
Eugene once again for the beats started early with a turn 2 Chief of the Scale. Melissa was able to cast Temur Ascendancy on her third turn, but was on the backfoot immediately as Eugene’s Chief was joined by a Summit Prowler. She played a Morph on turn 4, but was already down to 12 as Mardu Roughriders joined Eugene’s assault on turn 5.
Melissa found only a Smoke Teller to bolster her defenses, and Eugene wasted no time attacking with everything. The Mardu Roughriders triggered to keep her morph out of combat, and Melissa could see the writing on the wall. She dropped her hand into play face up—four basic lands—then extended her hand in defeat.
Eugene Hwang 2, Melissa Detora 1