Finals: Michael Lee vs. Preston Stone
“This is all I’m here for,” Michael declared as head judge Sam Straus presented the trophy to the match. He’d have to go through one more Delver player to do it, but Preston wasn’t going to be defeated easily.
A mulligan to six for Preston with Michael on the play—not a great start for the tournament’s last remaining Delver player. His six was bad, and his five had no lands. “We might be going to game 2 pretty quick,” he admitted as he shuffled up for a mulligan to four. “My hand’s not very good,” Michael offered, but it wouldn’t take much to put this one away.
Michael's all about that trophy.
Following Razorverge Thicket, Preston Probed to see Wolfir+Silverheart, Hero+of+Bladehold, and four more lands—a terrible hand if Preston could play a little Magic here. He had Glacial+Fortress, and decided to Thought+Scour himself rather than cast turn 2 Delver—when he missed the land, he was punished.
Michael cast a topdecked Sword+of+War+and+Peace on turn 3, while Preston resolved Delver and played Glacial+Fortress. Hero+of+Bladehold resolved, and Ponder for Preston flipped his Delver. We might have a game here!
With several chumpers available, Preston declined to attack for 3 and passed with two mana up, Mana Leaking the Wolfir+Silverheart when Michael cast it. Preston declined to block Hero or any of its friends with his untapped Aberration, taking 7 damage, and he cast Ponder on the next turn to see three lands. Keeping them, he followed with Augur+of+Bolas to find Vapor+Snag and send the extra lands to the bottom.
Michael 1, Preston 0
On the play, Preston kept a decent seven, while Michael exercised the mulligan button this time around. That seven must have been real bad! Seachrome+Coast and Ponder for Preston merited an immediate shuffle when it turned up zero action, but Michael’s six presented him with only Forest on turn 1.
Drawing Ponder, Preston went back into the deck to shuffle nearly the same three he’d seen before: Vapor+Snag and two lands. Once again finding a land on top, he played it and passed, his hand already filled with lands. Turn 2 Thalia for Michael resolved, and Preston lacked an answer.
A third Vapor+Snag off the top of the deck—perhaps his deck wasn’t getting randomized enough following these Ponder shuffles? Strangleroot+Geist swung for 2 while Thalia met the Vapor on Michael’s third turn, and Preston passed after playing his fourth land. Michael also had a fourth land, swinging in with Strangleroot+Geist to do an Angel check.
Preston took the damage, Mana Leaking Thalia when she returned to the board. He drew Phantasmal+Image to begin equalizing the board, but he needed more—a genuine threat. He didn’t attack, choosing to remain defensive. He had Vapor+Snag for Michael’s attempted Rancor, which was a nice gain, but Michael recast the Spirit and attacked. If Preston blocked, he wouldn’t be getting a 3/2 due to being a non-active player.
Preston made the block, and got a 1/1 without the Illusion clause as he had no creatures to copy. That meant he could Snag it back, but his surprise at the previous ruling probably meant he wouldn’t be doing that. In fact, he became so distracted that he slammed his 1/1 into the 3/2—awkward.
With six lands, Mana+Leak, and Vapor+Snag all he had, Preston was in grim shape. He fell to 13 and Leaked Acidic Slime before making a Spirit token with Moorland+Haunt. Probe from Preston revealed Silverheart, Green Sun’s Zenith, and Restoration+Angel. He swung for 1 damage to leave Michael on 17, the game within reach if he found a Pike quickly.
Thragtusk off the top for Michael changed that math. Now Preston needed a lot more help, and the top of the deck delivered potential with a Ponder. That hit Snapcaster+Mage and Phantasmal+Image, two of the better draws in the deck! Image copied Thragtusk, and he attacked Michael to 21 with the Spirit.
Preston's mulligan to four sent him into sideboarding in short order.
Wolfir+Silverheart made a very special friendship with Strangleroot+Geist, and Michael sent in the Strangleroot and Thragtusk. Preston blocked the Geist and bounced Silverheart, trading for the 3/2 and gaining a Beast token. Preston swung for 4 damage and put Michael to 16, passing on 5 life and preparing to Haunt up a chump for the next soulbond recipient—Thragtusk—if necessary, with Snapcaster+Mage for Mana+Leak also available.
Michael declined to even cast the Silverheart, expecting the block, and chose to Restoration+Angel Thragtusk instead. Preston replied with Snapcaster+Mage for Vapor+Snag, a mana shy of Leak and not really improving the situation much. When he drew Seachrome+Coast on the next turn, it appeared that his run was coming to a close.
Preston fell to 7 from the Angel and Thragtusk landed once more. He cast a drawn Delver+of+Secrets, while Michael added massively to the board with Strangleroot+Geist and Zenith for a second copy, then swung. He took 4, falling to 3, and lost every creature except Snapcaster+Mage. Creating a Spirit, Preston took his final turn.
Michael 2, Preston 0