Finals: Morgan McLaughlin vs. Kevin Gerhart
After Kevin Gerhart’s brother Ryan finished in the top 4 of the Standard Open yesterday, Kevin knew he had to go one better today. He has successfully done so, taking his Shardless BUG deck all the way to the finals, but he’d face stiff opposition in the form of Morgan McLaughlin and his RUG Delver deck.
Kevin: “Not a Delver, please.”
Morgan: “Aaaaaand, Delver.”
The Delver of Secrets entered play. Kevin attempted a Deathrite Shaman on his own turn, but Morgan was ready with a Daze to counter it. He flipped the Delver on his own turn by revealing a Force of Will, then attacked for 3 and Wastelanded Kevin’s Bayou away. Kevin simply replaced it with a Creeping Tar Pit and passed back.
Another Delver of Secrets joined its Insectile companion for Morgan, but Morgan had no other land, and shipped the turn back to Kevin after bashing him down to 12. Kevin attempted a Hymn to Tourach, and Morgan decided to choose which two cards he wanted to discard, pitching Brainstorm to counter it with Force of Will. He missed on his next Delver trigger, but attacked Kevin down to 8, then cast a Nimble Mongoose.
Baleful Strix showed up for Kevin to stem the bleeding, but a Daze was revealed on Morgan’s turn to transform the second Delver into an Insectile Aberration, meaning that Kevin fell to 3 life from Morgan’s attacks even after he blocked on flier. Kevin attempted an end step Brainstorm, and Morgan took a moment to consider countering it with a Daze before ultimately deciding he could afford to let it resolve.
Kevin played his fourth land on his own turn and cast a Shardless Agent. With the cascade trigger on the stack, Morgan Dazed it, which Kevin happily paid for. The cascade revealed a useless Thoughtseize, though, and Kevin picked up his cards.
Morgan McLaughlin 1, Kevin Gerhart 0
Morgan resolves a particularly tricky Ponder.
Kevin had a one drop to lead off the game, but it wasn’t a conventional attacker: he plopped Nihil Spellbomb into play and passed the turn. Morgan spend his first turn casting a Ponder, and Kevin got involved in some cantripping of his own, casting a Brainstorm and passing back. Morgan played the first attacker of the game on his second turn, dropping a Tarmogoyf.
Two could play that game—Kevin untapped and cast a Tarmogoyf of his own, shipping the turn back to Morgan with an Underground Sea untapped. Morgan upped the ante on his third turn by casting a True-Name Nemesis. It resolved, and Kevin went digging for an answer at Morgan’s end step by cycling his Nihil Spellbomb.
He found it, casting a Toxic Deluge on his own turn, paying 1 life in a bid to kill off the True-Name Nemesis. Morgan found a creative solution, casting Submerge on the True-Name to put it back on top of his library. Kevin had no further play, and Morgan untapped and sent his Tarmogoyf crashing into Kevin’s. Kevin called the bluff with a block, and Morgan tapped out post-combat to replay the True-Name Nemesis.
Kevin’s next sequence of plays were particularly punishing. At Morgan’s end step, he used Disfigure in conjunction with the combat damage to kill off Morgan’s Tarmogoyf. He then untapped and slammed Liliana of the Veil, using it’s -2 to get rid of the True-Name Nemesis. He Wastelanded away Morgan’s only red source, then attacked for 5 with Tarmogoyf, dropping him to 15.
Another Tarmogoyf showed up to play defense for Morgan, but it didn’t stick, as Kevin cast a Shardless Agent and cascaded into Abrupt Decay to clear a path. He upticked Liliana, knocked Morgan down to 10, and passed the turn in a commanding position.
Morgan dug for a solution with a Ponder, but found no help, and scooped up his cards for a game 3.
Kevin is just happy to be playing Magic.
Delver of Secrets kicked things off for Morgan in the decider. Kevin simply had land-go, and the Delver didn’t immediately flip for Morgan but it was joined by a second copy. Kevin again simply played a land and passed, and this time the Delver triggers revealed a Daze on top. Kevin cast a Disfigure in Morgan’s upkeep to dispose of one of the 3/2 fliers, but the other came swinging, dropping Kevin to 16. Morgan amplified the pressure post-combat, dropping a Nimble Mongoose and a third copy of Delver of Secrets.
Kevin deliberated for a while before simply playing his third land and passing the turn back. In Morgan’s upkeep, with the Delver of Secrets trigger on the stack, Kevin used Golgari Charm to give all creatures -1/-1, sweeping away the Delver and the Nimble Mongoose. He still fell to 13 from the flier, and Morgan had bad news to follow up—he tapped three lands and announced “the one who knows your name,” True-Name Nemesis.
Baleful Strix showed up for Kevin to stave off the Insectile Aberration, but he still needed to find an answer to the True-Name Nemesis. Morgan cast Ponder, found a Chain Lightning, and used it to clear away the Baleful Strix, swinging with his two creatures to drop Kevin to 7.
Kevin cracked a fetchland to fall to 6, meaning he now faced lethal damage on board from Morgan’s creatures. He hoped to send those creatures away though, casting Toxic Deluge for 2. Morgan Dazed it, but Kevin cracked another fetchland and paid for it, passing the turn on an empty board with 2 life.
Morgan drew his card for the turn, a semi-useless Daze, and simply passed the turn. Kevin breathed a long sigh of relief. Now he needed to establish a clock of his own. He kicked things off with a Brainstorm, then cast Shardless Agent, cascading away the lands from the top of his deck before hitting an unhelpful Abrupt Decay.
Laughing, Morgan plopped Tarmgoyf into play from the top of his deck. He’d been regretting putting it underneath the Daze off of his Ponder, but realized he had inadvertently protected it from Abrupt Decay by doing so. He cast it, but it didn’t last long, as Kevin played another Shardless Agent on his turn and found a Brainstorm off of its cascade, which netted him an Abrupt Decay. Kevin Wastelanded away Morgan’s only red source and passed.
Both players were effectively playing off the top at this point. Kevin found an Ancestral Vision and suspended it, and Morgan found another Tarmogoyf. He attacked with it on his next turn, and Shardless Agent jumped under the bus. Kevin didn’t find another useful spell, and the next card off the top for Morgan was a Submerge, clearing away Kevin’s final blocker and allowing his Tarmogoyf to crash in for the win.
Morgan McLaughlin 2, Kevin Gerhart 1