Finals: Neil Hartman vs. Harrison Hite
Neil Hartman had slain all challengers so far, taking his R/W Burn deck all the way to the finals. He had just defeated one B/W Midrange deck in the semifinals, and now sat down against another, this time in the hands of Harrison Hite. Stormbreath versus Blood Baron for all the marbles!
Neil drew a hand of four lands, Ash Zealot, Chandra’s Phoenix, and Warleader’s Helix, and decided to keep after some consideration. Harrison was happy with his seven as well.
Thoughtseize on turn 1 from Harrison gave him a chance to stop the Ash Zealot preemptively, leaving Neil with just the two spells in his opener. Harrison had another Thoughtseize the following turn, seeing a freshly drawn Boros Reckoner in addition to the Phoenix and Warleader’s Helix he already knew about. This time, he took the Chandra’s Phoenix. Neil drew a Mutavault, and made the first threat in the form of Boros Reckoner. It didn’t last long, however, as Harrison played a third land and killed it with Hero’s Downfall.
Neil drew Stormbreath Dragon the following turn, but it would have to wait, as he played his fourth land and passed. Harrison’s big flier was slightly cheaper—He cast Desecration Demon on his turn 4. Neil took the opportunity at Harrison’s end step to cast Warleader’s Helix, knocking Harrison to 12 and retrieving the Chandra’s Phoenix from his graveyard. Lightning Strike was the draw, and Neil opted out of casting Stormbreath, choosing instead to cast Chandra’s Phoenix and leave mana up for the burn spell.
Thoughtseize number three was the play from Harrison, seeing Lightning strike and Stormbreath Dragon in hand. He took the Strike, appearing unconcerned about the 4/4 Dragon. Neil sacrificed the Phoenix to tap down Desecration Demon, and Harrison passed. When Neil cast his Stormbreath Dragon, Harrison quickly showed him Ultimate Price.
Harrison drew Read the Bones, and deliberated before casting it. Was he comfortable falling to 8 against the burn deck? Harrison ultimately decided that he was, drawing two cards, playing a tapped Orzhov Guildgate, and swinging in with Desecration Demon, knocking Neil to 17.
Neil had Lightning Strike on his next turn. He cast it main phase to regrow Chandra’s Phoenix. He cast the Phoenix but didn’t get to attack with it, as Harrison killed it off immediately with Bile Blight. Harrison untapped at a precarious 5 life. He cast Blood Baron of Vizkopa, briefly considered attacking with Desecration Demon, but opted not to.
Neil held Boros Charm, and drew the land he needed to finish Harrison off. He cast Boros Charm knocking Harrison to 1, and Chandra’s Phoenix returned to his hand. He cast it leaving Mutavault untapped. With his one remaining mana, he activated Mutavault and fed it to Harrison’s Desecration Demon while the Phoenix snuck by to deal the final points of damage.
Harrison hopes for a game 2 rally.
Neil Hartman 1, Harrison Hite 0
Both players again kept seven, and each player had only land for the first two turns. Neil opened the aggression on turn 3 with a Chandra’s Phoenix, which paid the Ultimate Price before it could attack. He tried the same trick again on his next turn, casting another Chandra’s Phoenix, but this time it fell to Bile Blight.
Harrison cast Sin Collector on his turn five, revealing a hand of Mountain, Boros Charm, Lightning Strike Chandra Pyromaster, and Fated Conflagration. He exiled the Born of the Gods rare, and passed without playing a fifth land. Neil eagerly untapped and slammed the powerful planeswalker into play, upticking to kill off Harrison’s Sin Collector and bring back both of his Chandra’s Phoenixes. Harrison’s only follow up was to attack the Chandra with his Mutavault.
Neil ticked the Chandra up to 4 knocking Harrison to 18, then cast one of his two Phoenixes and attacked Harrison to 16, passing with mana open for burn spells. Harrison found his fifth land and cast Blood Baron of Vizkopa. He fell to 14 on his end step, as Neil cast Magma Jet, sending both cards to the bottom. Neil untapped and dispatched the Blood Baron with a combination of Lightning Strike and Chandra, attacking with Mutavault and Phoenix to send Harrison to 9.
Harrison had another Blood Baron of Vizkopa, but knew he was in trouble. Neil untapped and began to crunch some numbers. He used Chandra to keep the Blood Baron from blocking and knock Harrison to 8, attacked with his pair of 2/2s to knock Harrison to 4, and then showed him Boros Charm for the KO.
Neil Hartman 2, Harrison Hite 0