Finals: Nick Marriot vs. Mike Prokop
“At least this won’t take too long,” Mike said as the players sat down. Mike had already dispatched an Infect player in the Swiss, but Nick was prepared to wreak poisonous vengeance upon him in the finals.
Nick's up a game in the finals after taking zero match losses in the tournament so far!
Nick’s first seed had afforded him the advantage of the play in every round of the Top 8, and he’d be starting one last time against one of his more interactive matchups: U/W Delver. Nick kept his seven and Mike took a mulligan, looking for a faster hand. Turn 1 for Nick offered a few options, but he elected to begin on Cathedral of War.
Ponder from Mike resolved, and he put back a trio of cantrips, choosing to shuffle. Forest and Green Sun’s Zenith searched up Glistener Elf, with Gut Shot during the end step threatening its livelihood. Nick binned the Elf, and Mike had no turn 2 beyond Glacial Fortress.
Playing Inkmoth Nexus, Nick resolved Wild Defiance—uh-oh—and now Mike needed to look for ways to race. Thought Scour looked for threats, and Mike untapped into Gitaxian Probe, going to 16. That revealed Mutagenic Growth and Gut Shot, alongside Forests. “That’s some action,” Mike admitted. That was, in fact, exactly lethal!
Another Cathedral, and Nick animated his Nexus. He moved to combat, and Mike really needed a Vapor Snag here. Because Nick had played a land, it would buy him an extra turn if Nick went for the kill, and he knew that no Apostle’s Blessing or Ranger’s Guile could threaten to turn the game lethal.
Considering his options, Nick just landed three poison. Now Talrand and a free spell or two would threaten his game plan in short order if Mike could muster them. Mike swung Nick to 18 and then resolved Runechanter’s Pike, bluffing Snag still. Another swing from the 3/3 Nexus, brought a moment of truth.
Gut Shot on Nexus before damage made the Inkmoth into a 6/6, and no further plays left Mike on nine poison. Nick played another Inkmoth Nexus, and when Mike failed to find a land for Talrand or some other form of defense, he was dead.
Nick 1, Mike 0
Mike respects the potential of poison.
Another Probe failed to find a Delver, and Nick started with Cathedral of War. Falling to 14, Mike Probed a third time to see Green Sun’s Zenith and played his second Island. Glistener Elf on turn 2 after drawing Forest, and Mike fired one of his two Gut Shots at it during the end step. Nick considered a response, and elected to Apostle’s Blessing.
Mike didn’t Mana Leak the Blessing, and untapped. He had Glacial Fortress, and now used his Gut Shot on the Elf. Nick paid two life for Mental Misstep, and now Mike burned his Mana Leak—but that left him with just Island untapped now, when he could’ve made the same fight in Nick’s end step last turn.
Green Sun’s Zenith for another Elf and Inkmoth Nexus on Nick’s turn, while Mike had Delver of Secrets and Runechanter’s Pike to threaten a sizable clock of his own. Nick swung for three infect with the Elf, and Mike retaliated by flipping his Delver! Once the Pike joined the party, that was an attack for 9 damage.
Thus Nick fell to 7 life, and Mike passed with a single mana untapped. The Glistener Elf attacked for three once more, and no pumps from Nick. He dropped a second Inkmoth Nexus, content to try and block, then ended his turn.
Mike Thought Scoured for two more power, and untapped. He offered no resistance to Nick’s first attempt to block with Inkmoth Nexus, and knew he had potentially lethal damage to contend with. Mike used his only dead creature to Moorland Haunt for a Spirit blocker, and Nick misspoke as he cast Apostle’s Blessing, accidentally naming blue. While this might have been a sweet level if Nick also had Gut Shot, that wasn’t the case...
Nick’s error enabled Mike to block, and a flurry of Mental Missteps saw Nick emerge on top during the next turn. That meant he got to block a lethal Aberration, but it left him without a hand and with no way to force lethal damage past Mike’s Snapcaster Mage for Vapor Snag on the next turn.
Nick 1, Mike 1
A verbal misstep on Nick’s part had considerably widened Mike’s window to close the second game, and now Nick needed to collect himself and focus on a final game. He had the play and thus the advantage—and a quick keep proved him ready for action. Mike fell to six cards, and Nick opened on Cathedral of War.
Turn 1 Delver for Mike made his mulligan look pretty good, and Nick dropped Spellskite on turn 2 with no Nexus in the back. Revealing Vapor Snag to Delver, Mike got the beats started early. Ichorclaw Myr resolved for Nick, and he swung for 1 damage with Spellskite.
Mike knocked Nick to 14 with an attack and played his third Island. A swing for two poison followed on Nick’s turn, and he added another Ichorclaw Myr and then Glistener Elf to the board—Mike might have regretted declining to Leak a Myr here. He did Mental Misstep the Glistener Elf, however, losing one of his “Force of Wills” in the matchup.
Mike cast Runechanter’s Pike but did not equip. The Aberration swung Nick to 11, and he untapped into Rancor on an Ichorclaw Myr. Mike Mana Leaked now, and that left Nick just attacking with his Ichorclaw Myrs. An equip and attack from Mike’s side put Nick to 6 life, and he passed the turn.
Nick 1, Mike 2