Finals: Nick Mudd vs. Heath Perdue
These two aggressive decks had made it past their control opponents in the semifinals. Which one would emerge victorious?
Heath is all smiles with the trophy on the line.
Nick opened with a shockland but Heath started accelerating with Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Gather the Townsfolk on turn 2 built Nick an army, but turn 2 Loxodon Smiter from Heath threatened to stop it cold. Taking 2, Nick played another shockland and passed, representing Tragic Slip. He wound up Slipping the Smiter by throwing away a token in response to Voice, meaning he’d missed a damage by not doing it on his own turn.
Heath paid 2 life for his third land and added Arbor Elf to the board before ending the turn. Nick topdecked a timely Cavern of Souls and named Vampire before attacking for 4 damage with a fresh Falkenrath Aristocrat, Cartel Aristocrat, and his 1/1 Human. Heath blocked Voice on Cartel and Pilgrim on Human, perhaps surprising Nick who expected Voice to eat his Human. He considered his options for some time before sacrificing the token to Cartel Aristocrat to save it, giving Heath an Elemental token.
Fiend Hunter consumed the Falkenrath Aristocrat and then Heath attacked for 6 with his Elemental and mana dudes. Now Nick was on defense and losing the race; he cast another Falkenrath and attacked for 4 damage, passing the turn with Heath on 10. He was likely hoping to just cheese a win here with two more swings thanks to another Human on the board, but if Heath had anything—including some lifelink—that would fail.
Archangel of Thune was the best “anything” available, and Heath swung his Elemental into combat alongside Fiend Hunter and both mana guys, getting in 7 damage and losing Arbor Elf, but leaving Nick on 5. He stopped swinging with Falkenrath and played Cartel Aristocrat and Skirsdag High Priest to the battlefield, threatening to get big in the skies very quickly.
Garruk Relentless came down for Heath and tried to fight Skirsdag High Priest, but Nick responded by sacrificing the 1/2 to Falkenrath Aristocrat. That effectively warded off all of Heath’s attacks, and he passed the turn afterward. He really wanted to find a Scavenging Ooze on top of his library next turn...
Nick drew Doomed Traveler and cast it immediately, holding just Lingering Souls and debating whether to attack before casting it or not. He sent in Falkenrath at Heath, clearly creating a significant temptation to block, but Heath declined to. Nick then began considering whether to chuck any of his on-board Humans into the Aristocrat and decided to sacrifice Doomed Traveler, dealing Heath 6 and putting him to 4 life. The Cartel Aristocrats could close this out next turn...
Heath had to do something. If he didn’t attack with Archangel then he was dead to Cartel Aristocrat; if he did, then he was dead to Falkenrath instead! The sneakiest option was to fight Archangel of Thune with his own Garruk Relentless, effectively activating Gavony Township and gaining 3 life at the same time while preserving the Angel’s defense!
Eventually, Heath landed on just an attack with the Elemental token. It was a 4/4 because he hadn’t made a Wolf with Garruk, implying he had a fight in mind for the planeswalker. Nick clearly wanted to block and feared going to 1 life, so he put in Cartel Aristocrat and sacrificed a Spirit token.
Fighting another Spirit token off the board, Heath passed. He was straight-up dead to flashbacked Lingering Souls if Nick was willing to go all-in on two Cartel Aristocrats by sacrificing all of his other creatures... could Nick pull the trigger?
He did, and that was the game.
Nick 1, Heath 0
Heath had the play this time and started once more with Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Nick lacked a turn 1 and was behind on the spot to turn 2 Loxodon Smiter from Heath. Taking 2 for Sacred Foundry, Nick cast Gather the Townsfolk and passed. Smiter earned a Human chump, and Nick dropped Lifebane Zombie on his next turn to exile the only creature in Heath’s hand—Archangel of Thune.
In the end step, Heath made a 2/2 Knight token to bolster his offense and ensure he was racing Lifebane Zombie. With Gavony Township online on turn 4 thanks to the Pilgrim, that was serious business! In the end, Heath decided to keep the Knight back this turn—perhaps he really wanted a 4/4 to avoid trading with Lifebane, but a trade didn’t seem so bad for him depending on his hand. After all, Nick’s deck had plenty of chumps!
Nick fell to 13 then attacked Heath to 17 before playing Xathrid Necromancer, stunting Heath’s offensive potential. He sent everyone this time, and Nick turned his Human into a Zombie while taking 7 damage and falling to 6 life. The Knight token on defense was proving useful now, even if he wouldn’t be cracking in for lethal anytime soon. Nick had the mana to muster Cartel Aristocrat and Lifebane Zombie, but it cost him 2 life to do so.
He sent Lifebane Zombie in again, putting Heath to 15 and himself into the triple Abyss—every creature would be lethal with a Township activation. Heath topdecked Unflinching Courage and sent in everybody—an 8/8 trampler, a 4/4 and a 3/3. Nick examined the board, and then conceded.
Nick laughs as he reflects on the game-winning Unflinching Courage.
Nick 1, Heath 1
Each player mulliganed and started with a shockland for the first two turns. Xathrid Necromancer was the first man to the board, and Heath wound up playing a third land and sending the turn right back. He took 2 damage from the Necromancer, and Nick added Skirsdag High Priest to the battlefield.
Heath had to do something—either Aristocrat would come with a 5/5 Demon on the next turn if he didn’t! Fiend Hunter exiled the 1/2, and Heath sent the turn over to Nick with nothing much going on. Cartel Aristocrat and Doomed Traveler for Nick, whose hand was brimming with action.
Archangel of Thune gave Heath two Slip-worthy targets on the board, but Falkenrath Aristocrat offered him a more effective offense. Nick got aggressive, sacrificing Doomed Traveler to Cartel Aristocrat in order to attack for 6 damage with both Aristocrats, generating a Zombie.
Could Heath capitalize? The Spirit token on Nick’s side would keep Archangel from gaining any life, but he did have Gavony Township to start growing his guys the hard way. If he had Selesnya Charm to go over the top, however... Nick made the block, and nothing happened. If that was Nick’s only form of defense then Heath would be in pretty good shape now, but he had a Tragic Slip and a second Falkenrath Aristocrat.
He played the second Vampire, but was just short lethal damage. He could get them both to 5 power but had no way to squeeze through the damage he needed if Heath blocked correctly. Sending in everything, he crossed his fingers. Heath had Advent of the Wurm to create a third blocker, and Nick sacrificed his dying Cartel Aristocrat and his Xathrid necromancer to get in for 10 with Falkenrath Aristocrats while making two more Zombie tokens.
Thumping the top of the deck for help, Heath drew what might be his last card of the tournament. He played a too-late Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, and passed the turn. One Tragic Slip later, and he was down for the count.
Nick 2, Heath 1