Finals: Reid Duke vs. Josh McClain
After outlasting Brad Nelson in a marathon match for the semifinals, Reid now had to handle Josh McClain’s Reanimator deck—a matchup he considered quite favorable. In fact, he’d taken down a number of Reanimator players over the course of the tournament... could he beat one more?
Josh’s high seed earned him the play one more time, and each player elected to keep their opening seven cards. Just Woodland Cemetery from Josh, while Reid played Blood Crypt. Arbor Elf on turn 2 and Sunpetal Grove weren’t a great combination, but Reid decided to Tragic Slip the 1/1 anyway, adding a shockland to his board.
Mulch found Josh three lands, sending Fiend Hunter to the graveyard. No plays from Reid on turn 3, a common problem when the Jund player fails to Farseek, but Josh developed slowly with a second Mulch for one lonely land. Drawing a land of his own, Reid took 2 damage to play Huntmaster of the Fells and make the first threat on the board.
Thragtusk from Josh fired back, but Reid’s hand had enough action that the 5/3 wasn’t a big problem yet. Another Huntmaster of the Fells continued to clog the board, pressuring Josh to make sure they never flipped. Thragtusk attacked, and when Reid blocked with both Wolves Josh was forced to Restoration Angel for value before casting Avacyn’s Pilgrim and playing a shockland—the last land Reid knew in his hand, making it likely that he was holding many spells.
He drew and passed, flipping both Huntmasters and executing the Restoration Angel. He was very vulnerable to Angel of Serenity now... sure enough, Josh cast the Angel after trading Thragtusk with the Wolf tokens to exile one Ravager of the Fells alongside his own Restoration Angel and Thragtusk—Reid had Putrefy in response to the trigger, and Josh decided to use the ability anyway.
Drawing for turn, Reid debated what to do with the land he’d found. He could land Garruk, Primal Hunter or play it tapped and drop an Olivia Voldaren, but he was mana-strapped enough that the Olivia would be vulnerable. He elected to go planeswalking, cashing in the Garruk for four cards immediately.
Discarding Bonfire in the end step, he passed to Josh. Did he have another Angel? Yes. This one resolved unimpeded, taking out the second Ravager and rebuying Fiend Hunter + Angel of Serenity before Josh’s two Beast tokens attacked Reid to 13 life. In a bind, Reid had to go to 11 for his sixth land to make Olivia Voldaren a credible defensive option. He knew he was dead to another Fiend Hunter, and Josh went looking for one with Grisly Salvage—he found Vault of the Archangel, which was nearly as good.
Now Olivia had to die while blocking, taking Pilgrim with her as Reid fell to 3 and Josh gained 8 life. One more card for Reid—and a precious Thragtusk gave him enough life to withstand one more blow from Angel of Serenity’s offense. Josh drew and swung again, trading his Beast for Reid’s 5/3 and putting Reid to 3.
One more land, and Reid could make Olivia trade with the Angel of Serenity when he blocked next turn, once more forcing Josh to draw a boom-boom. He found Dragonskull Summit on top and played it, now capable of making Olivia a 5/5 while dealing out 2 damage—but an end step Restoration Angel from Josh gave him a lethal attack.
Angel of Serenity flew Josh to victory in game 1.
Josh 1, Reid 0
Reid took a mulligan to start game 2, and Josh joined him in going to six... but only Reid fell to five cards. With his back against the wall, Reid needed these five cards to be strong if he was going to keep his Grand Prix trophy hopes alive. He began with Overgrown Tomb, and Josh did the same.
Rootbound Crag and pass, Josh dropping Mulch on the next turn but finding no lands and no flashback cards, just throwing some Restoration Angels into the graveyard. Reid made a third land and Josh did the same—he hadn’t been relying on the Mulch. Turn 4 for Reid offered him the choice between Farseek and Olivia Voldaren, and he opted for the Farseek in the interest of setting up Rakdos’s Return and a stronger late game Olivia.
Grisly Salvage in the end step revealed lands, Trostani, and Acidic Slime, with the Slime going to Josh’s hand. He couldn’t play it just yet, but he did have a Trostani to cast. Reid sent Rakdos’s Return for 3 at Josh, pitching his two lands and Acidic Slime—what was the last card? When Josh played Avacyn’s Pilgrim on the next turn, it appeared it was a five-drop, possibly another Acidic Slime.
Reid drew and debated his next line carefully. Bonfire of the Damned for one and Tragic Slip mopped Josh’s board up, and he landed an Arbor Elf. A sixth land for Reid made Olivia Voldaren a removal spell for the Elf, keeping Josh stuck on four mana with one card in hand. He found the fifth land and sure enough had Acidic Slime, but it seemed too late now. The Olivia was active!
Another land put Reid back to six mana, and he pinged the Acidic Slime once on his turn and once on Josh’s, keeping it alive so that he could continue growing his Olivia even larger while also gaining the option to steal it.
Garruk off the top drew Reid six cards, and that seemingly all but sealed the game. He made Olivia a 7/7 and attacked Josh to 5 life, passing. Josh drew... and cast Unburial Rites for Restoration Angel on his Acidic Slime to kill one of Reid’s lands, forcing him to have a seventh one for the kill. After drawing six cards, he had indeed found the required mana source.
Reid's Olivia Voldaren dominated game 2 even after a mulligan to five.
Josh 1, Reid 1
A tense third game would put Josh back on the play with all the marbles in play. Reid’s opener featured a Farseek—the nut, obviously—and Josh had no turn 1 mana guy to match that acceleration. His turn 2 Voice of Resurgence gave him some aggressive options, but would it be able to match Huntmaster of the Fells from Reid on turn 3?
Josh Mulched after attacking and failed to find land once again, although he did put an Unburial Rites and a Thragtusk into the graveyard. Temple Garden and the end of the turn for Josh. Reid drew and debated his options, with another Farseek now among them... and went for the aggressive turn 3 Olivia. Unanswered, she would take over the game, and Reid already had a Tragic Slip and Huntmaster to pressure a potential Fiend Hunter. Garruk Relentless was the only real concern, but Josh had the planeswalker in the graveyard already...
Just a flashbacked Rites for Thragtusk from Josh, the Voice stuck staying home against Olivia. Olivia swung for 3 damage before Huntmaster of the Fells from Reid gained him 2 life and made a Wolf, a shockland entering play tapped afterward. Josh was the one under pressure, with Thragtusk no favorite to win this race unassisted. Still, another Thragtusk, Restoration Angel, or even Acidic Slime could buy the necessary space to even things up while he looked for a way to handle Olivia...
Both of Josh’s creatures attacked, the Wolf blocking Voice while Reid fell to 15 life. A second Thragtusk gave Josh a serious clock, and Reid drew his next card pensively. The Elemental could grow out of proportion on short order, with a Restoration Angel or even just a couple mana dudes. Taking 2 damage, Reid played his sixth land and passed the turn.
Triggering Huntmaster, he dealt 2 damage to Thragtusk and to Josh, with Olivia backed by six mana meaning he could easily best an Angel to save that particular 5/3. Josh tapped out for Acidic Slime, and Reid had no reply except to execute the Thragtusk with Olivia before losing his land. In the end step, he fired two more pings at Acidic Slime, growing Olivia to a 6/6.
Reid took another 2 for a shockland, going back to six open mana and ending the turn. Josh made Acidic Slime again, and Reid replied with an execution for the Beast token, leaving Josh on Acidic Slime, Elemental, and Thragtusk, ahead on life 25 to 11 but facing a growing Olivia, already at 9/9!
A miracled Bonfire for 3 damage fanned Reid’s flames and incentivized some aggression on his part, enabling an attack for 13 before a Farseek flipped his Huntmaster of the Fells and put Reid back to 11 with a blocker, and Josh on a scant 9 life with only a Beast token to his name quite suddenly! He needed a big draw step...
Acidic Slime number three wasn’t enough to slow Reid down, and Olivia soared overhead for the win on the following turn.
Josh 1, Reid 2