Finals: Reid Duke vs. Shawn Tappen
Reid had decided to spend his birthday battling some Legacy, and he’d gotten to do exactly that—as midnight rolled around, he was still in the event and fighting for the trophy against Shawn Tappen’s Reanimator list.
A quick game 1 sent Reid to the decklist for guidance in sideboarding.
Shawn kept his seven cards, while Reid mulliganed to four. He knew exactly what he was up against, and only specific hands would be capable of pressing the combo deck early enough to gain him the edge. He had to expect Shawn to combo on turn 3 and knew it was possible he goes off on turn 2 or even turn 1!
Careful Study after fetching Underground Sea allowed Shawn to discard Griselbrand, and he used Lotus Petal to Reanimate it immediately. He even had Daze and Force of Will leftover for backup! The 7/7 Demon entered play, and Shawn passed.
“I can probably put a 1/1 into play this turn,” Reid said as he drew his card for turn... before immediately conceding.
Shawn 1, Reid 0
On the play, Reid examined his seven for some time before deciding to keep. Shawn’s opener could threaten a turn 2 Show and Tell if he peeled a mana source, and with two draw steps he decided that was good enough. Reid led Nettle Sentinel, and Shawn played Flooded Strand and Lotus Petal, doing nothing afterward.
Attacking for 2, Reid fetched Bayou and played Heritage Druid, untapping Nettle Sentinel. He followed with Quirion Ranger, and Shawn gave that one more pause, eventually fetching up Underground Sea and casting Entomb for Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, declining to use Daze to counter the Ranger. That left him able to untap into any reanimation spell off the top of the deck, but the Ranger made three mana for Reid’s Scavenging Ooze, which promptly exiled Elesh Norn.
Pithing Needle on turn 2 turned off the Scavenging Ooze, but the damage had been done. Reid had five power in attackers with a mana engine capable of threatening lethal Natural Orders at this point—Shawn needed to recover quickly, assuming he got a turn.
Force of Will the only realistic answer, Reid fetched Dryad Arbor and then cast Natural Order, sacrificing the Arbor to get Craterhoof Behemoth for the kill. Shawn had no responses, and it was onto game 3.
Shawn has only lost two games today, and isn't eager to double that number!
Shawn 1, Reid 1
Reid adjusted a few things in sideboarding before presenting. On the draw he'd be under the most pressure possible, and Shawn's turn 1 Griselbrand rate had been pretty good in this Top 8. Shawn's keep put Reid into the tank, but he emerged with a keep this time. Fetchland and Lotus Petal, but no Griselbrand entered play! Shawn just ended his turn.
Reid started by fetching Bayou and casting Deathrite Shaman, while Shawn was hoping to draw a land and Show and Tell in Griselbrand. Failing to do so, he had the option of Entombing for Elesh Norn in Reid's end step, assuming he used Shaman, or casting Careful Study to set himself up on the following turn. Fetching Underground Sea, he elected to go with the Careful Study. After all, the Petal would turn on Reanimate and also give him a backdoor for Entomb. Finding just a land among the useful cards, Shawn pitched Entomb and Careful Study before ending the turn with his land drop.
That was a big tip to Reid to expect the Show and Tell. He cast Cabal Therapy, and Shawn exiled Show and Tell to counter it. Could Reid pull the trigger again and Therapy the card he'd just seen exiled? It was the most sensical choice... but it wasn't an automatic option. Fetching Bayou, Reid cast a second Cabal Therapy and did in fact name Show and Tell, leaving Shawn with just Griselbrand in his hand! Exiling a land, the Shaman let Reid drop down another Deathrite Shaman, and he ended the turn.
Fetching to 17 for an Island, Shawn needed to peel a Show and Tell or a Careful Study into a reanimation spell, pronto. He found Force of Wil waiting, and passed right back to Reid. With those two Show and Tells gone, Reid was in a good spot to begin advancing his board. He could even use Therapy and Shaman to bin the Griselbrand, if he so chose, and after fetchign Dryad Arbor that's exactly what he did. Adding Quirion Ranger and two Nettle Sentinels to the board, he could use the Ranger to Shaman in Shawn's end step, and did so.
Now came the math. Reid used one Shaman and started doing some counting, flashbacking Cabal Therapy to pitch Force of Will and sacrificing the Shaman to do it. He replayed Bayou, used his other Shaman, and tapped out for Natural Order sacrificing Quirion Ranger after using its ability to Craterhoof Behemoth for lethal damage.
Shawn 1, Reid 2