Finals: Riley Curran vs. Joe Bernal
Both of these seasoned veterans of the Open Series are well practiced with their chosen weapons. Riley has a previous Legacy Open win with Combo Elves, while Joe has multiple top 8s with his innovative take on Esper Stoneblade.
Joe stays calm and Stoneforges.
Riley kicked things off with a Birchlore Rangers, and Joe simply played a land and passed. Riley considered his turn 2 plays before ultimately deciding to just attack for one, play a Misty Rainforest, and pass back. When Joe simply had land-go again, Riley fetched up a Dryad Arbor at his end step.
Riley went for something a little more degenerate on turn 3, laying Gaea’s Cradle and casting Glimpse of Nature. Joe was ready with a Counterspell. Riley followed up with a Quirion Ranger and simply attacked for 2.
Joe simply played his third land and passed. Now Riley needed to consider the possibility of a Supreme Verdict, so he simply attacked for 3 and passed, and Joe did not disappoint with a Supreme Verdict to clear away the three elves,a lthough Riley did manage to save his Dryad Arbor with Quirion Ranger.
Deathrite Shaman and Dryad Arbor were the follow-ups for Riley, but Jace, the Mind Sculptor came down for Joe to bounce the Deathrite Shaman, and Swords to Plowshares disposed of the Dryad Arbor. Riley simply recast the Deathrite Shaman as well as a Nettle Sentinel. Joe looked to close the door on his next turn, fetching up Batterskull and Umezawa’s Jitte with two Stoneforge Mystics and using a second Swords to Plowshares to exile the Deathrite Shaman.
With the window for a comeback closing, Riley needed a big play this turn. He cast Quirion Ranger, tapped his Gaea’s Cradle for mana, then played another to replace it and tapped it too, casting Green Sun’s Zenith for 2, but Joe put a stop to it with Force of Will. Joe untapped, Bounced the Nettle Sentinel with Jace, and equipped Umezawa’s Jitte to one of his Stoneforge Mystic. It swung in, and the Jitte was able to send Riley back zero creatures.
The Jitte did quick work from there, and within a few turns, Riley picked up his cards and moved on to game 2.
Joe Bernal 1, Riley Curran 0
Riley looks for a way out.
Green Sun’s Zenith for Dryad Arbor started things off this time for Riley, and after Joe played a Tundra and passed back Riley cast an Elvish Visionary and played a land, passing right back. Joe again simply played a land, and on Riley’s third turn, the fun began.
He led off with a Cabal Therapy. It resolved, and he named Flusterstorm, and missed, as Joe revealed a hand of Counterspell, Island, Batterskull, Enlightened Tutor, two Force of Wills, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He played a Gaea’s Cradle, tapped it for two mana, then flashed back Cabal Therapy, which drew the Counterspell out from Joe. He then cast Glimpse of Nature with one green mana in the pool, and Joe pitched Force of Will to cast his other Force, putting a stop to the combo for at least a turn.
Joe simply played his Island and passed the turn, and Riley cracked a fetchland at Joe’s end step to retrieve a second Dryad Arbor. He untapped, cast a Viridian Shaman, then sacrificed it to Natural Ordered up a Crafterhoof Behemoth and attacked for the win.
Riley Curran 1, Joe Bernal 1
Riley once again had the first play with a turn 1 Deathrite Shaman, but this time Joe tried to put the breaks on his acceleration with a Swords to Plowshares. Riley’s turn 2 play, Sylvan Library, was a bit more resilient, but Joe looked to kill it off as well, missing his third land drop but tapping out for an Engineered Explosives for 2.
Riley kept his two free cards from the Sylvan Library, falling to 12, then cast Glimpse of Nature, Quirion Ranger, and Wirewood Symbiote, drawing two more cards. He passed the turn, and Joe fired off a Thoughtseize to see what he was working with. He saw Elvish Visionary, Green Sun’s Zenith, Glimpse of Nature, and three fetchlands, and deprived him of his Glimpse. Riley untapped, drew one extra from his Sylvan Library, and looked to get another card drawing engine going by casting his Visionary, but Joe responded by exiling Wirewood Symbiote with Swords to Plowshares. Unfazed, Riley simply Green Sun’s Zenithed for another one and passed the turn.
Joe found his third land, and cast a second Engineered Explosives, this time for just 1. He blew it immediately, and Riley used his Symbiote in response to pick up his Elvish Visionary. Riley untapped, recast the Visionary, then unloaded with another Wirewood Symbiote and another Quirion Ranger.
Engineered Explosives #3 arrived for Joe, again set to 1, and he swept away the two one-drops again. Riley drew and cast Cabal Therapy, successfully sniping a Force of Will from Joe and seeing a hand of Lingering Souls and Engineered Plague. He then played Gaea’s Cradle and unloaded once more, casting Elvish Visionary, Nettle Sentinel, and Green Sun’s Zenith for 3, grabbing a Viridian Shaman to destroy the Engineered Explosives on two while Joe was tapped out. He sacrificed the Nettle Sentinel to flashback Therapy, clearing out the Engineered Plague before ending his turn.
Joe simply drew his card, cast Lingering Souls, and passed right back.
Riley Zenithed up another Symbiote on his turn, looped the Elvish Visionary, then cast Scavenging Ooze, eating the Lingering Souls from Joe’s graveyard and a Nettle Sentinel from his own. Joe simply drew his card and passed again, and Riley grew the Ooze to a 6/6 at Joe’s end step before bouncing his Elvish Visionary. He untapped, chained Gaea’s Cradles to ramp up to nine green mana, and then cast Green Sun’s Zenith for Craterhoof Behemoth, and Joe extended the hand in defeat.
Riley Curran 2, Joe Bernal 1