Finals: Robert Seder vs. Daniel Duterte
It's been a while since Esper has made it to the top of the standings, but Robert is hoping to crown control the king of Standard for a week in Philadelphia.
Daniel had to go on the beatdown plan.
Robert began with a mulligan, and on turn 2 paid 2 life for a shockland after Daniel made no turn 1 play. “Syncopate,” he explained, but Daniel played Voice of Resurgence anyway. Robert had only Think Twice, spending Cyclonic Rift to send the Elemental packing on turn 3 as he played another land.
Mulch found Daniel two lands, and he added Arbor Elf to the battlefield. Robert spent his own turn flashbacking Think Twice in order to find his fourth land, and Daniel spent turn 4 recasting Voice of Resurgence and Mulching for lands. Robert’s Jace, Architect of Thought went to five loyalty as Robert once more failed to find a land, but Daniel couldn’t quite remove the planeswalker.
Voice knocked it down to four loyalty, and Thragtusk landed to add another threat. Snapcaster Mage for Cyclonic Rift bounced Voice of Resurgence once more, and Robert ticked Jace back to five loyalty. Abrupt Decay slew the defending 2/1 and let Thragtusk hit Jace down to one. After that, Daniel passed—declining to play Voice tipped Robert off to the likely Restoration Angel incoming.
He cast Think Twice in search of land or action, finding neither, and boosted Jace. The Angel landed in his end step, making a Beast token, and Daniel dropped Voice of Resurgence prior to attacking Jace with a Beast and Robert with the Angel and the Thragtusk. Azorius Charm bounced the Beast away, making an Elemental token, and taking 6 damage as Daniel activated Vault of the Archangel.
Jace died to give Robert cards, splitting Terminus and Sphinx’s Revelation—Robert snapped the Sphinx’s Revelation and land before casting a Terminus from his hand. That reduced Daniel’s field to rubble, with only a Beast token left standing and Robert on five cards with 9 life. That became 6 on Daniel’s turn, and he used this moment to Unburial Rites Angel of Serenity, recovering one Restoration Angel and an Arbor Elf. He tapped out for Fiend Hunter as a blank 1/3 afterward, and ended the turn.
Robert found a seventh land, but thanks to that 1/3 his Sphinx’s Revelation could not gain him the necessary life to survive. He would have to play other spells instead... Far/Away was a good one, bouncing the Beast token but eating a defensive Restoration Angel rather than the attacking Fiend Hunter. That kept lethal coming, and Robert had to play Snapcaster Mage as a blocker for the 1/3—less than ideal. Daniel dropped Robert to 1, and sent him to the top of the deck looking for help.
When Daniel swung for 7, a Sphinx’s Revelation for 3 put Robert to 4 and an Azorius Charm on the Angel of Serenity kept him alive at 2 life after combat damage. Daniel recast the Angel of Serenity, retrieving one of his Restoration Angels, and added Arbor Elf to the board as well. Robert was facing 8 damage now, unable to save himself with Sphinx’s Revelation alone once again—he passed the turn, no doubt stuck on a similar line to the previous turn.
Revelation for 4 got him to 6 life, another spell required to keep Angel of Serenity off his back—this time it was Far, and Robert went to 3 life. This time Daniel ended the turn, Restoration Angels at the ready should Robert make a move. He passed back to Daniel on ten mana, and the two Restoration Angels resolved in his end step. During Daniel’s upkeep, Sphinx’s Revelation for 7 kept him alive at 1 life after Daniel attacked.
Angel of Serenity stuck one Restoration Angel underneath it, but Terminus wiped the field and left Robert feeling comfortable as he entered the cleanup step. Acidic Slime met Dissipate, and Robert untapped into Jace, Memory Adept to mill ten cards.
Unburial Rites targeted a milled Acidic Slime to try and dismantle Drownyrard, but Snapcaster Mage countered and Restoration Angel went back to Daniel’s hand when he cast it as well. The next attempt resolved, however, and Robert lost one of his two Drownyards. He Rev’d for ten cards before losing the other one as well, but Jace was still dominating the board.
A third Drownyard joined Jace as he milled ten once more, Terminus clearing up the board state. Daniel drew, and conceded the game.
Robert 1, Daniel 0
Daniel had the play in game 2 but began the game by going to five cards while Robert kept. Temple Garden Started things for Daniel, while Robert played Hallowed Fountain. Arbor Elf and another Temple Garden on turn 2, with Robert content to field a Rest in Peace. Daniel played Restoration Angel, and Robert sought a miracle with Think Twice during Daniel’s next upkeep—it missed.
Grisly Salvage looked up Godless Shrine, Thragtusk, and Acidic Slime as viable options—Daniel took the Thragtusk, and attacked for 4. Godless Shrine for Robert and a pass, with Cyclonic Rift bouncing Restoration Angel in response to Daniel’s Voice of Resurgence. Robert deployed Jace, Memory Adept on the next turn to draw a card—and now the game was growing farther out of reach.
If Robert successfully got to untap and defend that Jace, it would be trouble. Daniel attacked Robert and cast Thragtusk, but then Terminus reduced his army to a Beast token once more. Jace went to seven loyalty as the Beast attacked Robert, Restoration Angel resolving but immediately slain by Far/Away as the Beast vanished into Daniel’s hand.
He kept scrapping with a Thragtusk, but the writing was on the wall at this point. An Away handled the 5/3 as Snapcaster Mage hit the ground on defense, and Robert used Jace’s ultimate to draw 20. Daniel had an opening to land Restoration Angel and try to attack down Jace, but Far/Away killed everything and Daniel conceded to the incredible advantage Robert had generated.
Robert 2, Daniel 0