Finals: Ross Merriam vs. Gino Bautista
Ross Merriam has been playing Mono-Blue Devotion all year long, and his experience has paid off, carrying him all the way to the finals. In his way stood Gino Bautista, who hasn’t lost a match all tournament with his lightning-quick Mono-Red Aggro deck.
Gino is under the gun.
Neither player had a turn 1 play, and Ross was first to the board with a turn 2 Frostburn Weird. Gino wasted no time catching up, however, casting Burning-Tree Emissary into Firefirst Striker on his turn 2. Ross had a big play on his next turn as well, first playing Cloudfin Raptor and then Tidebinder Mage, evolving the flyer and tapping down the Firefist Striker.
After some deliberation, Gino played a Boros Reckoner on his third turn, but had no profitable attacks. Ross’s three-drop was scarier; a Thassa, God of the Sea came down, growing the Cloudfin Raptor to a 2/3, and the Raptor came swinging, dropping Gino to 18.
A big Fanatic of Mogis showed up next for Gino. Burning-Tree, Reckoner, Firefist, and the Fanatic itself made seven devotion, and Ross fell to 13. Gino attacked with his Boros Reckoner, and Ross took the damage, falling to 10.
Ross untapped and attacked with his Cloudfin Raptor and his Thassa. Gino declined to block the 5/5, and fell to 11. Ross’s post-combat was brutal; a Judge’s Familiar to shore up the aerial assault and a second Tidebinder Mage to keep the Boros Reckoner locked down. Gino drew and cast a Chandra’s Phoenix, sending it into the red zone immediately. Ross counted up the damage on board before declining to chump-block with his 1/1 Bird.
Thassa’s Scry trigger found Ross the fourth land that he needed to double activate Thassa, and he came swinging, dropping Gino to 1. Gino untapped, checked the top of his deck, didn’t find the Fanatic of Mogis he needed to close things out, and scooped up his cards.
Ross Merriam 1, Gino Bautista 0
Ross considers his Scry.
Ross kicked things off with a turn 1 Judge’s Familiar, and Gino fired back with an Eidolon of the Great Revel. Ross took 2 to cast a Frostburn Weird next, leaving the Judge’s Familiar back, and when the Eidolon attacked Ross was able to double-block and trade. Gino replaced the Eidolon with another, and also had a Firedrinker Satyr.
Nightveil Specter came down for Ross, and Gino matched him with a power 3-drop of his own in the form of Boros Reckoner. Ross’s Nightveil Specter stole a Mountain from the top of Gino’s deck, giving him the fourth mana he needed to cast Domestication, stealing the Boros Reckoner.
Stuck between a rock and a Reckoner, Gino had no good choices. He fired off a Lightning Strike targeting his own Boros Reckoner, taking 2 from his Eidolon, and losing his Firedrinker Satyr (and taking 3 more damage in the process) thanks to Boros Reckoner’s trigger. Ross had a second Domestication to steal Gino’s Eidolon of the Great Revel, and sent in with his team. Gino had Searing Blood to kill off his own creature, but he had no blockers left, and when Ross unloaded his hand, Gino extended his hand in defeat.
Ross Merriam 2, Gino Bautista 0