Finals: Stephen Ruck vs. Michael Bonde
With all of the Jund Midrange in the top 8, this Junk Aristocrats vs. Jund Aggro matchup isn’t what might’ve been predicted. Can Michael Bonde become the first European SCG champion, or can the Wolfham native win one for New England?
Stephen is hoping his Falkenrath Aristocrats win the day!
Stephen, on the play, led with Stomping Ground while Michael led with Isolated Chapel. Arbor Elf, right on time, was followed by Michael;s Doomed Traveler and Woodland Cemetery. Huntmaster of the Fells came down for Stephen, while Michael added Cartel Aristocrat on his third turn. Still no attack steps just yet.
That changed when Huntmaster and Wolf came into the red zone, and Ghor-Clan made the Huntmaster a 6/6 after blockers were declared. Huntmaster flipped into Ravager of the Fells, and in response Cartel Aristocrat gained pro-green. Michael played his fourth land and added Voice of Resurgence and the used Tragic Slip to take out the Ravager of the Fells before it could do too much more damage.
“Go… and please don’t draw a land for your Thundermaw!”
Stephen had a land but did not have the Thundermaw Hellkite. Instead, Flinthoof Boar rumbled in with Wolf token, and Voice traded with the Wolf. Now at 11, Michael dropped Garruk Relentless and fought the Arbor Elf. Garruk, the Veil-Cursed was now the Werewolf-y one on the battlefield, so when Stephen untapped he swung in at the green-black planeswalker. Cartel Aristocrat blocked Boar, and in response to protection triggers Putrefy took out the Aristocrat.
But that meant Garruk could start pumping out 1/1 Deathtouch Wolfs, and also Varolz, the Scar-Striped and Blood Artist joined the party for Team Denmark. Stephen labored over his next decision. “This isn’t what I wanted to draw,” he grumbled. Bonfire of the Damned for one (“I wanted a land to get it for two”) took down the Blood Artist and a token, but Garruk remained in play. Young Wolf the next turn continued to stream out creatures, and Garruk’s -1 turned the Young Wolf into Obzedat, Ghost Council. What a hit!
Now stuck on four lands and facing down a flurry of Obzedat triggers over the next few turns, Stephen once more went deep in the tank to decide how to proceed. He elected to start with Domri Rade, using the -2 to fight Flinthoof Boar and Varolz. Young Wolf traded with the fight trigger, and Boar took out the Garruk. Varolz was rejoined by his legendary compatriot on upkeep, and the Scavenge shenanigans began. First Doomed Traveler, then Voice, then Cartel Aristocrat, the Young Wolf turned Varolz into an 8/8(!), which dropped Stephen to 1 upon combat damage resolving. With an Obzedat trigger facing him down on the next turn, and with Michael at a healthy 17, Stephen surveyed the board quickly before saying, “let’s move on to sideboards.”
Michael 1, Stephen 0.
“Hello Pillar!” Michael of course knew that Pillar of Flame would be coming in from Stephen in the next match, pushing the early turns at least a little more in his favor. But Michael was gaining the mighty power of Smite out of his sideboard, and while Pillar can only deal with Voice and friends particularly effectively, Smite can take down anything from Thundermaw Hellkite to a Ghor-Clan Rampager’d Flinthoof Boar!
Michael is hoping his Cartel Aristocrats take it down!
Stephen, once more on the play, began Once More With Feeling by starting things off with… a mulligan. Then Arbor Elf off Forest was the play, after knocking his deck and saying, “let’s get there!” Michael played Temple Garden. Stephen dropped a ‘sad’ Flinthoof Boar and did not find Mountain or Swamp, but luckily for him Michael did not have black mana! Voice of Resurgence was the play instead. Michael’s deck was less receptive to new colors, and he simply passed. But Garruk Relentless from Stephen threatened to put the game out of reach.
Stephen dropped Arbor Elf, and Wolf came in as well. Michael finally found his fourth land (and it was an Overgrown Tomb) and used to to knock off Garruk with one of his own. The pair of Wolfs entered the red zone and dropped Michael to 13. He then dropped to 11 to cast a pair of Blood Artists.
“Try and Bonfire me.”
Michael attacked and Stephen fell to 14. Another 1/1 mana guy entered play, but as Stephen pointed out, “none of them make red!” Putrefy took down one of the Blood Artists, and when Doomed Traveler chumped a Wolf Blood Artist triggered again to set life at 11 for Stephen and a healthy 14 for Michael. Yet another Blood Artist entered the battlefield for Michael, and Voice plus Spirit token (from Traveler) initiated battle. Stephen took three, falling to 8, before Michael passed.
Stephen continued to brick on red mana though, so he could only draw, pity, and pass. Tragic Slip dropped Stephen to 6 on Blood Artist triggers at end of turn, then Michael attacked with 1/1 Spirit and 2/2 Voice. Gavony Township meant that the Spirit instead hit for two, and Stephen fell to two. What could Michael win with?
What a finish!
Michael 2, Stephen 0.