Finals: Tony Chu vs. David Bauer
Tony Chu came into this Open after a win in Charlotte with Stoneblade. He’s piloting the same archetype with significant tweaks this weekend, and it has served him just as well so far—a win here would make him a back-to-back champion! David Bauer also had a fine weekend in Charlotte, taking Top 8 in the Invitational.
Starting with Tropical Island, David passed to Tony on turn 1 without a play. Tony considered his choices before leading Island and passing right back, holding onto a Wasteland. David placed Misty Rainforest and then fetched for Volcanic Island, casting Delver of Secrets afterward. Playing Plains, Tony aimed Swords to Plowshares at the 1/1 and passed right back.
David's RUG Delver list carried him this far...
Casting Tarmogoyf, David nodded as Tony Brainstormed in response, allowing Tarmogoyf to resolve. Tony used Wasteland on Tropical Island, but was thwarted by a Stifle from David, to which he had no reply.
Untapping, David led with Ponder before attacking in order to boost his Tamogoyf’s power. David debated playing around Tony’s potential Mana Leak, but cast Nimble Mongoose and then attacked for 3 once it resolved. Another Wasteland from Tony hit Tropical Island, and he ended the turn.
Casting Brainstorm, David looked for some fresh help off the top. He followed that with a Volcanic Island and an attack for 4, putting Tony down to 13 life. Playing Flooded Strand, Tony started to get in gear—now he had a lot more plays available. He ended his turn, waiting to see how David would attack him.
Immediately sending both creatures, David nodded as Tony fetched a second Island and cast Snapcaster Mage, intending to flashback Swords to Plowshares. David responded with Brainstorm, but the Snapcaster resolved and the Swords followed suit. David Wastelanded his own Wasteland in order to pump Nimble Mongoose up to 3/3, surviving the block by Snapcaster Mage. Tony cast Geist of Saint Traft and passed the turn, putting a clock on David that his Nimble Mongoose might not match.
Deciding to race, David attacked Tony to 9 and passed. He took 6 from Geist, going to 17 life, and frowned when Tony cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. A quick brainstorm filled Tony’s hand with gas, and he sent the turn back to David with a position that had begun to grow commanding…provided he could live through the next turn or two. A Lightning Bolt during the end step put Tony to 6, and Nimble Mongoose left him on 3 life after attacking. Trying to finish the job, David cast Snapcaster Mage during his own turn, but Force of Will pitching Force countered and put Tony to 2 life. Untapping, Tony played Stoneforge Mystic, searched for Umezawa’s Jitte, and planted it onto Geist of Saint Traft. Gaining 4 life immediately, Tony went to 5 life as a result of the fetchland he’d broken.
Tony 1, David 0
On the play again, David led Nimble Mongoose off Tropical Island. Tony fetched up Island on his first turn and quickly passed, playing around Stifle. David swung with the Mongoose and played his own Misty Rainforest, ending the turn. Tony jammed Stoneforge Mystic down on turn 2 with Plains, and David had no response—the 1/2 resolved, searching for Batterskull.
Tony laughs off a loss over sideboarding.
David fetched up Volcanic Island for Lightning Bolt on Mystic during the end step and attacked Tony to 17, adding Tropical Island to the board. Tony didn’t have a creature, but he suspected David was light and tried to land Umezawa’s Jitte on turn 3 after playing a land. David allowed it to resolve, and moved to take his next turn.
Nimble Mongoose attacked for one more, followed by Grim Lavamancer on David’s side of the board. “Counter-productive,” he noted. Tony had his own graveyard manipulation in Crucible of Worlds on turn 4, leaving an Island untapped to play around Daze. He resolved the artifact, and passed.
Now David attacked for 2 damage, adding Wasteland to the board. Tony played Misty Rainforest from the graveyard to fetch Tundra and cast Wrath of God, clearing away the little guys. During Tony’s end step, David cast Snapcaster Mage to try and flashback Lightning Bolt. Brainstorm in response found a Jace to pitch to Force of Will, and Tony did so—but Pyroblast countered back. Tony fell to 9 life from Bolt.
David swung Tony to 7 with Snapcaster Mage and passed the turn. During Tony’s upkeep he considered a Wasteland, but decided not to. Tony played his Batterskull out into David’s Krosan Grip, falling to 5 when Snapcaster hit him again. Reeling, Tony passed with Snapcaster at the ready.
A Spell Snare from David countered Tony’s Snapcaster, leaving him on 3 life and relatively defenseless. One more turn, and Tony was packing them in.
Tony 1, David 1
Each player dropped to six cards in the third game, David agonizing over his quad Wasteland opener. Tony played Plains on turn 1 and ended the turn, while David fetched up Tropical Island and landed Nimble Mongoose. Playing Mishra’s Workshop, Tony cast Stoneforge Mystic to dig up a big-time Batterskull. On turn 2, David Bolted the Mystic and attacked for 1 damage.
Tony cast Geist of Saint Traft on turn 3, well ahead in this race. David fetched for Volcanic Island numero dos and cast Grim Lavamancer, followed by Sylvan Library. Tony attacked with Geist, and David took the damage head on. Adding Tundra to the field, Tony passed and David began to Sylvan. “Keep both?” Tony asked with a laugh, but David wisely drew just a card for turn. Casting Tarmogoyf, David passed the turn, losing his Tarmogoyf to a Path during the end step.
Rolling on Snapcaster Mage to go with that Path to Exile, Tony’s Geist wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon in combat. The flashbacked copy killed Grim Lavmancer, trading due to its activated ability, and now Geist swung free once again. David chumped, falling to 8 life.
Checking the top three cards, David extended the hand.
Tony 2, David 1