Finals: Zach Jesse vs. Justin Bransfield
I guess Brad Nelson only has himself (and Todd, and BBD, and Kentarou Yamamoto, and Owen Turtenwald as well) to blame. As the last major Standard tournament before Born of the Gods, it’s only fitting that we have a Mono-Black mirror in the finals!
Justin weighs his options in Game 1 of the finals.
Zach claimed to have what he thought was very close to the ideal opening seven, while Justin decided to mulligan to six. Justin had a pair of Pack Rats for Zach’s turn one Thoughtseize, so Zach could only snag one of them. Justin’s turn two Thoughtseize snagged Zach’s Underworld Connections. The Pack Rats from both sides didn’t even come out on turn three, as Zach decided to drop Nightveil Specter and Justin had to use Hero’s Downfall on it.
Finally, Zach’s Pack Rat made an appearance on turn four.
“Don’t draw a removal spell, please!”
Knowing that Justin’s hand contained no kill spells at the time, he fearlessly dropped the token producer on turn four. Justin did not topdeck a way to deal with the troublesome 1/1, and instead landed Underworld Connections. His turn five Pack Rat was not nearly as impressive, as Zach was able to untap with two rats, a Mutavault, and five mana to Justin’s lone rat and three untapped mana (two of his five lands were Mutavaults).
Zach decided he had to step on the gas right to avoid falling too far behind in card advantage, so he activated the Mutavault and swung with it in addition to the pair of (currently) 2/2s. Pack Rat blocked Mutavault and became a 3/3… but Hero’s Downfall killed off the second Mutavault, this one with Underworld Connections on it! Justin fell to five and then lost both his land and his Pack Rat.
“That was a good one!”
Zach was happy with his topdecked Mutavault, and Justin was forced to double block one of them. Justin was able to kill a token, but the incoming swarm of vermin was too much to handle and they moved on to game two.
Zach 1, Justin 0.
“How many times did you play the mirror?”
“It feels like four,” replied Zach.
Zach packs it in after winning the Mono-Black mirror.
Justin found himself on the play, and then not only kept seven but scryed his card to the top with turn one Temple. Thoughtseize from Zach threw a wrench in the works, as he took Justin’s planned Underworld Connections over Justin’s Pack Rat. Justin found Thoughtseize on turn two though, and saw Zach’s Dark Betrayal and Ratchet Bomb. He selected the sorcery before scrylanding again, leaving the card on top once more.
Zach landed Ratchet Bomb and passed back, planning to use the M14 artifact to take care of any potential infestations. Justin made his 1/1 anyway, hoping to get in a bit of damage before the Bomb drops. Nightveil Specter came down for Zach, but that died to Dark Betrayal. Pack Rat got in for one more damage, and then both Zach and Justin found themselves in a pocket of answers without any threats… or a want to actually play them. Zach broke the ice, finding Nightveil Specter. Jesse dropped one of his own a turn later, and the 2/3s stared at each other from the once again locked up board. Zach used Ratchet Bomb combined with Devour Flesh to kill both of the creatures to clear it though, and took a distinct advantage.
The 2/3 got into the red zone and used Justin’s Duress against him. Seeing only Justin’s Gray Merchant, he passed right back. Zach found Pack Rat on top with the next Nightveil Specter activation, and then got the rat train going once again.
“That’s a good one!”
He found a Swamp with the next activation, then played his own Underworld Connections on it. Even Justin’s found Nightveil Specter couldn’t stem the tide now, and Zach brought the hammer with two more rat activations midcombat to drop Justin to 4. The Nightveil hit on the other side didn’t matter, only finding Desecration Demon, but Justin extended his hand instead. Zach Jesse is your 2014 Baltimore Standard Open champion!
Zach 2, Justin 0.