Joseph Loster vs. Chris Basco
Joseph Loster’s Naya Pod deck landed him in the comfortable third seed, giving him the advantage of going first in game one against his opponent Chris Basco who was armed with the powerful W/B Tokens deck a la Craig Wescoe.
Las Vegas player Michael Wong is very happy to be playing his Esper Control deck deep into the tournament.
Both players kept and Joe jumped out to an early lead with Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Champion of the Parish made sure Chris didn’t fall behind, and gave him a real threat with Gather the Townsfolk after Joe failed to take advantage of the early accelerator.
Blade Splicer shored up Joe’s side of the board, holding off the human tokens and the 3/3 Champion of the Parish, but Chris was content to wait, going up top with Lingering Souls for a pair of flying tokens. Vorpede tilted the board back in Joe’s favor, but Chris went over the top with Intangible Virtue and Honor of the Pure for six points in the air. He took the crackback from Vorapede on the chin and waited patiently as Joe went into the tank.
Garruk Relentless traded with one of the 3/3 spirit tokens to complete Joe’s turn, and Chris just shrugged as he poked his spirit token back into the red zone. Joe called out “Midnight Haunting,” when Chris passed the turn with four lands up, and he indeed have the instant token maker after Joe tapped out for Acidic Slime on Intangible Virtue.
Eight life wasn’t enough for Joe to survive the three spirits after Sword of War and Peace showed up, and we were off to game two.
Chris 1, Joe 0
Joseph Loster's Naya Pod powered him to the Top 8 of the Standard Open.
Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Champion of the Parish squared off early again, but things changed up from there as second copies of each creature joined the originals. Joe used the monks to power out a turn three Green Sun’s Zenith for four, nabbing Huntmaster of the Fells from his deck to put him in control of the board.
Gather the Townsfolk switched the momentum yet again, allowing Chris to send his 4/4 and 3/3 Champions of the Parish at Joe’s head as he declined to block. Fiend Hunter let Joe catch his breath as it hunted down the 4/4 Champion of the Parish, but Joe wasn’t willing to send his guys in against the human tokens, and a second Gather the Townsfolk complicated matters. Chris’ remaining Champion of the Parish grew to 5/5 and connected with Joe’s life total again, dropping him to 8.
Joe dug back in with a Gavony Township that allowed him to double-block the 5/5 Champion of the Parish with Avacyn’s Pilgrim and a wolf token, and he found a second Huntmaster of the Fells to replace the first after Go for the Throat took it out. Chris was forced to take a hit from the wolf token after Joe pumped his team with Gavony Township, and he fell to 16 before an end step Midnight Haunting threatened to do a number on Joe’s life total through the uncontested air.
The life totals were 12-4 Chris’ favor after another cycle of attacks, and Joe was forced to move all-in on an alpha strike with the hope that Chris would make a mistake on the cluttered board. He didn’t.
Chris 2, Joe 0