Round 10: John Mahon vs. Ryan Meier
John Mahon and Ryan Meier were both playing aggressive U/W strategies, but John’s list had some serious spice to it. Capable of sideboarding up to twenty-three lands, John can bring in Sun Titans to go with his Ratchet Bombs, generating serious inevitability when his opponents are adding as many Gut Shots and Mental Missteps to their deck as they can find. With his Delvers in the sideboard, John has free reign to take control in a long game.
An Island and Delver of Secrets began the game for John, and he revealed the rest of his goodies to Gitaxian Probe on turn 1 from Ryan: Ponder, Ghost Quarter, Runechanter’s Pike, Geist of Saint Traft, and Vapor Snag. An Island and a Delver of Secrets of his own completed Ryan’s first turn. He was glad to see John’s Delver miss a flip on turn 1, and fell to 17 when John attacked. Casting Ponder afterward, John kept the top three cards in place and added Seachrome Coast to the field, followed by a Vapor Snag on his own turn, rather than Ryan’s upkeep—did he consider maindeck Mental Misstep that likely?
John Mahon's Sun Titans have served him well today.
Ryan played an Island on turn 2 and Probed, falling to 14 life before passing the turn. John drew for turn with no instant in sight. He attacked, and followed by casting his Geist—Mana Leak countered the legend. Ryan drew and played Glacial Fortress before pointing Gut Shot at John’s Delver and casting his own, going to 11 life. Replacing his lost Delver, John added Invisible Stalker to the Party and passed, his Delver bouncing due to Ryan’s Vapor Snag during the end step. Returning fire with a Delver swing of his own, Ryan passed on three untapped lands.
John swung with his Stalker and recast Delver, using Mana Leak during the end step to keep Ryan’s Midnight Haunting off the board. Ryan’s Delver then attacked unblocked, each player gambling they’d find an instant faster. Ryan doubled the threat with a second Delver of Secrets, and passed.
Resolving Runechanter’s Pike gave John a big lead, and made his Invisible Stalker into a 4/1. Now Ryan blocked John’s Delver with his own to save a point, falling to 6 life. Drawing for turn, Ryan tapped out to play Geist and Phantasmal Bear with John on 16. Could he make a race of it?
The Geist on top of John’s deck said no, and the Stalker took things down. An entire game where neither player flipped a Delver—hilarious to watch!
John 1, Ryan 0
“Now things get interesting,” John said as the players reached for their sideboards. Ryan started Island and Phantasmal Bear on turn 1, and John spent his own taking care of the little guy with Vapor Snag. Ryan passed with just Island on turn 2, and John resolved Ponder before casting Glacial Fortress and ending his turn.
No Geist from Ryan—just Ponder, keeping the top three and passing the turn over. John passed right back after landing Moorland Haunt. Ryan had another Glacial Fortress and passed, nodding as John resolved Midnight Haunting for some beaters. He followed with Ghost Quarter, and passed—Ryan resolved his own Haunting during the end step of John’s turn.
Attacking for 2, Ryan entered the race a turn behind and passed without a fifth land. John tried Invisible Stalker, but found it Mana Leaked. He followed with Mortarpod, which resolved and immediately offed a Spirit token.
Ryan Meier managed to keep his Delvers in 1/1 form for an entire match--how unlucky!
Playing Snapcaster Mage with John tapped out, Ryan flashbacked Ponder and promptly shuffled the library, eager for a real card. He attacked for a point, and passed. “Mentor of the Meek?” Ryan questioned as John resolved the 2/2. He shook his head, displeased to see the card in play. John moved Mortarpod to one of his Spirits and attacked with the other, content to slowly move ahead now that he had a source of grinding advantage in play.
Delver of Secrets for Ryan looked Grim against that Mortarpod, and he was forced to pass the turn. Sword of Feast and Famine resolved on John’s side, giving his Mortarpod Spirit another piece of equipment. That definitely merited a chump from Ryan, who was beginning to fall way behind.
He had a nice card in Sword of War and Peace, but Mortarpod would make things trickier. Sacrificing the equipped Spirit to kill Delver when Ryan tried to equip it, Ryan nodded and passed the turn tapped out. John proceeded to blow him out—Mortarpod on his Spirit token to kill Snapcaster, followed by Ratchet Bomb for zero to kill the remaining creatures and an equip of Sword of Feast and Famine to land 4 damage and pitch a Delver from Ryan’s hand.
Ryan passed the next turn, looking to be in a tight spot. When John attacked, Snapcaster Mage for Midnight Haunting generated a necessary blocker for the equipped Mentor of the Meek. Mainphasing Moorland Haunt, John passed the turn afterward. He had Vapor Snag for Ryan’s attempt to equip the Spirit, and when Ryan attacked, Vapor Snag took the little guy out of the equation. Casting another Delver, Ryan passed.
John’s Moorland Haunt Spirit picked up Mortarpod and killed Snapcaster Mage, with Mentor of the Meek’s swing meriting a chump from Delver of Secrets. John followed that assault with Phantasmal Image on Mentor of the Meek, drawing a card before equipping Mortarpod to Mentor of the Meek. During the end step, Ryan cast Snapcaster Mage just to put down a creature.
He tried to get Sword of War and Peace on it, but Vapor Snag again threw a wrench into those plans, putting Ryan to 9 life. He cast Ponder during the second main, shuffling the deck for help, and played an Island, likely the card he’d drawn. Snapcaster Mage flashbacking the Ponder gave him another try, and he kept those three in place. John used Mortarpod to kill his own Image so that he could Haunt it, drawing a card and using the Spirit to Mortarpod Snapcaster out of the way. He connected with the Sword, discarding a Vapor Snag and untapping all those lands. Casting Ratchet Bomb and equipping Mortarpod to Mentor once again, John passed the turn.
Ryan drew and passed, John leaving the Bomb on zero counters. That forced Ryan to Snapcaster Mage for Vapor Snag rather than Midnight Haunting, but John in fact decided to sacrifice his Mentor to Mortarpod the Snapcaster, trying to control the board and grind things out with Haunt. Ryan resolved Midnight Haunting from the grip, but Ratchet Bomb dealt with those guys.
Without creatures, Ryan again passed the turn. Moorland Haunt made a Spirit, and it picked up the Sword to dump Ryan’s hand. When his draw step failed to yield any aid, that gave John the game.
John 2, Ryan 0