Round 10: Josh Ravitz vs. Justin Uppal
Justin Uppal and Josh Ravitz are two very accomplished Magic players with several top Open Series finishes under their belt, and while Josh may have started playing on the Pro Tour around the time Justin learned to read that doesn’t necessarily a winner make. Justin’s Shardless BUG is the Legacy deck of the weekend, putting four copies in the Invitational top 8, and designed to prey on fair decks…
But Josh’s deck is anything but ‘fair.’ Mono Blue Omniscience is designed to do the most broken things imaginable, casting free spell after free spell to infinite combo opponents. We’ll see who ends up with the last laugh in this win-and-in.
By the way, after sitting down at the table Josh asked me to write something up in the notes for this match:
Consider your Thoughts... Seized.
Justin won the roll and led with Thoughtseize, revealing Josh’s grip ofCunning Wish, Gitaxian Probe, Show and Tell, Omniscience, Brainstorm, Island, and Preordain. Justin nabbed Josh’s Show and Tell and passed. Josh used his turn one casting Gitaxian Probe, revealing Shardless Agent times two, Brainstorm, and two lands. Now that no secrets existed between the two players, Josh drew and cast Preordain, rearranging the top of his deck and drawing a card.
That was turn one.
That was a much less eventful turn two.
Deathrite Shaman off the top from Justin was his turn three play, as well as adding Creeping Tar Pit, and Joshua cast an end-of-turn Brainstorm, then untapped and played yet another cantrip in Ponder. Show and Tell soon followed, and Justin shuffled his deck before casting Brainstorm to dig for something good to get, either a counterspell or a permanent that might help him survive. Alas, Josh’s Omniscience resolved, and then Cunning Wish fetched Intuition, which grabbed three Enter the Infinite, which drew his deck, which allowed him to cast cunning Wish, which gathered several million bitey insects.
Josh 1, Justin 0.
Josh began game two with Leyline of Sanctity in play, and that possibly stymied Justin’s possible defenses. Justin only opened on two lands… but they were good enough to cast Standard sideboard all-star Golgari Charm to take out the troublesome enchantment. Justin suspended Ancestral Vision on his third turn, a turn in which Josh used Brainstorm and a shuffle from a fetchland to fix his hand and sculpt a game plan.
Josh used City of Traitors to cast Show and Tell, but Justin had the Force of Will (removing Jace, the Mind Sculptor). Justin then used Wasteland to kill off the City, but on the very next turn Josh cast another Show and Tell… only to be met by Flusterstorm for two from Justin. Hymn to Tourach nabbed Dream Halls and Cunning Wish on the very next turn. Josh could only draw and pass after that.
But Justin was providing no clock currently, only ticking down the Ancestral Vision for his turn and playing a fourth dual land. Josh’s deck could still function on very few cards, needing only to get Show and Tell, Omniscience, and either Cunning Wish or Enter the Infinite. Josh had the Show and Tell, and it resolved… Putting in Dream Halls, and passing the turn. This allowed Justin to resolve his Visions, using the suspended Ancestral Recall to draw a total of four cards on his turn. Justin put even more shields up, using Maelstrom Pulse to knock down the Dream Halls. That’s three Show and Tells down, one to go!
Justin put the screws to Josh now, dropping a pair of Tarmogoyfs. Josh cast Ponder and, not liking what he found, shuffled. Not finding the perfect three cards, Josh passed. The tag team of ’Goyfs would drop Josh to within near lethal on Justin’s next turn, so it was now or never! He used Cunning Wish at end of turn to wish for Noxious Revival, and put Dream Halls on top of his library. He drew and passed, but when Justin cast another Hymn to Tourach targeting the combo player Josh scooped up his board and the players went to game three.
Justin decided to keep his opener and after a laborious moment Josh decided to mulligan. His six acceptable, Josh began the game with a pair of Leyline of Sanctity in play… and no land! Justin played a land and passed, and fortunately for Josh he found basic Island right off the top to cast Preordain. Justin used turn two to drop Tarmogoyf, then on his second turn Josh cast Brainstorm then used Polluted Delta to shuffle away the mess before playing Ponder with the newfound Island. Justin attacked with his 3/4, dropping Josh to 16, and after playing a third land Justin passed. Josh cast Gitaxian Probe(with blue mana, not Phyrexian mana) to reveal Justin’s hand of triple (!) Force of Will, Liliana of the Veil, and Brainstorm. After seeing Justin’s hand, Josh played City of Traitors and passed.
Justin Uppal pieces together an offensive against combo.
Tarmogoyf was now playing Tempo-style: each of Justin’s Force of Wills was a Time Walk. Attack for three, counter Show and Tell. Attack for three, Josh passes. Attack for three, cast Liliana of the Veil and use the +1. From 16 to 13 to 10 to 7 went Josh, and Justin cast Brainstorm to add even more defenses to his suddenly RUG Delver-style set up of ‘get one threat into play and counter every spell thereafter.’ Deathrite Shaman cut the clock to one turn… could Josh capitalize?
Let’s spin the wheel!
Brainstorm only found another Brainstorm, and after another spin of the wheel, seeing the one additional card, Josh extended his hand and revealed three lands, Pact of Negation, and Emrakul, the Aeon’s Torn.
Wait, Emrakul?! Doesn’t that just win here!?
Sadly no, as Pact of Negation requires you to pay five mana on the next upkeep, and Josh only had four available. So close!
Justin 2, Josh 1.
And the young gun from Indianapolis wins to make it to the playoff rounds, while the New York pro discussed what he could have done differently with Huey Jensen and wonders what might have been.