Round 10: Ross Merriam vs. Steve Mann
Ross Merriam and Steve Mann sat down for the classic matchup of “mana guys versus burn spells,” as Ross brought his trademark Combo Elves while Steve was likewise staying true to form with Temur Delver. The Loser faced potential elimination, while the winner could lock up a seat in the top 4!
It's just a Heritage Druid. What harm could it do?
Ross, on the play, led off with a Deathrite Shaman, while Steve had a 1/2 one-drop of his own, a Monastery Swiftspear. It didn’t stay small for long, however, as Gitaxian Probe allowed Steve to attack for 2 immediately, and also get a preview of what Ross had in store: Natural Order, Glimpse of Nature, Heritage Druid, Gaea’s Cradle, and Dryad Arbor. Ross wasn’t so explosive on his next turn, playing the Dryad Arbor and passing, and he was able to remove the Gitaxian Probe from Smann’s graveyard in response when Lightning Bolt sent his Deathrite Shaman to the graveyard.
Ross began his third turn with a Glimpse of Nature, which Steve countered with a Force of Will pitching Treasure Cruise after some deliberation. Ross wouldn’t get to draw any extra cards this turn, but was content to develop his manabase, Playing Gaea’s Cradle and casting Heritage Druid. Steve was still stuck on one land, so he plodded in for 1 with his Monastery Swiftspear then added a Delver of Secrets in the hopes of creating some additional pressure.
With Steve tapped out and down to 3 cards in hand, Ross figured the coast was as clear as it was ever going to get. He went for Natural Order, and Steve picked up his cards, knowing the impending Craterhoof Behemoth was about to come over for lethal damage.
Ross Merriam 1, Steve Mann 0
Steve looks to establish a clock.
Monastery Swiftspear led the charge for Steve in game 2, while Ross’s accelerant of choice was Green Sun’s Zenith for 0, putting a Dryad Arbor into play. A second Monastery Swiftspear joined the first for Steve, and a Ponder allowed them both to attack for 2, dropping Ross to 14, and Steve passed the turn. With Ross having just a Bayou and a Dryad Arbor in play, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, Ross could just kill you, for one. Ross Started off the turn with a Glimpse of Nature, then cast Heritage Druid, then dropped a Gaea’s Cradle to allow him to cast both Nettle Sentinel and Deathrite Shaman. With three Elves in play, the floodgates opened: Out came Wirewood Symbiote, another Nettle Sentinel, an Elvish Visionary, and then a second Glimpse of Nature to put things away. Ross continued through the motions, generating two cards and two green mana every time he cast a creature, until he had 13 elves in play and 11 mana, then cast Craterhoof Behemoth. Quirion Ranger untapped his Dryad Arbor, and Ross attacked for a stunned Steve Mann for 30.
Ross Merriam 2, Steve Mann 0