Round 16: Stephen Mann vs. Kenny Castor
Both of these players have missed their shot at the elimination rounds, but they’re still playing for a thousand dollar Top 16 finish! Would it be Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Stephen Mann and his Jund Monsters deck, or Grand Prix Finalist Kenny Castor’s Mono-Blue Devotion?
Stephen brings the intensity.
After Stephen led off with a Temple of Abandon, Kenny got the beats started with a turn 1 Judge’s Familiar. Sylvan Caryatid on turn 2 enabled a turn 3 Polukranos, World Eater from Stephen, while Kenny had a Mutavault but no third land and no further play for the next two turns. Stephen got in a hit for 5 with the legendary Hydra, and Kenny found his third land, a second Island, choosing to play a second Judge’s Familiar and pass the turn with mana up. Stephen attempted to Monstrous the Polukranos at Kenny’s end step, and he fired off Rapid Hybridization in response.
3/3 or 5/5, Stephen was content to bring the beats with whatever animal was no hand. He attacked for 3, then used Dreadbore to kill a Judge’s Familiar and added a second Sylvan Caryatid to the board. Kenny found his fourth land and made some headway, using Domestication to steal the 3/3 Frog Lizard. He didn’t get to keep it for very long, as Stephen used a second Dreadbore to kill it off before adding Courser of Kruphix to the battlefield.
Thassa, God of the Sea arrived for Kenny, and Stephen used a third Dreadbore on the Judge’s Familiar to leave the Thassa all by itself, then attacked Kenny down to 10 with his Courser and added an Elvish Mystic to the board. Kenny unloaded his hand, adding Cloudfin Raptor and Frostburn Weird to the table, but Stephen was ready with an overloaded Mizzium Mortars, sending Kenny back to just the Thassa in Play. The Courser and Mystic knocked Kenny down to 7, and Kenny untapped needing some help.
He found another Frostburn Weird, which would help stabilize the ground, but a second Mizzium Mortars cleared the way for Stephen’s attackers, and another Polukranos came down post-combat to lock things up. Kenny peeked at his top card with Thassa, shipped it to the bottom, and peeked again. Not liking what he saw, he picked up his cards.
Stephen Mann 1, Kenny Castor 0
Kenny is not a fan of Mistcutter Hydra.
Again it was the owl that started the party, as Kenny led with a turn 1 Judge’s Familiar, but had no turn 2 play after Stephen dropped his Temple of Abandon. Scavenging Ooze was the turn 2 play for Stephen, but Kenny locked it down with a Tidebinder Mage and swung for 1 in the air. A Magma Spray killed off the Tidebinder Mage, but the Ooze remained tapped, as Kenny was ready with a replacement Tidebinder Mage, as well as a second Judge’s Familiar.
Stephen had courser of Kruphix to hold off the beats, and a second copy a turn later, along with a land to jump back up to 18. Kenny had no further plays, and could only swing in the air with his two Judge’s Familiars. Stephen found his 6th land and slammed a 5/5 Mistcutter Hydra onto the battlefield, attacking into Kenny’s two Mutavaults. Kenny animated both, used Rapid Hybridization to upgrade one into a 3/3 Frog Lizard, and double blocked to get the troublesome Pro: Blue creature off the table.
Kenny: “The ole’ 3-for-1s… “
He found only a third Judge’s Familiar to add to the board on his next turn, and Stephen had some bad news for him, as a second 5/5 Mistcutter Hydra came down swinging alongside the two Coursers, dropping Kenny to 5. Kenny had found no solution, and extended the hand in defeat.
Stephen Mann 2, Kenny Castor 0