Round 3: Ross Merriam vs. Joe Lossett
With both players sitting at 1-1, Favored+Hoplite kicked things off for Joe, and Defiant+Strike allowed him to swing for 3 before Ross had even played an untapped land. Seeker+of+the+Way came down on turn 2 for Ross to hold the fort, and Joe got in another hit for 2 with his Favored+Hoplite, then cast Hero+of+Iroas and passed without a third land, and still missing a blue source. Lightning+Strike from Ross cleared away the Hero+of+Iroas, allowing him to attack for 3 with his Seeker+of+the+Way. Joe had a Seeker of his own as a replacement, but it too was shot down by a Magma+Jet, and Ross added a second Seeker+of+the+Way before passing. This time Joe had no play, and still without a blue source, he was forced to pass the turn right back.
Jeskai+Ascendancy came down on Ross’s side, threatening some shenanigans on the following turn. When Joe again had no play, Ross cast Goblin+Rabblemaster and then tapped all four of his creatures to cast a free Stoke the Flame at Joe’s head before combat. Joe fell to 10, then Ross’s creatures came swinging, and a Raise+the+Alarm provided enough pump triggers that Joe had no way to survive the attack.
Battlewise+Hoplite, ate a Magma+Jet from Ross, while his second got to stick around as Ross added Goblin+Rabblemaster to his board. Joe attacked for 2 without adding any pants to his Battlewise+Hoplite, then cast a Hero+of+Iroas and shipped back. Ross surprised him by attacking with the Rabblemaster itself along with a 1/1 Goblin Token, and Joe spent a moment in the tank before deciding to only block the 1/1, falling to 16. Ross had Seeker+of+the+Way to follow up, and passed back.
Ordeal+of+Heliod pumped up the Battlewise+Hoplite once, then Defiant+Strike pumped it again, and Joe was able to attack for 5 and gain 10 life, jumping up to 26. Ross added Jeskai+Ascendancy to his board and came swinging with everything, leaving two mana untapped. Joe blocked the Goblin+Rabblemaster with his Hero+of+Iroas, prompting Raise+the+Alarm from Ross to grow it to 3 toughness. Gods+Willing allowed Joe to pump up his Hero+of+Iroas, giving it protection from red to survive combat and kill off the Rabblemaster. He untapped and came knocking with his two heros, and a Defiant+Strike after Ross declared no blockers made it 10 damage total, dropping Ross to 6. Favored+Hoplite post-combat and a Temple+of+Enlightenment left untapped were all of Joe’s defenses as he passed the turn to Ross’s board of tokens + Jeskai+Ascendancy.
Ross led off with a Lightning+Strike on the Favored+Hoplite, but Joe used Gods+Willing on the Hoplite in response. The Heroic trigger prevented the damage from Lightning+Strike, so Joe named White, preventing Ross’s Seeker+of+the+Way from gaining him any life. Ross had Hordeling+Outburst next, and sent in some of his tokens to drop Joe to 17. Joe needed Aqueous+Form to close things out. His draw found him the redraw option of Defiant+Strike, and the Strike found him Ordeal+of+Heliod—not quite what was he was looking for, but still a fine draw, as casting it on Hero+of+Iroas allowed him to force a chump block on two different creatures, and gave him a fine buffer life total, as he jumped up to 27.
Treasure+Cruise jump-started the Jeskai+Ascendancy shenanigans on Ross’s turn, and it found a second copy of Jeskai+Ascendancy, which Ross cast. He attacked with one token and his Seeker+of+the+Way, dropping Joe to 18, and giving him a little breathing room by bringing him up to 9. Joe’s draw step gave him Heliod’s Pilgrim, which was a proxy of the card he’d been looking for last turn, Aqueous+Form. The bad news for Joe was that the life Ross had gained in the meantime meant that his largest creature, Battlewise+Hoplite, would be one point short of swinging for the win. He determined it was still his best course of action, and he fished up the enchantment and attacked with all of his heroes. Ross was forced to chump block with two of his tokens, and untapped looking for a spell to trigger his Jeskai+Ascendancy.
He didn’t find one, and scooped up his cards.
Ordeal+of+Thassa. Ross matched his three-drop with one of his own, casting Goblin+Rabblemaster. Joe wasn’t prepared to commit his Ordeal to the board just yet, and passed the turn after playing a Temple+of+Enlightenment. Ross’s 1/1 Goblin token made a mandatory suicide attack, and he had Jeskai+Ascendancy post-combat. Joe found and played Favored+Hoplite, casting Aqueous+Form on it before passing back.
Ross spend a moment in the tank assessing his options on his own turn before firing off a Hordeling+Outburst. He passed the turn back to Joe with mana untapped, and when Joe cast Ordeal+of+Thassa on his Favored+Hoplite, he allowed it resolve but cast Erase before combat to keep Joe from drawing any extras. He took five from the Hoplite, untapped, cast a second Jeskai+Ascendancy, and came crashing in. Joe blocked a token with his Heliod’s Pilgrim and the Rabblemaster with his 2/2 Battlewise+Hoplite. Raise+the+Alarm pumped everything up, allowing his Goblin+Rabblemaster to survive and dropping Joe to 8.
Ordeal+of+Heliod off the top for Joe looked like it may swing the race back in Joe’s favor. He put the pants on his Favored+Hoplite and cracked in, going back up to 18 life and dropping Ross to 3. He passed the turn to Ross, who needed help now to finish things out on his turn. He cast Magma+Jet on his upkeep, took a peak, and found the perfect card: Jeskai+Charm gave him 28 points of lifelink to attack with, giving him a lethal swing even through the Triton+Tactics that Joe had tucked away.