Round 4: Chris VanMeter vs. Josh Cho
Both players getting off with a nice 3-0 start, CVM and the Cho-Hawk sat down across from one another looking to get off to an undefeated start in the first leg of the Invitational. Which SCG Versus Video special guest would exit the first Legacy portion in Indianapolis with twelve points?
Josh led off with Tropical+Island into Deathrite+Shaman, while Chris… decided to take a more direct approach. He led with Ancient+Tomb and double Lotus+Petal right into Show+and+Tell. Strong play! Alas, Force+of+Will removing Brainstorm fended off the turn one kill so Chris simply passed. Josh played Ponder on his turn two to rebuild his hand.
“Man, if only you didn’t have the turn one Force+of+Will.”
“It’s okay. That might’ve been the worst Ponder I’ve ever seen in my life.”
After a shuffle and a draw of that awful top three cards, Josh passed. Chris drew Gitaxian+Probe, revealing Josh’s hand of Daze, Lightning+Bolt, and Entomb. Chris played a second Ancient+Tomb, took four damage from his lands, and landed Sneak+Attack before passing.
“Seems bad for me.”
It wasn’t too bad though, as Deathrite+Shaman dealt two damage to Chris at end of turn, removing Show+and+Tell from the game, to set life at 18 for Josh and now 10 for Chris. When Josh untapped, he decided to Ponder again, hoping for better than before. And it seems as though he found a good one.
“This might be the best Ponder ever…”
Not shockingly, he kept the top three and drew one of them with his Lorwyn sorcery. Gitaxian+Probe followed, revealing Chris’ Griselbrand and two Islands. Then Cabal Therapy took care of the legendary Demon which is quite the combo to have lurking on the top of the deck. Chris, now living off the top, drew Volcanic+Island. While it might seem bad to be mana flooded at this point, the Volc actually gave Chris the necessary red mana he’d need to win via Sneak+Attack. But his clock was shortened, as Deathrite+Shaman dropped him to 8 at end of turn.
Josh’s deck provided no additional gasoline and he was forced to pass, while Chris’ deck served up a Ponder of his own. Daze was Josh’s response to force Chris into a tough decision, one where Chris decided to use an Ancient+Tomb to pay for the instant and fell to 6 in the process. Chris’ Ponder resolved, found what he was looking for in Emrakul%2C+the+Aeons+Torn, used Sneak+Attack to power out the spaghetti monster, and attacked for the full fifteen. Chris fell to 3 thanks to the Shaman, but then was left with no permanents to his name after that… and with Josh having Lightning+Bolt in hand.
Josh did not find red mana on his next turn to cast the instant, instead replaying the Dazed Underground Sea. Chris also found lands on top and passed. Who could topdeck the win first? It was a race: Josh to red mana, Chris to a beefy creature. Chris was the first to find his out, finding another 15/15 to Sneak into play, which elicited the scoop from Josh.
Chris 1, Josh 0.
Josh led again, this time just with Tropical+Island. Island followed by a Phyrexian mana Gitaxian+Probe from Chris revealed Josh’s hand of Brainstorm, Daze, Entomb, and three lands. Chris then cast Ponder, which resolved, and after he rearranged the cards he kept. Josh just laid a fetchland on his turn two, and Chris was fine with the slow pace of this game. It allowed his to play mana to make the Daze in Josh’s hand irrelevant, so he just passed. Josh cast Brainstorm at end of turn to make things more interesting, and most likely to shuffle away the pseudo-Force Spike.
Josh Cho is off to a good start with Young Pyromancer Reanimator!
Josh’s third turn saw him add his fourth type of mana, Volcanic+Island, before using the Trop to cast Gitaxian+Probe to see Chris’ grip of: Lotus+Petal, Island, Show+and+Tell, Brainstorm, Sneak+Attack, Sneak+Attack, and Force+of+Will.
“I’ll take your Show+and+Tell,” joked Josh, before landing Deathrite+Shaman. Brainstorm was Chris’ end step play, similar to Josh a turn before, but with decidedly more good stuff to start with. He just needed to find the enormous hook-handed Demon or Lovecraftian nightmare necessary to complete the victory formation. Chris shuffled away the cards he put back on Josh’s end step with Scalding+Tarn so that his draw step might be another bite at the apple as well.
Lotus+Petal, land, and… Blood+Moon?! The three mana Modern Masters rare would certainly put a damper on anything Josh tried to do for the rest of the game. Daze forced Chris to sacrifice his Lotus+Petal to pay for the instant (maybe he didn’t shuffle it away) and then the enchantment resolved.
“Well, at least I have you on a seventeen turn clock!”
Gitaxian+Probe revealed that Chris also had Griselbrand added to his hand, and Josh just passed. Ponder dug Chris into more protection. Josh couldn’t play spells, so Chris had the time to cast Show+and+Tell. Flusterstorm and its copy targeted the Urza’s Saga rare (no, not the Sneak+Attack, although it’s interesting that both broken pieces of the deck appeared in the same broken set together). Chris decided to Force+of+Will the copy and pay the 1 for the cardboard copy and then Show+and+Tell resolved. Chris put in Emrakul, and Josh put in… Misty+Rainforest.
“Yours was a little bit better.”
Josh drew, hoping for a card that may or may not be there, and not finding an answer extended his hand and shook his friend’s hand on a match well won.
Chris 2, Josh 0.