Round 4: Gerry Thompson (U/W Delver) vs. Ben Friedman (U/W Delver)
Ben Friedman, on the Delver plan
Two masters of the Seachrome Coasts met at undefeated in Round 4, each hoping to enter Legacy with a pristine record. Their lists were similar in the main, but Gerry knew Ben was likely “going big” with Sun Titans in sideboarding after seeing his #SCGMA list.
Turn 1 Seachrome Coast and Delver of Secrets started the game for Ben, but Gerry did him one better with Delver and Gut Shot on the first turn. Ben Pondered, and took his time. “I think I liked it better when you were playing Tempered Steel,” Gerry said, and Ben laughed. “That deck was easy—this deck is hard!” He played Island and passed.
Gerry revealed Gitaxian Probe to flip his Delver—“Man!” Ben said—and then paid 2 life to Probe for double Snapcaster and Vapor Snag from Ben’s grip, which was otherwise lands. Gerry cast Ponder and shuffled afterward, yet to play a second land... but he did have one, an Island. Ben cast Vapor Snag during the end step, and then tapped out to play Snapcaster Mage and flashback Ponder on turn 3.
Untapping into another Ponder, Gerry quickly shuffled once again. “Your Ponders are so much less lucky than mine,” Ben noted. “I’m just lucky it’s not banned yet,” Gerry replied. He played a second Delver and Seachrome Coast. Ben attacked, and Gerry blocked with Delver, playing the control game against an opponent he knew was likely light on Leaks, even after all his Ponderances.
Ben found himself shuffling a Ponder after that attack, followed by dropping Moorland Haunt and Sword of War and Peace. “Me,” Gerry declared as he Thought Scoured two lands into the bin, passing afterward. Ben made a Haunt token during his own turn and equipped it, tapping out, but Gerry Snagged the Spirit during the end step. He followed by tapping out for Geist of Saint Traft on his own turn.
A Thought Scour for Ben also hit lands, and he cast Ponder, trading Geists afterward. Gerry played his own Sword, but was behind on lands and without a Moorland Haunt to double his threats. Ben played Snapcaster Mage to flashback Ponder, and followed with Snapcaster Mage for Thought Scour—two creatures to Gerry’s none, and with the Sword to complicate matters.
Gerry took advantage of Ben’s tapped lands to play Restoration Angel on his own turn, but when Ben Dismembered Gerry immediately conceded to his superior board position.
Ben 1, Gerry 0
Turn 1 Delver for Gerry, and turn 1 Ponder for Ben—tentatively, in case of Mental Misstep. Players are more prone to play around sideboard cards they have themselves, or considered playing, so this pause could be a tip-off to Gerry! Gerry swung for 1 damage and then Thought Scoured Ben, milling an Island and Phantasmal Image, before playing his second Delver of Secrets. Gitaxian Probe from Ben revealed two Geist of Saint Traft, Vapor Snag, and Cavern of Souls—Ben had needed that Image!
He paid 2 life for Probe from Snapcaster, but was in terrible shape when Gerry revealed Gut Shot to flip both Delvers, adding Geist to the board and killing the Snapcaster. Gerry was presenting lethal on turn 4!
Gerry Thompson has some tricks up his sleeve
Timely Reinforcements put Ben on 15 and gave him some room to breathe, but Gerry still had a two-turn clock in place. He swung with everyone, getting through 10 in the air as Ben doubled up on Geist—he didn’t triple, giving Gerry pause. Was Ben baiting a Vapor Snag or Snapcaster here? Gerry decided to just trade and tap out for his second Geist, with Ben on 5 life and in bad shape.
Ben 1, Gerry 1
Turn 1 Island for Ben, and Gerry started with Island and then paid 2 life to Probe—Ben cast Mental Misstep. With another Island on turn 2, Ben passed—that meant Gerry would need to be careful of Snapcaster Mage early. Gerry played Glacial Fortress and sent the turn right Back, Ben Thought Scouring in the end step.
Third Island for Ben but no offense. Gerry tried Geist of Saint Traft, and Ben nodded before using Snapcaster Mage to flashback Thought Scour. He untapped into Ponder, looking for white mana and shuffling up the deck. Ben attacked for 2 damage with his Mage, and played Cavern of Souls on Angel before dropping another Snapcaster Mage, flashbacking Ponder and keeping the cards in place.
“Have I cast a Snapcaster Mage in this match?” Gerry wondered, and Ben shrugged. “Who can say?” Well, for the record, that’s a no.
The three stayed on top, and Gerry fired Gut Shot before slamming in 6 damage to even life totals at 14 each. He had his first Snapcaster afterward, blasting Ben’s other Mage with his Gut Shot from the graveyard. Phantasmal Image for Ben after he played Plains successfully traded, and then Ben played his own Geist.
Gerry traded Images and attacked Ben to 12, following with Ponder and keeping all three cards on top. Attacking into Angel, Gerry had Vapor Snag to buy the damage and leave Ben on 9 as he cast Geist of Saint Traft the second. Ben needed to defend himself better—taking 6 was a luxury he could ill afford, and if Gerry had a Sword...
Ben played a land and passed, Gerry immediately attacking with everyone. He had the second Vapor Snag for the Angel, and when Ben had no reply that meant exactly lethal damage.
Ben 1, Gerry 2