Round 6: Nick Becvar vs. Mason Lange
These two players sat down to reenact the StarCityGames.com Providence Standard Open finals: Nick's Wolf Run Ramp against Mason's G/R Aggro. Would Wolfir Avenger again lead the charge for the aggro deck, or had Nick adjusted his build enough to regain the edge?
Nick's running the popular Wolf Run Ramp strategy.
Nick won the die roll but began the first game with a mulligan, while Mason kept his seven. Another mulligan for Nick put him down to five cards and at an early disadvantage. He played Forest, nodding as Mason got the jump with Copperline Gorge and Llanowar Elves. Mountain and Rampant Growth from Nick put him to three mana.
Mason made a land drop and passed, giving Nick a clue that Wolfir Avenger might be on its way. As a result, he tapped out for Thrun to throw the brakes! The Avenger did indeed resolve, Mason playing Birds of Paradise and passing the turn.
Nick passed after playing Sphere of the Suns, and a second Wolfir Avenger landed on Mason's side during the end step. Now Mason could attack for the price of two mana to get in 3 damage, and began doing so. Nick cast Slagstorm, and Mason floated two mana but did not regenerate a Wolfir Avenger—he decided to instead cast a third one!
Mason had Strangleroot Geist and Llanowar Elves on the next turn, but Nick's Inferno Titan cleared out Wolfir Avenger and put Mason far, far behind. Huntmaster of the Fells was little more than food for the Titan, as Nick attacked with just the Titan and killed Huntmaster and the Llanowar Elves.
Then Nick cast Primeval Titan. Drawing one more card, Mason conceded.
Nick 1, Mason 0
Dying so effortlessly to Nick's mulligan to five had to be disheartening for Mason, but he'd have a good shot at evening the score on the play. Each player took a mulligan, and after Mason kept Nick went to five again! “If I can't beat you this time, it'll be really upsetting,” Mason admitted. Copperline Gorge and pass for Mason, while Nick had Rootbound Crag.
Strangleroot Geist on turn 2 made first blood, and Nick was content to take another hit and just keep ramping with Sphere of the Suns. He hit four mana after Mason passed turn 3, casting Solemn Simulacrum and hoping Mason lacked Wolfir Avenger—he did. Mason's fourth mana gave him the ability to cast a reasonable creature, but he wasn't eager to lose his board to Slagstorm or Whipflare. He decided to Green Sun's Zenith for two, grabbing a second Geist to hedge and squeeze in damage. Solemn blocked one, and Nick fell to 14.
Nick played Glimmerpost on turn 4, going to 15, and cast Green Sun's Zenith for five, going down to one counter on Sphere. He grabbed Acidic Slime and blew up a Copperline Gorge, passing—the other options had been Thrun or Huntmaster of the Fells, which would defend him slightly better than the 2/2 but didn't offer the upside of potentially locking Mason down on three mana. Mason replaced the lost land immediately and cast Garruk Relentless to kill Acidic Slime and attack for 5 damage. Glimmerpost to gain 2 and Green Sun's Zenith for Primeval Titan to gain 8 more put Nick back to 20 life!
Now Mason had to redo all the work he'd already done against an active Primeval Titan—not an exciting proposition. Glimmerpost had the handy effect of protecting Nick from dying to Zealous Conscripts at this juncture, which he would otherwise have been forced to risk. Mason sacrificed his live Strangleroot Geist to Garruk, losing the planeswalker and searching up Wolfir Silverheart to squeeze through an attack for 7 damage.
Mason shuffles up after sideboarding.
Nick had just Whipflare in his hand—how would he play the turn? He couldn't attack unless he knew Mason would block with Silverheart, so that didn't sound very viable. He wound up casting Rampant Growth for Mountain and passing, hoping he'd get to block Silverheart, trading his Titan via Kessig Wolf Run. He cast Whiplare to kill one Geist, and then died to Act of Aggression.
Nick 1, Mason 1
Keeping seven for the first time, Nick played Kessig Wolf Run. Mason had Llanowar Elves, and Nick played Inkmoth Nexus and then Sphere of the Suns on turn 2. Strangleroot Geist gave Mason 3 damage, and he shipped the turn.
Forest from Nick revealed he had colored mana after all, and after a Rampant Growth for Forest he cast Whipflare. Another Strangleroot Geist from Mason knocked Nick to 12, and he untapped to cast Green Sun's Zenith for four, fetching Huntmaster of the Fells. He went to 14 and passed the turn, ready to defend with two men in play.
Mason attacked with both Geists, Nick trading his guys to leave one undead Geist around. Mason added Thrun to the board, and passed. Nick didn't have another land, stuck on the three he'd drawn plus the one he'd Growthed for—his Sphere only had one counter, so he couldn't use it for anything or he'd be unable to cast Primeval Titan even if he drew the land he needed. Casting Viridian Corrupter as a chumper, he passed the turn.
Continuing to add threats to the board with his own Huntmaster of the Fells, Mason had quite the board when Nick found his sixth mana for Primeval Titan. He grabbed two Glimmerposts, and went to 14. He'd be dead to a Threaten effect—Mason revealed Act of Aggression on his own turn, and Nick scooped.
Nick 2, Mason 1