Round 8: Adam Cai (Maverick) vs. Sam Black (Zombies)
Sam Black's Zombie deck is very much his style.
Sam Black’s Zombie deck has been the talk of the tournament for the Legacy Open, and his opponent this round, Adam Cai, certainly appreciated a good brew. His own deck was semi-Maverick, with a Fauna Shaman engine jammed in to provide even more versatility and some powerful endgame combinations.
Adam kept and started game 1 with Forest, Noble Hierarch to accelerate his development. Sam’s Bloodstained Mire fetched Badlands, and he cast Tragic Slip on the Hierarch. Adam played Wasteland on turn 2 but didn’t use it, instead casting Fauna Shaman and passing the turn, indicating he might himself lack lands.
Faithless Looting from Sam discarded Bloodghast and Cabal Therapy, recurring the Vampire with Verdant Catacombs to name Knight of the Reliquary with Therapy. Missing, he saw Scavenging Ooze, Swords to Plowshares, Noble Hierarch, and Green Sun’s Zenith. “I was just thinking I should have named Zenith,” he admitted. Fetching Swamp, the Bloodghast returned before Sam cast Carrion Feeder.
Adam untapped with Fauna Shaman but was indeed in a bind on mana. He decided to play Noble Hierarch and declined to attack for 2 damage. Sam cast Hymn to Tourach on the next turn, hitting Noble Hierarch and Green Sun’s Zenith but not the Scavenging Ooze he’d hoped to nab. Sacrificing Bloodghast twice to Carrion Feeder as he fetched Scrubland, Sam attacked for 3 and played another Feeder.
Drawing Mother of Runes, Adam cast the Mother with his Hierarch and passed the turn, likely planning to Fauna Shaman this turn. Lingering Souls from Sam had Adam shaking his head, and Sam attacked Adam to 11 life with his little guys before sacrificing Bloodghast and recurring it with undiscovered Paradise, playing a third Feeder.
Adam surprised Sam by discarding Scavenging Ooze to search the deck for Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. “What’s better than him—I thought he was the best guy?” Pausing, he nodded. “Oh I see. Cute.” Adam indeed searched for Loyal Retainers on the following turn, discarding the Elesh Norn he intended to reanimate. Sam responded by tanking over how his maindeck could possibly handle Elesh Norn, before realizing that without that Tragic Slip… It couldn’t.
Adam 1, Sam 0
Adam Cai has Fauna Shaman to power out, Survival style.
Badlands for Sam started the game with Faithless Looting, discarding Gravecrawler and Geralf’s Messenger. Forest and Noble Hierarch from Adam once more, while Sam tapped out on turn 2 for Dark Confidant. Fetching on the second turn, Adam searched for Savannah and cast Scavenging Ooze, which he used to remove Gravecrawler.
Sam was in a bad way, but his Confidant gave him Vindicate as a solution to the Ooze. Sam didn’t need it—Darkblast and Tragic Slip mopped Adam’s board by themselves, and Bob got in for 2 damage followed by a fetchland. Adam needed to pressure that Confidant or remove it, but already knew Sam was rolling on Vindicate. He played Windswept Heath and then Fauna Shaman, ending the turn. “Ow!” Sam said, flipping Tombstalker off the top of the deck and taking 8 damage. He took another point to find Scrubland and Vindicated the 2/2 before attacking. “This is the only matchup where they’re both in my deck, I swear!” Sam said.
When he attacked, Dryad Arbor ate the Confidant and removed Sam from the heavy weight of its effect for the time being. Adam played Wasteland and cast two Noble Hierarchs prior to destroying Badlands and sending the turn.
Sam drew rather than dredged, fetching himself to 7 life for another Badlands and casting the Tombstalker. He left behind his Looting and Darkblast, among a few others. Adam used Green Sun’s Zenith for three to find Knight of the Reliquary, a 6/6 and lethal if it attacked Sam with exalted friends.
Not troubled, Sam drew his card for the turn and attacked, followed by casting Lingering Souls and passing the turn. On 12, Adam now had to concern himself with his own life total. Playing another Zenith, this time for just two, Adam searched another Ooze from his deck and found Gaea’s Cradle with Knight of the Reliquary. He removed Souls, Darkblast, Faithless Looting, and his own Hierarch, going to 13 life.
With another Tombstalker stranded in his hand, Sam appeared to be in trouble. He dropped Adam to 8 with an attack and then played Goblin Bombardment to gain some value—but this board state was very dangerous for him. Adam had Linvala, Keeper of Silence as an air force, and removed more creatures with his Ooze, growing it to 6/6 and putting himself to 11 before attacking with Knight and Ooze. Each was a 6/6, and Sam did some quick math before blocking both and killing both Hierarchs with his Spirit, one Hierarch exiling Sam’s Tragic Slip on the way out.
Sam drew, considered the board, and conceded in the face of all those big ones.
Adam 2, Sam 0