Round 8: Chris Carire vs. Xin Sui
Chris put up a good fight against Batterskull in game 1, but ultimately fell.
The final round pitted Xin Sui with Stoneforge against Chris Carire’s Merfolk list, with the winner enjoying a chance at the Top 8, and the trophy to follow. Neither player was sure of their placing, but both knew they needed the victory.
Chris lost the die roll and kept, but Xin had to mulligan to six cards. He then played Island, passing to Chris who cast Aether Vial via Mishra’s Factory. Fetching Tundra, Xin cast Stoneforge Mystic to search for Batterskull on turn 2, earning a nod from Chris. “I’ve seen so many people playing that card.”
His Vial gained a counter on turn 2 and he played Mutavault, sending 2 damage with his Factory. “I know what deck you are,” Xin noted, not fooled by the colorless start and suspecting Merfolk. He played Riptide Laboratory and passed, Cursecatcher indeed entering the battlefield. Vial moved to two, and Chris drew Island, playing Standstill. He wasn’t necessarily ahead in this position, however… was it a test spell? Did he have a hand filled to the gills (no pun intended) with Lords, enough to overwhelm Batterskull? Perhaps it was a “free” play, as he doubted he’d be casting spells anyway with few Islands.
Xin decided to Spell Snare the Standstill after considerable thought, but Chris fought back by Dazing the Snare. Xin allowed that to work, and Vial put down Coralhelm Commander afterward, leveling up once. Xin Stoneforged down Batterskull on the end step, and had big game when he untapped…
A naturally drawn Sword of Feast and Famine thumped Chris for 6 damage and made him discard Island, untapping Xin’s lands. He used Wasteland to destroy Mutavault, and passed. Chris boosted Commander up one level and Vialed in Lord of Atlantis, attacking for 6 damage afterward. Xin fell back to 17, his Batterskull still ruling the roost.
Xin shifted word to Stoneforge Mystic to get in 7 damage rather than just 6, putting Chris on 7 life exactly—he was now threatening lethal. Post-combat, Xin played another Island and ended the turn, on 21 life. Chris kept his Vial on two and maxed out Commander with a second Factory before attacking Xin for 8 damage.
Attacking with his equipped Mystic and Batterskull’s Germ, Xin’s attempt to force Lord into blocking was thwarted by a Vial activation for Commander to eat Mystic. Xin allowed the block, aiming Swords to Plowshares at the leveled Commander and popping Standstill—giving Chris 5 life but also killing both Commanders. Chris dropped to 8 after the exchange. No Force of Will here was real bad for Chris.
Xin drew and then equipped the Germ once more with Sword of Feast and Famine, pitching an Island from his opponent’s hand and knocking him to 2 life. Moving the Sword back to Stoneforge, he passed the turn after that. Chris drew and attacked with his two Lords, dealing only 6 damage to stabilize, ostensibly planning to block with Cursecatcher.
Playing a fifth land, Xin put the Sword on the Germ once more and attacked, earning a chump block from Cursecatcher and going to 16. He passed the turn afterward. Chris had a third Lord of Atlantis through Aether Vial, sending in 8 damage—if this landed, there was a very real chance Xin would die on the next turn! Swords to Plowshares on the untapped Lord of Atlantis gave Chris 4 more life, going to 6, and kept Xin on 10.
He dropped Jace, the Mind Sculptor after that and attacked, fatesealing Chris and leaving the card on top. He’d again taken the lead in the race—Chris drew and cast Cursecatcher. The Lords swung for Jace, killing the planeswalker, and now Xin had the game all but locked up. His life total lead meant he wouldn’t fear a strong of Reejereys from this point, and Chris was still suck in The Abyss.
Shifting the Sword to Stoneforge in order to start forcing through damage, Chris lacked another two-drop—he blocked Stoneforge to protect his card in hand and fell to 2 life, again. Drawing, Chris played Island and ended the turn.
Xin's Stoneblade deck has a fierce fight ahead of it.
Xin moved Sword back to Germ and attacked with it, earning a block from one Lord. Geist of Saint Traft after that threatened lethal, and when Chris drew his fourth land and tapped out for Jace, he was dead with no outs.
Xin 1, Chris 0
Chris kept and started with only Island, lacking Vial or Cursecatcher. Xin played Tundra and passed back, but Chris didn’t have Wasteland. Mishra’s Factory and Silvergill Adept on turn 2, revealing Reejerey, gave Chris his first attacker. Mutavault gave Xin the mana for Stoneforge Mystic, which he tried… but he was Dazed.
Taking the opportunity to cast Umezwa’s Jitte, Chris attacked for 2 damage and passed without a third land. Xin Brainstormed on turn 3 and played Polluted Delta before ending the turn. Chris drew an Island and equipped his Adept, which Xin declined to respond to. When the Adept attacked, Xin blocked with Mutavault to kill it, and the Jitte gained two counters.
Xin played another Mutavault and cast Geist of Saint Traft, but Daze countered it. That setback had Xin in trouble—how much action did he have? Chris activated Mishra’s Factory and swung with it, lacking the mana to add more counters to his Jitte. He passed with an Island up, and Xin played one of his own. With no plays available, he passed.
Chris drew and played Silvergill Adept, showing Merrow Reejerey. Spell Snare to counter resolved, Factory swinging for 2 more damage. Xin cast Vendilion Clique to block, revealing Force of Will, Mutavault, Reejerey, and a second Jitte—he sent the Force to the bottom of the library, but lost his 3/1 before blockers.
Flooded Strand for Xin fetched, putting him to 12 life for Plains. He cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor afterward, and Chris revealed he’d drawn a second Force of Will, using it to counter by removing Reejerey.
Time was called on the next turn as Chris attacked with an equipped Mishra’s Factory, but Path to Exile sent the Mishra’s Factory out of the game for good. Xin drew and passed, needing to defend himself through just two more turns to lock up the win. Chris cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor—that was not the threat he needed!
Fatesealing Xin, he passed the turn and left the card. Xin traded Jaces, giving Chris one more turn—he could attack Xin to 10, but Xin sealed the deal when he ended his next turn.
Xin 1, Chris 0