Round 8: Jim Davis vs. Ross Merriam
Ross Merriam had come close to winning an Open in Baltimore just a short time ago, and he was hungry to take home a trophy this weekend, but his Delver deck forced him to take a mulligan before starting things off with a “free” Gitaxian+Probe. Veteran mage Jim Davis—representing his home town with a New York Rangers jersey—stoically flipped over his hand and nodded when Delver+of+Secrets entered play, not appearing to be bothered one bit.
Ross Merriam Probes his opponent early and often.
No spell was waiting on top of Ross’ deck, so Jim happily took just a single point of damage. Ratchet+Bomb looked to make short work of the wizard, who again missed the boat on flipping. Jim was down to 18 and happily watched as Ross burned another Gitaxian+Probe and a Thought+Scour without finding a third land. That left Jim free to turn up the heat with a second Ratchet+Bomb and Dead+Weight on Delver+of+Secrets, though Ross had the Vapor+Snag for the save.
That was all fine with Jim as his defenses were well set up, affording him the time he needed to exploit one of Delver’s weaknesses with a pair of Lingering+Souls. Ratchet+Bomb number one took care of Geist+of+Saint+Traft as Jim took the offensive with four then six spirit tokens, looking to end things before Ross could dig out of his hole.
The damage was adding up in a hurry, however, as Ross was down to 7 thanks to the spirits and his own pair of Gitaxian+Probes. Sword+of+War+and+Peace looked to salvage the situation with one big hit that dropped Jim to 13 and brought Ross back to 10. Six spirit tokens evened things out again, and when Sun+Titan brought back Dead+Weight and Jim remembered to pop his ratchet bomb to eat the sword, Ross packed it in.
Jim 1, Ross 0
Another flurry of Gitaxian+Probes had Ross down to 14 in a hurry, but Snapcaster+Mage gave him a decent threat to work with. Jim again answered with Ratchet+Bomb, and seemed to be in no hurry to deal with the little 2/1. Instead, he went for Phantasmal+Image to copy it and flash back a Thought+Scour of his own. Dead+Weight looked to finish off the Snapcaster+Mage and a nice turn for Jim, but again Ross had the Vapor+Snag to save his guy before eventually trading blue guys after another flashback on Thought+Scour.
Jim Davis representin'.
Geist+of+Saint+Traft picked up the slack for Ross, but Jim was ready with Liliana+of+the+Veil. She didn’t last too long, however, as Moorland+Haunt made a couple of spirit tokens and a second Geist+of+Saint+Traft joined up. That put Jim in a tight spot and forced him to blow a pair of Ratchet+Bombs to clear the board, but Ross was right there with him. Batterskull presented a large, but not unstoppable threat, and Jim had the mana and free turn to find an Oblivion+Ring to stop it.
He fired off two Forbidden+Alchemy but there was no removal spell in the bucketful of cards, and Sword+of+War+and+Peace set up a lethal blow that finally drew a sign of emotion from Jim—a pained grimace that signaled concession.
Jim 1, Ross 1
Not a lot of time was left for the final game, and both players were in rapid fire mode, trading pairs of damage via Lingering+Souls and Snapcaster+Mage. Jim’s Phantasmal+Image copied the Snapcaster+Mage and flashed back Thought+Scour for the second game in a row, but Ross had a pair of Mana+Leaks for two sides of Jim’s forthcoming Lingering+Souls.
A pair of Dead+Weights cleared out Ross’ board and let Jim pull way ahead in the damage race at 15-4, but the round clock had run out and Ross was able to defend his low total to the tune of an unintentional draw that threatened to knock both of them out of contention—a rough ending to a tight match.
Jim 1, Ross 1