Round 8: Ross Merriam vs. Ben Wienburg
Both of these players are true veterans of the Open Series with twenty-one top 8s and three trophies between them. They also brought the two season-long pillars of Standard to battle—Ben with Mono-Black Devotion, and Ross with Mono-Blue.
Ben is unimpressed.
Ben had no turn 1 play, while Ross led off with a turn 1 Judge’s Familiar. Ben fired off a turn 2 Thoughtseize, seeing Island, Galerider+Sliver, Cloudfin+Raptor, and two Master+of+Waves. He cleared out the Cloudfin+Raptor, and Ross quickly drew his card, plopped Galerider+Sliver into play, and swung, dropping Ben to 17.
Ben get to see the Island that Ross drew for each of his next two draw steps, as he cast Lifebane+Zombies and peeked at Ross’s hand. Ross played the Master+of+Waves on his fourth turn for three elementals, and Ben knocked him down to 11 with his Lifebane+Zombies before adding Desecration+Demon to his board. Ross wasted no time putting his second Master+of+Waves into play, upgrading his Elementals to 3/2s and adding some more to his army. He fed a token to the Demon and attacked with his team, dropping Ben to 2, and passing with a commanding board presence.
Gray+Merchant+of+Asphodel isn’t impressed with opposing boards, however, and Ben was able to steal the win away with a clutch Merchant, draining for 8 and then attacking with a Lifebane+Zombie to seal the deal.
Ross stares into your soul.
Ross opened up the game with a Cloudfin+Raptor, and Ben fired off a turn 1 Thoughtseize, sniping Thassa%2C+God+of+the+Sea and leaving Ross with Two Islands, two Tidebinder+Mages, a Domestication in hand. Tidebinder+Mage evolved the Raptor and set it on the offensive, but a second Tidebinder+Mage drew Pharika’s Cure on the Raptor in response, and Ben untapped and cast a brutal 2-for-1 Bile+Blight to leave Ross without a threat.
Bident+of+Thassa came down for Ross, but without a creature in play it wouldn’t do him much good. Ben cast Desecration+Demon, and Ross was ready for it, casting Rapid+Hybridization to convert it into a 3/3 then stealing the Token with Domestication. Ben killed off the token with Hero’s Downfall, then added Pack+Rat to his board.
Ross needed to commit a threat to the board to have a chance of pushing past the Pack+Rat. He drew… an Island. Ben went to work making Rats, and Ross drew another Bident+of+Thassa on his next turn. Facing down a growing army of Rats, Ross extended the hand.