Round 8: Ross Merriam vs. Tom Ross
These titans of the Open Series have met in the feature match arena twice this year, and Gitaxian+Probe, and saw Merriam’s hand: two fetchlands, two Birchlore+Rangers, two Glimpse+of+Natures, and a Wirewood+Symbiote. He dropped Inkmoth+Nexus into play and passed to Merriam, who led with a Birchlore Ranger. Noble+Hierarch came off the top for Tom, who joked it was “right on time” as he played it on turn 2 and passed back. Merriam crunched some numbers before deciding to show a little restraint on his turn, casting only a second Birchlore Ranger and playing out his second land.
The poisonous beatdown began on Tom’s next turn as he Crop Rotationed for Pendelhaven, and attacked in the air with his Inkmoth+Nexus for 3 damage, leaving up Noble+Hierarch to represent tricks. Merriam fetched up Dryad+Arbor at the end step, then untapped and led with a Heritage+Druid, then tapped it and his Birchlore+Rangers for three mana and tried a Glimpse+of+Nature. Tom said no with Force+of+Will pitching Daze. With one mana floating Ross cast his other Glimpse, but Tom was ready with a Spell+Pierce, which Ross declined to pay for. He added two more Wirewood+Symbiotes to his board and passed back.
Tom played his fifth mana source on his own turn and passed, sitting on the Force+of+Will left in his hand. Ross crunched the numbers and decided that since his opponent was known to make an outrageous bluff every now and then, he needed to make Tom have it. He tapped all of his mana sources, generated 8 mana, and cast the last card in his hand, a Craterhoof+Behemoth. The bad news was that Tom DID have it, and he hardcast Force+of+Will to keep the enormous monster from entering the battlefield. Tom wasted no time on his own turn getting in for another 2 in the air with his Inkmoth+Nexus, then cast his Glistener+Elf and passed.
Green Sun’s Zenith came off the top for Ross Merriam, and being one mana short of fetching his other Craterhoof+Behemoth, he chose instead to get Elvish+Visionary, representing three fresh cards in conjunction with the two Wirewood+Symbiotes he had in play. He looped it in and out of play twice, played a Wooded+Foothills, and shipped the turn back. Tom drew Blighted+Agent, which meant he wouldn’t be able to close the game out this turn. He gamely poked through in the air to make it a one turn clock, and Ross picked up Elvish+Visionary and hoped for a miracle.
He found one on his draw step, as Glimpse+of+Nature showed up to give him the card drawing engine he needed. Visionary gave him two cards, then came Nettle+Sentinel, then another Nettle+Sentinel, and from there the world was Ross’s oyster. He chained through a series of Deathrite+Shamans and Quirion+Rangers, generating mana each time off of his Nettle+Sentinels thanks to Heritage+Druid. About fifteen cards deeper, he found and cast the second Craterhoof+Behemoth and attacked for the win.
Tom opened up with just a fetchland, and Ross’s one-drop of choice was Wirewood+Symbiote. It died immediately, as Tom fetched up a Tropical+Island and cast Piracy+Charm to give it +2/-1. Tom played an Inkmoth+Nexus and passed back to Ross, who tried for a Pithing+Needle in the hope of shutting off the Inkmoth+Nexus before it could attack, but Tom had Spell+Pierce at the ready Ross fetched up a Dryad+Arbor and shipped the turn to Tom, who got in for two in the air thanks to his third land drop, a Pendelhaven.
Gaea’s Cradle and Wirewood+Symbiote from Ross looked like it might give him a mana engine to get his tomfoolery started, but Tom would have none of it—He found Invigorate on his next draw step, which, in conjunction with the Vines+of+Vastwood he already held, made it a clean 10 Infect damage on before Ross got to untap again.
Ross does the math.
Green Sun’s Zenith into Dryad+Arbor was the accelerant of choice for Ross in the decider, which Tom matched, in a fashion, with Tropical+Island into Noble+Hierarch. Wirewood+Symbiote followed by Gaea’s Cradle allowed Ross to get an Elvish+Visionary into play with one mana floating to get around Tom’s Daze. He passed back to Tom, who dropped both Inkmoth+Nexus and Blighted+Agent into play, establishing the potential for big infect swing.
Ross fetched up a second Dryad+Arbor, then used the Gaea’s Cradle mana to loop Visionary in and out of play, netting some extra cards. He concluded his turn by Abrupt Decaying the Blighted+Agent. Tom still had the Inkmoth+Nexus, which got in for 3 damage in the air, and Tom passed back. Ross led off with a Glimpse+of+Nature on his own turn. Tom had some soft permission, but Ross’s Gaea’s Cradle would make it much less effective. He still concluded it was better than nothing, and he cast both Spell+Pierce and Daze on the Glimpse. Ross opted to pay for both, leaving him three mana left in the pool. A second Glimpse+of+Nature went uncontested. Ross would now draw two cards for each creature he cast, but he only had two green mana to work with.
Heritage+Druid made it 1 green floating, and Deathrite+Shaman made it 0, but three elves in play, so Ross was back up to three green mana in pool with the Heritage+Druid.. Next came an Elvish+Visionary and a Deathrite+Shaman, and Wirewood Symviote untapped the Heritage+Druid to allow Ross another three mana. A pair of Nettle+Sentinels came next, meaning each elf he played would generated two green mana. Now with two cards and two mana apiece after each creature he cast, Ross had no trouble drawing through his deck, filling the board with elves, and putting a lethal Craterhoof+Behemoth into play.