Semifinals: Adolfo Rayon vs. Mason Lange
Mason's played more than a few mirrors...
An aggressive mirror between the top two pilots of G/R Aggro in this event guaranteed that the archetype would appear in yet another Open Series finals. Who would represent it? This match would decide that!
Copperline Gorge for Mason and Forest for Adolfo made it a slow start from these two decks. Strangleroot Geist from Mason was the first creature to connect, and Adolfo spent turn 2 ramping rather than attacking: Green Sun's Zenith for Birds of Paradise.
Another swing for 2 from Mason and he tapped out to cast Daybreak Ranger, creating some pressure. Adolfo started his own beats with Hellrider on the next turn, evening the score and representing Galvanic Blast—that's the only way he'd be able to stop Mason from passing turn and using Nightfall Predator on Hellrider. Mason decided to just send the Geist and pass, seeing if he could successfully flip.
Adolfo had no response, and Nightfall Predator joined the fray! Whether a bluff gone awry or an error, Adolfo now had to contend with the 4/4 fighter. He cast Llanowar Elves and Sword of War and Peace, passing turn and losing his Hellrider, but at least flipping back Daybreak Ranger.
“This is brutal,” Adolfo lamented. He cast Green Sun's Zenith for four to get Huntmaster of the Fells and create a Wolf token, followed by casting another Llanowar Elves. Mason forgot to Daybreak the Birds during the end step, which could wind up being significant if Adolfo really needed a Sword hit later on.
Unfortunately for Adolfo, there wasn't going to be a “later on.” Another Strangleroot Geist and then a Green Sun's Zenith for the third Strangleroot Geist made Hellrider lethal damage, ending the game on the spot.
Mason 1, Adolfo 0
Adolfo looks to rally on the play in game 2.
Forest and Birds for Adolfo began the second game, and Mason matched him with Llanowar Elves. Adolfo killed the Elves with Galvanic Blast and cast his own Elves, advancing the board even farther. Mason had a replacement mana dork on the next turn, but little else—just Rootbound Crag.
Strangleroot Geist for Mason and then a Green Sun's Zenith for one gave him a healthy mass of creatures, but only the Strangleroot Geist was really doing work. Mason took advantage of the situation with Huntmaster of the Fells on the next turn, but Adolfo wasn't through. Another Strangleroot Geist reduced Mason to 16.
Green Sun's Zenith for four from Mason gave him Thrun, the Last Troll. He followed with an attack from Huntmaster and its token, passing the turn afterward. Adolfo wasn't thrilled with seeing Thrun on defense, and eventually passed the turn. He had no response to Huntmaster flipping and putting down an Elf.
Mason played two mana dudes and passed, content to grind out the game on the back of his Huntmaster. Adolfo drew Hellrider but still couldn't make a profitable attack, just passing the turn instead. Mason drew and ended his turn, flipping for another kill—this time on Strangleroot Geist, to give it a counter.
Adolfo drew, played his own Huntmaster, and ended the turn. Mason turned up the heat with an attack from Thrun and two Wolf tokens, using Kessig Wolf Run to create more pressure. The Wolf tokens died to Hellrider and the living Strangleroot Geist, putting both of Adolfo's Geists to 3/2 status as he lost his Hellrider. He probably should have thrown a different creature into the token here, as Hellrider would give him some big game in reversing the damage differential.
That turn flipped Adolfo's Huntmaster, killing Mason's Elves and zapping him for 2 damage. Now Adolfo had the superior board position, and Mason was backpedaling. Adolfo passed, refusing to trade into his opponent's Ravager. Problem was, each turn that he passed gave Mason more time to recover the board—and Mason was the one with Thrun and Wolf Run providing consistent, safe attacks.
Indeed, Mason sent Thrun in on the next turn, and Adolfo chumped with his Wolf token. Mason pumped for 4 damage and reduced Adolfo to 4 life. Zealous Conscripts for Adolfo snatched Mason's Ravager on the next turn, but Mason could chump block enough damage to stay alive on 4 and take the game during his next attack.
Mason 2, Adolfo 0