Semifinals: Christian Calcano vs. Max Tietze
U/W Control versus Esper Control is a matchup that is very important in the new Theros metagame, and once more they meet here in the semifinals in the hands of two practiced and talented players. Who can come out on top in this Sphinx’s Revelation battle?
“You’re favored,” admitted Max, “but it’s not like I can’t beat you. It’s still close.”
Both players led off with lands for the first several turns, with a Ratchet+Bomb coming down on Max’s side of things on turn two in the meantime. Christian paid two life for his third turn’s Watery+Grave as well, in case he needed the third mana. Ratchet+Bomb ticked up as the players made land drops, but Max missed his fifth drop even after cycling Azorius+Charm for a card. Oh, control mirrors!
While Max stumbled a bit on his mana, Christian was hitting on all cylinders. Sphinx’s Revelation for three resolved at the end of Max’s turn (after he found Azorius+Guildgate for his sixth), and the Jace%2C+Architect+of+Thought resolved with Christian’s eight cards in hand. He used the -2 to add Aetherling from his deck as well, and allowing him to discard a relatively useless Azorius+Charm at end of turn. Ratchet+Bomb, now on four, destroyed the Return to Ravnica planeswalker and then passed, but Christian still had the upper hand: Syncopate for one countered Max’s Rev for three, then Christian resolved his second Revelation for three of the match in response to a resolved Jace%2C+Architect+of+Thought.
Aetherling resolved for Christian, and with three mana up to fight for it things didn’t look too great for the U/W pilot. Jace used -2 again to dig for answers, and only found Dissolve. Christian untapped with the Aetherling and finished the job; a few attack steps later, and Max fell to 16... to 12… to 8…
Christian is hoping his Revelations are big enough!
You know where this is going.
Max tried to fight back with Sphinx’s Revelation, Jace, and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, but at each turn Christian had either a counterspell, an unblockable attack from Aetherling, a Hero’s Downfall, or another answer to fend off the U/W pilot. Christian even resolved a second copy of Aetherling to accelerate the clock. Max eventually saw the inevitability and packed in for game two.
Christian 1, Max 0.
Once more into the mirror match breach, the players kept their opening sevens and made land drops. Once again, Ratchet+Bomb joined the party and slowly ticked up to deal with potential problems later on. Jace%2C+Architect+of+Thought from Max was countered by Christian’s Negate, then Thoughtseize snagged a card from a stacked hand that included Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Negate, Jace%2C+Memory+Adept, and Sphinx’s Revelation… but no fifth land just yet. Christian selected the Jace and, after cycling Azorius+Charm, passed.
Max did indeed miss his fifth land drop, and another Thoughtseize received Negate… and Christian also missed his fifth land! This time, we’re in for a much more even match. Max found Hallowed+Fountain and played it untapped, and so did Christian. Max drew two cards off of a Sphinx’s Revelation then went for Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, which resolved and made three creatures. Those 1/1s said goodbye to their creator quickly though, as after Christian resolved his own Revelation for two on the end step Christian used Hero’s Downfall removed the new Theros planeswalker from the board.
Max went on the aggressive now, activating Mutavault and dropping Christian to 13. Christian used Detention+Sphere to remove the 1/1s to stymie those hopes though, so Max was left going back to the drawing board.Azorius Charm did the usual cycle-draw thing, and Mutavault dropped Christian to 11.
And then Christian cast Aetherling.
And Max had Dissolve for it.
“I didn’t think you had it,” said Christian dejectedly.
Max resolved an Aetherling of his own in the window, and Christian scooped.
Christian 1, Max 1.
And for game three, guess what? Land drops for the first few turns, and Ratchet+Bomb on turn two for Max… but Christian decided to Syncopate it this time! Sin+Collector turn three saw Max’s Divination in addition to Jace%2C+Memory+Adept and Divination number two in addition to lands. Max cast and resolved that Divination on his turn three before passing right back to Christian, who resolved Ashiok%2C+Nightmare+Weaver on his next turn.
Max used Detention+Sphere to clear out the Theros ‘walker, and Sin+Collector went to wor on Mac’s life total, dropping him to 16. Jace%2C+Architect+of+Thought went onto the stack from the U/W player, and it ended up resolving and after using +1 met a Hero’s Downfall. Max played lands for a few turns while Christian missed land drops, but Sphinx’s Revelation was still countered by Negate as Sin+Collector dropped Max to 10.
Max's U/W Control is walking planes!
Jace%2C+Memory+Adept was Dissolved, but Max used Negate to counter the counterspell before using the +1 to mill Christian for one and draw a card. Hero’s Downfall also took out the five-mana Jace, and Sin collector continued to march in. Max was out of mainphase gasoline now, and Sin+Collector traded with Mutavault to stem the bleeding. Max’s next Jace%2C+Architect+of+Thought was Negated… but Negate countered Negate and found three lands with the -2 ability.
Christian played a tap-land and then tapped out for Blood+Baron+of+Vizkopa, but Max still had all the answers with Syncopate. Christian played land seven and passed, and Max’s -2 on Jace found Dissolve. When Christian cast Sphinx’s Revelation for four, he used that Dissolve. Christian wanted that to happen though, as he then went for the gusto with Aetherling… which resolved! Oh, how the tides have turned!
Max did not have an answer to the shapeshifter. Thoughtseize removed Jace%2C+Memory+Adept from a hand that also included Detention+Sphere before Aetherling killed the other Jace in combat. Everything revolved around Jace now… or so he thought, as Max was able to topdeck Sphinx’s Revelation for a whopping eight cards.
Detention+Sphere took out the now vanilla 4/5, then Max dropped Elspeth, Sun’s Champion and got three 1/1s out of the deal. Christian, who was all in on the Aetherling plus Thoughtseize plan, only had a scry-land for his turn as Max continued to press his big advantage: three more 1/1s and Jace%2C+Architect+of+Thought to dig up even more business in the form of a back-up Elspeth. Christian had Blood+Baron+of+Vizkopa, but Max had Syncopate to counter it and it was all over but the shouting. Two turns later and Max had pulled off the victory!
Max 2, Christian 1.