Semifinals: Ross Merriam (Maverick) vs. Adam Cai (Fauna Maverick)
Adam Cai's interesting take on Maverick--will it take him all the way?
The Maverick mirror promised to be very interactive so long as Punishing+Fire wasn’t involved, and neither of these players had that mirror-breaking card here, though Adam did have some spice in both a Fauna+Shaman toolbox and an extra color to play with.
Adam, who was on the play due to his higher seeding, jumped out to a big lead with Noble+Hierarch into Mother+of+Runes, using Gaea’s Cradle to power out a very early Umezawa’s Jitte. Ross fought back with a Noble+Hierarch of his own and added a Dryad+Arbor plus Sylvan+Safekeeper to mess with Adam’s plans.
That didn’t stop Adam from jamming his equipped Noble+Hierarch into the red zone, protecting it from blockers with Mother+of+Runes. The Sylvan+Safekeeper and Noble+Hierarch fell to the bloodthirsty legendary equipment and Wasteland crunched one of Ross’ Savannah’s to complete Adam’s huge turn.
Knight+of+the+Reliquary looked to shore things up for Ross, but Adam had the Swords+to+Plowshares and a Knight+of+the+Reliquary of his own. He tapped out to play the knight and move Umezawa’s Jitte over to Mother+of+Runes, striking with it to keep the board-dominating counters flowing. Knight+of+the+Reliquary got picked off by Swords+to+Plowshares, but Adam rebuilt with a second Mother+of+Runes and a Green Sun’s Zenith for Gaddock+Teeg, shutting off any Green Sun’s Zeniths that Ross might have been planning.
Ross Meriam in the semifinals of the Legacy Open
Sylvan+Library wasn’t the answer he was looking for, and Knight+of+the+Reliquary off the top put a real hurting on Ross, who was on just 6 life from assorted exalted attacks. Scavenging+Ooze, which is typically a great card in the mirror, wasn’t quite good enough when facing a combination of a pair of Mother+of+Runes, a larger Knight+of+the+Reliquary and a shortage of mana, and Ross took another hit from the protected Gaddock+Teeg, falling to 4 after eating a dead dork. Knight+of+the+Reliquary let Adam Wasteland Ross down to two lands and that was enough to lock it up.
Adam 1, Ross 0
Ross took an unfortunate pair of mulligans, but came out firing with Mother+of+Runes and Qasali+Pridemage while Adam was busy setting up for Fauna+Shaman. Knight+of+the+Reliquary topped off Ross’ very good five card hand, but Adam came right back over the top with a knight of his own that was bigger from the pair of fetchlands he had used.
A natural Horizon+Canopy and a knight activation for a fetchland got Ross’ knight bigger than Adam’s, and a second Knight+of+the+Reliquary put Ross in a commanding position. That was okay with Adam, even as he took a hit from a large Knight+of+the+Reliquary. Adam went fishing for Elesh+Norn%2C+Grand+Cenobite with Fauna+Shaman, taking another large hit in the process. He needed to have a huge turn to dig out of the soft-lock Ross was presenting with his knights and Mother+of+Runes, and Adam was ready to do it.
Fauna+Shaman cashed Elesh Norn in for Loyal Retainers and the Portal Three Kingdoms uncommon reanimated the game-swinging praetor, killing off Mother+of+Runes and Qasali+Pridemage. Finally, with the precision of a practiced master, Adam uncoiled his slow-rolled Bojuka+Bog for the complete blowout, shrinking Ross’ knights down to their original size, which just so happened to be exactly small enough to die to Elesh Norn! Adam had gone from staring death in the face to wiping Ross’ board and presenting lethal damage in one fell swoop, and a stunned Ross could only shake his head in amazement as he extended the hand.
Adam wins 2-0