Survival of the Fittest based decks were the most played archetype in the Top 8, and two of them met one another in the Finals. For Jessie Butler, his addition of white for cards like Mother of Runes had served him well, but Zack had already dispatched a similar build played by Adam Cai in the Semifinals. Butler's version was a more traditional blue-green build, and the players chatted amiably as they prepared to battle for the trophy.
Winning the die roll, Jessie started off with a first-turn Noble Hierarch. The 0/1 allowed him to cast a Knight of the Reliquary on the second turn, but afraid of Daze he opted to spend two mana to cast Umezawa's Jitte instead. Strait fired back with a Survival of the Fittest, but couldn't do anything to stop Butler from resolving the Knight he had sandbagged. After getting the 2/2 to the battlefield, Jessie then pulled the trigger on a Wasteland for his opponent's Tropical Island, depriving him of mana he'd need in order to go off the following turn.
A second Noble Hierarch joined Jessie Butler's team while the Knight of the Reliquary picked up Umezawa's Jitte. Zack failed to find a replacement land for his destroyed Tropical Island, and had to pass with just a Forest on the battlefield. He bled a big chunk of his life from an attack with the Knight of the Reliquary, and when he missed drawing a land for the second time he conceded.
Jessie Butler 1, Zack Strait 0
"This deck is way too unfair," Jessie opined as they sideboarded for the second game. "It's the new Reanimator!"
The first spell of the second game was an Umezawa's Jitte for Jessie Butler, but comically his opponent's first spell was Trygon Predator to answer the following turn. Zack then had a Wild Mongrel to increase the size of his army, and when Jessie cast a Wonder to block Zack discarded a Basking Rootwalla to pump his Mongrel and attack with the madness creature the following turn.
Jessie Butler found himself short on spells, quickly being beaten down by his opponent's team. A Noble Hierarch gave him a creature, but its 0/1 body was less than intimidating. Zack managed to find a Survival to make matters worse and the players were on to the third game in a whopping five minute battle after a mana flood from Jessie.
Jessie Butler 1, Zack Strait 1
The third game kicked off with a mulligan for either player, but they were able to keep on six and got things underway. Jessie had a Noble Hierarch for his first turn, a play repeated by his opponent. Wasteland from Butler took out his opponent's Tropical Island, and he began to get his beat on with the exalted from Noble Hierarch.
Strait found himself a second Tropical Island and used it to cast Aquamoeba. A second Wasteland from Jessie allowed him to drop his opponent back to the Noble Hierarch for mana. Zack found a Forest to start rebuilding his mana and attacked with his 'Moeba. With only a Forest on the table, however, he was helpless to Daze as Jessie cast a Knight of the Reliquary that resolved.
The 7/7 soon rumbled into the red zone while Zack tried to keep up with a Wild Mongrel, then Trygon Predator. Jessie was ready, casting a second Knight, then a Vengevine and sent his team to the red zone. The surprise 4/3 left Zack Strait too far behind and he conceded, handing the title to his opponent.
Jessie Butler is the 2010 StarCityGames.com Legacy Open in Nashville!
Jessie Butler 2, Zack Strait 1