AJ had languished in “fake” feature matches all day long and now it was time to give him a real one. With a Counterbalance list he described as possessing “perfect numbers” he'd been among the first competitors to lock up the Top 8. Corbin hadn't been far behind him and now they were duking it out for a shot at the trophy. Corbin won the die roll and they were off to the races after two quick keeps.
An Underground Sea and a Cursecatcher for Corbin got him ahead quickly. AJ cracked a Misty Rainforest for an Island and used it to Ponder. He looked at the Birds Tarmogoyf and Counterbalance resting on top of his library for some time before eventually deciding to draw the Counterbalance and leave the Goyf on top of the Bird. After an attack from Cursecatcher a Strand for Corbin dug up an Island and he played Coralhelm Commander.
Windswept Heath found AJ a Forest and he played Wall of Roots. A second Underground Sea for Corbin and he leveled up the Commander to fly over for 3 damage dropping AJ to 14. A mainphase Brainstorm began AJ's turn allowing him the opportunity to shuffle away a few clunkers with a Verdant Catacombs. AJ tried to resolve Tarmogoyf via the Forest and his Wall's mana but Corbin decided to fight over it with a Force of Will exiling Spell Pierce. AJ cracked his Catacombs for a Tropical Island and tried a Sensei's Divining Top. Corbin Dazed and AJ tanked before eventually Forcing the Daze removing Counterbalance—Corbin chucked his Cursecatcher to resolve the Daze.
Corbin untapped and sent the Commander to full levels knocking AJ to 8 on his attack. Aj began his own turn with another Brainstorm digging up a promising Natural Order. AJ decided to Ponder rather than run out the Order and was rewarded when Corbin pitched his hand to Force it. A Cursecatcher off the top for Corbin followed his attack and AJ drew his last card at 3 life. After looking over the board he couldn't cobble the game back together and he conceded.
Corbin 1 AJ 0
Both players kept again and AJ led with Tropical Island and Noble Hierarch—probably among his best starts. Corbin cracked a Misty for an Island and a Cursecatcher passing turn after it resolved. AJ played Brainstorm before playing his land perhaps causing Corbin to entertain a Daze + Cursecatcher sacrifice should he assume AJ to be digging for mana. A Misty hit for AJ and after considerable thought he elected to pass the turn.
Cursecatcher poked in for 1 on Corbin's turn and Silvergill Adept landed during his second main drawing a card. AJ drew without cracking the fetchland playing a second Misty Rainforest and then a Tarmogoyf. Corbin gave him the thumbs-up and AJ passed the turn. A Lord of Atlantis for Corbin prompted a response from AJ: “Casually Daze” he said picking up his Tropical Island.
Corbin's Force pitching Standstill met AJ's own Force pitching Vendilion Clique and Corbin fired back with a Daze. AJ cracked one Misty for Tropical Island paying the 1 and a second Daze from Corbin left him on no lands and forced AJ to crack another Misty. Cursecatcher forced down the Lord and AJ dropped to 13 as Silvergill Adept walked on over.
AJ played his Tropical Island and passed the turn earning a big break as Corbin ran his Lord of Atlantis into the untapped Tarmogoyf—Lord does not grant himself islandwalk only his minions. A second Silvergill Adept wasn't so intimidating with that guy gone and AJ passed the next turn as well content to let his Goyf hold down the fort. A Polluted Delta found Corbin an Island and a third Adept revealed Cursecatcher which he played. AJ drew and played a second Tarmogoyf contemplating whether he could attack in this position. He risked a lot of damage if another Lord showed up with only a Force of Will a Pithing Needle and a Counterbalance in his hand to defend himself with.
AJ wound up going on offense with his Exalted Tarmogoyf but was displeased to see Corbin land an Mutavault and an Umezawa's Jitte. Even with his Pithing Needle at the ready that would be too much if Corbin got counters. AJ Forced earning a Spell Pierce from Corbin followed by a Cursecatcher sacrifice once he'd paid the 2 mana. Now short a mana to equip and attack AJ would be able to untap and Needle with ease—which he promptly did. Tarmogoyf again attacked and Corbin again took the damage.
The game stood tied with both players at 9 life. AJ played a second Pithing Needle naming Coralhelm Commander and passed the turn. Corbin drew the Coralhelm off the top of course. “You're a beast” he said playing his 2/2 sadly and passing the turn. AJ didn't attack this time needing the defense but that problem was about to disappear. Corbin topdecked a Lord of Atlantis and that gave him unblockable lethal damage. AJ extended the hand bummed that his ride stopped here.
Corbin 2 AJ 0