“X-0”wen might be known for firing off the occasional undefeated start but he's on the bubble in the Los Angeles Legacy Open. He's piloting a BUG Landstill variant that's been relatively popular today thus far. His opponent this round is Thomas Johnson Top 8 competitor in the San Jose Legacy Open from a couple months ago. Thomas played Merfolk sans Mutavaults in that event and given his success it seems likely he'll be playing fishes today—the only question is whether he'll have Mutavaults or Spell Pierces.
Owen started the match off strong with a winning die roll and an opposing mulligan to five leading with Underground Sea. He cast a Brainstorm in response to Thomas's first turn Wasteland and then played a Polluted Delta. Thomas led Island and Cursecatcher revealing himself to once again be on the Merfolk plan while Owen searched up an Underground Sea. Mishra's Factory on his next turn provided a brick wall leaving Thomas to just play a second Island and end the turn.
A Misty Rainforest was all Owen had while Thomas drew and played a Wasteland to destroy Mishra's Factory and attack for 1. Tropical Island replaced the Factory and Owen continued to lie in wait. Thomas found a third Island and attempted Standstill Spell Piercing the Counterspell Owen tried to use to counter it. Force of Will removing a Brainstorm countered the Pierce and Owen untapped for a Pernicious Deed—that would likely provide sufficient protection!
An attack dropped Owen to 15 but Thomas had nothing further against the Deed. Owen continued to play lands while Thomas found a Mutavault for additional pressure. Unfortunately for him he wouldn't be sending his manland into the Deed for free and he eventually decided to just let Cursecatcher chug along a point at a time with Owen now on 13. Owen drew and passed still doing nothing but finding a Mishra's Factory for defense. Thomas's next turn saw him deploy a Coralhelm Commander but decline to level it passing with two open.
He added some levels on the following turn but a Go for the Throat sliced him down. Owen untapped and cast Jace the Mind Sculptor which Thomas Dazed—Owen paid. The planeswalker drew three cards for Owen replacing two that his Misty Rainforest would likely soon shuffle away. A second Misty Rainforest and a pass ended Owen's turn. Merfolk Sovereign landed for Thomas but that wasn't enough to let Cursecatcher kill Jace and the planeswalker dropped to a single loyalty.
Owen used the +0 to brainstorm again following with Life from the Loam to get back a second Factory. When Thomas attacked a Deed for three cleared the field. He tried to recover with Merrow Reejerey but Counterspell dispatched the 2/2 while Lord of Atlantis landed successfully. Owen again shuffled the deck with his fetch dropping to 10 life and facing a potential 8 unblockable damage. A second Deed guaranteed that wouldn't happen and a Wasteland gave him an out to all those Mutavaults. Jace began to fateseal and the game appeared very close to locked up.
Thomas passed his next turn with not plays while Owen used a real Brainstorm to draw three cards. He cast Go for the Throat on Mutavault after that following with a Wasteland on one Mutavault prompting Thomas to concede.
Owen 1 Thomas 0
Thomas began with an island and an Aether Vial in the second game while Owen stuck to an uncracked Misty Rainforest. The Vial ticked but Thomas declined to make any other plays. Owen dropped another Misty Rainforest and passed the turn. Thomas used Vial for Silvergill Adept to try and hit a land failing to find one and missing his third land drop as he cast a Relic of Progenitus. Owen dropped Underground Sea knowing himself to be safe from Wasteland and cracked his Rainforests for a Bayou and a Tropical Island. He tried to cast Pernicious Deed but Spell Pierce countered it and Relic began to munch.
Thomas resolved a Standstill on the next turn after leaving his Vial on two counters and Owen promptly broke it with an Engineered Plague. It resolved to kill Silvergill and Thomas played a weakened Coralhelm via the Vial. A third Island for Thomas and a pair of levels took up his turn as he dropped Owen to 11 using a Spell Pierce followed by a Daze to counter Owen's Pernicious Deed on the following turn as Owen popped a pair of fetches to pay off the first counter. He followed that exchange with a Merrow Reejerey through Aether Vial and the rest of the Commander's levels casting Cursecatcher. Owen fell to 8 life.
Owen played Innocent Blood followed by a pair of Tarmogoyfs but Relic of Progenitus made them into 0/1s. Silvergill Adept revealed another Commander and Owen found himself forced to chump Reejerey and stay at 4 life. A Standstill for Thomas put the game way and they moved on when Owen's next card provided no help.
Owen 1 Thomas 1
Owen opened with a Polluted Delta followed by a Mishra's Factory while Thomas had Islands and Silvergill Adept. A Wasteland for Owen preceded a crack of the fetch for Underground Sea and he cast an Engineered Plague that resolved to kill the little squirt. Thomas missed a third land ocne again dropping just Lord of Atlantis which Innocent Blood removed before a Factory cracked in for 2 damage. Thomas cast Aether Vial on his next turn and passed.
Brainstorm found a fourth land for Owen a second Factory as the original attacked once again. Thomas ticked up his Vial and cast a Standstill to which Owen shrugged—his Factories gave him a big advantage even with Thomas finding a Mutavault. The Vial gave him a Coralhelm Commander and he leveled it to 2 passing the turn to Owen and changing the math a bit. Owen tried an Innocent Blood breaking the Standstill and paying for a Spell Pierce and a Daze before the second Daze countered the spell. Commander went to full and then attacked Owen to 16 a second Commander landing afterward thanks to Vial.
Owen drew and cast Go for the Throat to kill the big guy attacking with his Factory and dropping Thomas to 9 life. Thomas spent the next turn leveling his other Commander to attack Owen to 14 adding nothing else to the board. A Spell Pierce and a Daze combined to counter Owen's Pernicious Deed on the following turn and Owen fell to 11 as the Commander did work on max levels Cursecatcher joining him. A second Go for the Throat killed the Commander Counterspell forcing it through Thomas's Force of Will. He'd Vialed an Adept in to dig so he lost it and the Cursecatcher on the exchange as Owen paid for all his conditional counterspells.
Owen took 1 from a Mutavault as a Relic of Progenitus hit the board for Thomas falling to 10 and in control of the game. Owen sent both Factories into combat knocking Thomas to 4 life. He popped the Relic drew for his turn and played an Island before passing the turn. Submerge would buy him a minor reprieve but Wasteland removed his Mutavault and he fell to 2 as one Factory wound up on top of Owen's deck. His next card was just another Mutavault which died to chump block.
Owen 2 Thomas 1