“Prepare for a fun and interactive match!” Liam Kane told me. Storm versus Servant combo. Yeah...this should be over quick. The two players Liam and Alexander Kwan were very familiar with each other as they both play legacy frequently in the area against each other. They were well aware that this was just a race to see who was faster.
Liam led off with a turn one Ponder off of a Gemstone Mine. Alexander started with a Grindstone off of a Seat of the Synod. A second Ponder elicited another shuffle from Liam. “I've gotten to keep one set of cards with Ponder in this top 8 so far!” as Liam shuffled his deck for another draw. “To be fair I won that match.”
He followed up the Ponder with a Duress pitching Alexander's Force of Will and revealing a hand of Misdirection Trinket Mage Goblin Welder City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb. Would Liam would flip if he saw that Alexander drew a replacement? Of course with the way Alexander was playing down his situation with all his talk there was a chance that Liam figured it out. Alexander's Trinket Mage found a Sensei's Divining Top and then he passed action back to Liam. With a sigh and a comment that he needs to find more options before it's too late. Not fishy at all Alexander!
Liam played a Chrome Mox imprinting Burning Wish. He then played Infernal Tutor. “Can't Misdirect that?” he asked jokingly to his friend. It resolved and he revealed a Rite of Flame to get another copy of the sorcery. Liam passed it back. When Alexander drew he smiled. “I drew the Force” Alexander then revealed his top-decked Painter's Servant going off. Liam rolled his eyes laughing and put his deck into the graveyard.
“Skip my draw step?” he said. He then scooped up his cards another turn later.
Alexander – 1 Liam – 0
An attack from Xantid Swarm led Alexander to realize that he did not play Brainstorm before the creature's effect triggered meaning he had wasted his first turn. But it was unclear if that mistake would come back to haunt him. Liam then led off with a Lotus Petal Chrome Mox imprinting Silence Lion's Eye Diamond and Infernal Tutor with Lion's Eye Diamond sacrificed in response to add black mana and then finally cast the Ad Nauseum which he searched up.
18 life later and Liam did not have a Lotus Petal to keep going. But he did have the game locked up next turn if Alexander couldn't come back from this with a hand containing five ritual effects a Lion's Eye Diamond and a Burning Wish (to get Ill-Gotten Gains). Alexander didn't draw anything relevant and play quickly moved back to Liam. After Xantid Swarm's effect resolved it became clear that the game was over. Liam played out his cards in the correct order showed the Ill-Gotten Gains he got from his Burnig Wish explained that he could get back Lion's Eye Diamond and Burning Wish for Tendrils of Agony with more than a high enough sorm count and Alexander picked up his cards.
Alexander – 1 Liam – 1
Alexander and Liam both chose to keep. Alexander led off with a Flooded Strand for a Volcanic Island making way for Grindstone. He added a Tormod's Crypt and Lion's Eye Diamond to the field and passed back with Force of Will in hand with a blue spell and a Painter's Servant.
So...one land away from the win in case you were wondering.
Liam didn't have two Duress effects and a Lotus Petal so he died on the next turn to the Servant combo when Alexander drew a land. Alexander showed his friend the Force of Will with Intuition. Liam threw up his arms. “Obviously. The nuts.” Two local players and friends attempted to combo off but only one could do it faster in order to move on to the finals.
Alexander – 2 Liam - 1