Donnie Noland and Dan Jordan are both accomplished StarCityGames.com Open competitors, but in the slog of the late rounds both were showing some wear. They kept their spirits high by writing joke names on the feature match marquee. For Dan Jordan it was "Please Kill Me" after losing to Overwhelming Stampede the previous round. For Donnie it was "Donnie No Land," a reference to the number of mulligans he had taken on the day and a pun on his last name.
The two got underway with Dan going first, opening on Lotus Cobra. Donnie kept pace with a copy of the 2/1 himself as well as a Birds of Paradise. When he found an Arc Trail, he used it to remove his opponent's troublesome copy of Lotus Cobra only to see Jordan replace it with a second. Garruk Wildspeaker allowed Donnie to untap his lands and generate enough mana to cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The blue planeswalker allowed Noland to bounce Dan's Lotus Cobra, and Jordan found himself struggling on mana. Missing land drops he cast Explore to find a third but even after doing so he looked too far behind to his opponent's double planeswalker start to come back.
Indeed, Jordan's early mana stumble proved to be too much and he succumbed to his opponent's powerful double planeswalker draw lightning fast.
Donnie Noland 1, Dan Jordan 0
The second game started a bit more slowly for both players, with Jordan leading on Explore to accelerate his mana. Donnie picked up the pace with Birds of Paradise followed by Lotus Cobra and Nest Invader, but in a change of pace from the first game Dan finally got to make each of his land drops. In an attempt to clear his opponent's board of creatures, Dan cast Pyroclasm. Donnie attempted to counter with Flashfreeze, but had his counter aced in turn by a Mana Leak from Jordan. Both players were using the red-blue-green control deck Dan had popularized by winning back-to-back StarCityGames.com Standard Opens towards the end of the 2010 season.
The game slowed on spells after the Pyroclasm, with both players settling in and playing lands. Donnie resolved a Nest Invader and began attacking with that and a Raging Ravine. Worried about the creature-land getting out of control, Dan used Lightning Bolt to take it out but took 2 from the Nest Invader. A Vengevine joined Donnie's team and began connecting for 4, but Dan fired back with Avenger of Zendikar, winning the counter war to see the 5/5 resolve.
Facing a giant board of Plant tokens, Donnie cast Frost Titan to freeze the Avenger. It wasn't enough, however, as Jordan used a fetch-land to make his Plants into 3/4s, attacking for 18 and enough to even the match at one game a piece.
Donnie Noland 1, Dan Jordan 1
With just a single game remaining to determine who would be the victor, Donnie Noland found himself starting things off on a mulligan. Dan got to keep his grip of seven cards, and opened on Preordain. Noland attempted a fourth turn Vengevine but had the effort stopped cold via Mana Leak. With his opponent tapped out from the attempted 4/3, Dan was able to freely resolve a Jace, the Mind Sculptor on his own turn. He used it to fateseal himself, no doubt to protect it from a possible Lightning Bolt out of Noland.
Donnie cast a Sword of Body and Mind, but the two players were done with spells after that. That meant the game state heavily favored Dan Jordan whose active Jace was putting him further and further ahead in the card count. Unfortunately for Donnie, there was nothing he could do about it, dutifully drawing, playing a land, and passing turn after turn. That left Donnie at the mercy of his opponent's Jace, which was working so well Dan actually had to discard cards he had so many in his hand.
Finally Jordan broke serve by casting Obstinate Baloth, using the 4/4 to start pressuring his opponent's life total. A turn later he cast a second, then had Flashfreeze to counter his opponent's attempt at an Acidic Slime.
"Just put me out of my misery!" Donnie groaned, way behind to Jace and the double Obstinate Baloths. Dan obliged, attacking for 8 and then sending not one, not two, but THREE Lightning Bolts at his opponent's head. That was enough, and Jordan squeaked the match out.
Dan Jordan 2, Donnie Noland 1