Weekend Review: June 7 - 8
posted 2014-06-09 by Nick Miller
The StarCityGames.com Open Series in Providence, RI was the main attraction this weekend in competitive Magic and it did not disappoint.
Ross Merriam was the center of attention Sunday after winning the Standard Open with Mono-Blue Devotion in the morning and going undefeated in the Swiss portion of the Legacy Open with Elves. With his second Top 8 of the weekend locked in thanks to his 7-0-2 record in the Legacy Open, Merriam legitimately had a shot at matching what only Gerry Thompson has achieved on the Open Series: win both Opens in the same weekend.
Merriam’s path to a second trophy Sunday was filled with strong players piloting a variety of archetypes. First up was Seattle 2012 Legacy Open winner Feline Longmore in the quarterfinals playing her usual deck of choice, High Tide. Merriam was the faster and more disruptive combo deck in this matchup and moved onto the semifinals defeating Longmore 2-1. Merriam’s next match pitted him against carmate Jason Ellis, who also reached the Top 8 of the Standard Open Saturday, playing RUG Delver – an archetype well positioned against Elves. Ultimately, Ellis didn’t find any copies of Forked Bolt or Rough/Tumble in the matchup and bowed out to his friend in two games.
Merriam was one match from history and an overwhelming favorite to finish the back-to-back when David Shiels emerged from the other side of the bracket with Death and Taxes – an ideal matchup for Elves. Merriam took Game 1 before Shiels could even untap for a third turn and was just a game away from history and potentially making it two weeks in a row that Elves won the Legacy Open. Shiels, however, wasn’t going away. His perfect start in Game 2 allowed him to use Stoneforge Mystic to get an Umezawa’s Jitte active early and squeaked out the game by picking off Merriam’s Elves with the legendary equipment.
Merriam started the final game of the weekend with a mulligan down to six cards and his opener contained Progenitus, which meant he would not be able to use Natural Order or Green Sun’s Zenith to put the Hydra Avatar into play. His start wasn’t as explosive as he needed and Shiels was again able to get a Jitte going and put Merriam on a clock. After bricking on a couple draws and his board getting picked apart by the Jitte, Merriam extended the hand.
While Merriam fell just short of his goal, he did take home his second Open Series trophy and notched his seventh Top 8. Shiels’ improbable win in the finals gave him his first trophy on the Open Series in six Top 8s. Shiels had to defeat Rookie of the Year favorite Jared Boettcher in the quarterfinals and Jerry Mee and his BUG Delver deck in the semifinals.
Chris VanMeter made his third Top 8 in three weeks as well, but this time did it in Legacy playing Show and Tell. His finish locked up his qualification to the Players’ Championship while also being his best Legacy finish in months.