Finals – Ari Lax vs. Gerry Thompson

Posted in Event Coverage on November 20, 2010

By Bill Stark

For approximately 1,498 players, Grand Prix—Nashville was over, their victory hopes dashed over the course of the weekend by the cruel hand of defeat. For two players, however, there was still a match to be played. The two players? Ari Lax and Gerry Thompson, both North American pros who had battled through an exhausting 18 rounds of competition to find themselves squaring off against one another in the very last round of competition. Gerry's mostly blue weenie deck was powered by Grand Architect and had a metalcraft theme while his opponent's deck centered around Viridian Revel and "dinosaurs," expensive green fatties like Molder Beast and Alpha Tyrannax.

Vedalken Certarch led the way for Gerry, who used it to get into the red zone as his opponent cast nothing over the first few turns. Wall of Tanglecord, then Trinket Mage for Chimeric Mass continued to grow Thompson's army and Lax finally made an effort to interfere by using Galvanic Blast to blow up the Certarch, then casting a creature of his own: Lifesmith.

Ari Lax

Auriok Replica soon joined Ari's team, but he traded both that and his Lifesmith for a 4/4 Chimeric Mass. Gerry reloaded with a second Trinket Mage to find Flight Spellbomb, then when Lax cast Molder Beast Thompson fired back with Sword of Body and Mind. Between the equipment and the Spellbomb Gerry was able to attack Ari to 11 unblocked while milling ten of his cards and getting a free 2/2 Wolf.

Vulshok Replica bought Ari a chump block, but Rusted Relic for Gerry put him further ahead. When Ari cast Steel Hellkite with Gerry on two Islands in his hand, Lax seemed to have brought things to even. When his opponent topdecked Volition Reins to steal the 5/5, however, all that changed.

"We've seen enough here," Ari said stoically, scooping up his cards and shuffling for the second game rather than suffer the ignominy of losing to his own Dragon.

Gerry Thompson 1, Ari Lax 0

Gold Myr allowed Ari to accelerate into Tangle Angler in the second game, followed by Vulshok Replica a turn later. When Thompson cast his first creature of the game, Oxidda Scrapmelter, Lax lost his Myr. "You forgot to play a land there, buddy!" Thompson teased his opponent as after losing the 1/1 mana source Ari did indeed miss on making his land drops.

With Ari handicapped, Gerry worked on building his forces casting Soliton to go with his 3/3 Scrapmelter, then adding Rusted Relic and Copper Myr. Ari was down but not out, and used Shatter to kill the Soliton. Doing so turned off his opponent's metalcraft and Lax used Tangle Angler to wipe out the Copper Myr from Gerry's side of the battlefield. Finding a fourth mana, Ari was even able to cast an Auriok Replica.

Gerry began attacking despite the fact his opponent had three creatures with which he could attack. When Ari did just that, moving all-in with each of his creatures, Thompson revealed why flashing a Darksteel Sentinel to the battlefield. The 3/3 was forced to step in front of the Angler and Thompson fell to 12. With the turn back, Gerry cast Mindslaver, then moved to attack. Ari stopped him to tap something with Tumble Magnet, which he had cast the turn before. Realizing his opponent was tapped out, Ari said "I've got you." He revealed Galvanic Blast in his hand, then walked through an attack that would put his opponent low enough to be burnt out by the Blast and a sacrifice from Vulshok Replica. Gerry double checked the math, then conceded in the midst of his own turn.

Gerry Thompson 1, Ari Lax 1

The entire fate of Grand Prix—Nashville came down to one final game between Ari Lax and Gerry Thompson. They started slowly with Lax on Leaden Myr while his opponent had Vedalken Certarch and Wall of Tanglecord. Tumble Magnet for Lax further slowed the pace of the game, but a Molder Beast out of the green-red player gave him a significant threat he might finally be able to get in with.

Gerry Thompson

Thompson cast Trinket Mage to call forth Chimeric Mass, but before casting it he cast Grand Architect instead. At one artifact, Gerry needed two more to get metalcraft and turn his Vedalken Certarch on. While waiting, he used the Architect to power out Soliton thanks to the mana boost it gave each of his blue creatures. Ari's Molder Beast managed to get in for 4 through Wall of Tanglecord with some help from Untamed Might, but he expressed concern his opponent might be holding Mindslaver. Gerry was, but he kept a straight face and gave no hint of the fact.

With Grand Architect Gerry was able to cast a Chimeric Mass for a whopping nine charge counters while Ari could only muster a Tangle Angler. Gerry then used Grand Architect to turn his Soliton into a blue creature, a combo that allowed him to then turn each blue mana he had into two colorless mana via the Architect's second ability and the 3/4s untap ability. That allowed him to cast and activate Mindslaver.

Ari checked the math, then looked at the table. He couldn't survive the powerful mythic and accepted he was dead. "I can't win," he pointed out, extending his hand.

Gerry Thompson is the Grand Prix—Nashville champion!

Gerry Thompson 2, Ari Lax 1

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