Finals (Standard): Kai Budde vs. Dan Clegg

Posted in Event Coverage on September 2, 2015

By Matthew Vienneau

In a re-match of round 11, Kai and Dan started off the finals with the Standard format. As readers may recall, Kai is playing a black-blue deck based on fast efficient creatures such as Shadowmage Infiltrator and cheap counterspells to protect them. Dan is also playing Shadowmage Infiltrator but in a much different black-blue-white control deck that also uses Dromar as a finisher.

With four Infiltrators each, it can be seen that last year's Invitational finals has not only had a huge impact on this year's final, but also on the entire Standard environment with many of the Invitational decks sporting four of them.

Kai won the roll and chose to play first, allowing him to bring out a Merfolk Looter before Dan could get Counterspell mana active. Dan responded with a Meddling Mage, bearing the picture of yet another Invitational winner, naming Infiltrator. In a battle of bears, Kai brought out a Vodalian Zombie followed by Nightscape Familiar as Dan played a second Meddling Mage, this time naming Opposition, and then a third, naming Repulse.

Kai continued to loot away extra lands but chose to keep his men back on defence and his mana untapped. Dan seemed okay with this strategy, as once again Kai was willing to prolong the game with a Looter in play to make sure he had all the cards he needed before making his move.

The players each attempted a variety of minor spells in an attempt to get an advantage, with counterspells flying back and forth. A fourth Meddling Mage was Memory Lapsed twice before hitting play with the other three, this time naming Thieving Magpie. Unable to play almost half of his remaining deck, Kai decided to finally attack with his Vodalian Zombie and it traded with the "Repulse" Meddling Mage.

Finally Dan drew into an active spell as he played Dromar and then played it again after a Memory Lapse. But Kai managed to find a Counterspell and again the game settled into a Nightscape Familiar and Looter facing three Meddling Mages.

Kai continued to play out Familiars but was in danger of milling himself to death if he didn't get aggressive soon as he was very busy activating his various looters and search spells such as Sleight of Hand. Dan, meanwhile, was busy trying to build up spells in his hand be seemed to be drawing mostly land.

Kai finally seemed ready to make his move as he played two Duress, one of which got through, to reveal that Dan had nothing in his hand. But that was too much for Kai who conceded, as he had no way out of the situation with all his Repulses in his sideboard.

Budde - 0
Clegg - 1

Kai
In: 3 Gainsay, 2 Thieving Magpie and 3 Repulse
Out: 3 Static Orb, 2 Sleight of Hand, Opposition, Vodalian Zombie and Memory Lapse

Dan
In: 4 Duress and 4 Crusading Knight
Out: Dromar, 2 Absorb, 3 Recoil and 2 Spectral Lynx

Game 2

Kai opened game two with a Nightscape Familiar on turn two and a turn three Looter that was stopped by Counterspell. Despite his opponent having almost nothing in play, Dan tapped out on turn three for an Infiltrator instead of sitting on a counter. This gave Kai free rein to play whatever spells he wished and he pondered his options calmly before playing Thieving Magpie. As it isn't black, and unwilling to chump block with the Familiar, Kai allowed Dan to draw a card from the Infiltrator. Dan then used Duress to see that Kai was holding nothing but Thieving Magpies and a Counterspell.

Secure in the knowledge that Kai could do nothing to stop him, Dan spent only five minutes deciding to Vindicate the Magpie in play. Kai drew and Repulsed the Infiltrator and Dan dropped a Crusading Knight that was now 3/3. Kai played Opposition and suddenly the Knight wasn't looking so dangerous as the Familiar could tap it down each turn.

Taking another point of damage from his increasingly painful lands to put himself at nine, Dan attempted to Dromar's Charm the Familiar, but it was Memory Lapsed. This allowed Dan to replay the Infiltrator but Kai just tapped it with his freshly cast Magpie. Each player continued to throw out creatures, but with Opposition in play and twice as much life, Kai was able to tap Dan's important attackers while getting through with his own for extra cards. As the creatures continued to rain down, Dan conceded.

Budde - 1
Clegg - 1

Kai
In: Vodalian Zombie
Out: Memory Lapse

Dan
In: 2 Disenchant and Recoil
Out: Crusading Knight and 2 Disenchant

Game 3

Kai played second in game three, but chose to mulligan and even out the card count. Despite having Counterspell mana available on turn two, Dan again decided to lead with a Meddling Mage naming Merfolk Looter. Kai still had no plays until turn three when his Duress was Counterspelled. His turn four Duress, however, got through after Dan Recoiled Kai's Island forcing him to discard Merfolk Looter. With a hand of two Disenchant and Dromar, Dan seemed exasperated and sarcastically remarked, "what a great draw". Kai followed up his Duress with Shadowmage Infiltrator to gain card advantage and after Kai used Gainsay to stop Dromar from hitting play, Dan visibly gave up and began hitting his deck in a search for answers.

With Kai drawing an extra card every turn, things never came back under Dan's control as his attempt to play an Infiltrator was Counterspelled. A Thieving Magpie later, Dan conceded.

Game Result: Budde 2 - Clegg 1

Afterwards, Kai explained that in the previous match-up he didn't realize Clegg had Dromar until the third game so he had been sideboarding out his Oppositions. But now that he knew, he left in some Oppositions to handle the mighty Wyrm. Dan, expecting Kai to sideboard them out, removed his Disenchants, but after Kai dominated the board with it in game two, he brought some of them back in for the third game, and died having drawn both uselessly.

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