Ben Moir was one of five players in this Top 8 that has earned multiple Grand Prix Top 8 finishes this year. His last breakthrough performance was in Grand Prix Detroit earned him a Top 4 finish, and his Top 8 finish here ensures that he will be able to compete in more than just Pro Tour Born of the Gods.
His opponent, Gold-level Pro Ari Lax, is seeking his first Grand Prix victory. He earned the silver trophy with his team in Providence earlier this year, but now, he wants the trophy to match his Professional Point status.
Lax kept a six card hand while Moir went to five. Lax had turn one Tormented Hero into a second-turn Ordeal of Nylea. Purphoros, God of the Forge from Moir came down on turn four for Moir, and it was far away from becoming a creature. Things continued to go from bad to worse for Moir when he had to chump block each turn...
...until he hit land #6 and cast Elspeth, Sun's Champion. She made three tokens, and Lax suddenly froze.
Life totals sat with Moir at 5, and Lax at 7, with Lax taking some early damage while his Tormented Hero did some early beats. Lax's attacking 5/4 Tormented Hero and Erebos's Emissary took out two tokens, but Elspeth made some more on the next. In turn, those tokens could trade with Lax's creatures thanks to Purphoros's pump effect.
The two-card mythic combination was enough. Lax took a good look and proclaimed, "Yeah, I'm dead." Moir won a game that looks far out of his reach.
As the two shuffled up for the second game, a little banter was shared.
Lax: "That did not feel good."
The first two plays from Lax in the second game were Erebos's Emissary and Nessian Asp. Moir had a bit more with Two-Headed Cerberus, Satyr Rambler, Leonin Snarecaster, and Purphoros, God of the Forge, which was only one red symbol away from its devotion.
Lax went in for an attack after giving his Nessian Asp with an Ordeal of Erebos. A chump block from Leonin Snarecaster secured Moir's life total for a race, but Time to Feed took care of the Two-Headed Cerberus before Moir could untap and try to mount an offense. The removal also shut down any chance of Purphoros becoming a creature. When Moir passed with two in hand on the next turn, a monstrosity activation allowed Lax to trigger his Ordeal of Erebos when he sent the Asp in, forcing Moir to bin the remaining two cards in his hand.
After a few turns of chump blocking, Moir ran out of spells, and as a result, ran out of time.
In the final game, Moir had a fast start with Priest of Iroas, a Flamespeaker Adept, and Purphoros's Emissary, along with Magma Jet to dispose of Lax's Leafcrown Dryad. However, Lax had some fine walls on the fourth and fifth turns with two Nessian Coursers. The Emissary attacked in, and Moir promptly lost his Adept and Satyr Rambler to a Savage Surge when he went for a double block.
Another Savage Surge left Moir relying on Elspeth, Sun's Champion, which he cast to create some tokens. However, Lax had the trump with a bestowed Cavern Lampad, which allowed the now 5/5 Courser to take out the planeswalker. "Elspeth down!"
Out of options and out of cards, Moir slowly succumbed to the intimidating Nessian Courser.
Ari Lax wins 2-1 and advances to the Semifinals!