by Adrian Sullivan
With thousands of dollars of scholarship money on the line, Mason and Josh had a lot in common. Both players came to the event with a Rebel White deck - a deck that utilizes the Rebel searching Engine from Masques Block, and tends towards having consistent ability to both attack and control the table. More importantly, both players had more poise in their matchup then is often seen even on the Pro Tour.
There were some differences, however. Mason's deck elected to be all about "da bears" - it primarily worked with 2 casting cost rebels, and tried to keep control of Lin Sivvi with Last Breath and Parralax Wave. Josh, on the other hand, used a broad spectrum of Rebels that would allow him to respond to numerous situations. In addition, with main deck cards like Arrest and Field Surgeon, Josh was more metagamed against creatures than the typical Rebel deck.
In this game, things start out highly scewed, with Josh double-Mulliganing to look for land. He finally finds it, and keeps a hand of Arrest, two Plains and a Field Surgeon.
Mason starts out with a Longbow Archer, and Josh puts out his Field Surgeon. Mason follows up with a Nightwind Glider, but Josh's next turn puts him back in the runnning. Dropping a third land and a Ramosian Sergeant, he forces Mason to have to deal with the Sergeant or face dire consequences.
Mason continues attacking and drops another Longbow Archers. Using a Last Breath, he eliminates the Sergeant, and on Josh's turn, finds his own Archers Arrested. Destroying the Arrest with a Seal of Cleansing, Mason charges in again, dropping Josh to 12. Josh again Arrests an Archer, and takes 6 more damage after Mason Enlighted Tutors for a Glorius Anthem. Drawing a Gaea's Cradle, Josh puts a Rappeling Scout on the table, and looks like he could begin to stabilize, but he is one blocker short. Dying from Mason's attack, Josh looks at the top card to see how close help was. A Ramosian Captain lay on top of the deck...
Phelps 1 - Wagener 0
Once again Mulliganing, Josh starts out strong with a Mother of Runes and a Steadfast Guard. Mason's early Ramosian Sergeant draws its Last Breath, and he lays a Longbow Archers and a Kor Haven to keep up some defense.
Josh is the first to get to his Legends, dropping Gaea's Cradle and Lin Sivvi in the same turn. Before the match began, Mason talked about how critical these cards were in a Rebel-on-Rebel bout, and he was certainly right here. When Mother taps to save a Steadfast Guard, Mason is ready to Last Breath Lin Sivvi, and Sivvi begins searchingfor a Lieutenant. Mason's Parralax Wave is almost a little late - it takes out the Mother of Runes and the Lieutenant, stalling the search for a few turns buying Mason some important turns with a newly summoned Masticore. It isn't enough, though, and soon, Sivvi returns to summon a Foil Jhovall Queen.
With very little mana, Mason can't do enough with the Masticore, and Lin Sivvi forces a swarm over his weakened forces.
Phelps 1 - Wagener 1
Wagener begins the creature race with a Mother of Runes, promptly Last Breathing Mason's second turn Ramosian Lieutenant. Once again with the first Legend, Josh drops a Gaea's Cradle and a few turns later a Ramosian Scout.
Finally drawing his own Cradle, Mason is stuck with only 3 land on the table and can't cast his multiple Parralax Waves and Armageddon. Even more frustrating, he draws a second Cradle on the following turn. When he fails to answer Josh's Lieutenant, it isn't very long before Josh has searched up the Rebel chain to his Foil Jhovall Queen, and ended the match.
Phelps 1 - Wagener 2