Posted in NEWS on January 29, 2014

The Preamble

Greg Ogreenc was last seen finishing second at Grand Prix Toronto, and is looking to put up another big Canadian finish. Canada's Jon Stern has only recently clawed his way back into the Top 25 Ranked players, and wants a win to make sure he stays. They're playing the format's marquee matchup: Mono-Blue Devotion for Ogreenc vs Mono-Black for Stern.

The Match




Ogreenc won the roll and led with island, Cloudfin Raptor. Next came Judge's Familiar, and it dove in the path of Pharika's Cure. This was replaced with Tidebinder Mage while Stern sifted with a Temple of Silence. Ogreenc tapped four to drop a potentially backbreaking Bident of Thassa, but Stern had Devour Flesh to take some of the sting out of it. Ogreenc hit for two, drew a card, and passed.




Stern came down with a big roadblock: Desecration Demon. Ogreenc thought hard about his next move. Eventually he settled on playing Jace, Architect of Thought and minused it to get cards. He flipped over three very unexciting islands. He frowned, then animated his Mutavault to sacrifice it to Desecration Demon, allowing his Cloudfin to hit for damage and a card. Stern was down to 13. He hit back for seven with the Demon and summoned Nightveil Specter, stuck on four land.




Again Ogreenc went into the tank, this time emerging with a play of Master of Waves for six tokens. He plussed Jace and passed the turn. Unfortunately for him, Stern was ready with Pharika's Cure for the Master. Nightveil Specter had to stay home, but the Demon got in for another six. Stern played a Pack Rat and passed. Ogreenc needed more gas. He minused Jace and found a Nightveil Specter and a land. He played Frostburn Weird, hit for three and drew a card, then played out the Specter. It looked like he might be pulling ahead. He had to sacrifice Frostburn Weird to tap the Demon, which let Stern sneak an attacker through to kill Jace. Unfortunately for him, he had run out of time. A turn later Stern found a fifth land, and Gray Merchant of Asphodel was lethal.




Stern 1 - Ogreenc 0




It was bad news for Ogreenc in game two. After stopping Thoughtseize with Judge's Familiar, he played a replacement, but a turn later he still hadn't found a third land, and did nothing but attack for damage with his Mutavault. Stern dropped Nightveil Specter and Ogreenc's only answer was Ratchet Bomb. It would be a while before that could remove the Specter.




Stern hit for two and stole Mutavault from the top of Ogreenc's deck, then played Desecration Dmeon. Ogreenc finally found a land and played Thassa. Devour Flesh took out the second Familiar and Stern hit for eight. His specter gave him an island from Ogreenc's deck, and he played a second Nightveil Specter. It would get him a card before the Ratchet Bomb could come online.




Ogreenc kept his top card but it wasn't a fourth land. He passed, then removed the Demon with Rapid Hybridization. Stern simply attacked with his Specters and Mutavault, turning up Thassa and yet another Nightveil.




"The top of my deck has been GAS for you."




"Oh it has."




He happily put Thassa into play on his side of the board. From there, things were all but impossible for Ogreenc. He had taken too much damage, and the unblockability from Thassa meant he could survive only a few turns. Soon enough, Stern had taken the match.




Jon Stern defeats Greg Ogreenc 2-0




The Aftermath




Ogreenc reassembled his opening hand and showed it to Stern for a consult. It was Island, Mutavault, two Familiars, Thassa, Ratchet Bomb, and Master of Waves. Ogreenc had this to say on the matter.




"So the real decision point is turn two, and I played Familiar instead of Ratchet Bomb wanting to play conservatively, and I was immediately punished. I just couldn't play Bomb onto an empty board."




I also asked Ogreenc about his fifth turn in the first game, when he played Jace. He said that his hand was terrible, and his only alternative play was Master of Waves, easily answerable by Mono-Black. He needed to dig, not just for threats, but especially Rapid Hybridization for the Demon. Otherwise Stern would defeat him too quickly.