Finals: Christian Calcano (White-Black) v. Alexander Hayne (24) (Red-White)

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2015

By Peter Rawlings

After dispatching one former Grand Prix champ in the semifinals, No. 24 Alexander Hayne found himself facing yet another in the finals in the form of Christian Calcano. Hayne was hoping his Red-White deck, chock full of double-strikers, would allow him to smash his way to his second Grand Prix title in the last month, following his victory at Grand Prix Krakow.

Calcano, for his part, had also made quite a season of it. He already had two Grand Prix Top 8s under his belt from Manila and Cleveland, but hadn't managed to make it past the quarterfinals before today. He had a deck full of small white and black creatures, backed up by spells such as Harsh Sustenance that he hoped would help him claw his way to the title.

Game 1

Hayne was quick to the board with a first turn Lightning Berserker. “I considered dashing it, but I didn't want to be too hasty,” he said, as he passed the turn. Calcano laid an Arashin Cleric for his second turn. Normally reserved for sideboards only, the 1/3 was just the ticket to hold off Hayne's offense.

Both players went wide with an army of low-power creatures in Game 1.

Both players opted for a strategy of going wide with small creatures. Calcano followed up his Cleric with a Dromoka Warrior, Typhoid Rats and Sandcrafter Mage, knocking his opponent to 16. He was sitting on two copies of Silumgar Butcher, which could make valuable use of his many small bodies when and if Hayne presented a threat that needed killing.

For his part, Hayne added a Territorial Roc, Aven Skirmisher, Kolaghan Forerunners and morph—soon revealed to be an Aven Sunstriker—to his board. Calcano returned morph with morph, revealing a Hidden Dragonslayer which struck down Hayne's rapidly growing Forerunners.

After adding a Lightstalker to his board, Calcano attacked. Hayne's Lightning Berserker breathed fire sufficient to trade with the Hidden Dragonslayer, but he nonetheless fell to 4 life. He played a Shockmaw Dragon hoping desperately that the large flyer would be enough to stabilize.

Calcano laid a Silumgar Butcher. “Are you sacrificing it to itself? And shrinking your Dromoka Warrior?” Hayne asked, kiddingly. “Just keep in mind that that's one of your options.”

But no. It killed the Sunstriker. And two attack steps later, it killed Hayne.

Calcano 1 – Hayne 0

Calcano kept a hand with three Plains and no black mana. He did, however, have Mastery of the Unseen for turn two. Hayne had no time for enchantments that didn't affect the board, and immediately began bashing in with Smoldering Efreet and a morph, using Bathe in Dragonfire to clear a path.

Still lacking Swamps, Calcano planned to activate Mastery to hold off Hayne's attack on turn four. But Hayne was ready, unmorphing a Misthoof Kirin and continuing to whittle away Calcano's life total. When Calcano couldn't find any fifth land at all on his next turn, he simply cast Soul Summons and passed.

Having built up a hefty board, Hayne was now ready for enchantments of his own. He laid Berserkers' Onslaught and crashed in. Artful Maneuver allowed Calcano's manifest to to hold off Hayne's Efreet, but when his next draw step yielded no help, they were off to the decider.

Calcano 1 – Hayne 1

Calcano had a strong start of a manifest into Sandcrafter Mage. Hayne had a start of, well, Mountain into Mountain. He fell to 12. Calcano added an Arashin Cleric and a Typhoid Rats. Hayne couldn't find a third land. He discarded. He fell to 5. He discarded. Calcano attacked. Hayne extended his hand.

“Well, you live by the sword, you die by the sword,” he said.

Calcano 2 – Hayne 1

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