Both Michael Malone and Wesley See were competing in their first Grand Prix Top 8, and they swapped stories as they shuffled up for the match. And with neither player having faced the other’s deck this weekend, those stories mostly included the way they hoped the match would go.
“It’s really easy, you just put the enchantment on the creature and win,” See joked as the crowd around the two players grew.
Malone extensively tested his Elves deck prior to the tournament, but he was competing in his first-ever large Modern event. And while his deck full of small green creatures was also making its first Top 8 appearance, Malone’s run to the finals proved its power.
“It’s a lot better than it looks on paper,” he explained before the match. “I wanted something that was explosive, and this does that.”
A deck registration error on See’s decklist was discovered before the finals began, and See was assessed a game loss penalty for the mistake.
Grand Prix Charlotte Head Judge Riccardo Tessitori explained the penalty to the players.
"A final of a Grand Prix is a high visibility match. We need to treat all competitors equally, from the beginning until the end of the tournament,” he said. “As always, we apply penalties as soon as we are aware of an infraction. It was unfortunate that one of them made a mistake in writing his decklist, and it was unfortunate that the mistake was discovered at that important moment of the tournament (he had both a legal deck and a legal decklist), but it was ultimately the player's responsibility to make sure that his decklist corresponded to the deck he was playing since the beginning of the weekend.
Players are always welcome to seek out a judge if they have any concerns about what they should be responsible for in a tournament."
“I can do this all day,” Malone joked.
“Well, I don’t have two more Lightning Bolts,” See responded.
Malone wasn’t kidding; two more Elves followed on the next turn. Holding open his mana to play Pestermite at the end of Malone’s turn, See passed his without casting a spell.
“They live!” he exclaimed as he untapped.
“For now,” See shot back.
But they did live, as did the Fauna Shaman that followed. It discarded an Eternal Witness to search up Spellskite, and the artifact prevented See from completing the combo when he drew his fourth land. A turn later it protected Malone’s Ezuri, Renegade Leader from a flashbacked Lightning Bolt (courtesy of Snapcaster Mage), and the ensuing activations made the Elvish troupe large enough to trample over See’s blockers and leave their mark on the Modern format.
Malone 2, See 0