Finals: Joe Lossett (Miracles) vs. Clay Spicklemire (Infect)

Posted in Event Coverage on June 13, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Joe Lossett is widely known to be the best Legacy Miracles player in the world. This weekend, Miracles, a white-blue control deck that takes advantage of the powerful interaction between Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top, had a dominant performance. It's fitting that someone known for playing the deck would be in the finals. Lossett has already shown his prowess with the strategy on the Star City Games circuit, now it's time for him to do it at a massive Grand Prix.

His opponent is Clay Spicklemire. At only sixteen-years-old, Spicklemire has already proven himself to be a force to be reckoned with by making it all the way to the finals with Infect, one of the most difficult decks to pilot in Legacy. Spicklemire's deck only has to do half the work thanks to poison counters. The ability to play aggro, control, or combo depending on the situation has given him the maneuverability to dominate all weekend long.

Spicklemire had an early Noble Hierarch and Blighted Agent to get things started quickly in the first game.

Lossett had Counterbalance, but it failed to match casting costs with any of Spicklemire's spells.

Spicklemire's Blighted Agent fell to Swords to Plowshares and another Blighted Agent from Spicklemire was almost dealt with by the same Swords to Plowshares when Lossett used Snapcaster Mage, but Spell Pierce protected the valuable threat.

Spicklemire went for the kill on the following turn with Become Immense and Lossett was able to save himself from certain death with Force of Will.

Still, Lossett had already picked up five poison counters and his hand was dwindling.

They traded cards for a bit and it looked like Spicklemire would finally be able to force his way through when he found a second copy of Inkmoth Nexus.

Lossett tried to bluff an answer, but Spicklemire was unphased and attacked his way to victory.

Spicklemire 1 - 0 Lossett

Spicklemire got things started quickly in the second game with Glistener Elf and Lossett wasted no time using Swords to Plowshares.

Spicklemire followed up with Noble Hierarch and Blighted Agent.

Lossett was able to stick Counterbalance, maybe it would work out better for him this time around.

He started getting in for two poison at a time with his Blighted Agent while Lossett scrounged through his deck to find an answer.

Terminus was miracled and Spicklemire tried to save his board with Force of Will. Lossett had Flusterstorm and was able to establish the control he needed.


Joe Lossett

Spicklemire started drawing pump spells now that he didn't have a threat while Lossett spent the free time sculpting his hand.

Snapcaster Mage came down to flashback Brainstorm and Lossett now had the clock that he needed to close the game before Spicklemire could put together an unbeatable seven.

Vendilion Clique sped things up even faster and Lossett got a look at a hand that wasn't interactive and let Spicklemire stay pat.

A few more swings was all it took to force a third game.

Spicklemire 1 - 1 Lossett

“I guess this is a 5000 dollar game of Magic right here,” Spicklemire laughed. The newcomer seemed less phased than his veteran opponent.

Spicklemire kept his opening seven and Lossett went searching for a better six.

Spicklemire's hand was somewhat dependent on Inkmoth Nexus and Lossett was able to shut it off with Pithing Needle right away.

Lossett resolved Counterbalance and things were already looking grim for the young Spicklemire.

Counterbalance blind flipped into Swords to Plowshares when Spicklemire went for Gitaxian Probe a few turns later.

The two players passed back and forth and the game seemed to favor Lossett more and more as Spicklemire couldn't find a threat.

Eventually, Spicklemire pointed Krosan Grip at Counterbalance and crossed his fingers in the air as Lossett flipped over Snapcaster Mage. That was step one.

Having seen Swords to Plowshares and Snapcaster Mage revealed already, Spicklemire knew that victory wouldn't be easy this time around. He settled in for the long game ahead.

Lossett cast an uncounterable Snapcaster Mage with Cavern of Souls and started the clock on Spicklemire, who, despite having a hand filled with spells, didn't have the requisite creature needed to get things going.

Spicklemire used Brainstorm in conjunction with a fetchland and his hand continued to improve.

Still, his life total was getting chopped away by Snapcaster Mage and he didn't have any offense of his own.

A Blighted Agent met Swords to Plowshares, but at this point Spicklemire had some tools to work with in hand.

Lossett had Sensei's Divining Top to start setting up his draw step.

Glistener Elf was a non-issue even with Force of Will backup thanks to the pair of Swords to Plowshares Lossett had been holding.

Lossett found Jace, the Mind Sculptor and used the Brainstorm ability to find Back to Basics. Suddenly, Spicklemire would only be able to untap a single basic forest and his Noble Hierarch.

It seemed unwinnable for Spicklemire. Some of the crowd that was gathered to watch started to disperse as they saw what seemed like inevitable writing on the wall.

Spicklemire played Tropical Island and attacked with his Noble Hierarch, “Exalted trigger?”

“Yeah, I'll block,” said Joe comfortably as he nudged his Snapcaster Mage forward, “trade?”

“No,” Spicklemire's eyes pointed at Losset and his neck straightened upward.


Clay Spicklemire

“Before damage,” Spicklemire took a deep breathe, “Invigorate.”

“OK.”

Become Immense.”

“OK.”

Berserk.”

Losset sunk in his chair, “So this is...”

“It's twenty-two trample damage,” said Spicklemire cooly.

Lossett sunk in his chair and activated his Sensei's Divining Top. There were a few seconds of silence. Then he extended his hand in defeat.

The crowd exploded with applause.

Spicklemire 2 - 1 Lossett

Clay Spicklemire engineered an extraordinary series of events to snatch victory from the clutches of defeat to become the Grand Prix Columbus Champion!

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