Sky Mason had managed to take down Pedro Carvalho's Four-Color Whip deck in a close three-game match on his way to the semifinals. In fact, that match marked only the second game loss Mason and his Red-Green Devotion deck has suffered all day, he said. He hoped to keep that momentum going, and use his early mana accelerants to power out expensive fliers and value-filled threats like Xenagos, the Reveler and Whisperwood Elemental here in the finals.
Neal Sacks had also played a tight three-game match in the semifinals, and had already dispatched one Red-Green Devotion opponent in the quarters. He was 5-0 against the match-up in Providence, he said, and aiming to have his Abzan Aggro deck—chock full of efficient creatures like Fleecemane Lion and Anafenza, the Foremost—make that 6-0.
Sacks was quick to begin applying pressure with a Warden of the First Tree that quickly grew to a 3/3, while Mason, who had mulliganed to 6, wasn't able to start playing defense until his Courser of Kruphix came down on turn three.
Mason tried to stave off Sacks's attack with Satyr tokens from Xenagos, the Reveler.
He followed that up with a copy of Xenagos, the Reveler, planning to gum up the ground against Sacks's army, which by now had grown to include Anafenza, the Foremost. But Sacks had Dromoka's Command to force a sacrifice of the Courser, and clear the way for his creatures to take down the Planeswalker.
Warden of the First Tree continued to grow with each attack thanks to Anafenza, while Sacks's removal spells kept the path clear. Mason tried to rebuild with a Genesis Hydra and then a Whisperwood Elemental. When Sacks had an Abzan Charm to kill the 4/4 before it had the opportunity to manifest a creature, Mason scooped up his cards.
Sacks 1 – Mason 0
“Hopefully Dromoka's Command is not in my future again,” Mason chuckled, as they shuffled up for the next game.
“Yeah, I tried to keep up a poker face, but it was tough,” Sacks grinned.
Both players kept seven cards this time, and Mason started off with face-up Rattleclaw Mystic, which promptly died of a Self-Inflicted Wound from Sacks. Mason went right on accelerating with a Sylvan Caryatid, while Sacks got set to begin attacking with a copy of Rakshasa Deathdealer.
Sacks tried to find a way around or over Mason's Hornet Nest in Game 2.
First, however, he would have to find a way through Mason's Hornet Nest, which threatened to create an army of deathtouch Insects unless Sack could either remove it, or find a way to attack in the air. A Genesis Hydra dug Mason to a copy of Xenagos, which made a Satyr token, as the ground continued to get ever more clogged.
Sacks finally decided he had to get through one way or the other, attacking with his Siege Rhino and putting two Insects on Mason's side of the table. A follow-up Atarka for Mason whittled Sacks's board down to Rakshasa Deathdealer and Siege Rhino. With a Whisperwood Elemental to follow that up, Mason managed to pull significantly ahead on the board.
Sacks added a Warden to the table, but with an army of Insects, Satyrs and Dragons coming back across for Mason, the players were soon off to a third and final game.
Sacks 1 – Mason 1
Sacks started off at a hefty disadvantage, with a mulligan to four in Game 3. “I got this,” he said with a grin. “Fun fact: I'm 5-0 lifetime on mulls to four—better four cards than five.” After he finally kept, he managed to make his first three land drops and play an Anafenza right on time. Mason, flush with a full starting seven, played an Elvish Mystic and turn-three Xenagos.
Siege Rhino joined the Anafenza, but both creatures were going have a hard time attacking through Mason's army, which had swelled to include a Courser of Kruphix, Whisperwood Elemental and Nylea's Disciple. They came crashing in anyhow and when the dust settled Sacks had lost all his creatures, while Mason had kept his Xenagos, Whisperwood and two tokens.
They dropped Sacks to 9. Sacks passed the turn and when Mason attacked again, Sacks extended his hand.
Sacks 1 – Mason 2