Christian Calcano is never one to give up. Having suffered a heartbreaking end in his quest for Platinum status in the Pro Tour Players Club at Pro Tour Magic Origins by falling one point short of his goal, Calcano continues to do nothing more than impress. He remains undeterred in his pursuit of being the best, starting off this season relatively strong with 7 Pro Points at Pro Tour Battle for Zendikar. Now, he was just one match away from earning another 8 along with his third Grand Prix title.
Jarvis Yu, on the other hand, is also a fine example of never giving up. The longtime player and writer from Rockville, Maryland has long pursued his paths to the Pro Tour as the epitome of the Pro Tour Qualifier veteran. However, long-term success on the Pro Tour evaded him, along with a Top 8 at any Grand Prix. Until now.
Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma 2015, no matter the result of his finals match between players who will never throw in the towel, would prove to be the Grand Prix of the player you can't help but root for when their back is against the wall. There was a guarantee that, no matter the outcome, at least one of them was going to get what they have worked so hard for.
"Alright, Calc..."said Yu as the two finished shuffling up.
"Let's have some good, honest, clean Magic."
Calcano nodded with a smile. The two shook hands, and they were on their way.
Yu led with Mox Diamond, discarding Maze of Ith, Thespian's Stage, and Life from the Loam to get back the land he discarded in what was a very powerful first turn. Calcano led with Gitaxian Probe to see what was going on: Yu had two Maze of Ith, Crop Rotation, and Punishing Fire. Calcano deployed Delver of Secrets and passed, firing off Daze to halt the dredged Loam.
Calcano cast his 2-mana creature, as a second Daze constrained Yu's Life From the Loams as well as his mana, since the Loam player had no additional lands to deploy unless his critical spell resolved.
With the land in play, Calcano scooped up his creatures as well as his permanents. "I can't beat that," he said, and they were on to the second game.
Calcano led off the second game with Gitaxian Probe, revealing Tranquil Thicket, two copies of Maze of Ith, Mox Diamond, Rishadan Port, Grove of the Burnwillows, and Punishing Fire. Delver of Secrets followed, and Yu dropped both Mox Diamond—pitching Tranquil Thicket—and Rishadan Port. Yu used the Port on upkeep in response to the Delver trigger, which transformed revealing Ponder before Calcano attacked for 3.
Punishing Fire quickly dispatched of the Insectile Aberration, and Grove of the Burnwillows came down next to recur the removal spell. Calcano main phased a Brainstorm, then deployed Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman, the latter of which bit the dust in the second iteration of the Punishing Fire/Grove of the Burnwillows combo. Calcano drew, and then played out what he had.
First, Young Pyromancer came down, and then Gitaxian Probe to see what Yu had while making a 1/1. Next was a Brainstorm, and then finally a land and Deathrite Shaman, as Calcano passed with a Force of Will in hand.
Punishing Fire came down again, this time dispatching Young Pyromancer. On the next turn, Ponder found Calcano Surgical Extraction, which finally dealt with the Punishing Fire, but not before Yu took down Deathrite Shaman. At that point, Calcano had his opponent at 14 and without Punishing Fire, but was facing down two Maze of Ith with an Insectile Aberration and two 1/1 elemental tokens.
With more than enough time, Yu began to dive into his Life from the Loam engine with Tranquil Thicket and a fetch land. Eventually, he found Gamble, which in turn found Molten Vortex. That met Force of Will, but it was of little matter. Loam kept going, this time recurring Wastelands while he sat behind his three Maze of Ith. The win was practically in place, but Yu's game was on point: he took the slow and steady approach to his victory, playing around any possible way that Calcano could steal the win.
Even with Submerge in Calcano's hand for the Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage kill, with the route Yu was going down, he was going to be out of Islands due to Wasteland and Exploration, which would mean that Submerge would be stranded, and what few outs he had left were quickly becoming null.
With the vice firmly in place, it was just a matter of time. Once Calcano was out of lands, he was out of time, and that earned the handshake for Yu.
Congratulations to Jarvis Yu, Grand Prix Seattle-Tacoma 2015 champion!