Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world . . . two Wisconsin residents meet in the Finals of Grand Prix Vegas 1. Two-time Grand Prix Top 8 finisher Aaron Lewis, living in Madison, is up against MOCS qualified Lucas Duchow who resides just north in Kaukauna. The Wisconsin scene was always known to be strong, but lately it's been exploding in the standings—getting two Pro Tour Top 8s to their name in the last two Pro Tours.
Both players' decks are solid versions of their respective archetypes. Duchow was playing Black-Red Elementals with a veritable ton of removal. He would hope to exploit his fast Smokebraider mana to get a foothold onto the board early, then use the multiple activated abilities and removal to keep himself ahead. Then maybe win with a giant Profane Command.
Lewis, on the other side of the table, was playing a White-Blue Skies deck, filled with flyers like Indomitable Archangel, Spectral Procession, and Cloud Elemental. He supported them with Æthersnipe and multiple Arrest to make sure he could cruise to victory in the air. And Lewis had some solid ground creatures like Water Servant to muck up Duchow's path as much as possible.
We'll see whose plan would execute effectively.
These two played fast in the early game. The first turns were all the sounds of snapping cardboard against playmats one after another.
It was Aaron Lewis who came out of the gates first. He landed Sickleslicer, Gust-Skimmer, and Indomitable Archangel, with a Tumble Magnet to back it all up. He had Duchow down to 13 before his opponent could get any damage in at all. The Magnet was keeping a lid on things perfectly.
But Lucas Duchow had been developing a board of his own. He had two Smokebraider, supported by a Ghostly Changeling, Inner-Flame Igniter, and a Sickle Ripper. Then he took out the Archangel with a Spitebellows. Though his little creatures didn't look like much, given enough mana, the activated abilities could confuse any blocking situation for Lewis. That is, if he could get that far.
Lewis seemed to have all the answers to Duchow's questions. An Arrest, then another Arrest kept the assault manageable, all the while his Gust-Skimmer flew above the fray, plinking away Duchow's life total. Lewis's deck was putting on just enough pressure on to keep Duchow off kilter.
Aaron Lewis 1 – 0 Lucas Duchow
Again, these players each burst into action. Duchow had a Soulbright Flamekin, Ghostly Changeling and Inner-Flame Igniter. There were joined by a Gorehorn Minotaurs—though it was without its Bloodthirsty +1/+1 counters.
Lewis had quick creatures of his own. He went Sunspear Shikari, Cloud Elemental, Arrest on the Ghostly Changeling, and Water Servant. Both decks' mana curves seemed smooth like butter. Lewis cast his Æthersnipe, and bounced the Minotaur to Duchow's hand.
As the board was stabilized, Lewis thought it was the right move to bounce the most expensive thing, but a Gut Shot to Lewis's stomach region meant that the formerly 3/3 turned into a 5/5, and became much more imposing. It eventually traded with the Water Servant, something it's previous Hill-Giant incarnation could not have done.
Cloud Elemental was the only flyer, and was trying to play the role of Gust-Skimmer form the last game. But into took a Fiery Fall into the graveyard without doing too much damage. But Duchow had a removal-light draw, and now he was out of gas.
That's when the 1-for-1 trades started, but they all seemed to be in Lewis's favor. Duchow's board was getting smaller and smaller, and his draws were not being helpful. But Lewis's hand could keep going for days. Duchow's life slipped down even further, and he announced the totals, “2-20. I got this.”
He didn't. Some pesky flyers took away the final points with ease, and Duchow extended his hand to Lewis.
Aaron Lewis 2 – 0 Lucas Duchow
Congratulations to Aaron Lewis—The winner of the Grand Prix Vegas 1!