$25,000. An invitation to the 2016 Magic: The Gathering World Championship. An invitation to next year's Magic Online Championship, for a chance to run it back.
The difference between first and second was huge, and the pressure was on. Alexander Ivanov and Niels Noorlander were playing the final match of this year's event, and both of them had their eyes on the prize.
Who would win? They were about to find out.
Ivanov, as the top seed of this match, chose Standard as the first format in their best-of-three matches finals.
The first game was decided as soon as Ivanov was able to wipe Noorlander's board with Kozilek's Return and Fall of the Titans, as the reload from Noorlander was answered by Chandra, Flamecaller when it went down by three loyalty.
Sitting at 10 life and facing down Chandra, Noorlander was able to stave off the inevitable but ultimately succumbed.
The second game was Noorlander serving it back to Ivanov, crunching in for boat loads of damage with Reality Smasher and forcing Ivanov into a precarious line of play just to answer it. When Ivanov cleared the board with Pyromancer's Goggles and Fall of the Titans, a Collected Company locked up the second game for Noorlander.
The third game was won off the back of Reality Smasher from Noorlander, ensuring his lead in the finals. As bottom seed, he also had the option to determine the format of the next match. Which was...
The first game of Legacy went quickly, as an early Sneak Attack ensured Niels Noorlander would be able to play a hasty Griselbrand and a hasty Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in the same turn. Ivanov, as expected, did not survive on the onslaught.
In the second game, Noorlander managed an early Blood Moon, along with a backup copy. This locked Ivanov down to just casting spells from Mox Diamond, but before Ivanov was able to surmount a real offense, a Show and Tell from Noorlander allowed him to put Griselbrand into play, barricading any offense from his opponent for a turn.
With a second Griselbrand and a Sneak Attack in hand, Noorlander was ready to race. His in-play Griselbrand kept attacking Ivanov down, and as Ivanov attempted to race, a Sneak Attack activation created a surprise 7/7 lifelink blocker for Ivanov's attacking creatures. With a healthy life total after combat, Noorlander paid 7 life, finding another hasty threat to Sneak Attack into play.
The resulting attack won him the game, the match, and the championship title.
Congratulations to Niels Noorlander, this year's Magic Online champion!