Finals: (19) Lukas Blohon (White-Black Control) vs. (2) Owen Turtenwald (Temur Emerge)

Posted in Event Coverage on August 7, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

Before his opponent arrived in the feature match area, No. 2-ranked, Hall of Fame–elect, soon-to-be-crowned two-time Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald paced around the finals table. He eyes darted everywhere, but nowhere. The ChannelFireball: The Pantheon team member is always in the zone before matches, but this time was like no other. He had never been this deep into a Pro Tour Top 8 before, despite three prior appearances. Winning this match would be his cap on yet another fantastic year from the seasoned Magic veteran.

Soon after the pacing, his opponent arrived. Czech Republic's Lukas Blohon returned from his 3-0 sweep in the semifinals to earn his spot in the finals. This was sweet justice for Blohon, who had finished 9th at the last Pro Tour. This was the Cabin Crew team member's first return to the Pro Tour Top 8 since 2012's Pro Tour Dark Ascension, and he has had a solid, if quiet, Platinum-earning year. That is, of course, until now. Now he was looking to end his 2015–2016 sentence with an exclamation point.

The matchup between Blohon's White-Black Control and Turtenwald's Temur Emerge ("Temurge") was an interesting one. And one that Turtenwald had clearly thought a lot about. Until one day before decklists were due for the Pro Tour, Turtenwald was planning to play the White-Black Control deck himself. But at the last minute—sick to death of losing to the Emrakul decks—he made the switch to his team's Emerge deck.

Aiming to power out an early Emrakul, the Promised End and wreak havoc on the opponents' game plans, the deck could sorely mess with White-Black Control, which is made up of permanents and spells that remove permanents.

But Blohon still had game against Emrakul. In a flavor windmill, it's the planeswalkers of the Gatewatch that can be a mess for the deck—specifically, the newest oath-taker, Liliana, the Last Hope. If Blohon landed and protected early planeswalkers, he could potentially amass an insurmountable advantage.

The Games

Lukas Blohon had the first play—Liliana, the Last Hope as his opening spell. He followed up with card draw, Read the Bones, as the control deck is wont to do. Neither of the two useable modes of the planeswalker were much help at the moment, with no creatures to kill and little graveyard recursion in the deck. However, it was the +1 loyalty that was the key. Getting an emblem from Liliana's ultimate would be recurring damage that would quickly overwhelm Turtenwald.

Blohon had just set a time bomb.

Meanwhile, Turtenwald spent his early turns sacrificing multiple Vessel of Nascencys to stock his graveyard. He began his fifth turn with six card types in the graveyard. Blohon was quite interested in the exact number, because he needed to know how early Emrakul, the Promised End could be cast. Six mana wasn't quite enough to cast the 13/13, but it was close—too close. Two competing clocks.

Lukas Blohon would need to ensure his clock was the fastest.

Now Turtenwald's hand was five lands and a Grapple with the Past—with no Emrakul in sight. But Blohon didn't know that and had to play accordingly. He continued to tick up Liliana, aiming for the potentially game-ending emblem.

He puzzled over the cards in his hand, figuring out just how bad it would be for him if Emrakul or Elder Deep-Fiend arrived. A Pilgrim's Eye hit the graveyard for Turtenwald—seven card types in the 'yard.

But Turtenwald didn't actually find Emrakul. And Blohon made a Liliana emblem unimpeded.

Turtenwald's Ishkanah, Grafwidow tried to slow down the new Angel-Zombie assault Blohon mounted. In the interim, Blohon cast Archangel Avacyn and Linvala, the Preserver. Turtenwald's roadblock wasn't working.

The Spiders played chump for one attack phase, earning a single extra turn for Turtenwald, but his deck gave him nothing helpful. Angels and Zombies teamed up to run him over, all at the direction of the Gatewatch's newest member—Liliana.

In the second game Turtenwald had the first go, starting his graveyard-building early. Blohon's salvos were Transgress the Mind (taking Nissa's Pilgrimage) and another third-turn Liliana, the Last Hope, which had caused Turtenwald so much consternation last time.

This game, however, Gnarlwood Dryad—with delirium already—kept the planeswalker at bay. Turtenwald soon created a Wretched Gryff from inside the Dryad, emerging it as it exploded into tiny pieces and fell into the graveyard.

But the planeswalker assault continued from Blohon, with an Ob Nixilis Reignited—who didn't exactly take the oath. Even Ishkanah, Grafwidow fully charged up was no match for the Liliana +1 activation along with a Languish.

But Turtenwald still had tons of game up his sleeves.

"Instant, sorcery, artifact, creature, land, enchantment," he said as he counted on his fingers. By this point in the tournament, Blohon knew exactly what that meant—Emrakul, the Promised End. How prepared was Blohon for this blowout?

The Czech showed his hand to Turtenwald— Hallowed Moonlight, Blighted Fen, Forsaken Sanctuary, Grasp of Darkness, and two Archangel Avacyns. With Ob Nixilis at 3 loyalty and Liliana at 5.

Turtenwald played as follows—minus Liliana; play Blighted Fen; cast Avacyn; -3 the Ob Nixilis (killing it) to fail to destroy the Angel; then use Grasp of Darkness to actually kill it.

Try as he may, Blohon could not escape the shadow of Emrakul.

It was a terrible turn for Blohon; I'm not sure why he played that way. It seemed very bad indeed.

His actual turn was spent killing Emrakul with Blighted Fen, but Blohon was in a much less commanding position than before Tentaculus Maximus. But he still had Liliana. And even Turtenwald's follow-up Elder Deep-Fiend was unhelpful—especially when Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet came to town to join his favorite planeswalker in Zombie-making joy. More Zombies incoming!

Liliana made another emblem, and we were off to the Zombie races. (Which I'm sure would likely be quite slow, but it's a marathon, not a sprint.) Kalitas started munching on all the Zombies that the emblem was spitting out—and Blohon was gaining life along the way.

It was 36-1 and Turtenwald was facing down an 11/12 Kalitas and an Avacyn, the Purifier when he began turning it around. He cast Grapple with the Past to return his Emrakul and recast it.

A second Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet, Grasp of Darkness, Ultimate Price, and Plains.

Could Owen figure out how to win?

Turtenwald thought long and hard. Surely there was an out to be found!

The Avacyn ran headlong into Emrakul. The second Kalitas replaced the first (remember the pesky legends rule). On the end step, after Zombies were made, Owen sacrificed one Zombie to the Kalitas before using the last two mana to cast Grasp of Darkness in response, killing it. It was a brutal turn. Again, I don't know why Blohon did it. But could Owen come back from here?

Wretched Gryff sacrificing the Pilgrim's Eye flashed back Kozilek's Return, wiping the board of the Zombies Blohon had gained since, and Blohon was at 22.

Turtenwald was on the precipice. He needed an Elder Deep-Fiend; he needed Grapple with the Past; he needed something. Instead, he drew a land.

He could hit Blohon for another 16 damage, but the next two Zombies, plus a Shambling Vent as a third attacker, were enough to steal the final life point.

Owen Turtenwald's sideboard:

-4 Gnarlwood Dryad
-1 Wretched Gryff
-4 Kozilek's Return
+1 Den Protector
+1 Coax from the Blind Eternities
+2 Invasive Surgery
+2 Shaman of Forgotten Ways
+2 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
+1 Negate

Lukas Blohon's sideboard:

-1 Sorin, Grim Nemesis
-1 Linvala, the Preserver
-3 Liliana, the Last Hope
-4 Languish
-1 Ultimate Price
-2 Hallowed Moonlight
+1 Transgress the Mind
+1 Anguished Unmaking
+4 Duress
+2 Infinite Obliteration
+4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

"Well, I thought before sideboard was pretty good for me," Turtenwald said.

"Yeah, me too..." Blohon replied. Both players laughed a bit. Blohon's was heartier.

Going into the third game, Turtenwald knew he was behind. He had lost the first two favored games. Even the powerful Emrakul hadn't served him victories when she appeared. His last-minute deck audible had served him well all weekend, until he was up against his previous choice. By the power of Emrakul, do something for Turtenwald here!

Turtenwald kept a seven-card hand that needed to find a third land. Mountain, Shivan Reef, Pilgrim's Eye, Coax from the Blind Eternities, Elder Deep-Fiend, Vessel of Nascency, and Emrakul, the Promised End. It was a perfectly reasonable keep, his deck just needed to give him the third land.

Turtenwald's hand was perfect, he just needed another land.

Turtenwald played first, but it was Blohon with the first spell—nabbing every Emrakul, the Promised End from Turtenwald's hand and deck with Infinite Obliteration, including two from his hand. In case you couldn't tell, Turtenwald had missed his land drop. Oh, and he had drawn a second copy of the exact card Blohon named for the extra blowout.

After Gideon, Ally of Zendikar came down, with nary a third land, Turtenwald just smiled. And then Owen Turtenwald started to laugh. It was only for a second that the face dropped, but what else could he do?

He regained his professional demeanor moments after, but though his last-minute deck swap had got him to the Pro Tour finals, it would not make him a champion.

Blohon methodically played through the final turns, annihilating Emrakul for the third time in a row with a Gatewatch member—this time Gideon.

On the final turn, Turtenwald extended his hand, Blohon shook it, and we crowned a Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Champion.

By defeating Owen Turtenwald 3-0, Team Cabin Crew's Lukas Blohon has won Pro Tour Eldritch Moon in his second ever Pro Tour Top 8! Congratulations.

Pro Tour Eldritch Moon Champion Lukas Blohon, with teammates from Cabin Crew.

Lukas Blohon's White-Black Control

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Owen Turtenwald's Temur Emerge

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