Players Tour Finals Day 1 Coverage
While we’re about to see a tremendous number of Temur Reclamation mirrors, there are a bunch of innovative, disruptive strategies to attack the Growth Spiral decks from different angles. The Finals has a multitude of the most famous players in the world, including the entire Magic Pro League, so stay tuned for some fantastic matches!
This page is being updated as new games are played and rounds completed, so refresh regularly!
Double Masters Spoilers
Game 1: Eli Loveman leads with a powerful t1 Pelt Collector, but misses his 2 drop, into a fairly slow keep of Woe Strider, Bolas’s Citadel, and five lands from Will Craddock. On turn 4, Will Craddock deploys a Mayhem Devil, one of the most important cards in Jund Sacrifice, and Eli Loveman takes it down with barely any hesitation with a Vivien, Arkbow Ranger minus on Yorvo. Though the Devil trades with Vivien, the Jund start proves too slow to keep up as the Mono Green deck follows up with a Questing Beast and buffs it up for a quick victory.
Game 2: Craddock starts out with a much more explosive t1 Goose -> t2 Priest draw, Priest being one of the scariest cards for Mono Green to face, but Eli has a fantastic start of his own with t1 Pelt Collector t2 Pelt Collector t3 Yorvo. Still, Craddock deploys a Mayhem Devil the turn after, with the Geese providing a tremendous number of triggers, taking both Pelt Collectors out and forcing Loveman to sacrifice Yorvo to the Priest sacrifice.
Game 3: Mono Green with a bit of a slower start, starting off with a turn 2 Scavenging Ooze versus a turn one Goose, the Ooze not being the most threatening attacker to start off with. Rather than develop his own board as much, Loveman decides to take out the Goose with a Ram Through and buff up his Scavenging Ooze in the process. Craddock recovers with a powerful Woe Strider + Claim the Firstborn play on the Ooze, but then Loveman draws a giant Stonecoil Serpent off the top and puts a Gemrazer on it, making it a 10/10 and swinging Will down to just 4 life. Will, unable to find an answer in time or race his opponent down in time with just a Korvold, is forced to admit defeat!
Mono Green runs over Jund Sacrifice rapidly in our first match, putting on far too much trampling pressure for the Jund player to deal with, and showcasing the power of Gemrazer, Ikoria’s premier Mutate creature!
Ken Yukuhiro is playing an innovative Esper Midrange deck, with a whole host of cards to annoy Temur Reclamation as much as he possibly can! With everyone playing maindeck Aether Gust, Ken looks to strand cards in his opponents’ hand
Game 1: Ken starts with a fantastic hand, full of cards that are great against Javier, from Teferi shutting down their instant speed interaction to maindeck Aether Gust to Rotting Regisaur, the sort of colossal threat that Temur Reclamation has next to no answers to. Ken starts off with a rapid t2 Hallowblade -> Regisaur start on the play and applies extreme pressure from start to finish, which the Reclamation deck finds itself totally unable to answer quickly enough, buying some time with Brazen Borrower on the Regisaur, but still losing in a landslide, just a couple of turns later.
Game 2: Ken with the same Hallowblade -> Regisaur curve on the draw and Javier still finds himself in rough shape even with a much faster Growth Spiral -> Bonecrusher Giant start, since Stomp is unable to take out the Hallowblade and gain any kind of tempo advantage. Ken Aether Gusts the Bonecrusher and hits for 10, halving Javier’s life total on turn 4. Still, Javier uses a second Stomp on the Hallowblade, tapping it down and taking 7 rather than a lethal 10. Javier tries to retake the initiative with Nightpack Ambusher, but gets Petty Thefted immediately. On the next turn, Javier is forced to use a shockland putting him to just 1 life, chump the Regisaur and force the Hallowblade to discard with the Ambusher block. The Ambusher making a wolf starts to pull Javier back into the game, since Ken bricks on his crucial next draw step. A second drawn land locks the game up, since Javier is able to Explode away the Seasoned Hallowblade
Javier showing his immense skill and Reclamation’s comeback potential, stabilising this board on 1 life and taking advantage of his opponent’s poor topdecks to claim the win just a couple of turns later!
Starting off with an interesting scry decision from Ken, who decides to keep the Regisaur as one of his best cards in the match-up, and ditch the land. Javier immediately chumps Hallowblade with Spectral Sailor and forces a discard from Ken, showing how much he values filling his graveyard for Uro, but quickly gets smoked by the Hallowblade into double Regisaur draw.
Ken comfortably takes down the match-up he most wanted to face, that he was specifically targeting with this creative list, and rapidly hates Javier out with essentially the same deadly curve-out each game!
Seth snap keeps a rather weak opening hand, with a full six lands and just one Bonecrusher Giant, though at least that card has plenty of 2-for-1 potential in this match-up! Still, he draws Nightpack Ambusher into Elder Gargaroth, a card that Mono Green truly has a nightmare dealing with, for a respectable curve-out on the play versus Kuo’s fairly medium Green Stompy draw.
Nightpack Ambusher, well, lives its best ambushing life against a Barkhide Troll, putting Seth pretty far ahead, but Mono Green’s host of titanic creatures allow it to stabilise the board in spite of that.
Gemrazer on Yorvo quickly outsizes all of Seth’s creatures, forcing him to triple block with all but the Ambusher, allowing it to stick around and produce some more Wolves. Still, this isn’t too bad for Seth, since he’s just trading two cards for two cards and, the longer the game goes on, the more favoured he is in this match-up.
Oh dear, here comes the pain… Seth blows up Yorvo and refills his entire hand, and at this point the game’s really growth spiralling out of control for poor Tzu-Ching Kuo, who makes a couple more desperation attacks before taking another Explosion to the face and wrapping it up.
Seth Manfield snap keeps a six-lander, still stabilises with comical ease, and then repeatedly blows up the competition!
Impressively, we’ve managed not to run into any Reclamation mirrors in the featured match area as of yet, and this match gives us quite the welcome sight: no copies of the dreaded enchantment on either side!
This isn’t the ideal matchup for Corey Burkhart, who was really hoping to run into a Reclamation deck, but instead runs into a deck with far more anti-aggro tools and sweepers. He kicks things off by keeping a one-lander against a seemingly slower draw from Kowalski until he immediately pulls a Growth Spiral, the card of the format, off the top! Burkhart does manage to make it to land number two after missing it for a couple of turns, but meanwhile amasses quite the swarm.
Kowalski, being crippled by his taplands, finds himself vulnerable to a huge Basri’s Solidarity, and is left digging for Shatter the Sky with his final Growth Spiral of the game, but the heart of the cards doesn’t favour him this time!
Kowalski starts off strong with t2 Jolrael, Mvonvuli Recluse on the play, a devastating card against any aggro deck with the right support, but bricks on his next draw step with a second copy of the Legendary coming off the top and preventing him from triggering the first. Meanwhile, Burkhart curves out with his Hunted Witness -> Seasoned Hallowblade draw, and is able to leverage his Bounty Agent sideboard tech to take out the first Jolrael, only for Kowalski to fire back with the second + a topdecked Growth Spiral. Kowalski starts to use his 2/2 Krasis to pressure Burkhart’s Gideon Blackblade, but takes rather a lot of damage in the process. Kowalski then decides to pump the necessary 6 mana into Jolrael to take out Gideon, but that’s a pretty low tempo play and a topdeck Basri’s Soldarity wraps the game up for Corey, with Shatter the Sky proving a pretty weak answer to double Seasoned Hallowblade!
The underdog in Mono White Aggro, up against a difficult match-up, shows off its brutal jaws with a quick 2-0, chewing right through the competition! Some awkward and mana inefficient draws really let the Growth Spiral deck down this time.
Game 1: Andrew Cuneo’s Mono Green nut draw quickly runs over an anaemic 4-colour Reclamation draw; the double Pelt Collector start on the play is not one many decks can deal with in game 1!
Double Pelt Collector again, but this time on the draw! Cuneo gets heavily mana screwed this game, failing to reach 4 mana with multiple 4-drops in hand, but still manages to stay ahead for most of the game against an opponent on as much as six mana. Finally, Cuneo topdecks the fourth land while staring down Glogowski’s escaped Uro and chooses to charge in with his entire board, losing a Lovestruck Beast to not really deal that much damage. From there, Piotr is able to leverage the insane power of multiple Uros to colossally buffer his life total, while finding plenty of disruption for the Mono Green player.
Glogowski leverages a lot of Uro cycling and clinging on for dear life, until he finally finds the Wrath effect he needs to lock up the game, even killing the Stonecoil Serpent through protection from multi-coloured, since it deals damage to itself!
Game 3: Cuneo has a rapid t2 Paradise Druid -> Questing Beast draw on the play, but meets an Aether Gust into Petty Theft to delay those hasty damages. Finally, Piotr misses a turn of impact and gets run over, is forced to play Kenrith for no value in an attempt to block, and gets blown right out by Primal Might on Shifting Ceratops.
Mono Green overwhelms 4C Reclamation – while Glogowski played a real nailbiter in game 2 and was able to claw his way back, he was unable to keep up with the rapid Stompy curve-outs in either of his games on the draw.
Well, I guess it was too good to last! Let’s head down and check out our first (but I fear far from last) Reclamation mirror. This deck makes for far more interesting mirrors than someother recent best decks, such as Jeskai Lukka or Simic Oko, since it tends to be less draw-dependent and there’s more room for skill, but mirror matches don’t tend to be the most exciting in Magic overall, so let’s hope this one breaks the mould!
Both players have decent draws, with Juza on double Reclamation + payoff, and Elias having the edge with three cheap counterspells. Juza manages to rapidly draw the four-of-a-kind, the full playset of Wilderness Reclamation, which really isn’t where you want to be! Elias counters Juza’s attempts at forcing a Reclamation in play, while progressing his own gameplan, and eventually resolving Nissa, Who Shakes the World with Negate back-up. From there, the game quickly spirals out of Juza’s control!
Juza continues to open hands that would be good in both poker and Magic, with a three-of-a-kind of Growth Spirals ready to go! Meanwhile, Elias’s tapland draw allows his opponent to gain an early edge. This is worsened by a critical misplay where he cracks Fabled Passage before playing his fourth land, preventing him from Aether Gusting his opponent’s Nightpack Ambusher, so he falls far behind on tempo and board presence. Unfortunately for Juza, he starts to flood out a bit while his opponent draws gas and a Reclamation, but he topdecks Negate for an Explosion at a crucial moment and is able to pay for double Mystical Dispute, thanks to some patient and solid play. This allows him to leverage his board advantage into a win, evening things out!
Elias mulls into a bad 5-card hand, and finds himself at an immediate and colossal disadvantage in a value-oriented mirror like this one. Still, he’s able to use Spectral Sailor to recover some of his lost draws, but Martin quickly pulls ahead in the game with his solid 7, resolving a Reclamation with counter back-up and throwing out Sharks of increasing power while waiting for his opponent to over-commit to a play. Finally, Elias taps out for one card too many and gets blown away by an Explosion for precisely lethal.
Hall of Famer and legendary player Martin Juza defeats his opponent on the two most important axes this match, through both better luck and play!
Another case of Temur Reclamation being quickly overwhelmed by powerful aggro curve-outs: this time it’s at the hands of Mardu Winota, a true blast from the past! Lacking Storm’s Wrath in the main-deck, Larsson is rendered completely unable to recover, especially since he draws two Aether Gusts which have very few targets in Jacob’s decks.
Larsson gets to bring in some devastating sideboard cards for this matchup, including Elder Gargaroth and Storm’s Wrath. Jacob’s Kitesail Freebooter lines up poorly into Larsson’s excellent double Bonecrusher Giant draw, which buys him enough time to wait for the most opportune moment to Wrath, before immediately following up with a Gargaroth which prompts a rapid concession.
Kitesail Freebooter runs into another Stomp, but this time Larsson misses land drops and is unable to find a second red source for Storm’s Wrath, allowing Jacobs to land Winota, which immediately searches up a horde of Humans for lethal! Not the luckiest game for the Temur Rec side.
Jacobs leverages the explosive power of Winota, alongside a healthy dose of luck, to take a 2-1 victory over Reclamation with a cool off-meta deck!
Fleurant with an explosive early Jolrael draw, applying some serious early pressure. The first Jolrael gets Nightpack Ambushed, and a copy of Teferi gets taken out by the sideboard Questing Beast, giving Murae the appearance of stabilising… until Fleurant simply activates his second Jolrael’s powerful final ability with four creatures out and attacks for lethal!
Fleurant’s sideboard plan is to go under Temur Reclamation by cutting all his expensive cards like Elspeth Conquers Death. Murae makes the questionable play of simply running out his Bonecrusher Giant on turn 3 without trying to get value out of it, giving Fleurant a window to stick Jolrael early and churn out plenty of cats. Still, a turn 4 Reclamation lends Murae tremendous power and longevity and allows him to snowball out of control, especially with Fleurant no longer having access to ECD. Eventually, Murae is able to resolve a huge Explosion against a weakened Fleurant and takes the match!
Another Reclamation mirror, but at least this one has some sideboarding differences – Ally Warfield appears to have prepared more than Asahara for the field at large, while Asahara has more copies of key cards, such as Spectral Sailor and three copies of Negate, to attack the mirror match, giving them an advantage here.
Warfield fires off a couple of baby Sharks for an early beatdown advantage, but Asahara is able to resolve the first Reclamation and keep Warfield’s off the board. which Asahara eventually leverages into the first Explosion for 7, refilling their whole hand. Asahara eventually wins a game that was over about ten turns before it finally ended, with patient and solid play.
This time, both sides are able to resolve Reclamation, but Asahara is able to take a huge early mana advantage by leveraging Uro and Growth Spiral, while Warfield misses land drops. Asahara is eventually able to use this to start simply making colossal Sharks and make value plays like Escaping Uro to apply pressure without really committing to any big spells like Explosion and risking running them into counter-magic. Eventually, however, Warfield starts to pull back using the immense power of two copies of her sideboard mirror-breaker Commence the Endgame. Both players battle on with plenty of resources, with the advantage swinging back and forth, but finally Asahara is able to draw many cards off Spectral Sailor, remove Warfield’s Reclamations, and dominate the game.
The Reclamation deck more suited for the mirror wins, with some fantastic play from both sides!
It’s not often that you see one Spectral Sailor dominate a game quite as much as this, but Baeckstrom’s extremely reactive opener is not at all suited to beating it! Eventually, he’s forced to fire off no fewer than two small Explosions to get rid of it before it produces too much card advantage. Eventually, however, Murae floods out heavily and Baeckstrom eventually gets to stick his own Spectral Sailor and give Murae a taste of his own medicine, burying him with the raw card advantage accrued!
Zhang’s planeswalker deck is running maindeck Cry of the Carnarium and Ritual of Soot, which would ordinarily lead to a painful end for the poor Mono Black player, who has his board totally cleared twice, but Zhang ends up bricking on draw steps a bit too much, especially in the face of repeated discard, and losing a very close game to being chipped down!
Kumagai starts out with a crushing amount of early discard, with two copies of Kitesail Freebooter being devastating against Zhang’s slow start. By the time Zhang finally draws a sweeper off the top (and therefore undiscarded), Kumagai is able to use Mobilized District to finish him off!
A strong showing for the Mono Black deck, able to exploit the planeswalker deck’s inconsistencies and weakness to discard, to a 2-0 finish in some close games!
Ken Yukuhiro with his incredible anti-Reclamation Esper Midrange deck faces off against Mono Green, not the optimal match-up, but one he certainly has some good tools for!
Both players have solid draws, with Yukuhiro having two copies of his most important card in the match-up available in Aether Gust, and Cuneo having a great curve. Somehow Cuneo manages not to draw any of his big threats, drawing far too many copies of Pelt Collector, so the Esper Midrange creatures actually end up being bigger and outsizing Mono Green of all things!
Strangely, Ken chooses to keep Mystical Dispute in his deck (possibly because there are a bunch of cards he doesn’t want in this match-up), which is awful here and he unfortunately draws two of them in his opener. Rotting Regisaur provides a solid racing line and the game is very back and forth, with great topdecks on both sides, until Cuneo is able to wrap it up with a Primal Might scaled up for massive damage.
Ken has another draw bogged down by Mystical Disputes which Cuneo is able to play around easily for much of the game, but he begins to flood out versus Ken’s much better topdecks, and eventually loses to Regisaur into Sphinx into Sphinx.
Ken, with the sweetest deck of the whole tournament at his side, proves that it has a lot of longevity in taking down a hard match-up, even against decks he wasn’t looking to directly counter!
Game 1: Reid Duke keeps a Temur Reclamation nut draw, and then gets absolutely crushed by a Venerated Loxodon topdeck from Mike Sigrist with the above hand anyway!
Game 2: Sigrist has an incredibly medium draw, with no buff effects available, so he ends up playing a bunch of 1/1 tokens and not doing much for quite a while, but unfortunately for Duke, he’s mana screwed off casting Storm’s Wrath for much of the game. Finally, Duke manages to find that red source and pull back at pretty much the last ossible moment! As usual, Uro overperforms in keeping the Reclamation player alive.
Game 3: Reid Duke keeps a borderline hand versus one of the classic Mono White Loxodon draws; this match is really showcasing how hard a time Reclamation routinely has against this deck since, even if Reid draws a sweeper, Sigrist is able to hold some creatures in hand to recover, and his copies of Seasoned Hallowblade will survive. Technical abilities prevent us from seeing the end, but Sigrist does end up winning (and probably doesn’t take all that long to do it!).
Game 1: In a long and swingy game that frequently leaves both players low on resources, with a suite of discard alongside the incremental advantage of Zhang’s planeswalkers and Elspeth Conquers Deaths being surprisingly capable of keeping up with the Reclamation deck, Zhang finally wins with Nicol Bolas + The Elderspell to ultimate immediately, a combo right out of the two weeks after War of the Spark’s release!
Game 2: Kvartek floods out tremendously for most of this game, having drawn 14 lands at a point where his opponent had drawn 7, and having gone through 20+ by the end of the game! Truly, some of the most absurd flood I’ve ever seen, and yet he was only one Explosion away from winning for most of the game! He didn’t get there, so perhaps the Universe really is sick of Reclamation winning too many tournaments…
Game 1: Larsen starts with a fantastic draw, controlling the board with Priest of Forgotten Gods and multiple Mayhem Devils, with Trail of Crumbs rapidly accruing him massive value. Asahara is forced to play at a mana disadvantage for several turns to keep Bolas’s Citadel off the board and prevent the Devil-Citadel combo kill, but in the end Larsen is able to resolve it and kills Asahara on the spot.
Game 2: Asahara is able to gain an early advantage and applies a lot of flying pressure this game, leaving Larsen on a prety low life total when he stabilises, but Larsen is able to stabilise, accrue colossal value with Trail of Crumbs, and then stick a Korvold which buries Asahara in card advantage and lands a convincing victory!
Jund Food has been a largely forgotten deck in Standard, but it has shown it can still put up amazing results and easily defeat Reclamation, a purported bad match-up, in the hands of a skilled pilot!