It's all about Necropotence. At least, Extended is before the bannings take effect. The finals were a battle between the two ways to use the mighty skull. Ryan Soh played Necro-Donate, and Tham Tishen had control Necropotence. His deck was tuned and designed to defeat Necro-Donate, with Phyrexian Negators backing up Wasteland, Unmask, Duress and life gaining off Drain Life. As in the quarterfinals, Tishen faced a fellow member of team TurboMan, named for the toy from Jingle All the Way.
Game one, Soh mulliganed too much land and Force of Will into a no land hand, which he again mulliganed into Force of Will, Donate, two Consults and Necro. Turn one, Tishen Duressed, Soh Force of Willed it, and Tishen Unmasked with Drain Life, taking Necropotence. Soh drew Gemstone Mine, and on his turn Tishen played a Swamp. Soh drew another Gemstone Mine, and Tishen consulted for and played Phyrexian Negator. Soh needed to consult twice, for land and Necropotence, but the consult for Necropotence killed all his Illusions.
Soh took out Mana Vaults and two Demonic Consultations, and put in Negators. Tishen chose not to sideboard, because he was a friend with his opponent and his maindeck was almost correct anyway. Soh drew Illusions and Donate in his opening hand. He used Duress to take Unmask, leaving Contagion and Necropotence. Clearly, his plan was to win the game fast enough for Necropotence not to matter. Tishen just played a Swamp. Soh played a Skerry, and drew Negator. Again Tishen just played a Swamp. Soh then played the Negator and an Underground Sea. Tishen played Necropotence, paid five life and Contagioned the Negator. Soh played another land and cast Illusions and Donate for the game.
Game three, Tishen Unmasked on turn one, then cast two Dark Rituals, Consulted for Negator and played it. Soh played a Skerry first turn and a Gemstone Mine (and Duress) third turn while Tishen just played Swamps. Then Soh played an Underground River, Unmasked and cast Illusions holding Donate and the land. Tishen drew Demonic Consultation, which could have won him the game in several ways, but he played a Swamp before consulting and named Wasteland! He couldn't play the Wasteland that turn, so the Illusions got Donated and Soh won game three.
Game four, Tishen cast Duress on turn one and then Unmask, leaving just Phyrexian Negator and land. Soh played Skerry for the second turn Negator but it was Wastelanded. Soh just played a Swamp, as did Tishen, as did Soh. Stalled on land, Tishen then Ritualed out a Negator (over a Masticore) on the next turn. Soh then played Underground River and his own Negator. Tishen played a Swamp and did not attack. Soh then cast Unmask with a Necropotence, and took Masticore over Contagion, then attacked Tishen down to 15. Tishen took the damage so he could use Contagion, which he cast next turn with Unmask, but Soh used Boomerang to return the Negator to his hand! He put the Negator back down with them both at 15. Tishen attacked Soh to 10, and Soh attacked Tishen to 10. Tishen then attacked Soh down to five, and Consulted for and played another Negator to win the next turn. But because blocking would have destroyed his entire side, he had to take the damage when Soh attacked him, leaving him at five. That let Soh win the last Grand Prix of the season in style: With Kaervek's Spite.
© 1995-2003 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Wizards is headquartered in Renton, Washington, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057.