Kyle Rose vs John Hunka
In 1998, Matt Linde faced Mike Long in a battle of the mono-white weenie deck and a combo deck. Again, this year. No. Today history repeats itself with Kyle Rose's white weenie deck facing John Hunka's Enchantress strategy that has not been seen in type 2 since Earthcraft was added to the banned list.
Sadly, the match was less than exciting. There was little interaction between the two decks, each pursuing its own strategy and mostly just ignoring the opponent.
Rose was able to deal over ten points of damage with a horde of 1/1 creatures under Crusade. Unlike the Bargain decks though, Hunka's Enchantress deck does not need to be at a very high life total in order to win.
Hunka's combo worked out perfectly, providing those watching the live video coverage with an excellent example of how this deck is supposed to win.
First Hunka played a pair of Enchantresses - Argothian and Verduran. He went on to cast multiple enchantments that speed up mana development - Wild Growth, Fertile Ground and Exploration. He was able to keep doing so because playing each enchantment would let him draw two cards. Once it seemed Hunka was about to run out of mana he would cast either a Cloud of Faeries of Frantic Search - untapping his Forest enchanted with a number of Wild Growths and his Serra's Sanctum. Eventually he would go through his entire deck and cast Yawgmoth's Will, generating more mana with the "free" spells out of the graveyard. In the end, there would be sufficient mana to cast Stroke of Genius for the win. Even if he couldn't pull off enough mana with Searches and Faeries, a single Palinchron provides the ability to gain infinite mana when needed.
Second game was a lot more difficult for Hunka. Rose played a turn four Humility, preventing Hunka from being able to draw cards via Enchantress. Down to one life, Hunka was finally forced to try and go off a few turns later. He managed to find a Disenhant, deal with Humility and get his combo going in the nick of time.
It seemed like Hunka was about to sweep as he started off the combo in game three. It was not to be as the combo stalled on him and he conceded the game with 10 mana in his mana pool and no way to use it.
In the fourth game Rose's Humility strategy paid off. Hunka could not find the Disenchant in time, was forced to block with his two Enchantresses and eventually lose the game to 1/1 attacking creatures.
In the final game three 1/1 creatures were on the table by turn two, joined by Glorious Anthem on the third turn. Rose managed to deal a lot of early damage to Hunka, who had a mediocre draw. Eventually Hunka did manage to start generating extra mana and try to go off but luck was not with him today. Around 5:30pm EST Rose won the fifth game to become the sixth U.S. National Champion.
Rose 3 - Hunka 2
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