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Grinder 1 Finals: Brad Rowell vs. Brian Stroh

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Rowell is a California player, and is playing a White-Blue Punisher deck, very similar to the one played by the Scandinavian team of the same name in the Odyssey Block portion of Worlds last year. The deck uses small white creatures such as Phantom Nomad and Spurnmage Advocate, along with Battle Screech. Deep Analysis and Quiet Speculation provide card advantage, ensuring that the deck rarely runs out of threats.

Brian Stroh, a New York player who just missed qualifying by coming in 11th at Regionals, is running red-green and has a hard match-up in front of him. To make matters, worse, Rowell is playing Prismatic Strands maindeck, which can cause plenty of headaches for Stroh's aggressive strategy.

Game 1

Stroh opened with Llanowar Elves, and Rowell had Spurnmage Advocate. Call of the Herd made an elephant token on turn two, and Stroh summoned Patrol Hound. The elephant got through for three damage, and the Call was flashed back to make one more. Rowell played a second Advocate, then cast Quiet Speculation, getting two Prismatic Strands and Battle Screech- the Screech was flashed back right away. Prismatic Strands nullified Stroh's attack, and he played a Basking Rootwalla.

Rowell untapped and played a second Battle Screech, then flashed it back to go up to eight birds. Thanks to the other Prismatic Strands, the birds survived a Violent Eruption. Stroh swung back with all his creatures, and Rowell used both Spurnmage Advocates, targeting the same two cards in the graveyard. This surprised Stroh a bit, as he thought that each Advocate had to return cards on its own for the abilities to resolve. It didn't matter much, since Stroh was too far behind and would lose to the birds on the following turn no matter what.

Rowell- 1 Stroh- 0

Game 2

Stroh drew a hand with no lands, and sent it back. Rowell had Spurnmage Advocate, and Stroh played Wild Mongrel. Quiet Speculation fetched two Prismatic Strands and Battle Screech, and the Mongrel got through for two damage. Firebolt targeted the Advocate and resolved, as Rowell didn't want to use a Strands to save it. He untapped, played Phantom Nomad (which was Firebolted), and the Mongrel got through once again. Rowell untapped, cast Battle Screech, and flashed it back. The other Screech was flashed back soon after, and Rowell summoned Glory.

Stroh- "Did you build this deck to beat red/green?"
Rowell- "No."
Stroh- "Well, it's doing a pretty good job."

Stroh attacked with the Mongrel, and Glory blocked. Two Violent Eruptions were nullified by the Strands already in the graveyard, and Rowell made a bad situation even worse by playing Worship. Along with Glory, the enchantment set up a huge obstacle, and in a few turns the birds finished it to send Rowell to Nationals.

Final Result: Rowell- 2 Stroh- 0

Brad Rowell Grinder 1 Top 4
Blue-White Punisher

Brian Stroh Grinder 1 Top 8
Green-Red Beatdown

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