This could be a big win for Bob Maher. Playing some of the finest Magic of his career, he's done no worse than ninth at three consecutive Onslaught Limited Grand Prix, and even took home the title at Copenhagen. Add to that a Top 8 performance at Pro Tour - Houston, and Maher has many expecting a second Player of the Year title from him. Phil Freneau is earning no such praise, but the former ABU side-man has broken his streak of mediocre finishes to really come on strong this weekend. He even had Maher reining in his confidence as they sat down to play. Freneau had the added incentive to avenge roommate Brian Hegstad's defeat at Maher's hands in the semifinals.
"Who breaks up the All Roommate Finals?" - Gary Wise
"I'm sorry, I tried to make Top 8." - Dave Williams
Maher started with Sparksmith, which was quickly joined by a Spitfire Handler to take down Freneau's opening of Nantuko Husk. Freneau played a face-down Foothill Guide and uncovered it in response to another activation. Maher was ready to clear the way with Shock, and added a morph. Freneau's way was not great. It worsened with the addition of another Sparksmith. By the time he drew and played Daunting Defender, Maher was more than willing to take six to off it.
Freneau floundered, unable to stop the 'Smiths. He played out a pair of desperation creatures, and hoped for the best.
"You're at nine, right? Those two fellows cannot block." - Bob Maher, Jr.
This last said as he showed Wave of Indifference for Freneau's blockers. The remaining mana fed his Handler enough that the attack was lethal.
Maher 1 - Freneau 0
Game two started a little more sanely. Maher had an early Elvish Warrior. Freneau made a morph, and then had Swat at the ready for Maher's third-turn Sparksmtih. Maher came back with Sledder and morph. Freneau made a second morph of his own. Maher's morph and Warrior jumped him. He doubled-up on the Warrior, but Maher decloaked Skirk Commando to wreck his team.
Freneau shut down his offense with Daru Cavalier. Maher added a morph and Everglove Courier. Freneau played a Barren Moor and passed it back. When Maher's whole team attacked, he paused, but then chose to put his Cavalier in front of the Skirk Commando. He didn't want to cycle his Death Pulse, though, so he ate six damage to fall to eight. Maher made a Machinist. Freneau untapped and Swatted it, but things were not looking good.
Maher thought hard before playing his seventh land and leaving himself with just one card in hand. He attacked with just his morph creature. Freneau let it through. It was Snarling Undorak, and pumped to deal four. Freneau fell to four. However, that left Freneau able to Death Pulse on his turn despite the Goblin Sledder in play. That reprieve seemed to turn the tide. Maher only had Leery Fogbeast to add, while Freneau dropped Gluttonous Zombie, and then Catapult Squad and a morph creature.
Maher had meantime cast a second Sparksmith that had just come online. He hit the Daru Cavalier for two, then sent in his Everglove Courier. Freneau traded with his Catapult Squad. Maher had a morph to replace it. Freneau turned his Daru Healer face-up, and drew Disciple of Grace, making sure that his Profane Prayers would get rid of Sparksmith. All that Gluttonous Zombie damage was adding up. Even though his morph was Snarling Undorak, Maher couldn't get past the blockers. He drew a non-Insurrection card, and conceded.
Maher 1 - Freneau 1
Maher mulliganed for the deciding game, while teammates Neil Reeves and Gary Wise offered encouragement. Freneau kept his starting hand. Maher kicked off with Sparksmith and morph. Freneau cycled Renewed Faith to make sure he got his third land, then Swatted the Sparksmith. Maher came back with Nosy Goblin after hitting for two, but had no fourth land. Freneau got his Severed Legion on, and wasted no time trading it for Nosy Goblin.
Maher's difficulties continued. He cycled Lay Waste but still did not turn up a land. Freneau dropped Daunting Defender. All Maher had to say to that was Spitfire Handler. It appeared woefully inadequate when Freneau tapped six and threw down Silent Specter. Maher's morph was unafraid, and charged in. Surprisingly, Freneau blocked with his Specter. Maher had no Shock. He replaced it, but it was clear that the game was over. Freneau's next attack put him at nine and cost him Centaur Glade and Pinpoint Avalanche. Maher played out the rest of his hand, but conceded after his next draw.
Phil Freneau defeats Bob Maher, Jr. 2-1