“You're on Canadian Threshold, right?” asked Show and Tell player Dennis Zens his final opponent at the end of this long and exhausting weekend full of Magic. “I love that deck! I played it a lot back in the day.”

“You should play it still,” replied Marius Bender. “It's a good deck to this day.”

Was it? It hadn't been seen at the top tables of large Legacy tournaments for a while now. Whatever the verdict, Zens at least expected this matchup in particular to be a tough one.

Game 1

Zens, thanks to his higher placing in the Swiss rounds, went first, but it was Bender who made the first play in Nimble Mongoose. The Mongoose got in for a couple of single points of damage while both players did some pondering but also missed a couple of land drops.

“Attack! For 1,” announced Bender once again, to the groan of his car mates. “We'll never get home at this rate,” one shouted.

Marius Bender

Eventually, Bender increased the clock with Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration, whereas Zens discarded a pair of Griselbrands. When Zens went to 11, he finally made his move. He cast and resolved Lotus Petal, played City of Traitors, and cracked Misty Rainforest. Cue the obligatory counterwar:

Bender tried to stifle the fetch-land activation, but Zens responded with Force of Will; Bender had another Stifle, Zens another counter in Spell Pierce. He got his land and cast Sneak Attack. Now Bender cast Force of Will, at which Zens pointed Flusterstorm, but Bender's second Force of Will resolved and stopped Sneak Attack from doing the same.

A total of seven counterspells had passed the stack during this one turn and the end result was no change to either player's board position. Except that Bender's Nimble Mongoose finally joined Delver of Secrets / Insectile Aberration in the 3 power department and finished the game in short order.

Game 2

“I'll play first again,” declared Zens, to which Bender quipped: “That didn't help before either. Maybe you should reconsider.”

Zens didn't and it was just as well: This way he didn't suffer too much from getting his second land wastelanded. On turn three, he went, “Ah well, let's just do this,” played City of Traitors and Blood Moon, and forced the enchantment past Bender's Daze with Force of Will

Dennis Zens

“Fine, let's go to the next,” said Bender and picked up his cards.

Game 3

The third game was almost a repeat of the second. Again Zens lost a land to Wasteland, but again he cast a game-ending spell on turn three. This time though, he used Ancient Tomb to pay for it and the “it” in question was his deck's eponymous Show and Tell

Bender tried to stop it with Force of Will … Zens had a Force of Will of his own … The audience held its collective breath before Bender flinched and gave his OK. “Resolves,” he said in a pained voice.

Zens turned over his permanent to enter the battlefield, and Bender barely took one look at Emrakul, the Aeons Torn before he extended his hand and became the first person, of many, to congratulate Zens on his victory.