Sergio Garcia and Harold Guarneri rose through the standard bracket to the finals, despite being relative unknowns in MKMS Main Events. Both piloted variations on Temur Energy, with Guarneri focusing on a more conventional variant and Garcia spicing his up with a fourth color and select cards from Ixalan.
This mirror matchup Final wasn’t unfamiliar for either player, as each faced multiple energy decks climbing a bracket in which over 50% of field played a version of their decks. Both players, therefore, had prepared tricks for the mirror capable of giving them the slight edge necessary for total victory.
Garcia won the coin flip and elected to go first. The first turn was a quick land drop into pass on both sides. Garcia then cast Attune with Aether to fix his mana before passing turn to Guarneri’s similar Servant of the Conduit play. Both players then dropped a Whirling Virtuoso to continue the mirrored feeling before Garcia finally broke the mold with a Gonti, Lord of Luxury. Gonti stole an Abrade from Guarneri and Garcia put it to good use, killing Guarneri’s Servant. From here, Guarneri tried to recover with a Longtusk Cub.
Unfortunately, a quick Vraska’s Contempt ended the young cub’s life and with that, Guarneri picked up his cards and chose to try again in Game 2.
Guarneri was able to start this time and Garcia had some trouble playing cards in the early turns, choosing to merely pass for several turns in a row, with one cycle to help him see more cards. Guarneri took advantage of this, playing two Whirler Virtuosos and a Rogue Refiner and getting in early for some good damage. Garcia attempted to control this situation with a Harnessed Lightning and Hostage Taker, but his slow start was an obstacle he could not surmount and he was quickly forced to surrender and move to Game 3.
With two short games behind them, both players faced their last chance at becoming Standard champion in this MKMS Barcelona Standard main event.
The final game began as one would expect an energy mirror to begin, with both players casting Attune with Aether. From here, however, Garcia’s fourth color really began to shine with two Glint-Sleeve Siphoners affording Garcia significant card advantage. Guarneri was eager not to fall behind, however, casting an early Longtusk Cub and Whirler Virtuoso. From here, the match was a knockdown drag-out slug fest with both sides filling up with creatures and attacks flying both ways. Guarneri had 3 Whirlers and a Cub and Garcia had 2 Siphoners, as well as a Whirler and Cub of his own.
Eventually, Garcia interrupted the stream of creatures flowing from both players with a Nissa, Vital Force, which quickly turned the tables on Guarneri, creating 5/5 lands which could punch through Guarneri’s substantial defense. Guarneri didn’t cave, however, bolstering his own field with more tokens from his Whirlers and choosing to swing into Garcia’s massive field consisting of a Hostage Taker, a Cub, a Whirler, and two Siphoners. Garcia chose to block with the Siphoner, the Whirler, the Taker, and the Cub. Guarneri pumped his cub up twice and took down the Hostage Taker and the Longtusk Cub, leaving Garcia with a significant board advantage, as Garcia still had a Whirler Virtuoso and Nissa ready to make 5/5 lands capable of ruining Guarneri’s day.
Garcia did not fail to take advantage of this board state, playing a Vraska, Relic Seeker which killed Guarneri’s other cub, making a 5/5 land and swinging in for massive damage, bringing Guarneri to five life. From here, Guarneri made an attempt to come back with a Bristling Hydra and some token generation, but Garcia’s planeswalkers and commanding board presence were an insurmountable obstacle and Garcia swung in next turn with everything for game, making Sergio Garcia our MKMS 2017 Barcelona Standard champion.