Kristof Prinz won the Players Tour Finals yesterday with Four-Color Reclamation, defeating Riku Kumagai on Mono-Black two matches to one in the Grand Finals.

Prinz finished last weekend’s swiss rounds as the sixth seed with Four-Color Reclamation—a deck specifically designed to beat other Wilderness Reclamation decks, which made up over half of the metagame. It took the standard Temur Reclamation shell of Growth Spiral, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Wilderness Reclamation, and Expansion // Explosion, and splashed White for cards that were good in the mirror. Main deck copies of Teferi, Time Raveler, for example, shut down opposing Wilderness Reclamations while Dovin’s Veto can easily answer Expansion // Explosion.

And Prinz’s metagaming paid off as the field of 54.8% Reclamation decks converted into a Top 8 of two Temur and two Four-Color Reclamation decks. He even got paired against one of the Temur Reclamation players, Patrick Fernandes, in the upper bracket quarterfinals and won in two games.

The full Top 8 bracket at the Players Tour Finals.

But Fernandes was the last Reclamation player Prinz would face in the Top 8. In the upper seminifinals, Prinz paired matched up against Christoffer Larsen on Jund Sacrifice, a deck whose combo can be assembled through most of Four-Color Reclamation’s disruption. Prinz dropped a game but managed to advance to the upper finals where he would battle Riku Kumagai.

Like Prinz, Kumagai came into the Players Tour Finals with a deck tuned for a metagame warped around Wilderness Reclamation. However, rather than add White for cards that are good in the mirror, he went in a completely different direction: Mono-Black Aggro. Kumagai built his deck to strand cards like Aether Gust and Negate in his opponents’ hands while disrupting their game plan with Duress and Kitesail Freebooter and beating down with Knight of the Ebon Legion, Hunted Nightmare, and Spawn of Mayhem

Game 1 of the upper semis played out just like Kumagai planned—a quick, aggressive start that was able to overpower Prinz and strand cards in his hand. But Prinz recovered and was able to assemble his combo in Games 2 and 3 to advance to the Grand Finals.

Kumagai, on the other hand, dropped to the lower bracket, where he defeated Michael Jacob and his Mardu Winota deck to set up rematch against Prinz in the Grand Finals.

The Grand Finals: Prinz vs. Kumagai

While the rest of the Top 8 was played as best two-of-three games, the Grand Finals switched to best two-of-three matches format.

Game 1 of Match 1 went as well as could be for Prinz, who played a Turn 2 Growth Spiral into a Turn 3 Wilderness Reclamation and was able to cast two Expansion // Explosions before dipping below 16 life. He eventually cycled Shark Typhoon to create a 12/12 shark, which prompted Kumagai to concede.

Games 2 and 3, on the other hand, went exactly as Kumagai planned. He began each game with a one drop—Gutterbones and Knight of the Ebon Legion—into disruption—Duress and Agonizing Remorse—into more pressure to end the games before Prinz could rebuild his hand. Kumagai’s victory put him in the early lead in the Grand Finals, one match to zero.

While Match 1 saw both players advancing their game plans without much resistance, Match 2 featured much more back and forth. Both players kept clunky hands in Game 1, and while Prinz ended up with three Growth Spiral, Kumagai was able to snag Prinz’s one interactive spell in Scorching Dragonfire with his Kitesail Freebooter. But Kumagai couldn’t put together enough pressure to punish Prinz’s poor early draws, giving his opponent enough time to draw into two Wilderness Reclamations and a Castle Vantress in order to dig for a Kenrith, the Returned King to end the game.

In Game 2, Kumagai had another excellent start with a Knight of the Ebon Legion, two Kitesail Freebooters, and a Duress to put Prinz on his heels. But Prinz ripped a Deafening Clarion off the top of his deck just in time and ran away with the game—and the second match—with an Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and a Brazen Borrower, evening up the Grand Finals at one match apiece.

In the first game of deciding match, Kumagai again had the kind of start he had planned, with disruption in the form Duress into Kitesail Freebooter (to take a Wilderness Reclamation) and pressure thanks to a Hunted Nightmare. But Prinz played additional copies of Wilderness Reclamation on Turns 4 and 5, which allowed him to use an Expansion // Explosion to remove the Hunted Nightmare…though he dropped to two life in the process. Prinz untapped, cast and escaped an Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, which drew him to another Expansion // Explosion he could cast for a lethal 20 damage.

Just one game away from victory, Prinz kept a five land hand with Growth Spiral and Deafening Clarion to start Game 2. Kumagai had the perfect hand to punish Prinz’s draw, though, with Knight of the Ebon Legion into two Kitesail Freebooters to strip both non-land cards. He followed that up with another Knight into a Hunted Nightmare and Prinz succumbed to the pressure, evening up the final match.

The Players Tour Final came down to one final game, and Kumagai again combined pressure—a Gutterbones and Knight of the Ebon Legion—into disruption—Duress—into Tymaret, Chosen from Death to keep any Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wraths in check. But Prinz topdecked a Wilderness Reclamation, allowing him to cast his Expansion // Explosion for just enough to kill the Tymaret.

Kumagai untapped and played a Spawn of Mayhem while Prinz followed that up with an escaped Uro, which combined with a Justice Strike to kill the Knight of the Ebon Legion during Kumagai’s attack step and allow Prinz to survive at two life—though Kumagai played a lethal Hunted Nightmare after combat to go along with his Spawn of Mayhem and Gutterbones—both of which were also lethal.

Prinz untapped, drew a Ketria Triome to go up to six lands (and no non-lands) in hand, and looked at his board of Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and Wilderness Reclamation. He chose to scry in his first mainphase with Castle Vantress, bottoming two more Triomes, and was forced to attack with Uro to gain three life and draw another card—a Shark Typhoon. He then cycled the Ketria Triome into a Brazen Borrower, which he used to bounce the Hunted Nightmare.

The upkeep trigger on Kumagai’s Spawn of Mayhem took Prinz to four life and Kumagai flunged once again with his Spawn and Gutterbones. Prinz cycled Shark Typhoon in a 5/5 shark token, which ate the Spawn, while the Gutterbones reduced Prinz’s life total back to two. Kumagai replayed the Hunted Nightmare and passed the turn.

Prinz started another turn at two life and drew a second Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath. He attacked with the onboard Uro, dropping Kumagai to six life himself, then played the Uro he drew for turn, which drew him into an Expansion // Explosion he could cast for the final six points of damage, winning the game, match and the Players Tour Finals.

Deck Lists

Standard Four-Color Reclamation by Kristof Prinz

Planeswalkers (3)
Teferi, Time Raveler

Creatures (6)
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Brazen Borrower
Kenrith, the Returned King

Enchantments (8)
Shark Typhoon
Wilderness Reclamation

Instants (14)
Growth Spiral
Expansion // Explosion
Mystical Dispute
Dovin’s Veto
Aether Gust
Scorching Dragonfire
Lands (29)
Fabled Passage
Ketria Triome
Raugrin Triome
Temple Garden
Breeding Pool
Castle Vantress
Hallowed Fountain
Stomping Ground

Sideboard (15)
Kenrith, the Returned King
Solar Blaze
Spectral Sailor
Justice Strike
Dovin’s Veto
Glass Casket
Aether Gust
Deafening Clarion
Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Standard Mono-Black Aggro by Riku Kumagai

Creatures (28)
Knight of the Ebon Legion
Kitesail Freebooter
Hunted Nightmare
Spawn of Mayhem
Rankle, Master of Pranks
Blacklance Paragon
Tymaret, Chosen from Death
Murderous Rider

Sorceries (3)

Instants (4)
Heartless Act
Lands (25)
19 Swamp
Castle Locthwain
Mobilized District

Sideboard (15)
Cry of the Carnarium
Agonizing Remorse
Noxious Grasp
Grasp of Darkness
Murderous Rider // Swift End
Kaervek, the Spiteful

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