Espinosa, Elves, Wins Nerd Rage Gaming Series Championship

Ivan Espinosa takes down the three-format event to cap the 2021 season of the NRG Series.

Natural Order illustrated by Anato Finnstark

Ivan Espinosa won the NRG Series Championship on Saturday with Elves in Legacy and Four-Color Blink (Yorion) in Modern.

Espinosa made the Top 8 of the 16-person and three-format championship, capping the year of play on the NRG Series in 2021, with a record of 7-2. Espinosa rattled off a 3-0 with a Golgari Innistrad: Crimson Vow draft deck, then went 1-1 in Legacy and Modern to reach the elimination rounds.

The Top 8 used Modern and Legacy, with the first player in each match to reach three wins advancing. Espinosa made his way to the finals with wins over Bill Comminos and Joe Bernal, while Tommy Tomsovic defeated Mack Endress and Robert Hayes.

The finals started out with Espinosa taking Game 1 of Modern with Four-Color Blink (Yorion) over Tomsovic’s Hardened Scales (Lurrus). They swapped to Legacy for Game 2 where Tomsovic secured a Turn-4 kill with Selesnya Reclaimer against Elves thanks to a Marit Lage receiving protection from green via Sejiri Steppe. Game 3 didn’t last long either as they continued with Legacy and this time Espinosa won on Turn 3 thanks to an explosive start with multiple copies of Gaea’s Cradle and a Natural Order for Craterhoof Behemoth.

Legacy was the format of choice for the fourth game and Tomsovic was able to slow down Espinosa with The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, but it wasn’t enough as Espinosa worked through it by chaining through his deck until he found a Natural Order to take the match 3-1.

Espinosa earned $2,500, an invite to next year’s NRG Series Championship, and qualified for the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Set Championship with his victory.

Check out all 16 Modern and Legacy decklists from the event.