Quarterfinals: Robb Miknus vs. James Redmond
Robb took second in the Oakland Standard Open with one of the decks du jour of the Invitational, R/W Devotion, but an audible to Mono-Blue Devotion for this event had also earned him a Top 8 finish.
James gets aggressive early with Precinct+Captain.
Robb kept while James mulliganed to six, and James began with Temple. Robb’s turn 1 Judge’s Familiar gave him the first creature of the match, but Precinct+Captain from James was by far the better one. Tidebinder+Mage could do nothing to thwart it, and things were looking up for James.
Boros+Elite and Judge’s Familiar offered him a real attack squad, but on turn 3 Robb played another Familiar and passed with all creatures untapped, seemingly intent on defending. Wheneverything swung, he just traded Familiars and took 5 damage. His fourth land offered Master+of+Waves for four creatures—would it be enough to turn things around?
Probably not. James had Boros+Charm and Brave+the+Elements, and while he couldn’t use the former against the on-board Judge’s Familiar—he still only had two lands—Brave would likely be enough anyway. Robb blocked conservatively, falling to 6 life and casting another Master+of+Waves... before being revealed a lethal Brave.
Robb's Masters were each dealt with in a timely fashion.
James 1, Robb 0
Cloudfin+Raptor gave Robb hope for a sterner clock in game 2, while James opened on only Sacred+Foundry. Turn 2 offered Robb a second Raptor and nothing more, with James once more playing Precinct+Captain. An ideal turn 3 for Robb gave him Nightveil+Specter this time, putting on the brakes.
Mizzium+Mortars cleared Specter, and James evened the score to 18 apiece with Captain before playing Soldier+of+the+Pantheon. Robb had no turn 4 plays, not even a land, but an attack with both Raptors indicated he had something... Rapid+Hybridization on one of his own Raptors threatened to eat the Captain, and James decided to lose the creature, tapping out for another one and Daring+Skyjek.
Nightveil+Specter for Robb bolstered his defenses, and James appeared slightly Stymied... until he played Spear+of+Heliod. That enabled a profitable attack with Captain, Skyjek, and Soldier+of+the+Pantheon, with each creature capable of forcing trades. Robb traded with the non-Captains, keeping Specter only.
Brave+the+Elements finished the job once more.
James 2, Robb 0