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