Quarterfinals: Ricky Sidher vs. Erik Cabanero
Many players have begun to assert that RUG Delver’s time to shine is over, but Ricky Sidher has kept the faith. With an Open Win and a Top 16 in the past two he’s played in, another Top 8 was no surprise from the West Coast player.
Ricky has remained loyal to RUG.
Ancient Tomb and Painter’s Servant for Erik earned the Force of Will from Riki, indicating he was lacking in the Lightning Bolt department. Starting with Volcanic Island, he also had no one-drop... or at least not one he was willing to tap out for, with Spell Pierce available.
Erik cast Imperial Recruiter on the following turn to replace the fallen Painter, going to 16, and Ricky deployed a real clock in Delver of Secrets alongside a fetchland. The Recruiter put Ricky to 18, and Erik played a Mountain before trying Blood Moon. Ricky did Spell Pierce the Blood Moon, but his Delver met Lightning Bolt in response.
Ricky was low on cards and Erik had the combo assembled in his hand, but Wasteland from Ricky took away the mana Erik needed to cast it. Going slow, he cast Spellskite—Ricky Dazed it, knowing it could both block Mongoose and soak up spells he’d need for Painter’s Servant. Erik cast Grindstone, getting another Spell Pierce, but a second Grindstone resolved.
Painter’s Servant hit the board on the next turn, and Ricky badly needed a Lightning Bolt. Attacking Erik to 7, he passed the turn. When Erik activated Grindstone, Ricky did have the Lightning Bolt! Mongoose knocked Erik to 4, but h topdecked another Painter’s Servant immediately after, resolving the creature.
Ricky passed, once more seemingly dead on the board, but when Erik tried to get the kill in, Ricky Stifled it—and the unblocked Mongoose combined with another Lightning Bolt to end the game on the spot.
Never willing to pack it in, Erik fought through a mulligan to three.
Ricky 1, Erik 0
Erik mulliganed to three to start the game—that’s no good. He kept three lands, and opened on Mountain. Ricky fetched on the first turn for Tropical Island and cast Ponder. Erik played another Mountain, and Ricky fetched Volcanic Island on his own turn before casting both Delver of Secrets and Nimble Mongoose. He wanted to close this out fast!
Erik played City of Traitors and cast Blood Moon, fingers crossed—Ricky nodded, allowing it to resolve against Erik’s one open mana. Attacking Erik to 2 life, he played a land and passed the turn. Ricky swung in for some damage, and was distraught to see Erik draw and play Spellskite. When Ricky’s Delver flipped, revealing Force of Will, Erik Pyroblasted the Delver and they entered a game of draw and pass.
Using his cleanup step to grow Nimble Mongoose, Ricky was then forced to Force of Will Imperial Recruiter. Grindstone followed, resolving, and Ricky could only continue battling with that Mongoose. He got Erik to 11 before he was able to make it to threshold, the Spellskite standing back due to the possibility of Lightning Bolt.
Finding Sensei’s Divining Top, Erik spun it and found nothing particularly good—just Magus of the Moon. Ricky knocked Erik to 8 life, at this point actually limiting the usefulness of his Spellskite if Ricky had a Lightning Bolt either way. He cast the Magus of the Moon, buying a chumper for a turn, and Ricky just continued to draw a card and attack with Nimble Mongoose.
Grindstone began targeting Erik now, turning his top into a card-drawing machine. Simian Spirit Guide became another blocker, and the game was in a pseudo-stalemate until Erik failed to brick on creature or Ricky Forced one. Imperial Recruiter was definitely worth Forcing—Ricky did so. Erik popped the top and cast a second Recruiter, resolving this one and shuffling away his top in order to get Painter’s Servant.
Threatening the kill on the following turn, Erik passed to Ricky. He couldn’t chump with Recruiter fast enough, staying at 8 life, and Ricky could only shake his head and pass the turn. Drawing a spare Painter’s Servant, Erik played the first one and named blue, then another and named blue—a fatal error.
Ricky Pyroblasted the Spellskite and then used two Lightning Bolts to kill the Servants! Suddenly, the tables had spun dramatically around. In a matter of turns, Ricky’s Mongoose managed to close up the game.
Ricky 2, Erik 0