Quarterfinals: Milton Figueroa vs. Michael Braverman
Michael Braverman fought hard through a field of Delvers to get into this quarterfinals, and he’d need to win one more match against Innistrad’s most popular transformer if he wanted to return for the Sunday semifinals. Milton Figueroa made it to the Legacy Open finals just a month ago in St. Louis, and now found himself flexing his Standard muscles for another chance at the trophy.
Leading Drowned Catacomb, Michael revealed his hand to Milton’s Gitaxian Probe at the cost of 2 life. It sported two Glacial Fortress, Plains, Grave Titan, Think Twice, and Day of Judgment. Milton cast Delver of Secrets off an Island afterward, and passed the turn content to dodge spot removal off the top. Michael played his Plains and passed, while Milton’s Delver whiffed and attacked for a point. Playing Seachrome Coast, Milton again paid 2 life for Gitaxian Probe, seeing Dissipate and failing to draw the Mana Leak that would tell him whether he could safely play Phantasmal Bear or not. He decided to hedge his bets with Snapcaster Mage on Gitaxian Probe—drawing the Mana Leak!
Michael Braverman quickly moved into the elimination rounds today.
Think Twice during the end step for Michael, and he played Glacial Fortress before passing the turn. Milton had the beats, and wouldn’t be likely to cast much beyond the Phantasmal Bear into the Dissipate. He did play the Bear, and Michael burned his counter.
Playing Drowned Catacomb, Michael didn’t even try the Day into Milton’s well-represented Mana Leak. The next attack put Michael to 13 life, and Milton cast Lord of the Unreal with two mana untapped. Michael flashbacked Think Twice, and then played his Fortress before passing the turn. Milton hit Ponder with his Delver, generating a two-turn clock immediately. That merited a White Sun’s Zenith for two from Michael, which resolved and traded with both of Milton’s ground guys. Casting Ponder, Milton grabbed a Delver of Secrets and left Vapor Snag on top of the deck, casting his Delver and passing.
Did Michael have the requisite Mana Leak to stick Day? Nope—but he did have Gideon Jura to bait out the Leak, followed by a Seachrome Coast. Milton flipped his Delver and attacked Michael to 4 life. Michael tried the Day of Judgment on the following turn, and Milton decided to let it resolve rather than cast Snapcaster Mage for Mana Leak, as that play would leave him far behind if Michael had his own Mana Leak . He made a Spirit token during the end step, and attacked with it on his own turn before passing with five mana untapped, in a commanding position against an opponent on 3 life.
Forbidden Alchemy on his own turn dug for help, Michael risking going down to “dead to Vapor Snag” if he didn’t handle the token threat one way or another. He binned Day and Pristine Talisman, along with a land, before using Ghost Quarter on Moorland Haunt. Milton replied with a Spirit token, and then searched up his Island. He declined to end step the Snapcaster, continuing to grind it out and conserve his cards for value—Milton just untapped, attacked Michael to 1 life, and passed the turn.
Michael really needed Timely Reinforcements, and little else, to survive this turn. He cast Day of Judgment, and Milton picked up his tokens. During the end step, Milton cast Snapcaster Mage, and he attacked with it on the following turn for the kill.
Milton 1, Michael 0
Beginning with Plains, Michael nodded as Milton again began with Probe. Revealing Island, Phantasmal Image, Gideon Jura, Divine Offering, Day of Judgment, and Go for the Throat, Milton was happy to see a dicey keep on Michael’s side as he played Delver of Secrets as well. Michael played Island, and passed the turn. Milton’s Delver stayed a 1/1, and another Probe revealed Think Twice. Milton attacked for 1, and then cast Snapcaster Mage as Silvergill Adept, passing afterward. Michael cast his Think Twice, hitting Seachrome Coast and sending turn back to Milton. His Delver again missed, and he swung Michael to 16 after playing Moorland Haunt, passing.
Milton J. Figueroa bested fellow Floridian Bret Farrell in the final round for his slot.
The Think Twice flashbacked and Michael untapped, playing Drowned Catacomb as he continued to find lands awaiting him on top of the deck. He passed with four mana up—when Milton attacked, Go for the Throat on Delver merited no reply. Milton cast Phantasmal Bear during the second main, rather than Phantasmal Image for an Adept, and passed after playing a second Moorland Haunt.
Mana Leak countered Michael’s Phantasmal Image, and he played Think Twice to find his fifth land on the top, immediately playing it. Milton attacked him to 10 and now cast the Image, copying Snapcaster for the Probe’s effect once again. It revealed Elspeth Tirel and Grave Titan as the new cards in Michael’s hand, and Milton passed with Mana Leak still available afterward.
Drawing, Michael knew he was up against a wall—or at least a Mana Leak. He jammed Elsepth Tirel, his least incredible card, but Milton Mana Leaked her regardless. His attack for 6 put Michael to 4 and very close to dead—in fact, if Milton had drawn a land, Sword of War and Peace would’ve won the game! It didn’t matter much. Snapcaster Mage on Mana Leak countered Michael’s Gideon Jura on the following turn, and that wrapped up the game.
Milton 2, Michael 0