Quarterfinals: Morgan McLaughlin vs. Alex Finley
Morgan McLaughlin was one of the lucky two who was able to draw into this top eight, as his RUG Delver deck carried him to the last round of swiss undefeated. Standing in his way now was Alex Finley, who brought the powerful Ad Nauseam Storm deck to battle.
Alex assesses his options.
Morgan got onto the board immediately, fetching up a Tropical Island and casting a Nimble Mongoose. Alex spent his first turn setting up his combo, playing a Gemstone Mine and using it to cast Preordain. Morgan Brainstormed on his own turn, then passed the turn back after swinging for 1. Alex wanted to see what was going on over there, so he cast Gitaxian Probe, revealing a hand of Wasteland, Tarmogoyf, Lightning Bolt, and two Chain Lightnings. He then Brainstormed, shuffled away the top cards with a Scalding Tarn, and played another Gitaxian Probe before ending his turn.
With the contents of his hand now exposed, Morgan knew there was use representing countermagic, so he simply played his Wasteland and cast his Tarmogoyf. He attacked and passed. Alex couldn’t go off this turn, but he did cast a Cabal Therapy, knocking the two Chain Lightnings out of Morgan’s hand. He shipped the turn, and Morgan again had no play other than to attack for four.
Alex cast Duress on his next turn, and Morgan Spell Pierced it. After some deliberation, Alex used the last counter on his Gemstone Mine to pay the 2 mana, and Morgan revealed Daze and Lightning Bolt, losing his Daze. Morgan simply drew his card and attacked, dropping Alex to 5, and passed.
Alex knew it was now or never. He began his turn by casting Cabal Therapy (1). He named Spell Pierce, and missed--Morgan revealed that his draw for the turn was another Daze. He played two Lion’s Eye Diamonds (2, 3), one of which was Dazed (4) but paid for, then played Lotus Petal (5) and revealed the last card in his hand: Infernal Tutor (6) for Past in Flames (7). He cast the Past in Flames with BB floating, then flashed back Infernal Tutor (9) for a Lion’s Eye Diamond, (10) using it to gain three blue mana. His storm count sufficient for lethal, he now simply needed to find a Tendrils of Agony and the mana to cast it. Using the blue mana from Lion’s Eye Diamond, he fired off Brainstorm, a Preordain, and a Ponder, then paid 4 life to flash back two Gitaxian Probes. He didn’t find what he was looking for, and conceded the first game.
Morgan McLaughlin 1, Alex Finley 0
Alex kicked things off by paying 2 life for Gitaxian Probe, revealing a spicy hand from Mitch: Scalding Tarn, Misty Rainforest, Ponder, Delver of Secrets, Daze, and two Spell Pierces. He then searched up a Tropical Island and cast Ponder, choosing to shuffle his three away. Morgan searched up a Tropical Island of his own, cast the Delver of Secrets, and shipped back.
Another Gitaxian Probe from Alex revealed that the drawn card had been a Volcanic Island. He then cast a Lotus Petal to play around the Daze and then cast a Dark Confidant. Delver of Secrets missed its flip on Morgan’s draw step, but swung in anyway, knocking Alex down to 14. Morgan then cast a Ponder. He left the cards on top, then played his Volcanic Island and passed back.
The Dark Confident revealed a Brainstorm, which Alex cast, but Morgan decided to Spell Pierce it. Alex followed up with another Brainstorm, and this one resolved. He then cracked a Polluted Delta to retrieve a Swamp and used it to cast Duress. He Saw Tarmogoyf, Misty Rainforest, Daze, Spell Pierce, and Spell Snare, and got rid of the Spell Snare before passing.
The Delver flipped, revealing Daze. Morgan attacked Alex down to 9, played his Tarmogoyf, and passed. Infernal Tutor showed up on the Dark Confidant trigger, dropping Alex down to 7, and he knew he needed to go for it. He kicked off with Cabal Therapy (1), which drew a Spell Pierce (2) from Morgan. He then cast two Lion’s Eye Diamonds (3,4) and Infernal Tutored (5) for Empty the Warrens, which he was able to cast to make twelve 1/1 Goblins.
Morgan simply sat behind his Tarmogoyf and attacked with his flier, dropping Alex to 4, and passed. The Dark Confidant revealed a land, and Alex attacked with the team. Tarmogoyf blocked a Goblin token, and Morgan fell to 4. He untapped, drew, attacked with the Insectile Aberration to drop Alex to 1 life, then passed the turn, reaching across to knock on the top of Alex’s deck, hoping to conjure a non-land card.
Alex flipped over Underground Sea.
Morgan McLaughlin 1, Alex Finley 1
Morgan collects himself after a near miss.
Delver of Secrets again started off the action for Morgan. He passed to Alex, who led with Gitaxian Probe, seeing a hand of Wasteland, Nimble Mongoose, Flusterstorm, Gitaxian Probe, and Misty Rainforest. He then fetched up an Island and played Dark Confidant off of a Lotus Petal.
The Delver of Secrets revealed bad news for Alex: a Lightning Bolt on top of Morgan’s deck. Morgan cast a Gitaxian Probe of his own, seeing a hand of Scalding Tarn, Gemstone Mine, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Cabal Ritual, and Empty the Warrens from Alex. Morgan then fetched up a Volcanic Island and Bolted the Dark Confidant. He swung with his 3/2 flier to drop Alex to 14, then played a Nimble Mongoose and passed the turn.
Alex drew and cast a Cabal Therapy, getting rid of the Flusterstorm from Morgan’s hand, and passed without further play. Morgan used Wasteland on his own turn to destroy Alex’s Gemstone Mine, leaving him with just an Island in play, then attacked with his two creatures to drop Alex to 10. He passed the turn, and Alex drew, played a Scalding Tarn, and passed right back.
Morgan cast a Brainstorm, then played a Misty Rainforest and cracked it, adding a seventh card to his graveyard to turn on Threshold for his Nimble Mongoose, and attacked for 6. Alex was out of time, and he slowly peeked at his top card. It didn’t help him, and he offered the hand in defeat.
MORGAN MCLAUGHLIN 2, ALEX FINLEY 1