Quarterfinals: Alex Bertoncini vs. Chi Hoi Yim
Both of these players were returning to the top 8 stage of the invitational, but neither had earned a token with their likeness. Would Chi Hoi’s U/W Control deck or Alex’s Jund Monsters be advancing to the semifinals to keep the trophy dream alive?
Alex's planeswalkers doing work.
Both players were content to simply develop their mana for the first two turns, and Alex broke the standstill with a turn 3 Domri Rade. He followed up with a turn 4 Xenagos, the Reveler, and Chi Hoi, whose third land hand entered the battlefield tapped, could not use the Dissolve stuck in his hand. Alex found Stormbreath Dragon off of the Domri on his next turn, which drew the dissolve, but Chi Hoi was still under quite a bit of pressure from Xenagos’s 2/2 Satyr tokens.
On Alex’s next turn, a trio of 2/2 Satyrs attacked, dropping Chi Hoi to 8, but an end step baby Sphinx’s Revelation brought him back up to 10. He simply played his land and passed, and Alex quickly untapped and used Domri Rade’s ultimate. When he made a fourth token and attacked with his team, Chi Hoi used Quicken to cast an instant-speed Supreme Verdict, but Alex had Golgari Charm at the ready to regenerate them.
On Alex’s next turn, the Satyrs came across for a lethal attack again. Chi Hoi cast Quicken, but didn’t have another sweeper, and picked up his cards.
Alex again had the first play of the game, casting a turn 2 Duress to see a hand of Quicken, Sphinx’s Revelation, Hallowed Fountain, Island, and a pair of Mutavaults. The Sphinx’s Revelation hit the bin. Chi Hoi found a Dissolve on the top of his deck, and used it immediately to counter Alex’s Domri Rade. He untapped and cast Jace, Architect of Thought, ticking it up on an empty board.
Xenagos, the Reveler showed up for Alex, matching Chi Hoi’s planeswalker, but the 2/2 Satyr token it spawned stayed back on defense. Chi Hoi went digging with a Jace -2 on his own turn, netting a Supreme Verdict, then cast Detention Sphere to get rid of the Xenagos. Alex had Stormbreath Dragon on his next turn to attack away the Jace, but Chi Hoi reset the board with Supreme Verdict, leaving both players with nothing but land in play.
Alex’s next threat was a Polukranos, World Eater. Chi Hoi untapped, played a Hallowed Fountain untapped, and passed back, signaling a big Sphinx’s Revelation. Alex cast Courser of Kruphix, revealing a scary Rakdos’s Reurn on top of his deck, then activated Mutavault and attacked with it and the Polukranos, dropping Chi Hoi to 7. Chi Hoi predictably jumped back up to 10 on Alex’s end step with a Sphinx’s Revelation for 4.
Supreme Verdict reset the board once again, and a Dissolve countered the Rakdos’s Return from Alex. Chi Hoi untapped and slammed Aetherling into play with two lands untapped. Alex had a big play of his own, a 6/6 Mistcutter Hydra, and swung with it to drop Chi Hoi to just 6.
Chi Hoi confirmed life totals; Alex was at 12 from several Shocklands and a Mutavault hit. He counted out his lands, finding enough to activate two Mutavaults and make his Aetherling an 8/1. Alex saw the writing on the wall, and scooped up his cards.
Elvish Mystic showed up on turn 1 for Alex, but his second land was a Temple of Malice, so it could only attack for 1 on turn 2. When Alex attempted Domri Rade on turn 3, Chi Hoi was ready with Negate. Alex didn’t find a third land, so Chi Hoi seized the initiative with a Detention Sphere on the elf. Alex spent his next turn unlocking the Elvish Mystic with a Golgari Charm, but was still without a third land.
Chi Hoi’s Mutavault knocked Alex to 16, and Alex fired back with a 2/2 Mistcutter Hydra, dropping Chi Hoi to 17. Chi Hoi was in a tight spot of his own. He missed his fifth land drop, and the board of Plains, Temple of Enlightenment, and two Mutavaults left him unable to cast the Supreme Verdicts in his hand. Alex cast Polukranos, World Eater, and Chi Hoi exiled it with Detention Sphere. Still without a third colored source for his Supreme Verdicts, Chi Hoi winced when he passed the turn and Alex showed him Golgari Charm to unlock the Polukranos.
Polukranos, World Eater and Mistcutter Hydra came swinging, dropping Chi Hoi to 6. Alex tapped out for a Rakdos’s Return to 3, knocking him down to 3 and forcing him to discard two Sphinx’s Revelations and an Aetherling. Chi Hoi drew his card, still found no mana source to cast his Supreme Verdicts, and conceded the game.
Chi Hoi's patented Death Stare.
Alex spent his first two turns developing his mana, casting an Elvish Mystic on turn 1 and a Sylvan Caryatid on turn 2. Ghor-Clan Rampager made it to the battlefield on turn 3, but it didn’t stay long, as Chi hoi cast Supreme Verdict to set Alex back to square one.
A replacement Ghor-Clan Rampager came down from Alex, and it smashed Chi Hoi for 4 on Alex’s next turn, but the Follow-up Polukranos, World Eater met a Syncopate. Alex had a Stormbreath Dragon next which dropped Chi Hoi to 8, although he bounced back to 11 on Alex’s end step with a Sphinx’s Revelation. The Revelation found him a Supreme Verdict to sweep the board, and he had two mana back for Celestial Flare when Alex fired off a second Stormbreath Dragon.
With the board stabilized, Chi Hoi cast an Aetherling. Alex had only a Domri Rade to respond, and used Duress to clear the Celestial Flare out of Chi Hoi’s hand, leaving him with a Jace, Architect of Thought. Chi Hoi attacked away the Domri with his Aetherling, cast Jace and ticked it up, and passed back empty-handed. Alex drew his card, found no way to make headway, and it was on to game 5.
Alex led with Stomping Ground into Elvish Mystic in the decider, but could only attack for 1 with it on turn 2. Chi Hoi passed with Negate up on turn 2, but Alex had a 3/3 Mistcutter Hydra, dropping Chi Hoi to 16. Chi Hoi played his third land, now able to cast Dissolve as well as Negate. Alex fired off his second Mistcutter Hydra, a 4/4, and Chi Hoi deliberated for some time before choosing to use his Dissolve. It couldn’t counter the Hydra, but it allowed him to Scry for 1.