Quarterfinals: Ross Merriam vs. Collins Mullen
Both players are playing a Bant variant. Which one will come out on top: Ross Merriam’s Heroic creatures or Collins Mullen’s Morphed tokens?
Collins, as the higher seed, chose to play first and kept his opening seven, and led with a Forest. Ross, also keeping his opening seven, scrys to the bottom with a Temple of Enlightenment, and passes back. Collins is the first to cast a spell for the match, when he leads with a Turn 2 Fleecemane Lion. Ross also has a creature, with a Favored Hoplite, holding up one mana to perhaps play some tricks, as his deck is known to do.
After an attack with the Fleecemane Lion, Collins plays a Master of the Unseen and a Windswept Heath. On Collins’ end step, Ross has a Defiant Strike for his Favored Hoplite, drawing a card and growing this creature. On Ross’ turn, he plays a Dromoka’s Command, forcing the Favored Hoplite to fight Collins’ Fleecemane Lion and also forcing Collins to sacrifice his freshly played Master of the Unseen. After getting the two-for-one, Ross plays a land, and passes the turn.
All Collins can do is play his fourth land and pass, hoping Ross will not push his initiative. But Ross attacks with the Favored Hoplite again, and follows up with a Hero of Iroas. Collins once again has no plays other than a land for his turn, falling further onto the back foot.
Ross attacks with his two creatures and plays a third, this time in the form of Seeker of the Way. Collins finally has a blocker for Ross’ attacks with an Elvish Mystic and a pass of the turn. Ross attacks with his entire team and Collins goes to block the Hero of Iroas with the Elvish Mystic. Collins then casts Dromoka’s Commad, choosing to put a +1/+1 counter on his Elf and make Ross sacrifice an enchantment. In response, Ross casts God’s Willing, targeting his Hero of Iroas, triggering the Heroic ability and attempting to give his creature protection from Green. But Collins has a second Dromoka’s Command to give his Elf a second +1/+1 counter and, this time, fighting Ross’ Hero. However, Ross has a second God’s Willing to match Collins’ second Dromoka’s Command, and after seeing this, Collins decides to scoop up his cards and go to Game 2.
Ross wins Game 1 and is up, 1-0, in this Quarterfinals match!
After sideboarding, Collins will once again be on the play. However, he does not like his first hand, and decides to ship them back for six cards. Ross joins his opponent and also mulligans, but he goes all the way down to four cards.
This time, Collins has a the scryland, in Temple of Plenty. He scrys to the top and passes the turn. Ross plays a Windswept Heath and passes, hoping to get time to get out of his mulligan. Collins, once again, has the Turn 2 Fleecemane Lion, while Ross fetches Plains to play Favored Hoplite. However, he does not have a second land and has to pass back to Collins.
Collins takes full advantage of this with a Dromoka’s Command, giving his Fleecemane Lion a +1/+1 counter and having the Lion fight the Favored Hoplite. Ross draws his card, and passes his turn without a second land. Collins plays a Surrak, the Hunt Caller, gives it haste, and attacks for nine. Ross takes one more draw step, and scoops up his land, hoping for a better Game 3.
Collins wins Game 2 and ties the match, 1-1!
Ross will be on the play for the first time this match, keeps his opening seven, and leads with a Temple of Enlightment, scrying to the bottom. Collins fetches a Forest with his Windswept Heath and plays an Elvish Mystic for his first turn.
On Ross’ turn, he plays a Mana Confluence and passes the turn. Collins, looking to apply pressure to Ross, plays a Deathmist Raptor and passes the turn back. After cracking a Flooded Strand for a Plains, Ross plays a Monastery Mentor for his turn, hoping to create enough Monk tokens to get around the freshly deployed Raptor.
An attack by the Deathmist Raptor later, Collins plays a Hornet Nest to block against Ross’ board. Ross plays a Temple of Enlightenment, scrys to the top of his library, and summons a Seeker of the Way for his turn. Collins once again swings with an unblocked Deathmist Raptor for his turn, this time following up with a Dragonlord Ojutai. At the end of Collins’ turn, Ross casts Ajani’s Presence, making a 1/1 Monk token with Prowess. After untapping his lands, Ross starts his turn with a second copy of Monastery Mentor, threating Collins with ability to make numerous 1/1 Monks at instant speed.
Collins seems undeterred, as he begins his turn with an attack from his Dragonlord Ojutai. He finds a second Hornet Nest off of the Ojutai’s ability and plays it and passes the turn to Ross. Ross goes into the tank for his turn, knowing that he has to make big plays and fast, given the Dragonlord beating him down in the air. However, he simply passes the turn with all of his mana open.
On Collins’ upkeep, Ross makes his move. He casts Dromoka’s Command, adding a +1/+1 counter to his Seeker of the Way, and tries to fight his Seeker of the Way with Collin’s Elvish Mystic. Collins responds by casting a Dromoka’s Command of his own, trying to put a +1/+1 counter on his Dragonlord Ojutai, and fighting his Deathmist Raptor and Ross’ Seeker of the Way, but Ross has a response with a second Dromoka’s Command, putting a +1/+1 counter on his Seeker of the Way, and fighting the Seeker with Collins’ Elvish Mystic. After that all resolves, Ross has a dead Seeker of the Way, five 1/1 Monk tokens with Prowess, and two Monastery Mentor. Collins has a 6/5 Dragonlord Ojutai and a dead Elvish Mystic and dead Deathmist Raptor. All during Collins’ upkeep!
Collins draws for his turn, and plays a Den Protector and Fleemance Lion, attacks with his Dragonlord Ojutai, and then passes back to Ross. Ross thinks during his upkeep, draws his card, and then starts to do some math. Ross starts by playing an Aqueous Form on one of his Monastery Mentors, creating two more 1/1 Monk tokens. After an attack by his unblockable Monastery Mentor, Ross passes the turn back.
A Temple of Enlightenment begins the turn for Collins, followed by an attack with Dragonlord Ojutai. Collins attempts to cast a Glare of Heresy, targeting the enchanted Monastery Mentor, but Ross has a God’s Willing to protect it, creating two more 1/1 Monk tokens and saving his creature. Collins has another Fleecemane Lion and passes the turn, hoping to not die this turn.
Ross draws a card for his turn, and sits up in his chair. He plays the spell he drew for the turn – Dromoka’s Command! He puts a +1/+1 counter on his Monastery Mentor and fights his opponent’s Den Protector. With all of the Prowess triggers, Ross attacks with the entire team. Collins blocks the best he can, but the amount of damage that gets through is enough to kill him out of nowhere!
Ross Merriam wins Game 3, and the match, 2-1! He is on to the semifinals!