Quarterfinals: Ross Merriam vs. Collins Mullen
Both players are playing a Bant variant. Which one will come out on top: 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%2C+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!