Feature Match Round 8: Teresa Buss vs Davis Merced
Playing for an outside shot at Top 8 and to lock Top 16 this round, Davis Merced met Teresa Buss in the final Swiss round. His mono-black deck was suited to creature opponents, and Teresa was playing Legacy's creature deck du jour—Maverick. Could she overcome the disadvantage?
Davis has plenty of Swamps in his deck!
Teresa won the die roll, keeping her hand, and started Horizon Canopy and Mother of Runes. Davis spent a Bloodstained Mire to go to 19 for Swamp, leading Innocent Blood to end the Mother. With Yavimaya Hollow on turn 2, it seemed fair to think Teresa was light on colored sources.
Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Wasteland, Swords to Plowshares, and three Knight of the Reliquary. Davis took one, not too scared of Swords, and passed with one Swamp up. Teresa played her Wasteland, with no other options available. Bitterblossom from Davis gave him a Swords-proof threat, and Bojuka Bog removed her graveyard to give him a third mana on the next turn, which he would likely use to cast Liliana of the Veil.
Green Sun's Zenith for one found Noble Hierarch on Teresa's side. Falling to 18, Davis made a Faerie and then played Swamp and Gatekeeper of Malakir—Liliana for later, beatdown for now! Teresa fetched Savannah and took another point to cast her first Knight, going to 16 life. Davis fell to 17 for Bitterblossom, and then made Liliana to kill the Knight.
He swung Teresa to 13 and passed with two mana untapped, unable to immediately answer the next Knight. Cavern of Souls for Human let Teresa cast the Knight pain-free, but Davis drew Innocent Blood and retook control of the game. He attacked Teresa to 9, and she declined to pop the Horizon Canopy. Spinning Liliana up, Davis made her pitch Swords and dropped Abyssal Persecutor to threaten lethal.
Teresa drew Noble Hierarch, and that certainly couldn't her. She revealed a second Swords, zapping the Persecutor when Davis tried to Hymn her, blocking with Hierarch and Yavimaya Hollow to reduce the damage.
Breaking the Canopy now, Teresa attacked Liliana for a point of damage and went to 1 as Davis swung back. Her last card was Fauna Shaman, and she fell to Faeries on the next turn.
Davis 1, Teresa 0
Keeping, Teresa fetched on turn 1 for Forest and cast Noble Hierarch. Innocent Blood slew the 0/1, and Teresa replaced it with Scavenging Ooze after playing Wasteland—shy colored mana again? Davis had only another Swamp, casting Cabal Therapy to get no Knight of the Reliquary, revealing Mother of Runes, Sword of Feast and Famine, another Ooze, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence.
Teresa had fetched Forest to avoid being too vulnerable to Wasteland, but now she needed a white land—Stirring Wildwood to the rescue. Playing her second Ooze, Teresa attacked. Awkwardly, Davis had a Massacre in hand that he really, really wished he could cast against Savannah!
Declining to Wasteland Stirring Wildwood, Davis cast Zendikar Limited MVP Vampire Nighthawk—a threat not to be underestimated. Teresa cast her Sword as expected and declined to attack, and now Davis used the Wasteland, adding Dark Confidant to his board with the Nighthawk on defense.
Teresa drew Wasteland and equipped an Ooze, attacking with just that one and exiling Mother of Runes before damage to get in for 5 damage. Then she moved the Sword to the other Ooze, and ended her turn. Bob revealed Vampire Nighthawk for Davis and dropped him to 10 life, and he swung to turn on that lifelink.
His Cabal Therapy exiled, Davis went to 12 and then cast Umezawa's Jitte, lacking a third land. Moving her Sword back to the bigger Ooze, Teresa attacked for 6 damage by exiling an Abyssal Persecutor Davis had discarded. He drew, stared at the board, and gave his Nighthawk the Jitte after playing a Swamp.
Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Aven Mindcensor, Mother of Runes, Linvala, and Swords— Davis pitched the Swords. Done after that, Davis was on 8 life and working on a comeback. Teresa drew Yavimaya Hollow and moved the Sword once more to her biggest Ooze, attacking for 7 damage and putting Davis to 1 life. He pitched Massacre to the Sword.
Crossing his fingers on Dark Confidant, Davis killed the Ooze Teresa tried to shift her Sword too, and died when he flipped Hymn to Tourach. Considering he was dead without the top card of his deck being a land, the play seemed fine!
Davis 1, Teresa 1
Teresa plots her way to victory.
Fetching Swamp, Davis cast Sensei's Divining Top on turn 1. Teresa played Windswept Heath and passed the turn, while Davis Topped in his upkeep. He played Swamp, and Teresa had a basic of her own. Forest, then a fetch for Plains gave her easy access to all her mana for the first time in the match. What would she do with it?
Cast Sylvan Library was the answer. “That's kind of like a Top,” Davis admitted, aware that the enchantment was a powerful weapon against his disruption. He Topped in her end step, then fetched Swamp on his turn to reset the top of the deck before casting Liliana of the Veil and boosting the planeswalker. Teresa pitched Wasteland, while Davis tossed a fetch.
Holding onto just one card, Teresa played Savannah and then Sword of Feast and Famine. Davis Topped in his upkeep once more. He had Bitterblossom afterward, and declined to boost Liliana—four loyalty was plenty. She made a Bitterblossom of her own on the next turn, with Elspeth to make a Soldier and start threatening Liliana.
Davis took 1 and then drew, sitting on three lands. He kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir to generate a threat, and popped Top for a card he could discard—Verdant Catacombs was that card, and Liliana went to five while Teresa lost another Wasteland. Her Sylvan continued to work, and Teresa found Knight, which she equipped, and then made a 1/1 with her Elspeth.
“He's a 7/7?” Davis confirmed; that's right, big game. Protection from black was also a big deal. With few options, Davis had to use his cards pretty inefficiently. Perish to kill the Knight and attack into the token, or Massacre to kill the token and a Liliana activation to kill Knight. Davis went with Perish and then Liliana to wipe the little guy, and knocked Elspeth to three loyalty.
Thalia for Teresa was a significant threat, but she decided to equip a fresh Soldier rather than her legend, hedging her bets against removal. Davis pumped down Liliana, and the Soldier bit the dust. Teresa had just Thalia, which Davis didn't seem to mind.
He swung her to two loyalty and tapped out for Umezawa's Jitte. Teresa equipped Thalia with the Sword and made a Soldier, then attacked Liliana to death. She cast Mother of Runes after combat, and passed with two mana up rather than moving her Sword, indicating a likely Swords to Plowshares.
Indeed, Swords slew the equipped Faerie when Davis attacked, Elspeth surviving at one loyalty. Davis tapped out to recast Top, and ended the turn. Teresa triggered her Sylvan and examined her attacks. With Davis on 15, jumping Thalia with Elspeth seemed fine, generating a lot of pressure with Bitterblossom still ticking. She shifted Sword to the token and made that play, Davis pitching Cabal Therapy.
The Sword moved to Thalia, and Teresa passed. Davis put Jitte on a Faerie, but Teresa once more had Swords to defend from Jitte! Sylvan Library at work. Elspeth did die, but Davis was on 9 life and on a two-turn clock unless his Jitte connected in this turn cycle. He passed, not equipping in order to be able to Top.
Still keeping one card, Teresa gave the Soldier protection from black and attacked Davis to 5, then passed. His Bitterblossom put him to 3 life, but he looked good to make Jitte happen now. Time was called on Teresa's turn, making Davis turn 1 of the additional five.
He Topped, equipped Jitte, and swung with everyone—another Swords to Plowshares! Wow! That effectively ended the game, leaving Davis dead to the board. Even his Massacre left Thalia standing, and her 4 damage plus the Bitterblossom's final point locked up the match.
Davis 1, Teresa 2