Feature Match Round 9: Chris Andersen vs. Ryan King
One of the most frequent matchups at the top tables has been the Esper Midrange versus U/W Delver pairing, and this match featured a top pilot of each archetype. Chris started 7-0 with Esper but had just taken a loss—he needed a win for Top 8. In the same boat, Ryan came with Delver of Secrets.
Ryan King pilots the current boogeyman of the format, U/W Delver.
Darkslick Shores for Probe on turn 1 from Chris spotted Snapcaster, Probe, Probe, Ponder, Thought Scour, and Gut Shot in Ryan’s hand. Ryan played Island and Pondered on the first turn, declining to Probe beforehand and passing after. Chris had only Evolving Wilds on the second turn.
Seachrome Coast came down on Ryan’s side, and he cast Gitaxian Probe for 2 life to see Go for the Throat, Lingering Souls, Snapcaster Mage, Gideon Jura, and two Blade Splicers. Ryan then cast Thought Scour to draw and fired Ponder afterward, shuffling his top three immediately. Drawing Darkslick Shores, Chris hit the magic three mana he needed.
He cast Lingering Souls to start generating a tough clock against his opponent, knowing he could remove any recently drawn Restoration Angels with his removal spell. Ryan Snapcaster Maged a Ponder, spotting some Vapor Snags he might be inclined to keep for those Blade Splicers... but Chris was going to play around that if he could. He drew and cast Ponder, more interested in finding lands than resolving a Splicer.
Keeping the top three in place, he attacked for two before playing Island and casting a Splicer anyway. “Is there a reason why Osyp’s a Golem and Tim’s a Spirit?” Ryan asked. “Well,” Chris replied, “Tim’s kind of pale and ghastly... I also have more Tims than Osyps.” Ryan Snagged the Golem and lost his Snapcaster when Chris immediately blocked with his Splicer.
Playing Swamp, Chris attacked for 2 and then cast another Splicer and flashbacked Lingering Souls. He had a lot of presence, and Ryan Thought Scoured himself during the end step to look for aid. He was on 14, but in trouble. Playing Delver of Secrets and then Moorland Haunt, Ryan passed with four mana untapped.
Chris lacked the colored sources for Gideon Jura, but Ryan feared him all the same. Probe revealed the Snapcaster, Gideon, and Go for the Throat Ryan already knew were there, and he tapped out for Gideon Jura.
Snapping Ponder on his own turn, Chris Attacked and the Delver chumped the Golem as the four Spirits flew in and put Ryan on 10. A tapped Seachrome Coast for Chris threatened white mana on the next turn, and thus put Ryan in a bind. He passed with Geist on defense.
Immediately attacking with everyone except for the Blade Splicer, Chris nodded as Ryan Snagged the Golem with a Snapcaster Mage, but Go for the Throat removed the Mage and left Ryan taking 6 damage unless he traded Geist for Snapcaster Mage on defense. He decided to take the 6, but 2 of it came from his own Gut Shot on Snapcaster. If this was his line, an attack with Geist on the previous turn was basically free, but it probably wouldn’t matter. Attacking Christ to 12 with Geist, Ryan Probed to see two more Snapcaster Mages and the Gideon Jura. During the end step, Chris played one of his Snapcasters, and then attacked with everyone. The second Snapcaster Mage was insurance, but he didn’t need any—Ryan conceded.
Chris 1, Ryan 0
Chris Anderson slams his Restoration Angels right into a Top 8 berth.
With each player on six, Chris sighed and revealed five lands and Restoration Angel to Ryan’s turn 1 Gitaxian Probe—awkward! Ryan played Glacial Fortress and passed, while Chris had Seachrome Coast. Ponder from Ryan preceded some thought before he kept the three. Chris just had Darkslick Shores on turn 2.
Ryan only had the Fortress for land, and Chris had Doom Blade for his Delver of Secrets—we know the next card isn’t land either! Chris played Blade Splicer (sick peel!) and lost his Golem to Ryan’s Snag... but Restoration Angel on turn 4 of course made a new one.
His first fresh card also wasn’t a land, and Probe from Chris revealed two Leaks, Restoration Angel, Geist, Dissipate, Runechanter’s Pike, and Snapcaster Mage. He swung for 7 at Ryan and made another Blade Splicer, earning the concession from Chris.
“My draws were a little ridiculous,” Chris admitted.
Chris 2, Ryan 0