Quartefinals: Lauren Nolen vs. Jacob Baugh
Former Invitational champion Lauren Nolen is playing Deathblade in this top 8, but he will have to weather the Storm brought on by Jacob Baugh. Can he stomp the ANT before getting overrun himself?
As the top overall seed, Jacob was on the play.
“I’ll mulligan. A few too many Swords to Plowshares there.”
Lauren Nolen hopes to bring Death upon his opponents!
Jacob did not have a single creature in his 75, so any Swords in Lauren’s opening hand is essentially a mull. Once Lauren kept his six, Jacob asked, “what you got?” The answer was Swords to Plowshares, Stoneforge Mystic, Inquisition of Kozilek, and three lands (shown thanks to Gitaxian Probe). Island followed by Preordain continued to sculpt Jacob’s deck, as he bottomed both cards. Inquisition of Kozilek took out Infernal Tutor from a hand of two lands, Cabal Ritual, Dark Ritual, and Preordain.
Jacob used Preordain before playing Underground Sea to cast Cabal Therapy and deprived Lauren of the Mystic (Notion Thief being the draw for the turn). Lauren drew and played Dark Confidant for his turn.
Jacob dropped a third land, Scalding Tarn, before deciding his next move. Lauren was hopeful that Jacob could beat him, “in time to see Game of Thrones,” but Jacob was unable to comply. After some thought, he passed. Lauren took zero from his land, and Jacob fell to 16 from attacks. Stoneforge Mystic (off the top, of course) fetched out Batterskull before Lauren passed. Jacob fetched before untapping, going to 15 in the process, and at this point almiost certainly had to try to go off…
…Unfortunately he drew another land for the second turn in a row to prevent being able to ‘go off’ with Infernal Tutor! Lauren was able to untap, add two more cards to his hand thanks to Dark Confidant, and then use Thoughtseize to take out Infernal Tutor from Polluted Delta, Dark Ritual, and Cabal Ritual. Dark Confidant dropped Jacob down two more, and Germ token came into play on a Batterskull.
“Wow, how did I win this game?”
Now firmly in the catbird seat, Snapcaster Mage Inquisition of Kozilek to take Cabal Rit, and Lauren attacked for seven to set Jacob to 5 and Lauren to 21. Jacob cast Ponder, which he quickly shuffled with, and after drawing off the cantrip…
…found Brainstorm to keep the dream alive. For a second. Unfortunately, he whiffed and Lauren won the first game.
Jacob is stormin' the top 8!
Lauren 1, Jacob 0.
Both players remained cordial during the game and sideboarding, as they both understood the likelihood of Jacob drawing lands off the top two turns in a row was low. Storm is somewhat favored game one, but sometimes the deck gets whammied. Now Lauren’s deck gets even better, as Swords to Plowshares (among others) hit the bench in favor of Meddling Mage and friends.
Jacob once more was on the play, with Lauren having broken serve. After a long moment of thought, he decided to mulligan while Lauren kept his seven. Jacob led with Gitaxian Probe, showing off, “a very respectable seven”: Force of Will, Notion Thief, Meddling Mage, Surgical Extraction, and three lands. Jacob then cast Duress to rob Force of Will from Lauren before passing. Lauren simply played a land and passed. Jacob played Tropical Island and Carpet of Flowers, threatening to make a bunch of mana should Lauren crack his Flooded Strand. Indeed Lauren did fetch (twice in fact) to grab Plains and Island to cast Meddling Mage. Chris Pikula’s Invitational card named Tendrils of Agony, and Lauren passed.
Jacob played a third land and passed. Meddling Mage gave Jacob the business, dropping him to 16. Another fetchland found Scrubland to help cast Bob (aka Dark Confidant), and his tribal Wizards deck continued to go at him. Force of Will off the top of Lauren’s deck dropped him to 12, but added a nice Counterspell to his hand in the process. Jacob cast Gitaxian Probe and found another land, while Lauren added Notion Thief to the board in the end step. Tribal Wizards for the win!
Bob revealed Thoughtseize to go to 11, then cast it to go to 9 (revealing many Lion’s Eye Diamonds) while attacks dropped Jacob to 7. Jacob only drew Cabal Therapy, and he extended his hand in defeat.
Lauren 2, Jacob 0.
"Time for me to go watch Game of Thrones!"