Quarterfinals: Matt Webster vs. Brad Nelson
The story of this tournament has been the breakout of U/G Infect, with three players taking the deck to the elimination rounds. Matt Webster and former Invitational champ Brad Nelson were two of those three, and they sat down to see who would be doling out poison counters in the semifinals.
Matt led off with a Noble Hierarch, while Brad was without a turn one play, simply laying a Tropical Island and passing back. Matt Pondered, then attempted a Brainstorm, but Brad attempted to put the kibosh on that plan with a Spell Pierce. Matt decided the Brainstorm was worth fighting for, and fired off a Force of Will, pitching another copy of Force from his hand. Brad Forced back pitching his own Brainstorm, and Matt let it go, passing back with just 2 cards in hand.
Brad had a Brainstorm of his own, and Matt had nothing to stop it. He had no further play, and Matt took his draw step, finding only more pump spells. He shrugged and attacked with his Noble Hierarch, dealing the unlikely bit of non-infect combat damage before passing the turn back.
The drought on infect creatures didn’t last, as Brad played an Inkmoth Nexus and then cast Blighted Agent. Matt Brainstormed and found an Inkmoth Nexus of his own along with a second Noble Hierarch. He passed, and Brad dropped a Wasteland into play, killed off the Nexus, then cast Noble Hierarch and attacked with his own Nexus, dealing 3 damage total with the help of Noble Hierarch and Pendelhaven. Matt simply played another Nexus from his hand and passed the turn back.
Brad couldn’t find a way to finish things off on his next turn, and simply attacked with his Blighted Agent and dealt 3 more damage. Matt drew his card and, after some deliberation, went for the kill. He attacked with Inkmoth Nexus, which became a 3/3 thanks to his two Noble Hierarch triggers. He then cast a Berserk to bring the Nexus to 6/3. It resolved. He tried for a second Berserk for the win, and this time Brad had Force of Will. Matt’s last card in hand, Vines of Vastwood, couldn’t help him, as he was one mana short of paying its kicker. Matt had no recourse but to deal six infect damage and end his turn, which sent his Inkmoth Nexus to the graveyard and left him without an infect threat.
Brad swung in with his infect beaters and to bring Matt’s poison count up to 9. Matt took a peek at his top card and, finding no help, moved on to the next game.
Brad Nelson 1, Matt Webster 0
Turn 1 Noble Hierarch was again the opener for Matt. Brad attempted the same play, but Matt bounced his Tropical Island to cast Daze. He played Inkmoth Nexus instead of replaying Tropical Island on his own turn, and Brad disposed of it with a Wasteland then dropped Glistener Elf into play.
Brad: “Whew. That’s not a good hand.”
Matt: “I’ve seen better.”
Brad attacked with his Glistener Elf and fired off Invigorate, which resolved. He attempted a Berserk to close things out, putting Matt in a tough spot. He had Force of Will, but casting it would leave him completely out of action. He opted to cast the Brainstorm instead, hoping to find a replacement blue card plus more gas. He peeled off… Inkmoth Nexus, Noble Hierarch, and Wooded Foothills. Now without a way to cast his Force of Will, Matt could only extend the hand in defeat.
Brad Nelson 2, Matt Webster 0