Quarterfinals: Adam Cai (Fauna Maverick) vs. Alix Hatfield (High TIde)
That looks like a mid-combo Hatfield to me...
Adam Cai’s unique Maverick deck plowed through the Swiss rounds and landed him in the second seed, giving him the option to start things off against seventh-seed Alix Hatfield and his trusty High Tide combo deck.
After a fair bit of shuffling and good-natured chats, Adam started the action off with a fetched up Savannah enabling a Green Sun’s Zenith for Dryad Arbor. Alix calmly replied with a Preordain off of an Island, making sure to set things up just how he wanted them by scrying one of the cards to the bottom and drawing the other before letting Adam go back at it.
Windswept Heath fetched up a second Savannah and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben flew onto the board before Dryad Arbor got the damage rolling. Thalia was going to put a wrench in Alix’s plans of comboing off by offsetting the powerful bonus of Alix’s deck’s namesake card High Tide. Still, Adam fought on with Candelabra of Tawnos, nodding as Fauna Shaman and Scavenging Ooze increased the pressure on Adam’s side.
Merchant Scroll called forth Snap as Alix set himself up to escape from Thalia, Guardian of Thraben’s web, and Adam was forced to devise a plan of his own in order to not simply be dead. He came up with Scryb Ranger before discarding Noble Hierarch to fetch Mother of Runes. He tapped out to play the little mama before untapping Fauna Shaman with Scryb Ranger, bouncing and replaying his Savannah to get six more damage, dropping Alix to 11.sent his team for
The Mother of Runes forced Alix to go for it before she could protect Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and potentially lock him out of the game, so he offed her with Snap and Preordained before playing a fourth Island and using Merchant Scroll to find Force of Will. Adam had a potent counterstrike on Alix’s end step, readying the Fauna Shaman with another Scryb Ranger activation to pluck the second copy of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben from his deck. That and Alix’s tapped-out board meant one of the Thalias was going to get through, and the first one indeed did.
Adam’s team roared over for six damage, with just Mother of Runes and the summoning sick Thalia, Guardian of Thraben staying home. That left Alix on a scant 5 and dead to Adam’s board. Alix drew his card for the turn and decided to open the floodgates another day.
Adam 1, Alix 0
Adam broke the stony silence with two mulligans and a reluctant keep of his five. Ponder shuffled away some chaff for Alix, and Adam answered with Mother of Runes. Merchant Scroll went for some protection in the form of Force of Will, perhaps signaling that Alix had everything he needed and just had to keep Thalia, Guardian of Thraben off the table.
The plan got simpler when Adam blanked his second turn, playing a Tropical Island to go with his Savannah and not attacking with Mother of Runes, and Alix used the breathing room to figure out his best lines of attack. Ponder gave him something to think about, and he shuffled away a gassy set of High Tide, Brainstorm and Merchant Scroll, perhaps digging for more lands to ensure a safe and effective High Tide turn.
Another turn without a play from Adam let Alix keep digging, this time with Brainstorm. He failed to find a fourth land and had to pass the turn, burning a Meditate to Force of Will Ethersworn Canonist. And now Alix was ready to go for it.
High Tide was met by Spell Pierce but Flusterstorm pushed it through, and Alix tapped his last Island to float two blue mana. He used one to cast Brainstorm, but Surgical Extraction jumped out of Adam’s hand to pick off the rest of Alix’s High Tides. He was going to need to hit a land here to have a chance to continue his turn, and he did in Flooded Strand. An Island let him play and use Candelabra of Tawnos to untap two lands before untapping all four of them with Turnabout. Eight mana spilled into Alix’s pool and Time Spiral shot Alix off to the races with two blue mana left over.
Adam Cai takes the offensive.
All four Islands untapped and Alix went through the math of his new seven-spell hand in his head. Ponder restarted the chain, letting Alix look at three more spells. He chose to shuffle them back in before using his last floating mana to play a second Candelabra of Tawnos. Eight more mana spilled into the pool before all of the Islands untapped again, and Alix used the four floating to Turnabout both of his Candelabra of Tawnos and add another batch of mana to his pool. Adam tried to respond to the first Candelabra activation with Surgical Extraction on Turnabout, but Alix wasn’t going to let that happen. He used one of his extra Force of Wills to Force of Will the extraction and keep going, dumping a second batch of Candelabra mana into his pool and using it to set up the kill.
Nine mana emptied in a rush as Time Spiral was met by Alix’s own Flusterstorm in response, and Alix topped the stack off with a 51-card Brain Freeze, letting his Flusterstorm counter Time Spiral so that Adam would die on his draw step. It worked and game three was coming right up.
Adam 1, Alix 1
Another early Mother of Runes was met by a Ponder that finally kept the cards on top, leading to Adam trying to sneak a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben onto the board. Force of Will snapped out of Alix’s hand with Flusterstorm falling into exile. Mother of Runes got in for a point, and it was back on Alix who played a second Island.
Green Sun’s Zenith for two gave Alix pause, though he eventually allowed it to resolve. All Alix could do was play a third Island and pass the turn back to Adam.
“Thalia’s not resolving,” he said sternly, though he was slow to figure out exactly what he was going to exile to Force of Wil.
Cunning Wish eventually got exiled and Mother of Runes suck in for a point before Adam took his free turn. He dug up Ethersworn Canonist with Fauna Shaman and added the mobile Arcane Laboratory to his board before shipping it back to Alix who could only Ponder into a fourth Island.
Adam wasn’t putting any pressure on Alix’s life total, but his Fauna Shaman was working overtime to disrupt Alix’s game plan, and eventually the Ethersworn Canonist started getting some damage in after a second Mother of Runes joined the team. Alix was content to take the offered time to build up his lands and try to find a way through the tangled web Adam was weaving.
Alix finally had to act on his last upkeep and pushed away Ethersworn Canonist with Wipe Away before knocking the top of his deck to find anything that could let him go off—Meditate or Time Spiral being the best options. He flipped over Candelabra of Tawnos, revealed the rest of his hand: three lands and a Turnabout that was a total airball and the match was over.
Adam wins the match 2-1