Quarterfinals: Adam Jansen vs. Nick Mudd
Standard Open champion Adam Jansen earned his trophy with Jund, but he’d traded black for white this weekend and sleeved up Naya. He’d need to cut through Nick’s B/W/R Humans build to keep his hopes for a second cup alive.
Nick swiped game 1 on the back of Blood Artist.
Nick had the play to begin the match and kept his opener, with Adam following suit. Just a Godless Shrine for Nick, but Adam had Temple Garden and Avacyn’s Pilgrim to jump ahead. Gather the Townsfolk gave Nick some 1/1 Humans, but Adam quickly outclassed them with Loxodon Smiter on turn 2.
Playing a third B/W land and seemingly lacking red, Nick played a late Champion of the Parish before adding Cartel Aristocrat to the battlefield. The Smiter attacked Nick to 16 when he declined to block, and a second Elephant joined the board before Adam added a tapped shockland.
Plains on turn 4 confirmed that Nick had no red—he wasn’t slowrolling Cavern into Falkenrath Aristocrat. A second Cartel Aristocrat grew the Champion to 3/3, and Blood Artist made the board extremely complicated. Nick passed afterward, and that gave Adam a window he could use to kill it—but he elected to get Champion of the Parish with Domri Rade’s fight instead, declining to attack with any Elephants afterward and sandbagging a Mizzium Mortars in the hopes of overloading, rather than just casting it as well.
Adam appeared to have shifted into the control role, but Cartel Aristocrat could easily handle the weakened Domri Rade. Nick played a second Blood Artist and sacrificed a Human to kill the planeswalker, passing turn with another Aristocrat and Human up for blocking purposes. Drawing Thundermaw Hellkite, Adam had a new form of pressure. He sent the Dragon into battle alongside one Smiter, keeping the other on defense since Nick could thwart both with the same block required to thwart one.
He did use the Human to bump in front of the Smiter and fell to 16 against the Hellkite with no Tragic Slip in sight. He was running out of gas and needed a Lingering Souls, Gather, or Tragic Slip to even the odds. Cavern of Souls gave him red mana for Falkenrath Aristocrat—that was a enough!
Nick could attack for 13 in the air if he threw his whole board into the Falkenrath; it would become a 6/3 via the Aristocrats, generating four Artist triggers, and the Artists themselves would give him three more after combat. After double-checking the math, Nick sent his Aristocrat in for lethal damage.
Adam would need more removal from his sideboard.
Nick 1, Adam 0
Looking back on the first game, it seemed clear that Adam had allowed that Blood Artist to get a little too rowdy; with his Smiters on defense for multiple turns, killing the Champion had not wound up mattering to the game, while the Artist had allowed Nick to dominate the race!
Turn 1 for Adam featured just Sacred Foundry this time around, while Nick led Doomed Traveler on a Plains. Turn 2 Pilgrim for Adam via Rootbound Crag, and Nick attacked for 1 before casting Cartel Aristocrat, paying 2 life to get Blood Crypt untapped. Firing back with a 4/4, Adam passed the turn with Smiter on defense.
Lifebane Zombie from Nick exiled Voice of Resurgence and revealed Mizzium Mortars, Domri Rade, and a land. No attacks followed, and Nick was done for the turn. Adam couldn’t really play the Domri Rade without using Mortars on the Zombie; it would just die to an end-of-turn Spirit token plus the intimidating attack, and the Spirit would best any fight as well. Swinging with his Smiter, he decided to play his topdecked Smiter and pass.
The Zombie swung and Nick played Xathrid Necromancer before ending the turn, leaving Adam on 14. Peeling Scavenging Ooze, Adam appeared prepared to really begin beating down! He started with Domri Rade, using the fight to dispatch the Necromancer before attacking with either Elephant. Nick replied by turning his Doomed Traveler into a Zombie and a Spirit token, then sacrificed the Necromancer as well.
That thwarted any plans Adam had to attack, so he just dropped the Ooze and passed back. He was on 14—Falkenrath Aristocrat would threaten a two-turn clock if Nick had it. Untapping, he dropped the Vampire onto the field before attacking with the 4/1, Lifebane Zombie, and the Spirit token, ignoring Domri Rade. Getting in an extra 2 with Cartel here via a sacrificed Zombie would’ve put Adam to 6 and left him a little more vulnerable...
Domri discovered Thundermaw Hellkite on top of the deck, offering Adam a play that would take all his mana... leaving Scavenging Ooze unavailable. It was the best line that he had, however, as it cleared the Spirit and gave him a potential blocker. Adam sent just the Smiter on offense, leaving his Thundermaw untapped—a rare sight!
Nick took 4 and went to 10, starting his next turn with Zealous Conscripts to earn the concession.
Nick 2, Adam 0