Quarterfinals: Alex Evans vs. Daniel Duterte
Alex entered the Top 8 as the number one seed with R/G Aggro, but Daniel's Junk Reanimator deck was packed with enough removal to slow the matchup down. Could he lead a return to glory for Angel of Serenity?
Alex is on the beatdown plan with R/G Aggro.
Alex kept his seven but Daniel fell to four cards in search of a hand he was willing to play with. “I mulled to four in my win and in,” he noted, no doubt a bit miffed to find himself doing so two matches in a row.
Stomping Ground and Stromkirk Noble for Alex, while Daniel began with Sunpetal Grove. He fell to 19, thankful to see Alex miss a two-drop, but had no turn 2 himself before seeing Boros Reckoner join the Noble on Alex’s third turn. He sighed on turn 3, passing with Woodland Cemetery and Grove untapped.
Hellrider from Alex warranted an Abrupt Decay before combat, killing the Stromkirk Noble before he took 8 damage, dropping to 9. Forest gave Daniel Voice of Resurgence and Arbor Elf, but when he tried to double up on Hellrider Alex flashed Ghor-Clan Rampager to take the game.
Alex 1, Daniel 0
Alex began the following game with a mulligan after Daniel’s keep, Daniel opening with Godless Shrine. Alex lacked a one-drop and played Mountain, while Daniel made no play on turn 2 except for Sunpetal Grove. Alex had an above average turn 2, Burning-Tree Emissary into Burning-Tree Emissary into Rakdos Cackler, while Daniel cast Grisly Salvage to bin nothing of note, taking Restoration Angel.
Daniel played Voice of Resurgence and a tapped Overgrown Tomb on turn 3, and Alex decided to attack with everything prior to casting Boros Reckoner. Daniel fell to 16, and cast Fiend Hunter to exile the Reckoner before playing a land and passing turn back to Alex. Alex used Madcap Skills to suit up Rakdos Cackler and sent it into combat, offering to trade the 4/2 for both of Daniel’s creatures—but that would also get back Boros Reckoner.
Taking 4 damage, Daniel fell to 11—he wasn’t interested in that kind of trade. Untapping with four mana, he now had Restoration Angel online to twist the tempo further in his direction, passing turn with that play likely at the forefront of Alex’s mind. He played a tapped Stomping Ground and ended the turn, giving Daniel the space to Grisly Salvage. It hit lands and small creatures, Daniel taking Fiend Hunter and putting Voice of Resurgence and Restoration Angel into the graveyard.
The second Fiend Hunter struck down the Cackler, and Alex was far behind now. Avacyn’s Pilgrim turned the Elemental into a 4/4, and Daniel attacked with it. Flinthoof Boar gave Alex a creature that could attack, but Daniel put both Fiend Hunters and the Pilgrim in front of it, giving Alex a Boros Reckoner while killing a Boar and losing a 1/3—perhaps just chumping with Pilgrim might have been better, unless he really needed seven mana...
Angel of Serenity did indeed land on Daniel’s turn, vindicating his block and clearing out Alex’s board. Daniel attacked him down to 11, and the Searing Spear Alex drew to go with his Mark of Mutiny left him two points short of a victory.
Daniel's Reanimator deck carried the match.
Alex 1, Daniel 1
Alex kept and Daniel followed suit—sevens it is! Stromkirk Noble started things for Alex, while Daniel began with Godless Shrine untapped. The expected Tragic Slip slew Stromkirk Noble, and Alex passed after making a land drop. Daniel played Arbor Elf via Sunpetal Grove, but Pillar of Flame cleared it even as Alex once more failed to make a creature.
Daniel Mulched into Temple Garden, binning Thragtusk, and played the shockland tapped. Hellrider joined Alex’s board after a shockland, dealing 4 and leaving Daniel on 14. He took a deep breath as he drew, needing Fiend Hunter—he had one, alongside a tapped shockland. Mizzium Mortars moved Hellrider back into play, and it attacked Daniel down to 10 life.
Alex had two mana up and a Skullcrack just itching for Daniel’s dome. When Daniel played Thragtusk, it connected to leave him on 7 life facing the Hellrider. Mark of Mutiny, Hellrider, or Ghor-Clan Rampager off the top would go with his Pillar of Flame for lethal—but Alex drew just a land. Daniel played Voice of Resurgence and attacked with Thragtusk, four open mana available to him. Alex knew that strongly implied Restoration Angel after combat—he was very tempted to block and force the issue.
Instead, he fell to 13 before Daniel gained 5 life and made a 3/3 Beast. On 12 with his shields up, Daniel passed the turn. Another land for Alex left him floundering, and Pillar on Voice was hardly enough. He conceded just a turn later.
Alex 1, Daniel 2