Quarterfinals: Alex Holcomb vs. Andrew Ohlschwager
One of two Delver mirrors in the quarterfinals, this one pitted two pretty different builds against one another. Andrew had a decided advantage, playing Geists and Angels while Alex was leaning on Augur of Bolas and Talrand. Strong cards... but worse in the mirror.
Alex had the play to start the Top 8, but he didn’t have a keepable seven cards. Andrew’s opening hand was fine, so that left Alex hoping to stay with six cards and on relatively even footing. Keeping a land-light hand with Gitaxian Probe, Alex spotted Delver of Secrets, Mana Leak, Geist of Saint Traft, Restoration Angel, Seachrome Coast and Moorland Haunt—pretty much the nuts for Andrew.
Andrew fans out his opening hand in game 2.
He opened on the Delver, while Alex paid 2 life to Probe again before Vapor Snagging the Delver on his own turn—a bit hasty, since the upkeep was really just as good. Andrew recast the Delver and played a land, while Alex passed on turn 3 with just two lands. That gave Andrew the first attack, knocking Alex to 15.
Emboldened, Andrew jammed Geist into Mana Leak and was tapped out as Alex found a third land, deploying Vapor Snag once more. The Delver returned, along with a fourth land for Andrew, and he immediately Mana Leaked the Talrand Alex tried to play on turn 5.
Revealing Vapor Snag, Andrew flipped his Delver and cast Runechanter’s Pike. That put 5 more damage into Alex, knocking him to 10 life. He played another Talrand, and when Andrew attacked Alex, he attempted to make a Drake with Gut Shot, his last card. The Vapor Snag cleared the way to leave Alex on 1 life, and then Andrew showed him a Gut Shot the game was over.
Andrew 1, Alex 0
A strong opening hand for Andrew had gotten even better as the game went on, while Alex had stumbled and failed to generate much pressure. He’d need to win the next two if he wanted to make it into the semifinals!
Another mulligan was an underwhelming start to his comeback.
Alex struggled on six cards in both games.
Quickly keeping, Andrew appeared poised to take it in two. Just an Island for Alex on turn 1, and Andrew had only Seachrome Coast. Glacial Fortress and pass from Alex, while Island and the same for Andrew. A Thought Scour in the end step for Alex, binning Ponder and an Image before Alex played Moorland Haunt on turn 3.
Jamming Geist of Saint Traft on turn 3, Andrew resolved the hexproof Spirit while Alex generated a token one. Left with few options beyond getting aggressive, Alex played a fourth land and cast Sword of War and Peace before attacking for 1 damage. Andrew swung back for 6, but Vapor Snag saved Alex 4 damage. He played a fifth land and then equipped his Spirit, but Gut Shot in response forced him to Mental Misstep—Vapor Snag sealed the deal, however.
Fully in the driver’s seat, Andrew Thought Scoured in the end step and then attacked for 6 damage, leaving Alex on 11. He Pondered, dropped a fifth land after keeping, and sent the turn with an Angel likely sitting in his hand. Alex had nothing but lands, jokingly naming Elf with his Cavern of Souls.
No Angel, but the next attack put Alex to 5 life. The attack after that one met a Snapcaster Mage for the save, flashbacking Vapor Snag, but Andrew cast Snapcaster Mage for Gut Shot to remove the blocker prior to using Mental Misstep to counter the Snag.
Andrew 2, Alex 0