Quarterfinals: Alex Marth vs. Stephan Hink
Former SCG Standard Open winner Stephan Hink is looking to add a Legacy Open trophy to his mantelpiece. Can he get there, or will Alex Marth impede his path?
Stephan was on the play for this RUG Delver mirror match and took the play but unfortunately had to mulligan all the way to five.
“That’s no good! My 2-for-1s can’t 2-for-1 if I don’t have any cards!”'
After Stephan kept his opener and a Divination disadvantage, Tropical Island and Nimble Mongoose entered play. Alex started things off on his board with a fetchland, a Tropical Island search, and a Mongoose of his own. Stephan cast Brainstorm before playing his second land, Misty Rainforest, after which he cracked the fetchland for Volcanic Island. The second in his archipelago allowed him to cast Delver of Secrets, which resolved. Alex used Lightning Bolt to remove Delver of Secrets from the board and, after attacking and offering the trade (Stephan decided to keep his Mongoose), he passed.
Stephan cast Ponder on his third turn and, after pondering his future line of play, decided to shuffle. He drew and cast Delver of Secrets (“can’t complain about that one”), to which Alex cast Brainstorm in response to dig for Daze or Force of Will. He found the Counterspell, pitching Stifle to pay for the alternate cost, and the Human Wizard hit the bin.
Stephan aims for the stars in this mirror match!
Nimble Mongoose, still 1/1, attacked and dropped Stephen to 16. Alex cast Tarmogoyf, to which Stephan cast Force… to which Alex cast Force of Will. The Nimble Mongoose for Alex was big, but Stephan’s was not. Another Tarmogoyf drew an audible “whew” from Stephan, and it too resolved. Now armed with ten power, a turn later Nimble Mongoose grew to 3/3 and Lighting Bolt dropped Stephan to 9. Seeing that he had no outs even if he blocked, Stephan scooped and hoped for better luck on his opening hand for game two.
Alex 1, Stephan 0.
While their maindecks are very similar (Alex has one copy each of Misdirection, Spell Snare, Gitaxian Probe, and Fire // Ice; Stephan instead has two copies of Forked Bolt and one Sylvan Library, as well as the fourth Stifle), their sideboards are drastically different. Stephan has many sulfurous cards in Sulfurous Vortex and Sulfur Elemental, while Alex has access to late-game card advantage engine Life from the Loam and a myriad of other powerful singletons. It remains to be seen which plan will come out on top.
Stephan elected to keep, as did Alex. Stephan led with a fetchland for Tropical Island, while Alex led with just a fetchland. Stephan missed his land drop, and when Alex tried to Stifle Alex’s fetch activation he cast Force of Will. Stephen had the Daze though, and Alex was left with no mana. We shall see who can function on the low land count the best!
Stephan found land two before Alex found land one, which allowed him to cast Tarmogoyf. Alex finally found Tropical Island just after that, and he used it to cast Delver of Secrets. The scientist resolved, and Alex also cast Submerge targeting Tarmogoyf to slow Stephan’s roll. Stephan cast Brainstorm on his next turn, and Lightning Bolt targeting Delver was countered by Daze. Now the shoe is on the other foot!
Alex was unable to flip the Delver, so Stephan’s life total only dropped to 17. Ponder did not find a land for Alex, while it did find one for Stephan on his next turn: a big bad Wasteland. Alex’s entire manabase hit the bin, and Nimble Mongoose entered play as well. Insectile Aberration flipped thanks to Brainstorm on top, and Polluted Delta also entered play (he skipped his land drop last turn to bait the tap out). Volcanic Island allowed Alex to represent a counter, and Nimble Mongoose from Stephan swung in to drop life totals to 14 apiece.
Stephan cast Brainstorm after combat and followed that up with Wooded Foothills. The fetch trigger was not Stifled, and the second untapped mana source allwed him to cast Tarmogoyf. Daze, floating red mana, countered the ‘Goyf while the red mana cast Lightning Bolt to drop Stephan to 10. Insectile Aberration dropped Stephan to 7, and Stephan needed to find an answer quick. He decided the best way to do this was to race with Tarmogoyf, a 4/5 already and ready for action. Alex used Brainstorm to dig for either Burn spells to finish off Stephan or for a Force to counter the ‘Goyf… he found neither.
Wasteland took down Volcanic Island (Stephan floated a blue in response), and Alex dug deeper with Ponder looking at three new cards followed by a shuffle and cut for a look at one more off the top. He found nothing to speed up the clock just yet, so he passed. Stephan was all-in on the race plan now, and attacked Alex down to 4 and representing lethal the next turn. Delver of Secrets’ Hyde side dropped Stephan to 1, but he could not finish him off and Stephan stole the final life points.
Alex 1, Stephan 1.
Alex is Delving for Secrets!
“I’m very pleased.”
“’Very pleased’ is a good way to describe my hand as well.”
Both players kept, and Alex led with fetch, Trop, and Mongoose. Stephan got things started with Wasteland. Mongoose swung for one to get life totals to 19 all before playing Volcanic Island and passing. Wasteland number two tried to remove the Volc, but Stifle too care of those plans.
“I may have lost the game right there.”
Frustrated with himself, Stephan was still in the game because Alex only had Pnder as a follow-up play. Stephan cast his first spell of the game, a Ponder on his next turn, and Alex chose to Daze it. Wasteland of Alex’s took down Stephan’s dual land to leave Mongoose as the only card on the battlefield… until Stephan’s turn, who still had lands in hand. He used a fetchland to help cast Delver of Secrets before passing. Nimble Mongoose grew three sizes that combat step, thanks to Brainstorm after combat. Stephan fell to 13 (Alex at 19).
“Delver says… Forked Bolt.”
Fetchland joined Insectile Aberration in play, and the race began anew as the 3/2 flyer entered the red zone. Nimble Mongoose swung for Alex, and the players inched closer and closer towards zero. Ponder after combat (Stephan at 10) was Alex’s only play, then Stephan attacked (Alex at 13). A post-combat Nimble Mongoose threatened to bring things back to parity, as Alex cast Submerge (the ensuing Pyroblast was met by Spell Pierce).
Alex’s varmint dropped Stephan to 7, but Stephan wasn’t done yet. He cast Delver of Secrets with three cards in hand, and six cards in the graveyard and a fetchland in play. The Mongeese (Mongoosen?) traded in combat when Stephan blocked, and Alex could only pass. Delver whiffed for a turn, but Sylvan Library threatened to make this game over quickly thanks to the card availability…
But instead, Alex had a pair of Lightning Bolts in hand to finish off Stephan!
“I’ve been the master of lightning all day.”
Alex 2, Stephan 1.
“Good luck in the semis, and go RUG Delver.”