Quarterfinals: Alex Olson vs. Jake Xu
“Empty the Warrens only?” Jake proposed, which earned a laugh from Alex. “A gentlemen’s agreement?” These two friends and Storm pilots were facing a pseudo-mirror to make the Top 4.
Jake's Storm build has a lot more cantrips.
Alex had the play and opened on Island and Ponder to start the quarterfinals. Gitaxian Probe from Jake revealed two Cabal Ritual Dark Ritual, Cabal Therapy, and Infernal Tutor—fetching Underground Sea, Jake zapped the Infernal with his own Cabal Therapy. “Your hand is pretty good against Therapy,” he admitted.
Returning the favor, Alex used Gitaxian Probe to strip a known Dark Ritual from Jake’s hand, leaving him with Brainstorm, Preordain, and Ponder alongside a land. Preordain for Jake dug him all the way to a second Cabal Therapy, blasting both Cabal Rituals from Alex’s hand. A Duress on the next turn left him with just Lotus Petal, Dark Ritual, and the two lands he had in play.
Then Jake drew another Duress to make it just Lotus Petal. Alex Pondered into land and passed, while Jake started to build a game-winning hand with Brainstorm and then Preordain before passing on three cards. Alex made it to four lands, but Jake was still just casting cantrips. If Alex tore an Ad Nauseam to go with his Lotus Petal...
Brainstorm for Jake and then lastly a Therapy for that Lotus Petal ended Jake’s turn, but Alex drew a fifth land and passed. Jake was back to Brainstorming and then fetching this time, following with Ponder. Alex fetched twice to thin up the deck, leaving one fetchland in play and topdecking Brainstorm to put down a Lion’s Eye Diamond.
Jake Probed for a card before shuffling with his Ponder. Alex peeled a Cabal Therapy and named Dark Ritual, hitting two... but both players knew it didn’t really matter, as any Tutor, Ad Nauseam, or Past in Flames was lethal. Jake flipped Infernal Tutor off the top of the deck, and Alex promptly conceded.
Alex's version includes the potent Burning Wish.
Jake 1, Alex 0
Gitaxian Probe took Alex to 18 and revealed two Cabal Ritual, Duress, Infernal Tutor, and three fetchlands—but he didn’t have any disruption, instead playing Island and Ponder. He knew to expect a Duress from Jake on turn 1, but he wound up just electing to shuffle.
Jake fetched Sea and played the Duress, revealing Duress, Cabal Ritual, Ponder, Burning Wish, Cabal Therapy, and Lotus Petal. Debating the options, Jake took Therapy away to protect himself. Alex cast Duress after Pondering into a land and took away Jake’s Infernal Tutor, and Jake topdecked another Duress to hit Alex’s Cabal Ritual, leaving him on Tutor, Wish, and Petal.
Infernal Tutor revealing Dark Ritual from the top of the deck grabbed a second copy for Alex, and Jake was now peeling for help from his own library. Ponder earned a sweat, but after doing some math Jake kept the cards and revealed his draw: Dark Ritual.
“Are you dead?” he asked, flipping over the Dark Ritual, Past in Flames, and two Cabal Rituals with enough fetchlands to easily get threshold. “Yep,” Alex admitted, scooping up his own lethal combination of cards—he was a turn too late.
Jake 2, Alex 0