Quarterfinals: Arlie Silver vs. Eric Jones
Two fast red decks met in the quarterfinals, with Arlie’s innovative R/G list looking to crush with a horde of creatures, while Eric relied on the more traditional mono-red Hellrider model with Thundermaw+Hellkite up top.
Arlie's R/G deck has been thrashing players as early as turn 4.
Arlie’s standing gave him the play, but he mulliganed that first six while Eric kept. Starting with Stomping Ground, Arlie fell to 18 for Experiment+One. Rakdos+Cackler matched Human in the race, while Arlie added Ash+Zealot before an attack for 4 damage put Eric to 16, seizing the lead for Arlie.
Eric had just another Cackler and an attack for 2 damage. Arlie drew and then played two more Experiment+Ones, attacking once more for 4 damage. “Maybe I should’ve shuffled better,” he laughed. Eric’s ideal turn 3 came online in Boros+Reckoner, reversing the race into his favor with the scores at 12 apiece.
Kessig+Wolf+Run let Arlie guarantee a two-for-one with Reckoner this turn, but he elected to just play Burning-Tree+Emissary and evolve his Experiments prior to passing the turn. Eric continued to curve out with Hellrider on turn 4, but he was facing down five 2/2s—one of which had first strike. Declining to attack, he decided to wait until he could rig the board more favorably. “Two passive aggro decks,” Arlie said. “How often do you see this?”
He knew he couldn’t answer Hellrider in the maindeck without a 3/3—Domri+Rade was his only option on that count. Ash+Zealot did attack all on its lonesome, dealing 2 damage before Arlie played Strangleroot+Geist in his second main. Eric drew and played a second Hellrider, guaranteeing lethal damage. Ten Hellrider triggers put Arlie to 2 life and made Boros+Reckoner lethal no matter how you sliced it.
Eric 1, Arlie 0
Eric's Hellriders have slain many opponents on the day.
Arlie would have another shot with the play in game 2. He again began with Experiment+One, but this time Pillar+of+Flame cooled his jets. Another Experiment+One followed, but nothing more than Rootbound+Crag after. Eric had his own Ash+Zealot to get in the mix, but Arlie changed things up with Strangleroot+Geist.
Arlie swung for 4 damage and took another 2 on Eric’s turn before Boros+Reckoner once more hopped into the way. Ghor-Clan+Rampager allowed Arlie to force in 5 damage at the cost of his Experiment+One, while Eric moved back into the lead with Hellrider. Arlie fell to 9 life, and now had to defend himself a bit—Mugging cleared Ash+Zealot and he swung to put Eric on 9.
Eric played a second Hellrider on turn 5, forcing lethal damage through once again.
Eric 2, Arlie 0