Quarterfinals: Bruce Mills vs. Nick Becvar
Two green decks squared off in the quarterfinals—Bruce Mills and his Nic-Fit list against Nick Becvar's Maverick build. Nick didn't seem certain of the matchup, no doubt wary of Bruce's sweepers and big creatures.
Bruce has followed his Birmingham Top 8 with another one, playing Nic-Fit.
A mulligan to six for Bruce tempered his advantage of gaining the play, while Nick kept seven. Bruce fell to 19 for a fetch of Scrubland on turn 1, followed immediately by Thoughtseize. That spotted Sylvan Library, Green Sun's Zenith, Noble Hierarch, Swords to Plowshares, Gaea's Cradle, Forest, and Windswept Heath—Bruce sent the Zenith to the graveyard.
Nick made turn 1 Noble Hierarch and ended, while Bruce had Forest followed by Scavenging Ooze. Fetching for Plains on turn 2, Nick cast Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. “That seems good,” Bruce admitted, but he paid two mana to Swords it on his turn. He attacked for 2, and then dropped Dryad Arbor. Nick played Maze of Ith and then Sylvan Library, seeking to slow Bruce down.
The Ooze met the Maze, and Bruce followed with Green Sun's Zenith for one, grabbing Veteran Explorer out of the deck. That creature merited a Swords from Nick, and Bruce moved to 18 life. Nick fell to 15 for an extra card from Maze, using Wasteland on Scrubland and resolving a second Thalia. Bruce couldn't do much after that.
He played Windswept Heath and ended the turn, while Nick continued to gain an advantage through Sylvan. Nick made Qasali Pridemage and attacked for 4 with Thalia, adding Gaea's Cradle to the field as well.
Nick's Maverick list vaulted him quickly into the Top 8 during the Swiss.
Bruce rallied with Thrun, the Last Troll on defense, and ended his turn. Thrun couldn't block Thalia yet, so Bruce fell to 9 life and Nick added a bigger beater to the board—Knight of the Reliquary. Bruce had eaten the lands in Nick's graveyard, but the Knight remained a threat.
Wickerbough Elder for Bruce wasn't doing much work yet, as he was on five lands and without the mana necessary to grow his creature and destroy Sylvan Library. He chumped Thalia with Scavenging Ooze on the next turn, and then cast Fauna Shaman before using a Wasteland from knight to take away Bruce's Scrubland.
Bruce popped that Sylvan and then cast Scavenging Ooze, passing the turn. Nick fetched Savannah and then drew, sending Thalia into the red zone. Bruce blocked with Thrun and the Elder, losing his Troll but killing the 2/1. Fauna Shaman pitched Gaddock Teeg to find a second Knight, and Nick cast it before turning his Plains into another Wasteland, blowing up Bruce's Bayou.
Drawing but having nothing to cast, Bruce ended the turn. Nick drew Swords and killed Bruce's Ooze, freeing him up to start sending in Knights.
Nick 1, Bruce 0
Bruce had the play once again, but mulliganed again as Nick kept on seven. Fetching Swamp on turn 1, Bruce cast Cabal Therapy to snag a Knight from Nick's hand. He had Savannah and Mother of Runes on his own turn, and Bruce made just a land drop on turn 2. Scavenging Ooze from Nick gave him a live threat, but Bruce played his own Ooze on the following turn, missing a land drop in the process.
Nick removed a Knight and attacked for 3 before casting Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Bruce had fallen way behind at this point, missing another land drop and taking 5 damage from Nick's next attack. When Nick added Wasteland to the board, it got ugly—the Bayou Bruce drew was short of giving him Damnation mana. He played it to the graveyard, effectively, and passed.
Another attack from Nick dropped Bruce low, but he drew Verdant Catacombs. That was a start, so to speak, but he was in The Abyss mode now, throwing away a short supply of creatures to stay alive. It was over just a couple turns later.
Nick 2, Bruce 0