Quarterfinals: Bryant Cook vs. Erik Smith
Bryant Cook took his beloved TES to the top seed. Can Erik Smith derail The Epic Storm with UWR Delver?
Bryant is cookin' up a Storm!
Bryant snap-kept, while Erik labored over his decision a while before mulliganing. Erik ended up mulling to five, and those five quickly became known thanks to Gitaxian Probe: Daze, Swords to Plowshares, Stifle, Wasteland, and Misty Rainforest. Seeing the coast was clear, Bryant continued to play spells on turn one: after his land for turn Gemstone Mine came down he played two Lotus Petals and Lion’s Eye Diamond, then Burning Wish for Empty the Warrens created twelve 1/1 Goblin tokens. Two turns and two attack steps later, Erik scooped up his cards.
Well, that was epic.
Bryant 1, Erik 0.
In between games, Bryant commented that he didn’t have many great starts like that.
“I haven’t turn one’d anyone today. I’ve played against Islands all day; that, or Goblins with Thalia maindeck.
“I don’t think there’s a card I hate more than Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.”
Erik kept this time, and led things off with Misty Rainforest. Gitaxian Probe forced Erik’s hand by casting Spell Pierce in response. Bryant then played Underground Sea and cast Ponder, then elected to shuffle after that. Erik played another fetchland and Delver of Secrets. Bryant played Duress on his next turn, which once more forced Erik to respond. He used his Scalding Tarn to get another Tundra, then cast Flusterstorm countering the discard spell.
Delver failed to flip, and Erik also failed to find another land so the clock was a relatively slow one at the moment. Bryant cast Brainstorm, then followed up with Gitaxian Probe to finally get a gander at Erik’s hand: Vendilion Clique, Geist of Saint Traft, Daze, and Stifle. Bryant simply passed after that, and he then learned of the top card of Erik’s deck as well: Force of Will. Erik’s Delver flipped, and Meddling Mage naming Silence also entered play to keep the pressure on.
Erik's Delving for wins!
Bryant used Brainstorm to try to get to the right amount of mana, facing down his tapped out opponent. Lotus Petal and Rite of Flame were where Bryant started, and after Erik used Force of Will to counter the ritual Bryant passed. Erik untapped and swung for five and put Bryant to 4, then used his Wasteland to take out Bryant’s Gemstone Mine. It’s now or never for the Storm player!
Brainstorm was Bryant’s first spell, and then Gemstone Mine was the land drop. Ponder also resolved, and he shuffled to find (hopefully) greener pastures. He cast Gitaxian Probe to show him the three cards he already knew (Clique, Stifle, Daze) and to draw a card, but facing down insurmountable disruption and pressure, and not finding what he needed with the random shuffle, Bryant elected to concede before taking any more time.
Bryant 1, Erik 1.
Bryant, now on the play, began the final game of the match with a mulligan. Fortunately for him, so did Erik. Unfortunately for him, Bryant had to go down to five. When he finally kept, Bryant led off with Gitaxian Probe, showing Erik’s hand of Tundra, Spell Pierce, Stifle, Brainstorm, Delver of Secrets, and Snapcaster Mage. Bryant fell to 17 off of a fetchland activation, which he used to get a land out of his deck before Stifle could, uh, stifle his development. Erik simply played his Tundra and passed.
Ponder from Bryant resolved, and shuffled… and passed with no other land. Erik sculpted his hand with an end-of-turn Brainstorm, then on his turn cast Delver of Secrets off of Volcanic Island. Bryant could only draw and pass, and Erik flipped his Delver with Ponder. Now with a bona fide clock, Erik began attacking Bryant for chunks of three. First to 14. Bryant’s Brainstorm was countered. Then to 11. Upkeep Vendilion Clique… in response Brainstorm, which gave Bryant some life. Clique resolved, revealing Lotus Petal, two Infernal Tutor, two Dark Ritual, Rite of Flame, and Ponder. Erik took the Lotus Petal, and after Bryant drew off of Clique Bryant passed.
Erik 2, Bryant 1.