Quarterfinals: Caleb Durward vs. Blake Kettle
Caleb Durward to be in a strong position to move on when he decided to bring his Birthing Pods out to play. Local player and first time SCG top 8 competitor Blake Kettle brought Naya Humans to the table looking for the upset. Which green-white-red concoction would take down this aggressive match?
Caleb would be on the play by virtue of having the better record in the Swiss rounds, and with a shrug decided to keep, as did Blake, and he played out a turn 1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Blake responded in kind, even matching Caleb’s first turn Cavern of Souls naming Human.
Caleb would miss his second land drop, but added another Pilgrim to the board. Blake played Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, which was quickly legend ruled on Caleb’s next turn by a copy of his own. Blake was unfazed by the 2/1 first striker meeting an early end and proceeded with a turn 3 Blade Splicer to start the Naya aggro onslaught of beats, with the help of a 3/3 first striking Golem token against Caleb’s paltry pair of 1/1 mana dorks.
Caleb sorted out some mana issues by drawing a Forest off the top and dropping a Golem of his own in the form of Solemn Simulacrum, fetching a Plains. Blake played a Gavony Township and a Borderland Ranger, adding the freshly found Mountain to his board. Caleb now faced a Golem, a Blade Splicer, a Borderland Ranger, and an Avacyn’s Pilgrim alongside Blake’s 3 lands and full grip. He thought for a moment, then dropped Birthing Pod on the table. With the Phyrexian artifact, he sacrificed the Solemn, grabbing a Zealous Conscripts which immediately untapped the Pod to go and get a Wurmcoil Engine. Although Caleb was now on 11 (thanks to many life paid) and Blake was still untouched with 20 life, things looked like they were coming up Durward. Facing a 6/6 deathtouching lifelinking mechanical Wurm, Blake simply passed his next turn.
On his next turn, Caleb used Birthing Pod on Wurmcoil to fetch up Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, which left Blake unable to respond with the Restoration Angel in his hand or with the ability to use the Avacyn’s Pilgrim mana to do, well, anything. Left with nothing but a 1/1 Golem (thanks to the white Praetor), Blake scooped up his cards and they headed into game 2.
Caleb 1, Blake 0
In between games, Caleb showed off his Melira, Sylvok Outcast to the onlookers.
“This card was useless today. I got talked into it.”
And the New Phyrexia legend probably wouldn’t become useful in this match either. Just a hunch.
After a quick gander at deck lists and some banter about the music pumping through the walls from next door from a wedding reception (‘Starships’ by Nicki Minaj, for those interested), they were ready to go.
Blake kept his opener, while Caleb mulliganed to six. Blake led with Copperline Gorge, while Caleb began with Birds of Paradise off of a basic Forest. Blake once again had no play on turn 2, while it was Caleb’s turn for a turn 2 Blade Splicer this time around.
Blake played a Cavern (naming Human, not Artificer, as Caleb suggested) for a Blade Splicer of his own. Caleb attacked with his Golem and Blake accepted the trade, but Caleb quickly added a Birthing Pod to the board and added Solemn Simulacrum to the cause, threatening scarier things to come out in the following turns.
Blake played a second Blade Splicer on his next turn and passed. With only a pair of 1/1s and a Golem and facing down an untapped Pod and a Solemn, Caleb had a myriad of possibilities. He paid 2 life (going to 14) to play Pod number 2, then sacrificed the Solemn Simulacrum to fetch up a….
“Oh, that’s embarrassing. Oh, uh… I mean, I meant to do this!”
Perhaps not according to plan (or maybe just fatigued and missing it the first time), Caleb Podded up M13 addition Thragtusk and quickly sacrificed it to the other Birthing Pod, gaining a 3/3 Beast and 5 life in the process, before adding Wurmcoil Engine to his board. Blake played Grafdigger’s Cage on his next turn and, without any more action, passed back.
“We’re all in here playing cards, and there’s a party next door.”
“I know!” Replied Caleb. “What were we thinking?”
Caleb crashed in with his Engine, going up to 23 after Blake chump blocked with a Splicer, and then summoned a Splicer of his own to the battlefield. Blake could only muster a Borderland Ranger on his next turn. Caleb flashed in a Restoration Angel, targeting Blade Splicer.
“This seems bad for me,” said Blake.
“Doesn’t seem good,” Caleb replied.
Caleb then threw even more beats onto the board with Wolfir Silverheart (paired with the Angel) and attacked Blake to 10 after some blocking, putting Caleb at a comfy 29 life. Blake put Batterskull on the board to join his last remaining Blade Splicer as a last ditch effort to stave off the onslaught. It wasn’t enough however, and Caleb swung all out. Blake somberly revealed his hand of Hero of Bladehold, Hero of Bladehold, and Silverblade Paladin to the audience and to Caleb with his lonely singleton white mana in play.
Turns out this wasn’t going to be Blake Kettle’s party, and Caleb Durward will be dancing into the top 4 tomorrow morning!
Caleb wins, 2-0.