Quarterfinals: Carl Dillahay vs. Bill Nielsen
Quarterfinals: Carl Dillahay vs. Bill Nielsen
Carl Dillahay is playing the “Mono” Blue Delver deck that has been gaining popularity recently, and is a player with several high level finishes under his belt. And by virtue of the number one overall seed he will be on the play. This is Bill Nielsen’s first StarCityGames.com Open Top 8, and he’s armed with traditional U/W Delver. Will he be able to overcome Carl’s experience and first turn advantage to move on?
Carl quickly kept his opener, while Bill mulliganed to six before the action began. When it did, Carl led with a nice shiny foil Delver of Secrets. Bill attempted to do the same on his first turn, but Carl had the Mental Misstep for Bill’s Human Wizard. It didn’t become an insect on turn 2, and he beat in for one and played a second shiny scientist before passing the turn, leaving a Seachrome Coast untapped. Bill cast Ponder, elected to shuffle, and played his second Delver of Secrets of the game as well before passing.
Carl untapped, failed to flip, and attacked for two and, after playing a land, passed. Bill too failed to flip his Delver and played Gitaxian Probe and Carl revealed Talrand, Sky Summoner, Island, Glacial Fortress. After attacks, life totals became 17 all. Once again, Carl did not flip and so continued the Wandering Ones aggro strategy. He attempted to cast the Sky Summoner but it was quickly Mana Leaked. Bill was the first one to reveal an instant or sorcery, another Gitaxian Probe, to a Delver to create the game’s lone Insectile Aberration. He then cast another Delver of secrets and passed. He once more Probed Carl, who showed a Snapcaster Mage, and attacked Carl to 14. Once again, Carl did not flip his pair of Delvers and the beats continued. A pair of 1/1s traded before passing back to Bill.
Snapcaster came in at the end of Bill’s turn, Thought Scouring himself. Bill cast Gut Shot on one of Carl’s unflipped Delver after Thought Scour resolved. Another Thought Scour from Carl’s hand showed no answers. Bill Snapcaster Maged the Gut Shot, taking out the second Delver, before ending the flurry of spells. Carl found Sword of Feast and Famine and tried to equip to his one remaining creature, a Snapcaster Mage, but Vapor Snag from Bill put Carl to five with Bill at a relatively comfortable 10. He drew for his turn and thought for a moment before laying a Cavern of Souls (naming Angel) and passing with four mana up. Not telegraphing at all.
Carl, with few options now and not but 5 lands and a Sword, Gitaxian Probed Bill for the blue mana it actually costs (and Bill did indeed have an Angel in hand, a Restoration Angel in fact), and passed back to Bill but Carl had a Snapcaster Mage to bounce the 3/4 flash flier before it could rumble in for damage, but Carl’s well laid plans were for naught. On Carl’s turn, Bill proceeded to cast Snapcaster Mage, which targeted Vapor Snag, which targeted Carl’s Snapcaster Mage and that was that.
Bill 1, Carl 0.
Carl Dillahay is ready for battle.
Carl rubbed his hands together like The Karate Kid about to chop ice blocks before drawing his opener, and both players kept. Carl led with a tapped Glacial Fortress, and Bill led with a Delver that got Mental Misstepped. Carl cast Ponder, rearranged the top 3 cards of his library, played an Island and passed. On Bill’s turn, he cast Gitaxian Probe showing Carl’s hand of Thought Scour, Mana Leak, Snapcaster Mage, Vapor Snag, and Dismember. He played an Island and passed the turn, and Carl Thought Scoured himself. Carl failed to draw a third land and passed, when Bill did his carl impression by casting Thought Scour at end of turn. Bill untapped and cast Ponder, to which Carl attempted to Snapcaster Mage (presumably the Mental Misstep in his bin) but Bill was ready with Mana Leak off of his two remaining lands. Carl found his third land on his turn, and used the opportunity to Snapcaster Ponder. He scoffed, and then quickly shuffled.
“I don’t get it. All day I ran smooth as butter.”
Ain’t that always the way.
Carl drew for Ponder and passed back to Bill. On his turn, he cast Snapcaster Mage of his own, continuing his Carl impression, and Pondered. He kept them on top, and followed up the play with Island, pass. Carl attempted Augur of Bolas, which plucked Ponder. He immediately cast the freshly drawn cantrip, rearranged, and drew an Island. He attacked in with Snapcaster Mage, but it got a Gut Shot. Not so fast, says Carl, who Vapor Snagged his Mage to avoid losing the 2/1. Bill cast Phantasmal Image, choosing his own Snapcaster Mage, which in turn cast Ponder from Bill’s graveyard. He found a land on top, played it, and passed.
Carl dropped a Moorland Haunt on his turn, threatening an army of fliers over the next few turns of the game. Bill played his sixth land and passed, and Carl made the first 1/1 Spirit from the Haunt. Now with an Augur of Bolas and a Spirit token to Bill’s pair of Snapcaster Mages, he attacked with the 1/1 flier and took Bill to 17. At end of turn, Bill flashed in Restoration Angel and targeted Snapcaster Mage, which Carl responded to by Dismembering the Angel. Snapcaster targets Thought Scour and drew Bill a card.
Bill untapped and played an Island and simply passed back to Carl. A second Spirit joined in for Carl, and the pair attacked for two. A second Augur joined Carl’s cause as well, which took Mental Misstep. On Bill’s turn, he played a Moorland Haunt of his own and passed, but not before Carl cast Snapcaster Mage and the Thought Scour in his graveyard.
Carl came in with an Augur of Bolas and two Spirits. Bill made a Spirit of his own, but Carl had a Vapor Snag for the token. Bill double blocked Augur with both Snapcasters (one of which was actually an Image), and Bill cast Snapcaster Mage. The Mage cast Gut Shot on Bill’s fake Mage and allowed Carl to set up the 2-for-1. Bill had Vapor Snag for his own Snapcaster Mage, for which Carl had the Mental Misstep. Scores stood at Bill 12, Carl 9.
Bill 1, Carl 1.
Bill Nielsen is happy with U/W Delver today.
“At least I get to play a game finally.”
“Clearly, it’s overrated.”
Indeed, Bill had the play for the first time in the match and kept, but Carl was not so lucky and elected to mulligan, but kept his 6. Bill led with a Delver of Secrets off of a Seachrome Coast. Carl played an Island and a Delver of his own, as well as a Gut Shot. Ponder on Bill’s second turn dug him deeper into his deck and found a second Seachrome Coast.
“One time, please!”
The Magic gods responded kindly, revealing Carl a Dissipate and turning his lowly 1/1 into the much-heralded 3/2 flier Insectile Aberration an attacked for 3. But on Bill’s turn he played Phantasmal Image and made a 3/2 of his own, but Carl had Snapcaster Mage Gut Shot for the Illusion. Now with five power of blue dudes, Carl attacked into Bill’s four untapped mana. Snapcaster Mage flashed in for Bill and the 2/1s traded, still dealing Insect damage in the air. Bill had another Snapcaster Mage on his turn, which targeted and cast Ponder. He thought for a moment before electing to keep them on top. He played Moorland Haunt and passed to Carl, and at the end of his turn Carl cast Thought Scour, targeting Bill this time so as to clear away the set up Pondered cards.
Bill once more entered the red zone with his flipped Delver of Secrets, and at end of turn Bill attempted to Vapor Snag Carl’s Insectile Aberration, which Carl elected not to Dissipate. Bill’s Snapcaster Mage attacked and dropped Carl to 13 with Bill at a paultry 6. Bill drew and passed, but not before Snapcaster on Carl’s side cast a Thought Scour. He untapped and Gitaxian Probed, revealing all of Bill’s secrets: Sword of war and Peace, Day of Judgment and Blade Splicer. Carl played a fourth Island (no white mana or Moorland Haunt). Carl thought on his decision before casting Augur of Bolas, choosing Mental Misstep, and also casting Delver of Secrets. At end of turn, Bill made a Spirit off of Moorland Haunt. He then untapped, cast, and equipped a Sword of War and Peace, dropping carl to 3 and bringing Bill to 9. Carl flipped his Delver on his upkeep with Gitaxian Probe, and now with a full grip pondered his options for a while. He decided to attack all out with Insectile Aberration, Augur of Bolas and Snapcaster Mage. Mages traded, and Carl followed it up with Talrand, Sky Summoner and Gitaxian Probe, earning a 2/2 Drake in the process. He played a fresh Glacial Fortress and passed.
Bill cast Gitaxian Probe, which Carl responded with Mental Misstep and making another Drake. Bill had no choice but to cast Day of Judgment, clearing the board of all clutter except a Sword on Bill’s side. Tapped out, Bill passed. Carl cast Augur of Bolas and picked up another Mental Misstep before passing. Bill played Cavern of Souls, naming Human, and played Blade Splicer, which got him 4 uncounterable power for 3 mana. Bill, now not nearly as in trouble as a few turns ago, looked to be in a decent position and Carl now looked in trouble. Carl played Snapcaster Mage, flashback Ponder, and Delver of secrets. Bill made a Spirit at the end of the turn. He cast Ponder on his turn, and found the top of his library satisfactory. He then equipped the Sword of War and Peace to the flying Spirit and swung in, but it got Vapor Snagged soon after it tapped to attack. Bill cast Gut Shot on Delver of Secrets, which resolved, and Bill ended his turn.
Carl had a full grip but was facing down some troublesome permanents. He cast Talrand and then Vapor Snag on Bill’s Golem token before attacking. Surveying the options and coming to the conclusion that it wasn’t salvageable, Bill extended his hand in congratulations to Carl for a match well played.
Carl 2, Bill 1.