Quarterfinals: Chris Vanmeter vs. Jason Ellis
Chris Vanmeter is in his fifteenth Open Series top eight, and he’s hoping his Sneak and Show deck leads him to a clean shave. Jason Ellis, in his second top 8 appearance of the weekend, hopes to crush his dreams with RUG Delver.
Chris began the game by fetching up an Island on his main phase to play around Stifle, but had no further play. Neither player actually had a play on the first two turns, although when Chris passed the turn on turn 3 after playing his third land, Jason attempted an end step Brainstorm, which met a Spell Pierce from Chris.
Delver of Secrets came down on turn 3 from Jason, and Chris again simply played a land and passed the turn back. Jason attempted another Brainstorm on Chris’s end step, and this time it resolved. This allowed him to set up a Ponder on the top of his deck to flip up Insectile Aberration, which came swinging at CVM and dropped him to 15. Nimble Mongoose was the follow up, a single card away from hitting threshold.
Chris knew his window was closing, and he attempted a Sneak Attack. Jason countered it with a Force of Will, pitching Daze, and Chris passed the turn. Jason’s beaters dropped Chris down to 9 on his attack step, and a post-combat Brainstorm found a Wasteland, which destroyed Chris’s Ancient Tomb.
CVM held just an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and lands, but found a Ponder on his draw step. He cast it to find a pair of Brainstorms and a Force of Will sitting on top of his deck. With the Flooded Strand in his hand, he could potentially get a fresh look with the Brainstorm, but to do so would require taking 1 from the fetchland and 2 from an Ancient Tomb, falling to 6—exactly dead to Jason’s creatures. He took a moment in the tank before concluding that the risk was worth it. He kept a Brainstorm, shuffled his deck with Flooded Strand, and cast the Brainstorm, finding Polluted Delta… Force of Will… and Show and Tell!
Jason Ellis 1, Chris Vanmeter 0
Jason: “Keep or Sneep?”
Chris: “Probably better than a random four.”
CVM followed up with a Volcanic Island and a Brainstorm. Jason didn’t find a land, and passed back. Chris quickly slammed the door shut with a City of Traitors and a Show and Tell, putting Griselbrand into play.
It was over three turns later, Jason still without a permanent in play.
Chris Vanmeter 1, Jason Ellis 1
Jason led off with a Ponder in the decider, and Chris fired off a Gitaxian Probe, seeing Tarmogoyf, Brainstorm, Daze, Red Elemental Blast, Tropical Island, and Wasteland in Jason’s hand. Chris then went for a Ponder of his own, and Jason contemplated a Daze before letting it resolve. Jason plopped a Tarmogoyf into play on his turn 2, looking to apply some pressure.
After Chris simply played his second land and passed back, Jason attempted a Pithing Needle. Chris countered it with a Spell Pierce, and fell to 15 from Jason’s Tarmogoyf. Chris drew, played a land, and passed back, his hand full of countermagic but without any combo action.
Jason fired off a Brainstorm, swung for three with his Tarmogoyf, and shipped back, sitting on three untapped lands. Chris drew a Ponder and attempted to cast it, but Jason responded with a Red Elemental Blast. Chris let it resolve, played his land, and passed back to Jason, who simply attacked for 3 again and passed.
Chris continued to draw nothing but air, and the Tarmogoyf kept on swinging. He fell to 9, and then to 5, after a Wasteland activation grew the Tarmogoyf to 4/5. Chris drew Gitaxian Probe and cast it, seeing Nimble Mongoose, Daze, Pyroblast, and a pair of Stifles. The Probe drew CVM into a Brainstorm, but the Brainstorm didn’t find him the miracle win that he needed, and CVM extended the hand in defeat.
Jason Ellis 2, Chris Vanmeter 1