Quarterfinals: Corbin Rudnick vs. Jeff Hoogland
Corbin Rudnick learned to play Magic less than a year ago. No, seriously! And he’s just made his first Top 8, armed with the biggest shotgun in the format holstered in his pocket. Jeff Hoogland on the other hand has plenty of SCG Open Top 8 experience, and came to the arena with a Deadguy Ale variant of his own design. Will youth triumph over experience?
Jeff added a Legacy Open Top 8 to his resume this weekend.
Jeff has the play by virtue of having the best record in the Swiss rounds, which will come in handy against a deck with Goblin+Charbelcher as the main win condition.
“May you have the best of luck and the worst of draws,” offered Jeff before looking at their hands.
Jeff thought for a moment before mulliganing, but Corbin kept his opener. Jeff ended up mulling to five before accepting his hand, which doesn’t bode well for the Deadguy pilot. Jeff opened with a fetchland into Scrubland, which was used to cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek on his first turn, revealing Corbin’s hand of Lotus+Petal, Gitaxian+Probe, Simian+Spirit+Guide, Desperate+Ritual, Manamorphose, Rite+of+Flame and Street+Wraith. Jeff took the Desperate+Ritual and passed.
Corbin Gitaxian Probed Jeff, revealing a whole lot of nothing. After he cycled the Street+Wraith, going to 16, he played Lotus+Petal, used the mana to cast Rite+of+Flame which then cast Manamorphose, making red and green mana, using green for Tinder+Wall. He lit the Tinder+Wall ablaze to play Pyretic+Ritual to throw Goblin+Charbelcher on the table, butCorbin did not have the mana to use it.
The stare down begins!
Jeff cast another Inquisition to take out the Simian+Spirit+Guide in Corbin’s hand before adding Wasteland to the board. Corbin, without the mana to activate his win condition just yet, had to pass his next few turns.
On turn five, jeff tapped out for Lingering+Souls with flashback, but those 1/1 Spirits would be the end of this game. On Corbin’s turn he revealed his hand to cast Land+Grant, which also showed Jeff the requisite amount of mana to activate the Belcher and Jeff scooped up his cards.
Corbin 1, Jeff 0
Corbin's "the Belcher guy" living the dream this weekend!
Corbin was surprisingly cool under pressure in the last game, showing a calmness an a presence of mind that belies his relative inexperience with the game. Jeff was relieved to be able to, “take out these awful cards,” for the next game.
Once again on the play, Jeff kept his opening hand this time and led with Verdant+Catacombs into a Scrubland, which cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek on his first turn yet again. This time the discard spell revealed Chrome+Mox, Land+Grant, Desperate+Ritual, Seething+Song, Street+Wraith, and two Gitaxian+Probes. Jeff chose to put Seething+Song in Corbin’s graveyard and passed. Corbin’s first turn involved using the Land+Grant to grab the singleton Taiga from his deck, followed by both Gitaxian+Probes (revealing no disruption), and cycling the Street+Wraith to try to find the turn 1 win… but nothing came off the top of his deck to defeat Jeff just yet, so he passed with no further play. Jeff Wastelanded Corbin’s Taiga on turn two and passed back, and without any action Corbin passed yet again.
Jeff played Dark+Confidant and Sensei’s Divining Top on his next turn, but Corbin’s deck rewarded him and he was suddenly in business. He played Chrome+Mox (removing Elvish+Spirit+Guide) then Lion’s Eye Diamond. He removed Simian+Spirit+Guide and tapped the Mox to put two mana in his mana pool, then cast Rite+of+Flame, Pyretic+Ritual, and Desperate+Ritual in order to cast Empty the Warrens This produced twelve Goblin tokens for Corbin, and with an army suddenly at his disposal looked to be in good position to steal this one from Jeff. Facing a dozen little red men, Jeff had to dig for answers with his Top. He activated it before the Dark+Confidant trigger resolved in his upkeep. Nothing yet for Corbin, who then played Marsh+Flats into Scrubland and passed the turn.
Corbin swung in with the army of Goblins, dropping Jeff to six. Jeff needed desperately to find an answer to the onslaught of 1/1s, and dug furiously. He activated Sensei’s Divining Top, then shuffled his library with another Verdant+Catacombs before activating Top again to try to find one of his three Zealous+Persecutions. He dug and dug deeper into his library to find his answer, but Jeff didn’t find what he was looking for and Corbin emerged victorious in his first ever SCG top 8 match.
Corbin 2, Jeff 0