Quarterfinals: Dan Jessup vs. Rob ‘Cooc’ Cucunato
Dan had a round 1 on-camera feature match in the Invitational and then a round 8 on-camera feature match in the Standard Open. So it’s only fitting that in the tournament he finished with the top overall seed he didn’t appear on camera! But he can keep the streak alive if he defeats Rob Cucunato’s Reanimator deck with his RUG Delver.
Dan began with Scalding Tarn into Tropical Island and Nimble Mongoose. Cooc led off with Underground Sea, Lotus Petal and Thoughtzeize snagging Dan’s Force of Will from Dan’s hand of Goyf, Nimble Mongoose, Brainstorm, and land. Dan, now Force-less, decided to cast Brainstorm for some countermagic protection. Instead he found Delver of Secrets.
“I’m sure that when they printed Nimble Mongoose and Delver of Secrets this is what they thought was going to happen,” mused Cooc. “’I’ll use my $100 fetchland to get my $150 dual land to play this 1/1.’”
Cooc ignored most of the opposite side of the board, playing Careful Study and then Exhume to bring back Griselbrand on turn two. The Delver flipped into Insectile Aberration, sure, but it was facing off in the skies with a 7/7 with hooks for hands! Dan tried to Brainstorm for more answers, but Cooc paid seven life to find blue cards to pitch to Force of Will. Dan instead just added Tarmogoyf to the board. Cooc was at just 9, but the seven life per turn (and endless stream of cards) was a damper.
Grislebrand set life totals at 16-11 for Cooc, after which he paid seven more life to get another handsworth of cards. Brainstorm filtered even more, as Dan mentioned, “Just in case.” Underground Sea number three and a pair of Lotus Petals let Show and Tell resolve, and Elesh, Norn, Grand Cenobite entered play. Dan’s 1/1s died, ‘Goyf shrunk quite a bit, and oh by the way Griselbrand becomes a 9/9! Da took a look at the top card of his deck but failing to find Supreme Verdict or something similar that he wasn’t actually running he scooped up his cards and went for sideboarding.
Cooc 1, Dan 0.
Sideboards were slightly better for Dan, who came equipt with Grafdigger’s Cage and Flusterstorm… albeit only one copy of each. Cooc had additional copies of Show and Tell and Echoing Truth to help answer problematic Cages, but in the end the RUG Delver versus Reanimator matchup doesn’t hinge of sideboarding tech. It’s a close matchup with problematic cards already in the main deck for both decks.
Dan began with Tropical Island and Delver of Secrets. Cooc drew… and moved to discard, binning Griselbrand. Dan cast Nimble Mongoose and Tropical Island on his turn two, but didn’t flip Delver. He countered Cooc’s Thoughtseize, but failed to flip his Human Wizard again and only attacked Cooc to 17. He also added ‘Goyf. Cooc went for Reanimate targeting Griselbrand… which resolved, and Cooc fell to 9. Dan was in trouble now.
Dan flipped his Delver just in time again (and it was with Stifle, very useful in fighting Griselbrand activations), and only passed. Griselbrand attacked and set life totals at 16-13 in Cooc’s favor. I guess a 7/7 lifelinker is good enough on its own! Grafdigger’s Cage was Dan’s follow up, to prevent any additional graveyard shenanigans. Cooc used Force of Will to counter the Cage. Dan followed with Wasteland and attacked for eight, but that’s not a race he can easily win.
And it only got worse: Cooc cast Entomb, finding Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite at end of turn, then untapped and played Exhume to bring back the Praetor. Dan pondered his options for a moment before allowing the Urza’s Saga sorcery to resolve, then took nine from Griselbrand. And that was all she wrote.
Cooc 2, Dan 0.