Quarterfinals: Daniel Nguyen vs. Brian Weller-Gordon
Daniel's gone undefeated with Elves so far today...
On five cards, Daniel started with Deathrite Shaman after Brian played Scalding Tarn. Another fetchland gave Brian Tundra, and Swords exiled the Shaman on Brian’s turn. Daniel played Dryad Arbor and nothing else, likely holding Visionaries, but Swords killed his Arbor. A new Deathrite Shaman landed, and Brian Probed to see two Glimpse, Visionary, and Natural Order.
Then he fetched Volcanic Island to enable Lightning Bolt on the Shaman. Heritage Druid was next, and it survived—but Geist of Saint Traft meant that Daniel might not make it more than a turn or two. Fetching for Forest to cast Elvish Visionary, Daniel was almost onto something. The Geist began to attack him, and he went to 15 before Brian cast Grim Lavamancer and passed.
That might be a problem.
Daniel debated going for Glimpse before casting Quirion Ranger, but he eventually decided to just play it, preserving an additional mana. He replayed a Forest after floating four and cast Natural Order—but Spell Pierce provided the stop. That just about sealed the game for Brian, with Daniel drawing thing to rally. He cast Zenith for another Arbor, and ended his turn.
Falling to 9 life, Shawn lost his Ranger to the Lavamancer and shortly after lost his life.
Brian sideboards in more disruption for Daniel's most dangerous sequences.
Brian 1, Daniel 0
Lightning Bolt quickly dispatched Daniel’s turn 1 Deathrite Shaman, but Quirion Ranger and Llanowar Elves on turn 2 helped him bounce forward on mana. Brian had the devilish Grim Lavamancer to threaten a rout of Daniel’s board over the next few turns, but if he could put together a big turn before then he’d be in decent shape.
Debating jamming Natural Order, Daniel went for Elvish Visionary, Nettle Sentinel, and Deathrite Shaman instead before attacking for 1 damage. Brian debated what to do before fetching a second Volcanic Island and using Lightning Bolt plus Lavamancer to kill Deathrite Shaman and Llanowar Elves, slowing down Quirion Ranger.
Drawing a fetchland, Daniel grabbed Bayou and cast Birchlore Ranger. He couldn’t quite Natural Order this turn, so he passed it back to Brian after attacking for 4 damage. Wasteland forced Daniel to bounce his Bayou, and Brian followed with a Lavamancer activation on the Birchlore Rangers. Gaea’s Cradle was a major game for Daniel, casting Natural Order almost on its own!
He tossed away his Visionary, and Brian replied by fetching and casting Flusterstorm. An attack for 3 dropped Brian to 9, but Daniel was running out of gas against the Lavamancer. He lost his Quirion Ranger and Brian tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft. A tardy Abrupt Decay slew the Lavamancer, untapping Nettle Sentinel so that Daniel could put Brian to 7.
The Geist swung Daniel to 13, and he untapped into Elvish Visionary. Brian debated a response as the Sentinel untapped, eventually electing to hardcast Force of Will on the 1/1. Daniel began doing some math, debating the merits of attacking against Brian’s single card with his Nettle Sentinel capable of playing defense on the Geist—he decided not to.
Considering his Natural Order was only lethal if he attacked and then drew a land, it might have been the best line—but Stoneforge Mystic from Brian made it a moot point. Brian searched up Umezawa’s Jitte, and then ended the turn. Scavenging Ooze from Daniel gave him a 4/4, but he missed 2 damage from his Sentinel in the process.
Brian Brainstormed to begin the turn, and sent Wasteland at Gaea’s Cradle before casting Delver of Secrets and passing the turn. Daniel could swing, but the Stoneforge Mystic was likely on bus duty with the ability to drop in Jitte afterward, which it did when Ooze attacked.
Delver revealed Brainstorm, Jitte jumped onto the Insectile Aberration, and all Brian had to do to lock it up was outrace a 7/7 Ooze, and Grim Lavamancer gave him a suitable chump for doing just that. The Ooze advanced to 8/8 and Daniel attacked, Brian chumping with Geist and killing Sentinel with Jitte. Deathrite Shaman from Daniel, and he ended the turn.
Brian swung Dnaiel down to 14 life, putting the Jitte onto the Lavamancer and ending the turn. Daniel used Zenith to find Quirion Ranger and then used Deathrite Shaman to exile Abrupt Decay and then Natural Order, dealing 4 damage to Brian before forcing the Lavamancer to chump block.
No longer able to send the Aberration, Brian passed. Daniel tried a haymaker Natural Order, but Daze countered and Daniel swung—into an 11/1 Aberration thanks to Jitte, with his 9/9 Ooze. That fatal miscalculation turned a tight game he was winning into a blowout the other way, and the Aberration mopped thing sup shortly after.
Brian 2, Daniel 0