Quarterfinals: David Doberne (4-Color Pod) vs. Paul Longo (Humans)
Paul Longo wastes no time getting into the red zone.
After a really long day you could expect these players to be exhausted and not in the mood to be friendly, but that wasn’t the case here. David and Paul chatted all while reviewing the contents of each other’s’ decks after being informed that David would have the play or draw option as the higher seed—three over six.
David did indeed choose to play first with his Four-Color Pod deck, and he led with a Birds of Paradise and a shrug as Champion of the Parish kicked things off for Paul’s U/W Humans deck. Deceiver Exarch time walked Paul on turn two, locking down a land on upkeep and providing a 1/4 wall that Champion of the Parish couldn’t get through.
The exarch connected for a point on the next turn before getting thrown into a Birthing Pod and coming out as Huntmaster of the Fells. Leonin Relic Warder, putting a halt to the deadly artifact but giving it right back when it traded with Huntmaster of the Fells on David’s attack. A Green Sun’s Zenith plopped another Huntmaster of the Fells right onto the board, but Mirran Crusader presented a problem for the growing green army.
Shrugging, David cashed in his last Huntmaster of the Fells, digging up Acidic Slime to Stone Rain the Glacial Fortress that was Paul’s only source of blue mana. He followed up with a Phantasmal Image to copy the slime and blow up another land, this time a Plains, before tapping the rest of his mana to Rampant Growth up to six lands. That left Paul with just a Plains and Moorland Haunt to play around with, and he decided to pack it in against the titans that promised to spoil any chances of a comeback with Birthing Pod looming.
David 1, Paul 0
It was Paul’s turn to go nuts with an explosion of humans. Champion of the Parish followed by two Doomed Travelers smashed David for three before he could even get on board with Strangleroot Geist. And the little 2/1 wasn’t nearly good enough to stop a third turn of Honor of the Pure and another Doomed Traveler as David got bashed down to 8 in the blink of an eye.
Missing a land drop was not what the doctor ordered and we were off to a deciding game three.
David 1, Paul 1
David was back on the play for game three, but the advantages were evened out as Paul’s fiancée shouted an “I love you” before they got down to business. David’s first play was a third turn Strangleroot Geist that got hit with Flashfreeze while Doomed Traveler was getting in for a couple of points.
Mirran Crusader turned Paul’s board into a huge threat, but David came right back with another Strangleroot Geist and Phantasmal Image to copy it. He couldn’t attack through the Mirran Crusader, but he was able to block the Doomed Traveler with the Phantasmal Image and turn it into a 3/3 Mirran Crusader, evening the odds but not the life totals.
He did even things up on the next turn as he sent his guys in for eight damage of his own, but his attempt at Oblivion Ring to get rid of the opposing Mirran Crusader was stifled by Mana Leak. That left David wide open for a counterattack that dropped him to a scant 4 life, and he was buried deeper by a second Mirran Crusader after combat.
A last-ditch Birthing Pod was almost hopeless, as there didn’t seem to be anything David could get to extract himself from the quickly-closing net, but it didn’t even matter as Paul had the third counterspell. All David could do was shrug and shake Paul’s hand, wishing him good luck in the rest of the tournament as the crushing Mana Leak sat in the middle of the table.
Paul 2, David 1