Quarterfinals: Denny Chan vs. Ian Anderson
Denny Chan’s one of the room’s many True-Name Nemesis pilots, but Ian Anderson has brought something significantly more unorthodox to the table—Affinity!
Ian takes the first game with a huge burst of life loss from Tezzeret.
Denny keeps his seven, while Ian is on a slow starter with two Ravagers and three lands—not very exciting, but it has potential thanks to Ancient Tomb. Debating, he decides to go to six. Those are similarly mana-heavy, but a Plating convinces him the keep is worthwhile. Denny starts with just an Island, and ends the turn.
Playing an Ancient Tomb, Ian casts Signal Pest and then Springleaf Drum before adding Mox Opal and Ornithopter to the battlefield. He has the mana to cast Cranial Plating, but declines to give it up so easily. Denny has only Karakas on turn 2, while Ian now casts his Plating. It gets Forced, Jace hitting the exile zone before Ian attacks for 1 damage.
Playing Flooded Strand, Denny once more passes the turn. Ian falls to 14 to play Tezzeret with two mana up, and the planeswalker resolves. Boosting the planeswalker, Ian finds Etched Oracle within the top five cards before attempting another attack for 1 damage—Denny appears to debate a response, but declines.
Fetching and falling to 16 life, Denny gets Underground Sea and casts True-Name Nemesis. Ian is pretty decently equipped to handle that, with none of his creatures capable of being blocked and Tezzeret threatening some major destruction via the ultimate. Sure enough, Ian casts Etched Champion and plays another artifact land, then pops the Tezzeret. Denny is forced to respond with Swords on his own Nemesis, and Denny falls to 2 after Ian’s trigger and attacks.
Supreme Verdict wipes the board, and Ian is back to the drawing board. He draws and plays Signal Pest while Denny lands Umezawa’s Jitte, but with no cards left it becomes a topdeck war. Denny’s Etched Champion off the top is among his best draws, and Denny concedes after drawing one more card.
Denny shuffles up, having been sent to the sideboard against an unfamiliar foe.
Ian 1, Denny 0
Both players keep seven, and Denny starts with Ponder. Ian has Ancient Tomb once more, playing Mox Opal, Memnite, and then Signal Pest with a mana floating before playing Arcbound Ravager with the newly active Opal. Denny plays Baleful Strix on the next turn, warding off the Pest for now.
Ian Thoughtcasts, finding another Signal Pest and Tezzeret. He plays Vault of Whispers and the Pest, then passes the turn. Inquisition of Kozilek misses, revealing Thoughtcast and Tezzeret, and Denny can’t help but frown. Playing Scrubland, he passes with mana at the ready. Ian casts Tezzeret next, boosting the planeswalker and in the process threatening another massive ultimate on the next turn.
Taking Etched Champion, he enters combat. Denny now gives him pause, clearly considering a Swords to Plowshares as he assesses each creature, and winds up deciding to target Arcbound Ravager. Sacrificing Vault of Whispers and then Ravager itself, he grows Ornithopter up to 2/4 and attacks for 6 damage, which Denny doesn’t block. Smells like Jitte, or maybe Supreme Verdict... Ian casts Vault Skirge to hedge as a protection for Tezzeret.
Untapping, Denny draws and sighs—did he need a fourth land to set up the Jitte hit and miss? If so, he’ll be in major trouble now. With no other options apparently available, Denny attacks Tezzeret with the Strix, trading with the fresh Vault Skirge, and then plays Creeping Tar Pit and True-Name Nemesis.
Ian 2, Denny 0