Quarterfinals: Erik Finnegan vs. Ryan Gerhart
Cedric had claimed G/W Aggro was one of the best decks in the format, and with two Selesnya mages paired in the Top 8 it appeared that he had been correct in Cleveland! While their builds differed, the central power cards remained.
Ryan quickly dropped a game when his mulligan failed to pan out.
Ryan dropped to six cards while Erik kept his seven, and Forest started the game. Erik had Forest and Experiment One, but Ryan’s Voice of Resurgence shut down the Human Ooze’s offense for the time being. Fleecemane Lion began the evolution on Erik’s side, but ended his turn.
No three-drop for Ryan as he sighed and passed the turn, but Erik had a second Fleecemane Lion before attacking with both of his available 3/3s. Ryan dropped Boon Satyr to eat the attacking Lion, taking 3 damage and going to 17. Playing his fourth land, Ryan passed once more.
Erik had Selesnya Charms aplenty in the event of an Advent of the Wurm, and sure enough exiled the Wurm token that Ryan tried to create. Shrugging, Ryan took 6 damage and went to 11 life. Another land for Ryan and another Voice of Resurgence before he ended the turn. Erik shipped in both his creatures, representing a trick against the two obviously good blocks for Ryan.
He doubled up on Experiment One, forcing Erik to make a move. Flashing in Boon Satyr, Erik eliminated both Voices when Ryan didn’t have Selesnya Charm to save them. He did get some Elementals, but on 8 life with a Lion prepared to go monstrous and an Experiment One with 7 power, he was in the danger zone.
Passing with five open mana, it appeared likely that Ryan had either another Satyr or another Advent. Erik once more began the turn by attacking, and Ryan planed just an Elemental token on the Experiment One. Selesnya Charm from Erik targeted the Experiment, boosting it to 9 power against his two toughness and threatening 10 total damage. Ryan was on 8—even if he had Boon Satyr, it wouldn’t save him.
Erik's populate potential served him well!
Erik 1, Ryan 0
It was Erik’s turn to mulligan in the second game, while Ryan kept his seven on the play. A second mulligan left Erik on five cards. Temple Garden for Ryan and Forest for Erik, with Ryan first to the board when he cast Voice of Resurgence. Call of the Conclave gave Erik the superior two-drop—for now—and Ryan shipped the turn with two mana after failing to make a land drop. He used Gods Willing to make sure there was a land on top of the deck and to save 3 life when Erik attacked, Erik’s own Voice landing afterward.
Ryan played Loxodon Smiter, and Erik immediately untapped and attacked with Voice of Resurgence. Ryan decided to block with his Loxodon Smiter, and Erik’s only “trick” was to make an Elemental token. Could a growing population be in his future? A second Voice threatened to jumpstart the Elemental army.
Drawing a fourth land, Ryan attacked with Loxodon Smiter and Erik chumped with his second Voice, getting a second Elemental. Ryan passed turn afterward, representing Advent of the Wurm. Erik shipped in with all three 3/3s, and the Boon Satyr that Ryan mustered was a less than exciting defense. Blocking an Elemental, Ryan lost his Boon Satyr to Rootborn Defenses, populating an Elemental token to grow all of them to 4/4s.
Ryan added Fleecemane Lion to the board but remained quite far behind, with only his Smiter capable of trading with an Elemental for the time being. If Erik had another creature or two, things would get complicated... Fleecemane Lion landed and Erik sent in just his three Elementals, the Centaur token staying home.
Selesnya Charm exiled one Elemental and Smiter plus Lion traded for the other two—Ryan appeared to have regained a stable position! He drew and passed on his own turn, however, and was painfully aware of his vulnerability to Erik’s three lands and four spells. Another alpha strike merited another Boon Satyr from Ryan, with a double block on Fleecemane Lion offering Erik the choice of kills but ensuring Selesnya Charm couldn’t save the Lion.
A second Lion resolved after Ryan fell to 10, keeping up the heat. Ryan drew... and passed again. Another swing from Erik, and Ryan blocked with Voice before using Selesnya Charm to kill the Lion in combat. On his own turn, Erik tapped out for Advent of the Wurm in order to avoid Voice’s trigger and gain a 5/5.
Ryan found a big card in Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice on the next turn... but Erik came prepared. Glare of Heresy and Boon Satyr gave him ways to threaten the legend both in and out of the red zone, and he took 2 for a fifth land before swinging. Ryan was sure the Satyr was there... but could he do anything to stop it? If either creature went unblocked, Ryan would be dead.
Voice on Advent after Voice blocked the Wurm snuck in lethal damage after the Trostani blocked the Centaur.
Erik 2, Ryan 0