Quarterfinals: Frank Skarren vs. Keith Blackwell
With a Grand Prix win in Gatecrash Limited and a second place during SCG’s Team Sealed Open, Frank has proven his prowess in Limited—this Legacy Top 8 gave him a chance to show off a whole new set of skills.
Keith entered the Infinite quickly in game 1.
Fetching Bayou, Frank started with Deathrite+Shaman while Keith had a turn 1 City+of+Traitors. Frank exiled his fetchland to fire Hymn+to+Tourach on the next turn, but Keith immediately exiled Dream+Halls to Force+of+Will to counter, and Frank followed with just Creeping+Tar+Pit.
Tapping the City, Keith played an Island and cast Show+and+Tell—it resolved, putting Omniscience into play while Frank mustered a Baleful+Strix. Keith began to go off, Preordaining into Enter+the+Infinite and putting one card on top of the deck before Cunning+Wish grabbed Release+the+Ants.
Revealing Emrakul for the clash, Keith earned the scoop from Frank.
Keith 1, Frank 0
A turn 2 win for Keith—most impressive! Frank would be sideboarding heavily, cutting his weak removal for as much interaction as he could muster. Each player took a mulligan to start the second game, while Keith’s six-carder gave him Leyline+of+Sanctity. Frank suspended Ancestral+Visions on turn 1, and passed.
Keith split the top of the deck with Preordain, and Frank had no turn 2 except for Creeping+Tar+Pit. Keith made no plays either, and Frank dropped Bayou before ending his third turn as well. Impulse during the end step for Keith found him a spell, and he played Preordain on turn 3 into Ponder with his other land.
Frank missed his fourth land drop, while Keith sat on just three as well. He appeared to be taking his time in order to achieve the perfect setup, Brainstorming. A fetchland shuffled up the library, and Keith played his fourth land before passing. Frank’s Vision resolved, drawing him three cards and getting him back into the game on the spot.
Casting Jace, the Mind Sculptor for a brainstorm activation, Frank passed with two Forces at the ready and pitched Hymn to cleanup. Keith played Brainstorm on his turn and passed after playing City+of+Traitors. Wasteland aimed at the City immediately on Frank’s turn, with Keith responding with Cunning+Wish for Intuition. Frank landed Liliana+of+the+Veil afterward, boosting its loyalty and pitching Jace while Keith pitched Pact+of+Negation.
Intuition during Keith’s upkeep gave Frank pause, but he eventually allowed it to resolve. Keith found three copies of Show+and+Tell, putting one into his hand before drawing for turn and casting Preordain. He wouldn’t be vulnerable to hand disruption on Frank’s turn, and it appeared as though he was likely going to be ready to go off soon as he kept both cards with Preordain.
Frank drew with Jace, still on just a pair of Forces for defense. He fetched to shuffle the deck before playing Shardless+Agent, cascading into Deathrite+Shaman, and playing Tarmogoyf. Liliana gained a loyalty, Frank pitching Thoughtseize while Keith binned Enter+the+Infinite. Keith Pondered, leaving the three cards on top and then casting Show+and+Tell.
Frank's Shardless BUG deck is a bit weaker to combo decks.
Keith 1, Frank 1
Keith chose to be on the draw in game 3, mulliganing once Frank had done the same. Leading Deathrite+Shaman, Frank passed to Keith who made no plays on turn 1 beyond an Island. Frank fetched Underground+Sea and deployed Liliana+of+the+Veil, pumping her loyalty and pitching another land while Keith did the same.
An end step Brainstorm from Keith, and he untapped prior to playing a fetchland and finding another Island. Ponder shuffled the deck once more as Keith tried to assemble quickly in the face of that Liliana. Frank added Tarmogoyf to his board on the next turn before casting Thoughtseize—that earned another Brainstorm from Keith.
He revealed Leyline+of+Sanctity, Show+and+Tell, and three lands, losing the latter. Frank had to feel reasonably confident following that! Liliana went to five loyalty, and Frank passed. Keith made a land and ended the turn, while Frank suspended Ancestral+Visions before pumping Liliana again—Keith was nearly locked under her +1, with just two cards in his hand.
Tarmogoyf attacked him for 4 damage, putting Keith on a clock that would leave him dead within three turns thanks to Deathrite+Shaman. Impulse from Keith in the end step, then a draw during his turn before he passed. The Deathrite+Shaman dropped Keith to 12, and the Tarmogoyf made it 8 on Frank’s turn. Casting a second Deathrite, Frank used Liliana again to make Keith bin a land.
Omniscience. Then he extended the hand.
Keith 1, Frank 2