Quarterfinals: Gene Richtmeier vs. David Barani
Gene is one of two Naya Blitz players in this top 8, trying to bring Burning-Tree Emissary back to dominance over the new hotness that is Voice of Resurgence and Naya Aggro. Can he overcome the armory of counterspells, burn spells, and flash blockers that is David’s U/W/R Control?
David had the play and led with Steam Vents tapped, while Gene had Sacred Foundry and Champion of the Parish. David played Clifftop Retreat and passed, but when Gene cast Burning-Tree Emissary off Temple Garden it was met by Syncopate. Champion attacked for one before Gene passed. A land from David allowed him to Searing Spear Flinthoof Boar, and Champion, still a 1/1, dealt one measly damage. Gene’s lands had already dealt him six!
David missed a land drop, so Gene decided Flinthoof Boar number two was a safe play… but that two was Speared on the barbeque. Gene played his fourth land and passed. David once more missed a land drop, but decided to drop Geist of Saint Traft to start the offense. Experiment One grew Champion to a 2/2 and attacked, and Gene played his fifth land (not great for Blitz). The controllish deck was stuck on three lands, but Geist was able to play offense pretty well. Gene fell to 8, with David still at 15.
Burning-Tree Emissary triggered both of Gene’s one-drop Humans, and the pair swung into the red zone to drop David to 10. David, still stuck on mana and now fresh out of Burn spells, said, “whatevs,” and attacked Gene. He fell to 6, and Burning-Tree traded with the legendary Spirit Cleric. In came Champion and Experiment, and David fell to 5 life. Snapcaster Mage dropped onto the battlefield as Ambush Viper at end of turn… and David stayed right where he started on three lands.
Gene is ecstatic about his Blitz!
Dissipate took down Gene’s Lightning Mauler, and Champion rumbled past Snapcaster Mage (which traded with Experiment) to set David at 2. David chuckled as he topdecked Steam Vents and paid two life to die an honorable death in the face of insurmountable forces.
Gene 1, David 0.
David kept once more (but wanted the “record to show” that he didn’t ‘snap keep’), but Gene had to mulligan all the way down to Give Cards Burgers and Fries. David had Steam Vents turn one, While Cavern of Souls on Human allowed Gene to quickly cast Experiment One. David added Glacial Fortress to his board, and Gene played Temple Garden and Mayor of Avabruck. Experiment, now a 2/2, attacked… but Searing Spear assassinated the Mayor before damage.
Hallowed Fountain tapped for David meant still only two open mana for the U/W/R pilot, and Gene attacked for one to drop David to 18. Boros Elite joined David’s board post-combat. Land four was Clifftop Retreat for David, who passed to Gene, who attacked with his brace of 1/1s. Snapcaster Mage used Searing Spear to take down the Experiment One… but Boros Charm cancelled those plans. David drew and passed, waiting for Gene to commit further to the board to make further plays. Gene did not oblige, and just drew and passed.
The draw-go game heavily favors David, and Gene’s top-decked Burning-Tree Emissary didn’t really spell ‘victory.’ David continued to make land drops and play patient. And it paid off: Gene attacked with 3/3 Boros Elite, 2/2 Emissary, and 2/2 Experiment One. Turn // Burn was what David responded with, Turning Experiment and Burning Emissary… but another Boros Charm for indestructible once more cancelled those plans.
Lightning Mauler was Gene’s next play, but it was alone so it was only a Goblin Piker. Gene’s next turn made an uncounterable Burning-Tree Emissary, but 3/4 Restoration Angel was, in Gene’s words, “pretty good.” Gene, living off the top of his deck with David at a relatively healthy 9, drew yet another Burning-Tree Emissary (this time unpaired, in the face of the 3/4 flier). Angel took a turn for the aggressive now, dropping Gene to 13. Gene moved to combat, and before declare attackers David cast Izzet Staticaster. The Wizard blocked Emissary and knocked off the Mauler, preventing any damage from being dealt.
David is taking a more controlling approach!
Gene was all out of gas now. David dug deeper into his deck to try to find something big and relevant, using Izzet Charm’s Faithless Looting mode. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is usually good, but not in the face of Staticaster. After another hit from Restoration Angel, David used Searing Spear and the Burn in his hand to finish off Gene.
Gene 1, David 1.
“I get to go first for once!”
“Yeah, that’s probably going to be a problem…”
Gene and David both took a trip to Paris together (how nice!), as both mulliganed to six. Once they kept, Gene led off the final match of the night with Champion of the Parish. David played Steam Vents (as is his custom), while Gene continued the onslaught with Burning-Tree Emissary and Lightning Mauler. Seven damage turn two! Naya Blitz, ladies and germs.
Untapped land from David meant he could Azorius Charm the Champion… but Mayor of Avabruck meant David still went to 7. Land three, Desolate Lighthouse, allowed David to both block a two-power creature and also knock off the Mayor… But Madcap Skills on Emissary meant David still dropped to 2 life points! Could he get out of this hole?
Hallowed Fountain tapped meant he still had to hold off the onslaught, but Gene found another Mayor of Avabruck to prevent the Snapcaster Mage and Izzet Staticaster from both blocking and killing Lightning Mauler! So Gene moves on to the top 4 in the morning.
Gene 2, David 1.