Quarterfinals: Gerry Thompson (U/W Delver) vs. Adam Boyd (Mono-Blue Delver)
“Remember when I used to beat you all the time?” Gerry opened with, to laughter. “How many times have we played?” Adam replied. A quick count, and the players realized that Gerry was in fact down over the last few matches! He’d be looking to reverse that trend today in order to advance to the Top 4.
Adam Boyd and his army of 1/1s!
Adam had the advantage of the play and kept seven cards, while Gerry mulliganed his opening hand. Gitaxian Probe from Adam revealed Gut Shot, two Snapcaster Mages, and three lands—Seachrome Coast, Island, and Cavern of Souls. Adam followed with Ponder, keeping his three, and Gerry quickly peeled and played Delver of Secrets on turn 1.
Invisible Stalker and Gut Shot concluded Adam’s turn, with him on 16 life but Gerry the player under pressure—if Adam could resolve a piece of equipment, which was much easier on the play, then the Stalker would be a nigh-unbeatable clock. Tanking, Gerry played a land and passed.
Runechanter’s Pike resolved for Adam after he attacked, and Gerry dropped Snapcaster for fighting. He could only hope to race Adam, and the Sword of War and Peace he spent turn 3 playing would have a chance at doing just that if Adam whiffed on additional Gut Shots or Vapor Snags over the next few turns.
Probe revealed Gerry’s hand again, and Adam passed after attacking and casting Delver of Secrets—he had the Snag (or a convincing bluff), but no third land to let him blow Gerry out! On 12, Adam might just be in trouble if Gerry mustered more action.
Playing around Snag, Gerry Pondered and then used Gut Shot on the Delver before attacking unequipped. He played his fourth land and passed the turn. Adam was convinced to shift to defense with no third land in sight yet—he equipped his Stalker and passed the turn with it untapped, warding off a Sword-wielding Snapcaster Mage. Gerry thought about what to do—he wanted to remain aggressive, but also needed to avoid dying!
He decided to just cast Restoration Angel and pass, presenting two threats that Adam would have to worry about. That would break this stalemate up, one way or another, because the Angel’s flying made it unblockable and thus forced Adam to resume racing. Adam attacked, played Island, and ended the turn. With Gerry on 11, he knew to consider this a potential two-turn clock. Attacking with both creatures, he put Adam to the test—Vapor Snag on the Angel replied, dropping Gerry’s damage potential significantly. Adam fell to 8, and Gerry ended the turn.
Adam tanked during the end step before nodding and drawing for turn, knowing any play he made would give Gerry the window to drop down his Angel again without fear of Mana Leak. Adam swung for 6, leaving Gerry on 4, and Gerry tried the Angel during the end step. If Adam had Snag and Leak, that would be game on the spot; he only had the Leak, however.
Gerry equipped his Snapcaster Mage with the Sword and attacked—Adam conceded, his early mana screw having kept his hand brimming with cards.
Gerry 1, Adam 0
Patiently waiting to back Adam into the perfect corner before equipping his Sword, Gerry had taken a tense first game. Each kept, Adam leading Probe to see Gut Shot, Snapcaster Mage, Ponder, Hero of Bladehold, two Island, and Glacial Fortress. Delver of Secrets for Adam instantly followed, earning the predictable Gut Shot. Island and Ponder from Gerry followed before he shuffled the deck for a different card.
Snapcaster on the Probe from Adam revealed Snapcaster Mage and Sword of War and Peace had joined Gerry’s hand, with Adam casting the Snapcaster via Inkmoth Nexus. Gerry cast his Snapcaster to get back Gut Shot, a play Adam seemed to know instantly was happening with the speed at which he chucked his 2/1. Ponder followed, and Adam cast Runechanter’s Pike.
Gerry played his Island and Probed, seeing two Snapcaster Mage, Phantasmal Image, and Thought Scour. Gerry decided to keep Adam busy by tapping out for Geist of Saint Traft, which he had to Image. Gerry swung for 2 and dropped Hero of Bladehold, but Adam hid big money—a second Image for the Hero followed by Vapor Snag, two savage cards Gerry hadn’t seen on his Probe the turn prior!
Now, Gerry was in trouble. He could Sword Adam this turn, but that would mean a safe assault from Hero, and Adam’s two Snapcasters and Nexus would give him plenty of blockers later. Still, it was the best option... he put Adam to 5 and went to 16, hoping to jam through lethal somehow. Adam attacked for 7, leaving Gerry on 9, and Snapped Vapor Snag to leave Gerry with zero creatures—he had to kill the Image-Hero.
Thought Scouring for help, Gerry found none. He played Snapcaster Mage, flashbacked Ponder, and shuffled that away—he needed this card to kill that Illusion! Adam gave the deck a quick riffle, and handed it back.
Gerry drew a redundant Hero of Bladehold, and picked up his cards.
Gerry 1, Adam 1
“Yay, I get to play first!” Gerry mulliganed, and Adam announced a keep shortly after. Leading Coast, Gerry nodded as Adam opened on Delver of Secrets. Missing the trigger after Gerry passed with two lands, he cast Ponder and followed with a second Delver, passing turn rather than risking exposing his first one to Snapcaster—Gerry could expect both of those 1/1s to become 3/2s soon!
Gerry declined to Vapor Snag a Delver on the end step, though he did also have a Snapcaster Mage in his hand to let him inefficiently bounce both. He decided to Surgical Extraction Ponder instead, taking one off the top of the library and seeing two Stalker, Snapcaster Mage, and Thought Scour alongside an Island. If he could dodge Adam randomly getting a spell twice, that might be enough for his Geist of Saint Traft to take it home!
Verifying Adam’s sideboard strategy, he handed back the deck and cast Geist. He missed on both Delvers, Thought Scouring between the triggers, and Adam paid 2 life to spy Snag, Snapcaster, and another Geist from Gerry. Playing Island, Adam played Snapcaster Mage to flashback the Probe and passed.
Gerry immediately attacked on the next turn, putting Adam to 12, and traded the Geist with Snap before tapping out for another and playing Seachrome Coast. Adam missed his trigger, but had Phantasmal Image to kill the second Geist and added Invisible Stalker to the field, now presenting the sterner clock of the two players.
Gerry stared down the board, figuring out how to get back ahead. It had taken quite some digging, but Adam had found the Image he needed to leave Gerry behind—Gerry passed after playing his fifth land. Both Delvers flipped via Gitaxian Probe, but Gerry Snagged one and Snap-Snagged the other, going to 15 against Adam’s 10. Adam recast the Delvers and tapped out for his second Stalker.
Attacking Adam to 8 with his Snapcaster, Gerry had drawn Gut Shot, which would actually let him kill the second Delver before it could flip. Adam missed his first trigger, and Adam Snapped Thought Scour—Gerry used Gut Shot to kill the second Delver, avoiding a flip. His Moorland Haunt token was Vapor Snagged before it could block a Delver, and Gerry dropped to 9.
Adam had four creatures on the board to Gerry’s singleton Snapcaster, and he even had more cards in his hand—none of this was good news for Gerry. Gerry swung him to 6 and cast Hero of Bladehold, on no cards and with his fingers proverbially crossed. Peeking at the top card, Adam missed his trigger for Delver of Secrets. Now, it was his turn to stare at the board!
“What you got?” Gerry asked, interrupting Adam’s calculations, but Adam continued to think. He cast Probe for the mana, possibly for the first time in the match, and then played an Island—semi-freeroll, it seems. Runechanter’s Pike on Stalker, making it a 3/1, and he attacked Gerry to 5 with both Stalkers. He had two men on defense, making him dead to a lot of spells, a situation he visibly loathed. Did Gerry have one of them on top of the deck?
That did not appear to be the case, so Gerry just attacked and got the two chump blocks, putting Adam to 2. If Adam had another way to bin a spell or another Pike, it was game—he had the latter.
Gerry 1, Adam 2
Gerry Thompson, pondering his plays
Adam had rallied from behind for the last two games, while Gerry was now pushing for a fifth game. Even if he took this one, he’d be on the draw for their final contest! That’s just the bittersweet nature of being on the play in game 4. Gerry kept, and Adam took his first mulligan of the match. “First mulligan of the tournament,” Adam deadpanned, before breaking into a laugh. That was hardly the case!
Gerry chanted for five—“Rude!” Adam replied—but Adam did keep six, and Gerry started on Delver of Secrets. Adam Pondered, shuffling the deck. “One of those too?” Gerry said. “I shuffle a lot,” Adam defended. “Not against me,” Gerry replied, prompting Adam to reconsider. Shrugging, he drew and passed.
No flip on Gerry’s turn, just a point of damage, but he Pondered to look for one next turn. Playing Seachrome Coast, he passed. Adam cast Invisible Stalker and shipped turn, while Gerry missed his trigger again, following with Geist of Saint Traft. Adam had Runechanter’s Pike on the following turn, passing with one up.
“Wow, I get to untap with my Geist!” He attacked, his Angel token earning Vapor Snag and Adam falling to 15. Cavern of Souls on Human preceded Hero of Bladehold’s entry to the battlefield, and Adam was in a very poor position to race from here. He attacked Gerry to 17 and cast Snapcaster Mage on Vapor Snag followed by Delver Secrets.
Revealing Gitaxian Probe to flip his Delver, Gerry had a lot of options. He paid mana for the Probe, spying Runechanter’s Pike, and then attacked—Adam went to 8 as Snapcaster traded with Geist. Adam revealed Mana Leak to flip his own Delver, but he faced a pretty stern swing from Gerry’s side.
Equipping his Aberration, Adam passed the turn with Leak available. Gerry had Gut Shot and Snapcaster Mage to remove the 3/2 flier from the skies if he wanted to, which would be 8 exactly unless Adam chucked his Inkmoth Nexus. Even then, he’d be too far behind to take the lead again, even with Gerry on 12.
Gerry 2, Adam 2
Gerry kept a Geist-heavy opening hand, and Adam led with just Island, Thought Scouring himself after Gerry played turn 1 Delver of Secrets. No turn 2 for Adam—just Inkmoth Nexus, giving Gerry a nice cushion. No flip for Delver, though he did cast a second Delver and then play a land, nodding as Adam used Vapor Snag to bounce one Delver.
No third land or two-drop for Adam, Gerry casting Geist of Saint Traft through Cavern of Souls on Spirit—Adam flashed in Snapcaster Mage for future blocks. “More where that came from,” he said, as Adam Probed to see two Geists and a Restoration Angel. Adam attacked for 2 damage, using Phantasmal Image to trade.
Gerry’s unflipped Delver matched Adam’s no land once again, but Gerry played a second Delver and his second Geist. Adam found that third land and passed with Snapcaster on blocks, but Gerry did him one better—he flipped both Delvers through Thought Scour! Adam Snapcastered Vapor Snag, targeting an Aberration, and Gerry picked it up. Adam doubled up on the Geist and went to 8, Gerry saving it via Restoration Angel to attack another day.
Dungeon Geists locked down the Angel and Adam passed the turn, but a peeled Dismember slew the Dungeon Geists and let Gerry attack Adam to 1 life. He lost his Geist of Saint Traft, but the third one resolved and left Gerry threatening three fliers against Snapcaster Mage and two Inkmoth Nexus. Adam examined the board, shaking his head slightly as he evaluated a variety of combinations.
After a few moments, he offered Gerry his hand. “Good games.”
Gerry 3, Adam 2