Quarterfinals: Greg Peloquin vs. Brendan Goold
The Reanimator mirror tends to favor whoever gets the play, and that was Greg in this matchup. Each player knew the power of mana in the matchup, with Greg starting Acidic+Slimes while Brendan was boarding Somberwald+Sages.
Brendan's on the draw for game 1 of this mirror.
Greg started Woodland+Cemetery while Brendan had Overgrown+Tomb and Avacyn’s Pilgrim on turn 1. Greg fired back with Forest and his own Pilgrim, plus an Arbor+Elf. “Guess what I topdecked?” Brendan had Abrupt+Decay for one Pilgrim and passed, Greg ready to stay ahead on mana.
His Mulch found Temple+Garden, throwing Acidic+Slime, Angel+of+Serenity, and Thragtusk into the bin. Brendan continued to assault Greg’s mana men with Garruk+Relentless on turn 3, and Greg wound up passing turn 4 with no plays of his own. Taking the lead, Brendan played Loxodon+Smiter and made a deathtouching Wolf, but Greg had Restoration+Angel in the end step to take care of Garruk on his turn.
Acidic+Slime for Brendan’s only white land also helped Greg’s position, but he still had access to Loxodon+Smiter. Also worth noting was that Greg’s fifth land had been Gavony+Township, giving him the power to win Angel fights should they arise. He traded Acidic+Slime for Smiter when the 4/4 swung, taking 1 from the Wolf, and Brendan tapped out for Thragtusk.
Greg’s Grisly+Salvage on the next turn binned Unburial+Rites, which he promptly flashbacked on Angel+of+Serenity. He grabbed back his own Acidic+Slime and exiled Thragtusk and Avacyn’s Pilgrim from Brendan’s side. “Seems reasonable,” Brendan admitted. On four lands, he considered his options before poking with the deathtouch Wolf and ending the turn.
On his own turn Greg Salvaged again, this time finding land and casting Thragtusk after his attack for 8 damage. Brendan was dead to the next swing in the air, but his end step Grisly+Salvage did find Vault+of+the+Archangel, which he drew. Probably better to Salvage on his own turn, given the selection, but hindsight is 20/20.
Greg recognized the importance of fighting mana in this matchup with maindeck Slimes.
Greg 1, Brendan 0
A fast mulligan from Brendan on the play, while Greg considered doing the same before going down to six, and then both to five. Each player started with Woodland+Cemetery, and Brendan had Avacyn’s Pilgrim but no second land. Greg had Sunpetal+Grove for land and a potential back-breaker in Deathrite+Shaman.
A pass for Brendan meant no Mulch, and a pass for Greg meant neither Mulch nor Salvage. He did have Overgrown+Tomb, however. Taking a shock on his turn, Brendan made it to three mana first and cast Somberwald+Sage—a massive threat. Greg played Arbor+Elf and let the Sage go, breathing a sigh of relief when Brendan played only another Sage on the next turn.
Garruk+Relentless gobbled up one Somberwald+Sage, and while Greg was tapped out Brendan used the end step to Grisly+Salvage. He took Vault+of+the+Archangel, tossing Acidic+Slime and Angel+of+Serenity into the graveyard. That gave him access to seven mana on his turn, but he simply passed back to Greg.
Greg began his turn with Grisly+Salvage for Sunpetal+Grove, not eager to try a fight with Garruk on the Sage when Brendan was representing Restoration+Angel. He had no other options, however, and Brendan did have the Angel to protect his mana machine. The 3/4 cleared out Garruk+Relentless with a swing before Brendan’s Angel+of+Serenity resolved and exiled Deathrite+Shaman and Arbor+Elf, with the former preventing Brendan from grabbing an Acidic+Slime from his own graveyard.
Greg 1, Brendan 1
Turn 1 Deathrite+Shaman for Greg, and turn 1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim for Brendan. Greg played Overgrown+Tomb and winced when Brendan had turn 2 Somberwald+Sage to start jumping into the lead. Another Deathrite+Shaman was no help, and Brendan spent his own turn on Garruk+Relentless to kill one Shaman.
Greg quickly traded Garruks on his turn and passed, but Brendan’s Somberwald+Sage was the greater threat. It powered out Thragtusk on Brendan’s turn, and Greg could do nothing more than Grisly+Salvage on his own. He grabbed Restoration+Angel, putting a land and Angel+of+Serenity into his graveyard. Brendan’s Grisly+Salvage put Angel+of+Serenity into his hand, but he started the next turn with Acidic+Slime to keep Greg stranded on mana. He played an Arbor+Elf, attacked for 5, and passed as Greg ate an Elf in the end step.
Stuck playing a land and passing, Greg had to hope Brendan would lack Acidic+Slime or Restoration+Angel this turn. Brendan attacked him for 10 and then cast Restoration+Angel on the Acidic+Slime, taking Greg off black lands entirely. Brendan cast another Somberwald+Sage, and shipped the turn to Greg, who simply played a land.
He had to cast Restoration+Angel to protect his Deathrite+Shaman as he used it to ward off Thragtusk, but he still dropped to 5 life. He could untap into Angel+of+Serenity, but it would not be enough—Brendan’s own Angel could simply exile Greg’s whole board, retrieve Brendan’s lost creatures, and Greg wouldn’t be able to escape the ensuing slew of triggers. The other option was Brendan’s mana, but then he’d be dead to an exactly lethal attack.
Falling to 3 for Temple+Garden, he went for it—he had no other choices—and the Angel exiled two Somberwald+Sages and Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Brendan correctly calculated the lethal alpha, and Greg extended the hand.
Greg 1, Brendan 2