Quarterfinals: Jack Colwell vs. Thomas Johnson
Quarterfinals: Jack Colwell vs. Thomas Johnson
Thomas is playing RUG with a few unconventional choices.
Jack began the game with Polluted Delta, fetching up Island and casting Sensei’s Divining Top. Thomas played Volcanic Island and Delver of Secrets on the first turn, while Jack spent his upkeep on a Top activation. Flooded Strand shuffled two of them away for a Plains as Jack kept his mana safe from Wasteland.
No flip for Delver, with Thomas playing Misty Rainforest and nodding as Jack spun the Top once more. He untapped, played an Island, and cast Counterbalance with one mana up for Top. It resolved, and now Thomas was in a bit of trouble. He revealed Spell Pierce to Delver in the upkeep before breaking his fetchland to shuffle up the deck. He played another fetch, then passed the turn.
Jack’s Top rigged Terminus for him on the following turn, with a Rest in Peace resolving afterward. Wasteland took out his Tundra on the next turn, but Jack just had to bide his time and hold the lock for now. He kept making land drops, knowing inevitability was on his side. In fact, it was questionable whether Thomas could win the game from this point at all barring a colossal error from Jack.
The turns passed back and forth, Jack declining to ever tap mana or crack fetchlands while Thomas struggled to build a hand that could overload the Counterbalance in a relevant fashion. The first real action came on the end step during a turn where Thomas passed with six lands—Jack cast Vendilion Clique, and Thomas successfully resolved a hardcast Force of Will.
That made the road clear for Elspeth, Knight-Errant—a much more dominant threat. Jack had only three mana available for Counterbalance now, and casually revealed Enlightened Tutor when Thomas tried Lightning Bolt on Elspeth.
It merited a concession.
Jack 1, Thomas 0
Jack's miracles and Counterbalances have taken him this far.
Thomas kept his opener while Jack stared at his seven before announcing the same. Tropical Island and Delver of Secrets got the beatdown started, while Jack fetched Island and cast Ponder. Thomas also had a Ponder—but that one was on top of the deck, transforming Delver into Insectile Aberration and knocking Jack to 16.
Fetching Volcanic Island, Thomas added Tarmogoyf to the board as a 2/3. Arid Mesa took Jack to 15 for Plains, and he cast Swords to Plowshares on the Aberration. Tarmogoyf upgraded to 3/4 and attacked him down to 12, but Thomas was done casting creatures now—he passed without making a land drop. Jack played an Island and ended the turn, spending the upkeep on Swords targeting Tarmogoyf.
Thomas considered how to respond before simply allowing it to resolve rather than burning Daze and Spell Pierce on the removal spell. He cast Ponder afterward, keeping the three cards because they contained a much-needed creature in Delver. He cast the Delver, and ended the turn. Jack spent his fourth turn Brainstorming before casting Rest in Peace, which Thomas allowed to resolve and declined to Stifle.
He did flip his Delver on Spell Pierce and attack Jack to 9 though, passing the turn. Jack had stashed Terminus on top, and while the trigger resolved through Stifle a pair of Spell Pieces successfully countered, the Stifle snagging a fetchland in Jack’s main phase. Thomas sent the Aberration in and put Jack to 5, but he had one more try.
Jace, the Mind Sculptor bounced the Aberration and kept Jack outside of Lightning Bolt range. The Bolt then went to Jace, while Delver hit the board for third time. Jack had no way to remove it and simply cast Geist of Saint Traft, hoping to avoid a Delver flip and stick to 5 life.
His attempt was successful, as Thomas broke a fetchland in the upkeep after peeking at a bad card. Drawing a second Daze, he simply passed the turn. Jack drew and cast Counterbalance, while Thomas revealed Ponder to the Delver and attacked Jack to 2 life. Trying the Ponder, he was denied by Sensei’s Divining Top from the library. Jack drew that Top, cast it, and spun it in search of some help... but failed to find any.
Jack 1, Thomas 1
Jack kept quickly this time, while Thomas debated for a few moments before doing the same. Island fetch for turn 1 on Jack’s side, while Thomas paid a life to find Volcanic Island and cast Delver of Secrets. Drawing a card, Jack frowned at the rest of his hand. Fetching Plains, he cast Brainstorm afterward and then debated whether he should cast Top or not before playing the artifact—no Daze.
Ancient Grudge revealed to Delver, giving Thomas a quick hit to take Jack down to 15 and finishing his turn with just Volcanic Island on the board, missing that second land drop. Jack untapped and spun the Top in his upkeep, following with Island but no other plays. The Delver swung Jack to 12, and Jack spun Top in the end step before Thomas discarded Stifle, tipping Jck off to the presence of a likely Spell Pierce/Pyroblast.
Revealing Terminus in his draw step, the sweeper went to Jack’s hand as Thomas cast a second copy of Stifle. Jack played Tundra and then Brainstorm before resolving Counterbalance while Thomas was tapped out. Now, it was almost entirely on Insectile Aberration’s shoulders—and Thomas had to expect to see Terminus again next turn after that Brainstorm.
Jack got a bit greedy, spinning Top in the end step to set up his Terminus rather than during his upkeep, which let Thomas use Red Elemental Blast to block the miracle from happening on the following turn. That said, Jack had a fine second resort in Jace, the Mind Sculptor to bounce the Aberration. With Thomas still stuck on one land, he could play a threat or Pyroblast Jace... but not both.
Thomas missed on an important land and passed the turn, then pointed Pyroblast at Counterbalance after the draw step. Brainstorm from Jack likely returned Terminus and a one-drop to the top—indeed, he revealed Red Elemental Blast. Casting Top, Jack fatesealed and bottomed the card he saw.
Drawing Ponder was close to a land... but not with Counterbalance in play. Before cleanup, Jack spun Top and Thomas discarded a Delver. As Jack untapped with five lands, Jace, Top, and Counterbalance in play, the game appeared all but over. Volcanic Island’s a good card, but it’s not that good!
Spell Pierce failed to counter Elspeth with Red Elemental Blast safely tucked on top of the library, and Stifle failed to stop Jace’s brainstorm as a Swords was revealed. With the two planeswalkers dominating the field, Thomas had fallen too far behind to come back out. In a few more turns, it was over.
Jack 2, Thomas 1