Quarterfinals: Jeff Cosgrove vs. Mark Reed
Two green decks in this quarterfinal match: one Bant, the other Junk, both featuring Stoneforge Mystic! Jeff's black disruption and robust Green Sun's Zenith package could present a problem for Mark's less versatile Bant Stoneblade list.
Taking the die roll with boxcars, Jeff had the play and kept, while Mark mulliganed to six cards. Plains and Mother of Runes for Jeff, taking a quick lead, while Mark fetched Forest to cast Noble Hierarch. Jeff played Bayou and Thoughtseize, seeing two Jaces, Brainstorm, and Jitte alongside a fetchland. Jotting down the options, Jeff discarded a Jace.
Jeff shuffles up for the quarterfinals.
Mark drew and Preordained, keeping Noble Hierarch and playing it, followed by his fetchland. Jeff played Windswept Heath on his own turn, fetching for Bayou and casting Stoneforge Mystic to grab Batterskull. Mark had another fetchland on the next turn, grabbing Tundra and casting his Jace. He fatesealed Jeff, bottoming Swords and ending the turn.
Jeff drew and ended the turn without a land. Mark cast Brainstorm during his turn, played Island, and fetched for Plains. He fatesealed again, keeping Forest on top of the deck and casting Batterskull. Jeff played Qasali Pridemage, using it immediately on the Batterskull and missing out on an extra point of damage when attacking Jace.
Mark drew, casting Sword of Feast and Famine. He added Stoneforge Mystic to the board, digging up the Jitte he'd brainstormed away several turns ago. He then fatesealed himself, leaving Elspeth, Knight-Errant on top of the deck. Jeff's Batterskull swung, and Mystic blocked. Jeff followed with Tarmogoyf as a 6/7, and ended the turn. Mark played his Elspeth, making a token, and fatesealed his own card to the bottom.
Jeff wasn't behind, but he was not as ahead as he had been. He sent the Goyf at Elspeth and Batterskull at Jace, but Mark threw away his Hierarch and Soldier to keep them healthy. Jeff fetched, falling to 28, and cast Knight of the Reliquary. Mark made a token with Elspeth and fatesealed himself, leaving Maze of Ith on top of the library. He equipped Hierarch, and passed.
Swords removed the Hierarch during the end step, and Jeff untapped with a commanding offense. Mark gave Tarmogoyf protection from white, sending it into Elspeth while Mystic and Knight attacked Jace with Batterskull. Jace dropped to 4 loyalty, and Jeff searched for Qasali Pridemage with Green Sun's Zenith before passing the turn.
Mark brainstormed and cast Swords to Plowshares on Mother of Runes, a moral victory that would not translate to a game win in this spot. The next attack was for double-digit damage, although Maze of Ith managed to keep Jace alive. Even Mark knew that the top of the deck wouldn't be saving him, so he'd need those draws.
Fetching, he cast Brainstorm, but that failed to find a way to turn the tide.
Mark needed his sideboard to answer Jeff's potent equipment.
Jeff 1, Mark 0
Jeff took a mulligan with Mark on the play, and Misty Rainforest began the match for Mark again. Jeff fetched with Heath to find Savannah, casting Green Sun's Zenith for Dryad Arbor. “That's the least scary turn 1 you have,” Mark noted, happy to avoid the Mother. Fetching Island, Mark fetched for Tundra on his own turn and cast Stoneforge Mystic, searching his deck for Batterskull.
Casting Mother of Runes, Jeff Wasted the Tundra—ironically punishing Mark's cautious fetch for Island on the previous turn! Brainstorming for another white source, Mark tossed back Bojuka Bog and played Misty Rainforest, grabbing Tropical Island to cast Noble Hierarch and end the turn after an attack for 2 damage. Jeff drew and cast Qasali Pridemage, but he lacked a land and passed the turn.
Mark's Preordain kept the top two in place, followed by Flooded Strand. He attacked with Stoneforge Mystic for 2 damage, passing the turn after that with Vendilion Clique ready to give him a flying form of offense. Jeff's Pridemage returned the attack, putting Mark on 14, and Jeff passed. Declining to cast the Clique, Mark untapped in order to draw Jace rather than shuffle.
He cracked the fetch for Savannah now, and attacked with his Mystic. Swords to Plowshares removed the Mystic, and Mark nodded. He passed the turn after that, casting Vendilion Clique during the draw step. Swords on the Clique killed it, and Jeff revealed his hand: Batterskull, Krosan Grip, Thoughtseize, and Gaddock Teeg. Leaving those cards in place, Mark shrugged. He took 3 damage from the Pridemage, and offered Path to Exile on the Mom during the end step; Jeff protected.
Casting Jace, Mark decided to fateseal Jeff. He saw Stoneforge Mystic—scary—and decided to bottom the 1/2. Jeff drew and swung for 3 at Jace, landing the damage and casting Gaddock Teeg afterward. Mark brainstormed, played fetchland, and shuffled up to grab Plains. Casting Brainstorm, Mark then landed an 8/8 Knight of the Reliquary. “That's quite big,” Jeff admitted.
On his own turn, Jeff drew and pointed a fresh Swords at Knight of the Reliquary, drawing a sigh. Mark went to 21, but his Jace was now dead to Teeg and Pridemage attacking. Mark drew, played Maze of Ith, and cast Qasali Pridemage. He declined to attack with Noble Hierarch, passing the turn. Gaddock Teeg attacked with Arbor while Pridemage stayed home in the Maze, and Jeff fetched for Scrubland before casting Thoughtseize. He discarded Swords to Plowshares, leaving Mark with Feast and Famine plus Surgical Extraction, on 12 life himself.
Mark cast Sword of Feast and Famine, equipped his Pridemage, and attacked, but Krosan Grip countered that play and enabled a Mother-protected block. Now Jeff had full control of the game, with Mark topdecking against his superior board position. Stoneforge Mystic made it official, searching the library for Sword of Light and Shadow. Attacking for a few points, Jeff passed.
Swinging again, Mark had Swords in response to Mother's activation this time, killing the Mother of Runes for good… but it might be too late. Jeff cast another Stoneforge Mystic to get Umezawa's Jitte, attacking for 2 damage with Maze preventing 2 from Teeg while Pridemage landed.
Dropping Jitte, Mark equipped and attacked, but Jeff traded Jittes thanks to Stoneforge, taking 4 damage. He swung with both his 2/2s again, knocking Mark to 11 through the Maze and ending his turn. A brazen swing with Pridemage from Mark, Jeff dropping Batterskull and bouncing it when Mark tried to Pridemage the living weapon.
Now Jeff put Sword of Light and Shadow into play, placing it on Gaddock Teeg and sending everyone. Maze kept Teeg away, but Mark took 3 damage. Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull complicated the game state, but Mark remained behind, and his life total was dwindling. Jeff sent everyone but Arbor and a Mystic again, taking 2 damage and falling to when the Mystics bumped noses.
Jeff's Batterskull landed during Mark's end step, and he attacked with everyone on his own turn, except for the Arbor. Mark's Batterskull came down, bouncing when Pridemage tried to eat it while Noble Hierarch jumped under Jeff's Batterskull. Mark was on 5 life as Jeff passed.
He drew Knight of the Reliquary, playing the massive creature and passing the turn—the board was semi-stable, although a Wasteland from Jeff would change everything in a moment. He rammed his Germ into the Knight while Teeg got Mazed, gaining 4 life for five mana. Mark put his own Batterskull into play during the end step, Jeff replaying his Batterskull via Mystic.
Mark couldn't do anything against the Sworded Teeg, while Jeff couldn't make ground against the Maze—each player entered draw, go for the time being. Path to Exile on Stoneforge Mystic removed one, and Jeff shrugged. He drew and passed. Mark hit Wasteland for Dryad Arbor and passed, Jeff drawing a fetch. He cracked it to look for Bayou and cast a big one—Choke.
Mark turned Tropical Island into Wasteland during the end step, popping Scrubland on Jeff's board. He drew and cast a second Knight of the Reliquary, potentially altering the equation. Jeff drew his own game-changer—Pithing Needle, which named Maze of Ith.
Jeff 2, Mark 0