Quarterfinals: Jeremy Stowe vs. John Bagley
Two very different flavors of red in this matchup. “I’m playing aggro, and he’s playing a deck that kills aggro,” Jeremy said. “That’s what’s happening here.” John laughed, thanking Jeremy for killing off all of his would-be Esper opponents.
John is fine with a pairing against Mono-Red Aggro.
First seed had earned Jeremy the play, but his opening hand was under deep consideration for a mulligan—he eventually kept, and started with Rakdos Cackler. Temple of Triumph for John left the top of his deck unchanged, followed by another Cackler and no land drop for Jeremy. Just another Temple on John’s turn meant this aggression might pay off...
The next attack put John to 14, but Jeremy still hadn’t found a land. Anger of the Gods from John mopped up the board, and Jeremy was now playing draw-go. Mutavault hit him to 18, but he did draw a land that turn to enable Ash Zealot—it ran headlong into Lightning Strike. One Mutavault attacked for John, and he added Frostburn Weird to the board. Sighing, Jeremy drew for turn.
John had nearly evened life totals and was much farther ahead on the board. Firefist Striker had high hopes of future impact, but for now it was just a Goblin Piker. Mizzium Mortars slew the Strike and John attacked for 3 damage, ending his turn on four lands with spells in the grip. Jeremy dropped Hammer of Purphoros, a game-changer, but John had the better follow-up in Stormbreath Dragon.
John alpha attacked Jeremy to 8... it looked grim for the Mono-Red Aggro player. Three lands and a Hammer in play; what could he do?
Jeremy leaned heavily on the Hammer in this matchup.
Fanatic of Mogis for 7 damage.
Hasted attack for 8 damage.
That’s game! From the jaws of defeat, Jeremy’s singleton Hammer of Purphoros delivers a victory!
Jeremy 1, John 0
Sacred Foundry for John and Mountain for Jeremy, with Mutavault and Ratchet Bomb giving John a pseudo-Seal of Doom. Ash Zealot swung in for 2 damage on Jeremy’s turn, and thanks to John’s Mutavault he had no fear of Boros Reckoner. Mizzium Mortars had to handle the Zealot.
Jeremy tapped out for Hammer of Purphoros on turn 3, passing as the Ratchet Bomb ascended to two counters. John tanked on his options for the turn, no doubt tempted to cast Chandra, Pyromaster but ultimately deciding to play Temple of Triumph and a defensive Chandra’s Phoenix. Jeremy’s follow wasn’t fierce—he made a 3/3 and attacked.
The Bomb moved to three, and John made his fifth land drop. He popped the Bomb and killed his Phoenix, missing 2 damage and also failing to recover the Phoenix when he cast Chandra, Pyromaster to ping Jeremy. Jeremy was still up against Chandra, however... could he take her out? The Golem had the ability to do 3 damage, but it took Ash Zealot to finish the job.
Anger of the Gods mopped those creatures up, and John attacked for 2 damage with Mutavault. Both players were flooding a little, but that suited Jeremy fine—he played a second Hammer and then Rakdos Cackler, attacking John to 13! Drawing Pyromaster, John hit a Temple of Triumph—but he’d already played Mountain and could not play it. Jeremy ignored the Chandra, attacking John for 5 damage and using Lightning Strike to eliminate the Mutavault prior to blockers.
John drew a Mountain and Chandra found another one—that left John dead on the board.
Jeremy 1, John 0