Quarterfinals: Jimmy Bishop vs. Dan Greenleaf
Zombies has been a huge deck in this tournament, and Dan Greenleaf has been one of the top performers with the archetype. He’ll have a tough road against Jimmy Bishop, whose Wolf Run Ramp deck has a lot of anti-aggressive measures.
Fume Spitter started the beats for Dan after Jimmy’s Forest, and Rampant Growth grabbed a Mountain. No two-drop for Dan, just an attack for 1 damage, and Jimmy shut the 1/1 down with Solemn Simulacrum on the third turn.
Geralf’s Messenger looked like he would be too slow to the party, as Jimmy dropped to 17. He untapped, played Copperline Gorge, and tapped out for Thrun. Geralf’s Messenger jammed into Solemn Simulacrum, sort of trading, before Fume Spitter reset him and then Liliana of the Veil killed Thrun. Jimmy wasn’t out of gas, of course.
He cast Primeval Titan to find Kessig Wolf Run and Inkmoth Nexus after playing another Nexus. It was getting hot on Dan’s side of the table—he added a counter to Liliana and pitched Gravecrawler, but the minor synergy wasn’t high-impact enough. His Phantasmal Image copied Primeval Titan to get two lands, and he had one mana left… Was it Tragic Slip?
Animating two Inkmoth Nexuses, Jimmy attacked with both and his Titan, searching up the fourth Nexus and Wolf Run, using his Wolf Run to kill the Phantasmal Image. Dan blocked with Geralf’s Messenger, Jimmy fell to 12, and Dan dropped to 16 and took two poison.
He drew, and conceded.
Jimmy 1, Dan 0
Jimmy fell to six cards as Dan began the game, starting with Swamp and Diregraf Ghoul. Rootbound Crag for Jimmy, who took 2 damage and then nodded as Gravecrawler joined the fray. Copperline Gorge and pass, lacking a turn 2 acclerant—not good for the Ramp player.
Dan cast Mortarpod on turn 2 and passed without a land. That was huge for Jimmy, who had a hand too slow to beat Geralf’s Messenger. He played Inkmoth Nexus and ended the turn. Dan found his third land, but could only use it to zap with Mortarpod after combat, recasting Gravecrawler.
Playing Huntmaster of the Fells, Jimmy traded his Wolf token for Diregraf Ghoul when Gravecrawler and the Ghoul attacked, but the Huntmaster didn’t make it through the turn due to Geth’s Verdict. On 7 life, Jimmy needed help. He cast Sphere of the Suns and passed with two mana open, using Galvanic Blast on Gravecrawler to save some damage.
Jimmy 1, Dan 1
Copperline Gorge for Jimmy started the decider, while Dan had Diregraf Ghoul once again. Ramping with Rampant Growth put Jimmy on pace for Titan mana, while Dan had just a second Diregraf Ghoul. Solemn Simulacrum would offer a good trade against one of those Zombies, stemming a lot of bleeding.
Dan untapped and played Swamp—no Diregraf Captain! He traded one 2/2 and played Sword of Feast and Famine—a problem for Jimmy! Casting Huntmaster of the Fells, Jimmy passed the turn on 18 life with two mana up. Dan tried to equip and was successful, but once he tapped out for Mortarpod, Jimmy Ancient Grudged the Sword and blocked the Ghoul with his Wolf!
Playing Inkmoth Nexus, Jimmy flashbacked on the Mortarpod and attacked, pumping for two more damage. He chastised himself immediately afterward, realizing he could have flipped instead, but it might not matter. Dan cast Geralf’s Messenger and Diregraf Ghoul, passing to Jimmy tapped out in every sense of the word.
Boosting the Huntmaster for an additional point with Wolf Run, he flipped on Dan’s turn to zap the 2/2 Zombie. That enabled the morbid on Tragic Slip, but Jimmy countered by using Beast Within to convert his Huntmaster into a 3/3 Beast with Beast Within. Messenger attacked Jimmy to 12, and Dan followed with Gravecrawler and Mortarpod.
The Beast knocked Dan to 8, and a post-combat Solemn Simulacrum gave Jimmy even more mana. Thrun, the Last Troll afterward offered him a way to Wolf Run without fear of a removal spell—Dan needed to come up with an answer of some kind here, and lacked the blue land to make Phantasmal Image any sort of out.
He drew, and passed the turn.
Jimmy started doing math now, capable of sending 6 with Wolf Run—that would make virtually any combination of attacks lethal from here, but Jimmy didn’t want to accidentally die. He decided to play it real safe, sending just Thrun, which Dan could block to stay at exactly 1 life. Jimmy decided to send it all, putting Dan on 1 and triggering Undying for the Messenger. Bold!
Dan drew and shook his head ever so slightly—was it over? He revealed a land and Sword of Feast and Famine before conceding the game.
Jimmy 2, Dan 1