Quarterfinals: Joe Lossett vs. Ryan Macedo
Tundra met a Wasteland from Ryan, then both players were content to Brainstorm and make their land drops for the next few turns. Ryan got on board on his third turn with a Glistener+Elf. Joe cracked a Scalding+Tarn in response (protecting the activation from Ryan’s Stifle with a Pyroblast in the process) then used Brainstorm to tuck a Terminus on top of his library at Ryan’s end step. The Terminus came off the top and onto the stack uncontested, and the Glistener+Elf was sent away.
Ryan took a peek at Joe’s hand with Gitaxian+Probe, and saw a hand full of reactive spells: Counterspell, Force+of+Will, Dig through Time, and Counterbalance. He added a Noble+Hierarch to his board and passed back to Joe, who promptly put the Counterbalance into play. Fred fired off an end-step Brainstorm plus fetchland to get some gas in his hand, then untapped and went for Blighted+Agent. The blind Counterbalance flip missed, revealing Sensei’s Divining Top, so Joe pitched Counterspell to cast Force+of+Will. It resolved, Fred passed the turn, and Joe quickly drew and cast his Top to establish the CounterTop lock.
From here Ryan needed his Noble+Hierarch to go the distance, as his next four attempts to resolve a spell were met with the freezeout from Counterbalance, as Joe was able to float a Brainstorm and a Counterbalance on top of his library with the Sensei’s Divining Top. Joe’s attempt at an end step Dig+Through+Time was countered with a Force+of+Will from Ryan, but he found a Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor within a few turns and bounced the Noble+Hierarch at a healthy 8 life.
A second Sensei’s Divining Top arrived shortly after, and Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor began his slow but steady ascent to 12 loyalty. Ryan never resolved another spell through the Counterbalance lock, and within a few turns Jace’s ultimate was wrapping things up.
Joe Lossett 1, Ryan Macedo 0
Both players started with a mulligan, and Ryan immediately took a peek at Joe’s hand with a Gitaxian+Probe, seeing Red+Elemental+Blast, Brainstorm, Swords+to+Plowshares, a pair of Terminus, and a single Island as his only land. Glistener+Elf came down to get the party started and Fred passed it to Joe, who immediately topdecked Karakas to cast his Swords+to+Plowshares, sending the Glistener+Elf to the farm.
Blighted+Agent showed up on Ryan’s turn 2 as a replacement threat, and it got in two pokes for 1 poison counter over the next two turns as Joe took his draw steps and developed his manabase. He went for an end-step Brainstorm after the second hit, tucking a Terminus on top, then casting it on his Draw step to get rid of the Blighted+Agent, but an Inkmoth+Nexus showed up to keep the pressure going.
The Inkmoth Nexus got in for 2 more attacks, bringing Joe up to 4 infect damage. Joe cast an end step Vendilion+Clique to send an Entreat+the+Angels rotting in his hand to the bottom and get a fresh card, a Venser%2C+Shaper+Savant. He passed without attacking, and Ryan Wastelanded Joe’s Karakas then animated and attacked with his Inkmoth+Nexus. Joe blocked, Ryan attempted Invigorate, and Joe responded with Venser, bouncing the Inkmoth+Nexus to Ryan’s hand.
With no potential attacker on Ryan’s side, Joe got in for five damage with his legendary creatures. Ryan replayed his Inkmoth+Nexus, and this time Joe just attacked with Venser, dropping Ryan to 10. When Ryan sent in with the Nexus, Joe blocked with his Clique, and a hefty stack ensued. Ryan tried Invigorate, Joe tapped five for Force+of+Will, Ryan Forced back pitching Daze, and Joe use Red+Elemental+Blast to win the counterwar. Invigorate was countered, and Ryan used his last trick, Become+Immense, to keep the Inkmoth on the board.
It was all for naught, however, as Joe untapped and found Entreat+the+Angels on top of his library, producing four 4/4 Angels. Ryan had no way to push through the flying blockers, and extended the hand in defeat.
Joe Lossett 2, Ryan Macedo 0