Quarterfinals: John Suarez vs. Micah Greenbaum
Both Imperial Painter and Death & Taxes are metagame scalpels designed to prey on Brainstorm decks, specifically Shardless BUG. Which mono-colored Phyrexian+Revoker deck can take the cake and get into the semifinals?
John was on the draw and on the mulligan to five, neither of which would be particularly good, though his deck is very explosive if given the change. Micah led with Mother+of+Runes off of basic Plains, but Lightning+Bolt took her out of the game before she could get started. Micah only had Rishidan Port turn two, which he used to tap the Mountain.
“I absolutely hate that deck… but I love any deck with Port. I’m torn.
Micah's happy to be Taxing today!
John played Scalding+Tarn before passing. Micah’s turn three saw him cast and resolve AEther+Vial off Eiganjo+Castle and Phyrexian+Revoker (naming Grindstone). John used his fetchland to grab a second Mountain and then untap, play Ancient+Tomb, and cast both Sensei’s Divining Top and Imperial+Recruiter (dropping to 17 from the land) and searching up Painter’s Servant. Micah added a counter to his AEther+Vial and pondered his options: the longer he waited to pressure John the closer John could come to comboing off on him. He decided to Wasteland to deal with Ancient+Tomb, then Port a Mountain on John’s upkeep (which he used to Top in response).
John did not have a play on his turn, so Micah was able to tick up his Vial and proceed with his turn… but he only played Plains and passed as well. Port kept John at bay for another turn, and Vial hit three counters. Micah resolved another AEther+Vial before passing. Still on 17 life, John drew and played Ancient+Tomb (after Port tapped a Mountain) then added Blood+Moon to his board. This shut off Micah’s Rishidan Port and Eiganjo+Castle, not to mention any future Karakas! Micah dropped an end of turn Flickerwisp, which removed Blood+Moon for the turn. In response, John Bolted the Revoker.
Flickerwisp dropped John to 12 on attacks, and Micah simply passed right back. John pondered how to get out from under Micah’s Taxing deck and began by resolving Painter’s Servant (naming blue) and recasting Sensei’s Divining Top, which he used to draw the Blood+Moon. Micah continued to only draw cards and attack with his Elemental.
John used Imperial+Recruiter to search out Phyrexian+Revoker, which was quickly cast and named AEther+Vial. John swung into the red zone for two, dropping Micah to 18. John fell to 6 on Micah’s attack step from the Flickerwisp, and the Death & Taxes pilot continued to do stone nothing else. Another Painter’s Servant entered play for John, and then he attacked for five to drop Micah to 13. Micah’s Flickerwisp hit the bin in combat thanks to Pyroblast, and only Mother+of+Runes came into play for Micah after that.
John’s makeshift 1-power beatdown team didn’t have to finish the job, as he found Grindstone near the top of his deck with Top. A few activated abilities later and the players were getting set for game two.
John 1, Micah 0.
“Gah, basic Plains?! Ugh, I hate basic lands… opposing ones, I mean.”
John's hoping to Recruit more to his cause!
Stoneforge+Mystic resolved and found Umezawa’s Jitte for Micah, so John cast Phyrexian+Revoker and named… Aether+Vial, to keep Micah off his mana-cheating artifact. Sunlance knocked out the Revoker on Micah’s turn, and then he passed with two counters on AEther+Vial, ready to send in both the Jitte off Mystic and a 2-drop off the Vial at a moment’s notice. John used Scalding+Tarn to find Mountain number three and drop Spellskite onto the battlefield. Umezawa’s Jitte came down at end of turn.
The Stoneforge+Mystic grabbed ahold of the Jitte and after Spellskite blocked it charged up. John then took the opportunity to cast Ratchet+Bomb before passing right back. Stoneforge pinged John, and Jitte hit four counters. Horizon+Canopy drew Micah an additional card to try to dig into more action, but he simply passed. John added a counter to his Ratchet+Bomb before untapping. When he did so, John cast Legacy all-star Manic+Vandal.
Yes, you heard me right.
The M11 2/2 killed Umezawa’s Jitte, but not before Spellskite hit the bin from the counters. Micah Vial’d in Mangara+of+Corondor before end of turn, to which John responded by blowing up the Bomb to knock out the Vial (and also Grindstone). Micah was allowed to untap with the Time+Spiral rare and added the mondo-combo Karakas to the mix after that. Stoneforge+Mystic number two dug up Batterskull for Micah before his turn was through. John, a little short on mana, cast and resolved Jaya+Ballard%2C+Task+Mage. This allowed Batterskull to come down unimpeded and start a real clock, then also use the Karakas-Mangara trick to remove Jaya from the game entirely.
Batterskull marched in, and life totals were set at 14-23 once the Germ did its damage. Once Mangara reentered play, Micha passed. John then decided to cast Grindstone, then Painter’s Servant… and then use Simian+Spirit+Guide to activate the Grindstone hoping for Micah to be lacking in the removal department. But Micah had the Swords+to+Plowshares to prevent from losing immediately, and from there it was academic. Grindstone was exiled to the Mangara and Karakas, Batterskull attacked a few more times, and that was that.
John 1, Micah 1.
Now on the play for the very first time this match, John began with turn one Ancient+Tomb and Painter’s Servant (naming white, to play around Sunlance). Micah dropped turn one Wasteland to turn off the potential turn two win… and Grindstone off Mountain showed that John had it. Micah played Plains and passed, and the John played City+of+Traitors. In Micah’s upkeep, John activated for the win… but Swords+to+Plowshares prevented the win. Micah played Karakas and passed.
Imperial Servant searched out another copy of Painter’s Servant before passing. Micah had to play very deliberately now to not die to John’s combo. He elected to play Rishidan Port and use it to tap City+of+Traitors in John’s upkeep. Imperial+Recruiter dropped Micah to 17 with its attack (probably not how John’s hoping to win this game) and then John resolved Ratchet+Bomb. Micah, still with no board presence other than three lands, added land four before casting Stoneforge+Mystic and searching out Batterskull with the ability.
John just added Scalding+Tarn for his turn (after adding a counter to Ratchet+Bomb at end of turn) before passing right back to Micah, who played Eiganjo+Castle before passing. Ratchet+Bomb hit two counters, then on upkeep Mountain was tapped by Rishidan Port. In response to John’s Scalding+Tarn Aven Mindcensor tried to Stifle the ability… but John found a land anyway. Simian+Spirit+Guide allowed John to go off with the Grindstone combo, and John took down the match against the tapped out Death & Taxes opponent to move to the semis.
John 2, Micah 1.