Quarterfinals: Jonathan Morawski vs. Nick Malatesta
These two friends and teammates brought the same 74/75, and now met in the quarterfinals with Combo Elves. Who would prove to be the greater Elvish Champion?
Jonathan opened up with Green Sun’s Zenith fetching Dryad Arbor. Nick’s one drop of choice was Deathrite Shaman, and Jonathan went for the gusto with a turn 2 Glimpse of Nature. He followed up with Birchlore Ranger, drawing a card, but unfortunately failed to find the gas he’d need to keep on comboing, simply adding a second Dryad Arbor to his board and passing the turn. Nick emptied out his hand, casting a second Deathrite Shaman and a pair of Nettle Sentinels, then shipped it right back.
Not liking his chances in a longer game, Jonathan again went for the splashy play, dropping Gaea’s Cradle into play and using it to cast Natural Order, upgrading one of his Dryad Arbors into Craterhoof Behemoth. He attacked with his freshly grown army and dropped Nick to 4. Nick surveyed his options and could only fortify his position with a still-growing pile of elves, as he cast a third Deathrite Shaman and a Wirewood Symbiote. Jonathan drew his card and could only attack with his 5/5, which Nick was able to hold off by blocking with a Deathrite Shaman, then bouncing it with the Symbiote.
Nick emptied his hand on the following turn, adding Heritage Druid and a Wooded Foothills to his board, then attacked with most of his elves and passed the turn, with life totally sitting at 5 for Jonathan and 4 for Nick. Jonathan drew a Deathrite Shaman for the turn, cast it, and began counting. Gaea’s Cradle made 4 mana in the pool, the Dryad Arbor 5, the two Forests 7, and the Birchlore Ranger tapped alongside the Deathrite Shaman to make 8. Craterhoof Behemoth #2 came down from Jonathan’s hand, and the duo of 10/10 tramplers came romping in for the victory.
Jonathan Morawski 1, Nick Malatesta 0
The roles reversed in game 2—this time it was Nick who opened with Green Sun’s Zenith for Dryad Arbor, and Jonathan with the Deathrite Shaman. Nicholas gassed up his hand on turn 2 with Gaea’s Cradle into a pair of Elvish Visionaries, and Jonathan took a shot in the dark on turn 2 with a Cabal Therapy, naming Natural Order. He whiffed, as Nick revealed Glimpse of Nature, Green Sun’s Zenith, and Cabal Therapy in his hand. He cast Birchlore Ranger and immediately sacrificed it to flash back the Therapy, clearing away Nick’s Green Sun’s Zenith.
Nick fired off a Therapy of his own on his next turn, naming Glimpse of Nature, and whiffing as well, seeing Natural Order, Nettle Sentinel, and lands. He fired off the Glimpse and then cast his freshly drawn Wirewood Symbiote, beginning his combo turn. He drew and cast Deathrite Shaman, then another Symbiote, then bounced and recast his Elvish Visionary before he ran out of mana. Before passing the turn, he binned a Visionary to flashback his Therapy, getting rid of Natural Order and leaving Jonathan more or less without any action.
Nick Malatesta 1, Jonathan Morawski 1
Again Jonathan led off with Green Sun into Dryad Arbor, while Nick made a turn 1 Deathrite Shaman. Jonathan began his turn 2 with a Glimpse of Nature. “Don’t kill me,” Nick implored, and Jonathan could only oblige him, casting Deathrite Shaman to draw a card, then laying a second Dryad Arbor and passing back. Nick cast Elvish Visionary and Birchlore Ranger on his second turn, then tapped them both for a Wirewood Symbiote, passing back.
Jonathan stared at the Natural Order in his hand for a good long while on his third turn, but ultimately decided he couldn’t yet pull the trigger. Instead he used Green Sun’s Zenith to fetch up an Elvish Visionary, then cast Quirion Ranger and passed the turn. Nick fired off Glimpse of Nature and began his own combo turn, casting Elvish Visionary and a second Deathrite Shaman before running out of creatures. He did have a Cabal Therapy, which he used to clear the Natural Order out of Jonathan’s hand. He passed back to Jonathan, who could do nothing other than play a Bayou and ship it right back.
This time Nick began the turn with two Glimpse of Natures. He cast Wirewood Symbiote, bounced and recast Elvish Visionary, dropped a Gaea’s Cradle, then exploded onto the board. After drawing a fresh heap of cards, he cast Craterhoof Behemoth and swung for the win.
Nick Malatesta 2, Jonathan Marawski 1