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