Quarterfinals: Josh Cicio vs. Justin Bransfield
Justin Bransfield pilots his battlecruisers into the fray.
A pair of Phantasmal+Images helped Josh keep up with Justin’s mana production and legend rule Thrun%2C+the+Last+Troll, but Primeval+Titan crashed into play to really punish Josh as it fetched Justin’s endgame setup of Kessig+Wolf+Run and Inkmoth+Nexus. Josh shrugged it off with a Forbidden+Alchemy to brew up a plan. He came out of the tank with Oblivion+Ring on the Primeval+Titan and forced Justin to take to the air with his Inkmoth+Nexus. Ghost+Quarter made sure Justin wasn’t able to go crazy, however, and it was back over to Josh.
Sun+Titan arrived and spilled three copies of Phantasmal+Image back into play, all copying Sun+Titan. The final copy brought back Ghost+Quarter, and suddenly Josh had a lethal 24 damage on the board. Beast+Within changed things up as it freed Primeval+Titan from its bonds, letting Justin tap all but one of his 14 lands to Bonfire+of+the+Damned for six and clear Josh’s board. Primeval+Titan slammed in and undid the damage from Ghost+Quarter.
Unimpressed, Josh calmly played a second Sun+Titan and instantly rebuilt his board, forcing a bonfire-less Justin to stay home and pass the turn. Ghost+Quarters ate the rest of Justin’s Inkmoth Nexuses and Oblivion+Ring picked off Primeval+Titan, allowing all four Sun+Titans to rumble in for a quick kill.
Josh 1, Justin 0
Justin went on the beatdown plan for game two, starting with an on-time Rampant+Growth into Solemn+Simulacrum that Josh copied with Phantasmal+Image. Acidic+Slime kept the land count in Justin’s favor, and Zealous+Conscripts pushed it further, threatening to steal Josh’s Ghost+Quarter and forcing him to use it as a self-inflicted Stone+Rain. Phantasmal+Image and Acidic+Slime traded, but Josh was down to 13 from this and the next attack and facing down a Primeval+Titan that he couldn’t counter thanks to Cavern+of+Souls.
Josh Cicio's Esper Control deck overpowers all comers today.
Sun+Titan and a clone looked to shore things up for Josh, but Karn+Liberated obliterated that plan by eating the real Sun+Titan and letting Primeval+Titan smash Josh down to 7. Ponder found another Phantasmal+Image that copied the Zealous+Conscripts to return the blow out by stealing Karn and using it to wax the Primeval+Titan, evening things up a little.
Continuing the back-and-forth game of trump, Inferno+Titan smoked both of Josh’s Phantasmal+Images and Primeval+Titan backed it up after Josh kicked out with Celestial+Purge. Sun+Titan rebought the fallen Phantasmal+Images, but Justin found a miracle waiting for him. Bonfire+of+the+Damned threatened to put an immediate end to the game as Josh was on a scant 7 life and Justin had just under a million land in play, but Josh had found the Negate to cut it off. Another Primeval+Titan completed his turn and he put both of his giants in front of Josh’ s real, attacking Sun+Titan. Gideon+Jura pumped himself up to play a big game of catch the titan on the next turn, and the action was over to Justin.
Yet another Primeval+Titan jumped out of his hand, and it seemed like the guy would never run out of giants. But Josh had done a good job of working his Sun+Titans and Justin was down to one Inkmoth+Nexus and no Kessig+Wolf+Runs thanks to a bevy of Ghost+Quarters, and now it was looking like Josh was ready to take over. He let his Gideon die to a Batterskulled Inkmoth+Nexus and Primeval+Titan, but that just enabled a second copy of the planeswalker to assassinate the massive green man before cracking the remaining Inkmoth+Nexus with Ghost+Quarter.
Gideon+Jura and the two cloned Sun+Titans rumbled in, and now Justin was forced into blocking just to keep Josh’s damage output under control. That left Justin in bounce-and-replay Batterskull mode, which was not where he wanted to be. Josh had the same play available to him, but he also had Gideon+Jura, a Sun+Titan version of Phantasmal+Image, and a lot more live draws than Justin had remaining, and Josh set about the long task of grinding Justin out through Batterskull.
Josh 2, Justin 0