Quarterfinals: Kyle Edwards vs. Avery Williams
Kyle is wielding Stoneblade with True-Name Nemesis, and the Commander 2013 rare has been the bane of this tournament thus far. But it isn’t at its best in this matchup facing Avery’s ANT. Can Kyle weather the storm?
Avery, wielding the powerful combo deck, elected to begin on the play and started things off with Gitaxian Probe, paying two life, to see Kyle’s hand of Polluted Delta, Brainstorm, Snapcaster Mage, Force of Will, Stoneforge Mystic, Baleful Strix, and Thoughtseize and draw a card. He then played and used Gemstone Mine to cast Preordain. After scrying both cards to the bottom he passed his eventful first turn. Avery’s was also busy: Polluted Delta activated to search out Underground Sea, which he used to cast Thoughtseize and see Avery’s grip of Duress, Infernal Tutor, Gitaxian Probe, Dark Ritual, and a pair of Lotus Petal. Kyle took Avery’s Duress before passing the turn.
Kyle's got the Blade!
Ponder off the top would allow Avery to dig deeper into his deck and sculpt his hand, but Force of Will pitching Baleful Strix countered the powerful cantrip. Gitaxian Probe let Avery know that Kyle drew Polluted Delta for the turn, and the card that he found was Underground Sea so he played it. Kyle played his Delta and simply passed the turn without another play. Avery’s third turn was even less eventful: draw, pass. Kyle drew for his turn, played Tundra, and cracked his fetchland to use his three mana to drop Snapcaster Mage into Thoughtseize. This, in turn, deprived Avery of the Infernal Tutor and left Avery with just two Petals, Duress, and Dark Ritual.
Avery found Scalding Tarn, but that didn’t really bring him any closer to storming out his opponent. He passed, and Snapcaster Mage began the long, slow march towards victory, setting Avery to 14. A fourth land and Stoneforge Mystic would certainly speed up the clock, so Kyle decided to run out the popular 1/2 Kor Artificer. The Worldwake rare brought Umezawa’s Jitte along with it. Avery drew for his turn and used Duress to make sure the coast was clear. Finding Spell Pierce, Brainstorm, and Umezawa’s Jitte, Avery took the counterspell before he played both Petals, the Dark Ritual, and Ad Nauseum.
That’s a niiiice top of the deck right there!
Brainstorm in response dug up some options, but not the ones Kyle needed. He activated a fetchland before casting a second Brainstorm to try to find Force of Will… but was unsuccessful. He was now at the mercy of Avery’s top few cards.
And the deck could be unkind. Sitting on 13 from various life losses such as fetchlands and Probe, there wasn’t much room for getting hit with expensive spells. He found Lion’s Eye Diamond, two Cabal Ritual, and Past in Flames among other cards to fall to 3 life and elected to keep going, so fell to 3 to grab an additional Dark Ritual. Living dangerously! LED, crack Petal to cast Dark Ritual, the Cabal Rituals times two, then activate Lion’s Eye to get a bunch of mana (double digits now). Past in Flames flashback allowed the pseudo-Yawgmoth’s Will to make it elementary from there.
Avery 1, Kyle 0.
Avery's Storm is brewin'...
Kyle led things off with Flooded Strand into Underground Sea and Thoughtseize, but what he saw staring back at him wasn’t exactly what he wanted to see: a pair of Carpet of Flowers, Duress, Tendrils of Agony, Cabal Ritual, Dark Ritual, and Tropical Island. Oh, the oft-forgotten green Sol Ring has come out to play! Kyle elected to instead fight by grabbing Duress. That allowed Avery to drop the Carpet of Flowers turn one, and then a second on turn two. Kyle, meanwhile, played Scrubland (not an Island!) and passed for his second turn.
Karakas (also not an Island!) was the third land, and that allowed Snapcaster Mage to flash back Thoughtseize and snag LED from a hand that now had Lion’s Eye Diamond and a second Cabal Ritual in addition to the previous goodies. Avery, still under no real pressure to do anything other than rebuild his hand, simply drew and passed. Snapcaster attacked for two, and then land four (an Island!) joined Kyle’s board before he passed. After another uneventful draw and pass, Avery fell to 16 thanks to the 2/1. Another Thoughtseize saw Abrupt Decay and a third Cabal Ritual added to Avery’s hand over the last two turns, and this third discard spell (which dropped Kyle to 13, amusingly losing already) took Tendrils of Agony to prevent the natural seven-spell kill.
Avery was patient, and simply drew and passed once more. In came Snapcaster to drop Avery to 14, and three mana allowed Sword of Fire and Ice to join the party after combat. Sensing the time may be nearly right, Avery added two black mana with one of his Carpets to play Cabal Therapy, which named Flusterstorm. He his one copy, and True-Name Nemesis and Force of Will joined Tundra back in Kyle’s hand. Abrupt Decay took care of the Snapcaster Mage currently damaging him, and then Avery passed. Kyle played Tundra and passed, though giving Avery more mana was a bit dangerous.
The players just played draw-go for a couple turns until Avery pulled the trigger: Duress target Kyle (snag Force of Will), play many rituals of varying types, Abrupt Decay target Sword, move to second main phase, trigger the second Carpet (because the enchantment triggers at the start of both main phases, a useful trick for Storm pilots!), play many rituals and float twelve black mana after casting Infernal Tutor. That tutor found another tutor, which then found a third tutor, which then found Ad Nauseum with three mana floating.
“Spin the wheel…”
The Shards rare found a ton of cards, but not the perfect mana or Past in Flames he was hoping for. He fell to four with a decent chance of whiffing. He played Island, cast Ponder, found the LED he was looking for, ritual’d a bit more, cast Infernal Tutor and responded by cracking the LED, got the Past in Flames he wanted all along, and finished up what he started.
Avery 2, Kyle 0.