Quarterfinals: Michael Phelps vs. Mitch Gross
Michael Phelps and Mitch Gross had battled through the swiss and into the top 8 with the Yin and Yang of Standard: Mono-Blue Devotion and Mono-Black Devotion. Which of them would earn a seat in tomorrow’s semifinal?
Michael led off with a Thoughtseize, revealing a hand of Master of Waves, Thassa, God of the Sea, Rapid Hybridization, Judge’s Familiar, and three Islands from Mitch. He sent the Thassa to Mitch’s graveyard, and Mitch went about his business putting little blue beaters into play, casting Judge’s Familiar on turn 1, Cloudfin Raptor on turn 2, and Tidebinder Mage on turn 3. For his part, Michael developed his board with a turn 3 Pack Rat.
On his fourth turn, Michael cast a second copy of Pack Rat from his hand and sent in with the first. Mitch blocked the now 2/2 Rat with his Tidebinder Mage, then used Rapid Hybridization after blockers to remove the other Rat, shrinking the blocked one to a 1/1. Michael attempted to use a Bile Blight on Tidebinder Mage to save his Rat, but Mitch used Judge’s Familiar to put a stop on that plan, and Michael’s Pack Rats were cashed in for a 3/3 Frog Lizard.
Master of Waves joined the party for Mitch, but Michael had a Hero’s Downfall to kill it off, then added a Desecration Demon on his next turn. Mitch, out of action, simply played his lands and passed back. Michael left his demon back, but attacked with his 3/3 Frog Lizard, and cast Underworld Connections to start gassing up his hand. Mitch fed one Mutavault to the Demon to tap it, then activated another and attacked with three creatures, dropping Michael to 4 life.
Michael untapped and swung with both of his creatures dropping Mitch to 4 life as well. He flashed Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and it was on to game 2.
Michael Phelps 1 Mitch Gross 0
Mitch curved Cloudfin Raptor into Tidebinder Mage, but Michael shot the flier out of the air with a Pharika’s Cure. Mitch had a Thassa, God of the Sea on turn 3, and Michael showed him a second copy of Pharika’s Cure to dispatch the Tidebinder Mage. Mitch replaced it with a Frostburn Weird and attacked Michael down to 19 with his Mutavault.
Underworld Connections was the play for Michael, leaving him defenseless as Mitch cast a Bident of Thassa to turn on the Thassa, God of the Sea and crack in for six damage and two cards. He had Island into Cloudfin Raptor post-combat, passing the turn in commanding position. Michael simply played his land and passed. Mitch played Nightveil Specter pre-combat on his next turn to give his Thassa some extra Devotion, and attacked with his team again, netting three more cards and dropping Michael to 3.
Michael untapped, drew his card, and scooped up his cards for the decider.
Michael Phelps 1, Mitch Gross 1
Mitch again had the first play of the game with a turn 2 Frostburn Weird, and Michael first got onto the board with a turn 3 Underworld Connections. Tidebinder Mage joined the Weird for Mitch, but it didn’t last long, as Michael disposed of it with a Pharika’s Cure. Mitch had Bident of Thassa next, and netted an extra card with a Frostburn Weird.
Desecration Demon showed up for Michael, but Mitch got it out of the way with Claustrophobia, attacking with Frostburn Weird and Mutavault to net two extra cards. Michael’s next attempt to stabilize the ground was a Gray Merchant of Asphodel, which dropped Mitch to 14 and jumped Michael back up to 21. It didn’t work as a blocker either, as Mitch stole it with Domestication, attacked with Frostburn for yet another card, and played a second Frostburn to follow up.
Michael played a second Desecration Demon, but Mitch fed it a freshly played Judge’s Familiar and attacked with his board, drawing three more cards. He had a Thassa, God of the Sea and another Judge’s Familiar post-combat. Michael simply untapped and passed, representing some instant-speed interaction. When Mitch added a Nightveil Specter to the board and attacked with his team, Michael activated his two Mutavaults and blocked a Frostburn Weird with each. He fell to 7, and attempted an end step Bile Blight to kill both Weirds, but Mitch broke up that plan using Rapid Hybridization to turn the Weird being targeted into a Frog Lizard.
Michael’s last hope was to pass the turn leaving up Mutavault to block and Hero’s Downfall. When Mitch attacked, he activated the Mutavault, but Mitch had Rapid Hybrization to make it a Frog Lizard, then Cyclonic Rift to clear the token out of the way and earn a concession from Michael.
Mitch Gross 2, Michael Phelps 1