Quarterfinals: Mike Braverman vs. Chris Andersen
Mike Braverman went 8-0 with his Mono-Red Aggro deck during the Standard portion of the Season One Invitational. Can he continue his hot streak against Chris Andersen in the Quarterfinals or will Chris’ G/W Devotional deck overwhelm Mike’s burn?
Chris contemplates his next move.
On his turn, Chris draws his card, plays a land, and says go, leaving all his mana up for more Manifest shenanigans. Mike sees the writing on the wall, and all the life Chris is about the game, and concedes Game 1.
Chris Andersen wins Game 1 and is up 1-0.
After sideboard, Mike decides to play once again. Both players keep their opening seven, and Mike leads with Mountain and a pass of the turn. Chris plays his Forest and then his Elvish Mystic directly into his graveyard, thinking Mike has a Wild Slash. Mike does not, so Chris moves his Elvish Mystic to its appropriate place on the battlefield.
Mike casts a Lightning Berserker for his turn, and plays his third Mountain and passes, holding up instant speed burn for Chris or his threats. After Chris plays a Polukranos, World Eater on his turn, Mike spends his turn casting Roast on it, hoping to keep Chris’ bigger threats off the board. An attack from the Lightning Berseker and pass.
Chris continues casting large threats, this time with a Whisperwood Elemental, which Manifests his top card off his deck. Fortunately for Mike, he has the answer again, this time with a Stroke the Flames to kill the Elemental, followed by another attack with the Lightning Berserker.
Chris, undeterred by all of Mike’s removal, plays a Genesis Hydra with X=4, which in turn places another Polukranos on the battlefield for Mike to deal with. Mike, for his part, has another Stoke the Flames, this time for the Hydra, followed by an attack, pump, and trade with the Lightning Berserker into Chris’ Manifest token. Another hardcast Lightning Berserker for Mike, hoping this one can go the distance, given all the removal he has used on Chris’ creatures.
Chris plays a Nythos, Shrine to Nyx for his turn, followed by a Deathmist Raptor and holds back his team, ready to block anything Mike throws at him. Mike draws for his turn and dashes in a Goblin Heelcutter, hoping to sneak in damage to finish off Chris. However, Chris activates his Polukranos to fight the Heelcutter before combat, killing it off. Instead of continuing his attack, Mike uses his third Stoke the Flames on the Polukranos to finish it. He passes the turn, having to death with a Deathmist Raptor before the path is clear.
Chris follows this turn up with just a Forest and Elvish Mystic, still holding back the Raptor to block. Mike draws his card and also passes his turn, but not before playing a Roast on Chris’ Deathmist Raptor.
Chris draws a Dromoka’s Command for his turn, using the ability to give his Sylvan Caryatid a +1/+1 counter and fight the Michael’s Lightning Berseker, killing off Mike’s entire board. However, for Mike’s turn, he plays a Eidolon of the Great Revel, in hopes to lock Chris out of playing any kind of smaller threats.
Unfortunately for Mike, Chris draws for his turn and casts another Dromoka’s Command, this time having Mike sacrifice an enchantment and giving his Elvish Mystic a +1/+1 counter. Mike stems the bleeding a litte bit by Wild Slashing the now 2/2 Elvish Mystic, but Chris follows up with another Elvish Mystic and a pass of the turn.
Over the next two turns, Mike plays a Eidolon of the Great Revel and a Zurgo Bellstriker, but can’t get through Chris’ defense. After Chris plays a face-down Morph, followed by unmorphing it as a Deathmist Raptor, bringing back from the graveyard his other Deathmist Raptor, things seem grim for Mike. A hardcast Whisperwood Elemental later from Chris, and Mike concedes to go to Game 3.
Chris wins Game 2, going up to 2-0.
Mike blazes his path towards victory!
Down 0-2, Mike starts off Game 3 as aggressive as he can, by curving turns 1-3 with Zurgo Bellstriker, Eidolon of the Great Revel, and a Hordeling Outburst. Chris tries to hold on by playing a Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix, but takes four damage to do so, due to Mike’s Eidolon. Mike continues the aggression with a Roast on Chris’ Courser of Kruphix and continuing to attack Chris and his life total. Seeing how much damage will come through the next turn, Chris concedes after turn 4, hoping that being on the play for the first time for the first time all match will yield better results.
Mike wins Game 3, with Chris still up 2-1.
Chris keeps his opening seven, but Mike has to mulligan to six. Chris leads off on a Windswept Heath, into a Forest, into an Elvish Mystic, which is precisely what he wants to do when on the play against Mike’s hyper aggressive Mono Red deck. Mike draws for his turn, and plays a Mountain and hardcasts a Lightning Berserker.
“I could use a Scouring Sands…” says Mike, disparaged by all the Elves.
Mike was only kidding, as he plays his Mountain for the turn, followed by an attack by his Lightning Berserker. No blocks from Chris signals that he has bigger things to come. Mike plays a Zurgo Bellstriker and passes the turn.
After Chris draws for his turn, he taps all his Elves and lands to play a turn 3 Whisperwood Elemental, manifesting the top card of his library and passing the turn. Hoping to keep Chris’s advantage to a miniumum, Mike Roasts the Whisperwood, and passes the turn, missing his land drop.
After going into the tank for his turn, Chris comes out with a Mastery of the Unseen, and an attack by his Elves. Mike decides to trade his Lightning Berserker for one of the Elvish Mystics, and Chris is content with keeping up mana for his freshly played Mastery of the Unseen.
Mike springs into action for his turn, casting a Hordeling Outburst, and an attack by his Zurgo Bellstriker. Chris trades off his Manifest token with the Legendary Orc Warrior, but Mike has another copy to play for his turn.
Mike draw his card for the turn, and starts his turn off by casting Stoke the Flames on the Courser. Chris responds by activating his Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx and Manifesting the Polukranos. However, Mike has a Lightning Strike for the Manifest as well, followed by some attacks with Goblin tokens and Zurgo Bellstriker, and playing a Lightning Berseker.
All Chris can do for his turn is play a land and pass, once again holding up mana for Mastery of the Unseen. Mike goes to attacks on his turn, and Chris does make a creature from the top of his library, but Mike has the Lightning Strike for that one as well. Mike swings with his team, trying to get through the last points of damage he needs to send this to Game 5. He then passes the turn back to Chris.
Chris plays a Courser of Kruphix for his turn, revealing a Hornet’s Nest on top of his library. Due to the Nykthos, Chris can Manifest and flip the Hornet’s Nest, gaining four life in one turn. Chris then passes the turn back to Mike.
Mike draws his card and looks dejectedly at the board state. He swings with his Lightning Berserker, but before any damage is made, Chris plays a Dromoka’s Command, attempting to put a +1/+1 counter on his Hornet’s Nest, and have it fight the Zurgo Bellstriker. Reluctantly, Mike has to point his Lightning Strike at the Hornet’s Nest, giving Chris three 1/1 flying, deathtouch Insects. Chris lets the damage through, but at the end of Mike’s turn, manifests two cards with Mastery of the Unseen.
On his turn, Chris plays a Whisperwood Elemental, activates Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and casts another Whisperwood Elemental, followed by flipping up a Voyaging Satyr. He then untaps his Nykthos, and retaps it for 19 mana, casting a Genesis Hydra for X=7, which places a Deathmist Raptor onto the battlefield. He then casts a Polukranos, World Eater and passes the turn. After all the creatures Chris played on his turn, Mike plays an Eidolon of the Great Revel, and passes the turn back to Chris, who is ready to cast more monsters with all his mana.
Chris activates his Nykthos for seemingly infinite green mana, and activates his Polukranos to fight Mike’s board. Instead of going through the math, Mike extends his hand and concedes to Chris’ army of giant Hydras, Elementals, and Manifest tokens.
Chris wins Game 4, and wins the match 3-1! Chris moves on to the semifinals!