Quarterfinals: Nick Veccie vs. Alex Hon
Two friends met in the quarterfinals of the Birmingham Standard Open, playing very different strategies. Nick's on a relatively traditional Delver deck, while Alex is playing Wolf Run White. It's been a while since these friends had played a real match, but this one would be for some dough!
Nick's paired against a friend in the Top 8, but he has the advantage of the play.
Seachrome+Coast and Ponder from Nick to start, while Alex had Sunpetal+Grove. Invisible+Stalker gave Nick his first offensive machine, while Alex got ahead on mana with Rampant+Growth for Forest after playing Plains. Attacking for a point, Nick tapped out on turn 3 for Sword of War and Peaceâ€”that forced Alex to spend turn 4 on Day+of+Judgment.
Still, Nick had Moorland+Haunt and Sword online, so Alex was in trouble. Casting a new Invisible+Stalker instead, Nick passed with two up to keep Mana+Leak available. Alex knew to expect the counterâ€¦ but how could he play through it? He decided on Solemn+Simulacrum, searching for a Mountain and passing without a natural land drop.
Smelling vulnerability, Nick suited up his Stalker and swung, gaining 4 and dealing 8 damage, leaving Alex on 11. Post-combat Glacial Fortress gave Nick Moorland+Haunt opportunities, if necessary. Alex swung with Solemn and then played his land before casting Primeval+Titan, which Nick allowed to resolve. He knew he only had to care about things that would stop his Stalker and Sword from connecting. Making a Moorland+Haunt token during the end step, Nick prepared to end it.
Nick 1, Alex 0
Each player took a mulligan in game 2, but Nick took another and fell to five cards. â€œWanna just go to game 3?â€ Alex offered. Nick kept, and Alex began with Sunpetal+Grove while Nick started Delver+of+Secrets. No turn 2 for Alex except a land, and when Delver bricked Nick played Glacial+Fortress and got in for 1.
Timely+Reinforcements punished that attack fiercely, and Nick didn't have the Mana+Leak to shut it down; he neglected to Vapor+Snag and negate it that way, though. He passed on the next turn, and Alex increased the pressure with Thrun%2C+the+Last+Troll. Nick's Dungeon+Geists tapped a Soldier, and he fell to 13 as Alex attacked with just Thrun.
Drawing another card, that Delver remained unflipped and Nick scooped up his cards.
Nick 1, Alex 1
Alex is all smiles with the semifinals on the line.
Nick kept on seven in game 3 while Alex fell to six cards, where he reluctantly stayed. Island and Delver for Nick, while Alex topdecked a second land to get in business and played Razorverge+Thicket. Delver missed for Nick, but Ponder and a second Delver sounded brutal.
Alex played Sphere+of+the+Suns, and both Delvers flipped on a Ponder during Nick's turn. He cast the sorcery and shuffled his deck, searching for something moreâ€”a third land, which he lacked. Nick swung for 6 damage, but Alex reversed the discrepancy with Timely+Reinforcements.
Another attack for 6 from Nick, but he still didn't have a land. He cast a third Delver and passed with one mana up, fearing a lot of thingsâ€¦ none of which Alex had. He played Solemn+Simulacrum and then swung for 3 with his Soldiers, passing the turn to Nick. Drawing nonland and non-instant/sorcery, Nick only swung with two Insects.
Alex remained in a weird position, and attacked Nick to 12 with his three Soldiers and Simulacrum before casting Ratchet+Bomb. If that resolved, it would almost certainly be lights out for Nickâ€¦ he nodded, and it was in play. Following with Rampant+Growth, Nick Mana Leaked that one.
No Delver flip, and Nick swung for 7, the Bomb reducing it to a single damage and knocking Alex to six. Nick cast Runechanter%27s+Pike and passed. Alex attacked Nick to 10 and cast Timely+Reinforcements for the life, going to 12. Another failure to flip Delver for Nick, and his Pike met Ancient Grudge when he equipped. Alex attacked him to 8 and cast a second Sphere of the Suns, out of gas.
Nick attacked him down to 10 with Delver and played Islandâ€”was the game still within reach? He tapped out for Geist+of+Saint+Traft, but Alex had him covered with Gideon+Jura off the top. Casting the planeswalker, Alex killed the tapped Delver and passed. That was the opportunity Nick neededâ€”he Vapor Snagged the Simulacrum and sent 2 into Alex while the Angel slew Gideon, leaving Alex on 7 to Nick's 8.
Just right for Timely+Reinforcements! Nick frowned at that spell, responding with Vapor+Snag to counter its effects but putting Geist back in the grip. Alex tapped out for Solemn+Simulacrum afterward, searching for another land and on no cards now.
Dungeon+Geists tapped down the Solemn+Simulacrum, and Alex drew an airball. He took 3 damage from Geists, and now Nick passedâ€”he probably had a Dissipate rocking in the grip, and planned to ride his flier to the win. Alex drew and played Rampant+Growth, Nick attacking him to 1 life and quickly passing the turn.
Nick 2, Alex 1