Quarterfinals: Phimus Pan vs. Isaac Sears
Two different takes on True-Name+Nemesis squared off here, with Phimus playing a midrange BUG Deck while Isaac was piloting a conventional take on U/W/R Delver.
Isaac keeps things light in the arena.
Leading Deathrite+Shaman, Phimus followed with a fetch for Tropical+Island against Isaac’s lonely Tundra. Baleful+Strix resolved, and when Phimus passed the turn Isaac was dismayed to lack a second land drop or a cantrip to find one. Phimus didn’t have much of an offense yet… but True-Name+Nemesis against just a Tundra looked like it would be good enough to close this out in short order.
Phimus sideboards in more solutions to True-Name+Nemesis.
Phimus 1, Isaac 0
Isaac started with Volcanic+Island while Phimus fetched for Underground+Sea and cast Deathrite+Shaman, losing it to Lightning+Bolt. Isaac’s turn 2 gave him Grim+Lavamancer, while Phimus added only a fetchland to his own board. Isaac hit three mana and jammed True-Name+Nemesis, tapping out—Brainstorm during the end step from Phimus gave him ample opportunity to dig for Golgari+Charm.
Throwing two cards back and declining to fetch implied that Phimus had everything he needed—starting off with Thoughtseize, Phimus revealed Daze, Ponder, and Red+Elemental+Blast before discarding the Daze. Charm immediately followed Phimus fetching twice, leaving the board clear with Phimus on 14 life.
Ponder dug Isaac into Stoneforge+Mystic for Batterskull, BUG’s natural enemy, but Phimus had Liliana+of+the+Veil for an edict followed by Deathrite+Shaman. Land number five gave Isaac a resolved Batterskull—could Phimus handle the equipment? A Liliana boost to leave Isaac hellbent let Phimus resolve True-Name+Nemesis successfully, shutting down the Batterskull for now, but Isaac immediately drew and played Stoneforge+Mystic for Sword+of+Feast+and+Famine, casting it. Phimus Brainstormed, then got rid of Liliana to kill the Germ token before casting Vendilion+Clique during Isaac’s draw step, leaving him on Spell+Pierce.
The Shaman began to drain Isaac to death, Nemesis keeping the board clean. Isaac put Batterskull back into his hand and ended the turn with Mystic ready to slide it back into play. Clique increased the clock for Phimus, but Isaac found one of his best options to escape—True-Name+Nemesis. Equipping it with Sword+of+Feast+and+Famine to try and protect from future Marsh+Casualties or theoretically Golgari+Charms, Isaac ended the turn with the threat of Batterskull jumping onto the Nemesis looming.
Phimus had no response, and used Shaman to put Isaac down to 11 life. He could get in for 8 more on his turn, leaving Phimus three short of any kind of victory—and he’d be breaking behind against attacks from Isaac’s Nemesis. Wasteland would give him a chance to fade the equip for a turn, but Phimus appeared to lack it. Attacking Isaac to 5, he passed the turn.
Abrupt+Decay on the Sword kept Isaac in range for Phimus, as he jumped to 12 life but fell back to 10 due to Deathrite+Shaman. Once more Phimus was so very, very close—he still had 8 damage. He was inching slowly closer to zero, but his own life total wouldn’t last long enough to get there against Isaac’s Nemesis. Deciding to risk a Daze, he tapped out to Dismember the Mystic at no life cost and to follow with Liliana+of+the+Veil, her edict slaying the Nemesis!
Those two runners were enough to put Isaac away, as his Brainstorm failed to pull things back together.
Phimus 2, Isaac 0