Quarterfinals: Raymond Perez (74) vs. Dan Cato
All 28-pointers are not created equal: in a twist of fate, all eight top 8 competitors ended the Swiss with 9-1-1 records. But while Pro Tour: Theros ninth-place finisher Raymond Perez ended up with the best breakers, Dan Cato ended up with the worst. But now we’re in the playoff rounds, so it’s anybody’s game! Will Raymond’s Tidebinder Mages and Master of Waves match up well against Dan’s G/R Aggro deck, or will the sheer power of Dan’s Monsters overpower Raymond’s Mono-Blue Devotion?
Dan's got the Monsters to mash!
Raymond, on the play, led off with Cloudfin Raptor, turn two Tidebinder Mage tapping Dan’s first turn Elvish Mystic, and turn three Frostburn Weird. That’s a powerful start! Dan had Scavenging Ooze on two, then used Domri Rade on turn three to fight with his Ooze to remove Tidebinder Mage from the board. But Raymond kept on chugging along, dropping Mutavault and Master of Waves with a devotion of four, and knocking off Domri with Frostburn Weird and dropping Dan to 13.
Dan tried to stem the tide with Ghor-Chan Rampager, but it was for naught. In came eight of Raymond’s creatures, with even the Mutavault receiving the beneficial Master of Waves trump. After a quick countdown of how much damage he was about to take, Dan nodded in silent understanding and scooped up his cards in the face of the incoming onslaught.
Raymond 1, Dan 0.
Dan had the play now and led things off with Elvish Mystic on turn one followed quickly behind by a copy of Temple of Abandon (scrying to the bottom) and another Mystic. Tidebinder Mage put one of the Mystics in jail, but that still allowed Dan to have four mana on turn three… but he had no play. Instead, he simply passed after playing Stomping Ground. This meant Paymond’s next play of Thassa, God of the Sea wasn’t nearly as ineffective.
That is, until Stormbreath Dragon threatened to put the game out of reach right quick. Frostburn Weird brought Raymond’s devotion to five, so he attacked for seven to try to race. Mizzium Mortars overload was Dan’s play though, so Raymond was forced to use Cyclonic Rift to effectively Fog the attack step and stay at 15. Raymond then attacked with his Mutavault to drop Dan to 11, but didn’t have a particularly impressive follow up play. When Dan next played his 4/4 hasty dragon it was immediately turned into a Frog Lizard by Rapid Hybridization, and Ray also had a quality Nightveil Specter to make Dan fall to 6...
But another Mizzium Mortars came out to play.
Only Mutavault could attack now for Raymond, who dropped Dan to 4, but with Raymond at 9 he attacked with a trio of Elvish Mystics, Mutavault, and a 3/3 Frog Lizard. Raymond fell to 1, and a turn and another scry later Ray scooped.
Raymond 1, Dan 1.
Raymond's riding the Wave of Mono-Blue!
Raymond, back on the play, had a much slower start this time around, not making any plays until turn two Cyclonic Rift to delay Dan’s Elvish Mystic. The elf returned a turn later, by which point Nightveil Specter came down for Raymond. Mizzium Mortars set the Specter on fire, and Dan dropped a second 1/1 mana guy before attacking for one damage.
Ray decided to drop Thassa, God of the Sea on turn four with a blue mana up to kill off potential Stormbreath Dragons, but a 4/4 Mistcutter Hydra is significantly more difficult to deal with out of a mono-blue deck! Tidebinder Mage made sure one of the elves stayed locked before passing quickly back to Dan. Unfortunately for Raymond, Dan dropped a second Mistcutter, this one a 5/5, before attacking for nine and dropping Ray to 7.
Raymond scry’d for his life now, but was unable to muster much. He simply attacked with his 2/2 and passed, and on Dan’s turn would try to use Rapid Hybridization and Mutavault to deal with the incoming onslaught. Stormbreath Dragon slightly complicated things, but Cyclonic Rift made sure it didn’t deal damage just yet. Raymond fell to 3 after the Mutavault and Rapid Hybridization (killing his own Tidebinder Mage)came together to knock out the 4/4. The land hit the bin, but Dan still had quite an aggressive army with which to draw from.
Stormbreath Dragon was countered by Essence Scatter and the 3/3 token chump blocked Dan’s 4/4, but it was not enough. Raymond revealed a hand of two Master of Waves before extending his hand in defeat and congratulating his opponent on three well-fought games.
Dan 2, Raymond 1.