Quarterfinals: Reid Duke vs. Ian Shore
Ian Shore is a big Brian Braun-Duin fan, taking BBD’s exact 75 from his most recent article all the way to the third overall seed. Reid Duke is playing a RUG Ramp deck of his (and Gerard Fabiano’s) own design, making quite a splash. Which green-based creature deck would win this matchup of muscle on muscle?
Ian waits patiently for his match to begin!p>
Ian mulliganed on the play after Reid kept his opening seven. Ian led with Birds of Paradise off of Copperline Gorge. Reid played Hinterland Harbor tapped and passed. Ian cast a second Bird on his turn off of Forest and had no further play. Reid’s second turn saw him play Glimmerpost and Rampant Growth, searching for Forest. Ian had an exciting turn 3 though, casting Huntmaster of the Fells after playing out Cavern of Souls (naming Angel) for the first real play of the game.
Reid, now facing down the Big Bad Wolf, decided to play his second Glimmerpost, going to 23, and put Snapcaster Mage into play and used it to cast Rampant Growth from his graveyard, which found Mountain. Ian labored over his draw step, possibly signaling a Bonfire of the Damned, but chose not to cast anything during his draw step. He laid a Gavony Township and used it to cast Birthing Pod. The Huntmaster then crawled into the Pod and out popped out as Wolfir Silverheart from Ian’s deck, which paired with the Wolf token upon entry and then swung in for six. Reid blocked with his Tiago Chan lookalike and then it was Reid’s turn.
Reid played Frost Titan on his turn, which iced the Silverheart. After Reid passed the turn, Ian drew and attacked with his 6/6 Wolf token, which took Reid to 17 (thanks to Glimmerpost triggers). Birthing Pod gobbled up a Birds of Paradise and was replaced by Elvish Visionary.
It was now Reid’s turn to labor over a draw step, but he too chose not to miracle anything (if he had anything on top) and instead attacked with his Frost Titan, and Mr. Freeze now tapped down the large Wolf token, taking Ian to 16 (after the life gain from Huntmaster of the Fells). Reid then cast Ponder and followed it up with Mr. Prime Time himself, Primeval Titan. The Jolly Green Giant found the remaining Glimmerposts and put Reid back up to a healthy 25. Reid passed, but before the end of the turn Ian flashed in Restoration Angel, targeting Wolfir Silverheart. The Angel and the Wolf Warrior each found a new best friend, making an 8/8 and a 7/8 flier for Ian.
Ian, who played Plains and was a bit flooded at this point, attacked with his paired creatures and Reid quickly declared no blocks. Ian activated Gavony Township, which then dropped Reid to 8. Ian played his last card, an Avacyn’s Pilgrim (turns out no miracle in his hand this game) and once again activated his green machine, Podding away the Wolf token and finding Birds of Paradise instead. After that flurry of action, Ian passed. Reid dropped a Kessig Wolf Run from his hand and then hardcast Bonfire of the Damned, with X equaling 3. As that killed the rest of Ian’s blockers he decided to scoop up his cards in the face of the incoming Titan force.
Reid 1, Ian 0.
Reid is ready to pull the RUG out from under the competition!
Both players studied each other’s side boards intensely. Reid had many options, including Crushing Vines, Whipflare, and Blasphemous Act. Ian had just as many if not more, such as Mikaeus, the Lunarch, Geist-Honored Monk, Arc Trail, Phyrexian Metamorph, and many others. And to top it all off, both players could add Thragtusks! With all of those variables, this match certainly displayed the importance of testing sideboarded matches.
Ian kept his opener, and after a moment of thought so did Reid. Ian led with Avacyn’s Pilgrim off of Razorverge Thicket. Reid once again led with a tapped Harbor. Ian paid life for his Birthing Pod on the second turn and passed. Reid played Forest and then decided to go on a brief vacation and cast Farseek, finding Mountain.
Elvish Visionary from Ian on turn three turned into a Blade Splicer after it got swallowed up by Birthing Pod, finally putting some pressure on the board. Neither of these games so far had the lightning quick starts he was hoping for. Reid put land number four onto the battlefield, a second Hinterland Harbor, and cast Phantasmal Image, copying Ian’s Blade Splicer. That was followed up by Whipflare, which emptied most of the board. After Reid was finished, Ian untapped and played a Cavern of Souls naming Human, which he used to cast everyone’s favorite tour guide Borderland Ranger. After running for the Border (which in this case was a Mountain), he immediately sacrificed the Human Scout to find a Human Werewolf, Huntmaster of the Fells. After the trigger garnered him both life and a 2/2, he passed.
Reid cast Crushing Vines targeting Birthing Pod off of a Cavern of his own (naming Giant), but had no follow up play. The Golem tokens traded in Ian’s attack step and after playing a Copperline Gorge into play tapped he passed.
Huntmaster became Ravager of the Fells on reid’s upkeep, dropping Reid to 17, but it popped right back up to 22 after Thragtusk joined the party. A Restoration Angel blink at the end of Reid’s turn took Ian to 18 and made another 2/2 Wolf token. Then on a turn of his own, Ian played yet another Wolf, but a much bigger one this time: Wolfir Silverheart. He Soulbonded with Restoration Angel and swung in, putting Reid to 15.
Reid, who had somewhat surprisingly yet to cast a miracle for its discounted cost in this match, gained 1 life off Glimmerpost and dropped Primeval Titan into play, which found Inkmoth Nexus and Glimmerpost (putting his life total at 18), before passing. Ian now brought the beats, coming in with all of his creatures (2 wolves, Huntmaster, 7/8 Angel and 8/8 Silverheart). Reid decided to put the Thragtusk in the way of Silverheart and Titan stood in front of Huntmaster. Ian, after some thought, decided those blocks were acceptable, and both Reid’s Thragtusk and Ian’s Huntmaster died, giving Reid a 3/3 in the process. Ian cast Birds of Paradise and another Huntmaster, making a third Wolf token, before passing back to Reid.
Reid attacked with Primeval Titan after playing Kessig Wolf Run, dealing six to Ian and dropping his life total to 14. Reid then cast Thragtusk, going to 20 as a result, and allowed Ian to take his turn. Ian untapped and surveyed the board state. With neither player able to break through, things were getting fairly clogged on the board. No wonder people play Bonfire! Ian decided to attack with Restoration Angel and Wolfir Silverheart, which were both still in a happy and healthy relationship and both +4/+4 as a result. Reid double blocked the Silverheart with his Thragtusk and Beast token, which Ian responded to by activating Gavony Township. Not to be done in by on-board tricks, Reid gave his Thragtusk a boost with Kessig Wolf Run, and they traded.
Indeed, Reid did not miracle the Avacyn Restored mythic and instead thought for a moment in his first main phase. During such time, the players discovered a lapsing trigger from Huntmaster early in the turn and quickly rectified the situation, dropping Reid to 10. Facing an ever-increasing army of 3/3 Wolfs, Reid cast Phantasmal Image copying Primeval Titan, then attacked with his ‘real’ one. All four Copperline Gorges came out of Reid’s deck onto the battlefield, and Ian thought about how to block. With a veritable brigade of 3/3 Wolves under his control, he was quite the Master of the Hunt! He decided not to block the Titan, a risky move, but this was not punished by a slow-rolled Bonfire of the Damned. But this no-block put Ian to 8 nonetheless. Reid cast the sad robot, Solemn Simulacrum, and passed.
The Sun then came up on Ian’s side, flipping Huntmaster and enlisting yet another Wolf into his pack. He thought for a good long time now debating his next move, for it would surely be his most important. He declared attacks and entered the red zone with everything he could, including a 1/2 Birds of Paradise, several Wolves, a Huntmaster and a Restoration angel (all with a +1/+1 counters). Reid blocked Huntmaster with ‘fake’ Titan, Beast on Wolf, Robot on Wolf, and activated Inkmoth Nexus on Angel. Ian activated Township, pumping his team, and after the dust settled Reid went to four. But this left Reid with a pair of Titans left! After seeing what was in his near future, that being Team Titan coming his way, Ian extended his hand and congratulated Reid on his victory.
Reid 2, Ian 0.