Quarterfinals: Richard Richey vs. Alec May
Both players battled through the enormous eleven-round Swiss with an old standby yesterday to earn a seat in this quarterfinal. Would it be Richard’s Jund Monsters or Alec May’s Mono-Blue Devotion that earns a top 4 birth?
Alec was first to the board with a turn 1 Cloudfin Raptor, and Richard “matched” with a turn 2 Elvish Mystic. Alec was happy to tap down the elf with a Tidebinder Mage and crack in for 1. A Sylvan Caryatid came next, stymieing the Tidbinder beats, but the Cloudfin still dropped Richard to 18, and was joined in the air by a Judge’s Familiar. Richard made his first marquis threat of the game, a Xenagos the Reveler, on turn 4, making a 2/2 Satyr and passing back.
After a moment in the tank to consider his options, Alec activated Mutavault and attacked with his team, sending the fliers at Xenagos and his two 2/2s at Richard. Richard blocked the Mutavault with his Satyr, and Alex used Rapid Hybridization after blockers to convert his Mutavault into a 3/3 Frog Lizard, which grew his Cloudfin Raptor and enabled his fliers to finish off Xenagos. Richard untapped, cracked in with his Satyr to drop Alec to 18, then added a Ghor-Clan Rampager to the board and passed back.
Frostburn Weird came next for Alex, evolving his Cloudfin Raptor further, and allowing him to swing for 4 in the air, dropping Richard to 13. Richard had Domri Rade on his own turn, and he used the -2 ability to have Ghor-Clan Rampager fight Tidebinder Mage, unlocking his Elvish Mystic. Alec’s fliers continued their assault, dropping Richard to 9 on Alec’s next attack, and a Nightveil Specter joined them post-combat.
Richard unloaded his hand on his next turn, casting Polukranos, World Eater and an additional Elvish Mystic, then laying his fourth land, passing the turn with enough mana to monstrous his Polukranos for three once he untapped. Alec drew and cast another Tidebinder Mage, locking down Elvish Mystic once more. He cracked in for 6 in the air, dropping Richard to 3, then passed the turn. Richard untapped, checked his top card, and conceded the first game.
Alec May 1, Richard Richey 0
Richard fired off with Elvish Mystic on turn 1 this time, and followed up with a turn 2 Sylvan Caraytid before his elf was tapped down by the inevitable Tidebinder Mage. This time it didn’t stay tapped for long, however, as Richard spend his third turn casting Scavenging Ooze and Doom Blading the Tidebinder Mage. Alec had Thassa, God of the Sea on his turn 3, not quite a creature yet, but a start.
Not messing around, Richard pumped his full mana capacity into a 4/4 Mistcutter Hydra, and swung In for 6 dropping Alec to 14. Alec had a strong follow-up, casting Nightveil Specter and Judge’s Familiar, then attacking with his freshly animated Thassa. Richard was quick to kill off the Specter with an Abrupt Decay, eating it with Scavenging Ooze and swinging for 7.
Alec replaced his Nightveil Specter with a Frostburn Weird, but was one blue devotion short of having an active Thassa again. He passed the turn, and used Rapid Hybridization to downgrade Richard’s 4/4 Scavenging Ooze in combat, but still took another hit from the Mistcutter Hydra, falling to a precarious 3 life. Richard had no follow up post-combat, and Alec found a Mutavault, which could block the Hydra to buy him at least another turn.
Richard Richey 1, Alec May 1
Alec didn’t have a play on his first two turns, while Richard had a Temple into a turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid. Alec got on board with a turn 3 Thassa, God of the Sea, while Richard had a turn 3 Domri Rade, which ticked up and found a Sylvan Caryatid, and then an Elvish Mystic to develop his mana further before passing back. Cloudfin Raptor was Alec’s only follow up, although he did activate Mutavault and attack Domri Rade down to 2 while the Sylvan Caryatid was tapped.
The Domri Rade ticked up, but found no creature on Richard’s next turn, and he made the most of his mana advantage by tapping out for Polukranos, World Eater and his Second Sylvan Caraytid. Alec used Rapid Hybridization in Richard’s end step to convert his 0/1 Cloudfin Raptor into a 3/3 Frog Lizard, then untapped and used Thassa’s ability to make it unblockable, allowing him to kill off the Domri Rade . Unfazed, Richard untapped and slammed a Stormbreath Dragon into play, cracking in with both of his monsters. Alec had Cyclonic Rift to bounce the Polukranos, falling to 16 from the dragon beats.
In a tough spot with a minimal board, Alec needed a big play. He found Nightveil Specter, which he cast leaving two mutavaults untapped, then cracked in with his Frog dropping Richard to 15. Richard’s Stormbreath Dragon immediately swung right back, dropping Alec to 12, and the Polukranos came back down along with an Elvish Mystic.
Alec added Judge’s Familiar to his board, enough to turn on his Thassa, and cracked in with the team. Richard Monstroused Polukranos for 1 to kill off the Familiar, removing Thassa from combat, then blocked the Frog Lizard. Alec had Polymorphist’s Jest after blockers to allow his Frog Lizard to trump the Polukranos. It didn’t look to be enough, though, as Richard had Mizzium Mortars for the Nightveil Specter and attacked again with Stormbreath and the two Elvish Mystics, dropping him to just 6.
Alec took one last peak at his top card, and found no way out from under the Stormbreath’s shadow. He passed the turn, Richard activated the Stormbreath, and Alec scooped up his cards.
Richard Richey 2, Alec May 1