Quarterfinals: Ricky Sidher vs. Robert Wilkinson
Robert kept, and Ricky followed suit. Starting with a fetchland, Robert grabbed Island and passed the turn, having just fetched early to avoid Stifle. Ricky started with Ponder via Volcanic+Island, keeping his top three in place. On turn 2, Robert played Volcanic+Island and passed, declining to cast Counterbalance.
Ricky used Wasteland and sent the turn right back, but Robert drew Flooded+Strand to recover... assuming Ricky lacked Stifle. Fetching Tropical+Island, Ricky cast Nimble+Mongoose and ended the turn with the threat of Stifle looming. Robert played another fetchland, and continued to pass turn without action.
Attacking Robert to 18, Ricky played a third land and then played Delver+of+Secrets. In the end step, Robert broke one Strand to fetch up Plains and the other to get Island before Swords dispatched the Delver. Drawing Rest+in+Peace, Robert cast it. Brainstorming, Ricky followed with a fetchland crack and then another Brainstorm... but he found no way to stop the enchantment.
It would be a long road for Nimble+Mongoose. Ricky shuffled with his Ponder on the next turn and then paid 2 life for Gitaxian+Probe, seeing Counterbalance, Force+of+Will, Swords+to+Plowshares, and Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor. Ricky stormed the board with Delver+of+Secrets and Nimble+Mongoose, all-in on dodging Terminus from here, and had no response to Robert’s Counterbalance casting and the Swords+to+Plowshares that slew his Delver afterward.
The Mongooses got Robert to 11 while he waited for another blue card to help resolve Jace, but he drew Enlightened+Tutor to offer him something even more threatening. Going to 9, he cast the Tutor in the end step and searched for Energy+Field. If he could resolve it, it would buy him a ton of time. Ricky Forced pitching Stifle, and Robert went to 8 life to Force right back, exiling Jace.
Ricky scooped to the lock.
Robert 1, Ricky 0
Each player kept, and Ricky fetched for Tropical+Island in order to cast Delver+of+Secrets. Robert dropped Island and sent the turn, while Ricky immediately flipped Delver by revealing Lightning+Bolt. Nimble+Mongoose landed afterward, and Ricky passed the turn with a significant clock already fielded. Robert played Scalding+Tarn and then Brainstormed, throwing back a Terminus.
Ricky would need a Stifle for the Tarn to stop Terminus from mopping his team, or a hard counter for the sweeper itself. He attacked Robert to 13 and cast another Mongoose, passing with Misty+Rainforest up. He broke it for Volcanic+Island to Stifle the Tarn when Robert fetched, and Robert had to settle for just Counterbalance.
Robert 1, Ricky 1
Keeps for both players once more, and Robert began by playing Plains and Sensei’s Divining Top. Ricky played Volcanic+Island and passed, while Robert began to do what Miracles does—Top, play lands, and pass. Wasteland put him back down to just Plains, but Ricky didn’t have a threat on the board, making the Top a real advantage.
Another Wasteland knocked out the next land as well, and now Robert was out of blue lands and lacked under his own Top! He had just Dust+Bowl, his last land, and passed. Ricky played Tropical+Island and passed, either lacking creatures or holding them in order to keep up countermagic. Popping Top after drawing and looking once more, Robert cast a second Top—it was Spell Pierced.
Ricky played another land, and passed. Robert tried to recast his Top, and Ricky Brainstormed in response. Force+of+Will, exiling Daze, countered the Top and left Robert floundering. Ricky fell to 18 to fetch Tropical+Island in the end step, and after playing Wasteland Ricky fetched once more, for Volcanic+Island. Tapping out, he cast Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor! Robert had no counter, but did have the ability to fetch for an Island in order to Brainstorm for Force+of+Will.
Whiffing, he found Pyroblast and sent an Entreat+the+Angels a couple cards down. Ricky used Jace to brainstorm, while Robert untapped into Rest+in+Peace to restrict Ricky’s threat potential. Clearly considering Force+of+Will, Ricky fired it, exiling Stifle. Ricky untapped and immediately brainstormed again, declining to fateseal a card he knew was bad because Robert had put it there and continued to do nothing. Ricky cast Delver+of+Secrets, and passed the turn.
Robert had only one proactive play available this turn—Engineered+Explosives for one—but a Daze would beat that line by letting the Delver flip. Instead, he played Explosives for zero to lessen the Delver’s damage by creating an Aberration deterrent. Ricky had Vendilion+Clique in the end step to reveal Pyroblast, two Counterbalance, Jace, and Entreat+the+Angels—he left them all. Attacking for 4, Ricky put Robert to 15 and then Wastelanded his Dust+Bowl.
Drawing Island, Robert could no longer stick Jace—so he cast Counterbalance. Spell+Pierce kept it off the board, and Ricky’s Jace continued to run wild. He added a thresholded Nimble+Mongoose to the team, putting Robert on a two-turn clock, but Robert tried to move it back to three by casting Swords+to+Plowshares on Vendilion+Clique. Daze and then Flusterstorm countered, the one mana that Robert had paid keeping him off Counterbalance again.
Ricky flipped his Delver, attacked for 9, and then aimed Lightning+Bolt at Robert’s dome.
Robert 1, Ricky 2