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, 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, 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