Quarterfinals: Rudy Briksza vs. Clayton Arch
Rudy had piloted the popular Domri Naya deck into 2nd place, but he had a tough foe in the Top 8! Clayton Arch's U/W Flash deck had tons of sweepers and defense, with answers to Domri+Rade as well. Could Rudy overcome Hallowed+Fountain?
Rudy's strong start in game 1 was slowly stymied.
Stomping+Ground for Rudy and no Avacyn’s Pilgrim, while Clayton dropped Hallowed+Fountain and passed. Rudy dropped Flinthoof+Boar on turn 2 and sent the turn, while Clayton shipped it with two mana untapped. Shaking his head, Rudy attacked for 3 damage and ended the turn after making his third land drop.
Clayton continued to play lands and pass until turn 4, where he played Augur+of+Bolas and revealed Essence+Scatter. Rudy attacked with Flinthoof+Boar, earning a block, and then cast Domri+Rade after combat, adding a loyalty. That put Clayton in a bit of a bind, and one that only Restoration+Angel or Detention+Sphere could really fix.
He played Moorland+Haunt and passed, pausing when Rudy attacked but making no moves. Domri went to five as Rudy played a land and ended the turn, still refusing to commit more than just Boar to the board. Clayton used the end step to produce Snapcaster+Mage and a 1/1 Spirit token, preparing to pressure Domri+Rade.
Selesnya+Charm tried to make a Knight that could stop the Snapcaster+Mage, and Clayton allowed the trade to happen. After combat, he played Supreme+Verdict to kill the Boar and ended the turn. Rudy’s Domri jumped to five, revealing a Voice+of+Resurgence that he cast immediately. Loxodon+Smiter followed, and Rudy ended his turn.
Still under pressure, Clayton cast Augur+of+Bolas in the hopes of relieving it—he dug into Sphinx’s Revelation! Rudy sent in the team, earning a chump from Augur+of+Bolas while dealing Clayton 2 more damage to leave him on 9 life. In the end step, Clayton made a Spirit, but his biggest threat was the Sphinx’s Revelation in his hand, alongside his now eight mana.
Clayton attacked Domri to five and then cast another Verdict, but Rudy rebuilt with an end step Selesnya+Charm followed by a miracle Bonfire with three mana up. That took Clayton down to 5 life, and Domri revealed an Avacyn’s Pilgrim that allowed Rudy to threaten lethal damage. Chumping with a Spirit token, Clayton drew and Verdicted again.
Hardcast Bonfire met Syncopate, but that meant Clayton needed an answer to Domri’s ultimate on the spot—he had Detention+Sphere at the ready. Sphinx’s Revelation for five put him ahead in a big way, but Rudy fired back with Domri+Rade boosting into Thundermaw+Hellkite—which he lost to the ages-old Essence+Scatter. On 3 life, Clayton appeared to be assuming control.
Domri grew to five loyalty, but no creatures and a Revelation for six left Clayton even farther ahead. He cast Aetherling on the next turn and passed, while Rudy dropped Voice+of+Resurgence only to find another Essence+Scatter at the ready.
From here, it was only a matter of time—Rudy slowly fell to the Aetherling.
Clayton 1, Rudy 0
Rudy began with Stomping+Ground while Clayton played Plains, and Scavenging+Ooze on Rudy’s side was immediately walled over by Augur+of+Bolas. Flinthoof+Boar gave Rudy an aggressive option, but he knew Clayton had access to Azorius+Charm...
Hellrider on turn 4 came down anyway, putting Clayton to 14 immediately before a Celestial+Flare caused Rudy to sacrifice his Boar, followed by a chump from Augur+of+Bolas. That meant Clayton likely had a Supreme+Verdict—but he didn’t need it when Terminus came off the top! Rudy recovered with Domri+Rade, boosting to reveal Voice+of+Resurgence and prompting a cycle of Azorius+Charm from Clayton.
Clayton had no action, and Domri continued to grow before being joined by two Voices. A hardcast Terminus took care of them, but Rudy rallied with Hellrider to leave Clayton on 8 life. Another Augur+of+Bolas revealed Essence+Scatter, but Clayton’s remaining card was a Celestial+Flare capable of killing the lonely Hellrider.
Detention+Sphere cleared Domri, and another Augur+of+Bolas revealed Azorius+Charm. Rudy dropped Hellkite into Essence+Scatter while Clayton cycled Charm, looking for Revelation as quickly as possible. Another Thundermaw+Hellkite resolved, leaving Clayton on 2 life before he could Sphere it away.
Each player began peeling at the top of the deck frantically—and it looked like Rudy got there first with Ray+of+Revelation on Detention+Sphere. That unleashed Thundermaw+Hellkite upon the skies, and Clayton scooped up his cards.
Clayton 1, Rudy 1
Another Plains start for Clayton, while Rudy had his first turn 1 Pilgrim of the match. That led into Loxodon+Smiter on turn 2, and immediately put Clayton on the defensive. Azorius+Charm kept the Elephant at bay for a turn, but Rudy took that opportunity to deploy Voice+of+Resurgence.
Augur+of+Bolas for Clayton was a fine defensive measure, forcing Rudy to commit another creature. He opted for Scavenging+Ooze, eating Think+Twice immediately and passing to Clayton, who cast Azorius+Charm in the end step—both players missed the Voice trigger, awkwardly enough.
Revelation for two from Clayton left him tapped out on his own turn, and Rudy ate the Revelation in the end step. He followed with an alpha strike, his Pilgrim getting blocked by Augur+of+Bolas. He prevented the trade with Selesnya+Charm and put Clayton to 17 life, his creatures looking likely to die to Terminus... but Clayton had neither a miracle nor a sixth land!
Sending in the troops, Rudy found that Clayton did have Restoration+Angel. He missed the spell trigger for Voice but got the token when it died, casting Domri+Rade after combat and boosting it up. On 13, Clayton attacked with Restoration+Angel to leave Domri on 1 before playing Supreme+Verdict.
Pilgrim and then Smiter reinforced Domri+Rade, and Clayton went into the tank before passing on six mana. Another Angel ate Rudy’s Avacyn’s Pilgrim when it attacked, enabling Celestial+Flare to complete its duty after damage anyway. The same Angel then ate Domri+Rade, and Clayton tapped out for Aetherling.
Rudy fired Thundermaw+Hellkite to the face, leaving Clayton on 4 life—his Augur+of+Bolas turned up nothing! Clayton had Restoration+Angel for a turn of life, but could he stop the Hellkite? Aetherling came in to put Rudy on 11, but Domri+Rade for Rudy let him fight down the Angel and attack for lethal, with Boros+Charm still in his hand for backup.
Clayton 1, Rudy 2