Quarterfinals: Ryan Hovis vs. Andrew Tenjum
Andrew started this tournament 8-0 with RUG Delver… and lost his next two. He thought he was knocked out, but the tiebreakers worked well in his favor! His reward? Top seed Ryan Hovis and Deathblade.
Ryan took the play and led off with a mulligan, while Andrew decided to, “try it.” After keeping six, Ryan led with Polluted Delta. Andrew used Scalding Tarn to fetch for Volcanic Island and cast Ponder before passing. Ryan played Underground Sea turn two, but had no play on his second turn. Meanwhile, Andrew cast Nimble Mongoose to the board off a Tropical Island, but Ryan resolved the fetchland activation and used Counterspell (yes, actual Counterspell) to counter that, er, spell… Anyhoo, Andrew used another Ponder to dig even deeper and sculpt his hand.
Ryan, using the Force with the best of them!
Ryan did not have a third land, so Andrew’s Wasteland was pretty good here. Snapcaster Mage was relegated to Ambush Viper duty as a result. Nimble Mongoose came onto the stack for Andrew a turn later… but Force of Will made that a moot point as well. But Andrew had another threat in Tarmogoyf, and with only one land things were looking grim for Ryan. He cast Thoughtseize and saw: three Lightning Bolts and a Stifle. He took the Scourge rare, but Tarmogoyf dropped Ryan to 11 with nine points of Burn in hand. One Bolt took down the Snapcaster a turn later.
Andrew also had Sylvan Library to keep the petal to the medal. And since Ryan’s next mana source off the top of his library was an Underground Sea, he was unable to play his pair of Swords to Plowshares that he revealed at the end of the game.
Andrew 1, Ryan 0.
In between games, the players discussed how many Phyrexian mana a Stifle-like effect would cost. “I would pay any amount,” said Andrew. But the decision that about six life sounded about right. What do you think?
Andrew is hoping for a quick tempo win!
Ryan had the play once more, and this time kept, leading with Polluted Delta and basic Swamp into Deathrite Shaman. Volcanic Island allowed Forked Bolt to knock off the offending Elf for Andrew, so Ryan was left with Wasteland on turn two for Andrew’s dual land. This didn’t really hamper Andrew too badly (at least yet), as Andrew dropped Tropical Island. Thoughtseize received Spell Pierce, and afterwards Ryan used a fetchland…
“Pay six life?”
Sadly, our newly-created fake Stifle doesn’t exist. Andrew took his turn to cast Delver of Secrets, and when he passed Ryan had basic Island and Dark Confidant. Delver of Secrets flipped from Spell Pierce (“That’s a good one to flip with) and after Insectile Aberration attacked Ryan dropped to 15. Lightning Bolt took out the Bob before Andrew passed. Ryan attempted to fetch once more, and not needing the fake counter to the activated ability wasn’t too bad, because actual Stifle took care of that! In response, Ryan fetched with his other fetchland to get his third mana-producing land into play, a Scrubland (and only source of white mana). Stoneforge Mystic resolved, and Ryan delved into his library for Batterskull before passing.
After verifying that Ryan had three cards in hand, Andrew cast Brainstorm, cracked Misty Rainforest to get Tropical Island, and Ponder (which shuffled), and attacked Ryan down to 10. Lightning Bolt took down the Stoneforge as well before Andrew passed. Ryan played Snapcaster Mage and reused… nothing. Goblin Piker. Go.
Insectile Aberration continued its march, and Tarmogoyf joined the party as well. Ryan, squaredly behind the eight-ball, dropped Umezawa’s Jitte onto the board. But with only three mana, he could not equip it. It’s just as well, as Dismember took down the Snapcaster Mage and Andrew attacked in for the win.
Andrew 2, Ryan 0.