Quarterfinals: Ryan Sandrin vs. Mike Egolf
Both players have aggressive red-based decks with plenty of low-to-the-ground creatures and burn. But which one will reign supreme: Mike’s purist mono-red strategy or Ryan’s powerful R/G Aggro strategy with a splash for Atarka’s Command?
Ryan, as the higher seed, chose to play. Both players keep their opening seven, and we are on our way.
Ryan leads with an aggressive play of Mountain into Monastery Swiftspear and an attack for one, signaling some of the aggression to come. Mike matches one-drop for one-drop with a Zurgo Bellstriker and a pass of the turn.
Ryan has one of his Mana Confluences followed by another attack for one with his Swiftspear. He passes back to Mike, who plays two Monastery Swiftspears of his own, and attacks back for four. The action is fast and furious at this point.
Ryan plays his second Mana Confluence and laments the fact that he kept two of the pain dealing lands. He takes two damage from the Confluences to cast a Goblin Rabblemaster and creates a Goblin toke and swings for some damage, but holds back his Swiftspear to block. On Mike’s next turn, he Lightning Strikes Ryan’s Goblin Rabblemaster, triggering the prowess on both of his Monastery Swiftspears, swinging for a total of six damage, keeping the pressure on Ryan.
For his turn, Ryan goes into the tank for a minute, and simply passes the turn back. Mike attempts to put the finishing touches on his opponent with a Goblin Rabblemaster, but Ryan has the Wild Slash to stop the Goblin Warrior from killing him. A simple pass of the turn back to Ryan is all Mike can manage, leaving his Monastery Swiftspears back for now.
Hoping to turn the corner, Ryan plays a defensive Zurgo Bellstriker, and simply passes the turn. Mike still has gas (and burn) in his hand however ,with a dashed in Lightning Berserker followed by an attack by the team. After some trading of resources, Ryan has an empty board and Mike still has two Monastery Swiftspears. A hard cast Lighting Berseker after combat, and Mike passes the turn back to Ryan.
Ryan copies Mike with two hardcast Lightning Berserkers of his own, but at the end of his turn, Mike burns Mike’s face with a Stoke the Flame, which prompts a concession by Ryan.
Mike wins Game 1.
After sideboards, both players keep, and Ryan once again leads with a one-drop, this time the Legendary Orc Warrior, Zurgo Bellstriker. Mike seems to like the play as well, as he casts his own copy of Zurgo Bellstriker. However, on Ryan’s turn, he shows that their truly can only be one Zurgo with a Searing Blood on Mike’s creature, followed by an attack.
Mike follows up with a familiar play from Game 1, casting double Monastery Swiftspear and passing back. After a cracked fetchland for a Forest, Ryan summons forth a horde of Goblins with a Hordeling Outburst. Each player just keeps deploying more threats and attacking past each other, with neither player even attempting to block.
However, Mike has the blowout in Scouring Sands, killing all of Ryan’s Goblins, triggering his Swiftspears prowess and attacking for massive amounts of damage. For his turn, Ryan has a Monastery Swiftspear of his own, followed by more Goblins, this time in the form of Dragon Fodder.
On Mike’s turn, he attacks with both his Swiftspears and then Stoke the Flames his opponent’s dome, putting him to dead next turn. A hardcast Lightning Berserker in an attempt to block by Mike and a cautious pass the turn. And his caution was well considered, as Ryan played a Magmatic Chasm to make sure there would continue to be no blocking, followed by a Lighthing Strike to Mike’s face and alpha strike later, we are on to Game 3!
Ryan wins Game 2, and we are tied at 1-1!
For the first time this match, Mike will be on the play. However, he had to mulligan down to six cards. His opponent obliged him, also mulliganing to six cards.
Even with only six cards, Mike still has a one-drop in Foundry Street Denizen. Ryan simply plays his Mountain and passes the turn. Mike tries to do a bunch of damage to Ryan with a Dragon Fodder, but a timely Wild Slash by Ryan prevents the Denizen from doing any damage. However, Ryan misses his second land drop and can only pass the turn back to Mike.
Mike tries to pounce on his opponent with a Goblin Rabblemaster, but Ryan once again has a timely Wild Slash to prevent the game from getting out of hand. Just a couple of Goblin tokens to fight and a pass back from Mike. Ryan again misses his land drop, and can only hope that Mike will not have the pressure to punish him for it.
Which, thankfully for Ryan, Mike could not. He attacks with his two Goblin tokens, plays a Mountain, and passes the turn. Finally, Ryan draws his second land, but still passes the turn back. Mike tries another Goblin Rabblemaster, but a Searing Blood keeps him short on resources. Mike can only hardcast another Lightning Berserker, and pass the turn. This time, it is Ryan’s attempt at a Goblin Rabblemaster that is Wild Slashed away, and Ryan can only hope that he is not dead.
But his hopes are dashed – literally – by a dashed in Zurgo Bellstriker and an attack by the whole team from Mike! To finish off his fellow burn opponent, Mike appropriately points his Lightning Strike at Ryan, putting an end to his semifinal hopes.
Mike wins Game 3, and wins the match 2-1!