Quarterfinals: Thomas Smiley vs. Matt Costa
One of the more unique lists in the Top 8, Thomas brought Bant to the table. His Noble Hierarchs could give him a mana advantage against Matt’s RUG Delver list, although it wouldn’t be an easy feat—this was Matt’s second Top 8 in as many days!
Thomas is piloting a unique Bant list in the Top 8.
After a mulligan, Matt Costa was on six cards when Thomas started the match with Wasteland. Casting Ponder off Tropical Island, Matt shuffled the deck and drew a random card to conclude turn 1. Thomas drew, played Tundra, and then Wastelanded the Trop. Matt’s hand still had lands, but it didn’t have any creatures—he couldn’t create the early pressure RUG is so famous for.
Trying Ponder via Volcanic Island, he shrugged when Thomas Spell Pierced and passed. Thomas Brainstormed and played Plains, passing the turn. Matt played Scalding Tarn and a Brainstorm of his own, to which Thomas nodded.
He cast Stoneforge Mystic, but Matt removed a Spell Pierce from his hand to Force of Will it before fetching Tropical Island to shuffle his library. Wasteland on Tundra punished Thomas for missing his third land, and he passed the turn without a replacement, still stuck with Plains. Matt shipped turn right back, still lacking a threat.
Thomas fetched for Tropical Island when he drew Misty Rainforest, back in the game on two mana. He cast Noble Hierarch to get to three mana, and passed with the board caught up. Matt found Nimble Mongoose and played the little fellow, Lightning Bolting the Hierarch beforehand to get threshold before playing a fourth land.
Another Noble Hierarch for Thomas, and Matt began attacking. He put Thomas to 16 and sent the turn, stuck on four mana—arguably the most useless amount in the deck. Matt Spell Pierced the Umezawa’s Jitte Thomas tried on the following turn, still generating value from the slight mana screw on his opponent’s side.
Matt attacked again, but Thomas ruled the board with his next play—Knight of the Reliquary. He found another land waiting on top, and while Matt had advanced to five mana himself. Thomas passed, his Knight going active once Matt did the same. Knight sacrificed Savannah to search for Flooded Strand, holding the fetchland for now.
Thomas played another fetch and attacked with his Knight, cracking both fetches to go to 11 life and putt Matt to 9, dealing 9 damage. Matt had to chump with Nimble Mongoose on the next attack, and Lightning Bolt on Noble Hierarch bought him just a single turn of life before he conceded.
Thomas 1, Matt 0
Matt started with Misty Rainforest for turn 1, but nothing else. Thomas had Tropical Island and passed back, while Matt’s Volcanic Island concluded his second turn. Thomas played a fetchland and tried Brainstorm, but Matt used Red Elemental Blast to counter it. Untapping, he played Tropical Island and cast Tarmogoyf.
Thomas tried Stoneforge Mystic on the following turn, prompting some thought from Matt before he nodded his assent. With the trigger on the stack, Matt Submerged, and Thomas fetched for Tundra to Spell Pierce the Submerge. Matt replied with a fetch of Tropical Island for Thought Scour on himself, hoping to peel Daze but failing. Thomas resolved his trigger for Batterskull, and passed.
Attacking for 4 damage, Matt played a second Tarmogoyf and Delver of Secrets, then sent the turn to Thomas with a fetchland uncracked. Thomas drew, played Savannah, and cast Path to Exile on the Tarmogyof. He Brainstormed afterward, and had Swords to Plowshares for the other Tarmogoyf. Adding Noble Hierarch to the board, Thomas attacked and passed.
Matt flipped his Delver on the following turn, generating a clock. He attacked Thomas to 12, and Brainstormed before Lightning Bolting that Stoneforge Mystic dead. Thomas retaliated with a single swing from Noble Hierarch, but Matt was winning that race. Attacking Thomas to 9, he cast Tarmogoyf after another Thought Scour.
Stoneforge Mystic for Thomas resolved to find Sword of Feast and Famine, and he fell to 8 for a fetch to find Tropical Island, casting the Sword immediately. He chumped the Tarmogoyf with Hierarch on the next turn, falling to 5 for the Aberration. Thomas equipped his Stoneforge Mystic with the Sword, but Matt had Lightning Bolt to go with his attack and take down the game.
Thomas 1, Matt 1
Tropical Island and Noble Hierarch gave Thomas a banner start following a mulligan on Matt’s side of the board, but Matt’s turn 1 was spent fetching for Volcanic Island and casting Delver of Secrets—not so bad! Thomas drew and Brainstormed, getting the nod from Matt as he drew three cards and tossed back a couple more.
Thomas attacked for 1, Wastelanded Matt’s Volcanic, and passed. Matt flipped Delver through Lightning Bolt and sent in his own attack for 3 damage. He followed with Scalding Tarn, but declined to fetch and Bolt the Hierarch. Thomas drew Misty Rainforest and added it to the field, now able to jump his Knight past Lightning Bolt range.
Matt broke a fetchland during the end step, and Thomas replied with the same, finding Tundra and flashing in Vendilion Clique. It spotted Thought Scour, Brainstorm, Lightning Bolt, Red Elemental Blast, and Ponder. Thomas had probably planned to take the Bolt, but with two cards capable of killing Clique that seemed weaker, but he still elected to cycle it. Matt found Volcanic Island, and cast Red Blast on the Clique.
He drew and Pondered, finding no lands in the top three cards and shuffling for help. He drew Wasteland and burned it on Tundra before attacking for 3 more damage. Thomas fetched his way to 12 life for another Tundra, and cast Knight of the Reliquary. Matt drew Tropical Island, and attacked before casting Mind Harness on the Knight.
Having lost a Knight and now facing a 6/6 from Matt, Thomas needed to make some room to let the cumulative upkeep return his creature. He was on 9 life, and the Delver was getting very deadly—he passed after playing Flooded Strand, and Matt Thought Scoured himself. Paying for Harness, Matt swung for the fences. Thomas blocked the Knight with Hierarch and cast Path on the Delver, hoping he could chump the Knight long enough to reclaim it, no doubt.
Matt added Nimble Mongoose to the field and passed with one mana up. Thomas resolved Stoneforge Mystic for Sword of Feast and Famine, then passed with Flooded Strand at the ready. Matt Brainstormed, throwing back non-Submerges and keeping a Submerge, threatening the kill this turn.
He paid two for Harness, played a land, and Submerged the only blocker from his path.
Thomas 1, Matt 2