Quarterfinals: Tyler Wilkerson vs. Mike Reilly
Mike’s Naya deck was born from a love of G/R Monsters, but with knowledge that he wanted a little something more. What he sacrificed in adding a third color has clearly paid off today, bringing him into the top 8. Tyler on the other hand is quite content with ol’ faithful: Mono-Blue Devotion. It’s brew vs. villain in this quarterfinal match!
Mike's Naya Monsters came out to play today!
Tyler, as the number three overall seed, had the play and had an awkward start of turn one Cloudfin Raptor… turn two Cloudfin Raptor, with no second land. A third turn Judge’s Familiar triggered both evolvers, and a second land was also a welcome sight. Mike’s draw was pretty quick though, as turn two Sylvan Caryatid allowed him to ramp into Ghor-Clan Rampager on his third turn. Frostburn Weird on turn four though allowed Tyler to attack for five in the air, dropping Mike to 13. And with a three turn clock in the skies, Mike would have to either race or find an answer to the air force.
He elected for option B, fighting with Domri Rade’s -2 to kill off one of the Raptors. He himself did not have a fourth land though, so it was just the Domri for his turn with the 0/3 Caryatid staying untapped on defense alongside the 4/4 Rampager. The Domri took lethal damage from Judge’s Familiar, and Mike fell two more life points to 11 from the Cloudfin Raptor. Tidebinder Mage further pressed Tyler’s advantage, locking down Mike’s 4/4 trampler. A second copy of Domri Rade meant that the tapped Ghor-Clan Rampager wasn’t locked for long, but the smallest planeswalker didn’t stay on the board long.
In came all three of Tyler’s creatures on his attack step: Frostburn Weird was chumped by Elvish Mystic, Familiar killed Domri, and Cloudfin pecked once again at Mike’s life. A second Judge’s Familiar added to the air-based attack from the Mono-Blue Devotion pilot. Now in single digits, Mike decided to get a bit aggressive (not too surprising considering the fact that Rampager wasn’t doing much on defense) to drop Tyler to 16, and Witchstalker joined Mike’s board soon after. But another Frostburn Weird made his Cloudfin a 3/4 flyer, and when combined with the Judge’s Familiar Mike fell to 4.
Mike attacked with his pair of creatures, and after Tyler blocked the hexproof 3/3 Wolf with a ¼ Frostburn Weird, Mike scooped.
Tyler 1, Mike 0.
“This doesn’t feel like seven, but I know it is…”
And with that ominous quote, Mike decided to mulligan his opening hand. Tyler’s hand must have felt like seven though, because he snap-kept. When he kept six, he led with a shockland into Stomping Ground to cast an early Elvish Mystic, then followed it up with Scaveinging Ooze turn two. He had no turn three play though, so Tyler wasn’t punished for having a significantly slower draw this game, with no plays until a turn three Thassa, God of the Sea.
Tyler's hopelessly devoted to blue!
Tyler fell to 14 with another attack from the 1/1 and 2/2, and soon after they were joined by a 3/3… a hexproof 3/3 named Witchstalker, to be exact! Tyler’s Thassa allowed him to fix his draw with a scry, then he played a fourth Island and Bident of Thassa. With the god and her weapon united in play, Mike untapped to find himself in the enviable position of attacking for six, dropping Tyler to 8, and casting Polukranos, World-Eater. Nightveil Specter made Thassa corporeal on defense, which had the advantage of being able to block. Even Chained to the Rocks couldn’t remove her from Mike’s path, as Negate negated that plan, and suddenly Mike found himself in a slightly more awkward situation.
But no matter, in with them all!
His now 4/4 Witchstalker (thanks, Negate!), 5/5 legendary hydra, 2/2 Ooze, and even the lowly 1/1 Elf swung into the red zone. Thassa blocked Witchstalker and 2/3 blocked 2/2 Ooze. Before damage, Nightveil got pinged by Polukranos, and when the dust settled Tyler fell to 1 facing down a 6/6 Hydra… and a 1/1 Elf! It was that little 1/1 that finally did Tyler in, as he was unable to turn Thassa back into a creature with a scry or a draw step, and Mike evened up the match.
Tyler 1, Mike 1.
Both Tyler and Mike kept their openers, and the first nonland play of the match was Mike’s Sylvan Caryatid. Tyler’s Thassa came down a turn later, allowing him to have a much smoother draw step for the rest of the game should she remain unmolested, and Mike decided that it was about time to step on the gas as a result. Witchstalker was the next play, and after a small mistake in which Chained to the Rocks had no legal target mike passed. Tyler’s response once again was to just join a god and her weapon: Bident of Thassa.
“Bad mistake. Not too bad though…”
Still kicking himself for being unable to legally hit an inactive Thassa with the white aura, Mike brought the beats: Polukranos and Elvish Mystic. Tidebinder Mage came down for Tyler, tapping Elvish Mystic, and then his singleton Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx for five. He used that five to cast Frostburn Weird, make Thassa unblockable, and Rapid Hybridization the 5/5 hydra. Thassa beat in for five, dropping Mike to 11, and Tyler drew a card.
Not a bad turn, if I do say so myself!
Mike used Chained to the Rocks to remove Thassa.
“Now she’s a creature!”
“Yep, definitely a creature now.”
The god was chained to the Mountain, just as Prometheus did when he was punished for giving the gift of fire to man, and then Mike’s pair of 3/3s (‘Stalker and Frog Lizard) attacked. Frostburn Weird blocked one of them, and Tyler fell to 14. Scavenging Ooze made an appearance after that, and Mike passed the turn.
Nykthos for six allowed Tidebinder Mage number two to tap down Scavenging Ooze and then activate both Mutavault to become 2/2 and Frostburn Weird to become 4/1. Sylvan Caryatid, typically best known for its mana-producing abilities, showed off the 0/3 defensive stats to prevent two of the attacking damage, as Mike fell to 7. Tyler drew a few cards, then added Cloudfin Raptor to his board before passing back to the Naya Monsters pilot.
Just an Elvish Mystic from Tyler without attacks, as he was now in on trying to prevent Tyler from drawing too many cards with the god-weapon. It worked, as Tyler simply passed after making a land drop of his own. The game slowed to a grind… but Tyler’s Bident of Thassa has an activated ability! This forced Mike’s creatures to swing in, dropping Tyler to 8. But it didn’t matter, as Tyler was able to swing in for lethal the next turn.
“It turns out, the Chained to the Rocks mistake didn’t matter based on the draw steps.” A close match in either case, but it will be Tyler Wilkerson who battles tomorrow morning.
Tyler 2, Mike 1.