Quarterfinals: Woodrow Bogucki vs. Michael Venable
The Jund vs. Hexproof matchup has been debated over the past few months, with different players favoring both sides. Would Woodrow be able to rush through Michael defenses, or would Bonfire and Liliana of the Veil rule the day?
Woodrow sideboards after an aura-fueled win.
Woodrow kept seven on the play and landed Breeding Pool on the first turn, while Michael played Overgrown Tomb. Invisible Stalker gave Woodrow a dangerous threat starting on turn 2, while Michael played Rootbound Crag and passed.
The only enchantment Woodrow could muster was Rancor, which meant Michael’s turn 3 Bonfire could kill the Stalker and buy him some space, at the cost of 2 life for a shockland. When Woodrow passed on the next turn with three U/G lands showing, it was clear what was happening here. Michael capitalized by tapping out for Vampire Nighthawk and laying a shockland.
Sunpetal Grove gave Woodrow Voice of Resurgence, which he planted a Rancor upon. Michael cycled Ground Seal, failed to find a land, and attacked for 2 with Nighthawk. That evened up life totals at 17 apiece, and Mizzium Mortars turned the Voice into an Elemental token, putting Rancor back to Woodrow’s hand.
The Elemental picked up Rancor before being joined by Fencing Ace and Avacyn’s Pilgrim, attacking for 5 damage. Woodrow had to fear another Bonfire, but Michael was lacking. On 12, he drew a fifth land and attacked with the Nighthawk to go up to 14. Huntmaster of the Fells gave Michael some blocking power, and he passed on 16 life with Woodrow looking pretty slowed down at this point.
Geist of Saint Traft and Fencing Ace grew up the Elemental, and Woodrow attacked for 7 damage with the enchanted Elemental and added the original Fencing Ace to the red zone. Fencing Ace traded with Huntmaster when Michael double-blocked, and Tragic Slip took down the Elemental after it got in 7 damage to leave Michael on 9.
Tapping out, Michael played Thragtusk to jump u to 14 and debated sending Nighthawk into combat before electing to do so, ending the turn on 16 once more. Woodrow dropped Rancor and then Unflinching Courage onto his Fencing Ace and then Ethereal Armor onto his Geist of Saint Traft, attacking with everything now that he had the power of first strike on his side.
Michael couldn’t block to trade with anything, but this was also only 19 damage, tops. He could easily block to live, and decided to put both his creatures in front of the Geist. They both died to first strike, and Michael took 14 while Woodrow went up to 23.
Michael will need to hit Bonfires better to take the match.
Woodrow 1, Michael 0
Facing a hand with no black mana but a pair of his uber-effective Abrupt Decays, Michael had a hard choice—he elected to keep, hoping the two Huntmasters would pull him through if he stumbled. Starting on Stomping Ground, he passed as Woodrow played Temple Garden.
Michael drew his best card, Farseek, and immediately searched up Overgrown Tomb. Woodrow thunked with Strangleroot Geist on turn 2, dropping Michael to 18 but unhappy when Michael tapped out for Huntmaster of the Fells on turn 3, using a fresh shockland to stay at 18. Woodrow added Geist of Saint Traft to the board but declined to attack with his Geist, putting the ball in Michael’s court.
He drew and passed the turn, shooting Strangleroot Geist into a 3/2 and making a 4/4 trampling blocker. Woodrow sensed foul play, and cast Spectral Flight on his Geist followed by Rancor... and another Rancor. Before he could attack, Michael cast Abrupt Decay on the Spectral Flight to leave Woodrow with the decision on combat—he elected not to engage.
Cavern of Souls on Vampire gave Michael access to Nighthawk once more, and he swung with his Ravager and Wolf before playing a new Huntmaster of the Fells. Woodrow drew and debated his options before playing Loxodon Smiter and passing the turn. Abrupt Decay ate the Smiter and Pillar of Flame the Geist before Michael attacked with everything. Woodrow could take it, going to 2 life, but Michael would go to 22 and get a defending Wolf token on the next turn due to his Ravager.
Debating his choices, Woodrow put Geist in front of Ravager and took 8 damage, going to 4 and losing every single creature he had this turn. “I am dead,” he announced after drawing a card.
Woodrow 1, Michael 1
On the play, Woodrow once more kept seven cards while Michael quickly rejected his opening hand in favor of a new six cards. They were land-light but strong, and he kept with his fingers crossed. Woodrow had a quick start with Temple Garden and Avacyn’s Pilgrim, while Michael was immediately rewarded for his keep with a land off the top.
Turn 2 gave Woodrow Invisible Stalker and Rancor to buff it, while Michael played a land and passed the turn. That was Woodrow’s cue to start pumping before a Bonfire for one could catch both creatures, and he didn’t miss a beat. Adding Spectral Flight to the Stalker, he was relieved when Michael lacked Golgari Charm. Adding another one to the Stalker, he attacked for 7 damage and left Michael reeling.
Bonfire cleared the Pilgrim and gave Michael the out of a black source for Liliana, but Woodrow played Geist to block that and attacked Michael to 6 with his Stalker. Facing lethal from both creatures, there was nothing more Michael could do.
Woodrow 2, Michael 1