Round 10: Alex Bastecki (Wolf Run Ramp) vs. Bryan Hardenberger (R/G Aggro)
Alex made it to six mana, and began to drop the bombs.
Fighting to make the Top 16, this round put Bryan Hardenberger’s aggressive green deck against Alex Bastecki’s Wolf Run Ramp. Wolf Run Ramp is traditionally favored in the first game, but depending on Bryan’s sideboard that has the potential to change.
Alex had the play, and started with just a land after going to six cards. Forest and Birds for Bryan started the game on his end, while Alex followed his turn 1 Forest with Rootbound Crag and Rampant Growth. Turn 2 Sword of War and Peace created a potential flying clock for Bryan, but Alex played Inkmoth Nexus and began thinking over his options.
He did some math on the Birds’ potential. “This mulligan might help me out,” he said, casting Rampant Growth and Sphere of the Suns, going down to two cards. Bryan played Rootbound Crag and equipped, getting in 4 damage and ending the turn without a land.
Alex had a seventh mana source—Kessig Wolf Run—and cast Inferno Titan to 3 Bryan. That would certainly threaten to race Birds of Paradise, even as it attacked Alex to 13 and put Bryan to 28. He played Thrun, the Last Troll after combat, a significant problem.
Attacking, Alex knocked Bryan to 18 by pumping before playing Huntmaster of the Fells, leaving back Inkmoth Nexus as a blocker in the skies and going down to zero cards. Bryan cast Green Sun’s Zenith for two to find Strangleroot Geist and attacked with everything. Alex blocked the Geist with his Wolf and took 6 damage, while Bryan went to 22. Post-combat, Bryan had no land and ended the turn.
Alex played an Inkmoth Nexus and attacked with his Huntmaster and Inferno Titan, clearing the Geist and putting Bryan to 21 before blockers. Pumping for 5, Alex made that 9 damage and reduced him to just 12 life, passing turn and flipping a Huntmaster that couldn’t kill anything on the next turn but could get in 2 damage. When Bryan attacked, Alex animated a Nexus before blockers. That one got Galvanic Blasted, as did the next one, and Alex took 6 damage to go to 3 as Bryan went to 13. He added Daybreak Ranger to the board.
Inferno Titan cleared that and he got in for 14 damage, pumping for the full amount.
Alex 1, Bryan 0
Bryan tries to get there in the air with Sword of War and Peace.
Bryan had the play in the second game and started Copperline Gorge, which Alex mirrored. Strangleroot Geist started attacking on turn 2, and Alex lacked a two-drop ramper—not good for him. He fell to 16 on turn 3, and Bryan passed with just a land on no turn 3 play. Alex played just a land himself.
On this attack, Alex burned Galvanic Blast to save a couple points, and Bryan played Copperline Gorge—still no spells. Alex had a worse problem on turn 4 when he failed to play a land, and Bryan’s Hellrider put him to 8 life and dead on the board.
He had Slagstorm to save the day, followed by Inkmoth Nexus—but he wasn’t out of the woods yet. Bryan played Thrun the Last Troll, but Alex stymied it with Tree of Redemption! Now that’s big game. Bryan appeared flooded as he played a sixth land, but Huntmaster of the Fells gave him some action to start pecking around the Plant.
Sitting behind his Tree, Alex stared at the cards he was holding. “I don’t even know why I kept this hand,” he admitted. He played Huntmaster of the Fells and passed, hoping his opponent lacked a response—two Galvanic Blasts handled the Werewolf and his comrade, however.
Bryan swung Alex to 6 life and then flipped Huntmaster, making it 4 during Alex’s upkeep. Alex could only muster another Huntmaster, and Bryan moved back to his turn. Sword of War and Peace on Ravager of the Fells was serious business, and would require Tree to go on defense there. Alex eventually decided to block the Wolf token with his Wolf, and took 4 damage from Thrun, falling to 2 life.
Alex attacked with Huntmaster and played Thrun to trade legends, passing with his Tree untapped as his only line of defense. Bryan passed the turn without spells, spinning Alex’s Huntmaster into Ravager and falling to 18. Now Alex had some options—Acidic Slime killed Sword of War and Peace, and he attacked his Ravager into Bryan’s for a trade.
Green Sun’s Zenith for four searched up Huntmaster of the Fells, putting Bryan back on 20 life and giving him another potential route to Alex’s life total. He blocked Alex’s Acidic Slime with his Wolf token, and Alex cleared the Huntmaster he had in play with Inferno Titan—now the game appeared well and truly over unless Bryan could draw two more Galvanic Blasts.
With no plays on his own turn, Bryan fell to 10 as the Titan got involved, and Alex used Green Sun’s Zenith to find Huntmaster of the Fells and get to 4 life—now he was totally safe, and Bryan conceded on the following turn.
Alex 2, Bryan 0