Round 11: Reid Duke (NO RUG) vs. Josh Cho (RUG Delver)
Joshua Cho, writer on StarCityGames.com, ponders his next move.
Two of our own columnists met in the arena this round—not an uncommon occurrence on the day! Josh Cho has just earned his invite to Pro Tour Barcelona, while Reid Duke finished up an undefeated weekend at Grand Prix Nashville. The battlefield for this match, however, would be the Legacy format, with two very different RUG decks on either side.
On the play, Josh looked at a shaky seven but kept, and Reid followed suit. Leading Tropical island, Josh passed as Reid jumped ahead with Tropical Island and Noble Hierarch. A second Tropical for Josh implied he might lack red mana, and Reid took advantage of his Hierarch to play without fear of Daze. He began turn 2 with Brainstorm, followed by a Scalding Tarn fetch—but Josh Stifled.
Reid tried another shuffle through Green Sun’s Zenith for zero, and Josh’s attempts to undermine his mana were for naught as Reid dug up Dryad Arbor. Josh Brainstormed on his own turn, likely hoping for a red source and/or a Forked Bolt more than anything in the world—that would quickly restore his advantage. Putting two back proved difficult, but were the cards that good… or that bad?
Wasteland on Reid’s Arbor preceded Nimble Mongoose, Josh clearly invested in keeping his opponent off four mana—Natural Order was quite the card, and Josh couldn’t race Progenitus. Reid played Volcanic Island and ended the turn, while Josh had Scalding Tarn prior to an attack with the Mongoose, leaving Reid on 18. Fetching Volcanic Island, Josh Lightning Bolted the Hierarch and forced Reid to cast his Vendilion Clique early. Force of Will from Josh pitched Force to counter, and Reid just untap to jam Tarmogoyf after playing a land.
Wooded Foothills and then an attack from the Tarmogoyf concluded Reid’s turn, and Josh began to race as he Pondered his way to threshold. Casting a second Nimble Mongoose, Josh ended the turn—only to see another Clique land, cycling a Daze out of Reid’s own hand. Josh Lightning Bolted afterward, keeping this between the Mongooses and Tarmogoyf. Reid attacked him to 11 then fetched Forest, falling to 14 and playing another land before casting Natural Order for Progenitus.
Josh started doing a little math, but it was looking grim. He passed, and Reid slapped down Noble Hierarch to take the game. “I didn’t know you were up to that!” Josh admitted with a laugh.
Reid 1, Josh 0
Josh had the play again and mulliganed, while Reid stayed with seven. Taiga and Nimble Mongoose for Josh gave him a clock, while Reid fetched Tropical Island and cast Noble Hierarch once again. Attacking, Josh got in a point before Wasteland left Reid on just the 0/1. Reid tanked at the start of his turn—did he lack another land? Noble Hierarch let him Brainstorm, and the Dryad Arbor that followed indicated Reid was light.
Forked Bolt reduced Reid to no permanents, and Volcanic Island for Delver of Secrets landed. Reid’s Brainstorm had left him locked by the next two cards—he drew and passed, conceding to Josh’s Tarmogoyf on the following turn.
Reid 1, Josh 1
Reid kept seven for the decider, and Josh did the same. Forest and Noble Hierarch gave Reid a lot of momentum, while Josh had his ideal turn 1 in Delver of Secrets via Tropical Island—a race, then? Reid fetched with Misty Rainforest on turn 2 for Volcanic Island, Bolting the Delver dead and buying himself a lot of time. He tapped out for Sylvan Library after that, putting himself far ahead and giving him a lot of time to push through Josh’s disruption.
Forked Bolt from Josh killed the Hierarch, and he cast a second Delver. Reid nodded, and began to Sylvan up a storm on the next turn. He cast Kitchen Finks, and passed the turn. Josh revealed Spell Pierce to Delver and put Reid down to 17, adding a fetchland and Tarmogoyf to the field afterward—3/4, just right.
Reid’s Sylvan cost him 4 life on the next turn for an additional card, and Ponder followed afterward. Shuffling the deck, Reid played Misty Rainforest and cast Relic of Progenitus (on-theme!). That would elt his Finks ward off Tarmogoyf, and he passed after making Josh remove a card. Josh attacked for just 3 and cast Scavenging ooze—non-bos galore on this board! Reid didn’t want to lose his Finks that way, but had to let it resolve and run the risk.
Brainstorming during his upkeep to further enhance his Sylvan Library put Reid deep into the deck, and he followed with the crack of Misty Rainforest to shuffle away those cards, then going into the Library to arrange his options from 9 life. He took 4 and fell to 5 before playing another land and tapping out to Green Sun’s Zenith for three. Josh fetched with Scalding Tarn in response, finding Volcanic Island, and tried Spell Pierce but found it Dazed. The Zenith put another Kitchen Finks into play, and that ended the turn.
Josh played Scalding Tarn and sent in his Insectile Aberration along with Tarmogoyf, fearing no man’s Relic. Reid used his Relic to keep one counter off the Scavenging Ooze after double-blocking the 4/5 Tarmogoyf, taking 3 and going to 4 life.
He popped Relic during his upkeep, prompting Josh to Ooze his dead Hierarch but drawing an additional card from Reid to incorporate alongside Library. Pyroblast killed the Delver, and Reid added Dryad Arbor to the board, promptly chumping an attack from Josh on the next turn. Zenith for two on Josh’s side surprised Reid a bit, but it only searched for Tarmogoyf—another beater.
Reid Brainstormed during his upkeep, prompting a laugh from Josh. “So many decisions on your side,” he said. “I do not envy you at all!” Reid concluded with Library and another Relic of Progenitus, followed by Dryad Arbor. It wouldn’t take a lot for Josh to push through here—Submerge forced Reid to blow Relic, and Reid conceded afterward.
Reid 1, Josh 2