Round 12: Jeff Hoogland vs. James Rynkiewicz
Jeff Hoogland is well known for his love of Life from the Loam strategies, but he’s taking a different approach this weekend, and brings Grixis Delver to battle. His opponent, Legacy Open champion James Rynkiewicz, hoped to grind him into the ground with Shardless BUG.
A stone-faced James knows exactly what to expect from his opponent.
James fired off a turn 1 Thoughtseize, seeing a hand full of insects and fire: two Delver of Secrets, Two Lightning Bolts, a Forked Bolt, a Brainstorm, and a Polluted Delta. He sniped the Brainstorm and shipped back to Jeff who happily stuck his Delver into play. Tarmogoyf was the response on turn 2 from James, and Jeff missed his blind Delver flip, but added another Delver to his board. James cracked in with his Tarmogoyf for 4, then had a big play: Toxic Deluge for 1, clearing Jeff’s board.
A third Delver of Secrets arrived for Jeff, but still without a second land in sight. James smacked Jeff down to 12 with his Tarmogoyf and added Deathrite Shaman to his board. Jeff’s Delver flipped up a Brainstorm.
James: “Flip something over that shows me what your third color is!”
Jeff obliged. He swung for 3, then fetched up a Badlands to Forked Bolt away the Deathrite Shaman. James swung with Tarmogoyf again and passed back. Jeff attempted a Dreadbore on the Tarmogoyf, but James was ready with Force of Will, pitching Ancestral Visions. The Insectile Aberration bashed him down to 9, and he untapped and found no play other than to Wasteland away Jeff’s black source and bash, dropping Jeff to 7.
The Insectile Aberration came knocking again, dropping James to 6. James found Lilliana to kill it, but the damage was done. His Tarmogoyf attacked Jeff down to 3, but Jeff simply showed him a pair of Lightning Bolts to close things out.
James led off with a suspended Ancestral Visions, and Jeff had Deathrite Shaman to start the party. It didn’t stick around, as James quickly offed it with an Abrupt Decay. Jeff Pondered and found Thoughtseize, which saw a hand of Abrupt Decay, Golgari Charm, and Shardless Agent, depriving James of his creature. James had no recourse but to play a land and pass the turn with his reactive spells still in hand.
Snapcaster Mage allowed Jeff to flashback Thoughtseize on turn 3, getting rid of Golgari Charm and leaving James with nothing but a Golgari Charm in hand. He simply drew and passed. The Snapcaster Mage came knocking, dropping James to 16, and Deathrite Shaman came down as backup. James’s Ancestral Vision came out of exile, and to James’s relief it resolved, gassing up his hand. The Deathrite Shaman died to Disfigure, a second Ancestral Vision was suspended, and James passed back with options still in hand and mana untapped.
Jeff found no further pressure, and simply attacked again with his Snapcaster Mage, dropping James to 12. He passed back, and Liliana of the Veil came down for James, ticking up to clear out a Deathmark from Jeff’s hand at the cost of a Toxic Deluge from James. He passed with one card left, the Abrupt Decay that Jeff already knew about. Snapcaster predictably ate an Abrupt Decay when it attacked, but Jeff fired off a pair of Lightning Bolts to kill the Planeswalker anyway.
Both players traded card for card to reduce each other to no resources over the next two turns—Tarmogoyf met Deathmark, Deathrite Shaman met Disfigure, and the unsuspended Ancestral Vision met Dimir Charm.
James: “Huh. I like your deck.”
A Brainstorm from James got James back on track, finding him a Liliana and a Deathrite Shaman. Jeff drew Snapcaster Mage, which allowed him to flashback Lightning Bolt and kill the Shaman, but Shardless Agent into Baleful Strix provided James with a sturdy defense against the 2/1, and Liliana began its slow ascent up to 6 loyalty.
Jeff found Submerge, and cast in Jame’s Baleful Strix after he had drawn, but James simply played another to replace it. Jeff found Young Pyromancer next, playing it and passing the turn, and James finally got to use Liliana’s ultimate, leaving Jeff with just 3 lands and his Pyromancer. Abrupt Decay left him creatureless, and Jeff quickly fell to the attacks from James’s creatures.
James Rynkiewicz 1, Jeff Hoogland 1
Jeff digs for an answer.
Deathrite Shaman was the turn 1 play for Jeff in the decider, while James had only a tapped Creeping Tar Pit. Jeff had no turn 2 play, simply passing his turn, while James had a turn 2 Baleful Strix, drawing Lightning Bolt from Jeff at the end of turn. Jeff again passed without a play, and James fired off Brainstorm into Abrupt Decay on the Deathrite Shaman, falling to 13 from a Deathrite activation in the process.
With a hand full of reactive spells, Jeff could only pass the turn right back. James attempted Tarmogoyf, but Jeff pitched Daze to cast Force of Will. He followed up with Deathrite Shaman, which Jeff promptly fried with a Forked Bolt. James attempted Liliana of the Veil next, and this one stuck, clearing a land out of both players lands.
Jeff found Delver of Secrets, but James had the answer, killing it off with Golgari Charm and then casting Shardless Agent, cascading into Baleful Strix. Jeff drew a land to go with the two already in his hand and, seeing two creatures, active planeswalker, and a full grip across from him, decided he’d seen enough and extended the hand in defeat.
James Rynkiewicz 2, Jeff Hoogland 1