Round 16: AJ Sacher vs. Wilson Hunter
Both of these players would be on the outside looking in come Sunday, but they still had cash and Open Series points to play for. Would Wilson Hunter’s Storm deck or AJ Sacher’s Sneak and Show post a top 16 finish?
AJ is stoic under duress.
Wilson had an inconspicuous start: Misty Rainforest, Go. AJ led with Volcanic Island into Ponder, choosing to shuffle. Wilson had a second fetchland to match his first, again passing without a play, and AJ went for his own combo, casting Lotus Petal and then Show and Tell. He put Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play, but Wilson Hunter’s Swamp might have been the scarier threat. Would the mana jump be enough to kick start his Storm turn?
Apparently not: Wilson drew his card and conceded the game.
Wilson led off with a Duress.
AJ: “Now you get to see my embarrassing keep.”
The keep was Gitaxian Probe, Ponder, Lotus Petal, and four lands. Wilson deprived him of his Ponder, and passed. AJ was quick to take a peek at Wilson’s hand with his Gitaxian Probe, seeing Tropical Island, Brainstorm, Past in Flames, and a pair of Grim Tutors. He passed back, and Wilson drew a Xantid Swarm, which entered play off of the Tropical Island and threatened to keep AJ off of any countermagic.
AJ cast a freshly drawn Brainstorm, looking to set up some action, and considered his options before playing a Scalding Tarn and passing the turn. Wilson liked the idea of a Brainstorm, and cast one of his own, then shuffled his top cards away with a Polluted Delta. He then fired off a Gitaxian Probe to see that AJ’s hand had improved immensely: Sneak Attack, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Spell Pierce, Force of Will, Lotus Petal, and City of Traitors to go with his two lands in play. Wilson knew that his window of opportunity was closing.
He followed up his Gitaxian Probe with a Ponder, the third spell of the turn. Next came Dark Ritual (4) Lion’s Eye Diamond (5), Lion’s eye Diamond (6), and Grim Tutor (7) Sacrificing the Lion’s Eye Diamonds with the Tutor on the stack. Grim Tutor found Infernal Tutor (8), which found Tendrils of Agony (9), which was enough to finish off AJ, who had paid 2 life at the beginning of the game to cast his Gitaxian Probe.
Wilson's stormy stare.
Wilson kept his seven in the decider while AJ went to six and then agonized over his hand before deciding to mulligan to five.
AJ had just a Flooded Strand, and passed to Wilson, who led off with Underground Sea into Duress. AJ cast a Brainstorm in response, then showed a hand of Brainstorm, Ponder, Ancient Tomb, and Polluted Delta. Wilson sniped the remaining Brainstorm, and AJ untapped and cast his Ponder before dropping the Delta into play and passing back.
Wilson led off his second turn with a Brainstorm, then cracked a Fetchland and played Gitaxian Probe, seeing again how quickly the texture of AJ’s hand had changed thanks to a timely Brainstorm. AJ’s new hand was Sneak Attack, Griselbrand, and Ancient Tomb, only a single mana source away from a potential combo kill. Suspecting a Lotus Petal tucked away on top of AJ’s deck, Wilson tried to go for the win.
Lotus Petal came down (3) followed by a Cabal Therapy (4) naming Griselbrand. Dark Ritual (5) and Lion’s Eye Diamond (6) came next, and Infernal Tutor (7) retrieved an Empty the Warrens after Wilson cracked the LED. The Empty spit out sixteen 1/1 Goblin Tokens, one of which was used to Flashback Cabal Therapy and clear out the Sneak Attack. Wilson passed the turn back in a commanding position.
AJ cracked his fetchland to give him a fresh library, drew his card and passed. The Goblins knocked him down to 3 life, he drew another card, and extended the hand in defeat.