Round 16: Reid Duke vs. Alex Bertoncini
Reid Duke had made waves this weekend with an innovative Junk Midrange deck, and now found himself playing a potential win-and-in match. Standing in his way was Alex Bertoncini with the boogeyman of standard, Esper Control.
Both players began proceedings by playing scrylands and shipping their cards to the bottom. Reid, on the play, failed to find his second land, shipping it right back to Alex, who cast a Thoughtseize, seeing Abrupt Decay, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Hero’s Downfall, two Sylvan Caryatids, and two Obzedat, Ghost Councils. Reid lost one of his Caraytids. Alex was content to develop his manabase and pass for the next several turns, and Reid continued to miss his land drop, eventually discarding Scavenging Ooze, Abrupt Decay, and Hero’s Downfall at his end steps. Alex had Sphinx’s Revelation for two at the end of Reid’s 6th turn, then untapped and jammed an Aetherling. Reid checked his top card, found himself still stuck on one, and uttered a stoic “good game” as he shuffled up for game 2.
Both players again led off with scrylands. This time is was Reid who played a discard spell on turn two, casting Duress and seeing Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Aetherling, Hallowed Fountain, Jace, Architect of Thought, Mutavault, and two Sphinx’s Revelations. He chose to get rid of Alex’s Jace. Alex played a land and passed, and Reid quickly played Sin Collector, exiling one of the Sphinx’s Revelations.
Alex was had land-go again, and Reid attacked for two and added Polukranos, World Eater to his board. Alex again had only land-go, this time playing a Temple of Enlightenment and leaving the card on top. Reid thought for a moment before attacking Alex down to 11. Post-combat, he cast Underworld Connections and drew a card from it.
Alex needed a Supreme Verdict to stabilize, and he had it, playing Hallowed Fountain untapped to cast it and falling to 9. Reid had more threats to keep up the pressure, tapping out for Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. Not to be outdone, Alex jammed an Elspeth right back! Reid sent his three soldiers at Alex himself, and Alex was quick to trade. Reid then showed him Hero’s Downfall, getting rid of Alex’s Elspeth. He made replacement tokens and passed the turn.
Alex used Supreme Verdict to clear the way of soldiers, then activated a Mutavault and attacked Elspeth, Sun’s Champion down to 4 loyalty. Reid continued to apply the pressure on his turn, tapping out for a 5/5 Mistcutter Hydra and bashing Alex down to four. He made three tokens and passed. Alex needed a play to stabilize, and he found Blood Baron of Vizkopa, passing back with mana open to activate a Mutavault.
With a fistful of cards, Reid had plenty of options. He started with Courser of Kruphix, and got to play a swamp from the top of his deck. He then cast a pair of Thoughtseizes, getting rid of the last two cards in Alex’s hand, Aetherling and Sphinx’s Relevation. He made three more tokens and passed.
Alex: “pretty good turn.”
Alex had no play and passed back to Reid, who used Elspeth, Sun’s Champion’s -3 ability to destroy Blood Baron of Vizkopa and clear the way for his army of soldier tokens to attack for the win.
Alex led with a Temple, and Reid had Overgrown Tomb into Thoughtseize, seeing Sphinx’s Revelation, Thoughtseize, Dissolve, Jace, Architect of Thought, and a Plains. He took the Thoughtseize. Both players took the next turn to develop their manabases, playing some scrylands and passing back and forth. Reid had a big turn on his turn 3, Duressing the Dissolve from Alex’s and playing Pithing Needle to turn off the Jace, Architect of Thought. On his next turn he cast Sin Collector, exiling Sphinx’s Revelation and leaving Alex completely out of gas.
Blood Baron of Vizkopa came to the rescue, and loomed large on the board for only a single turn before Reid one-upped it with a Polukranos, World Eater. Alex played Jace, Architect of Thought on his next turn, although he couldn’t use it, and Reid played a card-advantage engine as well, dropping Underworld Connections and drawing an extra card.
On his next turn, Reid Duressed Alex, which prompted him to use the one card in his hand, a Dark Betrayal, on Sin Collector. Alex drew Revoke Existence and pointed it at Pithing Needle, but Reid responded with Hero’s Downfall on the Jace, Architect of Thought. Reid’s follow up play was Obzedat, Ghost Council, putting life totals at 12 for Reid, and 18 for Alex.
Alex found a big play on top for his next turn, casting Detention Sphere and clearing away the Polukranos, so that he could attack with his Blood Baron of Vizkopa. Obzedat returned for Reid, bringing him up to 9 life and dropping Alex back down to 20. He cast a Mistcutter for 6 and crashed with both creatures, making the life total 9 on both sides.
Alex found only a Temple of Deceit on top, and played it, scrying to the bottom. After some consideration he chose not to attack with his Blood Baron. Obzedat came back draining Alex down to 7, and the Mistcutter Hydra came swinging again. Alex fell to 1. Reid had Vraska the Unseen after combat, destroying Detention Sphere to bring the Polukranos, World Eater back into play.
Alex drew another Detention Sphere, which could re-exile the Polukranos, but that wouldn’t save him from the Obzedat, Ghost Council in Reid’s exile. He passed, Reid announced his upkeep trigger, and Alex extended the hand.