Round 16: Reid Duke vs. William Cruse
Reid’s friend and teammate, Huey Jensen, had already secured a Top 8 berth with their Esper list in Standard, but Reid had one more round to play with cash on the line at the Invitational. His opponent was Mono-Black pilot William Cruse, with the deck du jour of the weekend.
Reid struggled against a series of Thoughtseizes throughout the match.
Starting with Temple of Deceit, William kept the top card of his deck in place while Reid followed with Watery Grave. Turn 2 Thoughtseize from William revealed two Detention Spheres and Thoughtseize in Reid’s hand, with an assortment of lands accompanying them. William debated his options before discarding the Thoughtseize to protect his own hand.
Reid played his Temple and then passed to William, who had the punishing Nightveil Specter to force Detention Sphere out of Reid’s hand. That left Reid tapped out when William played Underworld Connections, and he cashed it in for one card when Reid played his second Detention Sphere.
Pack Rat gave William a threat on turn 5 that he’d be able to grow during Reid’s end step, but Reid revealed he’d drawn a trump card in Blood Baron of Vizkopa. The Baron would hold off those Rats for the next turn at least, and represented the most significant threat Reid could play in this particular matchup... though he wouldn’t last forever against Pack Rat. William played a land and passed, likely looking to make his Rats into 5/5s on the next turn to enable a beatdown plan.
With two Spheres gone, Reid was going to be having a tougher than usual time beating the Rats. He cast Divination to draw two cards and played a Temple, scrying to the bottom before passing with two mana untapped. With three Rats in play and a Mutavault, William could begin attacking—although he’d risk running into Azorius Charm.
A second Mutavault headed off that problem, and when William attacked he made another Rat and then animated the Mutavaults, netting 8 damage while going hellbent. His next attack would be lethal, Blood Baron or no, so Reid had to do something. Using Sphinx’s Revelation for one to go to 13, Reid drew a card and then played a Temple to put a land on the bottom.
William Packed a lot of Rats in game 1.
Animating both Mutavaults, William binned his draw for the turn to force in an attack for over 20 damage.
William 1, Reid 0
Starting on Hallowed Fountain, Reid passed to William. William played Temple of Silence and kept his top card. Reid continued sending them to the bottom with his turn 2 Temple, and he was once again Thoughtseized early. Revealing Azorius Charm, Detention Sphere, Elspeth, and three lands, Reid was left without his only removal spell.
Each player made a couple land drops, and William broke the ice with Underworld Connections while Reid drew a card with Azorius Charm. He had no answer to Connection, and William began to draw cards and get ahead of the game. Another Thoughtseize revealed Reid had drawn Blood Baron and Sphinx’s Revelation over the last couple draw steps, and William decided to discard the creature and leave the card advantage spell.
Following with Pithing Needle, William preemptively turned off Elspeth. Reid was on land drops into Revelation now, and a third Thoughtseize from William earned Negate from Reid, defending the Revelation. More land drops, with William’s Connections dropping him to 13 life before he cast Desecration Demon.
That was enough to make Reid pull the trigger, drawing three cards in search of answers to the Demon. His Elspeth was no good, clearly, and Divination on the following turn indicated that he might still be lacking. Playing a Temple and passing, Reid had no visible way to handle the Demon, but had the mana to cast Hero’s Downfall.
Nykthos made four mana for William, and he cast his third Thoughtseize. It revealed the Elspeth, four lands, and another Blood Baron of Vizkopa—the Baron once more hit the graveyard, and it was clear Reid was in trouble. Pushing his advantage, William cast Nightveil Specter and attacked with Mutavault. A timely Supreme Verdict for Reid mopped up those creatures, but William rallied with Whip of Erebos after Duressing away the Elspeth.
Reid did nothing, and William tried another Duress—it met Dissolve. That provided William with an opening to cast Abhorrent Overlord for six Harpy tokens, threatening to attack for lethal on the very next turn via a Whip on Desecration Demon.
No Verdict from Reid, and William indeed resurrected the Demon in order to threaten lethal. When he did so, Reid extended the hand.
William 2, Reid 0