Round 2: Brian Braun-Duin vs. Derrick Sheets
These two competitors were the first two to punch their ticket to the Players’ Championship back in March. Both players brought Abzan to the table; Sheets has shown up with Abzan Reanimator, while Braun-Duin has a more aggressive style.
Derrick gets the graveyard action going.
Brian got onto the board quickly with Rakshasa Deathdealer, while Derrick took a peek with Thoughtseize on his second turn, seeing Siege Rhino, Anafenza, the Foremost, Abzan Charm, and a pair of Bile Blights in Brian’s hand. He sniped the Anafenza. Brian found the third land on his draw step, but chose to attack for 2 and pass the turn, leaving up mana for Abzan Charm. Derrick had a Courser of Kruphix, while Brian paid 2 life and drew 2 cards with his Charm.
The Rakshasa Deathdealer hit Derrick for another 2, then BBD fired off a Thoughtseize of his own, putting Siege Rhino in the graveyard and leaving Derrick with Murderous Cut, Hornet Queen, and Temple of Malady. Fleecemane Lion was the follow-up, and Derrick untapped and cast Satyr Wayfinder, then playing Temple of Malady and shipping the turn right back. When Brian attacked with both creatures, Derrick quickly shoved both Courser and Wayfinder in front of the Fleecemane Lion. Damage resolved, binning both Wayfinder and Fleecemane Lion, and derrick used his one untapped mana after combat to kill off the Deathdealer with Murderous Cut. Post-combat, Bile Blight from Brian ate the Course of Kruphix, and a second Rakshasa Deathdealer came down for Brian.
Derrick cast Whip of Erebos, looking to make use of the Siege Rhino and Satyr Wayfinder already in his yard. Brian found his fourth land and cast Siege Rhino, dropping Derrick down to 7, then the Rakshasa Deathdealer came across and smacked him down to 5. Derrick crunched some numbers and saw that Whipping back his Siege Rhino wouldn’t be enough of a life swing to save him, so he passed the turn with mana up and used Utter End on Brian’s Rhino in combat. It wasn’t enough; the Rakshasa Deathdealer dropped him to 3, and a post-combat Siege Rhino finished the job.
Brian Braun-Duin 1, Derrick Sheets 0
Derrick opened up strong in game 2 with Sylvan Caryatid into Courser of Kruphix, while Brian had a risky keep that didn’t quite pan out, as he played Plains into Caves of Koilos, then went to discard and pitched a Bile Blight on his third turn. Derrick used Abzan Charm to keep drawing cards on his next turn, while Brian found a land, albeit not the green source he was missing. Temple of Silence left a card on top, and Derrick had to suspect the green threats were forthcoming. He used another Abzan Charm, then cast Thoughtseize, seeing a stacked hand of two Bile Blights, two Abzan Charms, Wingmate Roc, Siege Rhino, and Anafenza, the Foremost. One Abzan Charm went to the bin, and Brian flopped Llanowar Wastes directly from the top of his library into play and put Siege Rhino onto the battlefield.
Siege Rhino seemed like such a good idea that Derrick cast one of his own, then cleared some chaff out of his graveyard to cast Murderous Cut on Brian’s Rhino. A Sandsteppe Citadel off the top developed Brian’s mana further, and Brian used Abzan Charm to keep the board pachyderm-free on both sides. Derrick doubled down on both Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix, casting a second copy of both, and Brian tapped out for Wingmate Roc, which died immediately to Hero’s Downfall. Derrick cast Whip of Erebos and came swinging, dropping Brian down to 7.
Brian had some bad news for Derrick on his next turn, as he cast Anafenza, the Foremost, then Back to Nature to get rid of Derrick’s Whip and both of his Coursers. Derrick untapped and quickly solved the Anafenza problem with Glare of Heresy, but had no other action. Brian checked his hand with a Thoughtseize and saw Utter End and Murderous Cut, taking the Cut. He passed the Derrick who drew a whammy: Hornet Queen. Brian was ready with the answers, however, and used one Bile Blight to get rid of the 1/1 Insects and another Bile Blight to get the Queen herself. He untapped, cast Fleecemane Lion, and made it monstrous immediately.
Siege Rhino off the top drained Brian down to 2, but it was a staredown on board between the 4/4 indestructible Lion and the 4/5 Lion. Derrick found land over his next two turns, while Brian continued to find attackers, adding a second Fleecemane Lion and another Anafenza, the Foremost to his board, but he was still unable to make headway with an attack. Derrick shut the door on him with a Whip of Erebos off the top, which allowed Hornet Queen to jump back out of the graveyard and attack in the air for the win.
Brian Braun-Duin 1, Derrick Sheets 1
BBD assigns damage to Derrick's blockers.
Fleecemane Lion on turn 2 gave Brian the initiative, while Derrick had Temple of Malady into a turn 2 Thoughtseize. Brian plopped Abzan Charm into his graveyard and showed the rest of his hand: four lands.
Derrick: “So not another two-land keep?”
After the fleecemane Lion came swinging, Derrick cast Satyr Wayfinder, which found him his third land drop, a Windswept Heath. The Lion dropped Derrick to 13, and Brian had found the follow-up, a Siege Rhino. Derrick had Hero’s Downfall, but had to make the tough choice of killing off Fleecemane Lion before it could go monstrous, leaving Siege Rhino in play.
The Rhino attacked and dropped Derrick to 6, and Brian passed. Sheets drew his card, winced, and passed it right back. The Rhino came knocking again, dropping Derrick to 2, and a Rakshasa Deathdealer showed up post-combat. Derrick drew his card, showed the three Siege Rhinos stranded in his hand, and extended the handshake.
Brian Braun-Duin 2, Derrick Sheets 1