Round 3: Ali Aintrazi (Esper Control) vs. Brian Braun-Duin (R/G Aggro)
Brian Braun-Duin slices and dices in Round 3 at the Invitational.
Talk about knowing your audience. Both Brian and Ali spent their pre-game playing prophet by guessing what the other was playing.
“I’m betting you have blue and black spells,” Brian said.
“You’re either on Birthing Pod or red-green,” Ali replied.
Turns out they were both right, though Ali had hedged a little.
Strangleroot Geist got a bunch of damage in for Brian, but Ali’s trio of Mana Leaks shut down his attempts to add to the board, negating Green Sun’s Zenith, Phyrexian Metamorph and Sword of War and Peace on consecutive turns. That meant Ali was unable to develop his own side, however, and he fell to 12 before Lingering Souls got to battle the front side of the Strangleroot Geist, leaving the door open for Huntmaster of the Fells to slide into play.
The red and green team attacked and Hellrider’s triggers ate the planeswalker before Ali’s tokens could trade with Huntmaster of the Fells, leaving the board at Birds of Paradise, Strangleroot Geist, Hellrider, wolf token and four lands against Ali’s four lands and five life. Ali didn’t have a Day of Judgment, and a flashed back Lingering Souls wasn’t enough to hold the fort against Hellrider and Galvanic Blast.
Brian 1, Ali 0
An unlucky Llanowar Elves got its throat ripped out, but Strangleroot Geist made another appearance and Ali was without his trusty Mana Leaks, so he had to allow another pesky spirit off of Green Sun’s Zenith. He was kind of ready this time, however, using Snapcaster Mage to rebuy Go for the Throat and eat the small sides of both Strangleroot Geists, setting him up for a board-clearing Day of Judgment on the next turn.
Huntmaster of the Fells replenished Brian’s board as Ali missed his land drop but had Liliana of the Veil. He made both of them discard a card and Galvanic Blast and Curse of Death’s Hold hit the bin, and Liliana followed soon after as Hellrider smashed Ali down to 10. A second Day of Judgment cleaned things up again, and Brian’s only follow-up was Sword of Feast and Famine.
Consecrated Sphinx looked like it was going to lock things up as Brian was out of gas and Ali’s hand rapidly refilled, letting Liliana of the Veil and Sorin, Lord of Innistrad bolster Ali’s already commanding position. A few turns later we were off to game three.
Brian 1, Ali 1
Ali Aintrazi is back to his old tricks with a blue control deck.
Ali took his first mulligan of the match, but Brian’s opening didn’t look like it punish him as Birds of Paradise led into two-point Green Sun’s Zenith that Ali allowed. He was surprised to find a Llanowar Elves come out of it, expressing it with a “tricky, tricky!”
Garruk Relentless was what Brian was building toward, and Ali could only shrug at the wolf machine before trimming things down with Curse of Death’s Hold. The curse cleared out all of Brian’s mana producers and left him with just two lands to work with, but he was unable to do anything besides make a wolf on his turn. That left Ali free to tap out for Consecrated Sphinx.
Gideon Jura tightened the noose by forcing attacks, but Brian wasn’t done fighting. Phyrexian Metamorph copied the big flier to give him his own stream of cards, but he was already way behind and a Lingering Souls plus flashback further tilted the board in Ali’s favor. A second Phyrexian Metamorph on Consecrated Sphinx prompted Ali to clear things up with Day of Judgment before dropping Brian to 6 with Gideon Jura.
Ali wins the match 2-1