Round 3: Erik Smith vs. Gregg Spano
Both of these players are no strangers to Invitational success—Gregg was a semifinalist in Charlotte earlier this year, while Erik won the Invitational the last time it was held in New Jersey. Gregg was with his trademark Metalworker deck, while Erik brought Esper Deathblade to battle.
Gregg is eager to get some giant robots into play.
Gregg hoped to shut down Erik’s party before it even started, leading with City of Traitors into Chalice of Void for 1. Erik had no answer, and simply played an Underground Sea and passed. Gregg had a turn 2 Metalworker, and Erik’s turn 2 play was Scrubland into Stoneforge Mystic, grabbing Batterskull out of his deck, but he had no way to keep Gregg from untapping and going nuts with Metalworker.
With Erik tapped out, Gregg went nuts as promised. He revealed Grim Monolith, Sundering Titan, and Staff of Nin, then played the Monolith and the Sundering Titan, blowing up both of Erik’s lands. Erik had more land drops over the next few turns, playing Underground Sea, Tropical Island, and Wasteland, but he was without a white mana source, leaving the Batterskull stranded in his hand.
Gregg attacked for 7 twice, and drew a chump block from Stoneforge Mystic on his third swing. Erik attempted Vendilion Clique to block on Gregg’s next attack, but Staff of Nin cleared the way, and it was on to game 2.
Gregg Spano 1, Erik Smith 0
Erik resolves a tricky Thoughtseize.
Deathrite Shaman showed up on turn 1 for Erik, While Gregg simply played a Glimmerpost and passed. Erik fired off a Thoughtseize, seeing a hand of Grim Monolith, Kuldotha Forgemaster, Karn Liberated, Lodestone Golem, Wasteland, and City of Traitors from Gregg. He took the Lodestone Golem after some consideration, then added a second Deathrite Shaman and passed. When Gregg attempted a Grim Monolith on his next turn, Erik put the brakes on with a Force of Will, pitching another Force.
Erik simply passed the turn with his two Deathrite Shamans active, and Gregg was able to finally get a threat online in the form of Lodestone Golem, but it didn’t stick in play, as Erik found a third land and was able to pay 5 to cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, returning it to Gregg’s hand. Gregg found a second City of Traitors, however, and was able to recast it. This time it met a more permanent end—Erik cast Liliana of the Veil and ticked down, then Brainstormed with his Jace before passing it back.
Kuldotha Forgemaster was Gregg’s next attempt to get something going, but Erik had a Swords to Plowshares to keep it off the table. He untapped with a monumental advantage, with two active planeswalkers and two Deathrite Shamans against Gregg’s empty board and three lands. A Vendilion Clique revealed the two cards in Gregg’s hand were Karn Liberated and All is Dust, powerful spells that he was miles away from casting. Gregg laughed and saw the writing on the wall, picking up his cards.
Gregg Spano 1, Erik Smith 0
Gregg had simply a Cloudpost and a passed turn, while Thoughtseize led the charge for Erik in the decider, and it saw a hand of Wasteland, Cloudpost ,Chalice of the Void, Wurmcoil Engine, and a pair of Trinispheres. Erik sniped the Chalice, while Gregg was content to Wasteland Eriks’s Underground Sea away. Erik replaced it with a Tundra, which came in handy when Gregg drew and attempted a Chalice of the Void for 1. Erik showed him Spell Pierce.
Erik had another Thoughtseize, seeing Wurmcoil Engine, two Trinispheres, and a freshly drawn Trading Post as the options. He got rid of Gregg’s Trading Post, but couldn’t stop Trinisphere from entering play. Gregg found Metalworker, but Erik was ready with Swords to Plowshares. Erik found his fifth land and went for a Batterskull, but it only got in one attack before Gregg was able to destroy it with Spine of Ish Sah.
Wurmcoil Engine was the next attempt for Gregg to shut things down, but Erik was able to pay six mana to Snapcast his Swords to Plowshares, keeping Gregg’s board free of threats. Kuldotha Forgemaster came next, and Erik had Jace, the Mind Sculptor to bounce it. Gregg knew he couldn’t recast a creature into the Jace, so he fired back with Staff of Nin, killing off the Snapcaster Mage.
A Wasteland from Erik knocked out a Cloudpost and reduced Gregg to just three mana, and Erik began the slow process of beating Gregg down with a Creeping Tar Pit. Gregg attempted two Metalworkers, but the first was met with Force of Will, and the second with Abrupt Decay. Thanks to Erik’s +0 activations of Jace, Gregg was able to use two Staff of Nin activations to clear away the planeswalker, but he could find no answer to the Deathrite Shaman and Creeping Tar Pit which slowly picked away at his life total.
Gregg drew his final two cards, and laughed. He revealed his hand: two Kuldotha Forgemasters and 5 seven-drops. Unable to cast the powerful spells in hand, Gregg conceded.
Erik Smith 2, Gregg Spano 1