Round 4 Feature Match: Erik Smith vs. Andrew Shrout
Sitting at table 1, both of these competitors had banner years in 2013: Erik Smith earning an Invitational win in New Jersey and Andrew making the top 8 of Pro Tour Dragon’s Maze… but a win here in Las Vegas would put a nice exclamation point on their young career years. Which of these gentlemen will begin this tournament with an unblemished 4-0 Standard record?
The first game began with Erik on the mull to six, then Andrew played Experiment One with his first turn. Erik played an unleashed Rakdos Cackler for his first turn, but Andrew had a particularly good turn two play in Voice of Resurgence to stymie Erik’s attack. Another Cackler came down for Erik, who could only take damage from the now 2/2 Human Ooze. But that soon changed, as Erik’s turn three saw him cast Burning-Tree Emissary, play and activate Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, and then Purphoros, God of the Forge. What a turn!
Erik Smith deploys an aggressive array of creatures.
Banisher Priest from Andrew rempoved the 5/6 God, at least temporarily, but it did not allow him to attack. Boros Reckoner provided a further road block, and things ground to a halt in this aggro mirror. Fleecemane Lion and a second Banisher Priest (removing Reckoner) changed things, and the now 3/3 One and 2/2 Voice dropped Erik to 11. Erik found another Minotaur Wizard to play defense, but things looked to be tilting in favor of the G/W pilot. Now armed with five mana to make his Lion monstrous at any time, Andrew instead elected to drop Voice of Resurgence number two and three! Once again, a ground stall.
Seven mana from Nykthos though spelled Stormbreath Dragon, which not only provided Erik with much needed air support but also a necessary blocker for Andrew’s biggest and baddest beats. The Pro Tour top 8 competitor could only pass. Stormbreath dropped Andrew to 16, and Erik played a second copy of the 4/4 mythic flyer, to which Andrew decided Skylasher at end of turn could join the fray. After some quick maths, Andrew decided the time was not yet right to try to attack and instead passed right back to Erik. But Erik found a second Nykthos, and he used it to make both of his Dragons 7/7s (Andrew, for better or worse, had no cards in hand). One of the 7/7s flew into Andrew to drop him to 9, and a turn later another 7/7 flyer swung into the red zone (and it has never been redder!) and set Andrew on fire to the tune of a measly 2 life point.
Andrew, sensing that it was now or never, made his kitty monstrous and swung all out… and thanks to a topdecked Boon Satyr he could hit Erik for pretty much exactly what he needed to steal the win!
What a game!
Andrew 1, Erik 0.
Erik, now able to enjoy being on the play with a full hand, led with Mountain. Andrew similarly had no turn one play this game, so Erik’s turn two Frostburn Weird was the first creature. Voice of Resurgence was Andrew’s turn two, but that didn’t stop Frostburn Weird from rumbling in for 1. Hammer of Purphoros came into play on turn three, then Andrew used his third turn to add Scavenging Ooze to the board.
Andrew Shrout's G/W deck is under pressure.
Purphoros, God of the Forge entered play on turn four, and thanks to his namesake Hammer was able to immediately rumble for five damage. Talk about explosive! Andrew took a moment to get the wording on the red God correct before dropping Experiment One and passing with two mana available. Erik cast Chained to the Rocks on his Sacred Foundry to silence the Voice then cast Ash Zealot, but in response to the Zealot Selesnya Charm dealt with the indestructible 5/6. Erik pumped the Frostburn Weird to 2/3 to set Andrew’s life to 9 before passing.
Glare of Heresy removed the Chain to get back his Voice of Resurgence. Fanatic of Mogis was Erik’s play, dealing an immediate seven damage, and then attacked. After blocking, he fell to 1, and a turn later that was all she wrote for game 2.
Andrew 1, Erik 1.
Andrew decided to mulligan in game three, while Erik was able to keep his opening seven. Unfortunately, his six card hand was unkeepable and he had to drop to five. Andrew did have a one-drop (Experiment One) and Erik didn’t, but Andrew missed his turn two mana play and had to simply pass. Frostburn Weird put the breaks on the Ooze, and a turn later a pair of Burning-Tree Emissaries plus Nykthos allowed Boros Reckoner to join in the fun too. Andrew found a second land to spring Skylasher into combat after Erik then dropped Ash Zealot too, but that only allowed his Experiment One to trade with Frostburn Weird. Andrew still was at 10.
Chained to the Rocks added insult to injury, taking out Andrew’s last remaining creature before cracking in for the win on turn five. An unfortunate draw from Andrew Shrout plus a very powerful one from Erik Smith means the New Jersey Invitational champion will head into the Legacy portion sitting at 4-0, but don’t count out Andrew Shrout. Still well in shouting distance headed into the Eternal format at 3-1, he’ll look to bounce back in the second half of Day 1.
Erik 2, Andrew 1.