Round 4: Richard Nguyen vs. Carrie Oliver
Richard was on something of an Open Series hot streak, with a handful of consecutive Standard Top 8s on the heels of his Grand Prix Top 8 in Charlotte. Carrie Oliver, meanwhile, had made the trek from across the Atlantic to play in the Invitational after winning a qualifier overseas.
Carrie spent a lot of time testing the Jund matchup this week.
Carrie won the die roll and took the play, quickly keeping her seven as Richard evaluated his own for some time before eventually electing to keep. Carrie opened on Overgrown Tomb and Avacyn’s Pilgrim, while Richard started with just Overgrown Tomb. Carrie had another Pilgrim and Isolated Chapel, attacking for 1, but was dismayed to see Richard add Dragonskull Summit to the board.
“Jund,” she noted sadly, but didn’t mind seeing Richard fail to Farseek on turn 2. Turn 3 gave Carrie a Thragtusk, which Richard winced at before spiking Doom Blade on the front end of the 5/3. Richard made his third land and cast Farseek now, a turn later than he would’ve liked but at least getting him to a likely five mana next turn.
Unburial Rites for Thragtusk put Carrie to 28 and kept her presence on the board overwhelming. Richard changed all of that with a miracle Bonfire off the top, reducing Carrie to just a Beast token. She flashbacked Unburial Rites on the next turn after finding a fourth land, making the 5/3 once more and attacking Richard to 13. He cast his own, going to 18, and the boards were looking more equal.
Richard blocked when Carrie sent just her Beast into combat, offering Richard the token she no longer needed. He cast Scavenging Ooze and sent the turn to Carrie with three mana open, and she declined to Restoration Angel into that position. Falling to 26 for another shockland, Carrie cast Fiend Hunter and exiled Scavenging Ooze, leaving the Beast around to play ball. After that, she ended the turn.
This would hopefully bait out removal from Richard, leaving the way clear for the Angel, but Richard simply tapped out for Olivia Voldaren and gave Carrie a brand new headache. Now she needed a way to clear out the Vampire, and another Fiend Hunter snagged it before Carrie traded off the front side of her Thragtusk with Richard’s Beast.
He made another Thragtusk, going to 23 and passing turn. Carrie attacked and this time Richard took it, but another Thragtusk punished him and kept the situation firmly in Carrie’s favor... with the exception that she couldn’t topdeck a Bonfire! Richard ended the turn with seven mana available, and when Carrie attacked he attempted to use Putrefy to reclaim his Vampire, but Carrie used Restoration Angel to keep it locked under Fiend Hunter, Richard declining to Vampire any of the creatures on the board before taking 3 damage as Thragtusks traded into Beasts.
Huntmaster of the Fells put Richard up to 19, but he was running low on options. Two Beasts and an Angel attacked him, Richard trading his Beast and Huntmaster to eat up those Beasts but keeping a Wolf token. Carrie cast Lingering Souls to follow, declining to flashback it. Richard made another Huntmaster and cast Farseek, taking 5 from Carrie’s assault in the air.
Slowing down, Carrie was holding creatures in the hopes that she’d be able to win post-Bonfire of the Damned, but it was questionable if that was a worthwhile precaution given how incredible the swing would be. Another Huntmaster for Richard, and his Wolf token knocked Carrie to 29. She attacked him to 10 and then cast Shadowborn Demon, pulling the trigger to keep Angel safe from Huntmaster flips and threatening lethal in one fell swoop.
Drawing a card, Richard passed and slew a Spirit with Huntmaster’s transformation into Ravager of the Fells. That meant Carrie could only attack him to 1 life, giving Richard one more draw step to try and get there. He missed Bonfire and simply attacked for 10 damage, dying to her swing back.
Richard found one miracle in the match, but it wasn't enough to take it down.
Carrie 1, Richard 0
Richard started on Blood Crypt while Carrie played Temple Garden, and Scavenging Ooze gave Richard the first early pressure. Carrie played a shockland, missing any early plays and giving Richard room to attack. He swung for 2 and then 2 more as Carrie played another tapped land, no creatures in sight.
Huntmaster of the Fells moved Richard’s clock ahead a few turns, and Carrie spent turn 4 on Garruk Relentless to kill Scavenging Ooze. Richard drew and tanked, casting a miracle Bonfire for 3 damage and splitting his attacks at Garruk and Carrie, leaving her on 11 as he made his fifth land drop.
Thragtusk on five stabilized Carrie’s spot against the Huntmaster, Richard casting Scavenging Ooze and ending the turn afterward. Deathbridge Chant on turn 6 from Carrie made that Ooze much more interesting for both players, but first they had to see what it milled. Three mana guys and Lifebane Zombie alongside a number of lands, letting Richard grow his Ooze quickly to 5/5 in the end step.
Richard attacked with the Ooze and his other two creatures, Carrie content to block Huntmaster and trade with whatever Richard was planning. She took 8 as the Ooze gobbled up Arbor Elf, and a Bonfire for 1 cleared the 5/3 off the board and put Carrie to 7. Carrie missed the Thragtusk in her random Chant, but hit Grisly Salvage before casting Shadowborn Demon on the Scavenging Ooze.
Another Huntmaster for Richard, while Carrie tossed her Demon into the bin during the upkeep and hoped to hit it with her Chant—missing, she recovered Garruk Relentless instead! Unburial Rites on the Demon killed Huntmaster and put Richard’s feet on shrinking ground against the Chant. He cast another Huntmaster, and Carrie made Grisly Salvage in the end step in order to put Thragtusk in her hand and an Unburial Rites, Shadowborn Demon, and Lifebane Zombie into her graveyard.
Restoration Angel with the Demon’s trigger on the stack gave Carrie another zap on Huntmaster before she binned the Demon, randomly retrieving Unburial Rites. Cavern of Souls for Angel and Thragtusk put Carrie up to 12 life. Richard cast his own Thragtusk, going to 33 before he ended the turn. His life total was high, but Carrie had him crushed on the board and the Chant was keeping her hand well-fueled.
The Chant returned Grisly Salvage once more, and Carrie cast Unburial Rites for Shadowborn Demon, passing the turn as Carrie attacked for 3 damage. Richard’s Thragtusk gained him more life, but Carrie had Restoration Angel on her own Thragtusk to jump farther ahead.
Grisly Salvage found Carrie an Angel of Serenity, and that wiped out three of Richard’s tokens leaving him with just Thragtusk and a Wolf token. Then she attacked with everything, sending 11 damage in the air and 8 on the ground, Richard blocking to stave off the 8 damage but falling to 24. He went to 29 with his third Thragtusk, and Carrie chucked a Beast to the Demon while recurring an Arbor Elf.
A swing for 16 left Richard dead to the board—he needed a Bonfire just to stay in it. Drawing for turn, he failed to find one and conceded.
Carrie 2, Richard 0