Round 5: Craig Wescoe vs. Pat Cox
Both of these seasoned professionals are well known Wild Nacatl aficionados, but would their affinity for attacking translate into the 40-card format?
Pat is put to the test.
Craig, on the play, was first to the board with a turn 2 Ainok Bond-Kin, while Pat was feeling 22 with a pair of Blossoming Sands on his first two turns. Each player added a morph to the board on their turn 3. Wescoe had the initiative, but chose not to attack his morph into Pat’s, choosing instead to cast Jeskai Student and use the outlast ability on his Bond-Kin. Pat, for his part, simply added a second morph to his board and shipped back.
After some deliberation, Craig came crashing in on his turn 5 with his morph and his Ainok Bond-Kin. Pat chose to block the morph with one of his own, and Wescoe tapped out to flip up Witness of the Ages, trumping the 2/2 in combat. Pat fell to 19. He had only a Sultai Banner on his next turn, missing his land drop, and shipped it back to Craig. Craig used Bring Low to clear Pat’s one blocker (a morph, which turned out to be Pine Walker) and sent in with his team, dropping Pat to 7.
Pat needed to turtle up to stabilize, and he found a strong blocker in the form of Meandering Towershell. Craig shrugged and attacked with his team anyway. The Towershell jumped in front of Craig’s largest creature, the 4/4 Witness of the Ages, but the other two attackers dropped Pat to 3, and a post-combat Arrow Storm sealed the deal.
Craig plans his attack.
Pat chose to draw for game 2, meaning it was Wescoe who had the first opportunity to add a 2/2 morph to his board. Pat followed suit with a turn 3 morph of his own, and Wescoe happily played a second morph right behind. A second morph from Pat on his turn brough parity to the board yet again. Once Craig made his fifth land drop, he felt comfortable attacking with his morphs, and Pat tanked for a moment before choosing to block Craig’s first morph but let his second through. Witness of the Ages again flipped up to trump Pat’s morph in combat. Pat had one morph remaining, and he played his fifth land and passed the turn right back with mana open.
Rather than attack in the dark, Craig decided to take a peek at Pat’s morph by stealing it—He flipped up his other morph, revealing Jeering Instigator. Once it was under his control, Craig could see that Pat’s morph was a Brooding Hydra. He attacked for 8 with his creatures plus Pat’s face-down Hydra, then added Leaping Master to his board.
Pat’s plan had been to unmorph the Hydra on Craig’s end step, but he had no window to do so while Craig controlled it. He had to settle for passing the turn again with mana open. Craig attacked anyway, and the Hydra predictably flipped up as a 5/5 and jumped in front of the Witness of the Ages. Pat fell to 8, and a pair of Ainok Bond-Kins cam down for Craig post-combat. Pat needed to leave his Hydra back on defense, but he made a strong bid to stabilize, playing Sultai Banner into Highland Game and Savage Punch, taking out Craig’s Leaping Master.
With the board stalled, Craig began fortifying his position. He outlasted both of his Ainok Bond-Kins, then added Herald of Anafenza to his board and outlasted one of the Bond-Kins again on his next turn. Pat quickly dispatched the Herald with a Rite of the Serpent, but had no answer to the pair of Bond-Kins as they continued to grow each turn. He added a morph to his board, while Craig developed his board in turn with a Jeskai Student.
The morph was revealed at Craig’s end step to be Abomination of Gudul, and it swung in to dig for some gas. It found Sultai Charm, which killed off the bigger of the two Ainok Bond-Kins, leaving behind the other as a 5/4. He passed the turn back to Craig, who attacked with his team. Highland Game chump-blocked the 5/4 First Striker, Hooded Hydra blocked Jeering Instigator, and the Jeskai Student got through. Craig used Defiant Strike to pump it to 3/4, dropping Pat to 7, and Mardu Hordechief post-combat helped re-establish his board position.
Meandering Towershell arrived for Pat to hold off Craig’s beats, and a second Savage Punch cleared away Craig’s remaining Ainok Bond-kin. Craig drew his card, quickly confirmed life totals, then showed Arc Lightning and Arrow Storm. Pat shrugged and extended the hand.