Round 5: David McDarby vs. Eric Becker
The tide rose for Eric initially...
Fighting to stay in contention, these players met in the arena with two very different styles of blue combo. Eric had a High+Tide build that appeared to eschew Candelabra+of+Tawnos, while David came with Show+and+Tell, featuring Sneak+Attack and Emrakul for quick wins.
Eric’s Island and Preordain gave away little on the first turn, but indicated a potential combo archetype. David started his turn in thought before using Voclanic Island to Preordain. Scalding+Tarn from Eric preceded his Ponder on turn 2, keeping the shuffle option available after he replaced his top three. David played Ancient+Tomb, and immediately passed the turn.
Considering the Ancient+Tomb, Eric appeared wary. He played an island and passed, his fetch uncracked, and David used Intuition during the end step to find some aliens: three Emrakuls. David untapped and cast Ponder, likely digging for some protection he could use to make Emrakul connect. He played Lotus+Bloom, and then City+of+Traitors, ending his turn.
Eric drew and immediately passed on three lands, stuck for mana. David had plenty, but also passed, waiting for Eric to make a move. During the end step, Island via Scalding+Tarn for Eric enabled Cunning+Wish, and David wasn’t sure what to do. He allowed it to resolve, and Eric grabbed Pact+of+Negation.
Another Ponder for Eric hit land, which he played. David cast Intuition during the end step once again, going to sixteen via Ancient+Tomb and grabbing three Force+of+Wills. Floating two, David played Mountain to destroy City and cast Sneak+Attack. Eric quickly replied with Force+of+Will, pitching Spell+Pierce. David Forced back, removing his own Pierce, but another Force from Eric removed Intuition. David had nothing else, and binned the enchantment.
Eric played Scalding+Tarn and passed, his Pact+of+Negation now a live card, and David sent turn himself. Hitting draw first, Eric cast Ponder to keep the top three and passed, casting Cunning+Wish after David drew a land—another Pierce countered.
Each player went into draw-go mode, making the occasional land drop and slowly rebuilding their position. David hit a live card first in Sneak+Attack, and Eric pointed Pact+of+Negation at it. Misdirection pitching Daze aimed the Pact+of+Negation to Misdirection, and Sneak+Attack resolved. David could clearly tell something was fishy, but he activated Sneak+Attack for Emrakul anyway, running into a tricksy Turnabout.
Eric passed, in danger of the game sneaking away at any moment, but David had no more aliens, and each player continued making land drops. That had to favor High+Tide, and when Eric went for it on seven lands, David had to feel threatened. He hardcast Force+of+Will, and Eric responded with another High+Tide, which resolved, although David could have Dazed it for some value.
Remand on the original High+Tide bought it back, and Eric cast it to get his Islands producing triple blue. Turnabout targeted Eric for lands, floating three mana, and he went to fifteen mana for Time+Spiral. Preordain shipped a couple cards to the bottom, followed by Ponder. Merchant+Scroll tutored Eric into Meditate, but David Forced it—Remand tried to put the Meditate back in Eric’s hand, and David replied with Brainstorm before Forcing again, but Eric had another Remand… and David had a third Force+of+Will!
Stymied on three cards, Eric still had four mana and sixteen spells for Storm. He cast Cunning+Wish to get Turnabout, and fired Time+Spiral again, floating thirty in the process and storming to nineteen mana. Eric’s new hand yielded a Brainstorm, followed by High+Tide number three. Merchant+Scroll tutored for Brain+Freeze, and another Merchant+Scroll tutored for Cunning+Wish. A third Scroll searched up the Blue Sun’s Zenith, and Eric prepared for the kill. Going to fifty mana, he cast Turnabout and then did so again, going to seventy floating.
Brain+Freeze went off now, Eric, putting twenty-five copies on the stack. Nine resolved before Emrakul hit for the first time, and Blue Sun’s Zenith for fifteen aimed right at David’s dome at that point. Remand in response to David’s Force+of+Will tried to save the Blue Sun’s Zenith, and when he recast it David had no way to respond and save himself.
Eric 1, David 0
David sported just Volcanic+Island on turn 1 this time, while Eric had an Island and Preordain to start looking for pieces. Another Island for David ended his turn, a slower start than previous, but Eric had no turn 2 plays other than a land himself.
David fetched Volcanic+Island on turn 3 and cast Show+and+Tell. Eric Remanded the sorcery, but David Misdirectioned the Remand, removing Spell+Pierce. Force+of+Will from Eric, removing Merchant+Scroll, looked good—but David had another Force+of+Will to jam down Emrakul! “Your deck is so much faster,” Eric said with a smile, conceding when his library failed to answer the Eldrazi David had jammed down... on turn 3!
Eric 1, David 1
But Emrakul brought things back to a reality (albeit a tentacle-infested one).
Island and Volcanic+Island began these games, with Eric playing Ponder on turn 2 before playing a land. David, smelling mana trouble, burned Daze on the sorcery, floating red mana, and Eric replied with Force+of+Will, removing Merchant+Scroll—good read from David, it seemed. Still, the Ponder resolved, and Eric found himself shuffling with a sigh. He drew… and passed. Replaying Volcanic, David passed.
Eric cast Preordain into an Island and shipped the turn, while David played Ancient+Tomb and tried Show+and+Tell. Another Force+of+Will for Eric binned Cunning+Wish, and David passed the turn over to Eric, who lacked a third land. David had his, passing back to Eric afterward.
Playing a second fetchland to avoid death by Spell+Pierce, David cast Show+and+Tell. Remand from Eric resolved, David holding onto his Force+of+Will for future games. Eric played Misty+Rainforest, earning some breathing room, but David went for it again immediately after playing another fetchland. With six potential mana available, he cast Show+and+Tell. Eric Brainstormed in reply, David very tempted to counter but declining to do so.
Eric found a Force+of+Will and pitched Brainstorm to resolve it, but Eric wasn’t done either. He fetched for Island and cast Remand on his own Force+of+Will. That resolved, and this time Eric pitched Disrupt to Force+of+Will the Show+and+Tell. That resolved, and with Eric on two cards Dave fetched three lands and cast Intuition. He found three Sneak+Attacks and passed the turn, eager to try and land a blow, but unwittingly playing right into Hydroblast!
Ending his own turn on three lands and three cards, Eric waited for David to make a move. The enchantment hit the hoser, and Eric found his fourth land, gaining ground. Davi cast Ponder, lacking almost any other way to kill Eric at this point—they were all in the bin! Pyroblast did counter Eric’s Meditate during the end step, at least.
Eric had Ponder to look for action, but as time was called it did not appear either player would be cobbling this game back together any time soon. On eight mana, David passed, while Cunning+Wish from Eric resolved to grab Pact+of+Negation. A pair of passed turns, and the game was over in a draw.
Eric 1, David 1