Round 6: Chris Keller vs. Nick Spagnolo
There’s been a spike in Charbelching today, and Chris Keller is one of a couple players on top records with the volatile combo deck. His opponent this round is Nick Spagnolo, piloting an archetype he has looked forward to experimenting with for some time: BUG.
After winning the die roll, Nick kept his seven. Considering his own carefully, Chris eventually elected to go down to six cards in search of a better grip. Misty Rainforest for Nick began the game, while Chris started with…a long pause. “Am I dead?” Nick asked, laughing—his opponent certainly appeared to be on a combo deck by now! Likely more certain that Nick lacked a Daze now, Chris went for it.
Chris Keller's Charbelcher made quick work of Nick in the first game.
Lotus Petal into Tinder Wall for Rite of Flame, Pyretic Ritual, and Seething Song left Chris on an awkward six mana—he cast Goblin Charbelcher and passed the turn, having miscounted slightly. “What a terrifying deck,” Nick commented, searching up Bayou and casting Life from the Loam after playing Wasteland. Chris paid 4 life for two Gitaxian Probes, revealing a hand that contained zero disruption and zero pressure for Nick—but it did have Brainstorm!
Nick cast Liliana of the Veil on the next turn, fetching for Underground Sea, and boosted her loyalty up. Chris binned Desperate Ritual, and Nick passed the turn. Lion’s Eye Diamond off the top gave Chris the mana he needed to activate his Charbelcher, and that was the game.
Chris 1, Nick 0
Inquisition of Kozilek gave Nick the ability to peel a card from his opponent’s starter, but when he saw Pyretic Ritual, two Desperate Ritual, Seething Song, Lion’s Eye Diamond, and Taiga, he knew it wouldn’t matter very much—he took the Diamond. Chris immediately passed on turn 1, protecting Taiga from Wasteland while he waited for action.
Nick played two Misty Rainforests, lacking pressure himself, and Brainstormed in response to a Lotus Petal from Chris on turn 3. Fetching another Underground Sea, Nick allowed it to resolve. He passed on the next turn, and Chris decided now was the time to play Taiga before shipping turn back.
Brainstorm gave Nick Creeping Tar Pit, and he passed afterward. Chris played Tinder Wall and shipped, nodding when Nick cast Thoughtseize on the next turn. Spotting two Desperate Ritual, two Pyretic Ritual, Seething Song, Elvish Spirit Guide, and Rite of Flame, Nick decided to make Chris discard the Spirit Guide. Chris drew, and quickly passed.
Pernicious Deed for Nick would let him solve some of the woes on the board, but he didn’t pop it immediately—instead, he let Chris draw and tank, holding the Deed as insurance against Empty the Warrens. Consulting his sideboard indicated Chris had Burning Wish access now, which could be bad for Nick. Sure enough, Chris cast a new Timber Wall and sacrificed the old one, casting Rite of Flame, two Pyretic Ritual, two Desperate Ritual, and Seething Song before going for Burning Wish—Nick Forced that, and broke his Deed for one afterward.
Post-board, Nick Spagnolo's maindeck and tactics improved significantly.
Now, all Chris had was Taiga.
Chris 1, Nick 1
“Scariest deck in the world,” Nick reiterated as they shuffled up for the decider. Chris paid 2 life for Gitaxian Probe, spotting three lands, two Deeds, and Force of Will alongside a Brainstorm—gas. He followed with Taiga and Tinder Wall. Nick played Tar Pit and sent the turn right back.
Lotus Petal for Chris still couldn’t threaten Nick, whose Misty Rainforest moved him one step closer to Deed mana. Chris passed on turn 3 with no plays, and Nick took that opportunity to cast his Brainstorm, representing potential vulnerability if he hadn’t found a blue card, or didn’t find one now. Shuffling with his fetchland, Nick searched for Tropical Island. He played Underground Sea on his own turn, and passed without casting the Deed.
Chris considered his options, popping Tinder Wall for Desperate Ritual then playing Pyretic Ritual and casting Goblin Charbelcher. Nick used his Force of Will grudgingly, and Chris passed back. During the end step, Nick used Snapcaster Mage to flashback Brainstorm. Untapping, Inquisition of Kozilek removed Simian Spirit Guide and left Chris with Seething Song and Pyretic Ritual. Wasteland blew up the Taiga, and Nick cast Dark Confidant before attacking with Snapcaster for 2 damage.
Just on Lotus Petal, Chris ended his turn. Nick swung for 4 after revealing Dark Confidant and broke Pernicious Deed for zero, clearing out that Petal to put Chris to zero permanents. Another attack knocked him to 11, the clock growing as Nick played the second Confidant.
Chris drew and passed, and when Tar Pit joined the fray on the next turn the attack became lethal.
Chris 1, Nick 2