Round 6: Joe Bernal vs. Roy Jones
Piloting five-color Heartless Rites, Joe Bernal admitted to a punt last round detracting from his otherwise pristine record. On 4-1, both he and his opponent, Roy Jones, were in the hunt for a Top 8 finish, but only one of them would move to Round 7 unscathed.
Joe's all about the big monsters today.
Taking a quick mulligan to six, Joe would be down a card as Roy stood pat. He had Darkslick Shores to start, while Roy led Swamp and Gravecrawler to begin the beatdown. Joe’s turn 2 Heartless Summoning off Blackcleave Cliffs met no contest—only Skirsdag High Priest for Roy, attacking for 2 damage.
The mulligan looked sick for Joe when his third turn featured a second Heartless Summoning and Solemn Simulacrum, searching for a Plains after he’d playd Blackcleave Cliffs. He took 3 more damage as Roy played Fume Spitter, but just another Swamp ended Roy’s turn. Now, Joe comboed off with Rune-Scarred Demon into two Phyrexian Metamorphs, paying 4 life and finally fetching Wurmcoil Engine, which he played.
Liliana of the Veil made Joe sacrifice one Demon, but he was in fine shape still. The High Priest made a 5/5 Demon itself, contending with Joe’s two 4/4s, but Wurmcoil Engine still had the board advantage… which became even more grotesque once Joe got to untap. Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite mopped every non-Demon off the map for Roy, and Joe attacked with everything after Fume Spitter shrank down Wurmcoil Engine.
Roy made use of Tragic Slip to kill one Demon, leaving Elesh Norn on the board and taking 11 damage, immediately kicking himself afterward. Joe Pondered over additional options, and passed turn. Roy used Liliana to make him discard a land, binning Diregraf Captain and revealing himself to be color-screwed. The information that he was blue would at this point likely inform Joe’s sideboarding more than discarding a black card might have—it’s possible Roy should have considered keeping that Captain hidden.
Joe attacked again with everyone, and Roy put his 3/3 Demon on Joe’s 6/6 Demon, After damage using Tragic Slip to kill Elesh Norn—but it was too little, too late, and he packed them in after drawing another card.
Joe 1, Roy 0
Roy's Zombies face a tough matchup against Heartless Summoning.
Roy had the play this time around, and decided he couldn’t keep his seven—fortunately for Roy, neither could Joe. Roy’s fortunes changed quickly as he went to five cards, and then four, with no lands in sight. “My hand’s not very good,” Joe offered, “although it could be.” Roy’s four were a keep, starting Darkslick Shores. Joe had Blackcleave Cliffs and Faithless Looting, pitching two Elesh Norns.
Swamp and pass for Roy, while Joe played Evolving Wilds. He fetched up an Island after Roy cast Geralf’s Messenger on turn 3, likely not too afraid of the Dark Ascension beatdown machine just yet. Tapping the Island to Ponder, Joe shuffled them back—if he was looking for land, then Roy might have suddenly seized a big lead! More likely, he was looking for Heartless Summoning; he played Isolated Chapel and ended the turn.
An attack dropped Joe to 15, and Diregraf Ghoul joined the part for Roy. Casting Solemn Simulacrum “the hard way,” Joe put a blocker on the board and searched for a Mountain, now boasting double of every color but blue thanks to the Plains he played for turn. Roy attacked into Solemn fearlessly, using Tragic Slip to keep his Ghoul alive. Post-combat, he cast Skirsdag High Priest—this was a game!
Whipflare from Joe left Roy on just an undead Messenger, and he played Solemn Simualcrum post-combat to block it… or not? Changing his mind, Joe fell to 6 life, keeping the Golem as Liliana insurance, no doubt. Casting Wurmcoil Engine with two mana up, Joe passed turn over to Roy—he had a commanding presence against virtually anything the Zombie player could muster, although Phantasmal Image would even the score.
The Messenger looked pretty small now, and Roy passed with two cards in his hand. Joe began attacking, nearly evening life totals in one swing. He cast Rune-Scarred Demon afterward, and Roy revealed a hand of land before conceding the match.
Joe 2, Roy 0