Round 7: Ali Aintrazi vs. Wayne Baker
National Champion Ali Aintrazi has been entertaining the crowds with his Heartless Rites build today, but Wayne Baker has also managed to accrue a 5-1 record. Fighting to remain in contention, Ali would need to battle through Wayne’s Zombies deck if he wanted to keep his Top 8 dreams alive.
The die roll gave Wayne the play, and Ali wished him luck before taking his first opening seven of the match. Each player kept, and Wayne started Swamp and Diregraf+Ghoul, revealing himself to be an aggressive black deck. Ali led Sulfur+Falls, implying the opposite. Falling to 18 as Wayne attacked, Ali immediately realized what Wayne was playing when he spotted Skirsdag+High+Priest. Tanking on turn 2, Ali played Evolving+Wilds rather than Darkslick+Shores.
Wayne attacked Ali to 15, and made it 13 with Geralf’s Messenger. Fetching Plains, Ali untapped into a Whipflare that killed everything except the undying Messenger before he played Darkslick+Shores. Another attack put Ali to 7 life, and Wayne turned up the heat with his second Diregraf+Ghoul. Lacking the fourth land (and second white source) that Ali needed for Day+of+Judgment, he cast Desperate+Ravings, pitching Blasphemous+Act. Ali played Sulfur+Falls, and ended his turn.
Dropping to 1, Ali was dead to Mortarpod on the next turn.
Wayne 1, Ali 0
Wayne is hoping to take Ali out before he can come online.
Now on the play, Ali hoped to even the score. Starting Evolving+Wilds, Ali passed to Wayne, who had Gravecrawler on turn 1 this time, starting a similar clock. Ali fetched Plains during the end step and then played Dragonskull+Summit, passing the turn. He went to 18 when Wayne attacked, and just a Gravecrawler followed—no second land for the Zombies player.
Faithless+Looting pitched Elesh Norn and Unburial+Rites on the next turn, Wayne suddenly in dire shape. Ali added Blackcleave+Cliffs and passed, while Wayne could do nothing more than cast a third Gravecrawler.
Elesh Norn came back from the grave, wiping the board, and Wayne missed land once again. With just a Swamp in play, he began losing life in 4-point chunks, Elesh Norn continuing to chip in as Ali drew cards. Lootings, followed by Ravings, kept Ali ahead, and Wayne decided to scoop once Rune-Scarred+Demon joined the party as well.
Wayne 1, Ali 1
A pair of keeps in the rubber game, with Wayne leading Gravecrawler to Ali’s Clifftop+Retreat. Playing a second Swamp, Wayne cast Skirsdag+High+Priest and ended the turn after attacking. Ali’s Faithless+Looting put two lands in the bin, clearly digging for action rather than mana, and he followed with Evolving+Wilds before ending the turn. Another Gravecrawler and a Fume+Spitter for Wayne, who then decided to pass the turn—he was clearly planning to Fume+Spitter his own Spitter in order to morbid out a 5/5 Demon.
Needing help, Ali fetched Plains and untapped into another Faithless+Looting. Swamp and Heartless+Summoning ended Ali’s turn, and Wayne decided to Spitter his High Priest and make the Demon. Attacking Ali for 9, he reduced the National Champ to one more turn of life, barring Day+of+Judgment or similar. Liliana+of+the+Veil binned an excess Summoning from Ali, but that wasn’t what Wayne needed to worry about—Day+of+Judgment mopped the board. Wayne himself had pitched Phantasmal+Image, revealing himself to be B/U!
Lacking another Zombie, Wayne passed the turn on three lands without using Liliana, content to keep her on four rather than risk enabling Ali. Faithless+Looting for Ali discarded two more lands, and Solemn+Simulacrum got him to six mana with a Summoning in play, but only lands in hand. Not the best Loots!
Drawing for turn, Wayne made Ali sacrifice the Simulacrum, and passed. Ali drew another land, flashbacking Faithless+Looting and discarding two more before playing a second Summoning—the third one he’d drawn. Wayne boosted Liliana, pitching Swamp, and passed the turn. Ali cast Elesh Norn and then flashbacked his last Looting, eager to take Liliana offline.
She made Ali sacrifice his Praetor, falling to a single loyalty, and Wayne followed with Skirsdag+High+Priest and a fourth mana. Another Faithless+Looting from Ali preceded his Rune-Scarred+Demon, fetching Phantasmal+Image prior to a mystery card, likely doing Wayne in at this point.
Wayne was stuck without any blue sources over the match and now facing down an indomitable air force. Sighing, he boosted Liliana to pitch another Image, nodding as Ali discarded an excess Norn. Unburial+Rites, Ali’s tutor target, brought back the Praetor, and Wayne was left without options, and without a life total.
Wayne 1, Ali 2