Round 7: Brandon Downs vs. Adam Boyd
Brandon stares down a tough pairing with Top 8 on the line.
Facing an incredibly bad matchup in Frites this round, Brandon Downs would need to power through with R/G Aggro. He’d already done that once in this tournament, but Adam Boyd was one of the top players in the event and had amassed an undefeated record so far.
Forest and Birds for Adam Boyd on turn 1, while Brandon played Copperline Gorge and Galvanic Blast to kill it. Tracker’s Instincts hit Faithless Looting but no creatures on Adam’s second turn, while Brandon began the beatdown with Garruk’s Companion.
Strangleroot Geist sent for 5 with the Companion, while Adam cast Looting and discarded Unburial Rites and Elesh Norn before playing another Forest—he was all-in on Birds of Paradise. Brandon failed to find another burn spell, and he attacked Adam to 10 but had nothing to stop the Praetor from hitting the board.
Adam cast a Rites from his hand. Once Elesh Norn was in place, Brandon searched the deck for Thrun with his Zenith and passed the turn. Adam flashbacked Tracker’s Instincts for Elesh Norn and attacked for 4 damage, ending the turn. Brandon had a pretty good follow-up: Sword of War and Peace on Thrun, the Last Troll, which dropped Adam down to just 2 life!
He played Avacyn’s Pilgrim to make a blocker and sent the turn, throwing away his Elf to Brandon’s Sword-wielding 2/2. “Come on,” Brandon begged the deck, so close to the victory he needed. Unburial Rites cast from the hand made a Pilgrim to block again, and that left Adam with three copies of the card in his graveyard now. Huntmaster of the Fells gained Brandon 2 life.
Adam attacked him to 8 life and flashbacked a Pilgrim. This time, Brandon declined to attack—he was going to try and draw Wolf Run or the burn spell while stabilizing his life total. Adam got to untap with a Blackcleave Cliffs now, casting Faithless Looting to look for more. He pitched land and Elesh Norn, then cast Lingering Souls.
Brandon tried one more topdeck, but came up empty.
Adam 1, Brandon 0
Adam's Elesh Norns struck true.
Brandon’s hand was fine to start game 2, but Adam mulliganed to six for a better hand. Brandon started with Birds this time, while Adam had Copperline Gorge and Llanowar Elf. Galvanic Blast and Strangleroot Geist put Brandon ahead, and Adam’s turn 2 Mulch hit three lands while binning a Birds, leaving him on seven cards.
Zenith for three searched Brandon’s deck for Strangleroot Geist, and he attacked for 4 damage. “I should probably get Garruk’s Companion,” he said with a laugh. Blackcleave Cliffs and Lingering Souls gave Adam a wall to stem some of the bleeding, which he promptly did when Brandon attacked.
Huntmaster of the Fells added to the board, but Adam could wipe it soon if he had Faithless Looting into Rites + Elesh Norn. He found himself instead flashbacking Lingering Souls and playing a tapped land. Blocking to go to 9, Brandon was able to flip his Huntmaster into Ravager by passing the turn, and Adam conceded after drawing another card.
Adam 1, Brandon 2
Starting with Blackcleave Cliffs and Faithless Looting, Adam discarded Unburial Rites and Elesh Norn—not a bad turn 1. Llanowar Elves from Brandon, and Adam’s turn 2 Birds met Galvanic Blast before Brandon played two more Birds.
Adam had what he needed though—Avacyn’s Pilgrim and Birds of Paradise via Shimmering Grotto guaranteed Adam the four mana he needed, including white. Green Sun’s Zenith for Thrun and an attack for 1 wasn’t so bad, but Adam had a way higher life total than he’d had the last time this came close to working.
Elesh Norn hit play, and Adam attacked Brandon to 17 before passing. No Sword for Brandon, just a land, and Adam started to get out of control. Tracker’s Instinct whiffed, and he flashbacked it once more, this time hitting an Elves and putting another Elesh Norn in the graveyard. He attacked Brandon for 7, and passed after Brandon stunted some of the bleeding.
Flashbacking his Instincts found him Lingering Souls as he attacked again, Adam’s army growing beyond Brandon’s hope to control. Kessig Wolf Run off the top was no good, and Brandon conceded. “I needed to draw my Metamorph or my Act of Aggression,” Brandon considered, and Adam nodded. “Act’s the best card for you.”
Adam 2, Brandon 1