Round 7: Brian Kibler (Maverick) vs. Max Tietze (Maverick)
Brian Kibler faces Max Tietze in a mirror in Round 7 at the Invitational.
Neither of these players is any stranger to the tournament scene. Kibler is one of the best-known professionals on the planet, fresh off a Pro Tour win in Hawaii, while Max has been grinding the Open Series and Grand Prix circuit with success for some time.
Kibler took down the die roll and mulliganed immediately, but Max had a keeper on seven cards. Windswept Heath began, while Max had Savannah and Noble Hierarch to start accelerating. Kibler fetched his own Savannah during the end step and cast Swords to Plowshares on the Hierarch. Playing Wasteland, he declined to use it—he deployed Scavenging Ooze instead. The 2/2 was one of Legacy’s hottest risers, trumping even Tarmogoyf in many games.
Max aimed Wasteland at Brian’s Savannah, leaving him without green mana, and he then passed. Attacking for 2 damage, Brian decided to pass, rather than go to zero lands by firing back with his own Wasteland. That proved wise—Max had another Savannah, although he did cast Qasali Pridemage.
Maze of Ith for Brian and a pass of the turn. He was hoping to weather this screw and rally thanks to the Maze, which would be particularly effective against Pridemage. Max had just Misty Rainforest, ending his turn.
Brian hit Windswept Heath, once again accessing colored mana. He didn’t pop it just yet, ending the turn. Max drew and played Dryad Arbor, passing right back—the board was truly stalemated. Now Brian used his Wasteland, aiming it at one Savannah. Max floated, and Kibler tried to change phases. Max decided to fetch, Kibler quickly also fetching—he had the read on a possible Aven Mindcensor, and had made sure to maximize his mana. He grabbed Forest, while Max searched for Taiga and cast the Mindcensor. Brian played Noble Hierarch and attacked for 3 damage.
Able to get in damage through three attackers now, Max swung with both and landed 3 damage, putting Brian to 15. Max then fetched another Savannah and cast Mother of Runes, followd by his own Scavenging Ooze. Tapped, out he passed to the mana-light Brian.
Brian cast Scryb Ranger for free thanks to Hierarch prior to adding another Hierarch to the field, and after an attack for 4 damage he used Swords on the Mother. Max immediately got aggressive on the next turn, sending his ooze, Pridemage, and Mindcensor into the fray but keeping his Arbor at home. Brian mazed the Mindcensor and decline to Scryb Ranger his Ooze for a trade, content with the current race. Max played Grove of the Burnwillows and Umezawa’s Jitte before equipping to the untapped Arbor.
Swinging for 3 damage with his Scryb Ranger, Brian put Max to 7 and cast his own Mindcensor, replaying Forest. Max sent just the Arbor with Jitte, and Brian quickly Mazed it. Playing another Mother of Runes, Max moved Jitte to Mindcensor and ended the turn, losing two of the lands in his graveyard to Brian’s Ooze.
Gambling a bit, Brian tried Green Sun’s Zenith for two—he hit Dryad Arbor, strangely enough a pretty reasonable search! Brian played Karakas afterward, while Max dropped Scryb Ranger during the end step. “This doesn’t bode well,” Brian admitted, knowing that an active Mother of Runes with the Ranger was very bad news. Max attacked with his two-power creatures and the equipped Mindcensor became lost in the Maze once again as Brian fell to 7.
Max Tietze in the mirror match. Can he pull ahead?
The next Green Sun’s Zenith for two that Brian tried hit Qasali Pridemage in four cards. “That’s a good one,” Max said, and Brian laughed. “I’ve got a few of those in my deck. I think I’m still really behind, though.” Swords to Plowshares from Max on the Aven Mindcensor gave him the ability to Zenith for three, and Brian conceded immediately.
Max 1, Brian 0
“Good luck,” Brian offered. “But not too good!” Starting with Forest and Noble Hierarch, Brian had an excellent start that Max mirrored with Taiga and his own Hierarch. Brian decided to Wasteland the Taiga on turn 2 and cast Green Sun’s Zenith for one, grabbing Noble Hierarch number two. Max recovered with Grove of the Burnwillows, then Stoneforge Mystic for Umezawa’s Jitte.
Brian had the free Scryb Ranger again, then Knight of the Reliquary while sitting on one mana. Max was ready to play that game with a couple Knights of his own, and after sneaking in for 2 damage with Stoneforge Mystic he cast Punishing Fire on Scryb Ranger and then Birds of Paradise—Brian had big problems!
Facing the repeatable Shock with a board dependent on Hierarchs, Brian floated a green and searched for Gaea’s Cradle, sacrificing his Forest. Tapping it, he cast Scavenging Ooze to eat Punishing Fire and Taiga before casting Mother of Runes with a Hierarch still untapped, representing Swords. Max could try to slam Jitte, but he decided to Swords Brian’s Knight and cast his own.
Path to Exile from Brian during the end step slew the big guy, and Max found a Forest as Brian untapped. He then cast another Scavenging ooze and ate his dead Ranger to get a 3/3, attacking. Brian wasn’t happy to see Linvala, Keeper of Silence from Max on the next turn—he ate a land in response, but had a lot to deal with now that his entire board was basically null.
He had no choice but to swing with his 3/3 Ooze, receiving a boost from two Hierarchs and putting Max to 10. Brian played Horizon Canopy and ended the turn. Max deployed Jitte on his Mystic and swung, earning two counters before he played Mother of Runes, keeping his Karakas untapped.
Brian lost both his Hierarchs before he could attack, now completely stalled. Max put Jitte on his Birds of Paradise, taking advantage of exalted to get counters without any risk, and he followed with Knight of the Reliquary on a board that continued to spiral out of control for Brian. Drawing for the turn, Brian thought over his options before conceding.
Max 2, Brian 0