Round 7: Drew Levin (Reanimator) vs. Brandon Nelson (RUG Delver)
Brandon Nelson has a mind to start Wastelanding.
Drew and Brandon drove down together, and knew every corner of each other’s lists. With Brandon on RUG Delver and Drew on Reanimator, this match would pit two of the format’s top dogs against each other.
Fetching to start, Brandon grabbed Tropical Island and had Delver of Secrets to start. Drew examined his hand carefully before playing a land, no doubt considering how useful his cleanup step might be. He decided to play Underground Sea and Careful Study, which Brandon Dazed. This play exposed Drew to Wasteland to set him way back, so he decided to fight with Force of Will pitching Brainstorm.
Peeling two, Drew discarded Griselbrand and Tidespout Tyrant. No Delver trigger for Brandon earned a fist-pump from Drew, and he fell to 18 as the Delver attacked. Brandon debated his land drop before throwing Wasteland, and Drew quickly slammed a second Underground Sea to play Reanimate on Griselbrand.
“You have to play around something,” Drew said, and Brandon sighed—it was all uphill from here. He replayed his Tropical Island and Pondered, shuffling the deck for help before passing the turn. Drew attacked, going to 17 and considering his next move. Brainstorming, he played Polluted Delta and broke it for Underground Sea to Thoughtseize, spying Nimble Mongoose and three lands before pitching Brandon’s Tarmogoyf.
No flip for Brandon again, and his Delver dropped Drew to 18 life. “I feel like I should draw seven, just to give you a chance,” Drew said, earning a laugh. It looked grim as Brandon cast Nimble Mongoose, and Drew locked it up on the next turn with Animate Dead for Tidespout Tyrant.
Drew 1, Brandon 0
Drew's thinking dark thoughts...
On the play once more, Brandon had a tough hand to consider for game 2, but eventually kept and led Tropical Island. Drew fired back with Underground Sea, and Brandon tapped out on turn 2 for Tarmogoyf. He nodded as Drew cast Entomb for Griselbrand in the end step, and awaited Drew’s next moved.
Leading Brainstorm, Drew peeled three cards and then fetched Underground Sea for Ponder, leaving his three cards in place. The big turn for Tarmogoyf had grown him from 0/1 to 4/5, and Drew fell to 15 life. Brandon Wasted a Sea and passed with his two Tropical Islands untapped.
Island and then Reanimate from Drew—Brandon took a deep breath as he began the fight for the game, in all likelihood. Casting Brainstorm to search for additional responses, Brandon Force of Willed, removing Delver of Secrets. Drew Dazed by returning Underground Sea, prompting a “Hmph,” from Brandon—clearly, Drew had a second Daze. When Brandon paid, Drew floated one and Dazed again.
Griselbrand in play, Drew ended the turn. Thought Scour from Brandon dug up nothing relevant, although Brandon was only one card from threshold now. He had no way to get through the Griselbrand, and passed the turn after playing Scalding Tarn. Drew played an Island and attacked, going to 14 life and bringing Brandon to 12. He Pondered, and that earned the Spell Pierce.
Brandon needed a way to get rid of Griselbrand, but the deck wasn’t delivering. He attacked Drew to 10 and passed, life totals quickly becoming 17 to 5 on the following turn. Drew had plenty of life to draw for help, but he didn’t need any—Brandon drew a Delver and died on the subsequent turn.
Drew 2, Brandon 0