Round 7: Wes Wise vs. Matt Kent
This round pitted StarCityGames.com’s own buyer, Wes Wise, against Matt Kent and his Elvish horde. Wes Wise was packing Mono-Red Painter, an archetype that abuses Imperial Recruiter in conjunction with Painter’s Servant and Pyroblast effects to set up a Grindstone kill.
Matt started the match with a mulligan, but Wes found his seven acceptable. From six to five for Matt, as Wes shuffled his hand and waited to start. Matt played Forest and Llanowar Elves to start, ending his turn. Wes considered that play briefly, deciding to turn Ancient Tomb and Chrome Mox, removing Blood Moon before casting Imperial Recruiter to tutor for Jaya Ballard, Task Mage.
Awkward. Normally Wes would be combining Painter’s Servant and Grindstone for victory, or locking the opponent out via Blood Moon—against his opponent’s potential Emrakul and basic Forest manabase, that plan wasn’t much good.
On turn 2, Matt went into the tank before playing another Llanowar Elves and casting Green Sun’s Zenith for zero, fetching Dryad Arbor. Wes had another Ancient Tomb on turn 2, taking more damage as he removed Simian Spirit Guide to cast Jaya, using the floating mana for Sensei’s Divining Top.
Wirewood Symbiote concluded Matt’s third turn, while Wes went to 14 to activate Top before drawing. He found Mountain in the mix and aimed actual Lightning Bolt at the Symbiote. Frowning, Matt binned the 1/1. Wes swung with his Recruiter, and passed the turn. Stuck against Jaya, Matt morphed what was likely a Birchlore Rangers and passed. During the end step, Wes Topped and aimed Jaya at the morph, falling to 12.
Recruiter swung again, and Wes completed his turn. Matt likewise passed the next turn, and this time Wes left his creatures alone in order to Top. Casting a new Recruiter on his own turn, Wes searched for Painter’s Servant and cast it, paying more life—he was on 8 now, and while Jaya couldn’t Incinerate, she could still Pyroblast thanks to that Servant.
Zenith for two on Matt’s turn, finding Elvish Visionary to look for more gas. Wes attacked with both Recruiters to leave Matt on 15, and ended his turn. Matt cast Ezuri, Renegade Leader, and Wes allowed it to resolve before killing it with Jaya during the end step. He was in a perpetual state of two cards in his hand, but that became one when he played City of Traitors on the next turn.
Matt had a live one: Regal Force! Wes Topped with his City and then popped it for Red Elemental Blast to counter, thanks to that Servant. Replaying Top on his own turn, Wes Topped and attacked with both Recruiters, putting Matt to 11. Drawing Nettle Sentinel, he cast the 2/2 and ended his turn.
Wes Topped and floated a mana with City before using Scalding Tarn to destroy it, shuffling the deck as he fetched up another Mountain. Now the Recruiters stayed home, and Wes ended his turn. Matt couldn’t attack either—another Elvish Visionary gave him another Nettle Sentinel, and he passed. Wes blew up one Sentinel during the end step, and made no plays on his own turn.
Matt played Quirion Ranger and passed the turn. Wes Topped, shuffling the top three around a bit before passing back. After Matt cast Priest of Titania, Wes decided to point Jaya at his dome, bringing him to 8 life.
Dropping Heritage Druid, Matt used Ranger and Priest to cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. He swung with all of his other creatures, getting through for 3 damage as Wes traded Recruiters for Elves and Servant blocked Nettle Sentinel. Jaya blasted Emrakul on the next turn, but Matt still had enough Elves to send exactly lethal damage at Wes—Pyroblast saved the day!
Facing lethal from any green spell, Wes Topped for help. He thought about the top three for some time before passing the turn, perhaps hoping to induce more caution from Matt. Matt drew, and passed the turn, lacking a spell. Wes blasted him for 3 damage with Jaya, now only a few shots from victory—could he go for the win? Spellskite off the Top indicated it was possible.
Priest of Titania off the top of the deck untapped Nettle Sentinel, and Matt swung for the fences. Using Top to draw a card for Jaya, Wes blocked to kill both Elvish Visionaries and continue surviving at 1 life. He recast his Top, and ended the turn. Tapping his new Priest, Matt cast Regal Force. The 5/5 resolved, but without a play here Matt was dead on the board—popping Top would give Wes one Incinerate, and he’d redraw Top for another one on his own turn.
Quirion Ranger was exactly the creature Matt needed in this position, as it would force Wes to blast a creature, rather than his face. Matt untapped the Priest and sent the team, Wes blowing up Nettle Sentinel and blocking to kill both Priest and Visionary. He remained in the driver’s seat, for now—Matt had only Force, Arbor, and Ranger against Spellskite, Servant, and Jaya. Matt cast Summoner’s Pact to get the necessary fourth creature, Wirewood Symbiote, and ended his turn.
Wes, of course, recast his Top.
Matt paid for Pact and then went to combat. He teamed Wes again, losing both Ranger and Symbiote while Jaya killed Regal Force. Casting Elvish Visionary first might have given Matt a smidge more gas—instead he used the Ranger to untap Arbor and then saved the Ranger with Symbiote before losing his Insect to combat. He cast Elvish Visionary and the Ranger, and passed—only three attackers meant he was dead to the next two draw steps Wes took. His only hope appeared to be Emrakul again!
Wes replayed Top and ended his turn. Matt had Glimpse of Natures but no creature spells—he could only Green Sun’s Zenith. He cast it for three after playing Gaea’s Cradle, digging up Ezuri and attacking with his creatures—he had exactly enough mana to overrun Wes to death, but Wes wouldn’t have to kill anything unless Matt tapped out to do it.
He put Jaya on Quirion Ranger and Spellskite on Visionary, with Servant on Arbor. Spellskite redirected Ranger’s hail mary activation to let Ezuri regenerate it, and Matt was now on just Ezuri and Visionary against Servant and Jaya, completely tapped out. Jaya blew up Ezuri, and Wes passed the turn.
Matt needed a creature really, really, bad—Zenith wasn’t one. He cast it for two, finding Wirewood Symbiote for his Elvish Visionary to try and hit one with another draw. He fired two Glimpses for one draw each, replayed his Visionary to draw three cards, and hit a very necessary one-drop in Quirion Ranger. That would very likely be the game, as next turn Matt would have plenty of gas.
Playing Top for the umpteenth time, Wes passed. Matt played another Glimpse and cast a new Symbiote, then Llanowar Elves, then Elvish Archdruid. Attacking with Symbiote, Ranger, and Visionary, Matt threatened lethal again. Wes blocked to survive, using his card to try and kill Quirion Ranger. Symbiotes saved the Ranger and bounced the Visionary in combat, the Symbiote itself dying to Jaya’s block.
Then, Matt went off. Heritage Druid and a pair of Nettle Sentinels combined with his active Glimpse to let him blast Elves onto the field—then time was called. Matt had ten elves on the board when he passed the turn, no small threat. Wes replayed his Top, Topped, and died to the lethal assault.
Matt 1, Wes 0