Round 8: Chris Boozer vs. Robbie Cordell
Chris was the only undefeated paired down and forced to play, but if he won that meant he'd have the play in every match of the Top 8—no small advantage for the tempo-based Esper Tokens deck. Robbie Cordell came with a more conventional Delver list, putting him and his Geist of Saint Trafts at a severe disadvantage.
Chris takes a quick game 1 with Lingering Souls.
Chris took the play after winning the die roll and kept his opener, and Robbie did the same. Darkslick Shores and Ponder followed by a shuffle from Chris—he wanted some spells! Robbie cut the deck before Chris drew and then took a card for his own turn before dropping Island and passing. Another Ponder and shuffle from Chris merited a frown, and he played Glacial Fortress.
Paying 2 life, Robbie used Probe to spot Midnight Haunting, Intangible Virtue, two Vapor Snags, Gut Shot, and Island before playing Glacial Fortress and passing. Chris, of course, made a land and passed right back.
That put Robbie in a bind on turn 3—he tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft as Chris predictably played Haunting during the end step. Intangible Virtue followed, and Robbie fell to 14 from a Spirit-based assault before Chris played Thought Scour and then Shimmering Grotto. Robbie Pondered for some time before keeping his three. He swung with Geist of Saint Traft, trading with one token and playing another Geist afterward.
The next attack from Chris left Robbie on 12, and Chris punished Robbie's aggression with Lingering Souls—that earned the concession from Robbie.
Chris 1, Robbie 0
Robbie kept his starter for game 2, while Chris took a mulligan. Another mulligan left him on five cards. Island and Delver started the game for Robbie, while Chris played Seachrome Coast. No flip and then 1 damage, as Robbie played Ponder post-combat and shuffled the deck in search of an instant or sorcery. He played Moorland Haunt, and passed. Chris tapped out for Intangible Virtue and then played the Gut Shot he'd drawn.
Robbie's Gitaxian Probe spotted two lands and a second Virtue. “I'm going to draw Lingering Souls,” Chris warned, and Robbie chuckled. Mana-light, he Snapcaster Maged the Probe and passed the turn. Chris resolved another Virtue, while Robbie Pondered and kept the top three in place. Attacking, he played Seachrome Coast and then Ratchet Bomb—that would probably seal the deal for him.
Chris played land and passed, Robbie ticking the Bomb to one. He attacked Chris to 13 and passed, nodding when Chris Pondered. Lingering Souls from Chris resolved, and Robbie ticked his Bomb to two before Snagging one token. Rather than attack first to get the token or 2 damage in, Robbie popped his Bomb and then flashbacked Ponder with a second Snapcaster Mage. Chris swung in 1 damage and flashbacked Souls thanks to his Shimmering Grotto.
Corrosive Gale for 1 from Robbie cleared the Spirits, and he attacked Chris to 10 life before ending the turn with two mana up and plenty of cards in his hand. It had been a good fight, but Chris appeared to be in his death throes now. He resolved Delver of Secrets and ended the turn.
Robbie attacked him to 8 and tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft, and Chris found an instant to flip his Delver—Midnight Haunting. On 7 life, he was forced to play it defensively when his Delver got Vapor Snagged, and another Snag sealed the deal.
Robbie's going to need his Geists to go the extra mile.
Chris 1, Robbie 1
Keeping seven this time, Chris began with Darkslick Shores and Delver of Secrets. No flip after Robbie played Island, but he attacked and cast Ponder to make that more likely on turn 3. Leaving his top three in place, Chris played Glacial Fortress and passed—his Delver got Snagged.
Plains, go from Robbie, and Chris tried to resolve Delver once more after playing Darkslick Shores—it got Leaked, but Intangible Virtue stuck. Robbie tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft, and Chris appeared to lack a token-maker—he played Snapcaster Mage to flashback Ponder, followed by Delver of Secrets. Robbie shuffled his hand around a bit, then nodded.
Playing his fourth land, he passed without a play. Chris revealed Ponder to Delver and flipped, casting the sorcery afterward. He attacked for 3, and then tried to Snapcaster Mage—Snapcaster on Leak from Robbie countered. Robbie attacked on the next turn, trading Geist and Snapcaster for Snapcaster and Gut Shot, but he had a second copy of the legend.
Chris was on 13 as he attacked Robbie down to the same total, and post-combat Lingering Souls complicated matters on Robbie's side. That Virtue was quite the thorn… except that he had Sword of War and Peace to get in 6 damage and kill a Spirit due to blocking the Angel, while Robbie gained 2 to go to 15.
During the upkeep, Robbie Surgical Extractioned Lingering Souls—that shuffled away the Revoke Existence Chris had hidden away on top of the deck! Chris played a second Virtue and attacked for 3 damage with his token, passing. Robbie spotted Snapcaster Mage when he cast Gitaxian Probe, and swung his Geist into the potential trade with the blue creatures Chris had.
Chris cast the Snapcaster Mage and threw both creatures on Geist, going to 3 life and hoping Robbie had no more men. When Robbie passed, he had to be elated! His elation was short-lived when Robbie drew another Geist… all Chris could do was attack Robbie and try Timely Reinforcements for the life, but Robbie had Mana Leak to counter.
Chris 1, Robbie 2