Round 8: Chris Higashi vs. Zach Tufford
Chris Higashi has been running up the ranks with his Scapeshift Valakut deck, running such Legacy hits as Thragtusk, Huntmaster of the Fells, and Wood Elves. Can Zach keep up with his U/W/R Delver? The winner here will have a 6-2 overall record, while the loser will have to settle for 5-3.
Zach Tufford is proving to be a tough out with U/W/R Delver.
Zach won the die roll and led off with Gitaxian Probe, showing Chris’ hand that included a pair of Cabal Therapy, Wood Elves, Burning Wish, and three lands. He then played Tundra and Delver of Secrets before passing. Chris played Verdant Catacombs, searched for Swamp, and cast Cabal Therapy targeting Zach. The Delver pilot decided that he didn’t want to go to therapy, so he used Force of Will pitching Force of Will to counter it.
Delver did not flip, and Chris and Zach were tied at 18. Chris dropped Forest and attempted Skura-Tribe Elder, which resolved. Delver of Secrets now revealed Lightning Bolt, so Insectile Aberration entered the red zone now, so Chris dropped to 15. Chris found his third basic land, Mountain, before his next turn. When Chris did untap, he cast Cabal Therapy which was met by Spell Pierce, then Bayou allowed Chris to cast Wood Elves (searching out Taiga) and flashback Cabal Therapy by sacrificing the 1/1. The Therapy resolved, and Chris named Lightning Bolt. This left only Spell Pierce in Zach’s hand.
In came 3/2, and Chris fell to 12 but running dangerously low on fuel. Burning Wish was the next play, and after Chris paid two mana to satisfy Spell Pierce he then grabbed Scapeshift from his sideboard. Green Sun’s Zenith for one found Veteran Explorer, and then Chris passed. Zach dropped Chris into single digits before passing without another play. The 1/1 dropped Zach to 16, then the second Therapy was flashed back thanks to Explorer. Zach found one Island, while Chris found a pair to go up to eight total. He then resolved the Therapy naming Force of Will, and seeing only Daze and a dual land. Chris was able to dig out a combination of Stomping Ground, Taiga, Badlands, and two copies of Valakut , the Molten Pinnacle.
“I’ll put a lot of Valakut triggers on the stack.”
Chris 1, Zach 0.
Zach took the lead with a turn one Scalding Tarn, while Chris led with Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Zach used Wasteland to remove the Valakut before passing. Chris had a second copy though for his next turn… but another Wasteland took out the nonbasic. Swamp can’t be targeted by Wasteland, so Zach then used both of his fetchlands to grab Tundra and Volcanic Island to cast Meddling Mage. The Mage named Scapeshift, and the Zach passed the turn.
Chris was a little bit in trouble now, no lands appearing, and he discarded Slaughter Games. After laughing for a moment about Standard playable cards, Zach untapped and dropped a second Meddling Mage naming Pyroclasm. Chris went to his cleanup step again, this time discarding Thragtusk. In came the pair of 2/2s. Finally Chris found a green mana, Bayou, and he dropped Veteran Explorer. Swords to Plowshares got the 1/1 out of the way before it could explore any more though, and the Wizard beatdown continued.
Sensei’s Divining Top was Chris’ next play, but Spell Pierce took care of that. Carpet of Flowers was his next spell, but Daze countered that as well. The tempo beats continued, and Chris fell to 7. Green Sun’s Zenith for one found Veteran Explorer, and Chris passed the turn. Zach attacked, and the Explorer jumped in the way of one of them. Zach chose not to search, while Chris found two Mountains. But Zach had a pair of Lightning Bolts, so Chris fell to below zero.
Chris 1, Zach 1.
Chris Higashi's Burnin' for a Wish.
Chris took the play for the third game of the match and led off with Verdant Catacombs into Swamp and Cabal Therapy. The discard spell resolved, and Chris named Delver of Secrets but found none: True-Name Nemesis, Batterskull, Brainstorm, Ponder, Spell Pierce, and two lands were what Zach actually had. Tundra into Ponder was Zach’s first play, and after setting his deck he passed. Chris played Taiga and Veteran Explorer, then used the flashback on Cabal Therapy to not only trigger the Explorer but also Zach cast Spell Pierce. Chris paid the two, and Chris took Zach’s Brainstorm when the Therapy resolved. Then Carpet of Flowers came into play as well, and Chris moved to his second main phase to add two green mana to his mana pool. He played another Veteran Explorer with the mana.
What a turn!
True-Name Nemesis, naming Chris Higashi, was the play from Zach but Veteran Explorer attacked for one with no fear. The 1/1 was not blocked, so after combat Chris floated a total of seven mana to cast Burning Wish for Innocent Blood. Chris then cast the Odyssey common, which forced both players to sacrifice their creatures. This was better for Chris, as his Veteran Explorer found him two more basic lands... and also Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Zach played Gitaxian Probe (revealing Taiga) before he dropped two Delver of Secrets into play for his turn.
Chris only found another Explorer on top, while Zach found Ponder to get a pair of 3/2 flyers. Then Ponder also resolved for the Delver pilot, who used the sorcery to shuffle his deck. Chris fell to 13 from the beats, and Zach passed. Chris attacked for one before dropping Huntmaster of the Fells, which gained him two life and garnered him a Wolf token as well. The Insect Humans continued their studies though, and Chris fell to 9. Zach got two lands out of his deck with fetchlands before casting Batterskull and putting the Living Weapon trigger onto the stack.
Chris drew a card.
“Is it a good one?”
“It’s pretty good…”
Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle was the draw, which came down. On Zach’s upkeep he flipped into Ravager of the Fells, which knocked out one 3/2. But the second 3/2 dropped Chris to 6, so it still wasn’t out of the woods yet. Stoneforge Mystic found Sword of Feast and Famine and Zach ended his turn. Chris didn’t find much help on his turn, so he just passed right back. Zach found a Lightning Bolt on top, and when he combined it with his flyer Chris was defeated.
…After the match, Chris turned over the top card of his deck. It was Pernicious Deed.
Zach 2, Chris 1.