Round 8: Gerry Thompson vs. Mark Kelso
This tournament is Gerry’s Swan Song… which is fitting, considering how prevalent the Theros instant is in Legacy sideboards this weekend! But that’s enough looking forward; though the top 8 for this tournament will be Legacy, we’re in the Standard portion right now and both Gerry and his opponent Mark Kelso are hoping to finish the day with a very dangerous 7-1 record, while the loser will end the day on a sour note but still with a respectable 6-2.
The opening contest was all about cheap one-for-ones and pure card advantage, and Mark was the one who had the most of both.
Mark led off with basic Swamp and Thoughtseize to see that he faced the Mono Black mirror match:Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Hero’s Downfall, Erebos, and some lands in addition to the Thoughtseize Gerry kept in his opener. Mark followed that up with another Thoughtseize to snag Gerry’s Erebos. Underworld Connections turn three for Mark kept the train rolling, while Gerry did not have a play yet.
Thoughtseize number three knocked off Gray Merchant. Things looked all but over, until…
“Well, now we have a game. Can’t stop the top of the deck!”
Gerry topdecked the nearly-Phyrexian Arena-like aura Underworld Connections for himself to remain in the card advantage game. From there Mark and Gerry traded some haymakers: Mark dropped Erebos, God of the Dead and Gerry responded by adding Desecration Demon. Erebos used its much-maligned Greed ability to draw an additional card to try to dig into an answer to the 6/6, and found one in Devour Flesh. The life gain prevention ability on Erebos turned the Gatecrash common into Diabolic Edict too (quite a nifty combo), so Gerry continued to add to the board with Nightveil Specter and its new best friend in the Mono Black deck Prophetic Prism.
But Hero’s Downfall killed the 2/3 and a resolved Specter of Mark’s own let the God of the Dead beat Gerry to 12. The black god used the Greed ability again, knocking Mark to 9, before Desecration Demon joined the fray as well. Erebos was able to hit Gerry for five more thanks to Mark controlling the requisite devotion to black even if one removal spell was cast, so Gerry dropped down to 6.
Hero’s Downfall did indeed kill the Nightveil Specter that Mark controlled, and then Gerry had to find a few more answers. Gray Merchant of Asphodel using its Corrupt ability to the tune of seven damage is pretty good… though that is tempered a bit because of Erebos’ life gain prevention! Gerry at 5, Mark at 2 now. Mark had all the gas, with two active Demons. Gerry prevented dying for a turn thanks to a sacrifice and a chump block. He needed Whip of Erebos or Gray Merchant off the top to pull off the win…
And he did not find it, even with an Underworld Connections activation.
Mark 1, Gerry 0.
“That’s my first Erebos attack of the tournament.”
While Mark had to mulligan his opening hand, Gerry led things off with Swamp. Mark did have Thoughtseize turn one to snag Gerry’s Underworld Connections, but that left him with Desecration Demon, Nightveil Specter, Ultimate Price, and Whip of Erebos. Gerry cast the 2/3 Dimir rare on his third turn. Mark played out a copy of his own, to which Gerry parried with Desecration Demon. Thoughtseize Snagged Ultimate Price, but Gerry still swung for six and then used his own topdecked Thoughtseize to deprive Mark of Desecration Demon.
Gray Merchant of Asphodel was a ten point life swing, but Demon was too big. Mark fell to 9 on attacks, but lucily for him Gerry’s Duress hit air: just another Gray Merchant. That 2/4 drained Gerry for seven now, setting life totals at 6 life for Gerry and 16 for Mark. Hero’s Downfall took down the Nightveil Specter before combat, and Gerry decided to come in with both of his creatures to drop Mark to 8.
Mark attacked Gerry to 2 then dropped Pack Rat, and he used his remaining Swamp in hand to make a token to satiate the Demon. He needed to hit something off the Specter to stay in the game, but sadly for Gerry he missed and only his Mark’s basic land as well. Not good enough, and Mark Kelso gets the win to set himself up at a mighty 7-1 heading into Day 2.
Mark 2, Gerry 0.