Round 8: Nicholas Spagnolo vs. Brad Nelson
Nicholas Spagnolo brought an awesome BUG deck with Life from the Loam to the Invitational.
A strong finish here in day one would open the door to a potential Top 8 run tomorrow, so these two had lot to play for despite an already good record on the day. It promised to be an interesting matchup between former Player of the Year Brad Nelson’s RUG Tempo deck and Nicholas Spagnolo’s BUG Control, and things got started with a flurry of fetchlands and card drawing.
Nick’s Ponder met a Brainstorm and Ponder from Brad, and another Brainstorm dug Brad into Tarmogoyf, which he forced through a Spell Snare with Spell Pierce after Nick tapped low for Life from the Loam to rebuy three fetchlands.
An Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Brad’s hand of Ponder, Spell Snare, Lightning Bolt, Spell Pierce, Force of Will and the Ponder hit the bin as Nick set up Innocent Blood with Liliana of the Veil backup. Brad chose not to fight over the removal spell and sacrificed his Tarmogoyf, saving the Force of Will for another day and replacing his creature with a fully-charged Nimble Mongoose.
Pernicious Deed was the reply from the BUG deck, and again Brad chose to wait. Rightfully so, it seemed, as Nick was reluctant to blow his enchantment on just the Nimble Mongoose, falling to 13, then 10, then 7 before trying to defend with Mishra’s Factory. Lightning Bolt cut that down before blockers and Nick fell to 4, but at least the Lightning Bolt was out of the way, leaving Nick’s life total temporarily safe and tempting him to try Liliana of the Veil.
Smelling blood, Brad finally unleashed his Force of Will to stop the planeswalker and forced Nick to pop his Pernicious Deed with a Nimble Mongoose attack. A pair of Tarmogoyfs arrived to take its place after Brad’s Spell Snare picked off Snapcaster Mage, and Nick, on just 3 life after having to crack a fetchland, was going to need a lot of help in a hurry if he wanted to stay alive.
Brad Nelson stares down his opponent.
Brad 1, Nick 0
Another Ponder started things off for Nick, while Brad cut straight to the chase with Nimble Mongoose. Life from the Loam for a pair of fetchlands solidified Nick’s manabase while Brad was stuck trying to fill up his graveyard with just a Tropical Island. He used a pair of Thought Scours and a Spell Pierce to do it, keeping his Nimble Mongoose alive through Diabolic Edict until it could grow to full size.
It didn’t last long. Vendilion Clique cycled the Life from the Loam in Nick’s hand (leaving one previously dredged in the graveyard) and traded with the untargetable 3/3. A second Nimble Mongoose was hit by Counterspell, and Nick was almost free to take over with his more expensive, powerful spells that were set up by the hard work of Life from the Loam.
An upkeeped Brainstorm sculpted a nice situation for Nick as he dredged up three lands with Life from the Loam during his draw step. One of them was Wasteland and he Razed Brad’s Tropical Island, but lost a
Brad 1, Nick 1
Brad was quick onto the board again despite losing his first land, Tropical Island, to Wasteland after he spent his first turn Pondering. Nimble Mongoose, Tarmogoyf and Delver of Secrets all resolved through Nick’s defenses, and Nick was on a very short clock between the creatures and his own fetchlands. He dug in with Ghastly Demise on Tarmogoyf, followed by an Innocent Blood to off the Delver of Secrets, but still had to deal with the 3/3 Nimble Mongoose, which was soon joined by another.
He fell to three before he cleared the board with Pernicious Deed, crossing his fingers as he passed the turn to the bolt-laden RUG Tempo deck. Brad bricked and passed, forcing himself all-in on finding a red source to Lightning Bolt Nick’s face off.
Liliana of the Veil squeezed Brad’s hand while Life from the Loam kept Nick’s hand stocked, and Inquisition of Kozilek plucked the Lightning Bolt from Brad’s hand after Spell Pierce forced it through Force of Will. That left Brad with just Thought Scour in hand and no permanents, and he tapped out when Nick’s Jace, the Mind Sculptor made an appearance.
Nick 2, Brad 1