Round 8: Ricky Sidher vs. Zachary Brown
Local ringer Ricky Sidher was looking to make a run with his R/G Aggro deck, but both he and his opponent—Zachary Brown playing Esper Control—needed to win out in order to make the Top 8.
Zachary Brown's is piloting the popular Esper Control deck.
Ricky's second turn Birds of Paradise was matched by Zachary's Think Twice, but the Esper Control deck had no way to match the following Thrun, the Last Troll. Pristine Talisman helped mitigate the damage from the legendary troll, but Sword of War and Peace looked like a big time trump as Ricky forced it through Mana Leak. That worked just fine for Zachary, as Ricky was tapped out and unable to regenerate Thrun, the Last Troll against Day of Judgment.
A second Day of Judgment cleared out Huntmaster of the Fells and its pet wolf, and Dissipate took care of a second copy of the powerful mythic, putting a stabilized Zachary in the driver's seat. Ricky fought back with Strangleroot Geist and Phyrexian Metamorph copying it, but Karn Liberated dropped another bomb on Zachary's side of the table. He used the big Planeswalker to pick off the real Strangleroot Geist, used a Ghost Quarter to off Kessig Wolf Run and passed the turn.
A replacement Strangleroot Geist was just in time to take down Karn, but Sun Titan for a Phantasmal Image that copied the 6/6 and got back a Ratchet Bomb and Oblivion Ring that were previously binned with Forbidden Alchemy. It was a brutal retort as the Oblivion Ring took down Sword of War and Peace and put the game seemingly out of reach for Ricky.
But he managed to find a miracle when Zachary sent in both of his Sun Titans. Ricky made a curious block, putting both of his creatures in front of the real Sun Titan, nodding as Zachary killed them both. Undying put them both back into play and Phyrexian Metamorph returned as a larger Sun Titan, rebuying Kessig Wolf Run. He used the land to off the Phantasmal Image for free and flipped his last card, Incinerate, onto Sun Titan, finishing it off.
Ricky quickly untapped and smashed his team into the suddenly clear red zone, tapping out for a lethal activation of Kessig Wolf Run and stealing the game.
Ricky 1, Zachary 0
Another back-and-forth game rolled out after each player took a mulligan. Birds of Paradise enabled an early Sword of War and Peace. Divine Offering snagged back some tempo for Zachary and Day of Judgment cleared away the bird, Llanowar Elves and Huntmaster of the Fells.
Ricky Sidher looks to make a run with R/G Aggro.
Elspeth Tirel took command of the empty board and Ricky fell way behind despite Zachary missing a second blue source. It took some time, but a Birds of Paradise sprinted through Kessig Wolf Run to off the planeswalker before Zachary was able to shut down the dangerous land with Ghost Quarter. He replaced the dead Elspeth Tirel with Gideon Jura and pumped it up after attacking with his tokens, losing five loyalty when Hellrider joined Ricky's team, but remaining relatively safe for the time being.
Day of Judgment took care of the problem and Gideon got big again, but Ricky wasn't giving up. Strangleroot Geist and Sword of War and Peace gave him a shot, but Oblivion Ring on the equipment put Zachary right back in front and Gideon went right back to work. A pair of Phantasmal Images on Strangleroot Geist later and Ricky went for his sideboard.
Ricky 1, Zachary 1
Both players got to keep their openers this time, and it was another early Strangleroot Geist getting things started for Ricky, who was on the play for the deciding game. Sword of War and Peace followed right behind it as Ricky was unafraid of Mana Leak, and the sudden threat forced Zachary to defend with Phantasmal Image on the undying spirit. Ricky sent his guy in without equipping the sword, giving Zachary a clue that something was coming later and Zachary declined to block. That something turned out to be Garruk Relentless and Ricky added a 2/2 wolf to his board, forcing Zachary into a very rough spot. He answered with Timely Reinforcements and Ricky forced the issue by attacking with both of his creatures. After combat the Strangleroot Geist faced down a soldier token and the Phantasmal Image copying the token, but the Garruk Relentless kept spewing wolves onto the board, pushing Ricky to a big lead.
Day of Judgment bought some space, but Huntmaster of the Fells and Garruk kept dropping elbows on Zachary's plans as Sword of War and Peace got active. Zachary got cleaved, but looked to buy another turn with Timely Reinforcements. All he could do was wince as a second Sword of War and Peace caved in the rest of his life total as Ricky moved onto a win-and-in match in the next round.
Ricky wins the match 2-1