Round 8: William Haas vs. Forrest Mead
The penultimate round placed Tempered Steel pilot William Haas against Forrest Mead, a newly acquired StarCityGames.com buyer. Forrest was packing the B/R Zombies list he'd worked on prior to the event with Josh Cho, and needed one more win to get within range of a Top 8 finish.
Forrest Mead took a break from the business to play this weekend.
Taking the play, Forrest kept his starting hand and led Swamp, passing afterward. William deliberated over his seven before keeping, playing Plains, Mox Opal, and Glint Hawk to start the game. Another Swamp for Forrest, and he cast Highborn Ghoul. Falling to 18 when William attacked, William added Signal Pest and Memnite to the field, recasting his Mox Opal and representing Dispatch.
Attacking for 2 damage, Forrest cast Arc Trail after combat to kill Glint Hawk and Memnite, prompting the Dispatch in response. Nodding, Forrest ended his turn. Topdecking Plains, William cast Glint Hawk Idol and likewise passed, regaining metalcraft. Forrest tapped out for Geralf's Messenger on turn 4, missing a land drop.
Etched Champion from William turned on his Glint Hawk Idol, and he attacked for 3 damage. Forrest used Liliana of the Veil to make William sacrifice his Pest, but he declined to get in the attack with Geralf's Messenger, sneaking 2 damage in should Champion block and making a 4/3 boss. William played Vault Skirge and attacked for 4 damage, ignoring Liliana and putting Forrest to 11 life.
Attacking for 3, Forrest dropped William to 13 and then activated Liliana, each player discarding a redundant copy of their respective “legendary” permanents. Stormblood Berserker landed, and Forrest passed the turn. William attacked Liliana for 2 now, sending 3 damage at Forrest and playing Gavony Township. With Forrest at 8, that represented very, very close to lethal.
Sending 6 damage in, Forrest put William to 8 ended the turn with four mana up. William chose to Dispatch the Messenger during the end step, and attacked for 5 on his next turn. Brimstone Volley from Forrest killed Glint Hawk Idol, and he fell to 5 life. Post-combat, William played Razorverge Thicket—his fourth land, but now threatening to untap and use Township.
Stormblood Berserker put William to 6 life, and Mortarpod plus Highborn Ghoul put Forrest suddenly into the driver's seat. Sacrificing the Germ to kill Vault Skirge, Forrest deprived William of the metalcraft he needed to activate Township… or do a lot of other things. He drew, cast Glint Hawk, recast Mox Opal, and passed.
Hitting his fifth land, Forrest played and equipped Sword of War and Peace to Stormblood Berserker, forcing William to trade his Etched Champion for Highborn Ghoul to stay alive on 1 life. When the top of the deck failed to yield lethal, William conceded.
Forrest 1, William 0
Each player started the second game with a mulligan, keeping six cards. William started on Razorverge Thicket and Origin Spellbomb, while Forrest played just Blackcleave Cliffs. Plains for William and a pass, with Forrest playing another Cliffs and ending the turn. William declined to Spellbomb, untapping into Etched Champion with Mox Opal backup. Forrest tapped out for Sword of War and Peace, taking his lumps from Etched Champion. William played another Etched Champion and a Glint Hawk, pulling way ahead.
“I hope that's not a Dispatch,” Forrest said of William's last card, tapping out to cast Bloodline Keeper. William attacked with just his Etched Champions, apparently lacking the Dispatch, and added Vault Skirge followed by Spellskite to the board, Forrest responding to Spellskite with Gut Shot on Skirge. Swinging with Bloodline Keeper once he equipped Sword, Forrest put totals at 15 to 16 in his favor, casting Manic Vandal post-combat to kill Origin Spellbomb.
William cast Porcelain Legionnaire after attacking for 6 damage, now engaged in a straight race. The next attack from Keeper dropped William to 10 life, an Forrest played Stormblood Berserker but declined to move his equipment, representing Brimstone Volley should William attack in such a way that Forrest could chump block.
William Haas shuffles with the match on the line.
Tempered Steel certainly made blocking necessary! William attacked with everyone, and Forrest chucked Manic Vandal under Legionnaire while blocking Spellskite with his Berserker. He used the Brimstone Volley to tap William out and kill Spellskite, looking for a strong draw. He needed 2 more damage—but the top of the deck failed to deliver.
Forrest 1, William 1
Forrest kept and started Blackcleave Cliffs, again lacking a one-drop. William did as well, dropping just Plains. Forrest played Swamp and passed, while William deployed Glint Hawk Idol. Manic Vandal killed the Idol just as quickly, and William took a moment to think over his hand, likely trying to figure out how to avoid presenting the juiciest targets for Forrest's burn.
He eventually decided to lead Spellskite and pass, holding onto his remaining spells. Forrest attacked for 2, going unblocked, and cast Bloodline Keeper. William drew, cast Mox Opal, played Gavony Township, and cast Etched Champion before using Dispatch to take care of the Keeper.
Swinging his Vandal fearlessly into Etched Champion and Spellskite, Forrest followed post-combat with Gravecrawler now that William was on 16 life. Dumping his grip, William put two Memnites and a Glint Hawk on the field for free thanks to Mox Opal, pumping everything with Gavony Township and putting Forrest to 16 as he attacked—but Forrest faced an army. Brimstone Volley on Glint Hawk convinced William to pay 2 life and protect with Spellskite.
Forrest untapped, facing 16 damage on the opposing board and needing some help. He pointed Gut Shot at Glint Hawk and then Arc Trail at Glint Hawk and William, rather than shipping the one at Spellskite to prevent its redirection—William paid 2 life and protected his Hawk. Attacking William to 7, Forrest passed the turn.
William attacked him for 16.
Forrest 1, William 2