Round 9: Gerard Fabiano vs. Joe Lossett
One might have expected a control mirror out of these two coming into the event, but Joe Lossett had flipped the script and brought a twist on Reanimator for this event. Gerard was true to form with Sultai Control, and they sat down for a tense bout with a seat in the top 4 on the line.
"Does this resolve?"
As has been the trend all tournament with the Nerd Rage contingent’s Reanimator deck, Gerard was on the play, but Joe stole the initiative before the game began by pitching Bloodstained Mire to put Gemstone Caverns into play. Gerard led with a Deathrite Shaman, but it would prove to slow, as Joe used his Gemstone Caverns to cast Entomb at Gerard’s end step, then untapped and played Underground Sea into Animate Dead, giving him a 6/7 Griselbrand on his first turn.
Gerard Brainstormed on his second turn and found a Counterbalance, which he attempted to cast, but Joe countered it with Daze. He untapped, got in a hit with his Griselbrand, and then drew a fresh seven with it. He next used his Gemstone Cavern to cast Firestorm, pitching another Griselbrand and a Tidespout Tyrant to hit Gerard and his Deathrite Shaman. Gerard simply played his land and passed, and when Joe went for another hit with the Griselbrand, Gerard used Abrupt Decay to put the Animate Dead in the yard, taking the Griselbrand with it.
Joe wasn’t done with his reanimation shenanigans just yet, and he cast Reanimate to put a Tidespout Tyrant into play, then cast Brainstorm and Careful Study to set Gerard back to just a single land in play. He shipped the turn to Gerard, who tried for another Deathrite Shaman, but Joe was ready with Double Daze to counter it and bounce both of Gerard’s lands, leaving him without a permanent against Tidespout Tyrant.
Joe attacked with his Tyrant, and Gerard fell to 5. Gerard shrugged and cast a freshly-drawn Thoughtseize, chuckled at the double Force of Will double Daze hand that Joe was left with, then picked up his cards.
Gerard had a tough Thoughtseize to start things off, seeing Entomb, Abrupt Decay, Force of Will, Brainstorm, Careful Study, Underground Sea, and Bloodstained Mire in Joe’s hand. He deprived Joe of his Brainstorm. Joe played the Sea and passed, and when Gerard cast Inquisition of Kozilek on his next turn, Joe responded with Entomb, putting Griselbrand into play. The Inquisition resolved, seeing that a Brainstorm was the new card since last turn, and Gerard sent it to the bin as well. Joe declined to pull the trigger on Careful Study just yet, only playing his second land and passing it back.
Gerard had a Brainstorm of his own, and he found a Thoughtseize with it, which he used to take a look at the Careful Study, Force of Will, and Abrupt Decay he already knew about along with a second copy of Careful Study, which he got rid of. He tapped out to add Sensei’s Divining Top to his board and passed. Joe used his Careful Study on his own turn, drawing and discarding two redundant large monsters (Tidespout Tyrant and another Griselbrand) before passing without further play.
Counterbalance showed up on Gerard’s turn to complete the lock with his Sensei’s Divining Top, although he knew he couldn’t lean on it too heavily against the Abrupt Decay he knew was in Joe’s hand. Joe untapped and passed the turn, and after Gerard spun his Top, played his third land and passed back, Joe used the Abrupt Decay at end step to get the Counterbalance off the board. When Joe took his draw step, Gerard sprang into action with Vendilion Clique, seeing Joe’s hand of Ponder, Entomb, Force of Will, and Bloodstained Mire. He sent the Ponder to the bottom, and Joe passed back without a play.
Treasure Cruise provided Gerard with three fresh cards, among them a Thoughtseize, which he pointed at Joe. Joe entombed for Sphinx of the Steel Wind in response, then showed his hand: Gemstone Caverns and Force of Will, which went to the yard. Gerard attacked with his Clique and added Deathrite Shaman to the board, giving Joe a one turn window to cast Reanimate or Animate Dead before it became active.
Joe didn’t draw either of those cards. What he topdecked, instead, was a Ratchet Bomb, which went directly into play and looked to solve the Deathrite Shaman problem on Joe’s next turn. Gerard added a Tarmogoyf to his clock and passed, eating a Griselbrand out of Joe’s graveyard when Joe blew the Ratchet Bomb to get rid of the Shaman. Careful Study from Joe found no help, and he passed back to Gerard, who cracked in for 8, putting Joe to just 4 life. Gerard Thoughtseized, seeing a Polluted Delta in Joe’s hand and passed, giving him one last turn to find a reanimation spell.
Joe checked his top card—another land.
Gerard Thoughtseizes and sees the bad news.
Now on the play for the first time, Joe had use a regular ole’ Bayou to cast his turn 1 Entomb, putting Griselbrand into his graveyard. When Gerard led off with a Thoughtseize, he saw some bad news: three lands and TWO Reanimates, insulating Joe from discard effects. The first copy went to the graveyard, but the second copy went onto the stack, and just like that, Gerard was facing down a 7/7 lifelinking Yawgmoth’s Bargaining Demon on his second turn.
Nihil Spellbomb came off the top for Gerard—a little too late, but it would be fine insurance against further reanimation if Gerard could get the Griselbrand out of play. Joe drew a fresh seven with Griselbrand, came swinging to put Gerard at 10, then followed up with a Pithing Needle. Gerard blew the Nihil Spellbomb in response, but Joe had bigger plans for this Needle anyway: he named Liliana.
Gerard: You mean Liliana Vess, right?
Joe saw through Gerard’s tomfoolery, and clarified Liliana of the Veil, which had been waiting in Gerard’s hand to use its -2 ability. Gerard Brainstormed and found Abrupt Decay waiting on top, which gave him a potential sequence t o get out of this jam: end step Abrupt Decay the Pithing Needle, untap and Liliana away the Griselbrand. He passed with two mana up, and Joe promptly made his life more difficult by pitching Tidespout Tyrant to Careful Study then casting Animate Dead on the Tyrant. Gerard was forced to use his Abrupt Decay on the Animate Dead instead, leaving him without an out as Griselbrand came in for the win the following turn.