Round 9: Nate Anderson vs. Isaiah Monroe
Nate's hoping for Sword to slice through the competition.
The last round had almost every player on one loss forced to play, and even then one of them might miss Top 8! The choice was clear for Nate and Isaiah: do or die. Nate’s G/R Aggro deck had been doing that all day, and he needed one more win for the single elimination rounds.
Nate started on Copperline Gorge while Isaiah had Isolated Chapel. Forest for Nate but no turn 2 made it unlikely he was playing Wolf Run Ramp, and Isaiah started turn 2 by Despising a Huntmaster of the Fells to leave Nate on Acidic Slime, Wolfir Silverheart, Pillar of Flame, Sword of War and Peace, and Kessig Wolf Run before playing Plains.
Shrugging, Nate tapped out for his Sword. Isaiah appeared to be on Solar Flare or W/B Tokens, and both decks would dislike the Sword—his fetch for Island on turn 3 revealed him to be a controlling archetype. Drawing Birds, Nate played and equipped it before ending his turn. That bought Day of Judgment from Isaiah!
Acidic Slime for Isolated Chapel took Isaiah off black mana, and he played Vault of the Archangel to go with his two Islands and Plains. Forbidden Alchemy searched for help, but it looked like that Sword would be connecting... Debating his four, Isaiah tossed a Terminus and passed.
Nate equipped to his Slime and attacked for 9 damage, threatening to end the game on the next turn with Kessig Wolf Run! Plains and another Day from Isaiah bought him time, but Huntmaster of the Fells increased the pressure. Isaiah played Think Twice, likely searching for Oblivion Ring, but had to settle for dumping a card out of his hand with Lingering Souls.
Equipping and swinging with just Huntmaster, Nate followed with two Pillar of Flames for lethal.
Nate 1, Isaiah 0
Isaiah shuffles up for the decider.
A slow start from Nate had been remedied by a fast Sword, and with no way to remove the artifact Isaiah had run out of answers to Nate’s constant stream of lethal creatures. Starting Evolving Wilds for Plains, Isaiah passed. Copperline Gorge and Llanowar Elves gave Nate a strong opener, and Isaiah had only Isolated Chapel on turn 2. That gave Nate free reign to resolve turn 2 Sword of War and Peace!
Isaiah drew Seachrome Coast and had Doom Blade when Nate tried to attack, followed by Sorin, Lord of Innistrad to start making black tokens. That would hold off Sword nicely! Huntmaster of the Fells threatened to give Nate a trampling attacker soon. Isaiah had Gideon Jura to pump, and passed after making a new Vampire.
Nate tapped his Kessig Wolf Run to equip, unable to give trample and score free damage when Isaiah chumped with just one Vampire. He passed the turn and shot the other Vampire, decreasing Gideon’s loyalty as well. Isaiah appeared to consider attacking with Gideon... leading with Terminus made that a much more reasonable choice, and he sent. Another Sorin boost for Isaiah, and then Nate made his master plan clear: he dropped Wolfir Avenger!
Giving the Avenger trample and Sword of War and Peace killed Gideon, and Despise from Isaiah revealed that Nate had two more Huntmasters and Thrun awaiting him! He binned the legend. Playing and Flashbacking Lingering Souls, Isaiah then considered his next move with Sorin on six, and decided to make an emblem.
Nate attacked Sorin and played Huntmaster, preparing to take 8 damage from Spirits with Vault of the Archangel in the backfield to make the race truly challenging. Isaiah declined to use Vault, however, preferring to cast Lingering Souls in order to prevent a Huntmaster flip. He had some life to burn, sitting on 16.
He took 5 when Nate attacked, and Nate boosted himself up 3. Considering his options, Nate passed and flipped his Huntmaster to kill a token—meaning he’d missed out on some Kessig damage, and certainly should’ve sent in his Llanowar Elves at least. Now Isaiah Vaulted, then declined to flashback Lingering Souls with a card still in his hand—Doom Blade, perhaps? Nate entered combat, sending everyone. He again declined to Wolf Run, going to 7 life.
Huntmaster of the Fells put him to 9, then Llanowar Elves to flip his other Huntmaster made that 11—exactly enough to survive! Unfortunately for Nate, Isaiah attacked him to 1, then cast Day of Judgment and flashbacked Lingering Souls.
Nate drew, and conceded.
Nate 1, Isaiah 1
On the play once more, Nate hoped to replicate his game 2 start. Forest but no mana dork, while Isaiah had Evolving Wilds for Island. Rootbound Crag got Nate’s aggro started with Strangleroot Geist, and Isaiah had the age-old issue of the recurring threat to deal with. He played Drowned Catacomb and tapped out for Torpor Orb, but Nate continued to jam men with Daybreak Ranger.
Ratchet Bomb from Isaiah was incentive not to flip—he Zenithed for another Geist and sent in 6 damage. Isaiah passed his turn after playing a land in order to Bomb the Ranger, but Nate’s Geists were still a problem—he swing for 4 more damage, leaving Isaiah on 6. Forbidden Alchemy binned Day and Doom Blade, then Isaiah cast Tamiyo, the Moon Sage to tap a Geist.
Dropping Isaiah to 4, Nate passed the turn. Isaiah negged Tamiyo to draw two cards, searching for some help. Lingering Souls gave him the blockers he required, and flashbacking it gave him four more... but Bonfire of the Damned from his hand for two sealed the game in Nate’s favor.
Nate 2, Isaiah 1