Round 9: Zac Sauls vs. Garrett White
The final round had two Esper Control players matched up for a Top 8 slot. A draw would do neither of them any good, so time was definitely a factor in a matchup that tends to threaten an unintentional draw.
Time's not on his side, but Garrett's playing hard for Top 8.
Zac started with Evolving Wilds, while Garrett began with Island and Ponder. Wilds fetched Plains, and Zac played Seachrome Coast before passing. Plains from Garrett and he cast Ratchet Bomb, while Zac cast Think Twice. Isolated Chapel revealed Zac to be Esper, and he passed.
Seachrome Coast on his own turn, while Zac flashbacked Think Twice again. He played a sixth land, and then discarded Seachrome Coast during cleanup. Garrett had a sixth land as well, and he decided to try Lingering Souls—it resolved. Zac cast Gideon Jura with two up, threatening to defend from Leak with Leak, and Garrett nodded. He untapped into Oblivion Ring for the planeswalker, and then attacked for 2 damage before passing without a seventh land.
Zac had an eighth one on his turn, and paid four for Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. He made a Vampire token and passed without black mana available. Garrett drew a land and attacked the planeswalker, then cast another copy of Lingering Souls from his hand.
Evening the life totals at 19 apiece, Zac attacked with his Vampire. He cast Oblivion Ring on Oblivion Ring on Oblivion Ring, boosting Gideon and then making another Vampire. Did Garrett have another Oblivion Ring? Ticking up Ratchet Bomb indicated a likely no, but he cast Forbidden Alchemy afterward. Binning two Ratchet Bombs and a Sever, he untapped.
Attacking Gideon, he flashbacked Lingering Souls twice—each resolved. Trading two Spirits for two Vampires when he attacked, Zac boosted Gideon up to six and Sorin up to four before passing with plenty of man available. Garrett pumped his Bomb to two, and prepared to attack Gideon to death. Zac cast Forbidden Alchemy in response, putting a Lingering Souls in his graveyard before casting Tragic Slip on one token. Garrett nodded, and cast Batterskull. Zac double Mana Leaked the artifact, tapping Garrett out.
Day of Judgment cleared the board, and Zac got in a swing for 6 with Gideon Jura. He then made a Vampire, and passed—the Bomb ascended to three. Oblivion Ring took out Sorin when Bomb freed it, and another Gideon traded with Zac's Gideon after Mana Leak tapped Garrett out.
Zac swung for 3 with his remaining Vampire and Mage, then cast Batterskull. In response to Garrett's fresh Liliana boosting herself, Zac had to cast Snapcaster Mage for no value on Mana Leak, but it kept Garrett from doing anything else that turn. He then sent his whole squad—two Snapcasters, a Vampire, and the Germ—at Liliana.
Day of Judgment from Garrett stemmed the bleeding on 10 life, and Zac decided to flashback Forbidden Alchemy rather than bounce his Batterskull. He flashbacked Lingering Souls on his own turn, and didn't equip it to a token, instead passing with plenty of mana available. Garrett also flashbacked an Alchemy during Zac's end step. He followed with Sever the Bloodline on his own turn, and Zac bounced Batterskull.
Recasting Batterskull gave Garrett a shot to Negate it, but Mana Leak got him just a land shy. He played and flashbacked a Think Twice afterward, and despite finding Lingering Souls he decided to scoop after checking the time—with only 25 minutes left, Garrett decided he'd fallen too far behind.
Zac sideboards to keep Garrett from evening up the match.
Zac 1, Garrett 0
A draw eliminated both players from Top 8, so Garrett needed two fast ones straight up. He mulliganed his first seven while Zac kept—not a great start. He started on Island while Zac had Fortress, and then Fortress from Garrett as Zac played Seachrome Coast. Turn 3 Lingering Souls for Garrett got him on the board, Zac Thinking Twice during the end step.
Land, pass before getting attacked for 2 damage—Zac just made Evolving Wilds and sent the turn. A Think Twice from the hand for Zac, who then played Swamp and ended his own turn. Garrett fetched a black source with Evolving Wilds during the end step and played Think Twice, then attacked and passed without a fifth land.
Zac had a fifth land, nodding as Garrett flashbacked Think Twice. He tried to flashback lingering Souls on the next turn, but allowed Mana Leak to counter despite having three when Zac cast it. Trying to keep up pressure and countermagic, he was playing the aggro deck. Zac passed, and he attacked Zac to 12 before casting another Souls.
Curse of Death's Hold from Zac threatened to undo all that work, and Negate forced it through Mana Leak successfully. Zac was tapped out though, which gave Garrett an opportunity to resolve Consecrated Sphinx! He got two cards before Liliana of the Veil killed the Sphinx, but it might be enough regardless. Zac had five mana at the ready, and decided to tap out again and use Jace, Memory Adept to mill 10 cards from Garrett's deck.
In a bind against the planeswalkers, Garrett needed Oblivion Ring for Jace in a hurry. He traded Lilianas and then went down to one untapped land to Oblivion Ring Jace. Zac played Seachrome Coast and then Consecrated Sphinx, drawing two himself.
Garrett used Go for the Throat on the Sphinx, a bittersweet draw step, and cast Ratchet Bomb afterward. Zac forced Sorin, Lord of Innistrad through Dissipate with Mana Leak on his own turn, making a Vampire token. Garrett ticked up his Ratchet Bomb then hit his eighth land and cast Think Twice before flashbacking it and passing with three mana up.
Sorin made another Vampire and Zac attacked, sending the turn afterward as the Bomb went to two. Garrett was still a bit from killing Sorin with it—or was the Curse his target? He passed with eight up, and Zac cast Forbidden Alchemy. He untapped, boosted Sorin to six, and then attacked for 2 damage.
Garrett had his bomb on three counters now, and was behind. He tried Batterskull, and Zac Snapcastered Negate on the artifact. Making an emblem on his turn, Zac attacked for 9 damage and put Garrett down to 8 life. He followed with Liliana, boosting her up as Garrett moved his Bomb to four counters.
Trading Lilianas, Garrett lacked a solution to the mob of tokens coming for his life total.
Zac 2, Garrett 0