Semifinals: Pete Ingram vs. Reid Duke
Pete Ingram has yet to lose a match with his BUG Delver deck this weekend, and hopes to ride his streak all the way to the Players’ Championship. His opponent, Reid Duke, is a former Invitational winner in his own right, and hopes to earn a second trophy with UWR Miracles.
Pete initiated proceedings with a Deathrite Shaman, and followed it up on the next turn with a Dark Confidant. Reid had a Swords to Plowshares to keep Pete’s Confidant from generating any card advantage, and Pete was without any additional pressure, simply drawing his card and passing the turn back. Reid did the same, and Pete found Delver of Secrets on his next draw step. He cast it and drew Counterspell from Reid, but he was pushed the creature through with a Force of Will pitching Stifle.
That Delver of Secrets was going to be removed one way or another, however, as Reid used Council’s Judgment to exile it on his next turn. Pete Pondered but found no further action, and simply passed the turn back to Reid, who attempted a Jace, the Mind Sculptor with one land untapped. Spell Pierce put an end to those shenanigans. He attempted a Counterbalance the turn after that, but Abrupt Decay was the perfect answer from Pete. Still without a further threat, Pete kept picking away at Reid’s life total with his Deathrite Shaman. A Terminus in Reid’s draw step solved that problem, and Reid passed on an empty board.
True-Name Nemesis showed up Pete, and threatened to cause some serious trouble for Reid. Reid attempted a Council’s Judgment, but Pete’s last two cards were Force of Will and Daze, and he got to keep swinging, knocking Reid down to 8. Brainstorm found Sensei’s Divining Top, which set up a Terminus for Reid, and he used the Top to play the sweeper on Pete’s upkeep, again setting him back to square one.
Pete didn’t waste time finding another threat, as a 5/6 Tarmogoyf came down, but Reid was ready with another Terminus tucked away in his top 3 cards. Jace, the Mind Sculptor came next, and Reid went to work with Jace’s Brainstorm ability, generating a healthy mitt full of cards in hand. Pete attempted a Dark Confidant, but Reid hardcast Force of Will to keep the board clear. Deathrite Shaman came next, and Reid let it resolve, but used Sensei’s Divining Top to Pete’s end step to flip over Entreat the Angels, hoping a gang of 4/4 Angels at instant speed would be enough to finish Pete off.
Reid Duke 1, Pete Ingram 0
Reid's got a bad feeling about this game.
Reid led with an Island, and when Pete started things off with Underground Sea into Brainstorm. Reid sensed Weakness and tried a Spell Pierce, but Pete used Daze to push it through. Both players simply made their land drops and passed for the next couple of turns, and Pete broke the silence with a Delver of Secrets. Reid said okay, then took his draw--and promptly found a Terminus to solve that particular problem.
Dark Confidant was the next bid for a board presence from Pete. It resolved, and Reid untapped and attempted Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Pete tried Spell Pierce, but Reid’s Red Elemental Blast pushed it through, and the planeswalker sent Dark Confidant packing back to Pete’s hand. Pete simply replaced his Dark Confidant and passed the turn back.
Reid: “Well, things took a turn for the worse there.”
He revealed his hand: Jace, the Mind Sculptor and lands. Dark Confidant attacked and killed the Jace in play, and Reid was suddenly out of action. It was quickly revealed to be ploy, however, as Entreat the Angels had been stashed away on top of his library, and he made two 4/4 Angels in his draw step. Another Entreat the Angels came the turn after, but Reid tapped a bit too low, and Spell Pierce plus Daze was able to keep it from resolving. An Abrupt Decay killed one of the two Angels, and Pete was still in it.
The Angel attack dropped Pete to 6, and an Abrupt Decay was revealed to Dark Confidant, dropping him to 4 but giving him an answer to the Angel. He attacked Reid down to 13 and passed. Reid passed back with no play, and Dark Confidant’s next trigger revealed Tarmogoyf, putting Pete at a precarious 2 life. He cast the Tarmogoyf, then used Ponder to set up the top of his library and give him a turn’s protection from his own Confidant. He cast Deathrite Shaman as well, giving him a little more room to breathe.
Reid drew Pyroblast to go with the lands in his hand. He could only ship the turn back, and Dark Confidant revealed Brainstorm, putting Pete at 1. He attacked Reid down to 4, then used Deathrite Shaman to gain 2 life, exiling Reid’s Baneslayer Angel. Reid’s draw step found him no help, and he needed some assistance from Pete’s Dark Confidant to close things out.
Pete attempted a Brainstorm in his upkeep to set up the top card, but Reid used Pyroblast to force a blind flip. With no creatures left in graveyards for Deathrite Shaman to eat, Pete was stuck at 3 life and had to avoid drawing one of his two True-Name Nemeses. He flipped his top card onto the table—Spell Pierce. He went to 2, and Reid swiftly went to 0.
Pete Ingram 1, Reid Duke 1
It was a staredown for the first few turns of the third game, as both players played lands and passed back to each other with a hand full of cards. The first action was Reid’s turn 4 Sensei’s Divining Top with two lands untapped, which Pete was able to stop with Spell Pierce + Daze. Reid passed the turn and Pete flashed in Vendilion Clique at the end step. The hand he saw was a doozy: Two Jace, the Mind Sculptors, Entreat the Angels, Blood Moon, Pyroblast, and a Volcanic Island that Reid had been sandbagging due to Pete’s Wasteland. Pete sent the Pyroblast to the bottom, untapped, and cracked in for 3, passing back with five cards in hand and three mana up.
Reid played his Volcanic Island and attempted a Jace on his own turn. It resolved, and Reid ticked up for one of Jace’s little-used modes: Fateseal myself. Reid put his top card on the bottom and passed back. The Vendilion Clique knocked Jace down to 2 loyalty, and Pete Wastelanded away Reid’s Volcanic Island, but had no further play. Reid drew, Fatesealed himself again (putting his card on the bottom) and played a Scalding Tarn from his hand.
After Vendilion Clique again attacked Jace, this time sending it down to 1 loyalty, Pete passed with mana up. Reid used Jace’s +0 this time, and ended his own turn, but attempted a Pyroblast on the Vendilion Clique in Pete’s upkeep. This prompted a string of responses. Pete Brainstormed, then Force of Willed the Brainstorm pitching Daze. Reid played Counterspell on the Force, Pete Spell Pierced the Counterspell, and when Reid attempted to crack a fetchland to get his second mana to pay, Pete Stifled it. When the smoke cleared, Vendilion Clique was still in play, and it attacked Jace away, leaving Reid with an empty board.
With Pete tapped low from the skirmish in his upkeep, Reid and untapped slammed Blood Moon into play. Pete had two Underground Seas and two Tropical Islands, and his deck contained no basic lands, meaning he would have to win with the Vendilion Clique he had in play. He got in one more swing, dropping Reid to 10, before a second Jace, the Mind Sculptor came down and bounced it back to his hand. Locked out of playing spells for the rest of the game, Pete scooped up his cards.
Reid Duke 2, Pete Ingram 1
Pete checks his draw.
Pete took a moment to regain his focus, knowing he couldn’t lose again if he wanted to keep his Players’ Championship dream alive. He led off with a Ponder, then followed up with a turn 2 Tarmogoyf. Reid Brainstormed, but found no further play, and the Tarmogoyf swung in dropping him to 16. Pete played Dark Confidant post-combat, and Reid swiftly untapped and flipped over the Terminus he’d set up on top of his deck. Pete Brainstormed in response, but found no countermagic, and his threats were sent to the bottom of his library.
Unfazed, Pete began rebuilding on his next turn, casting a True-Name Nemesis. It resolved, but it gave Reid a window to cast Blood Moon while Pete was tapped low. He responded with Spell Pierce, but Reid had a Spell Pierce of his own, and the Blood Moon stuck. Again Pete found himself needing to win with the lone 3/1 creature he had in play. He swung in and passed, and Reid showed him Council’s Judgment. That was enough, and Pete extended his hand in defeat.
Reid Duke 3, Pete Ingram 1