Stormâ€™s Cominâ€™: Semifinals, Bryant Cook vs. James Higginbottom
James is well known for playing Delver variants in Legacy. Bryant is the originator of TES (The Epic Storm) in Legacy. They know each other well. But only one of them can move on to the finals!
James took the play and led things off with a mulligan to five. Bryant, on the other hand, kept.
“Am I dead.”
“I will say that I’ve kept worse opening hands.”
James is ready to (Thought)seize the day!
Marsh Flats into Underground Sea cast Thoughtseize, which revealed the foily goodness: Burning Wish, Dark Ritual, Ponder, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Gitaxian Probe, and two lands. He took Wish and passed. Gitaxian Probe meant that no secrets lasted between either player, and James revealed Vendilion Clique, Flooded Strand, and Brainstorm. Ponder was next for Bryant, who laid out Lion’s Eye Diamond before passing. James played a land and passed. Then the festivities began.
Lotus Petal was followed by Gemstone Mine and Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, Infernal Tutor (LED in response, 6 black in the pool). James cast Brainstorm in response, but finding nothing to Counterspell Bryant’s Ad Nauseum James immediately scooped.
Bryant 1, James 0.
“Wanna see the sideboard?”
“Nah, turns out I’ve played against you before. I think I’m 0-X against you lifetime…”
The boys were jovial between games, and not too serious, and both stole glances at the other semifinal happening a few feet away during sideboarding.
Both players kept, and James led with Leyline of Sanctity turn zero and fetchland into Thoughtseize turn one. Revealing Rite of Flame, Infernal Tutor, Chrome Mox, Duress, and two lands, James took Infernal Tutor before passing. James used turn one to play Scalding Tarn. James played a fetchland and passed, and we looked like we were in for the long haul.
James played Chrome Mox (removing Duress) and then cast Ponder to play around Spell Pierce. James passed after playing land three, and Bryant used his Tarn in his upkeep but just passed. James also passed without land four, keeping shields up to avoid dying a gruesome death.
Bryant is hoping to gather the Storm!
But then… Silence!
In response to the M11 instant, James cast actual Counterspell (after grabbing Tundra). Rite of Flame was Bryant’s follow up play, then Rite of Flame two happened as well. Burning Wish, floating two red, was met by Force of Will, leaving Bryant with only one card left in hand. No me gusta.
Stoneforge Mystic next turn found Sword of Feast and Famine, and James passed. Bryant drew and passed, as did James but from a much more advantageous position. Bryant cast Ponder and pondered his options before deciding to keep. At end of turn James, put Batterskull into play with Stoneforge Mystic, then cast and Sword and attacked… but Chain of Vapor prevented a bunch of damage. Life totals sat at James 13, Bryant 18.
Bryant then went for the gusto: Dark Ritual then Infernal Tutor, followed by Ad Nauseum. He turned up seventeen cards and stopped at 4 life, then proceeded to drop Gemstone Mine, Chrome Mox, Rite of Flame (for four red), Chrome Mox (imprint Duress), Dark Rituals one through three, LED, Burning Wish for Past in Flames, cast Past and in response activated Lion’s Eye Diamond for blue mana…
At this point, James had seen enough. The men congratulated each other on their finishes, and Bryant moved on to the finals.
Bryant 2, James 0.