Gerry Thompson is among many players in the room finding success with Twin-Blade a deck that combines the Deceiver Exarch/Splinter Twin combination with a traditional Caw-Blade shell. If you can beat the Stoneforge Mystic then the odds are that Deceiver Exarch will get you—holding removal is not a strong strategy against the equipment-based beatdown. Josh Cho has a ton of it though with his R/B Vampires already rewarding him with a 5-1 record. Can he overcome Gerry and advance to 18 points with Top 8 in sight?
Josh kept as did Gerry and Josh opened on Lavaclaw Reaches before passing the turn. Gerry opened with Scalding Tarn for Island and Gitaxian Probe revealing Go for the Throat Bloodghast Kalastria Highborn Manic Vandal and fetchlands. Josh broke Verdant Catacombs for a Swamp before playing Bloodghast and passed to Gerry. Gerry just had a Seachrome Coast.
Bloodghast dropped Gerry to 17 and Kalastria Highborn joined the board before Josh played Verdant Catacombs. He seemed surprised when the Highborn resolved but took the fortune at face value. Gerry's third turn saw him play Mountain and Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull leaving an Island untapped.
His Dispel was no good against Gatekeeper of Malakir which had jumped out of Josh's deck and now slew the Mystic in spite of Gerry's fine defensive efforts. Josh had drawn a Swamp and didn't even need to break his Catacombs in the process. An attack for 4 dropped Gerry to 13 but he began working to recover on his own turn. Breaking Scalding Tarn for another Mountain he cast Jace the Mind Sculptor and brainstormed.
Ignoring the planeswalker Josh attacked Gerry for 6 and knocked him to 6 with Vampire Lacerator and a second Verdant Catacombs joining the field. Now Josh was threatening lethal in a variety of ways and Gerry was in a tough spot. He dropped to 5 popping Scalding Tarn for Island before casting Gitaxian Probe and brainstorming. Josh was still sitting on the Manic Vandal and Go for the Throat but Gerry had most wanted to see that fourth card. He passed with four mana up.
Josh drew and entered combat unsurprised to see Deceiver Exarch flash in from Gerry's hand and tap down Bloodghast. Josh's attack wouldn't be lethal now and he would also risk dying to Splinter Twin—he cast Go for the Throat in an attempt to force through 6 damage. Gerry's Dispel found its mark this time but Josh tapped two lands and dropped a second copy of the removal spell onto the 1/4. Gerry growled flashed his Splinter Twin and packed up his cards.
Josh 1 Gerry 0
“Me first” Gerry declared before taking a prompt mulligan. “Hesitant keep” Josh replied shrugging and giving Gerry some hope. Gerry's six started with Seachrome Coast and Josh tried Blackcleave Cliffs and Vampire Lacerator—Mental Misstep countered the 2/2. “No sir!” Arid Mesa for a Mountain gave Gerry Stoneforge Mystic and Batterskull but Josh spend his second turn on Go for the Throat.
Gerry pulled ahead now no aggression from Josh in the early turns giving him plenty of time. He cast Preordain off his only blue source splitting the top cards and then dropped Arid Mesa. Josh decided to make a heavy sacrifice for some beatdown and played Dragonskull Summit before tapping out for Manic Vandal.
“Standard typicals” Gerry sighed missing his fourth land drop and ending the turn. He took 2 as Josh played Lavaclaw Reaches and passed. An Island was waiting for Gerry on turn 5 and Jace's brainstorm in turn dug him out of his poor position. Josh tried to end Jace with Lightning Bolt on his own turn but Gerry used Mental Misstep and paid 2 life to make the save. Josh instead found himself animating Lavaclaw Reaches and attacking the planeswalker to death—also known as “the hard way.”
A second Mind Sculptor for Gerry drew three more cards and Gerry used Preordain to wash the deck a bit more to his liking. Josh looked to repeat his previous turn now once again attacking the planeswalker but decided to miss out on the Vandal's 2 damage to Gerry by using a land to Duress Jace from a hand containing Batterskull Pyroclasm and Halimar Depths.
Gerry drew and then played the Depths with Josh tapped out but sitting on three spells. With no other great options available Gerry cast his Batterskull and passed. Josh took advantage with a second Manic Vandal to clear the blocker before attacking Gerry to 11 and casting a Bloodghast after combat. Suddenly this board had become quite threatening!
Under too much pressure to hold back Gerry burned his Pyroclasm—Josh shrugged. Clearly he'd been slow-rolling a land and Verdant Catacombs resurrected the 2/1 on his next turn before Lavaclaw Reaches attacked. Slowly but surely Josh was building momentum and turning up the heat.
An Emeria Angel off the top of the deck gave Gerry some defense combined with an Evolving Wilds to make one token. Josh attacked with his Reaches and his Bloodghast but Gerry declined to block the Reaches at all—he just bumped off Bloodghast with his 3/3 Angel. Another Verdant Catacombs resurrected the 2/1.
The Bird that had survived the turn attacked and Gerry played Scalding Tarn. Now Josh sat in serious trouble—that Angel needed to go! He declared an attack with his animated land and Bloodghast using Lightning Bolt in response to Evolving Wilds to kill the Angel. That saved him the trouble of one token but Gerry's wily save of the fetch on the previous turn had now afforded him the opportunity to respond with Scalding Tarn. He double-blocked the Reaches with Birds and fell to 4 life.
Gerry drew and passed hiding behind his Angel's last Bird token. He declined to block Bloodghast against those Catacombs on Josh's next turn dropping down to 2 life in the process. Josh added a Gatekeeper of Malakir to his offense slaying the token and sent turn to Gerry. Jace the Mind Sculptor off the top found Gerry three more cards but none of them could stop Josh's 2/2s.
Josh 2 Gerry 0