Quarterfinals: Marius Cholewa (Punishing RUG) vs. James Higginbottom (RUG)
Marius and James are friends from way back battling here in the top 8 of the Legacy Open in Atlanta. James is a well-known Legacy player from the northeast, and a winner of the last Jupiter Games Northeast Legacy Championship, while this is Marius’ first significant finish. Can he ‘punish’ the ringer from New Jersey?
Marius had the play and after James mulliganed to six the match got underway. Scalding+Tarn for Volcanic+Island allowed Delver+of+Secrets to enter play for Marius on his first turn. James searched up Tropical+Island off of his Scalding+Tarn and used it to cast Nimble+Mongoose.
“Nope, resolves!” interjected James.
“Cavern of Souls naming Mongoose?”
He didn’t need the Cavern, as Marius let the Odyssey uncommon come into play. Delver failed to flip for Marius, and Ponder shuffled his library for a fresh start. Grove+of+the+Burnwillows came into play, and Delver+of+Secrets battled, dropping James to 18. James untapped and cast Brainstorm with Misty Rainforest in play, after which the Mongoose dropped Marius to 18 as well. Brainstorm in Marius’ upkeep stacked the top of his deck and his hand to his liking, and he revealed Thought+Scour to his Delver. Insectile+Aberration attacked. Marius attempted to Wasteland Tropical+Island, which James attempted to Stifle. Marius Dazed the Stifle, and the lands hit the bin leaving each player with one land apiece. Forked+Bolt took out the 3/2 flier, and a threshholded Nimble+Mongoose took Marius to 15.
Marius Cholewa is running a unique variant on RUG Delver.
Marius missed his land dropped and passed. Nimble+Mongoose attacked and was joined by Delver+of+Secrets post combat. Thought+Scour at end of turn was Marius’ attempt to dig out of the situation, which resulted in a Polluted+Delta. He tapped Grove+of+the+Burnwillows to Lighting Bolt the Delver, but unable to do anything about the Mongoose Marius dropped to 8. Tarmogoyf resolved for Marius and it resolved after he also played a third land. James cast Ponder, and unable to attack with his 3/3 into Marius’ 4/5 at end of turn Marius cast Brainstorm. The Goyf attacked James down to 10, and after Ponder from Marius resolved he attempted to cast Nimble+Mongoose (now well beyond threshod for Marius as well). Brainstorm was James’ response, but he did not find the counterspell he wanted and James took his turn.
Land number three for James was a Volcanic+Island off of a fetchland. Mongeese traded on James’ attack step, and he cast a Tarmogoyf. Marius drew and passed, while James cast Delve rof Secrets on his turn. Lightning+Bolt immediately flipped Delver and it attacked, but Marius attempted Punishing+Fire. James cast Force+of+Will removing Stifle (going to 8) to try to stop the burn spell, which resolved… but Lightning+Bolt took care of the flying scientist. Goyf blocked Goyf, and a Bolt from James killed Marius’ creature. With James now hellbent, Marius untapped and drew his third card into his hand. Unable to make any play, he passed.
Tarmogoyf attacked Marius down to three and passed with no further play. Ponder was Marius’ cantrip of choice, which shuffled his library to try to find an answer. Finding none, he scooped up his cards and got ready for sideboarding.
James 1, Marius 0.
“Well, that’s how it went in the Swiss.”
“Yep, then you’ll crush me in the next two.”
Marius took the play and led with Nimble+Mongoose. Scalding+Tarn pass from James was followed by Marius’ turn of Ponder, which got Spell Pierced. Another Mongoose hit the table for Marius, and James let it resolve. James cast a Delver+of+Secrets and Wastelanded Marius’ red source, a Volcanic+Island. Polluted+Delta found another red source, which allowed him to cast Punishing+Fire on the Delver and the pair of 1/1s swung into James’ life total. Sitting on The Lonely (Tropical) Island, James passed.
Scavenging+Ooze got Spell Snared, but the Grove+of+the+Burnwillows Marius used to cast it threatened to take over the game. Ponder shuffled after James found another Tropical+Island, and he passed. Wastland not only took out a Tropical+Island, but also gave Marius threshold and he took James to 9. Seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, James picked up his cards and went back to his deckbox for game three.
James 1, Marius 1.
“This is exactly how the last match went.”
James Higginbottom faces down Punishing+Fire in the arena.
After a brief perusal of deck lists, James led with Delver+of+Secrets off of Volcanic+Island. Nimble+Mongoose was met by Daze, but Marius also had a Daze to resolve the ‘Goose. Delver did not flip, and James cast a second Delver+of+Secrets. Nimble+Mongoose attacked and then Marius cast Pyroblast, which elicited Daze number two from James. The Delver pair failed to flip for James, and the 1/1s took Marius to 17. He Wastelanded Marius’ Volcanic+Island and he ended his turn. Tropical+Island cast Ponder for Marius, which shuffled, and before he passed back he audibly hoped for another brick from the top of James’ deck. The Innistrad commons failed to flip yet again, and Delver number three came down for James, representing nine power worth of fliers... if they managed to flip, that is.
Punishing+Fire took out a Delver+of+Secrets before it got a chance to fly, and James gained a life from Marius’ Grove+of+the+Burnwillows that he used to cast it. Yet again, Delvers stayed as 1/1s and Marius went to 16 after he traded a ‘Goose for a Delver. Land number three was a Scalding+Tarn that quickly became Volcanic+Island. Grove returned Punishing+Fire for Marius, which then took out the Delver+of+Secrets. James simply drew and passed, while Marius landed Tarmogoyf. A not-so-timely Wasteland finally took out the Grove, and the 4/5 Goyf attacked James to 17. Daze number three put a tax on a post-combat Delver+of+Secrets (which resolved) before Marius ended his turn.
Nimble+Mongoose was all James could muster, while Marius flipped his Delver to a Ponder and swung for three. Ponder rearranged Marius’ deck and he passed, but James had no action and passed right back. Insectile+Aberration put James to 11 on Marius’ turn, and he passed. James finally found a Tarmogoyf, but a hardcast Daze was Marius’ response. James paid for the Daze with a fetchland that found Tropical+Island, but Submerge took it off the board just as soon as it came into play.
Both creatures attacked for Marius, and James cast Submerge on Insectile+Aberration. James went to 6 from the Goyf beats, and Marius passed. Tarmogoyf resolved again for James, but yet another Submerge took it off the board. Sitting at a healthy 15 life, Marius cast an end of turn Lightning+Bolt to set James to 3, and Marius untapped and attacked. James cast Submerge, which James attempted to Stifle and did so successfully. Marius went to 9, and Nimble+Mongoose joined a Goyf for James. Goyf’s bounced on James’ attack step and afterwards James added a second copy of the Future+Sight rare to the board. Marius failed to flip his Delver and passed right back.
With a trio of green beaters at his disposal but sitting at only 3 life, James Pondered and passed, unable to safely attack without the possibility of dying himself. Marius only had a Delver (which once again did not flip) and a Tarmogoyf in play but a much higher life total. Wasteland took out Volcanic+Island, but James responded with Pyroblast on the Delver. An end of turn Punishing+Fire put James to 1, but Marius had no further action to take out James.
Mongoose number two joined the other creatures for James threatening to take out James in one fell swoop next turn, but when Brainstorm off the top found Punishing+Fire Marius took the game and the match.
Marius 2, James 1.