Quarterfinals Roundup

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2014

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

Nathan Holiday (Melira Pod) vs. Andrew Huska (Jund)

The first game of this match opened like you would expect in this matchup. Huska's Jund deck looked to control the early board and disrupt Holiday's Pod deck as much as he could in the early turns of the game. A Thoughtseize stripped a Voice of Resurgence over a Kitchen Finks, Ranger of Eos, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. He followed that up with a Dark Confidant, which provided him a steady stream of removal spells in the form of two Slaughter Pacts, an Inquisition of Kozilek, and a Scavenging Ooze. Holiday's first-turn Birds of Paradise allowed him to ramp into an early Linvala, but it met an early demise at the hands of Terminate.

"I actually don't want to Pact yet," Huska explained.

Nathan Holiday

He then began his assault, sending a Scavenging Ooze and Dark Confidant to the red zone over and over again. Holiday tried to stem the tide with Ranger of Eos and Kitchen Finks, but Huska's stream of removal and Scavenging Ooze really ended matters quickly. Holiday never once saw a Birthing Pod, and, as a result, just lost to the better creature deck.

"That was a clinic on how this matchup is not supposed to go," Holiday allowed himself a little laugh at the end of the game.

In the next game, Holiday was forced to mulligan, but his hand was pretty good for a six-carder. Wall of Roots enabled an early Birthing Pod, and it began turning his creatures into other, better creatures. Voice of Resurgence became Sin Collector, stripping Rakdos Charm from Huska's hand. When Holiday topdecked a Kitchen Finks a turn later, it turned that into Murderous Recap, taking out Huska's freshly-cast Scavenging Ooze. Huska was able to rip a Maelstrom Pulse to get rid of the Pod, but the damage was done. Between the creatures that were already in play and the ones in his hand, Holiday was in complete control of the game despite his mulligan. The final shot was fired by a Shriekmaw, which Holiday cast to get rid of Huska's lone Tarmogoyf.

Andrew Huska

The final game was marred by a string of mulligans by Holiday, ending up with five cards in his hand. When Huska had an Anger of the Gods to wipe his board followed by a Thrun, the Last Troll, dying to a Liliana of the Veil, the match was sealed. It took one lone Tarmogoyf for Huska to get the job done.

Gregory Orange (WUR Control) vs. Taylor Laehn (TarmoTwin)

This match was long and tedious, but ended with a flash of brilliance. In the first game, Laehn's TarmoTwin deck and Orange's WUR Control deck traded turns playing lands and tossing the occasional Lighting Bolt or Electrolyze at each other's heads. Any time that Laehn tried to get a Pestermite into play, Orange had the Electrolyze to kill it and hit Laehn for 1. After about ten turns of this apiece, things blew up with a massive end step stack.

Late in the game, with Orange down to 5, Laehn went for the kill, casting a Snapcaster Mage. With the trigger on the stack, Orange Electrolyzed it, but Laehn had a second Snapcaster in his hand in response. The second one got Mana Leaked, which Laehn tapped out to pay for. This gave Orange a free window to cast Sphinx's Revelation for eight, going up to a much safer 13 life and a hand filled with cards. This, in turn, let Laehn have a free turn. If he had the combo in his hand, the game was over. If he didn't, Orange would come out the extreme winner in the exchange. It turned out he didn't and Orange just took over. From that point, Orange's extreme card advantage allowed him to run Laehn out of cards, eventually winning one more massive fight over a Snapcaster Mage before Laehn conceded.

Gregory Orange

"I'll give you the game," he laughed after the insane stack resolved in Orange's favor. "You got me."

For the second game, Laehn made the unorthodox decision to draw in this heavy control matchup. Unfortunately for him, Orange had a trump card in this matchup, and it wasn't one I expected: Crucible of Worlds. It hit play on turn three, allowing Orange to effectively keep Laehn locked down on lands, constantly recurring a Tectonic Edge to kill a land. Whenever he had the chance, he would use it to recur an Arid Mesa, furthering his own mana base. Eventually, Laehn managed to get enough basic lands into play to cast a Batterskull, but Orange had enough control of the game to keep it from attacking. Path to Exile and a Snapcaster Mage made sure it stayed unequipped, despite Laehn's efforts, returning and recasting it. It was almost Mana Leaked, but Laehn had the Spell Snare to force it back into play.

Taylor Laehn

Orange almost managed to lock the game up with a massive Sphinx's Revelation, but a Dispel stopped it. This almost allowed Laehn to take control of the game. He had a Threads of Disloyalty and a Tarmogoyf to threaten lethal damage, as the constant fetching and occasional Lightning Bolt had Orange down to 7. Unfortunately for Laehn, it also allowed him enough lands to begin attacking with his Celestial Colonnade. He Bolted his own traitorous Mage, neutering Laehn's attack. One more swing with the Colonnade and an Electrolyze later, and Orange had secured himself a spot in the semifinals.

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