Quarterfinals: Sam Lount vs. Terry Tsang

Posted in Event Coverage

By Toby Wachter

Terry Tsang

This match saw former Canadian National Team member Terry Tsang face off against Sam Lount. Tsang is running Skies, which proved to be a great choice in a metagame filled with control decks. However, Lount is playing Fires- a deck that has traditionally done exceptionally well against Skies. The difference maker may turn out to be the Static Orbs in Terry's sideboard, as they allow him to slow down the game and counteract the mana hungry strategy of Fires.

Game 1

Terry won the die roll, and chose to play first. Sam mulliganed his opening hand, and kept the next six cards. Spiketail Hatchling was summoned by Terry on turn two, and Sam decided to eliminate it right away with Ghitu Fire on his turn. Terry had a second waiting, and it came out on turn three. Sam did not play anything on the following turn, and the Hatchling flew through the air for a point of damage. The next turn saw Sam tap out to play Blastoderm, and Terry chose to not sacrifice the Hatchling to counter it.

With the Blastoderm now in play, Tsang's Hatchling continued to fly through the air. Sam's 5/5 monster attacked right back, and Ghitu Fire was used to take down the Hatchling. Terry untapped and did not play anything. Blastoderm attacked a second time, bringing Terry down to ten life points. A second Blastoderm was summoned, giving Sam enough damage on the table to kill Terry on his next attack step.

Facing imminent defeat, Terry played a Rootwater Thief, and followed up with Wash Out on blue to buy him a reprieve. The first Blastoderm was recast, and countered with an alternate casting cost Thwart. The Thief now attacked and its special ability was activated, which allowed Terry to remove Flametongue Kavu from Sam's deck. Regardless, things looked quite bad for Terry. He had a hand that contained nothing but islands, and Sam had a hand that contained at least a Blastoderm. Sure enough, the 'Derm came back out, putting pressure back on Terry.

The Thief attacked once again after heading to the air, and removed the other Flametongue Kavu from Sam's deck. Blastoderm swung back to bring Terry down to five. The next turn saw Terry play Wash Out on green, which bought him some more time. On end step, Sam used Fire to kill off the Rootwater Thief. The Blastoderm came back out on Sam's turn, and Terry conceded to move on to game two.

Lount- 1 Tsang- 0

Game 2

For the second game in a row, Sam mulliganed his opening hand. The game started off slowly, with neither player doing anything until Terry summoned Troublesome Spirit on turn four. Sam answered back with his own creature, as Blastoderm hit the table. Tsang's Spirit now flew through the air for three points of damage, and Static Orb followed to slow down the pace of the game. Sam untapped two lands, and sent his Blastoderm over to deal five points of damage.

The next turn saw more of the same, as the Spirit and Blastoderm traded attacks across the table. The interesting situation here was that the Blastoderm would eventually fade away, which meant the current board position was in favor of Terry. However, the Spirit and Orb created somewhat of a lock on Tsang, who would not be able to tap mana to play spells as long as the Spirit was attacking. On the other hand, Sam was untapping a land and his Blastoderm every turn, giving him more mana to work with.

Sam Lount vs. Terry Tsang

A Kavu Chameleon was summoned by Sam following the final Blastoderm attack, and Terry handled the situation by untapping two lands (instead of a land and the Spirit), playing a third and Repulsing the Chameleon. The Blastoderm faded away on Sam's next upkeep, and he played a land to give him five available mana sources, but chose not to tap out to replay the Chameleon. Meanwhile, the Spirit continued its attack, bringing Sam down to eight life points. Kavu Chameleon hit play on the following turn, leaving Sam with two mana untapped. Once again, Terry had the answer. He did not untap the Spirit, and instead untapped two lands and played another to Repulse the Chameleon.

Still, Sam had enough mana available on the next turn to tap out and replay the Chameleon. With Sam at seven and Terry at five, this seemed to be a race that Sam would barely win. However, Terry attacked with the Spirit and played Spiketail Hatchling, giving him the chump blocker necessary to win the race. Sam tried to break out of the situation with Fire, but Terry had Thwart. This evened up the match, and the players went to game three.

Lount- 1 Tsang- 1

Game 3

For the first time this match, Sam got to play first. Additionally, for the first time in this match, Sam did not have to mulligan his opening hand. He started off strong with a first turn Llanowar Elves, and followed with a Thornscape Battlemage without kicker on turn two. Both creatures attacked on the next turn, and Terry answered back by playing his first creature of the game- Rishadan Airship. However, Sam was ready with Fire, which took out the 3/1 creature and dealt a point to Tsang. He then untapped and attacked once again with the Elf and Battlemage, but did not play a fourth land.

Meanwhile, Terry tried to build up a presence on the board as he summoned Troublesome Spirit. Sam played Flametongue Kavu on his turn, targeting the Spirit. Terry responded with Gush, and then used an alternate casting cost Foil to counter the Flametongue. The Spirit attacked on the following turn, and Terry added to his army with a Spiketail Hatchling.

Sam now attacked with just the Battlemage, and tapped out to play a Saproling Burst, which resolved. While Terry was getting ready to attack, Sam went reaching for some tokens before Terry told him "Don't bother, it's not staying in play" Hibernation was cast to bring the Elf, Battlemage and Burst all back to Sam's hand. The Battlemage was replayed with kicker, but Terry countered it by sacrificing his Hatchling. The next Spirit attack brought Same down to eight, and Terry summoned a second Spirit to increase the clock.

Meanwhile, Sam was struggling to keep up, as he played Birds of Paradise, which chump blocked a Spirit on Tsang's attack. Still, this only bought him a turn. Realizing that the game would be over during Terry's next attack, Sam conceded.

Lount- 1 Tsang- 2

Game 4

Once again, Sam started off with a first turn Elf. This was followed by Rishadan Port, which was used on Terry's upkeep to tap down an island. A Bird was summoned on the next turn to further accelerate Sam's mana, as the Port continued to go to work. Terry then drew, and missed his third land drop. This forced him to discard, and Thwart was sent to the discard pile. Being stuck at two lands is never a good situation, but staring down a Port makes it even worse. He did draw a third island on the next turn, but still had nothing to play.

Sam still did not have a solid threat on the table. The Elf continued to attack, and the Port was used. Terry drew into a fourth island, and summoned Rishadan Airship, which died on end step to Fire. At this point play slowed down, as Terry had a hand filled with reactive cards, but no threats. A Fires of Yavimaya was played, and the Elf continued its attack. On end step, Terry used Hibernation to bounce back the Elf, Bird and Fires. The Fires was replayed on Sam's next turn, but countered with Thwart. The Elf came back into play, and resolved.

Sam Lount

Kavu Chameleon came down on the next turn, and Terry's hand was filled with plenty of reactive cards- none of which could handle the 4/4 Kavu. It could not be countered, and the two Wash Outs he was holding would only slow it down. All was not lost, as Terry summoned an Airship, which at least gave him a way to outrace the Chameleon. A Thornscape Battlemage with red kicker was countered with Foil, following Sam's attack for five damage. The Airship swung back for three, and Terry used Wash Out to bounce back the Chameleon. Since the color is named on resolution, Sam was unable to prevent his Kavu from bouncing back. However, he did make his Chameleon blue, which at least forced Terry to replay the Airship.

The Chameleon was replayed on the following turn, and the Elf attacked to bring Terry down to six life points. The Airship attacked once again, bringing Sam down to twelve. A second Wash Out was cast, bouncing back the blue Chameleon, and the Airship was immediately replayed. The Elf attacked once again to bring Terry down to five, and the Chameleon was summoned. This gave Sam enough damage on the table to defeat Terry on the following turn, which meant that Tsang would need to come up with an answer. He played a Spiketail Hatchling, and Sam used Fire on end step, attempting to remove both of Terry's creatures. Thwart was used to counter the spell, which would have otherwise ended the game. Sam then took his turn, and played a Thornscape Battlemage with kicker. This was enough to give him the win, bringing the match to a final deciding fifth game.

Lount- 2 Tsang- 2

Game 5

A first turn Elf was played by Sam, who cast Fires on turn two. Static Orb was cast by Terry on turn three, disrupting what had until then been the textbook-perfect start for Fires. Sam untapped, and said go, and then noticed that he made a mistake by not attacking with the Llanowar Elf, since he only had one tapped permanent at the time. Lount had five mana available on his next turn, and he used all of it to cast Saproling Burst. Terry countered it with an alternate casting cost Thwart, leaving him with one island in play. Spiketail Hatchling came out a few turns later. Sam then played a Bird, and used Ghitu Fire to kill off the Hatchling.

Tsang took his turn, and played Wash Out on green to set Sam back for a few turns. Kavu Chameleon now showed up, and was Repulsed on end step. The next turn saw Terry think for a bit, before discarding Troublesome Spirit with eight cards in hand. Sam drew, and joked "The land just keeps on coming!" Terry agreed, and commented that his land draws had been less than optimal at this point in the game. Kavu Chameleon then came back into play, and the pressure was on Terry to find an answer. He drew some cards with Gush, and played an answer- Alexi, Zephyr Mage. The Gush left Terry with more than seven cards in hand, and he discarded Thwart and a Spiketail Hatchling at the end of his turn.

The Chameleon now entered the Red Zone, and dealt four points of damage. A Blastoderm joined, which was key, since the 5/5 untargetable monster cannot be bounced with Alexi. Terry realized this, and used an alternate casting cost Foil to counter it, discarding island and Wash Out. Tsang now took his turn, and tapped two islands before using an alternate casting cost Gush. The two floating mana were used to summon Spiketail Hatchling, and Alexi attacked to deal three points of damage. The Chameleon swung back, dealing four damage to Terry.

At this point, Terry was at twelve life points, while Sam was at sixteen. The Hatchling and Alexi attacked, and Sam commented, "It's a race!" A second Hatchling joined on Terry's side, adding to his attack force. At this point, Sam decided to stop racing. He left his Chameleon back on defense, which would stop Alexi from attacking. Still, Terry's Hatchlings were free to attack. He untapped a Hatchling and a land every turn, and attacked for one each time. He then played Troublesome Spirit, giving him a bigger clock to work with. With Alexi ready to go to work, it seemed that Sam would not be able to win the race.

Thornscape Battlemage was now summoned with white kicker, but Terry was not too eager to lose his Static Orb. An alternate casting cost Thwart was used to counter it, leaving Terry with one island in play. The Spirit attacked on the following turn, and Alexi was used to bounce back the Chameleon. The pressure was on, and Sam would need to find an answer before the aerial army brought him to zero life points. Thornscape Battlemage was tried again, but countered with Foil. This was enough for Sam to concede, giving Terry the game and the match.

Final Result: Lount- 2 Tsang- 3

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