Quarterfinals Roundup

Posted in NEWS on November 3, 2013

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.

Erik Pentycofe (Dredge) vs. Greg Fenton (Oath)

Pentycofe jumped out to an incredibly early lead with a pair of Bazaar of Baghdads. Between the two of them, he was able to dredge to a majority of his deck, putting some thirty cards into his graveyard, and a pair of Narcomoebas into play. While he didn't have the components to outright kill Fenton, he was able to generate four Zombie tokens with a pair of Cabal Therapies, cleaning out Fenton's hand. With no business left, and facing down a sure kill on the following turn, Fenton simply conceded the first game to Pentycofe. This was the point where things would get interesting, as most decks come incredibly prepared to deal with Dredge after sideboarding.


Wait...how many cards in your graveyard?

 

Fenton began the second game with a Leyline of the Void in play, a backbreaking card against Dredge.


This is how you beat Dredge.

 

Pentycofe immediately removed the Leyline with a Chain of Vapor, once again freeing his graveyard.


This is how it fights back.

 

This cat and mouse game continued, with Fenton tutoring for a Black Lotus, allowing him to reacast the Leyline that was now in his hand. This just led to Pentycofe killing it with Ancient Stirrings, but Fenton had yet another sideboard card, threatening Pentycofe with a Nihil Spellbomb. The Spellbomb was popped to off Pentycofe's graveyard after he dug a bit, resetting his game plan. This is where the two game plans intersected, as a Bazaar of Baghdad hit play for Pentycofe, across the table from an Oath of Druids for Fenton.

Fenton had been generating all of his mana thus far off of a Forbidden Orchard, meaning that he had plenty of creatures to allow him to Oath. It also meant that he had given Pentycofe a bunch of creatures to attack him, and they had done work. After Fenton Oathed into Griselbrand, Pentycofe went for the lethal attack. In order to prevent the lifegain and truly make the attack lethal, Pentycofe tried to kill the blocked creature with a Darkblast, but Fenton had a Force of Will. When Pentycofe showed a second Darkblast, Fenton sighed as he cast Mana Drain to counter it. The exchange had left him alive, but just barely. After attacking with Griselbrand, however, his fortunes changed, and his life total shot up. With the extra life, he had bought himself the ability to search through his deck and assemble Voltaic Key and Time Vault, locking Pentycofe out of the game.

The final game was an exercise in how bad things can be for Dredge after sideboarding. Fenton managed to get two copies of Leyline of the Void into play, as well as a Pithing Needle on Bazaar of Baghdad. To make matters worse, he was able to play Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Jace went into fateseal mode, looking at the top card of Pentycofe's deck. It appeared that the game was soon going to be over as Fenton uttered the worst words you can hear from a fatesealing Jace: "You can keep it."


Fenton's hand proved nearly impossible to fight through.

 

From there, it was elementary, as Fenton built up a large amount of permission in his hand as Jace slowly ticked to his ultimate. The turn before it would go off, Pentycofe conceded.

AJ Grasso (RUG Delver) vs. Benjamin Donais (RUG Delver)

The first game of this Delver mirror match began in Grasso's hand, as his first-turn Tarmogoyf spiked to a four power before its first attack. Vintage Delver decks are built to churn through their decks, and Tarmogoyf never stays small for long.

Donais was a little slower to the board, opting to assume the control role. He fought a heavy counter battle over the burn spells set to kill Tarmogoyf, ending the turn with a dead 'Goyf and no cards in hand for Grasso. Donais had drawn a tremendous number of card drawing spells, and he was well ahead of Grasso's position. Even though Grasso had a second 'Goyf, Donais finally matched it, but he had far more cards in hand. With that advantage, he managed to pull ahead, eventually summoning more creatures that Grasso, including a Vendilion Clique that washed away a Young Pyromancer. In the end, it was enough to take Grasso down.


AJ Grasso fell a bit behind in Game 1...

 

Game 2 began in a very similar fashion, with Grasso taking the early lead on the board. And again, just as in the last, his early creatures were removed by a more controlling Donais. This came to a head when a Snapcaster Mage-powered double Lightning Bolt took out a Tarmogoyf, leaving Donais with the only creature on the table. Donais broke things open further with an Ancestral Recall, putting him ahead of Grasso in cards, if only barely. This also found him a Tarmogoyf, giving him the superior board.


And Donais looked to take control again in the second...

 

Against the wall, Grasso fought back. He resolved a Gush, floating a red mana from his lone Volcanic Island. That allowed him to replay it and get a second red mana, allowing him to double Lightning Bolt Donais's 'Goyf. He also found himself a Delver of Secrets to hold the Umezawa's Jitte he had resolved far earlier in the game. The combination of Delver and Jitte soon took over the board, leaving Grasso firmly in the driver's seat. By the time that Donais found some creatures to fight back, the Jitte had an overwhelming number of counters on it. It didn't take long from that point for the powerful artifact to send the match into Game 3.


But Grasso's Jitte ultimately carried him to victory.

 

Donais had a powerful start (pun intended) in the third game of the series, opening with Mox Sapphire, Black Lotus, and Ancestral Recall all on the first turn. His Recall was Mental Misstepped, but he got a second crack at it with a Snapcaster Mage. That was Force of Willed, and he was left with a significantly depleted hand. Grasso was a bit short himself, having spent a number of resources stopping Donais's attempt to jump ahead. Still, Grasso managed to assemble a Delver of Secrets and Young Pyromancer in play, giving him a potentially massive board presence. When he cast Mystical Tutor into Ancestral Recall, which resolved, the game looked to be over in short order. Donais tried to stem the tide by casting Lightning Bolt on the Pyromancer, but another Mental Misstep kept it alive and added to his army. One more attack put Donais to three. After drawing his card, he conceded.