Quarterfinal Roundup

Posted in Event Coverage on May 11, 2015

By Peter Rawlings

The quarterfinals at Grand Prix Atlantic City was stacked with experience. Whoever ended up taking home the trophy would have to battle their way through an intimidating gantlet of Hall of Famers, former Grand Prix champions, and Pro Tour mainstays. It might be satisfying, but it wouldn't be easy.

Jesse faces down a quick start from Calcano.

Christian Calcano v. Zachary Jesse

Calcano got off to a quick, manifest-infested start in Game 1 with Soul Summons on turn two, followed by a Mastery of the Unseen on turn three. Jesse tried to keep pace with a Conifer Strider on turn four, but Calcano had the perfect answer—a Merciless Executioner—which handily dispatched the hexproof Elemental. Jesse struggled to catch up, and was soon buried under the early advantage Calcano had accrued, going down a game.

Jesse fell behind on the board early again in Game 2, as Calcano laid a Typhoid Rats and a morph. Jesse landed a Stampeding Elk Herd on his fifth turn, but Calcano's morph turned out to be the perfect answer—a Hidden Dragonslayer. Jesse couldn't recover from there and Calcano was quickly on to the semifinals.

Calcano 2 – Jesse 0

Neal and Wilson's quarterfinal was a battle Blue-Black-based decks.

Stephen Neal v. Jacob Wilson (14)

In their Top 8 player profiles, most every player named Dragonlord Silumgar as the card they most hoped to open Pack 1, Pick 1. Well, somebody had to get it, and that somebody turned out to be Stephen Neal. Wilson tried gamely to battle back against the Elder Dragon, but in the end fell behind 0-1 in his quarterfinal match.

In Game 2, Wilson assembled his combo of Renowned Weaponsmith and Vial of Dragonfire to clear out Neal's board. He then piled on the pressure with Ojutai's Summons and soon evened up the match 1-1.

Game 3 saw Neal start with a mulligan to six and get temporarily stuck on two lands. When he found his third, Write into Being helped him smooth out his draws and develop his board, but Wilson was quick to work, beating down with an army of fliers. Ojutai's Breath bought Neal some time and allowed him to drop Wilson to 10 with a Soulflayer and a manifested creature. A Hewed Stone Retainers arrived to hold down the fort for Neal, but Wilson had just the answer in Sidisi's Faithful, allowing him to attack back for lethal.

Wilson 2 – Neal 1

The quarterfinal between Scott-Vargas and Hayne was a dragon-centric affair.

Luis Scott-Vargas v. Alexander Hayne (24)

Scott-Vargas's start was fast and full of dragons. After losing a Thunderbreak Regent, he soon followed up with a dashed Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury, which—when combined with his Vulturous Aven—dropped Hayne to 9 in a flash. Hayne managed to rebuild his board, but a Crux of Fate soon scuttled those plans and, with Kolaghan still in hand to follow up, Scott-Vargas took Game 1.

Hayne spent his first few turns of Game 2 developing his board, and taking small bites out of Scott-Vargas's life total. But that turned out to just be the appetizer, as Descent of the Dragons making two 4/4 fliers was Hayne's main course. As quickly as he lost the first game, he evened things up 1-1.

Game 3 was decidedly less flashy for Hayne, but every bit as effective. He suited up a Territorial Roc with an Abzan Runemark and Scott-Vargas just couldn't find a way to deal with the 3/5 flyer.

Hayne 2 – Scott-Vargas 1

Vidugiris was put on the backfoot by Gottlieb's aggressive Red-Green deck in their quarterfinal.

Bryan Gottlieb v. Gaudenis Vidugiris

Gottlieb was forced to mulligan to five, but Vidugiris found himself stuck on three lands. Gottlieb drew the lands he needed and was able to punish his opponent for his lack of mana, quickly dropping him to 10 life. Then Atarka's Command did what it does best—end games—and Gottlieb won Game 1.

Vidugiris was able to lead off with an Arashin Cleric and a Warbringer, while Gottlieb matched him with a Gore Swine and Sabertooth Outrider. He soon added a pair of Goblins courtesy of Dragon Fodder, making his Outrider ferocious and letting it crash in. Vidugiris struck back with his Gore Swine, but Gottlieb found Sarkhan's Rage to finish off the game and the match.

Gottlieb 2 – Vidugiris 0

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