Round 14 Feature Match: Justin Cohen vs Reid Duke

Posted in Event Coverage on May 29, 2016

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

Reid Duke and Justin Cohen both sat at 11-2 and needed a win to stay in Top 8 contention. Reid was playing a Black-Green midrange deck with Tireless Tracker as his main card advantage engine while Justin was on an innovative Red-Green ramp list with a suite of mana creatures including Deathcap Cultivator and Shaman of Forgotten Ways.

Reid won the die roll and chose to play Both players were quiet during shuffling and presenting. Reid mulliganed to six and Game 1 was underway.

Justin began with an Oath of Nissa finding a Deathcap Cultivator while Reid's first play was Sylvan Advocate. Duress from Reid revealed a hand of two land, Shaman of Forgotten Ways, Nissa's Pilgrimage, Ulamog, and Nissa's Pilgrimage hit the bin.

Justin Cohen

Justin's played creature after creature which kept getting killed by Reid's removal spells while he continued to attack with Sylvan Advocate. Eventually there were six lands in play on Reid's side and Justin was on a pretty fast clock.

All Justin could follow up with was land, pass. Losing Nissa's Pilgrimage and his mana creatures caused him to not get anything off the ground and his large creatures were stuck in his hand. Justin fell to six life and needed to find something quickly before the Advocate destroyed him.

Finally Justin played a real threat, Woodland Bellower, which found him a Shaman of Forgotten Ways. Suddenly Justin had an army in front of him and has turned the corner. Reid drew a card and tanked for a while, then decided to cast Nissa, Vastwood Seer, find a Forest and transform Nissa. Nissa could only reveal a land and suddenly it was Reid who was under pressure. Shaman of Forgotten Ways threatened to cast most of Justin's hand.

“Twenty to six and three cards in hand?” asked Reid.

“All true.”

Justin summoned a Dragonlord Atarka which killed the transformed Nissa. Reid's follow up was Tireless Tracker, not enough to deal with Justin's army but at least it helped him get some card flow going.

Reid Duke

Reid topdecked Dark Petition which found him an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. He didn't yet have the mana to cast it which gave Justin a window to find a way to close out the game.

Justin cast Ulvenwald Hydra which searched up Mirrorpool. He already had a Rogue's Passage hiding amongst his lands which would threaten lethal soon.

Reid cast Ulamog which exiled Justin's two biggest threats, Dragonlord Atarka and Ulvenwald Hydra. Justin was a land shy of casting an Ulamog of his own and had to settle for a Nissa's Pilgrimage to find his tenth mana source. Tireless Tracker continued to produce extra cards for Reid, and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet entered the battlefield on Reid's side.

Justin finally cast his Ulamog, exiling Reid's Ulamog and Sylvan Advocate and he passed back.

Reid Dark Petiioned for Nissa's Renewal, going up to fifteen and netting him more lands and clues. With all the cards he was gaining from Tireless Tracker, he finally drew into his Seasons Past, refilling his hand. However none of the cards he returned were able to fight off Ulamog, and all he could do was cast Nissa's Renewal, finding zero lands (none were in his deck) but gaining enough life to not face lethal.

Reid used a flurry of removal spells to destroy most of Justin's non-Ulamog creatures, netting him a zombie for each one. These zombies were enough to finish off Justin's six life points and Reid took down Game 1.

The players had only eleven minutes on the clock as they shuffled up for Game 2 and neither player said a word during sideboarding. Game 2 was underway very quickly.

Both players began with a Nissa's Pilgrimage on turn three, and the first creature of the game was a Tireless Tracker on Justin's side of the board on turn four. An Ob Nixilis Reignited from Reid took care of the Tracker and Justin followed up with a Woodland Bellower finding Shaman of Forgotten Ways. Dragonlord Atarka came down for Justin next destroying Reid's board but another Ob Nixilis took care of the 8/8 flyer.

Reid dropped The Gitrog Monster onto the battlefield but that didn't stop Justin from attacking with his army of creatures. The players traded creatures and Reid found himself at only seven life after the exchange.

Reid stabilized the board with Tireless Tracker and Sylvan Advocate but Justin cast Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, taking out Reid's blockers and the players were on to Game 3.

“Okay, let's see what we can do,” said Reid as he quickly shuffled his deck. “I'll play.” Justin remained silent and the players drew their opening seven.

With only a minute on the clock, the players couldn't do much besides play lands and ramp spells and after the five extra turns the match was over.

The players drew the match, 1-1, knocking them both out of Top 8 contention.

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