This match-up was the traditional, expected match of the quarterfinals. Everyone expected Birthing Pod and Blue-Red Delver to be dominant this weekend. The Top 8 didn’t quite shape up that way. The decks were there, for certain, but Merfolk, Tron, and Amulet of Vigor abounded. It was pretty crazy. But at least there was some sanity in this match. Erik Peters was rocking the Birthing Pod deck, and Stephen Berrios was on Blue-Red Delver. Ah, sweet sweet expectations.
Depending on who you talk to, either one of these decks could be advantaged against the other. This is probably because the games that either deck wins are complete blowouts. But honestly, it’s probably much closer to the middle than either pilot thinks.
Erik Peters started with a Noble Hierarch and a Wall of Roots, setting up the defense grid while accelerating his mana. Stephen Berrios was trying to sneak by this with a Monastery Swiftspear subsequent, repeated pumps with the Delver–standard flurry of spells. Lightning Bolt and Serum Visions were just a few in the arsenal. A Treasure Cruise soon followed.
Peters was able to keep his life total high with his blockers, but they eventually had to play chump. Berrios was in the driver’s seat in the early game.
That is, until a Murderous Redcap, Orzhov Pontiff, and some Darkblast shenanigans started taking out any and all one- and two-drops from Berrios with relative ease. Peters hadn’t found a Birthing Pod yet, but he was compensating well with the insane value creatures that the deck plays.
As control of the game slipped away from Berrios, he started to struggle with his lines of play. After thinking about a certain play he said, “That’s not playing to win the game; How can I win?” The board was much too clear for his liking, especially since Peters was still at 12. And Berrios’s straits soon became dire.
When Peters killed Blue-Red Delver’s very last creature—in a long line of creatures— Berrios was all but tapped out. It only took a few turns for him to throw in the towel.
Erik Peters 1 – 0 Stephen Berrios
In the second game, a Delver of Secrets flipped early for Berrios, which threatened Peters right quick. But he had a handful of cards ready and waiting for his opponent. Peters started off with a Birds of Paradise and went right into a Chalice of the Void with one charge counter. If it resolved, this could mean death for Berrios.
It stuck. And like that, most of Berrios’s arsenal was no longer available to him. Blue-Red Delver lives off its one-mana spells. Without access to them, Blue-Red Delver was functioning on a three-cylinders—and that’s out of an eight-cylinder vehicle.
Though it was a big ol’ Siege Rhino that barreled the final points away from Stephen Berrios, the tides of that game turned well before that point. When a lowly double-X artifact shut down the game.
Erik Peters 2 – 0 Stephen Berrios
Erik Peters advances to the semifinals!