Quarterfinals Roundup: Hayne/Speck and Lanthier/Martell

Posted in Event Coverage on February 23, 2015

By Josh Bennett

Here’s an abbreviated look at two of our quarterfinals, and the ones boasting the most star power. How can you say no to two Pro Tour Champions and a former National Champ?

Alex Hayne vs Stephen Speck

In game one both players had first turn Amulets. Hayne got first crack at abusing it, and busted out Asuza, Lost But Seeking. He developed his board but had no Titan, just Serum Visions. He played out a pair of lands and passed.

Speck had plenty of action. “I need to do some math.” He showed a pair of Summer Blooms, and with his abundant mana he transmuted Tolaria West into Summoner’s Pact and brought out Primeval Titan. He passed the turn back to Hayne.

“Now it’s my turn to do some math.”

Hayne performed a series of simple gestures, but he moved faster than the human eye could see. The upshot was that he made a bid to win the game and found his attempt foiled by Pact of Negation from Speck. That meant that Speck had to pay for two Pacts or lose the game, but he only had seven mana in play.

The last two cards in his hand? Two Simian Spirit Guides.

Speck 1 – Hayne 0

Hayne took a serious think before deciding to stick with his opening hand. Speck needed no time to ship his.

“At least you can’t do what you did last game.”

“It’s true, I did need every single card.”

His six were little better, and he settled on five. Hayne led out with an Amulet. Speck drew and passed it right back without playing a card. Hayne played a second Amulet, then transmuted Tolaria West for the mighty Primeval Titan.

Rather than endure the indignity of dying at Hayne’s hands, Speck killed himself with a pair of Summoner’s Pacts.

Speck 1 - Hayne 1

Both players had untapped lands for their first turn, but no plays to go with them. Speck added a Glimmerpost and passed his second turn. However Hayne had found the goods: Amulet of Vigor. He cast it, then got two mana off a Gruul Turf that returned to his hand. Those he spent on Summer Bloom, which enabled six more mana off the Turf and a Primeval Titan. That naturally led into Garrison/Stronghold and an attack, which got Tolaria West and a bounceland to send it back to Haynes hand. Not a bad turn’s work. Still, Speck was undaunted.

“I have a one in thirteen chance of winning this game.”

He pounded the top of his deck, but when he peeked at his card it was clear that he had missed.

Alex Hayne defeats Stephen Speck 2-1

Dan Lanthier vs Tom Martell

Lanthier looked like he would take the first game quickly after he resolved Deceiver Exarch and stopped Spellskite with Spell Snare. Martell was operating on a pair of Inkmoth Nexuses, a Noble Hierarch, and a Breeding Pool. He got in for two poison in the air and held back on his other mana.

Both players were on a knife edge. A turn later Martell animated his Nexus. In response Lanthier brought down Pestermite and targeted Breeding Pool. Martell played Might of Old Krosa for +2/+2 while he still could, and swung in. Lanthier thought for a moment, and decided not to risk things. He chumped with Pestermite.

Lanthier had Splinter Twin in hand, and found a Wooded Foothills to give him his fourth land and second red. Still, he didn’t want to risk going for the combo quite yet. Instead he aimed a Flame Slash at Martell’s Hierarch. Martell went for the save with Apostle's Blessing, tapping out. Remand stopped that and the Hierarch hit the bin.

Now Martell was truly pinched on mana. He hit for a single poison and passed. Lanthier got himself a Steam Vents and hit back for one. Again Martell failed to draw a land and simply hit for another poison. At end of turn Lanthier brought down Pestermite to lock up his last untapped mana, freeing the way to a combo kill finish.

Lanthier 1 – Martell 0

“I honestly didn’t think I could lose that game. I think I played it really well, too. I’m going to have to go back and watch, see what I could’ve done differently.”

That’s one of the things a player must cultivate to become a top-level pro: The humility to set aside your preconceptions and learn from every experience. After the match, Martell consulted with a number of pros about alternate lines, unwilling to simply chalk it up to “bad luck”.

Lanthier answered Martells first plays of Noble Hierarch and Blighted Agent with Lightning Bolt and Flame Slash. Martell managed to stick a Glistener Elf, however. He checked the situation with Gitaxian Probe and saw that he was safe to get Spellskite into play.

Lanthier tugged a very timely Engineered Explosives and put it into play for two. Martell hit again with his Elf, boosted by Pendelhaven, then played Inkmoth Nexus. A turn later Martell went for the jugular with Become Immense, but Lanthier had Dispel at the ready. From there, I’m going to be frank with you here, I lost track of the action because of the nonsense going on in the Amulet Bloom Mirror, but Lanthier managed to assemble the combo with two mana to spare in order to dodge Martell’s Spell Pierce.

Dan Lanthier defeats Tom Martell 2-0

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