Quarterfinals: Andrew Brown (Temur Emerge) vs. Sam Pardee (Black-Green Delirium)

Posted in Event Coverage on August 7, 2016

By Marc Calderaro

In the Feature Match area, Face to Face Games' Sam Pardee said, "I'm the only one here who's never been in a Top 8 before"—a seemingly crazy statement for a two-time Grand Prix winner with nine Grand Prix Top 8 appearances. But apparently, Pardee was the rookie in his first, long overdue, Pro Tour Top 8.

"No pressure, or anything, but my whole family is over there. They're going to be really disappointed if you beat me," Pardee said. His family had traveled all the way from the United States. After the Pro Tour, he was traveling to New Zealand with them. What a bonus that it was this weekend Pardee had finally broken through, thanks in part to Black-Green Delirium—and Emrakul, the Promised End.

However, his more Pro Tour Top 8–seasoned opponent, Team East-West Bowl's Andrew Brown, likely also felt like a rookie himself. He had won his sole Grand Prix Top 8 in Denver, and was yet to win a game in a Pro Tour Top 8, even after a commanding performance in the first two days of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch.

Brown's Temur Emerge (yes, "Temurge") deck was a streamlined version that aimed to cast small value creatures, then sacrifice them to cast larger Eldrazi beasts. Brown had already made the Top 8 once with the Eldrazi, why not run them back?

Brown said humorously on the subject, "I always play known Constructed all-stars. Primal Druid, Eldrazi Obligator—two-time Pro Tour Top 8-ing Eldrazi Obligator."

Both Face to Face Games and East-West Bowl were testing well into the night. And they seemed to agree on the match up, despite everyone's relatively minimal experience with these new decks. Temurge is favored in the main decks, but can get stonewalled in the post-sideboard games.

As the two presented their decks, Brown requested, "Can I not get 0-3'ed this time?"

"No promises." Pardee replied. It was jovial, but ominous all the same.

The Games

Pardee had an aggressive start for his deck—full of Grim Flayer, Sylvan Advocate, and Den Protectors. That's about as aggro as Black-Green Delirium gets.

"Business you," Pardee said, attacking.


Sam Pardee is all business.

Brown's hand was slower and without any emerge creatures, but was perfect against Pardee's hand. Two Matter Reshapers provided early advantage while also netting COD ("cards on death").

"Ish-kanah give it to ya, gonna give it to ya," Brown sang after revealing Ishkanah, Grafwidow.

By this time Pardee had knocked Brown to 13 life, and Liliana, the Last Hope was threatening to recur his fallen creatures for more value. Brown was getting frustrated. All he needed from this position was a single Kozilek's Return and he'd be right as rain, but it wasn't coming. He sacrificed Primal Druid as a Wretched Gryff emerged from it, and transformed his Nissa, Vastwood Seer into Nissa, Sage Animist.

Pardee assessed the board again and again. He thought about the Return and what it would mean if Brown were grasping it. He went for the race.

Ruinous Path killed Brown's Nissa; a Den Protector attack plus a Liliana activation killed the Gryff; and a post-combat Grim Flayer put the Southern Californian on notice. Pardee was pushing in.

Brown cast an end-of-turn Elder Deep-Fiend and tapped Pardee's creatures. Pardee sacrificed a Sanctum of Ugin on the trigger to find the second one, chaining them. The first Deep-Fiend attack sent Pardee to 15. This wasn't aggressive; he was buying time.

Both players had stopped their chit-chat. They were in business mode.

Brown desperately dug for Kozilek's Return, but the red instant would never come.

"If I had hit literally once, it would've been 'DI.'" Brown used old Magic slang for "der infinite" to describe his Kozilek's Return. Don't ask.

Pardee caught his fade and replied, "It would've been 'lit'—literally, with a red spell."


Andrew Brown, so close to lit and yet so far.

In the second game, this time Brown started his hand with the Kozilek's Return. After Pardee cast Grasp of Darkness on the first Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, Brown said, "His brother's pissed," as he cast a second.

Brown dug like crazy, with Jace, Grapple with the Past, and Gather the Pack. On the next turn he cast Grapple with the Past from the graveyard, thanks to the Jace, Telepath Unbound netting even more cards in the bin. Brown was cooking with gas.

He chained Primal Druid and Matter Reshaper, and now with spell mastery, Gather the Pack was even better. When the first Wretched Gryff happened, it was a mess of triggers—from the Matter Reshaper it emerged from, to the Kozilek's Return, to the Gryff itself.

Pardee used his removal spells judiciously as he was buying time for the Emrakul, the Promised End in his hand. It was working. He was still at 15 life, killing everything that needed killing. Soon, he was ready to strike.

"I'll promise you a new end," he said, casting Emrakul, the Promised End.

Pardee literally ordered Brown what to do on his turn. He used Grapple with the Past to return Sanctum of Ugin, emerge an Elder Deep-Fiend from Gryff, then sacrifice that for the second Deep-Fiend that was fetched with Sanctum.

Brown said, "Welp, I looked at my deck...and it's all land...sooo, I think I'm dead." He scooped up the cards.

Andrew Brown's sideboard:

-2 Gather the Pack
-1 Shaman of Forgotten Ways
-1 Wretched Gryff
-1 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy
+2 Kiora, Master of the Depths
+1 World Breaker
+1 Emrakul, the Promised End
+1 Traverse the Ulvenwald

Sam Pardee's sideboard:

-2 Languish
-1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
-1 Liliana, the Last Hope
-4 Grim Flayer
+2 Transgress the Mind
+2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
+1 Infinite Obliteration
+1 Gilt-Leaf Winnower
+2 Dark Petition

In the third game, Brown got two Kozilek's Returns into the graveyard immediately. It was insurance for later and spell mastery now—Gather the Pack was his next play. Brown started his fifth turn with twelve cards in the graveyard and five cards in hand. Commence the shenanigans.

Pardee had the Liliana, the Last Hope, that had been ticking up in loyalty counters. His hand was full of removal, and a Dark Petition or two. He needed to decifer how to beat both Elder Deep-Fiend and the Emrakul, the Promised End he knew was in Brown's deck now.

Brown used his set-up turn making Nissa, Sage Animist and casting two foundational creatures: Shaman of Forgotten Ways and Primal Druid. It was unclear which baddie he was fixin' to make.


Pardee attempts to divine his opponent's hand through sheer concentration (and educated guesswork).

Pardee cast Infinite Obliteration, seeing the setup. "Name Elder Deep-Fiend," he said as his opponent splayed his hand. "Ah! You had it!" Emrakul, the Promised End stood out from the rest of Brown's hand. The Deep-Fiends were gone, but now Pardee had another big problem. Madame Squiggles came down the following turn.

"What do we got?" Brown asked. Using Pardee's removal spells on Pardee's own creatures was sad. Though Pardee found a Ruinous Path for the Emrakul and Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet—a windmill sideboard monster—it was too late. Lashweed Lurker and World Breaker played clean-up for Brown.

Brown had won his first game on the ropes, but Game 4 started worse. Pardee went turn-three Liliana, the Last Hope into turn-four Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. The legendary Vampire would load the board quickly, while denying Brown's graveyard its choice recursion. Not to mention the one-two punch of Liliana's ultimate ability with Kalitas.

The judge brought over a Liliana emblem, apropos of nothing.

Brown struggled to find the right line. He had Shaman of Forgotten Ways, Primal Druid, and Matter Reshaper. He cast Elder Deep-Fiend and wiped the board, not sure if it was the right call. He had to magically pressure the creature, the planeswalker, and Pardee at the same time. Pardee was left with a Zombie and Liliana.

"Who's it gonna be?" Pardee asked as Brown searched his library after sacrificing Sanctum of Ugin.

"Good question." Brown raspberried his lips, grumbling as he leafed the cards. He found a Matter Reshaper, but had to pass the turn with Liliana on 7 loyalty. Not good.


Brown knows all too well how hard it is to face down an impeding Liliana ultimate.

It was after that point that Liliana took over. Her ultimate fired off, and with one Zombie token left over from Kalitas, Pardee started by making three Zombies almost immediately.

"So I need to hit Grapple, into Deep-Fiend, into Kozilek's Return? Or something like that?" Brown said, dejected.

"Something like that."

He didn't hit it.

Pardee made a joke about Zombies and Brown said, "Judge, my opponent's rubbing it in. Can I...get a woot woot?"

Andrew Brown scooped up his cards and exited his second Top 8 at the quarterfinals. Still not a bad Platinum-worthy season for this young upstart.

Sam Pardee smiled and readied himself for the semifinals. His first appearance was going well.


Andrew Brown's Temur Emerge

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Samuel Pardee's Black-Green Delirium

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