Welcome back to the action! Tonight, we finish up the Seweet Sixteen with the Yore-Tiller and Witch-Maw Conference results. There are a few more serious title bouts here, with Elite Eight on the line for one and all.
Before we get to details, here’s why you’re here:
As we get closer to the finish line, the matchups become pretty epic. Naya’s finest Voltron-style beatdown master squares up against the Esper combo menace for entry into the Elite 8.
From the get-go, Uril comes out swinging. Bringing to bear the lightning speed provided by green ramp, Uril sneaks off an early win on the back of a quick Xenagos, God of Revels. Needing a way around Uril’s hexproof protection, Sharuum simply folds to easy, haste-enabled doubled general damage.
In subsequent games, the tides turn sharply. Sharuum rethinks the approach, shifting into control mode and countering tutors that would land key enchantments. A quick exile of Academy Rector via Swords to Plowshares buys a critical turn for the sphinx to lock in Sphinx of the Steel Wind, shutting the beast down cold and buying Sharuum plenty of time to engineer a proper win. Following that up, an artifact mana explosion nets a Forcefield on turn two and a Darksteel Forge on turn four, leaving Uril scrambling for an exile effect in vain before Magister Sphinx ends things straight out.
The final game shows both that Sharuum has found her rhythm and that Voltron-style strategies have a serious Achilles heel, when a quick attempt at Uril is met with a simple Hinder. Anti-climactic, but not unexpected.
Winner: Sharuum the Hegemon, Score: 48-13
This is painful to watch.
The fearsome Bolas comes out hard, dumping discard and sacrifice effects like the deranged power-mad dragon he is. Ol’ Dino-Hand simply sits back, ramps, and draws. Things shrewdly end shortly thereafter when Bolas drops a Cruel Ultimatum and Mimeo promptly discards Prophet of Kruphix and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon with plenty of mana up to cast the Legendary Ooze at the end of the turn.
Things don’t get better. Nicol Bolas ekes out a proper win on the back of an early (and well-protected) Withered Wretch, but without graveyard hate, everything the big dragon does simply fuels the frustratingly-resiliant ‘Plasm. Counters, board sweepers, spot removal – nothing escapes fueling the massive Ooze fire. The Mimeoplasm barely breaks a sweat in this one, letting Bolas do all the work.
At the end of the day, the relatively conventional Grixis control build proves to be the downfall for Bolas, as Mimeo finds himself perfectly positioned to take advantage of it for a gift into the semi-finals.
Winner: The Mimeoplasm, Score: 61-10
Vegas put the line at Hanna by 10 points. They figured in a combo-control mirror, white-removal-beats-green-mana-and-fatties, I guess. But they didn’t account for the mad scientist’s crazy, world-ending machinations. In match after match, Vig’s ability to land on turn three and four and then quickly tutor up for a combo proved too much for a recursion engine that relies on drawing a card advantage or tutor source before it can start finding the answers and lockdown pieces.
There was one match where Hanna went through a flashback montage, remembered some of the things she learned from Squee about vile elves, and managed to ninja-laser-beam Vig in the face. But that was just one game in a series. In the next he hit the turn-four Mana Reflection into turn-five Palinchron, tutor his deck, bounce everything plan.
In other words, the Vig players pulled away.
Winner: Momir Vig, Simic Visionary, Score: 22-13
Zur’s lines include turn-three Necropotence off a Signet and Boots, tons of different lock pieces in white and blue, nabbing a big God plus Corrupted Conscience, or just going huge. Sisay, no slouch in the tutor department, can grab from arguably a more powerful range of tools, with a different restriction. But they go to hand, not play. It’s a tight matchup, with Zur probably having the edge simply due to his colors. Sisay isn’t blue, and this is a spike tourney.
In matches, Zur didn’t disappoint. He’s really good with that long branch-staff thing. But Sisay demonstrated that the most busted things come in the form of mana. Gigantic mana. Serra’s Sanctum and Gaea’s Cradle don’t need much else to get nuts. Throw in a Mindslaver and a few other nuts and bolts and you’ve got what the Captain proved is a winning combination, even in a series of nail-biters.
Let’s call this an upset. It was certainly a tight race. But Sisay came out on top. That’s why she’s the captain and he needed a fake lost expansion to even get printed.
Winner: Captain Sisay, Score: 37-32
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There you have it, everyone. We’ve got our Elite Eight, and we’re going to push hard into the final stretch. See you all Friday, when we learn who the Final Four are.