2004 North American Challenge Semifinals Feature Match

Posted in Event Coverage on June 10, 2004

By Alex Shvartsman

Prior to the start of this match, the Top 4 agreed to split the money evenly with each player getting $1250. However, they were going to play out the top four for rating points, glory, and an automatic invite to next year's NAC!

Game 1

Paul RietzlRietzl had to mulligan to six and his draw was hardly impressive. He played out two Darksteel Citadels, two Welding Jars, an Ornithopter and a Frogmite. With just one card in hand, his in-play pressure equaled a single Frogmite!

Guevin played Birds of Paradise and Wood Elves, then cast Vernal Bloom and a Vine Trellis. Rietzl top-decked a Glimmervoid and played his last card – Disciple of the Vault. "Wow, now I can draw Thoughtcastor Skullclamp to win!"

While Guevin now had access to all the mana he could want, he had nothing to do with it. Rietzl, on the other hand, top-decked a Thoughtcast true to his word, and cast an Arcbound Ravager he drew off of it. He then attacked with Ornithopter and Frogmite, both of which Guevin was able to block. Rietzl sacrificed a total of five artifacts to Ravager and then sacked it to itself, moving six counters onto the Ornithopter. The Birds died and Guevin was down to eleven life points – Rietzl would need to successfully attack twice more before Guevin drew Tooth and Nail or any of his huge creatures to win.

Guevin cast a second Vernal Bloom and then a Viridian Shaman, attempting to destroy the Ornithopter. Rietzl used his last artifact – a Welding Jar – to regenerate it. On his own turn, Rietzl attacked his opponent down to five and played a Frogmite.

Sideboarding

Rietzl:
+3 Mana Leak, -3 Thoughtcast

Guevin:
+4 Oxidize, +2 Naturalize, +1 Leonin Abunas, +1 Platinum Angel, +1 Triskelion, +1 Viridian Shaman
-4 Pyroclasm, -2 Vernal Bloom, -1 Kamahl, -1 Duplicant, -1 Akroma, -1 Darksteel Colossus

Game 2

Rietzl opened with a bunch of inexpensive artifacts as usual, while Guevin's post-sideboard plan was the standard "kill the really bothersome artifacts". He Oxidized a Skullclamp and then used Viridian Shaman to get rid of Welding Jar. A second Shaman took out a Ravager, with counters moving onto an Arcbound Worker.

The two Shamans then traded with a Myr Enforcer, leaving nothing but a 2/2 Worker on Rietzl's side of the table. Guevin's only remaining creature was a Birds of Paradise and he sacrificed it to the Skullclamp gods. Wood Elves were more Clamp fodder, making this game look very favorable for Guevin.

Rietzl got out another Myr Enforcer. Guevin's answer was to play his seventh land and cast Vernal Bloom. The Skullclamp-equipped Myr attacked, but then Guevin got to untap with access to fourteen green mana in play.

Tom GuevinTooth and Nail with entwine produced some surprisingly small creatures – a Wirewood Symbiote and a Wirewood Herald. Despite not getting much larger creatures, this was exactly what Tom needed to gain total control of the game – he would be able to kill two artifacts per turn and there were no outs in Rietzl's deck that he could draw soon enough to matter.

Sideboarding

Guevin:
+2 Pyroclasm, -2 Vernal Bloom

Rietzl:
No Changes

Game 3

Rietzl kept a slowish hand, playing nothing but a land on turn one.

"If it's Oxidize, I am in a world of trouble," he commented as Guevin was meddling with a card in his hand. It was in fact Oxidize, taking out his first land. Rietzl top-decked a Skullclamp and played it out, but Guevin was ready with a second Oxidize, and he chose to kill the land again.

Rietzl just kept drawing more lands and pretty soon he had a pair of Ravagers, a Myr Enforcer and a pair of Skullclamps in play. Guevin kept cursing himself over a supposed mistake of killing a land over the first Skullclamp, though most spectators thought he made the right play based on the information he had to work with at the time.

Guevin tried to generate mana as quickly as possible, playing out some Wood Elves and Vine Trellises – but he was also forced to start chump-blocking all of Rietzl's artifact creatures as Rietzl used double Skullclamp to draw four cards off of a Frogmite and played several more artifacts along with a Disciple of the Vault.

Guevin survived two attacks, but he could not draw any answers and finally was unable to block a Frogmite. Rietzl sacrificed his artifacts to give it +10/+10, ending the game and Guevin's chances of winning the NAC title for the second time.

Final Results: Rietzl 2 – Guevin 1

Paul Rietzl (Academy Games)

Download Arena Decklist

Tom Guevin (Gamer's Haven)

Download Arena Decklist
Sideboard (15)
1 Viridian Shaman 4 Triskelion 4 Oblivion Stone 1 Duplicate 1 Symbiotic Wurm 4 Oxidize

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