By Mason Peatross
Matthew Vienneau had lost only one match coming into the semi-finals, having seemingly mastered the sealed deck and draft strategies of Invasion. On the other hand, Trevor Blackwell is the Masters Draft Champion, no small title to hold, considering the caliber of players it is won from. Both players are careful and calculating, and after minimal pre-match banter about why Blackwell's deck wasn't sleeved (he had busted his 40th sleeve and didn't want to get new ones). Vienneau wins the die roll and opts to play.
Neither player had a first turn play, and Trevor led turn two with a Nomadic Elf. Matt seemed unconcerned, and played his first spell of the game, Plague Spitter. The Plague Spitter was a very stong card against Blackwell, as he is running many Apprentices and Elves that die to "Pestilence on a Stick but not as good as that Wumpus guy." On his turn, Trevor swung with the elf, and played TWO Fertile Grounds. This was significant, as he had Treva, the Renewer in his deck, and now had the potential to cast it on turn 4 without any trouble. Matt attacked with the Spitter, missed a land drop, and passed the turn, having no plays.
On turn 4, Trevor played his 4th land, and then tapped all his mana. The arrival of the Dragon? Alas, no. Instead, a Pincer Spider with kicker. Not bad for the 4th turn, though. After swinging again with the Elf, Trevor was done. After playing his freshly drawn Mountain, his first non-Swamp land, Matt played a Slimy Kavu, attacked with the Spitter, and passed the turn. Trevor, feeling good about the mana stall of Vienneau, layed a Kavu Climber after attacking with the Spider. Matt drew a land on his turn, played it, and Soul Burned the Climber for 2, gaining some life back in the process. This combined with the Plague Spitter upkeep effect damage to kill the Climber, and Matt served again. The Nomadic Elf traded with the Slimy Kavu and Matt ended his turn. Trevor drew, and decided to hold his Spider back and play a little "D," until he could stabilize.
Matt drew, contemplated the board for a few moments, and then cast two Tribal Flames on the Spider, killing it. Matt was done, Trevor drew and was done, then Matt drew, played a Kavu Scout, serveed with the Spitter, and was done. Trevor drew, and passed the turn. Matt brought it with the Spitter and the Scout, but Blackwell had actually drawn a business spell instead of mana. He Zapped the Plague Spitter, and combined with the damage it had dealt itself, it died. Blackwell was at a precariously low life, and didn't draw anything to help him off the Zap, or his next draw phase. Matt ended the game by laying a land, and Soul Burning for the win.
Game 1 - Vienneau
After game 1, Vienneau commented that lands clump when shuffled without sleeves, and that almost all of his opponents had mulliganed when they weren't playing sleeves. This prompted Blackwell to buy some sleeves from the lone remaining dealer. Trevor led with a first turn Thornscape Apprentice, and then played a Fertile Ground after Vienneau did nothing on his turn. Though Blackwell was mana shy, he didn't have the same problems as Vienneau, who had drawn one of his two Forests, and no Swamps. Matt was playing green for one card - Darigaaz, the Igniter. Blackwell just ended up running over Vienneau in this fairly quick game that saw a Pouncing Kavu cast without kickr, just to slow down Thornscape Apprentice beats.
Game 2 - Blackwell
So the dueling Dragons came to game 3. Vienneau didn't play anything until his second turn Shivan Zombie, which is "just ok" against the Thornscape Apprentice that Trevor had dropped on his first turn. Trevor got mana stalled again, but played a second turn Fertile Ground that allowed him to continue playing spells. Matt's fouth turn Smoldering Tar was his second spell of the game, and when it was followed up by a Plague Spitter, things started to look bad for Trevor Blackwell. He had dropped a Thunderscape Apprentice, and he used it to save his Thorscape Apprentice for a turn, and then Zapped the Spitter again, taking the Thornscape Apprentice, the Zombie, and the Spitter down. This was an odd play, since Vienneau had just played a Slimy Kavu, and had Trevor waited until the next turn's upkeep, he could have gotten three for one. Instead, on his next turn he played a Pouncing Kavu and attacked with it. He also laid Thornscape Apprentice number two. On Vienneau's turn, he Recovered the Spitter, and replayed it, serving with the Slimy Kavu. All of this pinging had brought Blackwell's life total precariously low, and he needed to get busy winning. He had an Armadillo Cloak in hand, and little time to use it.
Matt went for the throat though, and didn't give him a chance. On Matt's turn, he used the Tar to kill the Chameleon, Tribal Flamed the Pouning Kavu, killing it, and laying his own Pouncing Kavu and served. Trevor played a Kavu climber, looking for a land, and didn't draw one, and was unable to play his Cloak. The game was over, and Vienneau had won again. It turns out he had sided out his Forests and the Dragon, afraid he would lose to mana screw again.
Game 3 - Vienneau