Semi Final Feature Match: Justin West vs Andrew Varga

Posted in Event Coverage on May 29, 2003

By Liam Coltman

After both players survived their elimination match the two must now face off to see who will go onto the final and who will be forced to play in the ¾ playoff. Varga is yet to lose a match with his G/W beast beatdown deck while West’s interesting combination of R/B sorcery combined with Magnavore cruised through the first matchup.

Game 1

Wests Opening Hand: Magnivore x2, Chainer’s Edict, Shadowblood Ridge, Mountain, Swamp, Sulfurous Springs

Vargs: Anurid Brushhopper x 2, Beast Attack, Ravenous Baloth, Mountain x 2, Forest

Varga makes the first play summoning an Anurid Brushhopper on turn three. West casts a Chainer’s Edict to remove it but it is phased out, with Beast Attack and Glory pitched. Varga then untaps and smacks in with it, summoning a Ravenous Baloth to add more beats. Innocent Blood from West leads to Varga sacrificing his Brushhopper and with no other play West sends the turn across. The Baloth comes in, dropping West to 13 life and another Brushhopper is summoned to replace the one that was sacrificed.

West summons a little 2/2 Magnavore but decides against sending it on the offensive and it dies during his opponents attack step after chumping off the Baloth. Keeping the pressure cooker turned up to full Varga casts Call of the Herd, bringing the 3 of Diamonds in as his elephant replacement. West attempts to Befoul the Baloth but as is always the case it is sacrificed in response. The team of Varga crunches in for 6 damage and then a four point Hurricane wraps up the first game.

Varga leads 1-0

Varga sideboards: - 2 Akroma’s Vengence, –3 Living Wish, –1 Beast Attack, –1 Wrath of God, –1 Glory, + 1 Ravenous Baloth, + 1 Genesis, +1 Nantuko Monastery, +2 Contested Cliffs, +4 Reprisal.

West Sideboards: –2 Firebolt, –4 Innocent Blood, –3 Duress, + 4 Stone Rain, +3 Rancid Earth, +2 Guiltfeeder.

Game 2

West leads off game 2 with a first turn Overmaster then casts a third turn Stone Rain on Nantuko Monestary. Varga leaves his two sac lands in play so that he can’t be targeted by land destruction since he has nothing worth casting. Another Overmaster is burned off by West as he waits for his chance to attack Varga’s mana supply. Finding something worth casting, Varga sacrifices one of his land and digs in for a Forest, bringing out a Bird of Paradise. At the end of the turn West cycles away Slice and Dice, killing it, and then uses a Stone Rain to knock out the land Varga had searched for.

Now stuck on a single mana source Varga has no choice but to pass the turn and West summons his first creature of the game, a Guiltfeeder. Varga’s deck coughs up a forest but the two lands don’t survive till his next turn as it gets hit by Rancid Earth. Varga packs in his hand and the two move onto game 3

Tied 1-1

Varga: No changes.

West sideboards : +2 Firebolt, +4 Innocent Blood, -1 Stone Rain, -3 Pyroclasm, -2 Chainer’s Edict.

Game 3:

Varga opening: Bird of Paradise x2, Call of the Herd, Plains x2, Forest x2.

West opening: Firebolt x2, Earth Rift, Mountain, Sulfurous Springs, Shadowblood Ridge, Swamp

Varga starts out the deciding game with a Bird of Paradise, which is met with a firebolt, with the same two plays repeated on turn 2. On turn three Varga plays out his Anurid Brushhopper and West simply plays a land and says done. Varga elects not to play a fourth land and simply attacks with the Brushhopper then casts a Call of the Herd.

West casts Earth rift, targetting the Forest, and sends the turn back, with Varga crashing in with the Brushhopper and the elephantesque 3 of clubs before summoning a Wild Mongrel. Innocent Blood from West forces Varga to sacrifice his Elephant Token but its back a turn later thanks to flashback, with West taking another beating from the creatures. West casts Slice and Dice during his main phase tapping himself out, but it forces Varga to phase out the hopper and empty his hand. Varga attacks with the Hopper and ends the turn. West casts Overmaster and then casts Slice and Dice killing off the Anurid.

Rancid Earth on a Brushland deals 1 damage to both players and Varga simply draws and plays another land down. Varga then draws a creature and plays down Ravenous Baloth, but it is met by yet another Slice and Dice. Earth rift is flashed back knocking out a Plains and Varga is forced to sacrifice his Windswept Heath to search for a mana source. Earth rift knocks out another Plains, leaving a Windswept Heath as Varga’s only possible white mana source but a Bird of Paradise threatens to change that situation.

The bird gets Firebolted with flashback from the graveyard and the Forest it was summoned from gets Stone Rained as punishment leaving Varga on 3 lands. He untaps and plays out a Llanowar Elf but it meets the same fate as the bird, removing the second Firebolt from the graveyard.

Varga finally sacrifices his Heath, searching for a Plains and casting a Morph. The morph gets Befouled and the Plains runs into Lay Waste leaving Varga only two forests. Flashed back Earth Rift takes out another forest leaving Varga with a solitary land. West cycles away an Overmaster and passes the turn, with Varga drawing a Brushland and summoning a Wild Mongrel. It gets taken down with Innocent Blood and then West casts Magnavore slamming it into the red zone for 11 damage. Varga wears it on the chin but during the next attack phase it is met by a Reprisal. Brushland gets Befouled and another Plains is cracked by a Rancid Earth dropping Varga down to 8 and West down to a single life point. Varga draws a Foothills and sacrifices it for a land casting his morph and West has no removal left in his hand or his graveyard, so in what seems like an anti-climatic finish Varga wins game 3 and progresses to the final!

Varga defeated West 2-0

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