Semifinal – Shamsul Zainuddin v. Ryan Young

Posted in Event Coverage on January 25, 2014

By Pip Foweraker

Game 1

Zainuddin started the game off aggressively with a Sedge Scorpion, which rapidly became Ferally Invoked when Young's Leafcrown Dryad got in its way. Young upped the ante rapidly with a Boon Satyr and a Nessian Asp, while Zainuddin kept pace with a Vulpine Goliath. The Boon Satyr tussled with the Scorpion and things looked, if not relatively fair, then certainly reasonable.

Unfortunately for Young, Zainuddin wasn't in the mood for reasonable, bestowing a Nimbus Naiad onto his Goliath and then further belligerentising* it with a Feral Invocation. When giant foxes start flying at you, it's time to head to your sideboard.

Shamshul Zainuddin 1 - Ryan Young 0

Game 2

After the intense first game, both players had no action for the first few turns. Young kicked things off with a Read the Bones. Zainuddin smiled at his draw and played out a Sedge Scorpion, giving it a little scolding for not turning up earlier. Young pushed things along with a Voyaging Satyr. Zainuddin decided to get funky with his Scorpion, giving it a Feral Invocation and an Aqueous Form. Young smiled and tapped a bazillion* mana for a Hythonia the Cruel - but could he race the Scorpion?

Young sits back and takes a moment to really appreciate how badass Hythonia is.

Zainuddin was keen to see his arachnid go all the way before the Gorgon messed things up too much, so when it attacked again he loaded another Feral Invocation onto it, knocking Young to 10 and putting him on a dangerous clock

A Time to Feed knocked out the Scorpion a turn earlier than Young's land drops would have gotten him there at the cost of the Gorgon hitting the bin. A judge paused the game to point out that an Omenspeaker that Zainuddin had summoned earlier was not, in fact, dead - the card hand wandered to the graveyard in amongst cards being shuffled about - and a bemused Zainuddin received a warning for trying to absent-mindedly kill his own creature.

Zainuddin went to reconstruct the game state with a Nessian Asp, while Young had an Agent of Horizons (no blue mana on the board), which he quickly bestowed with a Nylea's Emissary. Zainuddin found a Vaporkin and threw his Omenspeaker in front of the imposing Agent.

Zainuddin attacked with his team, and Young had a Savage Surge to untap his Agent and to block the Nessian Asp, taking it out of the picture. Post-combat, Zainuddin summoned a Nylea's Disciple to gain some precious life back. A Pharika's Cure knocked out his Vaporkin and he declined to block the Agent, falling to 3 with Young at 9. Sea God's Revenge bounced both of Young's creatures but left him with an Emissary on the board. A round of indrawn breath on his draw step from the spectators gave a slight hint to what was coming. Young attacked, Zainuddin blocked, and Boon Satyr flash-bestowed the trampling Emissary to take the pair of Planeswalkers to a final game.

Ryan Young 1 - Shamshul Zainuddin 1

Game 3

Zainuddin launched into the final game with... A timorous, if not querolous, 'Keep?'. Visibly pleading with the top of his deck - although, as he made his first few land drops, for what was not clear - he took an attack from Young's Leafcrown Elder

"Please, no land", he begged out loud, before flipping a land off the top of his deck into play. "Noooo..." he moaned, dramatically bonking his forehead against the Top 8 playmat. Young raised an eyebrow but clearly tried not to get taken in by his opponent's dramatics as the crowd giggled as Zainudding flipped another land off the top of his library into play. Although how anyone could look so distressed at summoning a Prescient Chimera is beyond me. Young gave a head-bobble that was almost from the Indian subcontinent in character while summoning a Blood-Toll Harpy and bestowing Leafcrown Dryad onto his first one.

The fates conspired to give Zainuddin another land on top of his library, but he had an Aqueous Form to filter his land drops from here in. Young kept plugging away with his team, while Zainuddin had a Griptide on the Leafcrown Elder to slow things down briefly.

Long ago, Zainuddin was mean to a Bog Witch, who cursed him to be mana-flooded if he ever made the Top 4 of a GP. Let this be a lesson to us all.

Neither player was keen on attacking, Zainuddin drawing all the lands while Young's deck refused to give him his sixth. Eventually it turned up, giving him access to the Sip of Hemlock he'd been sandbagging for most of the game. With the top of his deck rather predictably betraying him at the last, Zainuddin grinned broadly and congratulated his opponent on making the finals.

Ryan Young 2 - Shamshul Zainuddin 1

*Also definitely a real word

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