Semifinal Feature Match: Chris Benafel (USA) vs. Brian Davis (USA)

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

by Mark Wraith

Before the players began, Chris joked about how powerful his deck is, and that Brian Davis should concede right then to save any embarrassment. Of course, Brian declined.

Chris won the dice roll and chose to play first. Chris was forced to mulligan, although it was a close call. Both players laid lands for the first couple of turns, and the first spell was a Kavu Aggressor on turn three from Chris. Brian had a pretty good answer on the next turn with a Shoreline Raider - protection from Kavu.

The Raider got an Exotic Curse, and Chris attacked. Brian's next blocker was not so good - an unkickered Benalish Lancer. Chris continued to attack on the next turn by playing a hasty Pouncing Kavu, and attacking, bringing Brian to 14.

Brian played an Angel of Mercy, which did not block the Kavu on Chris' next turn. Benafel cast Void for five, hitting another Angel in hand, and revealing Hypnotic Cloud, and Riptide Crab, and Tsabo's Decree.

The Kavu hit home for a further five, enhanced by a Hate Weaver that Chris cast on turn seven, and Davis' Riptide Crab was looking like poor defense. He did, however, manage to draw another Shoreline Raider which was much better, causing Benafel to not attack with the Pouncing Kavu.

With Brian on 9, though, he wasn't looking too steady, as Chris' Thunderscape Apprentice was a reasonable threat with Brian so low on life. Chris jokes that the worst case scenario for Brian would be for Chris to draw another Void, which of course he did have in his deck.

Chris knew that Brian had the Tsabo's Decree in his hand, and commented that Brian could cast it naming Wizards. Instead he decided to wait until Benafel played a Firescreamer, and cast it naming Kavu. The Decree revealed that the only card remaining in Chris' hand was an Annihilate. The Riptide Crab was holding any potential attackers at that point, so the players joked about maybe attacking with the Crab - of course it doesn't tap to attack.

The Thunderscape Apprentice started to make Brian lose one life a turn. Brian was struggling to win the race against it with a Riptide Crab and a Dream Thrush, although it was quite close with Brian on 6 and Chris on 13. In response to Brian casting Wings of Hope on the Dream Thrush, Chris Zapped it, commenting that he was going to Zap Brian until the enchantment was cast.

Chris forced Davis to chump with the Riptide Crab by casting Maniacal Rage on the Nightscape Apprentice, and Brian did not draw anything to save the situation. It is unlikely he had anything in his deck that would help by that point, since he knew Benafel had an Annihilate in hand.

Brian opted to go first in the second game, and was forced to mulligan - as Chris was in the first game. Brian started out quite strongly though, by playing a Stormscape Apprentice. Chris played a Rage Weaver, but it was nullified by a Crimson Acolyte. Both players were on 18 after the Crimson Acolyte got killed by Exotic Curse, and Benafel attacked. Brian played a Shoreline Raider and it traded with a Hate Weaver. A Pouncing Kavu was also removed by an Agonizing Demise - leaving just the Rage Weaver, and a Stormscape Apprentice in play.

Chris tried to get his attack going with a Firescreamer - but it was tapped, and the Rage Weaver was Spited. Chris said "That Stormscape Apprentice is really starting to piss me off", and cast Void for one. This revealed the Island in his hand, but when the Firescreamer attacked next turn, he showed that he had drawn Tsabo's Decree, naming Kavu, and forcing Chris to show his Annihilate.

Still Brian decided to cast Tek, which was of course Annihilated, and a Thunderscape Apprentice and a Shivan Zombie started the beatdown. Another Shivan Zombie and a Maniacal Rage on the first brought Brian down to 12, and he was forced to cast Reviving Vapors to search for an answer. He only found a Faerie Squadron though, and Chris next attack reduced him down to eight, and he won the next turn with a Backlash.

Final Result: Chris Benafel defeated Brian Davis 2-0

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