by Caroline Kert
Fitzgerald entered the semi-finals after a quick 2-0 win against Chris Demaci. In contrast, Johns had just finished a match that had run for three games and about 110 minutes. So, Johns was geared up to fight a long tough fight.
Game One: Sometimes your deck just doesn't want to get up and fight and your opponent has all the answers.
Johns wins the die roll and elects to go first. After drawing his cards, a disappointed Johns proclaims, "That is one bad hand." He shuffles his no land hand back into his deck. Upon drawing six cards, he cries, "Oh, my God! That couldn't be worse!" A single Forest and five blue spells (Impulse, two Counters, Gilded Drake, Tradewind Rider) make their way back into his deck and Johns mulligans to five.
Island...Brainstorm...Forbid...Counter...Mana Leak. "Screw it, I'm not triple mulliganing!"
Fitzgerald takes quick advantage of John's sad situation by casting a first turn Duress. Johns Brainstorms in response, drawing a Deranged Hermit, a Force of Will and a Land Grant. "Oh, My God-I guess it could be worse." While proclaiming, "Those are some twisted priorities," Johns keeps the Force of Will putting the Land Grant back onto his library, on top of the Hermit. Fitzgerald pulls the Mana Leak.
Fitzgerald follows up with a flurry of Slivers. First he tries an Acidic, which Johns Counters. Johns urges, "Go, go little deck, you can do it!" Fitzgerald tries a Hibernation Sliver, which Johns forces into Fitzgerald's Misdirect. The Hibernation is out, Johns has zero cards in hand and Fitzgerald is in good shape, with three cards.
Johns unsuccessfully tries to cast his Survival of the Fittest and has no answer to Fitzgerald's next Sliver-the Muscle. He takes some damage and attempts to Brainstorm into something useful. He draws a Spike Weaver, a Survival of the Fittest and a Counterspell, choosing to keep a hand of Tropical Island and Counterspell and return the Spike Weaver under the Survival. His counterspell pays off and he is able to deny Fitzgerald a Crystalline Sliver.
Johns is then able to get his Survival of the Fittest into play while at 11 life. Puzzled at the ease of the play, Johns muses, "You have the Seal, don't you." Yup-Fitzgerald destroys the Survival and takes Johns down to six. John knows that his Weaver might buy him some time and the next turn it meets no resistance from Fitzgerald's side of the table. Johns muses, "You're kidding me, you don't..." Yup-Fitzgerald has a Swords to Plowshares, removes the Weaver, plays a Muscle and attacks Johns down to two.
Johns gives up a cause that was lost before he even started.
After game one, Johns removes a Gilded Drake, two Impulses, a Quiron Ranger, and three Forces of Will. He adds four Back to Basics, a Monk Idealist, a Masticore and a Peace Keeper.
Game Two: Sometimes a guy just can't catch a break
Johns opening hand looks reasonable and he keeps a Tropical Island, a Brainstorm, two Walls of Roots, a Bird of Paradise, a Monk Realist and a Land Grant. Johns gets the Bird into play and draws into a Survival of the Fittest next turn. He Land Grants, fetching a Savannah, and attempts to cast the Survival. Fitzgerald forces it with a Crystalline Sliver and Johns shakes his head. "No breaks." On his next turn, Fitzgerald is able to land a Muscle Sliver and Johns Brainstorms during his endstep. Johns draws an Island, Brainstorm and Volcanic Island, opting to keep the Brainstorm and return the lands to his library.
Things seem to stabilize for Johns the next few turns, as he is able to get two Wall of Roots into play as an answer to the attacking Muscle Sliver and the Muscle Fitzgerald drops the next turn. But after two turns, Fitzgerald Consults for a Winged Sliver and finds one nine cards into his library. Johns is in real trouble when the Winged Sliver makes it into play with no opposition, even though the Bird of Paradise is able to block a flying Muscle. Johns gets another Bird into play to block on the next attack and suddenly finds himself at 11 life, with no blockers and staring down six points of flying damage next turn. Then, to add insult to injury, Fitzgerald draws, smiles and elbow drops a third Muscle to the table, as the watching crowd yells, "Tubby!!!!"
Some guys have all the luck. Johns realizes it and concedes the game.
Final Result: Fitzgerald defeats Johns 2-0-0.