Semifinal - William Jensen vs. Ari Lax

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2013

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

The Semifinals featured a match between two very well-known players. On one side was William "Huey" Jensen, Hall of Famer and Grand Prix Oakland 2013 champion. On the other side was Ari Lax, who found himself following in the footsteps of Owen Turtenwald as an incredibly talented player whose first Grand Prix victory has eluded up for years.

Would Lax be able to get through Jensen's blue-black control draft deck with his unconventional green-black draft concoction, or would he be denied a shot at the trophy once again?

The Games

Lax led with Bronze Sable, and quickly gave it Ordeal of Nylea, attacking in for 3 against Jensen's empty board. Jensen got his first creature onto the battlefield on the fourth turn, which milled a Cavern Lampad, two Swamps, and a Time to Feed off of Lax's deck. The Sable attacked in again, and then again a turn later after receiving yet another Ordeal, this time Ordeal of Erebos, which made the attacking Sable a 6/5 and robbed Jensen of two Mnemonic Walls. Jensen had an Insatiable Harpy, but he was already sitting at 6 life when Lax added Erebos's Emissary to the table.

William Jensen

And 6 was too low to survive, as Mogis's Marauder gave the colorless creature intimidate, denying Jensen any shot at a first game comeback.

In the second game, while Lax fixed his mana with Nylea's Presence on the second turn, Jensen settled for some card advantage via Read the Bones on the third turn. Lax got onto the board with Bronze Sable following that, and Jensen fired back with a Returned Centaur, milling Jensen four cards. The Bronze Sable, however, became larger than the Centaur thanks to a bestowed Leafcrown Dryad.

Jensen, meanwhile, was content to cast Menmonic Wall, returning the Sip of Hemlock that he milled on the previous turn to his hand. Lax gained 4 with Nylea's Disciple after attacking again with the Sable (which the Wall blocked), but he quickly lost the artifact creature to the recurred Sip on the next turn.

Lax retaliated with Ordeal of Erebos and Ordeal of Nylea, each cast on Leafcrown Dryad and Nylea's Disciple respectively. Jensen, meanwhile, cast Mnemonic Wall to get back Sip of Hemlock. Time to Feed, however, let Lax clear away Jensen's only blocker (as the Centaur attacked on the previous turn), dropping Jensen to 1 with attacks.

Ari Lax

Jensen held on, but despite his best efforts, thanks in part to a Sip of Hemlock on the Nylea's Disciple (which was enchanted with Ordeal of Nylea). Despite building up a board presence despite Lax's powerful start, a Sip of Hemlock a few turns later sealed the deal.

Ari Lax wins 2-0 and advances to the Final!

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