Semifinals – Aaron Nicoll vs. Andrew Bennett

Posted in Event Coverage on July 23, 2011

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

After chatting about which Australian state they were representing in the top 4 – Andrew Bennett was New South Wales, while Aaron Nicoll had recently relocated from Queensland to Victoria – Nicoll won the die roll and unsurprisingly, elected to play.

Bennett shuffled away his opening hand with a "not today. I've mulliganed more times in the top 8 than I have all day!"

"Well, you are playing a very high variance deck," Nicoll quipped.

"That's true," admitted Bennett, keeping his six.

Nicoll summoned a Birds of Paradise, while Bennett paid two life to summon a Vault Skirge. Nicoll Pondered twice, shuffling after the first, and summoned a second Birds of Paradise, while Bennett summoned a Steel Overseer. An Acidic Slime took out the Overseer, so Bennett replaced it with another Vault Skirge and a Signal Pest. A Preordain found Nicoll a Splinter Twin for his Acidic Slime, but Bennett continued to attack with his Skirges. Nicoll made another Slime copy, but could only pass the turn back with a shrug. Bennett attacked again, but scooped when Nicoll flashed him another Twin, a Deceiver Exarch, and a "kill you?"

Nicoll 1 – Bennett 0

Signal Pest and Memnite on turn one from Bennett signaled a better start to the game, with Nicoll's first play being an Overgrown Battlement. Tempered Steel for Bennett forced his point, while Nicoll copied his Battlement with a Phantasmal Image, and dropped to 6. Bennett summoned a Vault Skirge and a Glint Hawk Idol and passed the turn back. Nicoll drew for the turn, pursed his lips, Pondered, shuffled, and scooped.

Nicoll 1 – Bennett 1


Andrew Bennett has Tempered Steel


On the draw for game three, Bennett's opening turn was still no less threatening, with Memnite, Memnite, and Signal Pest. This time, Nicoll had the Pyroclasm for a sweet three for one. "You either had it or you didn't," Bennett sighed, as Nicoll summoned a Battlement. The downside to Bennett's hand became swiftly apparent as he missed his second land drop. Nicoll summoned a Solemn Simulacrum, while Bennett summoned a pair of Vault Skirges. Phantasmal Image copied the Simulacrum, putting Nicoll's land count at seven to Bennett's one. Another Pyroclasm wiped Bennett's team, and refilled Nicoll's hand. Bennett found a second land and summoned a Steel Overseer, but Nicoll Preordained into a Frost Titan. A third Pyroclasm sealed the deal.

Nicoll 2 – Bennett 1

Both players kept. Nicoll immediately, but Bennett after some thought. "Someone looks happy," Bennett ventured, summoning a pair of Memnites and an Origin Spellbomb. "I was just happy you tanked for so long," Nicoll laughed, summoning a Birds of Paradise. A Dispatch took out the Birds, and the Memnites were joined by a third, but Bennett once again lacked a second land. "Come on, you know you want to," Bennett coaxed Nicoll. "I'd totally Pyroclasm if I had one," Nicoll replied, instead summoning a Spellskite.


Aaron Nicoll tempers his steely gaze


Bennett thumped the top of deck, but still came up short. He sent in his team. Nicoll flashed in a Deceiver Exarch, killing one of the Memnites. "Mountain, kill me?" Bennett asked, but Nicoll shook his head, summoning a Solemn Simulacrum. "Ooh, fetch a Mountain and kill me next turn," Bennett clarified, which was exactly what happened.

Aaron Nicoll defeats Andrew Bennett 3-1

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