Already a Grand Prix champion once over, Gerry Thompson sat down to his Semifinals match against Conrad Kolos with one thing on his mind: getting enough Pro Points to ensure he was qualified for the World Championships in December. To pull that off, he'd need to sneak through into the Finals. His opponent was not in the same position as Conrad Kolos had managed to win a slot on the U.S. National Team, guaranteeing himself an invite to Worlds.
Plague Stinger led the way for Conrad's black-green infect deck while his opponent opened on Vedalken Certarch followed by Golden Urn and Flight Spellbomb. A Trinket Mage for Gerry allowed him to find and cast Memnite, giving him metalcraft and allowing him to Certarch down his opponent's 1/1 flyer each turn. Kolos added Heavy Arbalest to the battlefield as a means of potentially answering the 1/1 blue creature.
Stuck on three mana, Conrad began taking damage from his opponent's weenie creatures. The wily Thompson also began using his Certarch to tap down Kolos' only Forest during his upkeep, preventing him from having access to green mana during his turn. A second Forest finally found its way to the top of Conrad's library, and he played it before attacking with his Stinger. Doing so allowed him to cast Untamed Might for two, getting in for three total poison in a single turn.
Grand Architect from Gerry drew a whistle from Conrad who found himself in a tight spot against his opponent's newly pumped team. He fell to 12 on the next attack while Thompson used his blue creatures to help him cast Kuldotha Forgemaster. Kolos tried to use a Carrion Call to help stem the bleeding, but his opponent's Architect-backed forces overwhelmed his underwhelming infect horde and Thompson emerged victorious in the first game.
Gerry Thompson 1, Conrad Kolos 0
Starting the second game off on a mulligan, Gerry Thompson found himself facing down the same two-drop he had in the first as Conrad cast a Plague Stinger, the first creature of the second game. Gerry had a Memnite a turn later, then Trinket Mage after Kolos cast a Cystbearer.
The Mage/Memnite combo soon took down Cystbearer, but the infect player just cast a second copy of the 2/3, all the while getting in through the skies with Plague Stinger. A Bonds of Quicksilver locked down the 1/1, but Conrad kept the creatures coming casting a Corpse Cur to get back his dead Cystbearer while attacking with the one on the battlefield. Thompson was on four poison counters, and looked to be at more soon.
Sword of Body and Mind for Gerry allowed him to attempt to crawl back into things, his Trinket Mage picking up the equipment and getting to the red zone. The first attack cost Conrad his Corpse Cur, and he fired back with a second to loop the first back to his hand. The 2/2 infect Gravediggers had really been causing problems for Thompson, who couldn't get ahead because he couldn't keep his opponent's creatures permanently off the battlefield.
A Flight Spellbomb allowed the Sword-bearing Mage to connect, netting Gerry a 2/2 Wolf and a mill of ten cards from his opponent. Following the attack Gerry cast a Kuldotha Forgemaster. The turn meant he had enough blockers to handle both of his opponent's on-board threats, but doing so would likely cost him one or more of the creatures and he knew Kolos still had a Corpse Cur in his hand from the previous turn.
Conrad did indeed cast the 2/2 Cur, returning a copy of the card from his graveyard that had been milled by his opponent's attack. A turn later he had Tel-Jilad Fallen, but Gerry managed to cast a Chimeric Mass and Soliton. That gave him enough artifacts to active his Kuldotha Forgemaster, which he did. The artifact he fetched up to put onto the battlefield? Heavy Arbalest. The equipment was a powerful combo with his 3/4 Soliton, able to begin mowing down his opponent's creatures save for the Fallen.
Thompson wasted no time doing exactly that, blowing up both Corpse Curs. Kolos worked on finding a solution to the combo, but an Instill Infection only got him 25% of the way there. To make matters worse, the very next turn Thompson cast Volition Reins to steal his 3/1 Fallen and Conrad found himself way behind. Did his deck have it in itself to get him out of the jam?
It didn't. The untapping/Arbalest contained Conrad's team, then turned its sights on him. Without a removal spell for either half of the combo, Kolos' tournament came to an end.
Gerry Thompson 2, Conrad Kolos 0
After the game, Conrad revealed the top card of his library: Skinrender. The 3/3 would have saved him.
"Man! It's always there when you think to look…" Conrad complained with a grin.