Semifinals - Andrew Wolf vs Brian Davis

Posted in Event Coverage

By Alex Shvartsman

Game 1

Wolf did not get a very aggressive draw. In fact, he did not play a spell until the fourth turn, when he summoned a Lightning Angel. Davis had some breathing space to begin developing his mana base and tapped out for Collective Restraint once his opponent was tapped out for the Angel. Wolf chose to pay for the Angel to attack as Davis only had three land types in play so far, and summoned Galina's Knight.

Davis did not have a way to get more land types into play just yet, so Wolf could keep attacking for three points of damage per turn. Davis had plenty of ways to deal - he was holding a Global Ruin and a number of other powerful cards, but did not have land number five. Allied Strategies for three provided him with another Collective Restraint - but not another land. Davis finally drew Lay of the Land off the top of his deck, cast it to get a Swamp and played out a second Restraint. Wolf could no longer deal any creature damage this game and would have to rely on his burn spells to carry the day.

Goblin Legionnaires died to the cause of dealing two points of damage to Davis. Wolf tapped out on his turn to cast Ghitu Fire, bringing Davis down to two life points. It was quite possibly a mistake as he could have cast Prophetic Bolt to deal the same four points of damage instead. Davis proved that theory by casting Global Ruin and leaving Wolf with two lands - making it very difficult for Prophetic Bolt to be cast at any point this game.

Wolf was holding an Urza's Rage in his hand. All he needed now was to draw a land - any land - before Davis could win the game with Spiritmonger he just summoned - or before Davis could draw, cast, and attack with his Rakavolver. Indeed, Davis cast Worldly Counsel to find Rakavolver at the end of Wolf's turn. He did not have the red mana to cast it yet. Wolf drew Goblin Legionnaires but chose not to cast it. Davis had Pernicious Deed out and could get rid of the meddlesome creature before Wolf would be able to activate it.

Davis used the Deed to clear the table and sent in the Spiritmonger. On the following turn, Wolf finally drew a land - and sent an Urza's Rage flying at Davis' face.

Game 2

Wolf started the game by summoning Meddling Mage, preventing Harrow from being cast. Davis did have Harrow in hand, and green mana available via Chromatic Sphere - so the Meddling Mage was meddlesome indeed. Davis cycled through a Worldly Counsel and several Chromatic Spheres, and was finally able to find a Forest. In the meantime, he used Gainsay to counter a second Meddling Mage and cast a Sunscape Familiar to block the first.

Wolf missed a land drop, but was finally able to draw a source of red mana and cast Goblin Legionnaires. He had the mana to summon Lightning Angel, but chose to keep his blue sources untapped for Disrupt and Gainsay. Davis was holding Malice but he too waited patiently until he had another mana untapped, and was finally able to off the Meddling Mage, allowing for the two Harrows in his hand to become useful again. Good things come to those who wait though - Wolf was able to Disrupt the Evasive Action targeting a Lightning Angel he cast next.

Davis cast Global Ruin, setting Wolf back down to two lands. Wolf summoned a Meddling Mage, naming Collective Restraint. Davis had his other powerful enchantment though - he cast Pernicious Deed and cleared the table of all non-land permanents. Both players were now in top-deck mode, which is generally not a good thing for the Domain deck.

Wolf tried to cast Rakavolver with blue kicker, only to have it countered. Goblin Legionnaire resolved, but Davis drew Allied Strategies. He used his last card in hand to help force Strategies through. On his turn, Davis cast Benalish Emissary with kicker, destroying Wolf's only source of red mana. At the end of the turn, Wolf cast Ice tapping the Emissary to get two more points of damage through and, more importantly, to dig deeper into his deck looking for lands.

Overgrown Estate hit play just as Wolf was within a turn or two of just burning his opponent out. Wolf attacked with his Legionnaires, then used Orim's Thunder with kicker to destroy both the enchantment and the blocker. Davis responded with Worldly Counsel, then another - both for five cards each - and then finally countered it with an Evasive Action he was holding all along. On his turn, Davis cast Allied Strategies drawing five cards. "It's nuts!" he exclaimed, "It better be," said Wolf. "There has to be SOMEthing left in your deck."

Davis shrugged off the Prophetic Bolt damage and summoned Sabertooth Nishoba. He had a bazillion lands in play and was able to survive long enough to just win the game with the 5/5 creature Wolf currently had no way to block or otherwise deal with. As if it was not already over, Davis cast two Benalish Emissaries with kicker, destroying all of Wolf's red mana sources.

A turn or two later, Wolf finally conceded, allowing the match to proceed into its final game.

Game 3

Both players were in a lot of trouble with their mana this game. Wolf mulliganed twice. Davis mulliganed once, and each player kept a one land hand. Wolf missed his second land drop, while Davis cast a Chromatic Sphere, cycled it to generate blue mana, and burned for one. Fortunately for both players, they drew some mana shortly afterward, so the game would not degenerate into a case of one player being totally hosed while the other player beats him down.

Wolf cast a Meddling Mage naming Evasive Action. Davis Harrowed, and played out a Benalish Emissary without kicker. He cast a blocker just in time to buy himself some turns - he was going to need them after Wolf cast Planar Overlay, sending four lands back to Davis' hand. Davis avoided discarding any cards by playing out a pair of Chromatic Spheres on his turn, while Wolf summoned yet another Meddling Mage, naming Gainsay.

Davis played out a second Emissary. Instead of double blocking and killing one of the three creatures Wolf had, he just blocked two guys going down to eleven. Wolf summoned a Rakavolver with blue kicker - a 3/3 flying creature. Davis cast a Rakavolver with blue kicker himself, but it was far from enough. At the end of his turn, Wolf cast Prophetic Bolt, ending the game.

He came back from mulliganing down to five cards to win the game, and advance to the finals.

Final Result: Wolf 2 - Davis 1

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