Semifinals: DINNOSAAUURRSS!! – Ari Lax vs Gerard Fabiano

Posted in Event Coverage on November 20, 2010

By Marc Calderaro

As Gerry Thompson shambled by Ari Lax he loudly grumbled, "DINOSAUURSS." Lax laughed. He'd drafted the same large-green-monster deck both drafts and even played the archetype in Sealed. "Play Viridian Revel; Smash their guys." Seems simple enough. However, if any deck could match him in RAWWR-factor, it's Gerard Fabiano's. His red-white concoction had large goodies – a Phoenix, Dragon and 9-power-for-5-mana Golem – his deck could also pack a wallop. Both the combatants had close to 30 minutes to relax before they fought – they finished off their Quarterfinal opponents quickly. They sat down calmly and studied each other decks.

"Is your deck all just tricks and bombs?!" said Lax.

"And the 2/1 guy can give Haste," Fabiano responded, referring to the Oxidda Scrapmelter. "So you can't kill a Hoard-Smelter Dragon?"

"Last time I checked 6/5 is bigger than 5/5, right?" The two continued in this fashion well into the match.

Game 1

A Kemba's Skyguard died to a quick Galvanic Blast, and Lax smiled as still had a Gold Myr alone on the board. Fabiano's Strider Harness follow-up wasn't incredible against a turn-four Molder Beast. "And so it begins," Lax said as his Beast attacked. Post-combat he cast an even-bigger Alpha Tyrranax. It was 20-16 in Lax's favor. DINNOSSAAUURRSS!

Random Tokens!

The Origin Spellbomb token didn't have a huge butt, however Fab's Accorder's Shield grew Barrage Ogre's to a hearty 6. But a hasty Revoke Existence shrunk the butt back to regular Ogre size before Lax swung with the green beats, I mean beasts. A Myr blocked the Trampler and Gerard took 10 to go down to six. The Ogre then threw the Harness as hard as he could at the Molder Beast to finish him off.

Sadly, Fabiano's Kuldotha Phoenix didn't look all that impressive – Fabiano was far in the hole and against Lax's 6/5 ground-pounding dinosaur, it was going to get eaten for breakfast. Soon, a Lifesmith joined the 'nax in combat. Gerard fooled around with his cards, openly talking about Untamed Might. "Do you have that card? If you don't have that card, just imagine how good it would be. I mean, this game's probably going to go to you, right?" Fabiano deftly observed that his opponent was responding nervously, so he tried press him and glean as much info as he could.

Eventually Fabiano double-blocked the Alpha Tyrranax, and Lax didn't flash the Might. Though, after the Lifesmith damage, Ari simply cast and sacrificed a Vulshok Replica to deal the final points.

As Gerard sideboarded, he pointed to a card, swiveled it back and forth and said, "Do you know what card this is?"

"I know, but I'm not going to tell you." Lax didn't know; but I did. It was a Seize the Initiative. I don't think Lax would've guessed that. He hadn't written down cards from Fabiano's sideboard at the match's beginning.

Gerard tossed a die around in his hand. "Ok, if I get an even, you get to go first." Lax puzzled Fabiano's remark, and sure enough, Gerard rolled an 6. "You're going first." Ari Lax looked suspicious. "So who are you, Harvey Dent?"

"He had a coin, dude."

Ari Lax 1 – 0 Gerard Fabiano

Game 2

Gerard continued to play with his opponent in-game to the point where I could barely write I was laughing so hard. He tossed his hard around on the table, spread some cards about while keeping random others in his hand and just generally created havoc.

"Wait, which ones are those?" Ari pointed at the cards on the table.

"They're all in my hand," he mused. "Hey, how are you going to cast Molder Beast turn four without your Myr?"

Molder Beasts!

A Kemba's Skyguard with a Strider Harness dealt the first blow. Revoke Existence took out the Harness and after dropping Lax to 15, Gerard refueled with a Necropede and a Culling Dais. He then dropped Lax to 13. Next, the Hoard-Smelter Dragon that Lax couldn't kill, so he tried a race with the Tyrranax. But things looked grim. The totals were 6-22, and a single dinosaur didn't look like it would turn the tides. But that's when the surprise sideboard came down – Wing Puncture. And with one mana, Lax's dinosaur did turn the tides and Ari was back in the game.

But his joy was fleeting. The board was Darksteel Sentinel, Kemba's Skyguard and a Dais with a counter for Gerard. And though Lax's Vulshok Replica blocked the Sentinel and sacrificed it to deal at least some damage to Fabiano, when the Golem Artisan came down, Lax had to give it up.

Ari Lax 1 – 1 Gerard Fabiano

Game 3

Now Gerard sat in silence. He had heckled his way into drawing his bombs; we'll see if he could do it again. "All right. Good luck. Have fun." Fabiano said straight-faced and professional. They both kept and got down to business.

Auriok Replica faced off against Lax's Lifesmith and a three-life-gaining Copper Myr the following turn. Lax offered a smith to trade for the Replica and Fabiano gladly accepted. Fab's sideboarded Seize the Initiative was in his hand as was a Melt Terrain which took out Lax's only red source.

Vulshok Replica and Copper Myr soon attacked Fabiano, and his Dispense Justice caught the Replica before Lax followed with a Tumble Magnet. Barrage Ogre from Gerard looked cool when it came down, but Viridian Revel threatened to ruin his day. Gerard was non-nonplussed and Harnessed his Orge, attacking the totals to 17-18. Though the Horde-Smelter came right on time, so did the team-up of Molder Beast and Wing Puncture. Gerard looked to be on the ropes.

Fabiano tried to eek out every advantage he could, constantly asking how many cards were Lax's grip and hiding his shaking hand under the table. He calmly cast an un-kicked Blade-Tribe Berserkers. Lax cycled his Panic Spellbomb, pumping his Molder Beast, and he assuredly cast a Bellowing Tanglewurm, staring down Fabiano as he played it.

"Cards?"

"One. Attack with Molder Beast." Lax remained stern.

The game grew silent as Ari passed the turn up 17-5, slapping his face repeatedly. Fabiano revealed his desperation by sacrificing Berserkers to the Dais then the artifact soon after. He drew for his turn slowly, stared at his hand of Perilous Myr, Seize the Initiative, Revoke Existence and land, and he thought. Perilous Myr came down (Magnet tapped the Ogre in response), and he revoked the Magnet soon after.

On his turn, yet another beast graced Fabiano with his presence and it was too much. Gerard started drawing cards off the top and said, "Good game."

Good luck to Ari Lax in the finals!

Ari Lax 2 – 1 Gerard Fabiano

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