This Semifinal matchup saw Scott's Meddling Rebel deck face Victor's Ponza deck. Simply put, this is a nightmare matchup for Scott. Victor's deck is packing a ton of burn to take out searchers before they can become active. Plus, he has land destruction, which cripples the searching capabilities of Scott's deck. In order to win this match, Scott will need to draw enough searchers to withstand all of Victor's burn. He will also need to use his Meddling Mages wisely. Reverent Mantra is another key card, since it is a free spell that can save Scott's searchers from burn.
The positive aspect of the matchup for Scott is his sideboard, which at least gives him a fighting chance. After game one, Scott can bring in Misdirection, Circle of Protection: Red, Wrath of God and Thermal Glider. The Misdirections are incredibly important, since they are great against land destruction. Plus, they give Scott an answer to Urza's Rage. The Circle of Protection is bad news for Victor if it gets out, but Scott is only running one copy of that silver bullet.
The good news for Scott is that since the Top 8 is best of five, he will have access to these important sideboard cards in every game but the first. If this was the usual two out of three, the sideboard cards would be less relevant, because they would be used in only two potential matches as opposed to four.
Scott played first this game, and Victor summoned a turn one Mogg Sentry. Scott cast a Meddling Mage on turn two, naming Seal of Fire. This stopped the Sentry from attacking, and Victor played a Port, which tapped down a Plains on the following turn. The Meddling Mage now attacked, and was joined by a Defiant Falcon. Victor destroyed Scott's only blue source with a Pillage, which brought Scott back to two lands and delayed searching with the Falcon for a turn. He untapped and played a third plains, signaling that he was out of blue mana sources. This gave Victor the green light, as he could play spells without fearing countermagic.
Victor untapped and got to work, playing Urza's Rage on the Meddling Mage, and destroying the Defiant Falcon with Seal of Fire. The next turn saw Victor play a second Rishadan Port, and a clock: Skizzik with kicker. Scott then summoned a Ramosian Lieutenant. Victor attacked once again with the Skizzik, and summoned Kris Mage. He ended his turn, and used both Ports on Scott's upkeep. Scott responded by tappiong those lands for mana, and searching out a Defiant Vanguard. Victor untapped and played Blood Oath naming Instants, which dealt enough damage to give him the win.
Richards- 0 Galimbertti- 1
Victor mulliganed his opening hand this game. Scott played a Defiant Falcon, which was killed off with a Shock on end step. A Dust Bowl was played by Victor on the following turn. Scott now untapped, and played his key sideboard card for this matchup: Circle of Protection: Red. To make things even worse, Victor missed his third land drop. Scott followed up by playing a Meddling Mage, naming Seal of Fire. A second one was played on the next turn, naming Urza's Rage. Victor was still stuck at two lands.
The Mages continued to attack, and Victor could do very little about it with two of his three primary burn weapons nullified. He finally drew a third land, and played Pillage on one of Scott's lands, which was Misdirected to Victor's Dust Bowl. This left Scott tapped out, and Victor was able to get Cave-In to resolve. This destroyed both Mages.
Scott summoned Thermal Glder a few turns later, giving him an unkillable clock. Victor drew into a land, and destroyed a Coastal Tower with Stone Rain. However, Scott was way ahead of Victor. With plenty of lands available, a Pro-Red flying creature, Circle of Protection: Red and Lin Sivvi out, he was in a position that Victor could not escape.
Richards- 1 Galimbertti- 1
Victor played first this time, and summoned a first turn Kris Mage. He followed that up with a second turn Port, which was used on Scott's upkeep. He then played Stone Rain on turn three, taking out the Coastal Tower. Scott played a second island, and Victor summoned another Kris Mage. He attacked, and continued to use his Port. Scott then played a plains, which Victor Pillaged. In response, Scott cast Brainstorm, hoping to dig into a Misdirection. The Pillage resolved, and Scott was once again left without any white mana sources.
He played another in Adarkar Wastes, while Victor continued to apply Kris Mage beatdown. The Port was used on upkeep to tap down the Adarkar. A Plains was then put into play. A Seal of Fire was cast by Victor, and Scott Disenchanted it on end step, prompting Victor to sacrifice it and deal two damage in response. Scott then untapped and played Wrath of God, which left him tapped out. This was Victor's window of opportunity, and he used it to play Boil, which destroyed two islands.
He then played a second Port, followed by Kris Mage, which was Counterspelled. Both Ports now went into action, depriving Scott of blue mana. Scott drew and ended his turn, obviously stuck at four mana. Victor then tapped out to summon Tahngarth, Talaruum Hero. Scott answered back by summoning Ramosian Sky Marshal. The Tahngarth now attacked, and was activated to kill off the Marshal. Scott responded with Reverent Mantra, which saved his only creature. With Scott tapped out, Victor used Urza's Rage to deal the final points necessary to win the game.
Richards- 1 Galimbertti- 2
Play was slow for the first few turns, with neither player doing anything until Scott summoned his only Thermal Glider on turn three. Victor was stuck at two lands, and had to discard, choosing Cave-In. Scott untapped and played Ramosian Sergeant, which Victor Shocked. However, Scott was prepared, and protected the searcher with Reverent Mantra. Victor drew into a third land, and played Stone Rain on an Adarkar Wastes. The next turn saw him destroy a Coastal Tower with a second Stone Rain. During the end step, Ramosian Sergeant searched out a Lieutenant.
Victor drew into a fourth land, and ended his turn. Scott tapped out to search out Lin Sivvi. This was the perfec opportunity for Victor, who cast Boil, which destroyed three islands and left Scott with only one land. Still, he untapped and played a second plains, and attacked with his Rebels. The next turn saw Victor play Cave-In, which still left Scott with Thermal Glider and Lin Sivvi. During the end step, Sivvi searched out a Defiant Falcon. Scott's Rebel team continued to attack, and Victor realized he could not win, and conceded.Richards- 2 Galimbertti- 2
Victor played first, but had to mulligan his opening hand. Once again, he missed his third land drop. Scott played Brainstorm on end step, and sat back on three lands. Victor now played Rishadan Port and ended his turn, tapping down a Coastal Tower on upkeep. He had a Pillage in his hand, but was understandably hesitant to play it, fearing Misdirection, which would set him back to two lands. Scott now played his one Circle of Protection: Red, which would make Victor's job a lot harder.
A few turns later, Scott summoned Meddling Mage, which named Urza's Rage. Victor was still stuck at three lands, and took out one of Scott's lands with Stone Rain. This did very little, as Scott still had more than enough lands out, due mostly to Victor's slow start. The Meddling Mage attacked for a few turns until Victor destroyed it with Shock. The next turn saw Scott play a Ramosian Sergeant, and Victor answered with Seal of Fire, which resolved and targeted the searcher. However, Scott saved it with Reverent Mantra, and was free to start building up an army on the next turn.
Victor played a Dust Bowl, and summoned Tahngarth, which was Absorbed. This left Scott tapped out, and Victor used the opportunity to play Cave-In, pitching Blood Oath. Scott followed up by casting Defiant Falcon, which Victor destroyed with Seal of Fire. He then played Tahngarth, which would keep future Rebels off the table. It attacked on the following turn and Scott did not activate his Circle of Protection. Dust Bowl destroyed a land, and on end step Scott tapped out to Dominate Tahngarth.
Skizzik with kicker now showed up on Victor's side of the table, but it was countered. Scott attacked with Tahngarth, and summoned Lin Sivvi. Victor played another Skizzik with kicker, which stayed back on defense. Dust Bowl destroyed another one of Scott's lands, but still had a lot of work to do. Scott then increased the pressure by searching out a Sky Marshal, which went into the Red Zone. At this point, Victor was staring down a Circle of Protection and a high-end Rebel chain, and conceded.
Richards- 3 Galimbertti- 2