Semifinals Round-Up

Posted in Event Coverage on December 1, 2014

By Marc Calderaro

The Standard hits kept on rolling through the Top 8. The quarterfinals finished up in a flash, and the players got right to it in the semis. Temur was battling Mardu, and Sidisi Whip was against the White-Blue Heroic.

Jeremy Frye (Temur Midrange) vs. Ryan Scullin (Mardu Midrange)

Ryan Scullin came out fast and furious like Paul Walker, with an unanswered Seeker of the Way and an unanswered Goblin Rabblemaster. Not to mention, he drew the perfect Mountain on his fourth turn to make his Chained to the Rocks live. It went on Jeremy Frye's Courser of Kruphix, and before attacks he cast a second Rabblemaster.

Ryan Scullin

 

Frye was not long for this game. "Ah, pleasures of being first seeded," Scullin said. It was true; that game might have been completely different had he been on the play. But as it stood, Scullin destroyed Frye in short order.

 

The second game was a lot slower than the first. Scullin's first play was a turn-four Butcher of the Horde, and followed it up with a Chained to the Rocks on Frye's Ashcloud Phoenix. Though it was countered, that was just bait anyway. Scullin resolved a Hordeling Outburst to support his Butcher right after.

Frye tried to stop the assault with a Stormbreath Dragon and killed the Butcher. But a next-turn Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker from Scullin took out the Dragon and a second, foily Butcher along with the Gobbos continued to follow Scullin's attack orders.

Jeremy Frye

 

The Phoenix had been playing blocker against the Butchers well, keeping it at bay, but Frye was at 8. When he passed the turn back to Scullin, the man had a plan.

 

On Frye's end step, Scullin burned out the Phoenix. Though it returned as a morph, critically it didn't have flying. This allowed the Butcher of the Horde to get through for five more damage. Scullin revealed the Lightning Strike and Frye extended his hand. Scullin had burned his Frye.

In the quickest match of the Top 8, Ryan Scullin took a 2-0 victory off Jeremy Frye, and is advancing to the finals.

Albert Ake (Sidisi Whip) vs. Orry Swift (White-Blue Heroic)

Orry Swift came out screaming, just like he had done in the quarterfinals. Battlewise Hoplite, which gained an Ordeal of Thassa, was being aided by Hero of Iroas and started tussling. Albert Ake set up his defense grid and acceleration matrix—the Sylvan Caryatid and a Courser of Kruphix—but a second Ordeal of Thassa meant he was going to be dreadfully behind in cards and in life by the time he could get online.

Albert Ake

 

That "dreadfully" adverb never changed. Ake couldn't come back fast enough, and the first game was chalked for Swift after a bunch of white boys put on their big-boy pants and turned into men.

 

Swift was up 1-0.

In the second game Ake mulliganed to 5. He said he won this way in the Swiss and didn't mind too much, but under the lights, that can't be fun. Despite that setback, Ake had a Sidisi, Brood Tyrant turn four and an accompanying Zombie token. So favored Hoplite with an Aqueous Form had to stay home to block.

Ake felt safe attacking into the Hopper after casting a Whip of Erebos, but Swift made him regret that choice right quick. A mid-combat Erase took out the Whip, then a Feat of Resistance on the Hoplite allowed it to kill the Sidisi and survive. The card disadvantage from the mulligans were now being felt.

But, if you've got cards, make em' count. A Murderous Cut killed Swift's first threat, and a Reclamation Sage neutered the second. The Zombies (and now the Sage) kept coming and the scores became 8-5 in Ake's favor. He had mounted quite the offense. A post-combat Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver didn't find a blocker, but milled all the same. Thanks to an Ordeal of Thassa draw, Swift defensed up—casting two Favored Hoplites and a Hero of Iroas, all but emptying his hand.

Orry Swift

 

And now the board was stalled, as Swift looked for a way to push through the last damage. On the other side of the table, Ake was perfectly happy to stall. With his Ashiok, he was gaining incremental advantage with each passing turn. Swift ached when he cracked a fetchland, and make the terrible choice to peek at the top card. He saw a Feat of Resistance, which, combined with the Aqueos Form in his hand would've gotten the exact amount of damage through unimpeded.

 

Never look at the top card, Orry! He subsequently drew into nothing and eventually succumbed to his own creature suite on the other side of the board.

With the games all tied up 1-1, the two players tried to bring their A game. Swift started with a Battlewise Hoplite and a cracked Ordeal of Thassa, taking Ake to 11 in a few short turns. Then Ake answered back with a turn-three Sidisi, Brood Tyrant to get his engine online nice and early.

Swift felt like he should get something more going soon, and on Ake's end step, he tried for a Feat of Resistance, and backed it up with a Gods Willing. He had done the damage calculations, and as long as Ake didn't have two Murderous Cuts in hand, he'd take the game with this line.

After Ake's first Murderous Cut, the Gods Willing came down. Swift was nervous, but the second Cut never came. He untapped for the turn with the Hoplite huge, and had oodles of mana to work with. A flying-granting aura later and Ake was out of the tournament.

Orry Swift wins 2-1 over Albert Ake.

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