Vintage Championship Semifinals Roundup

Posted in Event Coverage on August 5, 2011

By Nate Price

A longtime member of the Pro Tour and Grand Prix coverage staff, Nate Price now works making beautiful words for all of you lovely people as the community manager for organized play. When not covering events, he lords over the @MagicProTour Twitter account, ruling with an iron fist.

Semifinal 1 – Mark Hornung vs. Ryan Glakin

These guys are pretty good friends, so the banter between them was nice and snarky.

"Bad luck, and I hope you mulligan into oblivion," Glackin said to Hornung with a smile.

Hornung did what he was supposed to do in the first game, mulliganning to five cards, including one that involved a Serum Powder, all in an attempt to find a Bazaar of Baghdad. Once he found it, he started to get his dredge cards into his bin. Unfortunately, he only got one activation before it was removed with Wasteland. He had a second copy of Bazaar, allowing him to dredge a load of cards into his graveyard, but Glackin had a Strip Mine for the second one. After that, Glackin put together a Lodestone Golem, a Phyrexian Metamorph copying the Golem, and a Chalice of the Void for one just to be safe. Those Golems wasted very little time in wasting Hornung.

Mark Hornung gets his Dredge on.

The second game went considerably differently. Hornung again mulliganed, this time to six cards, and again found two copies of Bazaar of Baghdad. This time, however, Glackin had nothing more than a Chalice of the Void on one as defense. With the way clear, Hornung set about using his two Bazaars, a trio of Golgari Grave-Trolls, and a pair of Dread Returns to put eight Zombies into play alongside an 8/8 Grave-Troll on the second turn. Glakin was not equipped to deal with that and the match went to the final game.

BRAAAINS!

For the final game, Glackin went first and exploded with a City of Traitors and a Mana Crypt, enabling a Chalice of the Void for one and a Thorn of Amethyst before Hornung played a permanent. Hornung simply (and I say that sarcastically) played a Bazaar of Baghdad. Glackin made a Percursor Golem to follow that up, putting nine power worth of creatures onto the table on the second turn. Hornung started to dredge, putting a dozen cards into his graveyard. Glackin animated his Mishra's Factory and attacked for eleven. Hornung only had one turn, but, as dredge does, only needed one turn. He dredged a literal ton, playing an Undiscovered Paradise so that he could play his Dread Return through the Thorn, netting himself twelve very fast, very angry Zombies that crushed over Glackin and dropped him out of the Top 8.

Even with all those Golems, Ryan Glackin knows he's done.

Mark Hornung 2 – Ryan Glackin 1

Semifinals 2 – Stephen Menendian vs. Paul Mastriano

In a rematch from the swiss rounds, Stephen Menendian squared off against a virtually identical deck being piloted by Paul Mastriano. Menendian had won their initial showdown, and Mastriano was out for some friendly vengeance. Their first game started with two Dark Confidants apiece, setting the stage for a fairly quick first game. I realized during this match that there is nothing quite as funny as watching people decide whether or not they should block an opponent's Confidant with their own. At one point during the game, there was a crucial near miss where Menendian drew a Merchant Scroll and a Preordain with his Confidants, leaving him to draw the Blightsteel Colossus that would have killed him during his draw step. That was a pretty lucky order for that to happen.

Paul Mastriano knows it's a Bob eat Bob world.

Their Confidants kept hitting themselves and then each other, whittling away the life totals. Eventually, Menendian was forced to a difficult decision about whether or not to use a freshly cast Vendilion Clique to block a Confidant, saving him two life, or to let them through, drop his opponent to two on the swing back, and hope his two Confidants kill him. He chose the latter decision, and the suspense of the moment was proven to be quite anticlimactic. He untapped and flipped over Force of Will and Dark Confidant, killing him even if he had blocked.

To block, or not to block. That, is Menendian's question.

For the second game, neither player had an early Dark Confidant. Mastriano went down to zero lands to Gush, which prompted Menendian to Gush himself down to a Mox Jet before using Red Elemental Blast to stop Mastriano's copy. Both players managed a Dark Confidant on the next turn, and things progressed rather slowly for a couple of turns until Mastriano managed to stick a Time Vault. Menendian stuck a Vendilion Clique end of turn, revealing the two-headed monster of Voltaic Key and Tinker in Mastriano's grip. He ended up choosing to put the Key at the bottom of the deck.

When Menendian played Fastbond, it looked like he might be able to find a way out of his little pickle. A fight ensued over Menendian's Gush, clearing the way for him to cast Yawgmoth's Will. Unfortunately, his life total was incredibly low, severely restricting the amount of Gushing he could do. Ultimately, Menendian had to use a Time Walk simply to untap. Mastriano spent the next few turns simply using powerful cards like Black Lotus and Ancestral Recall to draw the counters out of Menendian's hand. Each turn that he did, though, Menendian's Vendilion Clique slammed over for another three. Eventually, it was the last three.

Menendian got the final game rolling with an early Fastbond. Combined with a Dark Confidant and a Sensei's Divining Top, he had a dominating early board position, but he ended the turn with only a single card in his hand. At the end of his turn, Mastriano used a Vampiric Tutor to fetch up a Tinker, which he immediately used to trade his Mox Emerald in for a Blightsteel Colossus. Menendian did put on a little show in response, using his Top to hunt for an answer, but didn't find anything to stop it. He now had only his turn to deal with the Colossus or Mastriano. When he fetched a Hurkyl's Recall with his Demonic Tutor on the following turn, Mastriano had the Force of Will to just put the match to an end.

Stephen Menendian 1 – Paul Mastriano 2

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