GRAND PRIX VANCOUVER 2014 - SEMIFINALS 1

Posted in NEWS on January 29, 2014

The Preamble

The Quarterfinals featured the same matchup three times: Blue-White Control versus Mono-Blue Devotion. Peter Sundholm was the only Mono-Blue player to escape. Now he has to repeat his performance against Robert Gillespie.

The Match

Sundholm got on the board quickly with Cloudfin Raptor and Frostburn Weird. He tried a third-turn Nightveil Specter but was stopped by Essence Scatter. Gillespie played his third land tapped and passed it back. Sundholm played a Mutavault and was happy to simply attack for five rather than play into a possible Supreme Verdict.

Gillespie played another tapped land and removed the Weird with Detention Sphere. Sundholm had a replacement, evolving his Raptor. He hit for four. Gillespie was already down to just eight. He untapped, played a fifth land, but wasn't finding what he needed. Last Breath took care of the Weird. Sundholm hit for another four and added Tidebinder Mage. Gillespie managed to stave off a lethal attack one turn with Sphinx's Revelation, but still couldn't find anything to help his situation. He soon succumbed.

Sundholm 1 - Gillespie 0

 


Peter Sundholm 

After sideboarding, Gillespie almost packed away his Soldier tokens along with his sideboard before catching himself. "Those might be relevant," he said with a smile. Sundholm laughed. "I hope not!"

Gillespie had to take a moment to consider his opening seven. He kept, and they were off. Sundholm led with Judge's Familiar and Frostburn Weird, but lost both to Last Breaths. Unfortunately for Gillespie, he was stuck on just two land.

"I'm good. Well... I'm not good, but I'm done."

He had to watch as Sundholm resolved Thassa, God of the Sea. His draw step was another spell. Sundholm cast Cloudfin Raptor, then Nightveil Specter. Gillespie stopped it with Gainsay. Still his deck spurned him. Sundholm added Judge's Familiar to his squad and Negated Gillespie's attempt to Last Breath the Raptor.

Finally, a third land for Gillespie, and a Temple of Triumph to boot. He checked his top card, and let it stay. Despite having Thassa in play, Sundholm's draw hadn't developed. He could only hit for two and pass with two cards in his hand. Gillespie took two damage to cast Supreme Verdict and get rid of Sundholm's clock. Sundholm scryed, then passed a blank turn on four land.

Now Sundholm's wealth of spells was coming into play. He fought off Jace, Memory Adept with Dissolve, then resolved a Sphinx's Revelation for two. He forced Jace, Architect of Thought past Sundholm's Gainsay with one of his own. Jace started to serve up cards, including Detention Sphere for Thassa. Elspeth soon followed, and the result was never in doubt.

Sundholm 1 - Gillespie 1

 


Robert Gillespie 

Sundholm's Judge's Familiar was a turn late, but it still got to protect Nightveil Specter from Syncopate for one. Gillespie untapped and played Last Breath, wiping it off the table. Sundholm dropped Mutavault and a Bident of Thassa. Gillespie was ready with Detention Sphere for the latter. He played an Elixir of Immortality and passed.

Sundholm was out of threats, so he animated his Mutavault and attacked. He played out Ratchet Bomb and passed. Gillespie was content to play the waiting game. He took another hit from the Mutavault and stopped Tidebinder Mage with Gainsay. However, he was stuck on five lands, and Sundholm now had two Mutavaults coming his way. Soon he was down to nine and then cracking his Elixir to go back up to fourteen. But still nothing to stop the Mutavault assault.

Sundholm's Ratchet Bomb had hit three counters by this point, and he used it to free his Bident from the Detention Sphere. Gillespie had Disperse to rescue it for a second use, but it still meant that Sundholm would draw two cards off his Mutavault attack. Gillespie's attempt at a Sphinx's Revelation for two was stopped by Sundholm's Gainsay, and the Mutavaults charged in.

Gillespie replayed the Sphere, exiling the Bident and passed with three open, but was unable to stop Thassa, God of the Sea. He fell to six, then untapped and played a Sphinx's Revelation for three. Looking at his new cards he let out a heavy sigh. "Awesome." Sundholm hit for another four and dropped him to five, then added Tidebinder Mage. Gillespie could do nothing but play Elspeth, Sun's Champion and make soldiers, crossing his fingers.

"You're tapped out?"

"I am."

"You're at five life?"

"Yep."

Sundholm tapped two for Frostburn Weird, animating Thassa. She became unblockable and swung in. Gillespie extended the hand.

Peter Sundholm defeats Robert Gillespie 2-1

The Postgame

It was a tough way to go out, but Gillespie was gracious in defeat. After the initial disappointment wore off, he was all smiles. "My goal this weekend was to Day 2. Top 4 is a big step up."

Meanwhile Sundholm was being congratulated by his friends and trying to wrap his head around what was to come, the biggest match of his Magic career.