SEMIFINALS: ROBIN DOLAR VS. PHILLIP NAPOLI

Posted in GRAND PRIX BOSTON-WORCESTER 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on July 28, 2014

By Ben Swartz

After earning a Top 8 at Grand Prix Prague and getting second at Grand Prix Vienna, Robin Dolar is hungry for a Grand Prix victory. Dolar brought his W/B/G Rock deck--the White/Black/Green midrange deck that put two players into the top eight. His opponent, Phillip Napoli, was the fan favorite. The New York City player was playing Blue/Green Infect. While Napoli openly admitted that this was not his best match-up, anything can happen in a match of Magic.

The Games

Robin Dolar and Phillip Napoli

A Thoughtseize from Dolar was the first play of the game. It revealed Napoli's hand: two Mutagenic Growths, Distortion Strike, Groundswell, Verdant Catacombs, Inkmoth Nexus, and a Misty Rainforest. Dolar opted to take Distortion Strike and Napoli simply played an Inkmoth Nexus on his turn.

Dolar cast a Tarmogoyf on his second turn while Napoli simply attacked for a single poison damage with his Inkmoth Nexus. Dolar cast a Lingering Souls on his third turn, stifling Napoli's hope of getting through with his Nexus on the following turn.

Dolar attacked with his team and Napoli took the opportunity to block Dolar's Tarmogoyf with his Nexus and use his pair of Mutagenic Growths to take out the Lhurgoyf. Napoli fell to 8 after the attack. Post-combat, Dolar played Liliana and used her -2 ability to force Napoli to sacrifice his Inkmoth Nexus.

Without another infector from Napoli, he was left with attempting to win via normal damage--Napoli fetched up a Dryad Arbor and played a Noble Hierarch. His first attack was thwarted by a Spirit token, his second by a Scavenging Ooze. Facing down lethal damage, Napoli scooped up his cards.

Robin Dolar 1 - 0 Phillip Napoli

Robin Dolar

Napoli started the second game by using Gitaxian Probe to get a look at Dolar's hand. He saw a pair of Inquisition of Kozileks and a Dark Confidant among some lands.

Unsurprisingly, Dolar cast Inquisition on turn one, getting a peek at Napoli's hand of Inkmoth Nexus, Apostle's Blessing, Verdant Catacombs and a pair of Dispels. Dolar took the Apostle's Blessing.

Dolar opted to play Dark Confidant over a second Inquisition of Kozilek--knowing that at best it could only get a Dispel. Napoli had the opportunity to attack with his Inkmoth Nexus for two Poison, while Dolar played a Tarmogoyf and Stirring Wildwood.

Napoli drew a Blighted Agent on his turn, cast it, and attacked for another two poison with his Inkmoth Nexus. Dolar had an opening to Abrupt Decay Napoli's Blighted Agent and drop him to 7 with an attack.

Phillip Napoli

Napoli looked to his draw step for a pump spell that could give his Nexus +4/+4. When he missed, he wasn't completely out of the woods, putting Dolar at 7 poison and having a pair of blockers behind.

Dolar had exactly what he needed--his one-of Engineered Explosives. He used it to wipe away Napoli's blockers clear his way to the finals

Robin Dolar defeats Phillip Napoli 2-0