Semifinals: Ralph Betesh vs. Daniel Cecchetti

Posted in Event Coverage on March 8, 2015

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

Both Ralph Betesh and Daniel Cecchetti dispatched different Mono-Red Aggro opponents in the quarterfinals. While Betesh's large Abzan Aggro creatures proved to be too much, Cecchetti scraped by in his first game on 1 life before Mastery of the Unseen did its work, while the second game involved him never leaving the driver's seat.

The two players wasted no times in getting underway.

The Games

Cecchetti stepped on the gas early with a first-turn Elvish Mystic and a second-turn Sylvan Caryatid. This let him power out a third-turn Whisperwood Elemental, which began its manifesting mayhem while Betesh was left with only a Rakshasa Deathdealer.

Ralph Betesh

Hero's Downfall from Betesh cleared away the Whisperwood Elemental, while Cecchetti followed up with Polukranos, World Eater. Another Hero's Downfall cleared the Hydra, and the Deathdealer traded with Cecchetti's mainfest...

...however, that one was just replaced with a new manifest off of Checcetti's follow-up second Whisperwood Elemental. Bile Blight disposed of the face-down creature, revealed to be a Courser of Kruphix, but trading cards for manifests is a losing game-plan, and Cechetti capitalized by dumping his hand: a new Sylvan Caryatid, a Voyaging Satyr, and the deck's key engine: Mastery of the Unseen.

But Banishing Light off the top made things trivial a few turns later, relieving Betesh of his only blocker to secure the first game. There would be no monumental life-gain this game.

While Valorous Stance allowed Betesh to remove Cecchetti's first play of the second game—a Courser of Kruphix—the Abzan Aggro player was also missing an essential component to allowing his deck to cast things like Siege Rhinos: green mana.

Daniel Cecchetti

Much like the last game, Cecchetti's high-impact creatures all demanded answers, and by turn five it came time to answer the following question:

Can Betesh deal with Whisperwood Elemental?

The answer to that question was “not until that fifth-turn Sandsteppe Citadel could untap,” at which point Abzan Charm disposed of the manifest-machine. It was promptly replaced by another copy from Checchetti. The green mana just came too late for Betesh.

The Siege Rhino Betesh deployed was met with a Polukranos, World Eater turning face up. Banishing Light, much like the first game, again removed Betesh's sole blocker, and a monstrous Polukranos ensured lethal with the Whisperwood Elemental.

Daniel Cecchetti defeats Ralph Betesh 2-0 and advances to the finals!

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