Semifinals: Alex Johnson (Green-White Tokens) vs. Matt Severa (Bant Humans)

Posted in Event Coverage on May 30, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Alex Johnson spoke quickly. He was clearly very excited about his greatest Magic accomplishment to date. Having competed on the Pro Tour once before, Johnson has already had a taste of high level Magic. He bounced in his chair as he talked about anything but the match at hand.

Johnson's Green-White Tokens deck had served him well this weekend and he had a confidence about him as he shuffled up for his semifinal match. The deck applies pressure with creatures while also playing a lot of planeswalkers to make things difficult for opponents that want to beat a single plan of attack.

Matt Severa has been here before. Severa recently won Grand Prix Washington DC and he's looking to add another trophy to his mantel. Severa embodied calm as he answered each of Johnson's questions politely.

Severa was playing Standard's hottest new deck. Bant Humans is an aggressive take on the Bant Company decks that dominated Standard before the Pro Tour. The deck comes out swinging and clears the way for a quick victory with Reflector Mage and Dromoka's Command.

The first game started slow and Johnson was able to stick an early Nissa, Voice of Zendikar when Severa only had Thraben Inspector to apply any pressure from the other side.

Things got awkward for Severa when he failed to find any creatures with Collected Company on the following turn.

Matt Severa

Johnson had all the time in the world to apply more and more pressure. Soon, Archangel Avacyn had joined the fray and Severa would be forced to engineer a racing game plan in order to achieve victory.

It wouldn't be easy, though. Without a quick start the Bant Humans deck could struggle against the more midrange Green-White Tokens strategy.

Severa was able to buy time with Reflector Mages, some cast from hand and some found with Collected Company.

Archangel Avacyn kept coming back and Reflector Mage wasn't the ideal answer thanks to the legendary angel's Flash ability.

Eventually, Severa couldn't hold on any longer and Johnson sealed the deal.

Alex Johnson 1 - 0 Matt Severa

The second game was similarly slow, which is rarely a good sign for Severa, who needs to be aggressive to achieve victory in this matchup.

Thalia's Lieutenant was Severa's only play for the first three turns of the game and Johnson was, once again, able to play a planeswalker into a relatively unthreatening board.

This time it was Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and tokens were being spewed onto the table turn after turn as Severa tried to keep up with card advantage from Tireless Tracker.

Alex Johnson

Severa kept drawing lands and the card advantage he was accruing from multiple sources wasn't enough to get him back into the game.

Again, Archangel Avacyn started doing work in the sky and it was only a matter of time before Severa would succumb to Johnson's air assault.

Alex Johnson 2 - 0 Matt Severa

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