It was a Canada / US showdown in the semifinals. On one side, aggression. On the other, control. Nearby, Finalist Hugo Demers looked on to see who his opponent would be.
Like his opponent, Toronto's Felix Tse had finally crossed an item off his to-do list: Top 8 a Grand Prix. He'd come within a match win several times, but never managed to convert. There was no sweat this time, however, as he notched a perfect 9-0 Day 1, and two successful drafts later he was able to double-draw and lock up his spot. He made good use of the opportunity, drafting a sleek Black-Red Vampires deck with a good balance of madness spells and enablers. It was only a few cards short of being a jewel.
Hunter Cochran of Arkansas had just come off a hard-fought match against first seed Robert Lombardi. Afterwards they agreed that whoever won their match was likely favored to win the tournament. Cochran's Blue-Green emerge deck certainly had the powerful cards to make it happen. He just needed to avoid being overrun.
Cochran chose to play, and answered a Ravenous Bloodseeker from Tse with a Shrill Howler. Tse kept his vampire home and brought out Skirsdag Supplicant. Cochran swung in. Tse pitched a land and went for the block. Bad news awaited in the form of Waxing Moon. Tse's situation was suddenly quite unpleasant. He had nothing that could deal with the Howling Chorus. He played Succumb to Temptation and passed. Cochran hit for three, got himself a free horror, and played Tangleclaw Werewolf.
Tse fought on. He found Murder and aimed it immediately at the Chorus. Cochran took to the sky with Nebelgast Herald, and answered a Markov Crusader with Thornhide Wolves. Tse had Certain Death for that, but still no good attacks. Worse, Cochran's next plays were Bloodbriar and Ulvenwald Mysteries. Things were rapidly spinning out of control. Not only was Cochran ahead on the board, but the Mysteries meant he was also winning the long game. All he could do was play Gavony Unhallowed and pass. Cochran swung in for two more and after Tse spent a turn on a miserable Oath of Liliana, transformed his werewolf.
Cochran played it slow, content to sail in with his Herald. Unfortunately for him, Tse had a Voldaren [autocard]Pariah[/autocard] that he madnessed in off Skirsdag Supplicant. His block was successful. Now he was in control of the skies. The problem was he needed to win before the Mysteries got Cochran back into things. He added Olivia's Dragoon for more flying pressure. Cochran spent three on Drag Under to send the Pariah back. Foul Emissary found him a Quilled Wolf, which left him tapped out. Tse madnessed out his Pariah through the Dragoon. He swung for three, but made no further play.
Time was running out for Cochran. He turned his whole force sideways. Tse blocked as best he could, but Woodcutter's Gift on Timber Shredder meant that not even transforming his Pariah would save him. There was simply too much unblocked damage.
Cochran 1 – Tse 0
Tse sent back his opening seven, but stayed on six. He led out with Olivia's Dragoon. He was sitting on a hand full of madness spells. All he needed was a third land. His deck didn't cooperate. He hit for two and passed. Cochran summoned Shrill Howler and then Drownyard Explorers while Tse drew spell after spell.
Cochran didn't want to give Tse any extra time. He flashed in Drownyard Behemoth at the end of Tse's next turn. After taking a big hit, Tse found a mountain. Had it been swamp, he would be free to fire off Murder. As it was, he had to settle for a madnessed'd Gisa's Bidding to provide some chump blockers after Cochran flashed in Nebelgast Herald.
Tse scratched and clawed as best he could. He tried to trade his Dragoon for the Herald after madnessing out Weirded Vampire, but Cochran was ready with Spontaneous Mutation. Tse was running out of blockers. Cochran added Quilled Wolf and passed. Tse watched his board dwindle as Cochran poured on the pressure. Ulvenwald Mysteries again provided insurance, and soon Tse was facing an army with only an empty board and two life.
Hunter Cochran defeats Felix Tse 2-0