Posted in GRAND PRIX ORLANDO 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on October 6, 2014

By Rich Hagon

Rich Hagon combines a deep knowledge of the players of the Pro Tour with a passionate love of the game. He's a regular commentator for Pro Tour and Grand Prix live video coverage, and is the official Pro Tour Statistician. He has been covering Magic events since 2006.

Sultai against Temur was the matchup for this semifinal, with two longtime players battling to reach the last match of the weekend. Malka is a Grand Prix champion from as long ago as 2002, while DeTora is looking to add a little bit of history to her career by adding a GP title to the GP and Pro Tour Top 8s she already holds.

Game 1

Melissa had Temur Ascendancy online turn, but that does very little against two Rakshasa's Secret – maybe that's what Rakshasa's Secret is... With apparently very little action happening on board, Malka had four cards in hand to DeTora's zero. Of the many things that you don't want to be facing when you have no cards in hand, Siege Rhino is probably quite high on the list. Then again, it's probably quite high on the list of cards you don't want to face even if you do have cards in hand. In as brutal a game one as we've seen all weekend, Sol Malka took the lead.

DeTora 0 – 1 Malka

Game 2

Having seen her hand torn to shreds in game one, DeTora was all about the card advantage in game two, with a turn five Treasure Cruise fired off to keep her hand well stocked. That led to Tusked Colossodon, and a hand well poised to make it stick. The deal with discard and disruption is that, if you do it enough, you can basically win with anything that has an even vaguely respectable combination of power and toughness. If, on the other hand, you're left with just vaguely reasonable etc, it usually isn't enough, and DeTora's Power – as in the quarterfinals against Ian Farnung – was enough this time around.

DeTora 1 – 1 Malka

Game 3

Malka was surprisingly quickly out of the gates, given that both players had been forced to mulligan for the decider. Three creatures to none quickly became three to two when DeTora cast Bear's Companion. For a short while, Rakshasa Deathdealer was the best card on the battlefield, and Malka had it. Then that honor went to Snowhorn Rider, and DeTora was on the path to big fat beatdown. Quiz time: guess what's better than Snowhorn Rider? Two Snowhorn Rider, that's what, for even bigger, even fatter, beatdown.

Note to newer players: God, and R&D, didn't create all keywords equal. Trample ROCKS.

Once you're in the realm of multiple blocks, you're exposed to any number of bad outcomes. (Apparently I've been watching too much Gray's Anatomy, since 'bad outcomes' is normally outside my range.) Malka was in that unhappy position, and duly got Temur Charmed, much to his detriment. Debilitating Injury is mostly used to actually kill things dead, but here it was a minor inconvenience to the DeTora onslaught.

DeTora 2 – 1 Malka

With that, Melissa DeTora was through to the final, and the opportunity to add another first to her impressive career. Already the first woman to make a Pro Tour Top 8, she was now just one match away from also being the first woman to claim a Grand Prix trophy. In her way, Eugene Hwang, with a very fast deck that potentially eats 5/5 tramplers for breakfast. In any case, a great final in store.