Semifinals: Reid Duke (Jund) vs. Steven Tan (Affinity)

Posted in GRAND PRIX SINGAPORE 2015 on June 28, 2015

By Chapman Sim

Both players are the most experienced players remaining, even though if Reid Duke was the one with the more impressive resume. Duke has a Pro Tour Top 8 and 11 previous Grand Prix Top 8s to his name, as well as a Magic Online Champion title. Sitting at a guaranteed 41 Pro Points, he would need to win the Grand Prix to achieve Platinum or try again in Montreal, Dallas and Vancouver.

Steven Tan is no slouch himself and has also a great deal of experience for over a decade. One of the most prominent players in the community, he has two Limited Grand Prix Top 8s and a National Champion title. He remains the only Singaporean in the tournament, and all hopes are him to keep the trophy on local soil.

Duke was armed with Jund, and I was told by Alexander Hayne that Duke had been 4-0 against Affinity all weekend. Tan confided in me that he feared Shatterstorm, but there was always a chance that Duke couldn't draw it. With a bit of friendly banter, they shuffled up and proceeded to the first of two Jund versus Affinity semifinals.

Game One

Tan was the higher seeded player and naturally opted to play first. Duke was forced to mulligan and found his next six acceptable.

Tan opened with the nuts draw of Blinkmoth Nexus, Mox Opal, Ornithopter, Memnite and Cranial Plating.

Duke's Thoughtseize forced Tan to ditch his last non-land card, Etched Champion, but that did not stop Tan from attacking for 7 the next turn.

With Duke down to 9 life (counting a pair of fetch lands and Thoughtseize), he had no other play aside from Dark Confidant.

Tan topdecked Dispatch to dispatch it and in a matter of minutes, the first game was over.

Reid Duke 0 – Steven Tan 1

Game Two

Duke was cursed with a mulligan once again but was momentarily relieved that Tan's hand was much less explosive this time. Facing only Springleaf Drum, that gave him breathing space to resolve Dark Confidant.

However, the reason why Tan had kept the slow draw had become apparent when he dropped Ornithopter and a second Inkmoth Nexus to cast the dreaded Blood Moon.

Reid Duke is somewhat locked under Blood Moon.

Reid had previously fetched up Forest, so at least he still had access to red and green. If only he could draw his Swamp!

He tapped a nonbasic to summon Grim Lavamancer, and activated it to kill Ornithopter the next turn. This switched off Metalcraft from Etched Champion, and Duke used that golden opportunity to point Lightning Bolt at it.

Tan tried to restore his empty board with Spellskite. While not the best replacement, it was at the very least a creature which he could put Cranial Plating on, and would not die to Grim Lavamancer.

Duke pulled ahead with Huntmaster of the Fells. The life totals was 15 – 13 in Duke's favor.

Steven Tan causes an upset with a timely topdeck.

However, Tan turned the tables by ripping Etched Champion off the top. This represented a 2-turn clock and Duke sank into the tank.

Barring Shatterstorm, there seemed to be no way to kill either the Etched Champion or Cranial Plating with the meddlesome Spellkite on the battlefield.

The only option as it seems was to try and race, so he simply attacked with Dark Confidant and passed the turn to transform Huntmaster of the Fells into Ravager of the Fells.

It wasn't as if Duke could do anything either. He was holding to a pair of Terminates, Slaughter Pact and Liliana of the Veil that he couldn't use.

Tan counterattacked to reduce Duke down to 2 life. With Dark Confidant in play, he could lose the match before he reached his next main phase.

As the game reached its final throes, Duke proceeded to flip over the top card of his deck.

Duke extended his hand and wished Tan good luck in the finals.

Reid Duke 0 – Steven Tan 2

Steven Tan defeats Reid Duke 2-0 and advances to the finals!