It was an all-Canada showdown in the semifinals, two first-time Top 8'ers who made short work of their quarterfinal opponents. By now the excitement of the Top 8 announcement has faded, and both are looking at the path ahead of them.
Edmonton's Doug Potter is running hot this weekend. On Friday he won a seat in the Top 8 of the Sunday Super Series. Now he's earned himself a qualification for Pro Tour Sydney and is within striking distance of a championship title. He could leave the hall today a double champion.
“I wasn't even the only person running the double-win dream. Jarvis Yu also won a qualifier on Friday, and we were in the Feature Match area and both lost to be eliminated… or so I thought! And then the stars aligned!”
He is playing a refinement of the Green-White Tokens deck that has defined the tournament this weekend. In addition to some spice in the sideboard, he boasts the full amount of maindeck Den Protectors.
His opponent is Hamilton's own Robert Lombardi, who has been tearing up the tables with Shota Yasooka's Esper Dragons deck. Armed with the power of Languish, he has been feasting on creature decks all weekend.
While Lombardi rolled out his lands, Potter built a board with Hangarback Walker and Sylvan Advocate. On his fourth turn, Lombardi put up a big stop sign named Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet. Potter took the opportunity to resolve Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. He brought along a 2/2 token, who was happy to dive in front of Kalitas to protect his master. Lombardi played his fifth land and dispatched the Walker with Grasp of Darkness, getting a zombie off Kalitas. Worse, after Potter cashed in his Gideon and added a morph to his board, Lombardi spent the rest of his mana to feed Kalitas the Zombie, growing it to a convenient 5/5 and letting it survive the Languish that hit the next turn. Potter summoned another Advocate and Gideon duo, but Lombardi was long on removal. Ultimate Price killed the Advocate, and with only a 2/2 token remaining, Potter was unable to defend Gideon.
Lombardi 1 – Potter 0
Potter snuck in an early Hangarback Walker but his attempt at Nissa, Voice of Zendikar fell to Lombardi's Negate. Potter came back with Sylvan Advocate and passed without playing a fourth land. Lombardi cut it down with Ultimate Price, then untapped and brought out the dread Kalitas. Potter replaced it with Nissa and her plant, but while he tried to develop his board with a morph, Lombardi was picking off the Walker with Grasp of Darkness and stealing away Potter's Secure the Wastes with Duress. Potter was left with just a second Den Protector in hand.
Lombardi gassed up with a Painful Truths for three. Potter unmorphed at end of turn and frowned as he tried to decide on what to bring back. He settled on the Sylvan Advocate, then untapped and drew. He shook his card angrily.
“You were supposed to be a Purge!”
He played his morph and passed. Lombardi checked Potter's draw with Transgress the Mind, then cast Infinite Obliteration for Archangel Avacyn. Still, Potter refused to go quietly. He flipped up his Den Protector, untapped, cashed in his Nissa for counters on all his creatures, then played a second Nissa for still more counters. His two Den Protectors crashed in for ten. Lombardi was down to 8. Potter played his Advocate and passed.
Lombardi returned fire. Ultimate Price killed the advocate, leaving Potter without blockers. One zombie token killed off Nissa, and Kalitas ate the new zombie and hit Potter to drain five life. Potter hit for another ten and summoned a 3/3 Hangarback Walker. Lombardi's next play took the wind out of his sails: Dragonlord Silumgar, stealing Den Protector. Potter addressed his deck.
“Now would be a good time for that Angelic Purge.”
Unfortunately, it was only another Nissa. He got one more draw, but the power of Lombardi's army would not be denied.
Robert Lombardi defeats Doug Potter 2-0