Quarterfinals Jesse Moulton (Abzan) vs. Robbie Schmidt (Affinity)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 23, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

These two Canadian up-and-comers met in the quarterfinals ready to battle. Jesse Moulton, hailing from Waterloo, Ontario, suited up with the “junk”-y Abzan colors. While Robbie Schmidt, a cook from Calgary, was decidedly more brown with his Affinity deck. This is both of their first Grand Prix Top 8 and were both pretty revealed to have now qualified for Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir.

The first game usually favors Affinity—if they can go off the way they intend. Though Lingering Souls from Abzan can play some great blockers, Schmidt was playing a large amount of Etched Champion to stop any potential blocking.

Abzan has to play “control,” but must still provide a stream of pressure, lest they fall victim to a top-decked Cranial Plating, or Champion.

The Games

Robbie Schmidt started quickly with Mox Opal, Welding Jar, and a Signal Pest. He began swinging in for six damage when a Cranial Plating equipped onto it. Schmidt put on pressure early, but Jesse Moulton was unperturbed thanks to his Liliana of the Veil. Unmolested, Liliana could knock Schmidt out of the game.

Schmidt was down to one card, so he would be deploying his threats one by one. This was fine by Moulton—he had multiple Lingering Souls to make two times that multiple Spirit tokens, and then four. Soon the board was flooded with Spirit tokens, indicating lots of flying blockers.

But Schmidt resolved an Etched Champion, and it got in the mix. With his Steel Overseer and the Cranial Plating, the next damage coming was unblockable. So Moulton went on the attack, knowing he’d have to race—but it was a desperation move.

Only a few turns later, an unblockable, nigh-untargetable eight-powered beatstick got in there and took the last points from Moulton.

Jesse Moulton

Schmidt got the first game.

In the second game, Schmidt failed to have the nut draw, and started playing with what looked like a normal deck. He was much more reactive this game, killing an early Tarmogoyf with a Galvanic Blast, and Spell Pierce on a Thoughtseize.

But Moulton had a second Tarmogoyf to keep pressure on, and Schmidt looked to be on the back foot. That’s when Tarmogoyf #3 showed up. They were both 4/5s; which was functionally huge as far as Galvanic Blasts were concerned.

Moulton followed up with four Spirit tokens as blockers, and that, as they say, was that. Goyfs rumbled in over and over until Schmidt was ground to a pulp.

In the third game, Schmidt had a much more explosive start. His first turn saw Darksteel Citadel into Mox Opal, Springleaf Drum, Memnite, and Arcbound Ravager.

Moulton had to stabilize, and quickly. He took three life to cast a Noble Hierarch, and landed a Tarmogoyf shortly after. He cast a Zealous Persecution to wipe some little guys, but Schmidt had the Spell Pierce ready.

Schmidt kept coming in. Thanks to a Master of Etherium, he was able to keep up pressure, despite a fresh Lingering Souls from Moulton.

Robbie Schmidt

The inevitability was in Moulton’s favor. If he could make some good blocks with the Spirit tokens, Schmidt would need something else. But Etched Champion was again that “something else.”

The Champ came down and made things real difficult. It only took another draw step or two before an after-blockers Ravager sacrifice spree made the Metalcraft’ed 2/2 large enough to take the rest of Moulton’s life.

Robbie Schmidt and his robot pals advance to the semifinals!

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