Semifinals Alex Hayne (Amulet Bloom) vs Robbie Schmidt (Affinity)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 23, 2015

By Josh Bennett

A classic showdown between two of the format’s most explosive decks. On one side, Robbie Schmidt with Affinity, who cruised to a 9-0 Day 1 and never looked back. On the other, Canadian national treasure Alex Hayne with Amulet Bloom.

The Games

Hayne shipped back his first hand, but was happy with his second. Schmidt led off with Ornithopter, Inkmoth Nexus and Signal Pest. Hayne had the all-important Amulet of Vigor off Gemstone Mine. Schmidt played a second Nexus, animated his first and hit with his team for a mixed bag of two poison and one damage.

Hayne untapped and played Boros Garrison, getting green from his Gemstone Mine before bouncing it, and cast Asuza, Lost But Seeking. He replayed his Mine and played a Gemstone Cavern on Giant. Schmidt played Darksteel Citadel and hit for two more poison. After combat he added a second Pest to his board. One more mana meant he could bring a lethal attack on the following turn.

Hayne drew Tolaria West and went into the tank. He played it and tapped it for blue, then played Vesuva as a second Boros Garrison and returned it to his hand to transmute it for Summoner's Pact. The problem was that doing so meant he could have at most one green left, so the Titan would have to wait a turn. Without a green bounce land he couldn’t Summer Bloom into additional green either. The downside of this line is that with one more mana, Schmidt kills him the following turn.

Which is exactly what happened.

Schmidt 1 – Hayne 0

This time Schmidt had to send back his seven. He stayed on six, and they were off.

Hayne led with Ancient Stirrings, netting himself a Simic Growth Chamber. Naturally, Schmidt’s turn was more explosive. Memnite, Blinkmoth Nexus, and two Springleaf Drums spilled onto the board. Hayne untapped and played a second Stirrings. This one served up Amulet of Vigor. Radiant Fountain got it into play immediately.

Schmidt speeded up his clock with Ensoul Artifact on one of his Drums and bashed in for five, leaving Hayne at 17. There was more good news for Schmidt on Hayne’s turn: He didn’t have a way to get extra land plays. No Asuza, no Summer Bloom. He simply played Gruul Turf to pick up his Fountain and passed. Schmidt animated his Blinkmoth and hit for six more.

Hayne found himself a third Stirrings. He replayed his Fountain and cast it. This one got him Tolaria West, but without blue mana he would have to wait to transmute it. Schmidt tapped out to get himself a Vault Skirge and a Cranial Plating and knocked Hayne down to eight.

Hayne’s deck served up some hope in the form of Primeval Titan, and Hayne went through the possibilities. He settled on playing Simic Growth Chamber and the Titan, then getting Boros Garrison and Slayers' Stronghold to attack immediately, which got him two more lands: Khalni Garden and Ghost Quarter.

The problem with these defenses is that any one-mana artifact would let Schmidt present a flying lethal attacker with Vault Skirge. Hayne did his best to keep a stone face when Schmidt played a pre-combat Signal Pest. They went through the motions, Schmidt activating one of his Nexuses for the seventh artifact, Hayne Ghost Quartering, and Schmidt activating the other. Hayne extended the hand and wished him good luck in the finals.

Robbie Schmidt defeats Alex Hayne 2-0

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