Semifinals Round-Up

Posted in Event Coverage on June 1, 2015

By Marc Calderaro

In the Quarterfinals we saw some crazy shenanigans, and some solid decks going into the Semifinals. Two Wisconsin players, Aaron Lewis and Lucas Duchow advanced; Pascal Maynard, breaking his two-Grand Prix slump is back in the Top 8, grabbing more valuable points for himself; and David Jetha, the Florida native with his Black-Green beaters.

Aaron Lewis vs. David Jetha

In the first game, 2/2s stared off against each other for a while, but it was Aaron Lewis to assert first dominance of the board. He had a Mulldrifter, Æthersnipe, and Tumble Magnet, which held off the beats quite well. Jetha tried to recover with a Cytoplast Root-Kin, but Lewis's Tumble Magnet did just enough work to keep Jetha off-kilter until he could go in for the kill. His blue elementals did most of the work necessary.

In the second game, Lewis used Arrest and Mana Leak to keep the tempo in his favor, as he beatdown repeatedly with a Water Servant. More blue elementals getting work done. With the aid of some smaller creatures like Kami of Ancient Law and Moonlit Strider, Lewis took Jetha's life to 5 before the Floridian was able to begin to stabilize.


Aaron Lewis

But the stable period didn't last long. Within a few turns, Spectral Procession filled Lewis's skies. Jetha had amassed a small army of various tokens on the ground, and was representing a big pump spell. But because Lewis was still at a healthy 20 life, it was only a mass pump spell that would take him down. Not just any mass pump spell, but only Overwhelming Stampede. Whatchu got, Jetha?

Jetha did not have the Overwhelming Stampede; he only had Overwhelm. He had to simply pass the turn and let Aaron Lewis swing in for the last points of damage.

Aaron Lewis's White-Blue Not Artifacts is headed to the finals!

Pascal Maynard vs. Lucas Duchow

During the draft, there was an insane moment caught on camera. Pascal Maynard opened up a foil Tarmogoyf in the third pack. The card he should have taken for his deck was the Burst Lightning, but there was a lot to be said for the coveted foil Tarmogoyf. After a lot of thought, he took the Tarmogoyf and shipped the Burst Lightning.

I tell this story because that exact Burst Lightning ended up in the hands of his opponent, Wisconsinite Lucas Duchow. Duchow's deck was chockfull of excellent removal—Spitebellows, Dismember, etc.—including the Burst Lightning.

Maynard might kick himself if not only does the absence of that card from his deck hurt him, but its inclusion in his opponent's deck as well.

The first game saw Smokebraider into Incandescent Soulstoke from Duchow. This seemed an optimal start. Duchow was stuck on two lands, but I think he was feeling pretty all right. As follow-up Duchow had Dismember and that particular Burst Lightning to keep the board clean of creatures. Pascal Maynard had landed some artifacts, but couldn't seem keep a creature around.

Duchow finally found some land to cast his creatures. Then he ended his stream with the capstone of Spitebellows brought into play off and Incandescent Soulstoke activation. Maynard shrugged and packed in his cards. Burst Lightning Sighting #1.


Lucas Duchow

In the second game Maynard was trying hard to get in there, but his creatures kept dying. The removal kept coming and coming. Dismember, Spitebellows, and yes, that Burst Lightning took out creature after creature. To add insult to injury, a Smash to Smithereens killed his Copper Carapace. Maynard's board was all but empty. Burst Lightning Sighting #2.

All this removal talk might make you think that Lucas Duchow wasn't also building up his board, but boy was he. Thanks to Smokebraider, he was also able to cast Ghostly Changeling, Sickle Ripper, and Inner-Flame Igniter—and they were all still on the board.

Maynard was getting despondent. But he held on to some hope with a second Copper Carapace on his topdecked creatures. He was drawing just what he needed to stay in the game. His Viashino Slaughtermaster suited up and started plinking away, but it was all for naught. Though his topdecks had removed lots of creatures, gained him some life (thanks to suiting up Shikari), and allowed him to be aggressive, Duchow had the topdeck to trump all that jazz—Profane Command.

Maynard shrugged the “What-Are-You-Going-To-Do” shrug, and packed in his cards.

Lucas Duchow was going to finals!

With both Aaron Lewis and Lucas Duchow in the finals, it would be an all-Wisconsin final. And over in Grand Prix Vegas 2, David Heinemann was also rising through the ranks. This whole convention center was becoming overwhelming with the north Midwest.

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