Semifinals Recap

Posted in Event Coverage on May 17, 2015

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

The semifinals featured four players from four different countries all competing with different strategies across multiple formats. However, the format for the Semifinals, and the primary point of focus for the competitors, is Standard Constructed.

With that said, let's delve into the highlights of each match.

Jasper De Jong vs. Antonio Del Moral León

The first match of the semifinals pitted Jasper De Jong's Green-White Devotion deck against Antonio Del Moral León's Abzan Midrange strategy.

In the first game, De Jong had a solid start with Mastery of the Unseen into Courser of Kruphix, but Del Moral León's aggressive start with a Fleecemane Lion and a Dromoka's Command made his creature a 4/4, ensured the Courser hit the graveyard, and gave him a sizable clock to go with his fourth-turn Siege Rhino.

Antonio Del Moral León fired forward with an aggressive start.

However, on the back of multiple Coursers and a Whisperwood Elemental, as well as a second Mastery of the Unseen and a Den Protector, De Jong was able to gain enough life and keep enough action flowing that he could grind the game to a halt.

And when a game with two Mastery of the Unseens grinds to a halt, things don't look for the Abzan player. Multiple triggers brought De Jong upwards of 60 life, and Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx combined with cards like Polukranos, World Eater and the two-mana enchantment's activated ability to ensure that Del Moral León had no way to come back.

However, the win for De Jong left him with only 11 minutes on his 25-minute clock for the match. If Del Moral León took a second game, De Jong would find himself hard-pressed to finish the match before his time ran out.

However, Game 2 was played and won at a blistering pace by Del Moral León, ensuring that the clock factor would likely not play a factor.

Jasper De Jong spent a lot of time on the first game, but that wasn't the case for the post-board games.

And sure enough, it didn't. In the third and final game, Del Moral León's keep in the third game left him on a mulligan, a weak keep, and unfortunately couldn't find enough lands to cast his expensive spells as De Jong quickly ran over his opponent.

The final result: Jasper De Jong defeated Antonio Del Moral León 2-1, advancing to the finals.

Magnus Lantto vs. Aleksa Telarov

The first game of the semifinal match between Magnus Lantto and Aleksa Telarov featured a land-light hand from Lantto and some tough Thoughtseize decisions from Telarov.

Ultimately Telarov left Lantto with a threat-heavy hand after multiple Thoughtseizes, then he answered Lantto's multiple Whisperwood Elementals via a Murderous Cut as well as a Thoughtseize returned off of a Den Protector. The play left Lantto with only a Genesis Hydra. Dragonlord Atarka from Telarov left Lantto with the Hydra as his only option.

Lantto was left with little in the way of options for the first game.

That Genesis Hydra only found Lantto a Courser of Kruphix, and Dragonlord Atarka crunched over a couple of times to move the match to Game 2.

The second game, however, had those Whisperwood Elementals entering the battlefield instead against Telarov's slow hand. While Telarov had a Hero's Downfall for the first, he had to fire off a Crux of Fate against the second, leaving Lantto with three manifests.

However, the manifests were relative blanks. While one turned up to reveal a Hornet Queen when Telarov blocked, Dragonlord Atarka made quick work of the rest. While Telarov was low on life, a Read the Bones elicited a smile from him, as he found, cast face-down, and unmorphed Den Protector. This allowed him to return the Crux of Fate against Lantto's Nissa, Worldwaker, leaving Telarov with a very hungry dragonlord and an opponent on the verge of defeat.

However, Xenagos, the Reveler left Lantto with a bit of gas. And when Telarov made a greedy attack at Lantto, leaving the Xenagos on the table, Lantto had enough mana on the next turn when he top-decked Den Protector to play it as a morph, turn it face-up, cast Nissa, Worldwaker, and use the green Planeswalker's ability to animate a land. This left Telarov having to chump-block the 4/4 trampling land with a Courser of Kruphix to stay alive.

Aleksa Telarov's choice of what to attack with Dragonlord Atarka was a decision that would come back to haunt him.

While Telarov had a second Dragonlord Atarka in hand, he did not have enough blockers, a Plummet off the top sent Telarov crashing back down into reality, with a limited amount of time left on his clock and a move into a third game that he may well have prevented with a different attack.

And sure enough, that attack would come back to haunt him. His hand in the third game was less than stellar, and when Lantto found a Xenagos, the Reveler waiting for him off the top on the third turn to go with his Elvish Mystic, Telarov had his back against the wall and with three minutes on the clock.

Whisperwood Elemental off the top kept the pressure up, and while Telarov had Crux of Fate, it still left Lantto with a manifest and the Xenagos. Attacks dropped Telarov to 5, and Nissa, Worldwaker left Telarov offering the handshake.

The final result: Magnus Lantto defeated Aleksa Telarov 2-1, advancing to the finals.

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