Semifinals: Jonathan Anghelescu vs. Niels Noorlander

Posted in 2015 MAGIC ONLINE CHAMPIONSHIP on May 15, 2016

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.

Jonathan Anghelescu had torn through the first two days of the tournament, taking first seed and the right to choose who plays and draws—as well as the first format played—in his best-of-three matches semifinals against Niels Noorlander.

However, Noorlander is no slouch in Standard or Modern, and while he is far from favored in their Legacy matchup—the expected format for Anghelescu to choose given his over 3,000 lifetime matches in Legacy and his favorable matchup—he stands a solid shot in the other two potential matches.

At little surprise, as they get started, Anghelescu chose Legacy, pitting his very favorable Omni-Tell deck against Noorlander's Sneak and Show deck. While both are looking to cast Show and Tell to put a giant threat into play, Anghelescu has the advantage, since Omniscience gives Anghelescu the ability to kill on the turn he casts Show and Tell. Noorlander is not in the same spot, as his own Show and Tells could backfire against him.

Legacy

The first game went about as expected: Anghelescu leveraged his ability to cast an unimpeded Show and Tell and capitalized on it immediately (though a freshly draw Cunning Wish during that turn sealed the deal for him on going for it, as it ensured he could win the game on the spot). It was a risky play that paid off in Angehelescu's favor.

The second game went to Noorlander, who sideboarded out all of his Show and Tells to instead lean on Through the Breach and Sneak Attack. The former let him put Griselbrand into play when Anghelescu had no counter, and an attack for 7 followed up with fourteen freshly drawn cards ensured that Noorlander had counterspells to stop Angehelescu's Show and Tell along with a fresh way to drop an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn he had drawn in those fourteen.


Jonathan Anghelescu

In the third game, Anghelescu had an opportunity to cast a turn two Show and Tell with Force of Will backup, but ultimately, decided to play the game a bit more conservatively compared to the first game. That decision would come back to haunt him, as Noorlander was able to dramatically improve his hand through Brainstorms.

Through the Breach proved to be critical in the game, as its instant speed status let him pick a fight with Anghelescu's countermagic at the end of his turn. Once he got one Force of Will out of Anghelescu's hand, Noorlander was able to cast, win a counter battle, and resolve a second Through the Breach on the next turn, allowing him to put Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play to attack, leaving Anghelescu without any permanents. Once Noorlander found a necessary threat to go with his in-hand Sneak Attack, the match was over.

With Noorlander up a match, he was able to select one of his better formats and have a huge edge going into the remainder of his semifinals. His choice?

Standard

While Anghelescu was able to be on the play, Standard was perhaps his shakiest matchup, as Noorlander crushed through the Standard portion of this tournament contrary to his opponent.

While Noorland won a fast first game, the second game showcased the risks of a pain land mana base, as Noorlander's incidental damage just to cast his spells left him vulnerable to a series of spells from Anghelescu, bringing this match to a third game, where Noorlander fought through three Radiant Flames before stabilizing with an Eldrazi Displacer.


Niels Noorlander

When nothing was coming from Anghelescu that could take out the Displacer, Noorlander pressed his advantage. A Reflector Mage ensured he would continue to have the board advantage if Anghelescu could not find a Chandra, Flamecaller or a final Radiant Flames. He didn't, and with a few more attack steps, Noorlander took the game, the match, and the semifinals.

Niels Noorlander defeats Jonathan Anghelescu 2-0 in matches and advances to the final match!