Semifinals: Utter-Leyton/Stark/Jůza vs. Carvalho/Saporito/Romão

Posted in Event Coverage on August 5, 2018

By Ray “blisterguy” Walkinshaw

As the Pro Tour Team Series nears its conclusion, Hareruya Latin already has a commanding lead thanks to their finish here this weekend, but if ChannelFireball can both win their semifinals against Hareruya Latin and the subsequent finals match, they will overtake Ultimate Guard Pro Team in the standings to face Hareruya Latin the Team Series Championship in Vegas, part of the 2018 World Championship next month.

On the Legacy table, Utter-Leyton got off to a textbook start with his Blue-Black Death's Shadow deck, pressuring Carvalho's Death and Taxes deck immediately. However, Carvalho had played an Æther Vial on the first turn and was able to use it sneak out his own creatures to keep up with Utter-Leyton and take advantage of the tendency of Death's Shadow decks to run their life total close to the wire. Carvalho put a Flickerwisp into play during Utter-Leyton's attack to not only fend off an 8/8 Death's Shadow, but also give him a weapons platform, as he equipped the Flickerwisp with a Sword of Fire and Ice and sent it into Utter-Leyton's face to take Game 1.

Carvalho wins Game 1 of the Pro Tour 25th Anniversary semifinals.

Over on the Standard table, Jůza was already up a game over Romão within the first minute and took Game 2 quickly after that on back of Hazoret the Fervent and Glorybringer.

Meanwhile in Modern, while Saporito's Humans deck is well suited to disrupt and pressure Stark's Ironworks Combo deck in Modern, it just didn't come together for Game 1, and Stark went through the motions to take the game.

Game 2 in Legacy played out very similarly to the first, but this time, Carvalho failed to have the Flickerwisp, and Utter-Layton's creatures finished off what they had started. Along the same lines, Saporito rattled off three quick wins against Stark to make up for losing Game 1 to be the first match finished in the semifinals.

As Romão and Jůza traded resources in Game 3, Jůza spent an Unlicensed Disintegration on a Rekindling Phoenix, and then played Chandra, Torch of Defiance and Abrade to take out the Elemental remains. Romão spied an opening and ignored the planeswalker, attacking Jůza from 12 to 3 with Cut // Ribbons in the graveyard, and Jůza scooped them up.

Romão takes Game 3 from Jůza in the semifinals, fighting back.

Game 4 went much better for Jůza, who coughed up more threats than Romão could handle. Romão had the Hour of Glory for a Glorybringer, but that allowed Jůza's Hazoret the Fervent to run rampant, ending the match in Jůza's favor 3-1.

Jůza evens up the team's score against Hareruya Latin.

Game 3 of Legacy got political, with Carvalho struggling under Utter-Leyton's Dread of Night, but also becoming the monarch with Palace Jailer and controlling the board with a Batterskull. Utter-Leyton fought back, eventually countering Batterskull with a Daze as Carvalho tried to replay it. With the Batterskull finally out of the way, Utter-Leyton took the throne and Carvalho could not recover.

Carvalho battled back in Game 4, again under the Dread of Night, and he managed to stay on top of his monarchy while also locking out Utter-Leyton's Liliana, the Last Hope with a Phyrexian Revoker. The extra cards he tithed from his lofty position on the throne was enough to out-value Utter-Leyton and send them to the final deciding game of the series.

Game 5 started well for Utter-Leyton, who naturally flipped his Delver of Secrets on turn two, before knocking a couple of lands out of Carvalho's hand with a Hymn to Tourach. Carvalho put up a heck of a fight, again becoming the Monarch to lock away a Gurmag Angler. This time, Utter-Leyton was able to continually deploy threats he could use to steal the throne, taking the match and sending ChannelFireball to the Pro Tour 25th Anniversary finals!

The ChannelFireball team of Josh Utter-Leyton, Ben Stark, and Martin Jůza defeated the Hareryua team of Márcio Carvalho, Thiago Saporito, and Carlos Romão 2-1 to advance to the finals of Pro Tour 25th Anniversary!

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