Semifinals: Andrew Schneider vs. Brian Braun-Duin
Brad Nelson’s Humanimator deck had made it to the elimination rounds in the hands of Brian Braun-Duin, but he faced a tight matchup against Mono Red in the semifinals. Andrew’s got a couple Legacy Open trophies to his name, and was hoping to add a Standard to the mantle on the back of Hellrider.
The red deck enjoyed the dangerous advantage of the play in this round, putting Brian under pressure very early. Stromkirk Noble started the attack, followed by Ash Zealot on turn 2 to leave Brian on 17 with just Godless Shrine in play. Cavern of Souls on Human enabled Cartel Aristocrat for Brian, and he declined to block any of the next attack.
Stonewright found a strong working relationship with a second Stromkirk Noble, ending the third turn with four creatures in play. Brian took down one by playing Stomping Grounds untapped to cast Fiend Hunter, and passing afterward. Andrew puzzled out the correct attack on the next turn, sending just Ash Zealot and his paired Noble.
Brian couldn’t block the latter but decided to put just his Fiend Hunter in front of the Zealot, taking 3 damage and falling to 8 life. He stayed there due to a shockland for Huntmaster on his own turn, but now he could effectively block all of Andrew’s options. With Faithless Looting in his hand, he even had a shot at hitting the full-blown infinite combo—all he needed was to peel Angel of Glory’s Rise and Unburial Rites in three draw steps.
Andrew found a third land and sent in Zealot alongside the Noble, earning a trade and putting Brian to 3 with his singleton Brimstone Volley. Thanks to Ash Zealot, Brian could no longer hit Rites for a full combo this turn. The Faithless Looting turned up only lands, and that meant Brian had to just hope he could Grisly Salvage into his one Cathedral Sanctifier this turn. He failed to find that, and Andrew showed him Boros Charm.
Andrew 1, Brian 0
A wild BBD appears!
Brian had one game on the play to even the score, and dodge a one-drop on turn 1 from Andrew after laying Woodland Cemetery. He followed with Cavern of Souls for Human and Farseek for Sacred Foundry, while Andrew made up for lost time with Ash Zealot. Huntmaster of the Fells put Brian back to 20, and he passed.
Pillar of Flame took care of Huntmaster and Brian dropped back to 18, as Andrew failed to make a creature with his two remaining mana. Grisly Salvage for Brian grabbed Cathedral Sanctifier, and he cast the little guy... straight into Andrew’s Skullcrack! Brian went to 15, and added Cartel Aristocrat to the board.
Andrew was potentially stymied now, but Hellrider put Brian to 13 and offered Brian his choice of double-blocks. He put them both onto Hellrider, and lost the Wolf token while Sanctifier chumped Ash Zealot. Casting Faithless Looting, Brian whiffed and just added Fiend Hunter to the board, declining to remove it forever with a sacrifice to Cartel Aristocrat.
Out of gas, Andrew added Stromkirk Noble to the board along with a fifth land. Brian flashbacked Faithless Looting to find Unburial Rites waiting, but he still didn’t have an Angel. Agonizing over the choice, he wound up pitching two lands and keeping Unburial Rites plus Faithless Looting. Noble dropped him to 12 life, and he drew Angel of Glory’s Rise.
Once he discarded the Angel and Rites and declared his intent to flashback it, Andrew conceded.
Andrew 1, Brian 1
Andrew hopes to make quick work of Game 3
A mulligan from Andrew while Brian snapped his opening seven, as it featured Unburial Rites and Faithless Looing alongside Cartel Aristocrat and lands. “I’ll take what I can get,” Brian said. “It’s like my fourth mulligan of the tournament,” Andrew admitted. “I’m running pretty good.” Sacred Foundry and no one-drop from Andrew convinced Brian to shock himself for Faithless Looting, pitching Angel of Glory’s Rise and Unburial Rites.
Ash Zealot turned up the pressure, and Brian decided to just cast Cathedral Sanctifier due to fear of Pillar of Flame on Cartel Aristocrat. He blocked Ash Zealot with the Sanctifier then nodded as Andrew played Stromkirk Noble. On his own turn, Brian took 3 damage to flashback Faithless Looting and discard Aristocrat plus Fiend Hunter, representing infinite life.
Andrew swung for 3 damage, putting Brian to 13 life, and passed the turn with two mana up. The flashback alone would put Brian to 10 life, except that in the confusion of waiting for the camera to catch up Andrew missed his trigger on the Zealot. Brian went to 16 for Sanctifier, but lost his Fiend Hunter to Searing Spear and couldn’t go infinite. Cathedral Sanctifier went to the graveyard in response to Pillar of Flame from Andrew, but he couldn’t attack into the 4/6 blocker.
Andrew 1, Brian 2