Semifinals: Evan Boritas vs. Scott Seligman
Scott had made “the gamble” this weekend and played Human Reanimator in the Standard Open, earning a Top 4 finish. His combo would be put to the test against Evan’s hyper-aggressive Experiment Jund list, pressuring him to combo or die around turn 5.
Turn 1 Blood Crypt tapped for Evan, while Scott began with the same land untapped and cast Faithless Looting to pitch Angel of Glory’s Rise and Temple Garden to the graveyard. Rootbound Crag for Evan, followed by Experiment One and a pass of the turn. Deceptively slow, but with Burning-Tree Emissary in the mix the Experiment could quickly get out of control.
Scott had his own Emissary, playing a fresh Faithless Looting afterward and pitching another land and another Angel—he hadn’t hit paydirt yet, but he’d get the time for at least one more Looting. Evan had the predicted Emissary on his turn, casting Flinthoof Boar and giving it haste with his freshest land to enable an attack for 6 damage.
Debating the merits of blocking now vs. trading with Emissary on the following turn, Scott went for a chump and fell to 15 life. After some contemplation, Scott took 2 to play Temple Garden untapped, drawing a curious look from Evan. It was possible he’d be able to muster lethal damage here, but it didn’t seem all that likely... he played a tapped land and knocked Scott to 5.
Grisly Salvage in the end step binned Unburial Rites, Avacyn’s Pilgrim, and Undercity Informer—not a win, but potentially enough to muck up the board. Scott flashbacked the Rites on Angel to put Emissary, Pilgrim, and Informer into play, but Abrupt Decay slew the Informer.
Scott was pretty vulnerable Ghor-Clan Rampager or Searing Spear + haste guy here, and when Evan began with Dreg Mangler it looked grim. An attack with all of his creatures left Flinthoof Boar unblocked while Emissaries traded and the Angel ate up the Experiment’s counters. Scott fell to 2, and drew in search of a second Unburial Rites to stave off this assault.
There wasn’t one on top of the deck, and they were off to game 2.
Evan 1, Scott 0
Evan's Experiments went well in today's tournament.
Turn 1 Sacred Foundry and Faithless Looting binned Angel of Glory’s Rise and Unburial Rites, basically the nuts, and sent the turn over to Evan. He had the much less impressive turn 1 Blood Crypt, go, and Scott took another shock on turn 2 for Cathedral Sanctifier and Avacyn’s Pilgrim, threatening all manner of plays next turn... but most likely just flashbacking Looting.
Burning-Tree Emissary into Flinthoof Boar gave Evan a board, but he couldn’t really attack. That left Scott to his own devices, which on turn 4 included just Huntmaster of the Fells to get to 21 and make a Wolf token. The Angel stayed home, indicating that Scott’s intent was to play defense and gum up the board while assembling a kill later, rather than racing.
Evan attacked with everyone on turn 4 after playing a fourth land untapped, and Scott began to block carefully. Abrupt Decay, Searing Spear, and Ghor-Clan Rampager all made any block difficult, and he decided to put Angel on Boar, Wolf on Emissary, and Sanctifier on the Experiment One. Rampager jumped up the Boar, killing Angel. Evan played Mogg Flunkies afterward, keeping Huntmaster’s flip at bay for the turn.
Scott didn’t have a black land in play, so there was no fear of a hardcast Unburial Rites unless he’d drawn that mana recently. Against Evan’s two cards, trying to flip Huntmaster seemed very dangerous indeed, and he went with Cathedral Sanctifier into Fiend Hunter, exiling Experiment One from the board. A tapped Overgrown Tomb followed, and Scott passed the turn.
The board looked stable, but Hellrider changed the math. Scott lost his Huntmaster in blocking to kill it and fell to 12, the Flunkies and Boar connecting for 6. Scott cast Faithless Looting and dug his way to a second Unburial Rites on his own turn, emptying his grip with another Pilgrim. He could’ve held the Unburial Rites here, pitching Pilgrim and losing access to the 1/1 blocker for a turn but also gaining two uses of Unburial Rites. With two other creatures already in play against Evan’s board, the choice was debatable, considering Evan’s access to haste creatures.
He had one that made it irrelevant—Falkenrath Aristocrat got in for 4 damage, but Scott happily threw all of his other creatures under the bus. Unburial Rites from the graveyard returned all of them to play, gaining him 8 life and a Fiend Hunter to exile Aristocrat. With eight creatures to Evan’s three, he suddenly had shifted to a dominant position.
Dreg Mangler didn’t change that, though it did evolve the reclaimed Experiment, and Evan attacked with everything and held up two mana. Scott put Wolf and Sanctifier onto the Flunkies and three 1/1s on Flinthoof Boar, deciding to take 5 damage. Evan played his trick before damage—Rakdos Charm to deal Scott 8 damage, knocking him down to 3 life and giving Evan some draw steps for the next turn.
The Charm had clearly been a turn late for Evan, but he still had a shot to win the game now. Scott passed without a spell, stuck on 3 and flipping Huntmaster into Ravager of the Fells to kill Experiment One and reduce Evan to just Dreg Mangler. He drew and missed, but Scott hit big on the next turn—Faithless Looting into Unburial Rites and Angel of Glory’s Rise.
Evan 1, Scott 1
The Human Reanimator deck has a number of infinite combos.
Scott admitted he hadn’t considered the burnout potential of Charm’s other mode—he’d been so focused on sneaking in an Angel! The decider began with keeps from both players, Evan opening on tapped Overgrown Tomb and missing a one-drop for the third time straight. Scott lacked Faithless Looting, playing Blood Crypt, and that was a relief to Evan.
Woodland Cemetery into Burning-Tree Emissary and Mogg Flunkies put Evan on the board in a big way for turn 2, while Scott had his own Emissary and Avacyn’s Pilgrim. Stomping Ground cost Evan 2 life but gave him Flinthoof Boar and haste on the next turn, getting through 6 damage as they traded Emissary for Emissary on the attack.
Scott played Sunpetal Grove tapped and Undercity Informer, but the 2/3 wasn’t looking great against 6 power on 14 life. Evan played his fourth land, a Forest which meant he couldn’t cast Hellrider this turn. He considered his options for some time before electing to attack for 6, and Scott immediately took the damage. Afterward, Evan passed.
Fiend Hunter with one mana up for Scott targeted Mogg Flunkies, but he decided not to sacrifice it with that trigger stacked in order to keep a blocker around. During the end step, Evan used Searing Spear on the Informer and Scott burned it for a mill, but hit just a single land. Untapping into Aristocrat, Evan threatened 7 damage to leave Scott on just 1 life if he didn’t kill the Fiend Hunter by blocking.
He did block, going to 4. With four lands and a Pilgrim in play and no life available in the graveyard, this was a tough spot. He could only make an Angel if he drew Faithless Looting right now, and when he didn’t he was forced to cast Unburial Rites on Fiend Hunter to exile the Aristocrat.
A second copy of the Vampire landed, and that was lethal.
Evan 2, Scott 1