Geist vs. â€˜Tusk: Semifinals, Alex Park (UWR Midrange) vs. Gregory Stiver (Jund)
“I feel like you have an inherently good matchup against me. Why only two Pillar?”
“It’s only good versus Zombies. You aren’t Zombies, right?”
Gregory had already defeated U/W/R Midrange last night in the first round of the top 8, so that was a likely scenario. But Alex was the player with the higher seed in the swiss (sixth seed to seventh) and he inaugurated the opening game of the top 4 with a mulligan. The first spell cast was on Gregory’s turn two, when he cast Farseek to find Blood+Crypt. Alex played a Hallowed+Fountain untapped to play President William Howard Traft, and the 2/2 legendary Spirit resolved. Gregory had a legend of his own in Olivia+Voldaren, but Searing+Spear burned it alive and the Geist swung in. Gregory untapped and cast Thragglepuss, going back to 19 life.
Geist+of+Saint+Traft was blocked by Thragtusk, and Pillar+of+Flame took it out permanently. Another Ghostly Saint came into play for Alex before he passed. Gregory overloaded Mizzium+Mortars and attacked Alex to 15. Searing+Spear took out the Beast token, but Gregory resolved Underworld+Connections. With the Phyrexian Arena-like Aura threatening to take over via card advantage, Alex needed to step on the gas. It looks like he ran out though, as he just had draw go.
Gregory is ready to Thrag his opponent!
Gregory added Olivia and Rakdos Keyrune to his board on the next turn, and unable to counter either (even after digging with Azorius+Charm) Alex cast Snapcaster+Mage to lob another Spear at one of Gregory’s guys, this time the other Olivia. Gregory had Rakdos’s Return for 3, and Alex discarded his remaining cards… but topdecked Thundermaw+Hellkite to take Gregory to 5 on attacked (with Tiago Chan also getting in on the turned sideways action). Underworld+Connections kept on drawing cards, and Dreadbore took care of the M13 Dragon while yet another Olivia took out Snapcaster+Mage.
“Anything but another Hellkite. Don’t do it to me!”
He didn’t do it to him.
Gregory untapped with Olivia+Voldaren active and seven mana available, but elected to Rakdos’s Return for 4 instead, which met its end at the hands of Dissipate. He then activated Keyrune, swung, and dealt the final damage with one of his two maindeck Pillar+of+Flame.
Gregory 1, Alex 0.
Gregory Probed Alex for an answer as to why he was running Dungeon+Geists out of the board, and Alex said they were mostly for Reanimator… though he clarified, saying, “but I haven’t played against an Angel+of+Serenity all weekend.” For as good as Junk Reanimator and Frites had been doing the last few weeks, there wasn’t any love for Unburial+Rites in this top 8.
Alex once again had the play and got to start with seven cards this time. Players played shock lands and ‘buddy lands’ before Alex cast…
“…the best card in my deck.”
Gregory had no play, and Geist+of+Saint+Traft rumbled into Alex’s life total.
“Fail to resolve Huntmaster?”
Alex has been a member of the church of Traft all weekend!
After Dissipate, Geist once again swung. Alex played an untapped Steam+Vents, his fifth land, before passing. Gregory attempted another Huntmaster, and Alex cast Azorius+Charm. The werewolf resolved and Gregory went up to 10. Geist swung anyway, and both of Gregory’s creatures blocked. The mythics died, and Alex cast another Geist+of+Saint+Traft post-combat. Gregory got a Thragtusk to stick on his turn and even drew some blood with his 2/2 Wolf token, setting life at 11 to 16 in favor of the U/W/R pilot.
The (Geist of) Saints went marching in again, and it got blocked by Thragtusk. He had Restoration+Angel to save it, but Gregory untapped and cast a Mizzium+Mortars for its Overload cost. Even though Alex was now at single digits, Gregory was even lower so a pair of Searing+Spear hit Gregory’s face and they went to game 3.
“Why couldn’t I have drawn basic Forest? I might’ve won that game!”
Gregory had the play for the first time in the match, and the Sombrero’d one led with a mulligan… and then another. Gregory found the hand he was looking for, and with his five he led with a few lands drops, as did Alex. The first relevant play of the game was everyone’s favorite legendary Spirit Cleric, Geist+of+Saint+Traft. Gregory failed to draw a fourth land for a turn, but on the next turn (after an attack) he resolved Huntmaster+of+the+Fells. Searing+Spear on end step took out the werewolf and Dungeon+Geists joined the other Geistly guy in play and tapped the Wolf.
Gregory untapped, played a fifth land, and dropped Thragtusk to try to stay in the game and go to 13. Thragtusk blocked Geist+of+Saint+Traft, which died (or re-died… how does a Geist die exactly?) but was quickly replaced by another after attackers step. Dreadbore took out the Dungeon+Geists before Gregory passed.
“Dreadbore, why can’t you kill Geist+of+Saint+Traft?”
Alex 2, Gregory 1