Quarterfinals: Josh McClain vs. Christoffer Larssen
Christoffer Larssen had just joined Michael Bonde and Joel Larsson for a whirlwind tour of the United States, hitting a handful of Grand Prix and ending with the StarCityGames.com Invitational in Somerset. Josh McClain, of Iowa City, was no stranger to the Grand Prix scene himself and sought to notch a win for Junk Reanimator.
Josh battles back from some early aggression.
Josh had the play, an advantage he was thankful for considering the fast starts that Christoffer’s R/G Aggro deck was capable of creating. His starting seven merited a mulligan, but Christoffer quickly kept his seven after a cursory glance. Overgrown Tomb began the game for Josh, with Christoffer starting Stromkirk Noble.
Arbor Elf and Forest from Josh gave him some acceleration, but Christoffer put Madcap Skills onto Stromkirk Noble to create a quick clock. Grisly Salvage dug up Woodland Cemetery for Josh, followed by an attack for 1 damage from the Arbor Elf, with nothing relevant in his graveyard just yet.
Christoffer attacked for 5 damage, growing his Noble and adding Rakdos Cackler to the battlefield. Thragtusk bumped Josh back up to 16 life and gave him a blocker for Rakdos Cackler, but Hellrider made the Stromkirk Noble more dangerous and knocked Josh back down to 9. Thragtusk’s entry into the red zone represented Restoration Angel, and Josh cast one after combat to gain 5 life and make a 3/3, perhaps stymying Christoffer’s start and stabilizing this board position.
Entering the tank, Christoffer considered his options and eventually attacked, using Searing Spear to avoid losing his Noble to a double block. Josh had another Restoration Angel to blink Thragtusk, going to 18, but Christoffer’s second Hellrider bumped him back down to 16 and required a trade with the enchanted Stromkirk Noble—two Beast tokens died for the cause while the rest of Christoffer’s team stayed back. He had four creatures, and two of them were Hellriders, so it could get messy.
Josh drew and passed, Christoffer doing the same, but when Josh took 2 for his seventh land to cast Angel of Serenity, Christoffer immediately conceded.
Christoffer struggles to get through on the ground.
Josh 1, Christoffer 0
Stormkirk Noble beat in for a point of damage against Avacyn’s Pilgrim, and Burning-Tree Emissary plus Searing Spear took the mana accelerant down. Josh played Voice of Resurgence to defend, and Christoffer offered to trade Burning-Tree Emissary with the front side—Josh accepted, and Christoffer played Rakdos Cackler and another Noble.
Grisly Salvage lived up to its name on the next turn, binning Unburial Rites, Thragtusk, and Restoration Angel for Josh while he played a Deathrite Shaman. Christoffer sighed and sent in his 2/2 Noble and Cackler, losing the Vampire to the Elemental token and getting in 2 damage.
Fiend Hunter exiled the new Stromkirk Noble, and Christoffer was stuck now. “That draw is pretty hard to beat,” he admitted, and Josh hadn’t even burned his Unburial Rites yet. He did so on the following turn, going to 14 as Christoffer Skullcracked him for 3 damage to negate the life. Josh nodded as Boros Reckoner joined his opponent’s board, and it looked like there would be more of a fight here than he’d thought...
Casting Unburial Rites from his hand, Restoration Angel blinked Thragtusk to gain 5 life and make a 3/3 Beast, knocking Josh up to 19 as Christoffer drew and passed against the 3/4 Angel. An Abrupt Decay on Boros Reckoner earned another concession from Christoffer.
Josh 1, Christoffer 0