Semifinals: Adam Johnson vs. Mark Kelso
Junk Reanimator and R/G Aggro used to rule the roost in Standard. Can either of these archetypes return to their former glory?
Mark, as the number two overall seed, had the play and began with Forest, and Adam, the more aggressive of the two decks, began with Stromkirk Noble. Mark had only another land for turn two, while Adam (after attacking for one) played Burning-Tree Emissary and Flinthoof Boar. A Grisly Salvage at end of turn found Sunpetal Grove, and Farseek further fixed Mark’s mana before passing back. Adam’s turn three consisted of shocking himself with Stomping Ground and Flinthoof Boar. This Boar gained haste, and Mark fell to 9.
Mark is hoping his matches get Grisly!
Mark once more cast Grisly Salvage to dig for answers to the very aggressive start by Adam, combining the Noble’s quick-growing power with a pseudo- Frogmite in Burning-Tree Emissary, a pseudo- Watchwolf in Boar numero uno, and a pseudo- Boggart Ram-Gang in the form of Fire Pig number two. Finding none, Mark scooped up his cards.
Adam 1, Mark 0.
Mark once more on the play. After both players mulliganed their openers, Mark led with Avacyn’s Pilgrim off Overgrown Tomb. Adam once more had Stromkirk Noble for his starting one-drop. Stromkirk Noble swung in for two on Adam’s next turn and became a 2/2, and was joined by Flinthoof Boar. Grisly Salvage dug up some mana, and then Fiend Hunter took down a fiend in the form of the Boar. Stromkirk Noble continued its march, and after playing land number three Adam dropped Boros Reckoner.
Mark only played a fourth land before passing, and Adam continued his attack. Restoration Angel came down and blinked and traded Flinthoof Boar for Boros Reckoner. Then upon blockers, Ghor-Clan Rampager trampled over the Angel to drop Mark to 12 and make the Noble a permanent 4/4.
Voice of Resurgence came down to play some defense for Mark, but Adam still had gas in the tank. In came both attackers, and after Voice blocked Noble another Ghor-Clan Rampager threatened near lethal… except Abrupt Decay took care of that problem. And when Blood Baron of Vizkopa came into play, things were looking up for Mr. Reanimator.
Adam's hoping to be king of the Mountain!
Blood Baron posed a big problem for Adam, as the Batterskull -like ability threatened to put the game out of reach in a hurry. Adam apologized for the lengthy decision tree that followed.
“This is really hard.”
Adam’s hand of Skullcrack, Pillar of Flame, and Boros Reckoner had many options, and he eventually went with the Minotaur Wizard. This left one mana available, with Adam at 17 and Mark at 9. Blood Baron of Vizkopa entered the red zone, and Boros Reckoner jumped at the chance to make a trade… but protection from white wasn’t going to allow that to happen. Now 13 apiece, the big mythic Vampire was threatening to put this game away. Even Pillar of Flame on Voice of Resurgence wasn’t enough, and after Avacyn’s Pilgrim chump blocked Flinthoof Boar and Boros Reckoner dealt three, Sever the Bloodline exiled Boros Reckoner before it could cause any more problems. It looked like Mark was on his way to…
Adam 2, Mark 0.