Semifinals: Adam Ruprecht vs. Greg Mitchell
After a marathon quarterfinal, Adam Ruprecht and his innovative Thopter Blade deck faced a new challenger: Greg Mitchell’s BUG Delver.
Greg cracks a smile while shuffling up for the semifinal match.
Both players kept seven, and Greg kicked off the action with a turn one Thoughtseize, revealing Thoper Foundry, Terminus, Force of Will, two Brainstorms, and two Scalding Tarns. Greg opted to remove the Terminus. After Adam played his land and passed, Greg wasted no time applying the pressure, dropping both Deathrite Shaman and Delver of Secrets into play on turn two. Adam held his Force, allowing both to resolve. At Greg’s end step, Adam cracked his fetchland for an island and cast Brainstorm.
Adam found a play on turn 2 in the form of Counterbalance, but Greg didn’t have to wait long before finding an answer; on his very next upkeep, the Delver of Secrets flipped, revealing an uncounterable Abrupt Decay. He attacked with the Aberration, sending Adam to 15, and passed with all of his mana open.
Adam played a Flooded Strand, fetched up a Plains with it, and cast Stoneforge Mystic. It resolved, and retrieved Batterskull. Greg declined to use Abrupt Decay, but did shoot Adam for two with Deathrite Shaman. He untapped, and attacked with Insectile Aberration again, knocking Adam to 9. Greg passed, and Adam used his untapped island to cast another EOT Brainstorm.
Adam had only a Sensei’s Divining Top on his next turn, and passed with mana up to activate Stoneforge Mystic. He again took two from the Deathrite, and Greg again was content to fly in for 3 damage. He passed back to Adam, who sat at 4 life. Adam activated Stoneforge and gained a Batterskull and Germ.
When Adam attacked with the Germ on his own turn, Greg used his Abrupt Decay on the Germ to keep Adam from gaining life. Post-combat, Adam cast the deck’s namesake combo, first landing Thopter Foundry and then Sword of the Meek. Both resolved, and he made one Thopter before passing the turn. After Greg’s EOT Deathrite activation, Adam sat at 3 life.
Greg knew he needed to find a way to punch through this turn, or else the neverending Thopters would carry the game out of reach. He Pondered looking for a solution and found it—Abrupt Decay on the one Thopter token. With the air cleared of blockers, Insectile Aberration came in for the win.
Adam goes into the tank.
Greg Mitchell 1, Adam Ruprecht 0
Adam was on the play for game 2, and began the game with a fetched Plains into Sensei’s Divining Top. Greg had a turn 1 play as well, fetching an Underground Sea and casting Deathrite Shaman. Adam spun the Top on his upkeep, finding Volcanic Island. He played it and passed.
Adam: “Fine, you can have that one.”
Greg played a land and passed after the Ponder resolved, and Adam took the opportunity to develop his board. He cast Stoneforge Mystic to find a Batterskull, passing back. Greg fired back on his own turn with two Hymns to Tourach, pilfering Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Stoneforge Mystic, Sensei’s Divining Top, and the Batterskull, and leaving Adam with only a single card in hand. Adam, out of gas, could only spin the Top and pass right back.
Greg decided he wanted in on this “look at the top three” game, and cast a Sylvan Library, passing with Deathrite mana up. Adam found a Swords to Plowshares to remove the Deathrite Shaman, but took 2 from its activation, falling to 16. He took the opportunity to get in a hit with Stoneforge Mystic, and Greg fell to 17. Greg used his Library to find another Deathrite Shaman, and Adam used his Top to find another Swords to Plowshares.
Greg’s next turn was a doozy. He first used two Wastelands to dispose of Volcanic Island and Tundra, leaving Adam with only two lands in play. He cast Brainstorm, then used his last two mana to cast a 6/7 Tarmogoyf. Adam drew a Scalding Tarn and passed.
When Greg attacked with the Goyf, Adam tapped his island to use Sensei’s Divining Top. Greg responded with an Abrupt Decay targeting the top. Adam spun again, then tapped it in response to put it on top. He threw Stoneforge Mystic under the bus to avoid taking six damage. On his own turn, he cast Engineered Explosives for two. He took one hit, falling to 9, and Greg Abrupt Decayed the Engineered Explosives. Adam wasn’t out of answers, however, and cast Detention Sphere on the Tarmogoyf.
Greg appeared to have no play, passing right back, and Adam cast Thopter Foundry. At his end step, Greg Abrupt Decayed the Detention Sphere, returning Tarmogoyf to play. With Detention Sphere now in the graveyard, Tarmogoyf was an enormous 7/8. Both players had a laugh trying to figure out how to represent this using the Feature Match’s “Goyf Dice,” which only go up as far as 6/7.
Once that was settled, Greg eagerly swung in, knocking Adam to 2 life. He passed the turn, and Adam had only a Sensei’s Divining Top. Greg’s end step Vendilion Clique revealed Adam’s last card was Terminus. Adam was still several lands away from being able to cast it, so Greg didn’t mind letting him keep it. When he attacked the next turn. Adam used some stack trickery to draw a card from Sensei’s Divining Top and convert it into a Thopter token, buying himself a turn. He wasn’t so fortunate the next turn, when he flashed in his own Vendilion Clique to block, and his blocker was countered with Force of Will. The Tarmogoyf crashed in, and Adam extended the hand.
Greg Mitchell 2, Adam Ruprecht 0