Semifinals: Adrian Sullivan vs. Jeremy Stowe
It was red-on-red in the finals, with Adrian’s more midrange build looking to go over the top of Jeremy. Adrian had a sideboard heavily skewed against aggro, but he’d still need to watch out for Hammer of Purphoros from Jeremy!
Adrian fell behind on the draw in the first game.
Jeremy’s land-heavy opener left him a bit at the mercy of the top of his deck, and there wasn’t even a Mutavault in sight, but he did decide to keep. Adrian did as well, and it was Mountain for Jeremy while Adrian got started with Mountain and unleashed Rakdos Cackler—headlong into Shock.
Burning-Tree Emissary but no other play was tough on Jeremy, while Adrian played Temple of Triumph and scryed, following with Firedrinker Satyr. Jeremy had another Shock on his own turn before casting Ash Zealot to get in 4 damage, leaving Adrian on 14 life as he untapped for turn 3. He was being forced into the expected controlling role with his larger midrange deck, and turn 3 Boros Reckoner landed—at the cost of 2 life for Sacred Foundry.
Jeremy had Fanatic of Mogis, but he drew Chandra’s Phoenix and happily cast the flying threat instead—it would take two removal spells to punish him for it. Adrian made no land on turn 4 and ended the turn, with Jeremy jamming the Fanatic before combat. Adrian Striked down the Phoenix in response, but still fell to just 5 life.
He played a fourth land and passed, and when Jeremy swung with everything he used Boros Reckoner on Ash Zealot to kill the Fanatic before damage, followed by a Lightning Strike on the Burning-Tree Emissary—Jeremy was out of creatures! “That was nice,” he said, ending the turn with Lightning Strike in his hand. If Adrian tapped out, he’d be able to present lethal in the end step by Striking the face and resurrecting his Chandra’s Phoenix.
Jeremy advances once more thanks to Hammer!
Jeremy 1, Adrian 0
Adrian kept, and Jeremy followed suit. Temple of Triumph began the game, with Adrian sending his card to the bottom. Jeremy made just Mountain on turn 1, but Adrian would’ve beaten any of his one-drops with turn 2 Frostburn Weird anyway. Ash Zealot from Jeremy couldn’t attack, and the game was favorably stalemated for Adrian.
He missed his third land but wasn’t in such a bad spot... until Jeremy played Hammer of Purphoros. His own Ash Zealot came down to reinforce the defense, but the Hammer was some seriously big business!
Jeremy demonstrated its power with Boros Reckoner on turn 4, leaving a red up for the first strike as he attacked. Any single block would kill one of Adrian’s creatures, but a double block would let him trade at the cost of two cards. Considering he needed lands to advance this board anyway, the trade was no doubt tempting—it would leave him at the mercy of the top of his deck, but he was already kind of there.
He did indeed make the trade, and Jeremy correctly ordered the blocks to take his two-for-one. Adrian failed to find a land, and Jeremy capitalized with Burning-Tree Emissary and a Golem activation, attacking for 7 damage but losing his Golem to Lightning Strike. Adrian found Frostburn Weird on top, but he still couldn’t make a very necessary third land. Lightnign Strike to the face left him on 13, and a little surprised.
“That’s bad news!”
The next Golem as blocked by the Weird, with Shock finishing the job as Adrian fell to 9 life. Chained to the Rocks slew the Golem, but still no third land for Adrian. Jeremy continued to slam the Hammer, Shock killing Burning-Tree Emissary when it attacked but 5 damage making it through—he conceded to another creature from Jeremy, unable to stop a lethal swing after drawing Mutavault.
Jeremy 2, Adrian 0