Semifinals: Alex Mitchell vs. Owen Turtenwald
Bant Hexproof could be scary, but Owen’s teammate Reid Duke believed Owen was the favorite in the matchup with their new and improved Jund list. If he could dodge turn 2 Geist of Saint Traft, Owen could take the game long enough to let Thragtusk do all the work.
Owen put his seeding to good use in game 1.
Having successfully earned the play in every single elimination round during the Swiss, Owen led Overgrown Tomb while Alex began with Temple Garden. Rootbound Crag and Farseek jumped Owen a turn ahead, while Alex spent turn 2 casting a threat in Fencing Ace, holding onto an Invisible Stalker.
Owen’s Cavern named Vampire and he tapped out for Olivia on turn 3. That was Alex’s cue to start buffing, and he played his own Cavern before casting Invisible Stalker and putting Ethereal Armor onto Fencing Ace. Owen declined to block, falling to 16 life. He zapped Fencing Ace twice and attacked for 5, leaving Alex on 13 as Owen added his fifth land to the board tapped.
Alex went to 11 for a shockland and cast Spectral Flight, attacking Owen to 13 and holding up Simic Charm, hoping to swing Olivia’s clock around. Owen shrugged, swung, and put Alex to 6 before tapping out for Thragtusk. Alex cast Simic Charm in the end step to bounce Olivia, and untapped with Owen on 18 life. Unflinching Courage created a huge swing on the next turn, brining Alex up to 11 and Owen closer to the very mortal 13.
Cycling Ground Seal, Owen attacked Alex back to 6 and then passed with three lands up. Abrupt Decay predictable destroyed Unflinching Courage after an Ethereal Armor buffed up the Stalker, and Owen fell to a safe 8 life. Tragic Slip took out Alex’s follow-up Pilgrim, and with just one card in his hand Alex probably couldn’t threaten lethal next turn—he’d need two buffs, and the fact that he’d cast a Pilgrim last turn indicated he lacked even on.
Huntmaster of the Fells put Owen further out of reach, and Alex couldn’t make up the difference on his next turn.
Alex took down game 2 on the back of an invincible Geist.
Owen 1, Alex 0
Turn 1 shocklands all around, with Alex lacking a two-drop on the second turn while Owen was missing Farseek himself. Nevermore from Alex named Liliana of the Veil, a preemptive protective measure for Geist of Saint Traft. Owen tapped out for Vampire Nighthawk, and the Spirit Cleric resolved on the next turn.
Attacking to go to 22, Owen followed with Cavern of Souls for Vampire but cast Huntmaster of the Fells to continue building a defense. Ethereal Armor, Spectral Flight, and Rancor created a 10-power Geist that attacked for 14 with his angelic friend. Owen took the damage, dropping to 10, and untapped.
Alex feared Abrupt Decay into Liliana, but Owen lacked that particular combination. He attacked for 4 damage and passed, flipping Huntmaster to leave Alex on 12 life. He had to hope Alex lacked another enchantment, giving him the ability to block with Nighthawk, survive first strike, and then Tragic Slip the Angel token—but Spectral Flight gave Alex three more damage, making the Geist a 13-power threat that could not be stopped.
Owen 1, Alex 1
A quick keep from Owen in game 3 before Alex mulliganed to six cards. Turn 1 Avacyn’s Pilgrim provided an intimidating start from Alex, while Owen tapped out to Farseek in reply. Voice of Resurgence and another Avacyn’s Pilgrim accelerated Alex as well, and Owen missed the turn 2 miracle Bonfire to clear that board out.
He didn’t seem to have a hardcast one either, and spent his turn on Farseek once more while playing a land. Alex was heavy on creatures and light on buffs, with just a Spectral Flight available. He decided to attack for 4 damage and pass, assuming Owen would sweep these guys out soon and that the Invisible Stalker he was slowrolling could handle the follow-up.
Owen cast Thragtusk on turn 4, forcing Alex to adapt his game. Spectral Flight on Voice put Owen to 17, but with no other plays he had to feel pretty safe from this clock—Thragtusk had a tendency to make people feel safe. Alex chumped with a Pilgrim, and Owen added Olivia Voldaren to the board to kill the other one, creating a 4/4 flier.
That Vampire could trade with Voice on defense if it wanted to, but Alex decided not to offer that exchange. He cast Geist of Saint Traft and passed the turn, giving Owen an opportunity to continue growing Olivia. Pillar of Flame and a pair of activations exiled the Elemental, and Owen attacked for 11 damage to leave Alex at 7—dead to Olivia in the air.
Alex swung with Geist for 6 more, but Owen demonstrated he knew he could zap his own creatures with Olivia and locked up the win by growing her to 7 power.
Owen 2, Alex 1