Semifinals: Andrew Johnson vs. Nick Paulson
It was Andrew Johnson’s Jeskai Aggro and Nick Paulson’s Abzan Midrange in this semifinal, perhaps the iconic matchup of this Standard season. Who would earn a seat in the finals and a shot at a trophy finish?
Andrew Johnson had the first play of the game, a turn 3 Goblin+Rabblemaster, and it immediately began cranking out tokens. Nick made his land drops, but had only black/white dual lands, stranding the green cards in his hand. The Rabblemaster made a second token and Andrew rumbled in for 6 damage unchecked. Nick played Sorin%2C+Solemn+Visitor and made a 2/2 blocker, but Andrew quickly disposed of it with Lightning+Strike and kept on swinging, killing off the Planeswalker and dropping Nick to 9.
Nick checked his top card, shrugged, and scooped up his cards, down a game in less than 60 seconds.
Andrew Johnson 1, Nick Paulson 0
A turn 2 Fleecemane+Lion kicked off the aggression for Nick, and Andrew swiftly dispatched it with a Glare+of+Heresy. A second Fleecemane+Lion met Lightning+Strike, and Wingmate+Roc met Stoke+the+Flames. After this initial exchange of removal for threats, both players were content to make their land drops and pass back for a few turns, getting themselves established.
Nick broke the silence first, casting Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, but Andrew was ready with Negate. Andrew attempted establish a clock with a Mantis+Rider, but Nick’s Bile+Blight took care of the problematic insect. Nick’s next attempt to make some headway, Sorin%2C+Solemn+Visitor, was killed off with a Lightning+Strike, but it left a 2/2 Vampire in its wake, which got in for some damage. Andrew flashed in Hushwing+Gryff at Nick’s end step and cracked in for 2 right back, but passed again without further play.
Both players took turns attacking each other for 2, and Andrew used Jeskai+Charm to drop Nick to 11. Nick attempted Hero’s Downfall on the Hushwing+Gryff, which was countered with Negate, then untapped and used Drown+in+Sorrow to clear the board. Andrew promptly found Mantis+Rider and began the offensive once more. Nick drew and cast Deathdealer Rakshasa, but it was exiled with Banishing+Light. Nick fell to 8, then 5, then 2. He found a Fleecemane+Lion, but no answer to the Mantis+Rider, and extended the hand in defeat.
Andrew Johnson 2, Nick Paulson 0