Semifinals: Andrew Wilson vs. Jimmy Bishop
Jimmy" target="_new">Jimmy Bishop and Andrew Wilson were acquaintances thanks to their common local gaming store in Orlando—just like the other two semifinalists. Jimmy faced a repeat of his quarterfinals in the Top 4, facing Zombies with Ramp, although the lists were a little different.
Andrew won the die roll and mulliganed to six before keeping. He opened on Swamp and Gravecrawler, while Jimmy had Rootbound Crag tapped. The Zombie attacked for 2 damage, and Andrew played his second land and passed. Offering up a juicy target for Tragic Slip, Jimmy played Zenith for one to find Birds of Paradise. Andrew lacked the Slip; he cast Geth’s Verdict instead.
An attack from the Gravecrawler and a third Swamp… but no Messenger on Andrew’s turn. Jimmy played Copperline Gorge, happy to dodge the threat, and he cast Galvanic Blast on the Gravecrawler this time. Andrew played his fourth Swamp and passed, all out of threats with the 2/1 dead. Jimmy seemed more surprised than the opponent! He cast Solemn Simulacrum and ended the turn.
Drawing Darkslick Shores, Andrew put it into play and ended the turn. Solemn attacked for 2 damage, and Jimmy tripled that clock with Huntmaster of the Fells, going to 17 and putting Andrew in a very tight spot. He had a sixth land, and cast Phyrexian Metamorph as his own Huntmaster of the Fells—but that might leave him very vulnerable if Jimmy chose to just pass the turn.
Jimmy drew, played his sixth land, and attacked with just the Solemn Simulacrum. Andrew took 2 damage, and Jimmy ended the turn—during the end step, Andrew used Geth’s Verdict to keep the Huntmasters unflipped, reversing the disadvantage. Andrew didn’t want to risk Jimmy having an instant, so he continued expanding his board with Mortarpod and then Diregraf Ghoul, enabling him to use Gravecrawler and the Germ to kill Huntmaster, tapping out.
He then attacked with both his copied Huntmaster and the Wolf, Jimmy blocking. Whipflare on the next turn cleared the board, and Jimmy finished the job with Acidic Slime for Mortarpod—Andrew was on only lands, with no cards in his hand. He drew, and ended the turn. Jimmy swung 2 with the slime, following with another Huntmaster of the Fells.
Each player sat on 16 life, but Jimmy had a distinct advantage. Phantasmal Image copied Huntmaster, buying Andrew some time, but he didn’t have a spell to flip his guy this time. He chumped the Wolf with his Huntmaster copy, and wasn’t surprised when Jimmy passed the turn.
Flipping Huntmaster, Jimmy killed the remaining Wolf and ended the turn. Andrew drew and passed, falling to 10 life, and Jimmy cast Solemn Simulacrum and Sphere of the Suns to turn the Huntmaster back over. Andrew needed a big save…
Phyrexian Obliterator might be enough! “A card I didn’t want to see,” Jimmy admitted. “I wanted to see it,” Andrew replied. Jimmy drew, did some quick math, and then cast two Slagstorms—choosing players. That gave him more attackers than Andrew could hope to repel, and earned him the first win.
Jimmy 1, Andrew 0
Mulligans for all at the start of the second game, each player falling to six. Jimmy had to go to five once Andrew announced his keep on six. Swamp and no one-drop for Andrew, while Jimmy led Inkmoth Nexus. A timely Diregraf Ghoul for Andrew on turn 2, Jimmy playing Copperline Gorge and ending the turn.
Galvanic Blast dispatched the 2/2, but Geralf’s Messenger created a much sterner threat. “I figured there was some reason you kept the hand,” Jimmy laughed, sending Inkmoth Nexus into the red zone and playing his third land.
Andrew's list has plenty of Phyrexian Obliterators.
Andrew attacked to put Jimmy on 15 and played another Geralf’s Messenger, making it 13—that looked dangerous! Solemn Simulacrum wouldn’t be blocking much of the bleeding on the next turn, but it did block a little—Jimmy went to 8 life. Phyrexian Obliterator on the next turn made it elementary for the most part...
Jimmy 1, Andrew 1
Jimmy agonized briefly over his seven, but Andrew had an easy mulligan once Jimmy kept his hand. Inkmoth Nexus and pass for Jimmy, while Andrew dropped Darkslick Shores and Diregraf Ghoul. Forest into Rampant Growth gave Jimmy his first red source, ending the second turn on schedule.
Andrew’s six had another Darkslick Shores, and even a two-drop in Mortarpod. Jimmy appeared disappointed his third turn, choosing to Whipflare and then play Sphere of the Suns. A third Shores and Geralf’s Messenger left him on 15 life and facing a beater, but he was hitting Titan mana on the next turn—assuming he had a land.
Jimmy had the land, but cast Solemn Simulacrum. It was hard to tell if he lacked a six-drop or if he just wanted to play around Geth’s Verdict. He sued his remaining mana to send a poison at Andrew, and passed. Casting a new Mortarpod, Andrew asked Jimmy if his last two cards were any good. “They might be better if you’re asking,” he replied cryptically, and Andrew added Gravecrawler to the board. He probably couldn’t afford an attack now, as he’d lose everything to Slagstorm after Jimmy blocked—he passed.
Casting Thrun, the Last Troll, Jimmy passed with three mana up, including the Nexus. Andrew equipped Gravecrawler and shot Jimmy, recasting the Zobmie and equipping it again, tapping out. He passed without an attack again.
That wasn’t a fierce clock for Jimmy, but it was a clock. He cast Sphere of the Suns and searched for a line, eventually deciding to attack with Solemn Simulacrum in the hopes he could get a card—no dice. Andrew had a sixth land to turn Gravecrawler into a little machine gun, but he’d drawn something even better: Diregraf Captain. He sent Gravecrawler at Jimmy for 2 damage and recast it, equipping once again.
On 12 life, Jimmy peeled for help. He didn’t appear to find any, sitting on nine mana. Andrew repeated Gravecrawler and Mortarpod twice more, putting Jimmy to 8 life, and passed. Another nothing for Jimmy, and Andrew looked to shut the door with a second Geralf’s Messenger. That resolved, and his remaining Mortarpod activations turned each Messenger into four damage.
Jimmy 1, Andrew 2