Semifinals: Barrett Kroeger vs. Alex Etsel
A Delver mirror match in the semifianls would guarantee one Delver deck made it into the finals. The Zombie mirror next door would likewise guarantee a Zombie player. Which Delver pilot would earn the chance to play for the trophy?
Barrett's hoping his Geists will give him the edge against Blade Splicer.
Each player mulliganed to six. Alex’s Gitaxian Probe revealed Delver of Secrets, two Ponders, alongside Glacial Fortress, Plains, Moorland Haunt. He added his own Delver, and passed the turn. Drawing a second Delver, Barrett played Glacial Fortress—he would be slower to the board. Alex attacked, then used Snapcaster Mage to flashback his Probe on turn 2.
Barrett Pondered, and he found Seachrome Coast and two Restoration Angels on top of the deck. Tanking, he decided to shuffle—a greedy Ponder followed by a pretty aggressive shuffle. His hand was very rough without a second blue, as he could only cast one spell a turn and couldn’t use his Snapcaster Mage. He was likely hoping to hit an answer to Delver.
He peeled Probe off Ponder, and spotted Mana Leak, Gut Shot, Seachrome Coast in Alex’s hand. Playing another Glacial Fortress, he passed the turn. Alex swung for 3 damage with Moorland Haunt in back and Mana Leak protecting his position. If his Delver flipped quickly, Barrett
would be in trouble.
He Pondered, cast Delver, and passed the turn. Alex awkwardly made the traditionally correct play of waiting until his own turn to Gut Shot, but Barrett punished that with the Mutagenic Growth he’d drawn. Alex Mana Leaked, and attacked for 5 damage—his Delver had flipped. Thought Scour on himself from Barrett during the upkeep, indicating he’d kept two lands and the Growth in order to try and create a board.
Moorland Haunt and another Delver for Barrett, but it might be too little. He fell to 4 life after blocking Snapcaster Mage with his Delver, and Alex passed with all his mana untapped. Drawing Vapor Snag, Barrett become a little more comfortable with his position—he wasn’t just dead to a Mana Leak anymore, since Restoration Angel had become “the game plan.”
After Alex made a Spirit token, Barrett Snagged the Aberration threatening to kill him. When the Spirit attacked, Barrett tried to make a Spirit of his own—but Vapor Snag reduced him to 2 life, and the Delver rejoined the board.
Barrett Pondered for help and found a taunting Gut Shot on top of his Library, along with Snapcaster Mage. He’d be dead if the Delver flipped and he didn’t Snag, but he did already have a Snapcaster Mage—this one might not be so necessary. He decided to keep it, drawing Island first. He made a Spirit when Alex attacked, choosing not to try Snap and Snag to trade the board and stay on 2 life. Playing around Haunt by blocking the Spirit, he fell to 1 and another Delver landed for Alex—he was still representing lethal.
Alex sent everyone in after failing to flip, and Barrett cast Snapcaster Mage for Vapor Snag. Alex Mana Leaked the Snapcaster, but Barrett had a second Snapcaster Mage to let him stay alive. Alex would have two attackers again on the next turn, however, with Moorland Haunt active once more.
Barrett knew he was drawing a Gut Shot, and when his hardcast Gitaxian Probe didn’t turn up any help, he died.
Alex 1, Barrett 0
Alex leaned on Moorland Haunt all match long.
As they sideboarded, Alex revealed he’d kept a no-lander on six with Probe to help out; he’d spent the rest of the game peeling lands while Barrett choked on blue mana!
Island and Delver of Secrets for Barrett, while turn 1 Thought Scour for Alex off Seachrome Coast milled a Delver and a Snag. Barrett deployed a second Delver after missing his flip and attacking, but his second land did not give him Ponder. No plays from Alex, and Barrett sent both Delvers in when he failed to hit a flip. That allowed Alex to try and trade with Snapcaster Mage... but Mutagenic Growth shut him down!
Adding Geist of Saint Traft to the board, Barrett was now in a dominating position. He had two Vapor Snags left in his hand, and Alex went Pondering help. Gut Shot and Phantasmal Image—that’ll do nicely! Barrett swung 1 damage once more and passed, while Alex had just a fourth land with Moorland Haunt online.
That was a fine time for Barrett’s Delver to flip, and it did so while revealing Ponder. He cast the Ponder and shuffled away some bad ones. Paying 2 life for Gitaxian Probe, Barrett spotted two Vapor Snags and Restoration Angel—quite the defense from Alex! He Snagged the Abberation when it attacked, and Barrett recast it.
Trading Gut Shots, Barrett lost a Delver as Alex lost his Spirit. Barrett at 12 and Alex at 11, Alex appeared to have seized the advantage. He dropped Restoration Angel on an empty board, and Barrett went for Snapcaster Mage on Gitaxian Probe, going to 10 life.
When Alex attacked, Vapor Snag bounced the Angel—Alex immediately recast it while Barrett couldn’t Mana Leak, but Barrett didn’t have one of those anyway. He did have Vapor Snag via Snapcaster Mage to start attacking for some damage, but he chose to Ponder and find Talrand alongside a Ponder on top, with a land. He kept, drawing Ponder and Snagging the Angel to get in 2 damage. Now, he was out of Snaps and Snags, unless he used Phantasmal Image to flicker or copy a Snapcaster Mage.
Alex played Restoration Angel once again, and Barrett cast Image to copy Snapcaster Mage, keeping one free of summoning sickness. He swung Alex down to 2 life, and Alex Vapor Snagged the Imaged Snapcaster while Barrett debated the merits of casting Ponder when he knew the top card of his deck was a fifth land with Talrand already in his hand.
He kept two lands and Dismember on top, getting paid dividends. Alex dropped Blade Splicer and passed with Moorland Haunt available, threatening to stop his opponent cold. Talrand looked to break up the standstill, but would Barrett burn his Dismember on Golem token here to trade with Blade Splicer and a Spirit? He knew he was drawing land next turn, so that didn’t seem right.
Barrett ended the turn, and Alex made a Spirit token. He drew and cast Ponder, and now might even be ahead! Talrand was the only way Barrett would get through, and he only had one spell for the next turn cycle. Alex played a sixth land and attacked with his Golem—Barrett blocked, recognizing that his Snaps had become useless and he needed the life for Dismember.
Trying Restoration Angel during the end step, Barrett revealed he had Dismember for the Angel and fell to 6 life during his end step. Alex sent both Golems into combat, forcing at least one block, and Barrett decided to chump with just Snapcaster once again.
Any spell was pretty good here, but Barrett drew Moorland Haunt. That left him in bad shape on the next turn if Alex jammed all his creatures in, which seemed a bit likely at this point—Barrett hadn’t had a spell last turn and Alex knew it, as four mana meant he could cast anything. When Barrett played Moorland Haunt, Alex attacked with his two Golems and the Blade Splicer, leaving back two Spirits. Conservative, to be sure.
Barrett’s blocks left him with Talrand and nothing—when he drew yet another land he was dead to the board, as Alex could now activate his second Moorland Haunt. Alex continued to play very carefully, just sending in the two Golems and leaving four Spirits on defense with Barrett on 3 life.
Losing his board to stay alive, Barrett drew Phantasmal Image. That copied a Spirit, and he passed the turn—Snapcaster Mage slew the Image, and Alex swung for lethal.
Alex 2, Barrett 0