Semifinals: Casey Hanford vs. Brian Edgar
Brian had the option and decided to take the play, and he led with Stomping Ground and Avacyn’s Pilgrim turn one, which can quickly power out any number of powerful three-drops. Casey shocked himself as well, using Tragic Slip to take down the Pilgrim before shenanigans could occur. Brian only had Cavern of Souls on Dragon (uh oh), while Casey dropped Doomed Traveler. Brian missed his third land drop, and Blood Artist joined Casey’s board before he attacked.
Sunpetal Grove off the top allowed Brian to cast Voice of Resurgence for defense, while Casey followed up with Cartel Aristocrat. Domri Rade came down for Brian, who used the Arena ability to throw his Voice and Casey’s Blood Artist into the pit. Once the painter died, Brian sacrificed his Traveler to make a Spirit. Brian attacked with his Spirit to kill his opponent’s planeswalker then created his own, after combat casting Sorin, Lord of Innistrad (in addition to Cavern naming Advisor) entered the battlefield.
Facing down the deadly Lord of Innistrad, Voice of Resurgence attacked and killed Sorin by getting +4/+4 and trample from Ghor-Clan Rampager, and the board was once more planeswalker-less. Voice attacked and dropped Casey to 18, and on Casey’s attack Brian had the solid play of Restoration Angel blinked the Voice. Certel Aristocrat gained protection from white to be able to drop Brian to 8, and after combat the daddy of all ghosts came down for the party: Obzedat, Ghost Council. Brian would have to make short work of Casey to keep up at this point!
Obzedat returned from exile on Casey’s upkeep to drop Brian to 4, and in response to Falkenrath Aristocrat Brian used Selesnya Charm to remove the 5/5 forever from the game. Instead, the Cartel Aristocrat gained pro-white, and the pair of Aristocrats entered the red zone. Restoration Angel blocked for a turn, but with no more blockers with flying the last four damage was elementary.
Casey 1, Brian 0.
In a deck with Thundermaw Hellkite, Restoration Angel, and many instant speed spells and tricks, it’s important to have ample mana. So too is it important for the Boros Reckoner/Obzedat/Falkenrath Aristocrat deck. Only one of these had the requisite lands in game one for their plan to go forward as planned, and the other stumbled. That stumble led directly to the loss for Brian, and Casey’s win in the first game.
Both players mulliganed, Casey going to six and Brian going to five, to begin game two. Rough.
“Can’t play Magic without lands.” At least not in Standard (I’m looking at you, Balustrade Spy!).
Brian had the first play of the game with turn two Avacyn’s Pilgrim (thanks to his comes-into-play-tapped manabase) while Casey had Doomed Traveler into Cartel Aris