Semifinals: Chi Hoi Yim vs. Logan Rodgers
Chi Hoi had piloted Shardless BUG to the top of the Swiss as Round 9 began, but a draw in that round had allowed Logan to get ahead of him in seed. Logan’s tempo deck would have the lead, giving him a bit of an edge.
Chi Hoi takes the first game apart, piece by piece.
Tundra and Delver of Secrets gave Logan a strong start, while Chi Hoi fetched Tropical Island and suspended Ancestral Vision. Revealing Stifle to Delver, Logan flipped into Insectile Aberration and cast Ponder. The top three cards were tough, with Logan’s fetchland making it awkward to decide which one he would keep.
Taking Brainstorm, he fetched Volcanic Island and played another Delver of Secrets. Chi Hoi appeared to consider Force of Will on the second Delver and decided to cast it, exiling Force. It resolved, and Chi Hoi moved to his own turn. Fetching again, Chi Hoi was dodging Stifle to find Underground Sea and turn on most of the cards in his deck—including Abrupt Decay on that Delver.
Now without a threat, Logan Wasted Underground Sea and passed. Chi Hoi replaced it with Creeping Tar Pit, but lost the manland to the next Wasteland. He had a second Tar Pit after that, and lost his Ancestral Vision to the expected Stifle. Logan cast Ponder on his own turn, tanking over a pair of cantrips and a Spell Pierce.
Chi Hoi had no action, so Logan continued churning through the deck with Ponder. Tarmogoyf from Chi Hoi merited a response, and Logan had a Swords... but he seemed loathe to use it. It would undo all of his Delver’s hard work! He decided to Brainstorm and then cast Gitaxian Probe, spying Jace, Maelstrom Pulse, and Abrupt Decay before Swords exiled the Tarmogoyf.
Chi Hoi drew Hymn to Tourach and aimed it at Logan. He allowed it to resolve, losing Brainstorm and Daze to the discard spell as Chi Hoi waited on more threats or more lands. Logan drew a fourth land himself, but had only Grim Lavamancer to contest the battlefield—basically nothing. Ponder drew him into Stoneforge Mystic and he debated drawing the little lady for a few moments before deciding to shuffle up the deck.
He needed Geist of Saint Traft.
Playing the Lavamancer, Logan ended his turn. Chi Hoi tried to fetch, and was knocked down to three lands by Stifle. Another Hymn from Chi Hoi cleared Logan’s hand out, and he was on Lavamancer for all of his action. Suspending a Vision, Chi Hoi had big plans if he could last four more turns... Decay killed the Lavamancer, and both players were stuck peeling. When Chi Hoi found his fourth land, he immediately slammed Jace, the Mind Sculptor and fatesealed Logan against his fetchland. Breaking it, Logan checked the top of the card to see if he’d been got—Force of Will laughed back.
Drawing Stoneforge Mystic, Logan searched for Batterskull. Chi Hoi led with Brainstorm before using Jace, cascading Shardless Agent into Ancestral Vision afterward. Not bad... Jace followed with a Brainstorm, and it was clear that Chi Hoi intended to just bury Logan in cards. After all, Jace could handicap the Batterskull sufficiently, and he had Pulse available if Logan ever tapped down to less than two lands.
Or he could just Thoughtseize it right out of Logan’s hand.
Drawing Spell Pierce, it looked like Logan was pretty much wrapped here. Chi Hoi could end the game via Tar Pit and Agent, with the unchecked Jace running rampant. Another Agent into Deathrite Shaman all but sealed the deal.
Logan looks to his sideboard in an attempt to rally.
Chi Hoi 1, Logan 0
On the play once more, Logan began with Tundra and Ponder. His hand had no creatures but double Daze, and he wanted the Wasteland and Brainstorm he’d found to smooth things out. Chi Hoi immediately Wastelanded him, and the Brainstorm’s quality was reduced—Logan would have to draw his Tundra and get it into play first.
Chi Hoi played a fetchland and passed, allowing Logan to Brainstorm after he played a land. Tossing back a Sword and a Daze, Logan had a lot of pseudo-disruption but still no creatures. Chi Hoi had just fetches for lands, declining to crack them for the time being. Logan was sitting on Stifles, Daze, Pyroblast, and Submerge—it was the waiting game all over again, except Chi Hoi wasn’t drawing lands this time.
That changed. After several turns of doing nothing, Chi Hoi made it to six lands and resolved Baleful Strix. Wear/Tear took care of the Strix, and Logan continued to wait for an opportunity to bring his disruption to bear against Chi Hoi. Once Deathrite Shaman resolved, Logan would need to get things moving...
Stoneforge Mystic gave Logan a potential offense, and he broke a fetchland to get a second Volcanic Island before playing the 1/2. Fetching Batterskull, he fired a Stifle at Chi Hoi’s attempt to fetch a land in the end step. The second fetch was also Stifled, and the third earned a Submerge on Deathrite Shaman—what a setback!
Reduced to three lands with one fetchland leftover, Chi Hoi shuffled away his Deathrite Shaman before casting Brainstorm. Logan Dazed, and Chi Hoi popped his fetchland in order to pay the one mana, disappointed to lose the shuffle effect but happy to have three mana still. Drawing three cards, Chi Hoi tossed back two and drew for turn.
Disfigure took out the Mystic and Shardless Agent cascaded successfully into Deathrite Shaman—quite a turn even after the beating Chi Hoi’s mana had taken. Paying 2 life for Gitaxian Probe, Logan spotted three Baleful Strix, a Brainstorm, and Liliana of the Veil! Gripping Delver of Secrets, he had to be a little bummed to spot that kind of air force in Chi Hoi’s grip.
Chi Hoi played two Strix on the next turn and attacked with his Agent, beginning to assert his lead. He had Liliana if Batterskull ever joined the party, and his board was growing beyond what Logan could control. Wasteland in Logan’s upkeep kept him off five mana unless he peeled a land, buying Chi Hoi one more turn before he’d need to handle the artifact.
Gitaxian Probe revealed that Chi Hoi had drawn Abrupt Decay in his spare time. Logan Pondered, finding Stoneforge Mystic among the top three cards along with Brainstorm, leaving them in place but drawing just the Brainstorm. Falling to 12 when Chi Hoi attacked, Logan needed to maneuver this Batterskull into play quickly.
Putting Stoneforge Mystic into play after a Brainstorm, Logan found Sword of Feast and Famine—that would at least handle the defending Strix problem, if he found a way to get Abrupt Decay out of Chi Hoi’s hand. It didn’t appear that there was time, however. He’d be dead in just two turns!
Hymn to Tourach threatened to tear Logan’s plans to tatters, and he Forced to protect the equipment. Liliana of the Veil made Logan lose a creature, meaning he wouldn’t be able to connect with Sword next turn—and that just about wrapped things up. Chi Hoi swung Logan town to 3 after Abrupt Decay followed to kill the Stoneforge Mystic, and that left Logan drawing dead.
Chi Hoi 2, Logan 0