Semifinals: Chris Andersen vs. Kevin Gerhart
“Why aren't you playing Ari's list? There are only two Lingering Souls in Ari's deck,” Kevin asked. “Because I like my list better!” Chris immediately replied. Kevin would have to get through all those Spirits to take Chris down, but if he did then a slot in the finals awaited him.
Chris loves his list for this tournament.
Chris started the game on Evolving Wilds, and he fetched Swamp after Kevin dropped Seachrome Coast and nothing else. Kevin had mulliganed to six, so Chris was glad to see no cantrip and no Delver. His own Seachrome Coast did not merit a spell, but after Kevin passed turn 2 with another Coast Chris cast Lingering Souls.
That provided Kevin with an opening for Geist of Saint Traft, and Chris did not have Phantasmal Image to immediately trade. He did, however, have a second copy of Lingering Souls. “Too many Tim Atens on the field,” Kevin muttered, starting his turn with Gitaxian Probe. Two lands—including vault of the Archangel—and Gideon Jura plus Sun Titan awaited him.
“That hand,” Kevin said, jotting it down and then shuffling up his Ponder. Kevin swung with his Geist, Chris losing two Spirits after blocking with everything, and a new Geist resolved. “There's a party at Gideon's house, and you get to come!” Chris declared, casting the planeswalker and boosting him immediately on his turn. He'd likely be blocking to ensure Gideon remained healthy, rather than trying to trade with Geist.
Kevin solved that for him by pointing the Angel token at Chris, and Chris still chumped the attack. Snapcaster Mage and Ponder on Kevin's side, ending the turn with two mana untapped. Chris cast Blade Splicer, which resolved, but his flashbacked Lingering Souls did not. Gideon went to eight once more. Vapor Snag removed the Golem, and Kevin had Restoration Angel to save his Geist from the blocks Chris made.
Now Chris could resolve Sun Titan, but he chose to Go for the Throat the Angel and Restoration Angel his Blade Splicer, defending Gideon to the max. When Kevin attacked, Chris tossed Splicer on Snapcaster, and Restoration Angel and Golem on Geist, with his last Spirit chumping the Angel token. Kevin had another Angel for his Snapcaster and Vapor Snag, killing the Golem but still losing Geist.
Now Chris played his Titan, complete control of the game in place. Gideon moved to ten loyalty, Evolving Wilds returned to play, and Chris ate Snapcaster on defense while blocking Restoration Angel with his own copy. Fetching more lands, Chris went to eight mana.
Gideon assassinated the Restoration Angel, and Chris attacked for 9 damage with deathtouch and lifelink, returning nothing with Sun Titan—as it turned out, he didn't need anything. Craw Wurm, ho! “It's not my abilities—it's the deck!” Chris laughed, pointing out his error as Kevin conceded.
Chris 1, Kevin 0
Kevin's starting off down a game, but Delver is powerful.
With Kevin on the play his odds improved. He kept quickly, while Ari chucked back a hand with no blue or white mana sources. Probing on the first turn to see Lingering Souls, Snapcaster Mage, Intangible Virtue, and Phantasmal Image, Kevin played Delver of Secrets. Chris drew Evolving Wilds, finding Plains.
Turn 2 for Kevin brought a second land and second Delver, putting him pretty good to win the game. Fortunately for Chris, he drew Go for the Throat to kill one, and Kevin only got one 3/2 when he revealed Probe. Attacking Chris to 16, he tapped out to cast Sword of War and Peace. Chris played Lingering Souls, and prepared for the worst.
He took 9 damage and revealed a hand to probe that still couldn't answer the Aberration, with Snapcaster Mage needing a land to start flashbacking. Chris did hit the land, but it came into play tapped—he was forced to Phantasmal Image the Aberration for a blocker. Kevin drew Vapor Snag, and swung for the game.
Chris 1, Kevin 1
Island and Ponder for Chris, with no one-drop from Kevin after he played Seachrome Coast. Chris played Drowned Catacomb and sent the turn, while Kevin landed Island. Chris tried Snapcaster Mage on turn 3 after playing Plains, and flashbacked his Ponder to keep a powerful top three cards.
Riding multiple Images, Chris expected Geist of Saint Traft—sure enough, Kevin's early “nothing” did mean a Geist on turn 3, and Chris got his trade after attacking. A second Geist with a blue mana up from Kevin meant that Chris started with Image this time, but Kevin had Vapor Snag. With a shrug, Chris attacked him to 15.
Going to 13, Kevin spotted Blade Splicer, Lingering Souls, Restoration Angel, Doom Blade, and Consecrated Sphinx with his Gitaxian Probe. Tamiyo tapped down the Image of Snapcaster Mage, and Chris seemed surprised to see her. Debating what to do, Chris didn't have a fifth land. He attacked Tamiyo to three and decided on Blade Splicer, hoping Kevin lacked another Snag or Snapcaster.
Tapping Snapcaster, Kevin recast Geist and passed—probably a Vapor Snag in the mix. Finding two tapped lands with Ponder, Chris kept one and sent his Golem into the Snag. Following with Lingering Souls, he passed the turn. Kevin tapped Blade Splicer and had Snapcaster Mage on Vapor Snag to keep his Geist from dying to multiple blockers, leaving Chris on 14. He needed to stave off both Geist and Tamiyo now.
Because of Tamiyo, Chris did not cast his Restoration Angel—he had to open himself up to Leak or risk death. “Your hand's insane,” he noted as Kevin had the Leak, and Chris took 8 and fell to 6 life. He tried Sun Titan, seeming to expect failure—but it resolved to grab Phantasmal Image on Titan and then Phantasmal Image on Geist. Would Chris rally on 6? He swung Tamiyo down a loyalty with Blade Splicer, and passed with both Titans on defense and his Snapcaster tapped.
However, Kevin had all the angles with Restoration Angel to get back his last Vapor Snag through Snapcaster. Snagging the real Titan and then using Tamiyo to tap down the Imaged copy, he got through for 5 damage, with the Snag on the previous turn giving him just enough.
Chris 1, Kevin 2