Semifinals: Chris VanMeter vs. Ben Friedman
Ben had just made it past one Sneak and Show pilot—could he do so again? He’d have to in order to keep a pristine Legacy weekend intact. Ben hadn’t lost yet, and he was only two matches from the trophy.
Chris had the higher seed and opened with Ponder, while Ben had his best clock in the form of turn 1 Delver of Secrets. Chris Probed on turn 2 for 2 life, spying Brainstorm, Spell Pierce, Swords to Plowshares, Grim Lavamancer, Delver of Secrets, and Daze. He followed by casting Lotus Petal and fetching another Island, then tapping out for Show and Tell.
Ben good-naturedly Dazed, but Chris Forced it in order to jam his Griselbrand into play, drawing seven cards once he knew that Ben had missed his Delver flip. Another Force of Will on Swords to Plowshares earned Chris a quick concession from Ben—he knew when he was beat.
Chris 1, Ben 0
Keeping his opener, Ben started strong with Delver of Secrets once more, and Dazed the Ponder Chris tried on the following turn. His Delver revealed Flusterstorm before flipping, and Ben kicked it up a notch with Ponder to dig for more interaction. Probing, he saw that Chris had two Brainstorms, Sneak Attack, Emrakul, and two lands in his hand.
Playing his fetchland, Chris Brainstormed and then searched the deck for Island in order to Ponder. Ben found Volcanic Island on top of his library and Probed again seeing Lotus Petal and Ancient Tomb had joined the party—a lot of action! Ben played Volcanic Island and passed, leaning on his Force of Will pretty heavily.
Chris Brainstormed, looking for protection, and Ben debated whether or not to burn his only blue card and Flusterstorm it—it would be a very bold play if he did! As it was, drawing any blue card would make his hand quite good, so it’s likely that this was a bit of Hollywood action. Chris fetched Mountain after Brainstorming, and used his own Probe to see Force of Will, Flusterstorm, Stoneforge Mystic, Lightning Bolt, and Wear/Tear.
On 9 life after the Bolt, Chris needed to combo soon. Ben attacked him to 6 life after drawing Spell Pierce, now a substantial favorite against what Chris had shown so far. Chris Pondered, then cast another Gitaxian Probe to see the Spell Pierce that Ben had drawn. “That’s a good one,” Chris said with a sigh. “This is tough.”
Going to 4 for Blood Moon, Chris forced the Spell Pierce out of Ben’s hand. He drew another Force off the top to replace his lost blue card, and now the Flusterstorm would be able to win him any counter-war Chris tried to start—but Chris conceded instead.
Chris 1, Ben 1
As the combatants discovered Reid Duke had just won his semifinal, they each vowed to ensure that Reid not win yet another tournament. “Oh really,” Reid mused upon hearing the declaration. Clearly, he had no intention of walking out of here without that trophy... but Chris and Ben would vie for the right to try and stop him in this final game.
Chris VanMeter has Pondered his way to victory today!
Each kept seven, and Chris led Volcanic Island for Ponder. When Chris shuffled, Ben was no doubt considering just Wastelanding Chris on the spot—but he could also land a turn 1 Delver of Secrets. Drawing Gitaxian Probe, Ben cast the cantrip first to figure out what he should do, revealing Brainstorm, Force of Will, Ponder, Lotus Petal, Griselbrand, and Emrakul.
Yeah, Ben Wasted him.
Chris dropped Lotus Petal and broke it in order to Ponder, hoping he’d find some lands. Ben debated Force of Willing the Ponder and did so, exiling Spell Pierce and keeping Delver of Secrets around. Chris was forced to use his Force, pitching Brainstorm and praying for a “pretty good Ponder.”
He left the three cards there, then played Scalding Tarn. Ben dropped Volcanic Island and Delver of Secrets, passing back over to Chris afterward. Declining to break the fetch, Chris revealed it had been a very good Ponder—he played Ancient Tomb, and Gitaxian Probe revealed another Petal.
Ben Wasted the Tomb and passed, waiting for a blue card to go with his Force of Will. He drew Geist of Saint Traft to provide one, but an unflipped Delver wasn’t much of a clock. He missed the flip again, this time breaking a fetchland to avoid drawing the useless Stoneforge Mystic. Drawing Daze, he passed after attacking.
Chris went to 14 for two fetchlands, finding Island and Mountain to remain protected from future Wastelands. Chris tried to tap out for Sneak Attack, and Daze punished him, leaving two fatties stuck up top. Ben failed to flip Delver again, but the land he drew enabled Sword of Feast and Famine, putting Chris into a bind.
With Ben’s Force of Will rolled up, there wasn’t much Chris could even draw. He found Show and Tell, but Ben Forced and Chris would have to peel yet another enabler next turn while Ben was exhausted on counterspells. Ben revealed Daze on the next turn, and that about wrapped things up, even though Chris drew a Show and Tell one turn too late.
Chris 1, Ben 2