Semifinals: Dan Musser vs. Ross Merriam
Dun Musser took RUG Pod to the Top 8 of the Standard Open
Dan Musser took RUG Pod to the Top 8 of the Standard Open while Michael Hetrick did the same in the Invitational. Ross Merriam came to the table with Delver of Secrets, looking to take down its first trophy in a few weeks—with none of those bothersome Solar Flare decks in the Top 8, he looked good to do it!
Ross started with Ponder on the first turn, keeping his three and drawing a Seachrome Coast. Dan resolved Llanowar Elves from Copperline Gorge, and Ross Pondered again before dropping his Coast and Delver of Secrets. The Elves attacked for 1 damage, and Dan played Forest and a second Elves—but Ross had the real beats.
Revealing Thought Scour, Ross flipped his Delver into a 3/2 and attacked for 3 damage, then tapped out for Sword of War and Peace, seeking to make quick work of Dan in the air. Unfortunately for Ross, Dan had the ability to cast turn 3 Acidic Slime and take the Sword out of the equation! He still fell to 14 as Ross attacked again, but Ross found himself with no plays to make... on his own turn, at least.
Dan had at least one safe attack with his Acidic Slime, which did not fear Restoration Angel. He decided to send the Llanowar Elves too, before playing Hinterland Harbor and tapping out to play Huntmaster of the Fells. Ross Thought Scoured in response, then played his Mana Leak.
Attacking again, Ross continued to govern the race as he passed the turn. Dan cast Strangleroot Geist and attacked with everyone, threatening 6 damage, but Ross Snagged the Acidic Slime and took just 4 damage. He already had a Geist of Saint Traft and a Snapcaster Mage at the ready, making the match very close to over from here.
Naming Angel, Ross declined to tap out for Geist in order to preserve his ability to Snap off a Leak, and passed after attacking Dan to 7 life. He was on 11, and Dan jammed another Strangleroot Geist to even their scores before trying to cast Inferno Titan. Snapcaster and Mana Leak countered that one—good hold for that play!
Ross swung Dan to 2 then played Geist of Saint Traft and another Delver, threatening to end it all this turn. He had no hand, so Dan would need a lot of defense or lifegain to survive. He started by swinging his Strangleroot Geists, likely hoping to encourage a block from Geist, but Ross took the damage and fell to 3 in order to preserve the highest quantity of flying damage.
No Bonfire from Dan locked the game up for Ross.
Ross 1, Dan 0
Ross Merriam in the semifinals of the Standard Open
Forest and Llanowar Elves for Dan, while Ross started with Gitaxian Probe to see Birds of Paradise, Crushing Vines, Zealous Conscripts, and lands. Playing an Island and Ponder, he decided to shuffle his top three cards, to Dan’s joy. Drawing, Dan attacked for 1 and cast his Birds, passing with an Island untapped.
Ross was on two Islands and declined to cast Snapcaster Mage for the Probe, instead holding open Vapor Snag while representing Mana Leak. He took 1 damage from the Elves, and Dan ended the turn—Ross Snagged the Birds to keep Dan off red mana during the next turn, and cast Geist of Saint Traft onto a safe board.
He’d plan to attack and have drawn an untapped land to use Restoration Angel if Dan presented a lethal blocker, but Dan couldn’t do that—he just had two Birds of Paradise to go with his Llanowar Elves. Dan took the 6 damage from Ross when he attacked, and Ross played Seachrome Coast before ending the turn, unable to Angel but likely not eager to waltz into the Vines anyway.
Dan played his fifth land, relying those Birds for red, and cast Zealous Conscripts to let his Llanowar Elves get in for a point of damage. Dismember took the Conscripts apart, keeping Geist the biggest creature on the board. Ross took advantage, attacking Dan to 7 and seizing a hefty lead.
Acidic Slime for Dan, and Ross used Thought Scour in response, peeling a Gut Shot that would likely let him manage lethal damage in a number of ways, due to the presence of Snapcaster Mage. Vapor Snag from Ross through Snapcaster Mage bounced the Acidic Slime and put Dan to 6 life, and Ross used Gut Shot on Llanowar Elves before combat, attacking with Geist and Snapcaster Mage to make Dan bin all his red sources in order to survive, or blow the Vines on the Angel token.
Dan killed the token, untapping with just Birds in play on 4 life. His next card wasn’t Bonfire of the Damned, and he started scouring the board for a route to survive. Casting Acidic Slime to destroy another Seachrome Coast, Dan prompted Ross to Restoration Angel—with Gut Shot in the bin for that Snapcaster Mage, it was plenty.
Ross 2, Dan 0