Semifinals: Dustin Flora vs. Charles Gindy
Dustin Flora was one of just two players left in this tournament without a Delver of Secrets in his deck, while Gindy was one of the staunch supporters of the one-drop. Dustin’s Wolf Run Ramp list had a lot of anti-aggro elements, but the archetype has been known to struggle against U/W tempo strategies.
Winning the die roll, Dustin elected to play. Each player wished one another good luck, but Gindy wound up falling to six cards after a keep from Dustin. He led Inkmoth nexus, while GIndy played Island. Copperline Gorge into Sphere of the Suns fixed Dustin’s colors, and Gindy passed turn 2 with another Island. Dustin didn’t try anything on turn 3 after playing a third land, and Gindy also just made a land and ended the turn. Each player repeated that sequence, with Dustin making the first move on turn 5 when he cast Primeval Titan into Gindy’s Mana Leak. Now, Gindy Pondered and kept his cards, missing a land drop but otherwise moving ahead.
Gindy took a poison when Dustin sent his Inkmoth into combat. He followed that with Solemn Simulacrum, nodding when Gindy countered it with Mana Leak as well. Gindy drew and passed the turn—once Dustin did as well, Gindy used Snapcaster Mage as Ashcoat Bear for the beats, sending in 2 damage.
Drawing Inkmoth Nexus, Dustin played it and then ended the turn, content to let the 2/1 beat him up for now. He passed with a land again on the following turn, falling to 14 as Gindy cast a second Ponder. Dustin Rampant Growthed for Mountain on the next turn, filled with mana but on six cards in hand—he appeared to be moving beyond Mana Leak range quickly! Gindy attacked him down to 12 life, and considered whether he should cast a Sword of War and Peace in this position before deciding to pass the turn instead.
Charles Gindy has loved his list this weekend.
Casting Inferno Titan, Dustin relieved his Snapcaster Mage difficulties but saw the Titan get Vapor Snagged. Gindy could have Snagged his Snapcaster and then Snagged the Titan—perhaps he was eager to keep the Snag in the graveyard, or valued the point of life he was preserving. Dustin cast a Slagstorm on creatures, and when he tried to follow with Solemn Simulacrum Gindy used another Snapcaster Mage on Mana Leak to keep the artifact off the board. Untapping, he landed the Sword of War and Peace—ouch! That left Dustin dead on the board if Gindy connected again.
Leaving his Inkmoth Nexuses open, Dustin cast Inferno Titan to try and race, but it was all over. Gindy already had a second Vapor Snag and a Gut Shot waiting in the wings, clearing the way for lethal damage.
Gindy 1, Dustin 0
A quick keep for Dustin in game 2, while Gindy again went to six cards. Dustin began with Mountain, while Gindy started on Island and Ponder, finding a handy Delver of Secrets up top. Rampant Growth after Rootbound Crag found another Mountain for Dustin, and he passed to Gindy. Casting Delver of Secrets, Gindy likewise shipped the turn, leaving a Fortress untapped.
Solemn Simulacrum jumped Dustin to five lands on the third turn, immediately putting Gindy on the defensive He revealed a Mana Leak on top, and suddenly his position improved—he attacked Dustin to 17 and had the coutnerspell waiting in the wings for a potential Titan.
Attacking with Solemn Simulacrum, Dustin cast Rampant Growth to try and get past the range of the Leak. During Gindy’s upkeep, he pointed Galvanic Blast at the 3/2 and landed the kill. Gindy made a fourth land and ended his own turn, falling to 16 when Solemn Simulacrum attacked. Thrun, the Last Troll resolved, Gindy making a Moorland Haunt token during the end step. He swung to even the score, but now sat in a dire race—Oblivion Ring on Solemn Simulacrum gave him a better shot.
Kessig Wolf Run put Dustin back in the driver’s seat, and Thrun swung for 9 damage to leave Gindy at 7 life and on death’s door. “This might be a quick game,” he said, shrugging. No Phantasmal Image on top meant Gindy was dead—he picked up his cards.
Gindy 1, Dustin 1
Each player kept in game 3, Gindy leading with a cast Gitaxian Probe to see two Slagstorm, Solemn Simulacrum, Thrun, Rampant Growth, Mountain, and Kessig Wolf Run—no green sources. Drawing, Gindy passed, and Dustin played his Mountain.
Dustin took it to three games in this tough pairing.
Snapcaster Mage on the Probe for 2 life revealed that Dustin had drawn another Rampant Growth—Forest off the top let him cast one, and he searched for another Mountain. “We got there,” Gindy noted with a laugh, his chances of winning the game changing drastically with that draw step. He attacked for 2, and passed with three mana open. Dustin played Rampant Growth for Forest and Kessig Wolf Run in order to cast Sphere of the Suns. Gindy swung 2 damage, played a land, and passed the turn. On six mana as he untapped, Dustin cast Solemn Simulacrum into Mana Leak and sent the turn. Paying 2 life, Gindy used Gitaxian Probe after he attacked to spot Galvanic Blast in the grip, noting its efficacy against his position before passing. Dustin just cast Thrun on the next turn.
Phantasmal Image killed the legend, and Gindy attacked for another 2 damage before playing his sixth land, passing with Moorland Haunt available and Dustin on 12 life. When all Dustin did was make Sphere of the Suns, Gindy decided to generate a token in order to increase his clock.
Swinging for 3, Gindy took Dustin to 9 and passed with six mana untapped. When Dustin tried Slagstorm, Gindy used Vapor Snag to try and save Snapcaster Mage, which he did successfully, putting himself to 15. He deliberated over whether he should replay the 2/1 before deciding to do so—Dustin had no reply during his end step, holding onto Galvanic Blast.
Gindy swung 2 to put Dustin on 7 life, and added Delver of Secrets to the field. That was as juicy as Slagstorm was getting, and Dustin cast it to kill the threats but fill Gindy’s graveyard. Now Gindy made a Spirit token, which traded with Inkmoth Nexus when he attacked—perfect. He cast Geist of Saint Traft and passed, representing a very deadly clock. Dustin has no action on his own turn, sending it back to Gindy.
Gindy 2, Dustin 1