Semifinals: Ed Womble vs. Andrew Boswell
“Praise be to Liliana! May her beauty grant me the strength to strike down my enemies.”
So says Ed’s t-shirt, who is depending on the black planeswalker’s power in his Jund deck to beat opposing hexproof creatures and control decks. Andrew has no such planeswalker power, using only the traditional pair of Garruk, Primal Hunter for card advantage. Which midrange menace can take the match?
Andrew sideboards, as Huey watches on in the wings!
Andrew had the play, as Ed was the bottom seed (having beaten William ‘Huey’ Jensen in the top 8), and the match was underway. Andrew had a turn two Scavenging Ooze, and Ed didn’t have a turn two play… except to cast Abrupt Decay. Andrew stayed on two lands though, dropping Scavenging Ooze number two. Ed, meanwhile, cast Olivia Voldaren.
Andrew was able to attack in for three, but had to pass after that. Olivia Voldaren and Pillar of Flame combined to knock off the Ooze. Andrew was able to find basic Swamp, but was still red mana deficient. Ed continued to play the normal Jund game undeterred, playing a late game Farseek. Andrew was finally able to find Farseek to set up red mana for the next turn, but Ed was too far ahead. 4/4 Olivia was followed up by Huntmaster of the Fells (which met Doom Blade), and Richard played a Huntmaster of his own.
Olivia stole said Huntmaster the next turn, thanks to poking it at the end of the previous end step. Bonfire of the Damned for three plus attacks cleared Andrew’s board and also dropped Andrew to 1, and failing to find a miracle of his own on top of his library conceded the game.
Ed 1, Andrew 0.
Andrew this time had turn two Farseek, and Ed still failed to find the ramp spell that is so important in this matchup. Andrew was unable to take advantage, but instead ramped even harder with another Farseek. Ed played his third land of the game, and on his next turn Andrew played his sixth to help cast Olivia Voldaren with two mana up, and Ed dropped turn four Huntmaster of the Fells. Olivia Voldaren poked at the Werewolf at end of turn, then Andrew stole the Huntmaster on his main phase. Andrew’s now Ravager of the Fells took down Ed’s creature that entered play with the Werewolf, and then a pair of Tragic Slips took out both the Ravager and the Olivia.
Andrew cast his Olivia number two, and they momentarily stared at each other from across the battlefield before Andrew’s Putrefy took down Ed’s flying Vampire. Ed had no follow-up, and Garruk, Primal Hunter joined the party. Rakdos’s Return for four knocked out the Garruk and also stripped Andrew’s last card, but Andrew had the on board advantage. Thanks to Olivia’s ability to grow, Ed fell to 2. He tapped out all of his lands and slammed his library’s top card onto the table in hopes of Bonfire of the Damned… but instead found Ruric Thar, the Unbowed and conceded the game.
Ed shuffles in silence, hoping his Liliana's can carry the day!
Ed 1, Andrew 1.
Ed tried being on the play for the last game, but had to mulligan his opener. Andrew kept, and had a Divination-sized advantage heading into the final game. Ed still did not have the turn two Farseek, and neither did Andrew (though Andrew had Scavenging Ooze). Ed found a turn three Farseek though, but he was still bottlenecked on mana. The Ooze drerw first blood, and Andrew further ramped with Farseek number two to get up to a potential six on his next turn. Ed had to be content with his slightly below average Farseek draw, dropping Rakdos Keyrune.
Thragtusk came down for Andrew, and finally Ed found the fifth mana source and used the land to cast Huntmaster of the Fells, attempting to stem the tide and set up defenses. Thragtusk trodded down a Wolf token, the Duress took Garruk, Primal Hunter from a hand of Bonfire and Putrefy. Tragic Slip knocked off the Thragtusk in response to the discard spell. Andrew had a Slip of his own to clear Huntmaster, then he used two mana to make Scavenging Ooze a 4/4.
Putrefy took down Andrew’s Ooze and also he cast Olivia Voldaren… but Andrew found miracle Bonfire of the Damned for six! Olivia hit the bricks, and the Beast dropped Ed to 7. Bonfire for three took out Andrew’s creature as well, but he had the Thragtusk the very next turn. On only Rakdos Keyrune, Ed had to pass… and now we play the game that Jund is best at: the topdecking game.
Another Thragtusk for Andrew put him in the lead, as Ed could only find land on top. Andrew continued to find gas on top of his deck, in the form of Huntmaster of the Fells. Once more, Ed tapped all of his land in preparation of a lethal Bonfire to avoid defeat… and failed to find the miracle he was hoping for.
Andrew 2, Ed 1.
And Ed’s prayers, which brought him into the top 4, go unanswered for the first time.