Semifinals: Eric English vs. Tariq Patel
Eric and his Rubble Red deck had already bashed through one G/W Aggro opponent in the quarterfinals. Now he hoped to do it again, but Tariq Patel had other plans, and looked to carry the Selesnya Conclave into the finals.
Eric sits in the Hall+of+Triumph.
Firedrinker+Satyr initiated proceedings for Eric, while an Experiment+One was the one drop of choice for Tarik, and he was happy to trade it off when Eric attacked with his Satyr. He had Mutavault and and Rakdos+Cackler after combat, and Tariq matched with a Voice+of+Resurgence. Eric used Hall+of+Triumph to allow his Rakdos+Cackler a profitable attack, crashing in for 3, and Tariq unloaded on this next turn, casting Fleecemane+Lion and Soldier+of+the+Pantheon before attacking with his Voice+of+Resurgence.
Eric didn’t have any sensible attacks, so he developed his board, playing a second Mutavault and a Firefist+Striker, then tapping out to cast Stoke+the+Flames on Tariq’s Fleecemane+Lion. Tariq untapped and used a Banishing+Light to get rid of the Hall+of+Triumph, then passed the turn, leaving his Soldier+of+the+Pantheon and Voice+of+Resurgence back on defense.
Eric wasn’t impressed by a pair of blockers, and cast a Legion+Loyalist and then attacked with all of his creatures, along with one mutavault. Firefist+Striker kept the Soldier out of combat, and Voice+of+Resurgence blocked the Legion+Loyalist, but the rest of Eric’s attackers got through, and Tariq fell to 9. He untapped, re-fortified with a second Voice+of+Resurgence, and passed it right back.
A Stoke+the+Flames off the top for Eric forced him to crunch some numbers, and he eventually concluded that the right target was Tariq’s face, dropping him to just 5 life. He passed without attacks, and Tariq untapped and added Experiment+One to the board, shipping it back. Eric did some more calculations, decided an all-out attack as too risky, and cast another Firefist+Striker. Tariq had an end-step Selesnya+Charm to make a 2/2 Knight, then untapped and got in an attack with it before shipping back with five blockers.
Eric decided it was time—he activated both Mutavaults and attacked with them along with two Firefist+Strikers and a Rakdos+Cackler. The strikers shut out Soldier+of+the+Pantheon and one Voice, Tariq had a second Selesnya+Charm to add another blocked, and then a lot of trades happen. When the dust settled, a Rakdos+Cackler had dropped Tariq to 3, and was Eric’s only remaining non-land permanent. Tariq was left with the Soldier and Voice that hadn’t been able to block, along with one 3/3 Elemental Token.
Needing to close things out quickly against the possibility of burn from Eric, Tariq attacked with his team for 7, dropping Eric to 8, then passed the turn with four lands untapped to represent an Advent+of+the+Wurm. It wouldn’t end up mattering, as Eric simply untapped and showed him the Lightning+Strike, and it was on to game 2.
Eric English 1, Tariq Patel 0
Tariq sends his Voice+of+Resurgence into battle.
Soldier+of+the+Pantheon started things off for Tariq, but Eric quickly killed it off with a Magma+Spray. His second threat, Fleecemane+Lion, met a similar fate, as Eric had turn 2 Lightning+Strike. Tariq’s turn 3 creature, Loxodon+Smiter, was a little sturdier, and Eric could only play a Firefist+Striker and pass. Tariq had Unflinching+Courage to suit up his Smiter, and Eric sank in his seat. The 6/6 Lifelinker rumbled in, and Tariq was back up to 24.
Eric had a second Firefist+Striker, but fell to 8 from the next Loxodon+Smiter attack. Eric simply passed the turn, hoping to kill off the Smiter with blockers plus burn, but Tariq had a Setessan+Tactics to pump it out of range, and that was enough to even things up.
Eric English 1, Tariq Patel 1
Neither player had a one drop in the decider, but Eric got in a turn 2 attack nonetheless thanks to Ash+Zealot. Tariq had Fleecemane+Lion on turn 2, but Eric added a second Ash+Zealot to the board and rumbled in, using Rubblebelt+Maaka after Tariq blocked one of them to keep Tariq’s board empty. Tariq added Loxodon+Smiter to the board next, falling to 14 from his Mana+Confluence, and he faced a tough choice when Eric attacked with his Ash+Zealots once again without hesitation. He blocked, and Eric had a second Rubblebelt+Maaka, as well as a post-combat Burning-Tree+Emissary.
Tariq’s back was against the wall, sitting at 12 against four potential attackers. He played his fourth land, a third forest, and cast Voice+of+Resurgence. Eric brought the beats, and Tariq blocked an Ash+Zealot and used Setessan+Tactics to keep his Voice alive through the first strike damage. Ash+Zealot died, but Tariq fell to 5 from the other attackers. He untapped and had a huge Unflinching+Courage to enchant his Voice, although he took a point from Mana+Confluence to cast it. He decided it wasn’t safe to attack with the 4/4 lifelinker just yet, and shipped the turn.
Eric activated two Mutavaults and attacked with them along with an Ash+Zealot and Burning-Tree+Emissary. Tariq blocked one Mutavault, and took two damage total after gaining four from Unflinching+Courage, falling to 2. Tariq found a pain-free source of white mana, a Plains, on his own turn, and cast Banishing+Light to clear away the Ash+Zealot before passing.
Eric drew his card and found Legion+Loyalist. It entered the fray and gave all of Eric’s other attackers first strike, which meant that they would all deal their damage before Tariq’s lifelink could matter. He attacked with everything, and Tariq extended the hand.
Eric English 2, Tariq Patel 1