Semifinals: Gabe Shvachkin vs. Alex Bastecki
In a showdown of powerful and popular Legacy decks, we have Miracles vs. Grixis Delver. Gabe Shvachkin vs. Alex Bastecki. Who will be the first to make it to the Finals of our Season Three Invitational?
As the higher seed, Alex chooses to play first, and both players will keep their opening hands. Alex leads with a Gitaxian+Probe and Gabe reveals a hand of doulbe Snapcaster+Mage, Tundra, Volcanic+Island, Terminus, Force+of+Will, and Sensei's Divining Top. Alex draws his card, plays his Volcanic+Island, and passes the turn to Gabe. Gabe simply draws his card, plays a Volcanic+Island of his own, and casts Sensei's Divining Top.
Alex plays a Wasteland in order to cast a Young+Pyromancer, which Gabe attempts to Force+of+Will, exiling Snapcaster+Mage in the process. Alex has the Force back though, exiling a Brainstorm. The Young+Pyromancer resolves, and there is a pass back to Gabe, who uses his Sensei's Divining Top on upkeep, plays a Tundra, and passes the turn back.
To start his turn off, Alex uses his Wasteland on Gabe's Tundra to destroy it. He then attacks with the Young+Pyromancer, plays a Misty+Rainforest, and says "go." Alex spins his top, at the end of his turn, then draws a card. He casts Brainstorm, but does not find an additional land, having to pass back to Alex with only one land in play. Alex starts to press his advantage by making a 1/1 Elemental token with Young+Pyromancer, thanks to a Gitaxian+Probe. After an attack with Young+Pyromancer, Alex cracks his newly played Scalding+Tarn, fetching an Underground+Sea in order to play a Gurmag+Angler, and then casts a Young+Pyromancer, sensing blood in the water. Alex passes his turn back to Gabe.
Gabe attempts to find a land with his Sensei's Divining Top during his upkeep, but is unsuccessful, having to once again pass the turn with no play. Alex attacks with his team and passes for his turn. One more spin of the Top by Gabe finds nothing, and we are on the way to Game 2!
Alex wins Game 1, and leads the semifinals, 1-0!
Gabe Shvachkin spins his Top!
Gabe will be on the play for the first game after sideboarding, Game 2. Both players keep after mulliganing to six, and Gabe leads with a Flooded+Strand for a basic Island, then casts a Ponder. He leaves the cards on top, drawing one, and passes the turn to Alex. Alex starts off this game the same way he started off the last, casting Gitaxian+Probe for two life. This time, Gabe reveals a hand of Swords+to+Plowshares, Counterbalance, Ponder, Tundra, and Arid+Mesa. Alex then plays a Flooded+Strand, cracks it, and gets an Underground+Sea. He then plays a Cabal+Therapy, targeting Gabe, naming Counterbalance, taking the powerful enchantment out of Gabe's hand. With that, he passes the turn.
Gabe starts his turn off with a Ponder, shuffling his library this time. After drawing his card from Ponder, he plays an Arid+Mesa, and passes the turn. Alex draws for the turn, and casts a Delver+of+Secrets, plays a Misty+Rainforest, and passes. After drawing his card for the turn, Gabe plays a Tundra and then fetches a basic Plains with his Arid+Mesa. A Swords+to+Plowshares exiles the Delver+of+Secrets, and then Gabe resolves a Counterbalance. With all that, Gabe passes the turn back to Alex.
Alex cracks his Misty+Rainforest for a Volcanic+Island, then draws his card for the turn. A Flooded+Strand finds an additional Volcanic+Island, which is followed by an attempt at casting Young+Pyromancer. Gabe's Counterbalance reveals an Entreat+the+Angels on the top of his deck, which is read by Alex. After making sure the Young+Pyromancer resolves, Alex passes the turn back.
Not quite a miraculous Entreat+the+Angels is revealed by Gabe (since both players knew it was there, thanks to Counterbalance), and one Ali Aintrazi looking 4/4 Angel token is made. A pass of the turn to Alex, who delves away all but the Cabal+Therapy in his graveyard to make a Gurmag+Angler. With the Zombie Fish cast, Alex passes the turn to Gabe.
Gabe immediately Swords the Gurmag+Angler, and attacks with his Angel, then passes back to Alex. Alex attempts to cast a Young+Pyromancer, which resolves through the Counterbalance, and he attacks with his other Pyromancer. Alex casts Ponder on his turn, keeps a Swords to Plowshare that is immediately used on one of Alex's Pyromancers, and attacks with his Angel. A pass back to Alex and it looks like we are in a race.
And Alex's play confirms this, as he casts Sulfuric+Vortex, putting both players on a clock. He attacks with his Pyromancer, and passes the turn back to Gabe. Gabe draws and attacks with his Angel, and passes the turn back.
Alex plays a Deathrite+Shaman, and then attempts to Cabal+Therapy Gabe. But Gabe flashes in a Snapcaster+Mage in response. After the Snapcaster+Mage resolves, Alex names Monastery+Mentor, which is then stripped from his opponents hand. He passes the turn back to Gabe, who takes some damage from the Sulfuric+Vortex, and then miracles a Terminus, putting all of the creatures on the bottom of the library. Not to be deterred, Alex plays a Deathrite+Shaman, hoping to win the Sulfuric+Vortex race (since he has the lower life total).
Gabe can only draw his card and pass, as Alex plays another land, and Ponders. He shuffles his cards, draws one, and passes the turn. Once again, there is a miraculous Terminus waiting on top of Gabe's library, but this time, he loses some life, thanks to Alex's Deathrite+Shaman as it goes to the bottom of the library. Gabe then passes the turn.
Alex Ponders again to start his turn, but this time he shuffles his library. He passes the turn to Alex, who also just draws his card, and passes the turn. Alex casts a Dig+Through+Time on his own turn, getting two cards, and playing a Volcanic+Island. He says "go", but on Gabe's upkeep, he tries to go for the lethal Lightning+Bolt. But Gabe triggers Counterbalance, revealing Pyroblast to counter the Bolt. Gabe then casts Ponder, which nets him a Wear that he uses immediately to destroy the Sulfuric+Vortex before he dies. After that, Gabe passes the turn back.
Alex casts Delver+of+Secrets, but that is immediately destroyed by the Pyroblast from Gabe. However, at the end of his turn, Alex has a Vendilion+Clique. Gabe tries to Counterbalance it, but Coutnerbalance reveals a land. Knowing that the last card in Gabe's hand is a Blood+Moon, Alex lets him keep it, and then kills him on his next turn.
Alex wins Game 2, and is one game away from the Finals at 2-0!
Unfortunately for Gabe, he has to mulligan to six cards in this crucial game to stay alive. Alex gets to keep his opening seven.
Gabe starts this game by fetching a basic Island with a Polluted+Delta, and casting Ponder. He decides to keep the cards on top of his library, draws one, and then passes the turn to Alex. Alex leads with a Flooded+Strand for an Underground+Sea, and then casts a Delver+of+Secrets.
Alex plays and cracks another Polluted+Delta for a Volcanic+Island, and then Pyroblasts the Delver+of+Secrets to death. With his turn, Alex casts Cabal+Therapy, targeting Gabe. In response, Gabe casts a Brainstorm, but lets the Therapy resolve. Alex names "Counterbalance", but misses, as Gabe shows a hand of Ponder, Plains, Arid+Mesa, and Flooded+Strand. Alex then uses a Wasteland to destroy Gabe's Volcanic+Island, and then passes.
Gabe draws the Sensei's Divining Top he had hidden with Brainstorm, plays it and a basic Plains, and then says "go." Alex casts a Pithing+Needle, which Gabe responds to be drawing a card with his Sensei's Divining Top. After Gabe draws his card, Alex still names "Sensei's Divining Top" with his Pithing+Needle, shutting down the potent artifact. He then passes to Gabe, who starts his turn with a Ponder and a shuffle. Gabe draws from the Ponder and passes the turn back, but Alex casts a Brainstorm at the end of Gabe's turn. After resolving it, it is Alex's turn.
For his turn, Alex leads with a Gitaxian+Probe, paying life, to see a hand of Sensei's Divining Top, Arid+Mesa, Swords+to+Plowshares, and Council's Judgment. He then plays a Deathrite+Shaman, but that is immediately Swords to Plowshared by Gabe at the end of Alex's turn. Gabe starts by playing his Arid+Mesa from hand and then cracking both it and a Flooded+Strand to fetch a basic Island and a Volcanic+Island. He then casts a Blood+Moon.
Without access to most of his colors, Alex is forced to just draw his card and pass the turn. Gabe plays a Brainstorm and passes back, leading to Alex casting a Young+Pyromancer. However, Gabe had put a Terminus on top of his deck, clearing away the Pyromancer. He passes back to Gabe, who simply draws his card and passes the turn.
Gabe starts to go on the offensive by casting a Monastery+Mentor and passing to Alex, who still can't play any spells, thanks to the Blood+Moon. Gabe starts his turn off with a Dig+Through+Time, which gets him a Monk token and two cards. An attack with the Monastery+Mentor and a pass back to Alex, who still is on the draw-go plan.
Gabe plays a Snapcaster+Mage, targeting Ponder for his turn, keeping his cards, and then attacks with the Monastery+Mentor and one Monk. At the end of his turn, Alex Pyroblasts the Snapcaster+Mage, but still has to draw his card and say "go." Gabe goes for another Dig+Through+Time, but Alex has another Pyroblast for it. An attack by the Monks and their Mentor leads Alex to scoop up his cards. On to Game 4.
Gabe wins Game 3, staying alive for a Game 4. Alex still leads the match, 2-1!
Alex Bastecki Brainstorms for victory!
This time it is Alex who is on the play, and both players keep their opening sevens.
Alex starts with a Flooded+Strand, which he cracks to find an Underground+Sea. He then plays a Dread+of+Night and passes the turn. Gabe leads with a Volcanic+Island and a Ponder, leaving the cards on his library and drawing one. He then passes to Alex, who finds a Volcanic+Island with his Misty+Rainforest, and casts a Young+Pyromancer. An Island for Gabe and a pass is all he has for his second turn.
Alex has an attack with his Young+Pyromancer, followed by a Deathrite+Shaman. He plays a Wasteland and then passes the turn. Gabe casts a Council's Judgment, targeting Young+Pyromancer. This exiles the Young+Pyromancer, but Gabe's Tundra gets Wastelanded by Alex at the end of his turn.
Alex spends his turn by casting a Young+Pyromancer. On Gabe's turn, Gabe tries to Brainstorm, but that is Pyroblasted by Alex. Alex then plays a Ponder, making another Elemental token, and then drawing a card. An attack by the Pyromancer and his Elemental friends, and pass back to Gabe. Gabe plays a Sensei's Divining Top for his turn, which Alex attempts to Daze. Gabe pays for the Daze, and the Top resolves, but it is immediately Pithing Needled by Alex on his turn. Another attack by the Pyromancer and crew, and Gabe needs to find a Terminus before he dies.
Gabe draws his card for the turn, and plays a Monastery+Mentor, and has to pass the turn. After a Brainstorm by Alex, there is an attack by a couple Elemental tokens, which Gabe chump blocks with his Monastery+Mentor (it's a 1/1, thanks to Alex's Dread+of+Night). After drawing his card and not finding a miraculous Terminus, Gabe extends his hand.
Alex wins Game 4, and the match, 3-1! He is our first Invitational finalist!