Semifinals: Gerard Fabiano vs. Eric Rill
Gerard was playing the U/W/R tempo strategy that has been gaining popularity in Legacy this year, while Eric was on Adam Prosak’s beloved Storm deck.
Tundra into Delver of Secrets started the match for Gerard, while Eric fetched Swamp to cast Cabal Therapy, naming Force of Will and seeing Ponder, Batterskull, Geist of Saint Traft, Vendilion Clique, and Misty Rainforest. Swing and a miss!
No flip for Gerard, but Ponder set up a potential one for the following turn. Eric fetched up Island for turn 2, casting Ponder himself and keeping the top three in place and resolving Lion’s Eye Diamond. Gerard flipped over Brainstorm and upgraded his Delver, attacking for 3 damage. Did he have the third land to threaten Clique? Indeed, another fetchland did exactly that.
Eric played Brainstorm with a fetchland up and began doing a little math before breaking it for Volcanic Island. Dark Ritual into Cabal Ritual earned a response from Gerard—he broke his fetchlands for Vendilion Clique, and Eric replied with Brainstorm. He revealed Infernal Tutor, Ponder, and Lotus Petal to Gerard—the real gem was the Past in Flames hidden on top that Gerard might cycle him into!
If Gerard didn’t take a card, then Eric could use Lotus Petal and Ponder to draw the Past in Flames, breaking Diamond in response to the Ponder for red mana and giving him six black and three red before he drew Past in Flames... if that Cabal Ritual resolved. Gerard correctly decided to let Eric keep the cards, and then Force of Willed the Cabal Ritual to cut him off at the knees.
Eric could Petal and then Tutor, popping his Diamond in response, but then he’d have just three mana and the spell of his choice—not much. He passed the turn. Gerard Brainstormed on his own turn before attacking for 6 damage, playing a land, and shipping with three mana available.
Casting his Lotus Petal, Eric appeared intent on going for something this turn. He played Infernal Tutor and broke his Diamond in response, searching for another Diamond and pitching Past in Flames. He cast the Diamond, broke it for more mana, and then flashbacked Past in Flames. That did the trick—Dark Ritual into Cabal Ritual into Infernal Tutor with a couple of cantrips along the way provided Eric with a lethal storm count, and Cabal Therapy nabbed Gerard’s Stifle before the Tendrils ever hit the stack.
Then, a costly misstep—despite having a remaining mana, Eric only did the Tendrils for the 18 he needed, giving Gerard—at 17 life—the opportunity to Swords his own creature and go to 20! He survived at 2 life.
Gerard's got the monopoly of flying blue creatures in the top 4.
Then Eric conceded.
Eric 0, Gerard 1
Cabal Therapy named Force of Will once more, revealing two Spell Pierce, Flusterstorm, Stifle, and Ponder alongside Gerard’s land. Volcanic Island and pass for Gerard, with Eric likely concerned by his decision not to Ponder. He broke a fetchland, and Gerard Stifled to leave Eric on just Swamp.
Playing Misty Rainforest, Gerard passed the turn. Eric had Tropical Island and pass, with Gerard Brainstorming in the end step and breaking his fetchland to shuffle for Tundra. Gerard Pondered, played Wasteland, and then fired it during Eric’s upkeep to put him back on the lonely Swamp. Eric cast Lion’s Eye Diamond, losing it to Spell Pierce before playing Dark Ritual, Dark Ritual, and Ad Nauseam with no mana floating.
Duress, Brainstorm, Abrupt Decay, Duress, Cabal Ritual, Flooded Strand, Infernal Tutor—not good enough yet! Another Tutor, but he really needed another Lion’s Eye Diamond to make this happen. Deciding to go for it with what he’d found, Eric played Lotus Petal and then revealed he’d been holding a second Lion’s Eye Diamond before fetching up Underground Sea and going to town.
No miscalculations this time—just an easy handful of rituals before Infernal Tutor found him the full kill.
Eric 1, Gerard 1
“I messed that one up,” Gerard admitted—the score appeared to have been evened going into the third game. Starting with a Volcanic Island and Delver of Secrets, Gerard had a clock this time. Eric fetched Island and cast Ponder to start digging for combo pieces, and sent the turn to Gerard afterward.
Breaking his fetchland for Volcanic Island, Gerard ended the turn. Eric played Polluted Delta and broke it, finding Tropical Island and buying him an outlet for major mana—Carpet of Flowers. Gerard allowed it to resolve, and Eric cast Brainstorm afterward—that met Red Elemental Blast. Eric passed the turn, not bothering to trigger Carpet during his second main and ruse a Stifle out of Gerard.
An attack and a pass for Gerard, and no reaction from Gerard when Eric attempted to make mana with Carpet of Flowers. He Brainstormed, and Gerard Brainstormed as well. Force of Will on the Brainstorm exiled Geist, an aggressive choice on Gerard’s part. Playing Flooded Strand, Eric ended the turn. Gerard sent in 3 damage to put Eric on 8 life, with the Vendilion Clique in his hand and the Lightning Bolt on top of his deck representing lethal damage.
The Carpet met Stifle this turn, and Eric played Lion’s Eye Diamond before ending the turn. Gerard attacked for 3 damage, leaving Eric on 5, and passed. Eric played Lotus Petal, then declared Infernal Tutor and broke Lion’s Eye Diamond for blue. Taking some time to decide, Eric landed on a mystery card, and passed the turn.
Gerard 2, Eric 1