Semifinals: Glenn Jones vs. Sheldon Freerksen
Two competing flavors of Abzan would duke it out here for a seat in the finals: Glenn Jones was with Abzan Reanimator, while Sheldon Freerksen brought traditional Abzan Midrange to the table.
Sheldon is calm and collected.
Glenn got off to a slow start, not making a play for his first three turns. Sheldon opened with turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid, then cast a second Caryatid and a Thoughtseize on his third turn, seeing a juicy hand of Hero’s Downfall, Whip or Erebos, Murderous Cut, Reclamation Sage, Siege Rhino, and Llanowar Wastes. He sniped the Whip of Erebos and passed to Glenn, who wasted no time getting a Siege Rhino into play.
The Siege Rhino was quickly dispatched with an Abzan Charm, and a second Thoughtseize revealed another Siege Rhino as the freshly drawn card in Glenn’s hand, and it was swiftly sent to the graveyard. Glenn played a Satyr Wayfinder, missed on a land, and passed back to Sheldon, who cast a Siege Rhino of his own, although it was quickly Cut down at his end step thanks to Murderous Cut.
Both players traded threat-for-answer over the next few turns. Sheldon’s Courser of Kruphix was destroyed by Reclamation Sage, and his Sorin, Solemn Visitor was dispatched by Hero’s Downfall. Glenn cast a Thoughtseize to see a hand of only Hero’s Downfalls, getting rid of one and adding a second Satyr Wayfinder to his board, netting a Temple of Malady for his troubles. The anemic beats began on both sides, as a 2/2 Vampire Token on Sheldon’s side traded licks with two Satyr Wayfinders and a Reclamation Sage on Glenn’s side.
A Courser of Kruphix for Sheldon stabilized his end of the board. Glenn drew Commune with the Gods and found a Courser of his own off of it, although it died to a Hero’s Downfall from Sheldon. Sheldon drew a second Courser on his next turn, and revealed Elspeth, Sun’s Champion looming on top of his library. Glenn Communed again into a Satyr Wayfinder, which put a Hornet Queen into his graveyard, but he was without the Whip of Erebos he’d need to make use of it. Sheldon attacked Glenn down to 5 (drawing a Murderous Cut on the flying Vampire in the process) and then cast his Elspeth and added three tokens to the board.
Glenn knew he’d need a Whip immediately to get out of this bind, and the top of his deck delivered! He cast it, activated it, and gained a pile of hornets. When he made his move to attack and gain some much needed life, however, Sheldon cast Utter End to exile the Whip of Erebos. Glenn saw that he couldn’t survive the next combat, and scooped up his cards.
Sheldon Freerksen 1, Glenn Jones 0
Glenn tries to find the way.
Both players had taplands to begin the game, and Glenn opened up the action with a turn 2 Thoughtseize, seeing Abzan Charm, Courser of Kruphix, Read the Bones, and four lands . He deprived Sheldon of his Abzan Charm. After a few more turns of developing their manabases, Glenn added the first creature the board, a Satyr Wayfinder, although he failed to find a fourth land off of it. Sheldon cast Courser of Kruphix next, and Glenn matched it with a Courser of his own. Sheldon found a fifth land off of his Courser on his next turn and cast both Siege Rhino and Thoughtseize, clearing a Hornet Queen out of Glenn’s hand and leaving him with a Glare of Heresy.
The Glare disposed of Siege Rhino promptly, and Glenn’s freshly drawn Satyr Wayfinder found him a land, while Courser of Kruphix found him another on top. Sheldon added a second Courser of Kruphix to his board, and his life total was steadily climbing up. Glenn used Murderous Cut to get rid of one Courser, but had no pressure, and Sheldon took the opportunity to cast a pair of Abzan Charms, drawing four fresh cards. He cast a third Charm on his next turn, but thanks to his Courser of Kruphix, it was public knowledge that his drawn cards hadn’t given him any way to make a headway—they were mostly land, with a pair of Thoughtseizes mixed in against Glenn’s empty hand.
After a few more turns of draw-go on both sides, Sheldon found a Siege Rhino. He cast a pair of Thoughtseizes before playing the Rhino, clearing away Murderous Cut and Glare of Heresy from Glenn’s hand and clearing the way for the Rhino to stick. Glenn drew and cast Doomwake Giant, which stabilized the ground, but Sheldon had Unravel the Aether at the ready to shuffle the Giant back into Glenn’s deck. The Siege Rhino came swinging, dropping Glenn to 7. Glenn found only more land, and passed it back to Sheldon, who had found another Siege Rhino on top of his library. When he attacked again, Glenn blocked with a Wayfinder to save one life and keep from dying to the next Rhino’s trigger.
Sheldon untapped and drew, and the third Siege Rhino appeared on top of his library. Glenn was holding on for dear life to beat the second Rhino, and knew there was no beating the third. He shrugged and extended the hand in defeat.
Sheldon Freerksen 2, Glenn Jones 0