Semifinals: Harlan Firer vs. Kevin Jones
Two different flavors of Jeskai would duke it out for a seat in the finals—Kevin Jones with the Jeskai Aggro deck he put on the map at SCGNJ, while Harlan Firer was playing an innovative token deck with the Jeskai+Ascendancy combo built in.
Kevin is the Rabble Master.
Neither player made a move for the first two turns, but Harlan got the namesake on board on turn 3, casting Jeskai+Ascendancy. Kevin, for his part, had three lands, but they were all Flooded+Strand, which kept him from casting the stranded red threats in his hand. This gave Harlan the window he needed to flood the board, casting Springleaf+Drum, Hordeling+Outburst, and Monastery+Swiftspear on his fourth turn, threatening to overrun Kevin on the next turn.
Battlefield+Forge off the top for Kevin allowed him to cast a Goblin+Rabblemaster, but he was skeptical that it would save him. Harlan cast a second Springleaf+Drum, looted into Dig through Time with his Jeskai+Ascendancy, and then found the Retraction+Helix he needed to complete the combo. He cast Retraction+Helix targeting his Swiftspear, looked his Springleaf+Drum in and out of play a couple thousand times, and attacked for the win with his tokens.
Harlan Firer 1, Kevin Jones 0
Harlan has a fierce gameface.
Monastery+Swiftspear was the first threat of the game for Harlan, but Kevin dispatched it immediately with a Magma+Jet. Goblin+Rabblemaster joined the party the next turn, and began cranking out goblins and causing trouble. Kevin got in one attack with it and two goblins on his next turn, while Harlan developed his board with a Raise+the+Alarm. He was able to clear away the Rabblemaster with a Stoke+the+Flames on his next turn, and traded tokens on Kevin’s next attack.
Harlan had a Mantis+Rider to get his own aggression started. Kevin tried a Lightning strike to get rid of it, but Harlan used Gods+Willing to keep it alive. Kevin used an Anger+of+the+Gods to clear the board, then added Seeker+of+the+Way to re-apply the pressure. Harlan had “only” a Jeskai+Ascendancy, but no blockers, which gave Kevin a window to attack with his seeker and turn on Wingmate+Roc.
Harlan was suddenly facing a lethal board. He took his draw step and found a Stoke+the+Flames to kill off one Roc, but fell to 3 on the next turn, and found no help on his next turn.
Kevin Jones 1, Harlan Firer 1
Harlan, on the play, had the turn 1 Monastery+Swiftspear to begin the beatdowns immediately. He got in two pokes for 1, and attempted to deal a bit more damage on his third turn by casting a Jeskai+Charm before combat, but Kevin used Magma+Jet in response to get the Prowess creature off the board. Mantis+Rider replaced it, and Kevin fell to 9 from the attack.
Lightning+Strike from Kevin shot the Mantis+Rider out of the sky, and he followed up with Seeker+of+the+Way. Harlan had an end step Raise+the+Alarm, then used them both to fuel a convoked end step Stoke+the+Flames, dropping Kevin to 5. He untapped and cast Hordeling+Outburst, then passed the turn sitting on five 1/1 tokens. Kevin cashed in three of his five remaining life points to crack two Flooded+Strands and use a Shivan+Reef to cast Dig+Through+Time. After he was finished resolving it, Harlan took the window to resolve a Dig+Through+Time of his own.
Kevin untapped and cast Hordeling+Outburst, adding three 1/1 Goblins to the board and allowing him to attack with his Seeker+of+the+Way for some much needed lifegain. Harlan attempted a Jeskai+Ascendancy to pump all of his tokens, but Kevin was ready with a Negate, and traded off his Goblins with Harlan’s Goblins, falling to 2 from the remaining two soldier tokens. Kevin cast another Hordeling+Outburst and cracked in to gain another three life, going back up to 4. An end step Raise+the+Alarm amped up the pressure, as Harlan attacked with four Soldiers, trading off with Kevin’s Goblins and getting through for 1, dropping Kevin to 3. A post-combat Hordeling+Outburst gave him lethal attackers once more, and he shipped the turn back.
With his back against the wall, Kevin used Magma+Jet in his upkeep to set up his draw. He found a Dig+Through+Time on top, and took a moment to consider his outs before leaving it on top. He attacked with his 3/3 Seeker+of+the+Way, and Harlan decided he needed to block with a token. The Dig+Through+Time in combat allowed Kevin to gain 4 life off of his Seeker+of+the+Way, jumping up to 6 life after combat. He passed it back to Harlan, who had three 1/1 tokens in play and could see Kevin’s shields were down.
Kevin: “Dead to Charm, Dead to Stoke, Dead to Mantis+Rider, Dead to… Dig, probably?”
Harlan didn’t slowroll the draw. He flipped over the top card: Stoke+the+Flames! Kevin fell to 2, and the 1/1 tokens took it home.
Harlan Firer 2, Kevin Jones 1