Semifinals: Ian Anderson vs. Charles Gordon
Affinity had advanced, but could it waltz past Stoneforge+Mystic twice? Ian certainly hoped so.
Access to Supreme+Verdict gives Charles an efficient weapon against the robot masses.
Each player kept, and Charles led with Thoughtseize to strip the Thoughtcast from Ian’s hand, leaving him on two Memnites, Ornithopter, Vault+Skirge, and Signal+Pest. Starting off with a band, Ian cast Signal+Pest and all of his zero-drops, threatening five power on the next turn.
Charles played Flooded+Strand and ended the turn, taking 5 damage but making a play as Ian attempted to add Vault+Skirge to the battlefield. Fetching Tundra, he cast Counterspell on the creature, well aware that its damage could pile up quickly and wanting to burn his counter quickly.
He played karakas and passed once more. Ian was still on one land, but had another Vault+Skirge. When he entered combat, Charles Brainstormed in search of Swords+to+Plowshares, but failed to find and once more took 5 damage. The Skirge resolved, and on 7 life Charles was in range of lethal...
Of course, when he had a fourth land Ian knew to expect the worse, and Supreme+Verdict cleaned his crew. Signal+Pest did little to replace the loss, and now Stoneforge+Mystic resolved to find Batterskull on the next turn. Charles cast Jitte afterward, and ended his turn. Ian was in dire straits, and had no plays before Charles could untap and land the Jitte on his Mystic, but Charles elected to hold back in order to deploy Batterskull.
Ian found a land and cast Cranial+Plating, but Charles Forced it before putting Batterskull into play, and now the game would move quickly out of reach. Playing True-Name Nemesis after attacking, Charles wrapped up the game in short order from there. Even a late Ancient+Tomb to start sticking Etched+Champions was not enough.
Ian looks to his opponent's list for sideboarding strategies.
Charles 1, Ian 0
Turn 1 Vault+Skirge from Ian, with Scrubland and pass from Charles seemingly representing Swords+to+Plowshares. Ian played Mox+Opal and Charles paused but allowed it to resolve, realizing it was on whether he used Swords of not. Casting Cranial+Plating, Ian expected the Swords but was happy to get the Plating onto the battlefield. It would make his inviolable Etched+Champion all the more deadly...
Fetching, Charles cast Meddling+Mage and named Etched+Champion! That did a number on Ian’s plans, forcing him to Thoughtcast for threats instead. He found Ornithopter and Arcbound+Ravager, deploying both and creating a deadly presence. Now, he could probably force a Verdict from Charles that would relieve him of the Mage and make Champion all the more difficult to remove.
Brainstorming, Charles followed with Marsh+Flats and then used Swords+to+Plowshares on the Ravager. Ian debated his response, eventually just shifting its single counter to Ornithopter. Sitting on three Etched+Champions, Ian really needed this Ornithopter to go unchecked—but a third Swords+to+Plowshares from Charles took the wind from Ian’s sails and left him without a creature.
Meddling+Mage attacked, and Umezawa’s Jitte resolved to put Ian once more inside a tiny window to generate action—another Plating didn’t do the trick. The Jitte went active, and Ian was forced to wait, hoping for a way out and hoping that Charles couldn’t increase the pace of his clock. The Jitte ascended to four counters, and on the next turn Charles began using the counters to increase his clock.
Ian was on 11 and falling fast. He’d be dead in two turns, and dropped Memnite in an attempt to slow things down. He lost it to a counter, but had another Memnite next turn to go with Springleaf+Drum and attempt Tezzeret... but Charles Forced to lock it up.
Charles 2, Ian 0