Semifinals: James Tennant vs. Justin Crandall
Justin Crandall had slogged through the field of fat green monsters to reach the semifinals, but now faced a different kind of threat in the form of James Tennant’s R/W Burn deck.
Justin awaits his fate.
James had land-go for the first two turns, and Justin was first to the board with a turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid. This enabled Courser of Kruphix on his third turn, but he didn’t find a third land to go with it. James, for his part, had Mountain, Mutavault, Mutavault in play with a collection of double-red spells in his hand.
James animated a Mutavault and attacked into the Courser, but Justin took the two damage, smelling a Shock. Justin untapped, missed again on a land, but put a second Courser of Kruphix into play. James found his second Mountain and cast Eidolon of the Great Revel, and Justin, still without a land, dispatched it with a Mizzium Mortars before attacking with both of his Coursers, bringing the life totals to 14 apiece.
Sacred Foundry showed up, untapped, for James, who used all of his red sources to Shock and Searing Blood one of the Coursers. Justin missed yet again on his land, but did find a mana source in the form of Sylvan Caraytid. It was too little, too late, though, as James fired off a Boros Charm and a Lightning Strike at Justin’s end step, then untapped and showed him Warleader’s Helix for the kill.
James Tennant 1, Justin Crandall 0
Both players led off with Temples to smooth out their draws, and Justin again was first to the board with a turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid. James fine-tuned his hand even further on his turn with a Wild Guess, pitching an extraneous Mountain. Justin had a big play on his turn 3, a Fiendslayer Paladin that threatened to run away with things, but James found his answer, casting Chained to the Rocks.
Unfazed, Justin simply plopped another Fiendslayer Paladin into play along with a Keening Apparition, which unchained the first on James’s end step. When the Fiendslayer’s came swinging, James had a Skullcrack to knock Justin to 13, and Justin played the third Fiendslayer Paladin post-combat. An end-step Magma Jet dropped Justin to 11.
James simply passed without plays again, and was quick to Skullcrack when Justin attacked again with his lifelinkers. Justin had Courser of Kruphix post-combat, but James quickly slammed his sixth land into play from the top of his library and overloaded a Mizzium Mortars, killing off three Fiendslayer Paladins, a Sylvan Caryatid, and the Courser. He didn’t have too much room to breathe, however, as Justin immediately found Xenagos, the Reveler to keep putting the pressure on, making a 2/2 Satyr that dropped James to just 6.
James knew the next turn cycle was cruclal, and took a moment in the tank before attacking Justin down to 6 with his Mutavault rather than leaving it back to block. He passed the turn with just two Harness by Force in his hand, but Justin went for the kill, making a second Satyr with his Xenagos then casting another Xenagos from his hand to make the lethal third attacker.
James Tennant 1, Justin Crandall 1
James checks life totals before deciding on a play.
This time it was James with the power two-drop, putting a Satyr Firedancer into play on turn 2. Justin simply had tap-lands for his first two turns, and James looked to put the pressure on with a turn 3 Chandra’s Phoenix. They both attacked, and Justin used Magma Spray to dispose of the Firedancer in combat. He had a third tapped land and a Keening Apparition on his own turn.
James used Magma Jet on his upkeep to drop Justin to 16, then sent the Phoenix to drop him to 14. Justin attacked right back, then found a monster threat in the form of Polukranos, World Eater. Another upkeep Magma Jet sent both cards to the bottom for James, and his draw step found a crucial white source to unlock the spells stuck in his hand, albeit a tapped white source, Temple of Triumph. After some deliberation he decided he could still afford to attack with the Chandra’s Phoenix, dropping Justin to 10.
He didn’t stay at 10 for long, however, as he triumphantly slammed Unflinching Courage onto his Polukranos for the 7-life swing, jumping back up to '17 and dropping James to 9. James needed to find a Chained to the Rocks immediately, and found a Boros Charm instead. He scavenged the board for an out, didn’t find one, and extended the hand.
Justin Crandall 2, James Tennant 1