Semifinals: Jeff Kruchkow vs. Nick Mudd
Jeff’s U/W/R Flash deck was the last such deck in the room now, and Nick Mudd was playing the aggressive B/W/R Humans deck that had served him well so far. Could he escape Jeff’s control tactics?
Jeff kept while Nick mulliganed his opening seven and six, going down to five cards. Sulfur Falls for Jeff while Nick opened on Godless Shrine. Augur of Bolas on turn 2 revealed nothing for Jeff, and Nick spent turn 2 on Cartel Aristocrat; would it survive?
A third-turn Augur of Bolas plus tapped Glacial Fortress meant the Aristocrat made it, although this Augur found Syncopate among the top three cards. Nick had the option of attacking in with his Cartel and burning Tragic Slip into the double block or just making his guy pro blue and getting in for 2 damage; he chose the latter.
Jeff played Sulfur Falls and passed, with three mana open. That dissuaded Nick from attacking and from casting Falkenrath Aristocrat. When he tried to get in for 2 by getting protection again on the next turn, Warleader’s Helix took the Cartel Aristocrat down. Champion of the Parish wasn’t much of a replacement...
The Augurs began attacking now, and when Nick returned fire a Restoration Angel untapped Augur of Bolas, revealing Pillar of Flame before the Champion died in blocks and Tragic Slip took out the Angel. Nick began passing turn while Jeff’s Augurs continued attacking, Desolate Lighthouse digging through the deck for Jeff.
Jeff took game 1 when Nick sputtered on threats.
A few more turns of that, and they were off to game 2.
Jeff 1, Nick 0
Each player opened on lands and seven cards in the second game, with Nick playing Gather the Townsfolk on turn 2. No Augur of Bolas landed to slow the Humans, and Nick paid 2 life for a shockland in order to cast Sin Collector. It resolved, spotting Detention Sphere, Azorius Charm, and two Sphinx’s Revelations. Nick took one of those Revelations, and ended the turn.
Cycling Azorius Charm in the end step, Jeff followed with Augur of Bolas on his own turn. That gave Nick a window to land Xathrid Necromancer, and he seized it before attacking with all of his creatures. Jeff declined to block, taking 4 and falling to 14. Detention Sphere exiled the Necromancer, and Jeff made his fourth land drop before ending the turn.
With the Sphere out of the way, Nick could deploy Falkenrath Aristocrat without fear. Nick swung with all of his creatures, sacrificing the blocked Sin Collector to get in 7 damage and put Jeff to 7. A second Detention Sphere swooped in, however, exiling the Vampire. That wasn’t enough—Nick had War Priest of Thune to destroy the Sphere after casting Lingering Souls.
Fortunately for Jeff, Azorius Charm kept lethal damage off his back. He fell to 6 life, making his sixth land with five opposing power on the board and Falkenrath on top of Nick’s deck. Nick recast it, resolving the Vampire and attacking with everything. Jeff blocked the War Priest and then Revelationed for three, with Nick sacrificing War Priest to put Jeff on 1 life when all was said and done.
Lifebane Zombie from Nick revealed Turn/Burn, Warleader’s Helix, Renounce the Guilds, and Blind Obedience. The Renounce killed both Sphere and Aristocrat, returning Xathrid Necromancer to Nick before he attacked with everyone, losing his Human token for a Zombie and getting in 2 damage, putting Jeff on 3 life. Lingering Souls flashbacked left Nick still with lethal damage against Jeff’s holdings...
Nick rallied after sideboarding!
Jeff cast Blind Obedience and passed the turn, but when Nick attacked with everything Jeff conceded.
Jeff 1, Nick 1
Jeff kept and Nick mulliganed; was a repeat of game 1 on the way? Jeff lacked the Augur of Bolas but Nick did have Gather the Townsfolk after standing strong on six cards. Detention Sphere answered the puny humans, and Nick followed with Lifebane Zombie. Revealing Warleader’s Helix, Sphinx’s Revelation, and two Restoration Angels, Nick sniped one and jotted down the remaining cards.
Jeff sighed, drawing and passing after playing his fourth land. Nick debated what to play from here; he could lead Falkenrath Aristocrat via Cavern of Souls, but Restoration Angel would then effectively trade with his Zombie. He decided to just swing for 3 damage and then played an untapped shockland before casting Xathrid Necromancer, effectively revealing his Tragic Slip. Restoration Angel in the end step allowed Jeff to begin attacking.
Now the coast seemed to be clear for Falkenrath Aristocrat, but Nick went with Human on his Cavern of Souls before casting the Vampire. Warleader’s Helix dispatched Xathrid Necromancer before it resolved, but that gave Nick a Zombie and the morbid to Tragic Slip Jeff’s Angel before attacking for 7, leaving Jeff on 14.
Augur of Bolas found Supreme Verdict, but Jeff couldn’t cast it quite yet. He passed, prepared to take 7 at least one more time. Nick could have added his second Necromancer to the board in order to be able to threaten lethal if Jeff cast Supreme Verdict and he drew another Human, but he decided to be more conservative. Going slow here had its risks, especially considering the Revelation he knew Jeff was still holding.
Verdict left Nick with just the Aristocrat, but he topdecked Sin Collector to reveal Celestial Flare, Ratchet Bomb, and Sphinx’s Revelation. Taking the Revelation, Nick added Necromancer to the board as well and then attacked Jeff down to just 3 life.
Facing Falkenrath, Necromancer, and Sin Collector, Jeff needed quite the topdeck... he found nothing good enough awaiting him.
Jeff 1, Nick 2