Semifinals: Jeff Rasmussen vs. Grant Wilkinson
Two standbys of the Legacy format met in the semifinals, with Grant on Storm while Jeff was playing RUG Delver, heir to the tempo mantle of Canadian Threshold. Jeff was dismayed to see Carpet of Flowers in Grant’s board, but optimistic about his odds nonetheless.
Jeff kept quickly, but Grant mulliganed in disgust. “This is awful!” Looking for a much stronger six, Grant found one and cast Ponder via Island once Jeff had resolved a turn 1 Nimble Mongoose. His top three stayed in place, but when Jeff cast his own Ponder on turn 2 those cards got shuffled quickly. He drew, then passed the turn without a second land.
Grant has displayed a mastery of Storm on the weekend.
Grant Duressed after fetching Swamp, spotting two Stifle, Spell Snare, Spell Pierce, and Force of Will alongside a withheld Wasteland. “Good luck!” Jeff said, very aware that his hand was real strong against his opponent’s strategy. He lost the Force, but with Spell Snare and Stifle forming a pseudo-soft lock against Infernal Tutor and Tendrils, he had to feel all right.
Swinging for 1 damage, Jeff ended the turn with just Tropical Island in play once more. Cabal Therapy on the next turn named Spell Pierce, revealing Jeff had drawn Lightning Bolt. Grant passed, and then used Jeff’s upkeep to cast two Dark Rituals and Ad Nauseam for value, planning no kill but knowing he needed more gas.
Ad Nauseam revealed two Ponders, Gitaxian Probe, a pair of Lotus Petals, Infernal Tutor, and Tendrils of Agony alongside Duress. Jeff used his Wasteland on Underground Sea and swung in for 1 more damage, putting Grant to 6 life. He knew he could die this turn, which was a far cry from his previous position of strength.
Duress took Spell Snare on Grant’s turn, revealing a second Lightning Bolt, and two Lotus Petals plus Lion’s Eye Diamond followed. He fetched, going to 5 life for an Underground Sea, and then cast Infernal Tutor and popped Lion’s Eye Diamond in response to get red mana. Finding past in Flames, he cast it using Lotus Petal before using the last Petal to flashback his Dark Rituals. That gave him five black, which he used to flashback Infernal Tutor for Lion’s Eye Diamond before flashbacking Cabal Therapy for mana, naming Stifle.
Then he cast Tendrils of Agony for lethal.
Grant 1, Jeff 0
An impressive sequence from Grant had seen him tear Jeff’s hate-laden hand to shreds before a combo-kill with very little sweat involved, courtesy a slow clock from Jeff in Nimble Mongoose. Tropical Island an no one-drop this time, while Grant opened on Underground Sea and Preordain.
Jeff's been pursuing a trophy with RUG all year.
An end step Brainstorm from Jeff led to a turn 2 Wasteland on that Sea, with Jeff debating another play before passing the turn. Volcanic Island and then Lotus Petal resolved for Grant, and Jeff tried to Brainstorm but found Grant casting his own copy of the spell in response. Each resolved, and Jeff spent turn 3 fetching Volcanic Island before casting Ponder to dig deeper into the deck.
The Ponder stayed in place, and Jeff ended the turn. Grant was still on just Volcanic Island as he cast Preordain to send both cards down to the bottom, and pass. Jeff dropped Tarn and then Nimble Mongoose before Pondering for a sixth card in his graveyard, with the fetchland making seven. This time, his clock was a bit more dangerous.
Grant kept a Ponder before casting Gitaxian Probe at the cost of 2 life, revealing Stifle and two Force of Wills alongside Lightning Bolt and Tarmogoyf. The Petal cracked for Duress on Stifle, and Polluted Delta from Grant grabbed Swamp to cast Cabal Therapy and take out the Force of Wills. With Jeff now defenseless, Grant passed.
He fell to 14 as Jeff played Tarmogoyf and attacked, the 4/5 making it a two-turn clock. Grant really needed another bit of action here, sitting on a bunch of Diamonds and Past in Flames—he decided to wait one more turn, knowing even if Jeff drew another Bolt he’d survive the turn at 1 life.
Jeff fetched and then drew, sending 7 damage and putting Grant to 7 before passing. On the next turn, he cast Cabal Ritual before playing three Lion’s Eye Diamond and casting Past in Flames from his hand with two black mana floating. Once it resolved, he had access to three Black Lotus! Flashbacking Cabal Therapy and then Duress, he discarded Jeff’s drawn Stifle before blowing a Diamond for blue mana to start drawing cards. Gitaxian Probe grabbed one, but he immediately went for Preordain and sent both cards to the bottom...
Grant 2, Jeff 0