Semifinals: Joe Alane vs. Jason Jaco
Two fattie decks were paired in this semifinal, with each looking to cheat fatties into play but each using different mechanisms. Would Jason Sneak in, or would Joe Reanimate the win from the graveyard?
Joe's Reanimation didn't really come together in game 1.
Joe started the match by mulliganing to six, while Jason hung onto seven. Fetching Underground Sea, Joe started the game with Thoughtseize. It revealed two Emrakul, Sneak Attack, Force of Will, Show and Tell, Ponder, and Volcanic Island. He took the Ponder, deciding to take his chances against the top of Jason’s deck.
Jason passed, and Joe cast Careful Study to pitch Badlands and Lotus Petal, apparently light on fatties... or keeping one in case of Show and Tell. Jason drew Ancient Tomb and then passed, declining to play Show and Tell. Each drew and passed once more before Joe found Lotus Petal, but he made no plays.
Playing Lotus Petal himself, Jason debated going for something... his mana could beat soft counters in a fight against Joe, so he could ramp his way into an actual kill if he found slightly more mana while leaning on Force of Will to protect himself. His Brainstorm found some goods, and he played an Island prior to resolving Show and Tell with a mana up in Lotus Petal... and he put in Sneak Attack.
Joe put in Tidespout Tyrant!
Any instant would enable Joe to defend himself from Emrakul with the Tyrant, so Jason dropped in Griselbrand and tried to attack. When he swung, Izzet Charm forced him to draw seven cards in response, falling to 11 life. If Joe untapped into two more spells, it would go a long way toward complicating Jason’s life. Joe pitched Daze and another Izzet Charm, and in second main Jason played Lotus Petal safely—that Daze would’ve been pretty sweet here!
Discarding to seven, Jason passed. Joe swung for 5 with Tidespout Tyrant, and ended the turn with two mana available. Sneak Attack on Jason’s turn dropped Griselbrand into play, and then Emrakul—Brainstorm bounced Emrakul, but Griselbrand connected after Spell Pierce countered the Brainstorm. On 13, Jason fell to 6 for Griselbrand’s draw seven before once more discarding an Emrakul to shuffle his graveyard into his library, outlawing Reanimate from Joe.
The Tyrant attacked once more, threatening to put Jason to 1. Jason sacrificed his Lotus Petal for red, dropping in Emrakul and eating the Tyrant. After combat, Joe popped his fetchland for Volcanic Island and cast Exhume, grabbing back the Tyrant... except that Force of Will exiling Brainstorm shut Joe down. That ended the turn, and with Emrakul’s trigger on the stack Jason checked the top three with Top before letting the shuffle happen, perhaps interested in trading his Top. He Topped again after the shuffle, finding Griselbrand and earning the concession.
Jason digs frantically for a fattie.
Jason 1, Joe 0
Joe stuck with seven to begin, while Jason did the same. Underground Sea and Thoughtseize for Joe, revealing Spell Pierce, Sneak Attack, Force of Will, Repeal, Sensei’s Divining Top, Scalding Tarn, and Volcanic Island. “That’s a good one,” Joe said. He took the Top to Jason’s surprise, and ended his turn.
Volcanic Island and pass for Jason, with Joe casting Careful Study to pitch Dark Ritual and a land before playing Delta. Jason played a land and passed, another Careful Study digging in for Joe immediately after to pitch two more lands. Jason made more land drops, sending the turn, and Joe stopped making plays altogether!
Ancient Tomb enabled Sneak Attack for Jason, and now Joe was in trouble. He Brainstormed on his own turn, looking for help, and passing back to Jason afterward. Jason’s main phase Brainstorm met an immediate Force pitching Force from Joe, and Jason Spell Pierced back. He Brainstormed successfully, then followed with Ponder and a shuffle.
Joe played a land and shipped turn, while Jason untapped and snuck in Griselbrand. He drew seven cards, going to 11 life and finding not much in those cards. He went to 4 life for seven more, still missing another creature as Jason played Brainstorm and bricked once more. Repeal on Lotus Petal found another Brainstorm... still nothing! He had to settle for swinging in with the Griselbrand, going to 11 and ending the turn after pitching a lot of his hand.
Cracking Delta in the end step, Joe fetched an Underground Sea and then untapped and tried Reanimate on the Griselbrand. Force pitching Force countered, and Joe fetched again before casting Animate Dead on the Griselbrand, earning Spell Pierce. Jason fell to 8 for his fetchland, shuffling the deck before drawing and locating Top. He used it, seeing no Emrakul and dropping in Griselbrand with his Sneak Attack. He went to 1 life to draw seven cards, missing Emrakul still!
He Topped and missed once again, attacking Joe down to 1 life and playing a fetchland before hitting cleanup once again. Joe drew and passed, and Jason fell to 7 to shuffle the deck and use Top in the end step.
There was an Emrakul in the three.
That did the trick.
Jason 2, Joe 0