Semifinals: Joe Gebhart vs. Matt Hoey
Matt faced a tough one this round: Merfolk. Merfolk have always preyed on sluggish blue decks, with Stoneblade leaning real heavily on Stoneforge+Mystic in the matchup. Would Matt’s Kor Artificers advance him to the finals?
Joe mulliganed and Matt joined him. “The less cards the better,” Matt said. “I’m on the draw.” A keep for Joe but a mulligan for Matt left him unexcited. Just Island on turn 1 from Joe, while Matt fetched Underground+Sea to cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek, meeting Spell+Pierce from Joe. Nothing on turn 2 for Joe, while Matt played Tundra and sent the turn.
Casting Silvergill+Adept, Joe nodded as Matt resolved Brainstorm in response. Polluted+Delta then Stoneforge+Mystic for Matt, and Joe appeared to be considering a response but allowed it to resolve. Searching for Jitte, Matt passed the turn. Joe resolved Lord+of+Atlantis and attacked for 3 damage, leaving Matt on 16.
Another Tundra on Matt’s side but nothing else, with Swords+to+Plowshares in response to Phantasmal+Image keeping Joe’s Lords off the field. Joe did still draw a card, and Matt managed to resolve his Mystic’s activation with Jitte. He equipped and attacked into a trade with the Imaged Adept, passing afterward.
Joe has shown the power of Force-less Merfolk!
Still the beatdown on this board, Joe had a full grip and two lands. He cast Lord+of+Atlantis, and that convinced Matt to kill the Adept with a Jitte counter. Trinket+Mage on the next turn searched for Engineered+Explosives, but it did not pick up the Jitte—Matt kept his two fetchlands uncracked. Master+of+the+Pearl+Trident let the Lord swing for 3 damage, and now Matt had to fight.
His Trinket+Mage grabbed Jitte, and it attacked. No blockers for Joe, and the Jitte grew to three counters. Matt played a third fetchland and ended his turn. Joe dropped his third land and cast Merrow+Reejerey—Sword to Plowshares on Lord+of+Atlantis in response gained Joe 3 life, and then the Jitte killed the Master.
Appearing to have control from this point, Matt attacked with his unbeatable Trinket+Mage and killed the Reejerey by making his Trinket+Mage a 4/4. Cavern+of+Souls for Joe named Wolves. “Going a little deep there,” Matt said. “What if I Force+of+Will your spell?” Joe tried to cast his own Umezawa’s Jitte, and Matt decided to try his Force, falling to 10-but Joe had Counterspell. Matt went to 14 life, and the Jittes traded.
Attacking Joe to 21, Matt passed. Coralhelm+Commander leveled to two, and Matt spent his turn on Inquisition to take Reejerey and leave Joe with Lord+of+Atlantis and Daze. The Reejerey moved to full, and Joe jammed his Lord+of+Atlantis for an extra point, putting Matt to 9 life... then losing his team to Engineered+Explosives.
He Dazed futilely first, while Matt fetched for the mana to crack the artifact before attacking for 2 damage. Joe had land and nothing else, Matt slowly clocking him with Trinket+Mage. Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor was pretty serious business from Matt, and he fatesealed Joe to leave Counterspell on top.
Joe passed, and Matt brainstormed with Jace after drawing Force. He attacked Joe to 15, and passed. Joe found Mishra’s Factory on top, but Matt had Vendilion+Clique to bait Joe’s Counterspell, resolving his Batterskull afterward. Jace returned to sealing fates, and Matt passed in total control.
Matt 1, Joe 0
Just Island for Joe, while Inquisition+of+Kozilek revealed Master+of+the+Pearl+Trident and Merrow+Reejerey, plus lands (including Factory). Taking Master, Matt passed. Joe played Factory and ended the turn, with a second Inquisition stealing his Reejerey as Matt passed the turn, on one land.
Coralhelm+Commander from Joe earned Force+of+Will from Matt, and he drew Underground+Sea to get back in the mana game. Mishra’s Factory swung for just 2, and Joe passed to Matt. Matt cast another Inqusition to pitch away Phantasmal+Image, but he would now have to contend with Silvergill+Adept and two Factories attacking him.
Matt is happy to be here with Esper StoneBlade!
Counterspell slew the Snapcaster he tried to block with, Matt going to 10. That became 9 for a fetchland, and he searched up Umezawa’s Jitte. A third Factory for Joe, and he swung for 6 damage with his team, pumping to put Matt on 2 when no one blocked.
Passing with four mana open, Matt ended the turn. If Joe sent the whole team, he was dead—but maybe Joe would be more cautious. He was—just two of the Mishra’s Factory let Batterskull surprise Joe, blocking to keep Matt alive on 1 life after a Factory pump. Jitte joined the Batterskull on Matt’s next turn, and now he was way ahead—his Batterskull put him to 5 life and gave the Jitte two counters!
Reejerey for Joe—Matt responded with a Jitte counter to kill Adept. Now Joe passed, and appeared effectively dead. Matt swung to gain 6 life on the next attack, going to 11 life, and Matt considered casting Jace, wary of Spell+Pierce. Joe only had Daze, which forced Matt to fetch, and he paid for the Daze.
Fateseal kept Merrow+Reejerey on top of the deck, and Matt killed the Reejerey with Jitte while leaving another on top. Joe appeared to give up, sending his lands at Jace before losing one and conceding after combat.
Matt 2, Joe 0