Semifinals: John Rolf vs. Sean Weihe
A Jund mirror match awaited these two players—a matchup both of them had no doubt become familiar with over the course of playing Standard these last few months. That guaranteed one Jund in the finals...
Fortune has been on Sean's side so far...
Sean kept his seven cards while John mulliganed twice, taking a heavy disadvantage early. He’d be hoping for a hand of mostly lands now, ideally curving into a topdecked Rakdos’s Return to level the playing field without exposing himself to the same spell from Sean.
Two land on five cards was a keep, even if none of them could cast Lifebane Zombie. Sean opened on lands as did John, finding a third one in time for turn 3 and a fourth one on turn 4. He had options now—cast Lifebane Zombie or cast Huntmaster of the Fells. Huntmaster now would get under Sean’s Huntmaster while having a turn without Bonfire in the mix, while Lifebane Zombie could snag a Huntmaster and create a threat.
Leading the Zombie, he revealed Rakdos’s Return, Garruk, Primal Hunter, Bonfire of the Damned, Tragic Slip, Olivia Voldaren, and two green ones: Thragtusk and Huntmaster of the Fells. John took the Huntmaster, hoping to mana screw Sean right out of this game by depriving him of the few plays he could make.
Sean Slipped the Lifebane Zombie and John followed with Huntmaster of the Fells. John drew his own Zombie and cast it to steal John’s Thragtusk, passing with three lands and the 3/1 in play. John could either cast the Bonfire he’d revealed, miracle the Bonfire he drew, or cast Olivia Voldaren—he decided on the latter, and refused to attack with his Wolf token to try and keep as much board presence as possible.
He fell to 18 when Sean attacked, and his Huntmaster then flipped to kill the Zombie and create an opportunity for a big attack—9 damage. That turned to 6 when another Tragic Slip slew Olivia, and Sean spent his own turn on another Lifebane Zombie. Bonfire for 2 cleared the Zombie, and John attacked Sean to 3.
Sean drew his fourth land, but determined that it was too late now and conceded.
John was plagued by mulligans but proud of his Top 4 finish.
John 1, Sean 0
Leading Blood Crypt, Sean passed to John who had Stomping Ground. Each player missed turn 2 Farseek, but John had turn 3 Lifebane Zombie when Sean whiffed, stealing Thragtusk and seeing Dreadbore, Kessig Wolf Run, Woodland Cemetery, Olivia Voldaren, and Rakdos’s Return.
Sean jammed Olivia on turn 4, and John lacked an answer. Attacking, he followed by casting his own Olivia. Sean took it and sacrificed it immediately on his fifth turn, then did the same when John played a second Olivia on turn 6, adding Duress to the mix this time. That snagged a Bonfire and left John with Underworld Connections and Garruk, Primal Hunter. He landed the Connections, drew, and attacked for 3 before conceding.
John 1, Sean 1
Another mulligan for John while Sean kept seven on the draw, and he dropped to five cards following a one-land Farseek hand, with this five being three Rakdos’s Returns and a single land plus Thragtusk—that wouldn’t do it. An anticlimactic third game could be in the works; was it possible John would repeat his game 1 feat down an additional card?
Sean had Farseek to leap ahead on turn 2 while John continued to just play lands. Sean’s Scavenging Ooze was the first threat onto the board, and John managed to draw a fourth land and play it before a Rakdos’s Retun left him hellbent. He returned the favor with a Blightning-sized Return off the top, hoping to peel out from under the Ooze. Sean declined to grow it, instead tapping out for Garruk, Primal Hunter and creating a Beast token.
John just played another land, and Sean swung in—growing his Ooze to 6/6 and dealing John 9 damage before pumping Garruk, leaving too much pressure on the board for John to overcome.
John 1, Sean 2