Semifinals: Lloyd Kurth vs. Dan Jessup
It was all Pack Rat all the time in this semifinal, as Dan Jessup brought Mono-Black Devotion to the table against Lloyd Kurth’s B/W Midrange. Which Rat deck would prevail?
Dan kicked things off with a Thoughtseize, seeing a juicy hand from Lloyd: Banishing Light, Desecration Demon, Ultimate Price, Underworld Connectons, and Obzedat, Ghost Council. He deprived him of the Ultimate Price. His plan became clear when he cast a turn 2 Pack Rat, but Lloyd had found the third untapped land, and was able to exile it with Banishing Light.
Dan puts Nightveil Specter to work.
Sign in Blood dug Dan a little deeper, and a turn 4 Underworld Connections looked to do the same for Lloyd. Not to be left out, Dan had an Underworld Connections of his own, and the grind began in earnest. Desecration Demon came down for Lloyd, and a Thoughtseize from Danny saw a second Demon, an Obzedat, and Pack Rat and a Thoughtseize left in his hand. Lloyd lost the Pack Rat, and Dan played a Desecration Demon of his own before passing the turn.
Lloyd had a Thoughtseize of his own, seeing Pack Rat, Nightveil Specter, Hero’s Downfall, and a second Underworld Connections. Like Dan the turn before, he decided the scariest card was Pack Rat. He then played his Desecration Demon and passed. Dan untapped and Thoughtseized again, seeing some bad news: Lloyd had drawn a second Obzedat to insulate himself against discard. Dan had Hero’s Downfall for the Demon, and found another copy on his next turn when Lloyd’s freshly cast Obzedat entered play.
Nightveil Specter arrived for Dan, and it went to work, Finding Dan a Temple of Silence before it fell to Hero’s Downfall. He then drew a second Underworld Connections of his own, and now both players were seeing three new cards a turn. This arrangement dramatically favored the player with Gray Merchant of Asphodels, however, and Dan promptly found one, bringing life totals to 10 for Dan, and 4 for Lloyd.
Dan Jessup 1, Lloyd Kurth 0
Once again it was a turn 1 Thoughtseize from Dan that started things off. This time he saw three lands, Pack Rat, Desecration Demon, and Erebos, God of the Dead. He contemplated a bit before deciding that keeping Pack Rat out of play was the most important thing, and got rid of it. Dan followed up with his own Pack Rat, but Lloyd was ready with Hero’s Downfall.
Dan’s Lifebane Zombie took a peek and saw that Lloyd had drawn a fresh Pack Rat. Lloyd drew Thoughtseize for his turn and scoped out Dan’s hand of Hero’s Downfall, Underworld Connections, Lifebane Zombie, and Temple of Deceit, taking the Downfall. He played his Pack Rat and passed. Dan had only Underworld Connections—the Rat would stay in play!
Perhaps fearing Bile Blight, Lloyd opted to play Erebos, God of the Dead on his own turn rather than begin any Pack Rat shenanigans. A second Lifebane Zombie came down for Dan, and he passed back. This time Lloyd decided that the Rats were worth it, pitching his Desecration Demon. Dan untapped and cast Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Lloyd’s Erebos kept him from gaining any life, but Lloyd still fell to 7, and then to 4 from the Lifebane attack.
Lloyd untapped and put Elspeth, Sun’s Champion into play, making three Soldiers and passing. This left his Pack Rat exposed, and Dan was happy to offer the trade of Lifebane Zombie for Pack Rat, which Lloyd accepted. Dan cast a Pack Rat of his own, with plenty of lands in play to put it to work. Lloyd drew and cast Underworld Connections, not an exciting draw with so little life to work with.
Dan made his Rat and Lloyd’s end step, then untapped and swung across with everything. Lloyd spent a moment in the tank before simply chump-blocking with three tokens. Dan passed, and Lloyd drew Pack Rat in his draw step and found another Underworld Connections with his first Connections. This one was more significant thanks to it’s 1BB mana cost, as it turned on Lloyd’s Erebos and allowed him to attack Dan down to 6. Lloyd made more Elspeth tokens and passed back.
Dan made two more Rats at Lloyd’s end step, then untapped and attacked with four Rats and a Gray Merchant. Lloyd quickly shoved a Soldier in front of each. Dan had found no other means of interaction, and Lloyd was able to steal the game on his own turn with Elspeth’s Ultimate, which allowed Erebos to fly over for the win.
Lloyd Kurth 1, Dan Jessup 1
Lloyd does not appear to have noticed that thing on his head.
This time it was Lloyd who had the turn 1 Thoughtseize, and he saw a hand of three Swamps, two Pack Rats, and a Nightveil Specter. He took one Rat, and had Devour Flesh when Dan played a second. Dan’s turn 3 Nightveil Specter met Banishing Light from Lloyd, and Dan took the chance to gas up with a Sign in Blood.
Lloyd, his hand full of answers, began attacking with his Mutavault. Dan played Underworld Connections and got one activation out of it before Lloyd used a Deicide to destroy it. Dan untapped and used Thoughtseize to clear away Hero’s Downfall, the last spell in Lloyd’s hand, then put Nightveil Specter into play. Lloyd had no answer, and the Specter attacked and stole one of Lloyd’s Pack Rats. It entered play, and it was Dan’s game to lose.
Erebos, God of the Dead showed up for Lloyd, although on his empty board it was a long way from being a creature. Dan pitched Underworld Connections to make a Pack Rat, then untapped and attacked. He had Bile Blight before blockers to take out Lloyd’s Mutavault, and Lloyd fell to 6. He untapped, drew his card, and extended the hand in defeat.
Dan Jessup 2, Andy Boswell 1