Semifinals: Louise Callanta vs. Charlie Rinehart
Louise Callanta battled through a grueling control mirror in his quarterfinal, but now faced a different threat: Charlie Rinehart and his Black/White Midrange deck.
Charlie crunches the numbers before his attack.
Both players led off with Temples of Enlightenment, prompting a laugh from both players, as Charlie’s Temple was a 1-of off-color land. Charlie had the first play of the game on turn 3, casting a Pack Rat, and Louise fired back with a Jace, Architect of Thought, which he ticked up. Desecration Demon joined the Pack Rat on Charlie’s board, and he passed the turn back.
Jace, Arcitect of Thought’s -2 ability revealed Supreme Verdict and two lands, and Louise kept the Verdict, which he immediately used. Charlie’s next threat was an Obzedat, Ghost Council, and Louise used Jace’s -2 ability again, this time netting a Detention Sphere over Supreme Verdict and land. He added a second planeswalker, Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, to the board, made three tokens and passed.
Charlie’s next turn was a big one. He first used Bile Blight to clear out the soldier tokens. He then Activated Mutavault and attacked with it and his Obzedat, Ghost Council, the Mutavault dealing with Jace, Architect of Thought and the Obzedat killing off Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. Louise battled back to clear his opponent’s board as well, killing off Obzedat with a Hero’s Downfall, and countering Charlie’s follow-up Elspeth with a Dissolve.
Louise: “Here comes the tech!”
On an empty board, Louise looked to lock things up with an Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. He milled away three cards, but Charlie had the answer in the form of Banishing Light. He had an Underworld Connections as well, but Louise had another scarier finisher at the ready, jamming Aetherling on his own turn with mana up.
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion came down for Charlie, but it only got to make three tokens before Aetherling snuck across to destroy it. Louise had a post-combat Detention Sphere to exile Charlie’s Underworld Connections, and looked to be in a commanding position. Charlie used Thoughtseize to clear away Louise’s last card in hand, a Dissolve, then animated Mutavault and attacked with it and his three soldiers, dropping Louise to 7. He then played out his last card, a Lifebane Zombie.
The race was on! Louise’s Aetherling attacked for the full 8, and Charlie fell to 9. Louise blinked the Aetherling and passed with a Mutavault up and a mystery card in hand. Charlie studied the board for a moment on his own turn before crashing in with everything. When Louise activated his Mutavault to block, Charlie killed it off with Hero’s Downfall. Aetherling blocked Charlie’s Mutavault, but the three soldiers and the Lifebane Zombie went through, dropping Louise to 1.
Louise’s draw step gave him a land to match the one in his hand. He could attack Charlie to 1, but was dead on the swingback, and he scooped up his cards.
Charlie Rinehart 1, Louise Callanta 0
Louise hopes his Aetherling is good enough for the win.
Charlie led things off with a turn 2 Pack Rat, and Louise was quick to get rid of it with a Banishing Light. Charlie had no turn 3 play, and Louise cast a Jace, Architect of Thought, downticking to acquire a Dissolve before he lost his planeswalker to a Hero’s Downfall.
Charlie attempted a Blood Baron of Vizkopa, but Louise put a stop to it with Dissolve. Charlie’s next play, Lifebane Zombie, revealed a hand of Detention Sphere, Hero’s Downfall, Aetherling, and the seventh land. He then attacked with his Mutavault to drop Louise to 16. Louise drew and cast an Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver, milling away three lands, then Detention Sphered the Lifebane Zombie.
Charlie took a moment to decide who to attack with his Mutavault, choosing eventually to knock Louise to 14 and leave the Ashiok alone. He cast a Desecration Demon and passed the turn. Louise was quick to kill off the Demon with a Hero’s Downfall, then milled Charlie again, finding a Lifebane Zombie this time. Louise attempted to Hero’s Downfall the Ashiok, but Louise protected it with a Dissolve. He then added another Desecration Demon to the board before passing.
The next Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver exiled an Obzedat, Ghost Council, and Louise passed the turn, sitting on his freshly drawn Dissolve rather than casting his Aetherling. When Charlie attempted a Whip of Erebos on his own turn, it drew out the Dissolve. Louise fed his Mutavault to Charlie’s Desecration Demon, but his Ashiok still took hits from the two Mutavaults, falling to 5 loyalty. Louise found Supreme Verdict on his own turn for the Demon, then cashed in his Ashiok to put Charlie’s Obzedat, Ghost Council into play. This stabilized the board against Charlie’s Mutavaults, although Louise wouldn’t be able to blink it out without giving it back to Charlie.
Charlie found an answer promptly in the form of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, whose -3 ability cleared away the 5/5. Louise took the opportunity to cast his Aetherling, and a turn later is snuck across to deal with Charlie’s Elpseth. Louise solidified his position post-combat with a Fiendslayer Paladin.
Knowing he needed to find action quickly against louise’s Aetherling, Charlie cast an Underworld Connections and started digging. He found a Blood Baron of Vizkopa, but it wasn’t enough to stabilize. Aetherling knocked him to 11, then to 4, and then to dead.
Louise Callanta 1, Charlie Rinehart 1
Charlie again opened up the game with a Pack Rat. Louise didn’t have removal this time, but he did have a Thoughtseize, taking Whip of Erebos out of Charlie’s hand and leaving him with Mutavault, Blood Baron of Vizkopa, Bile Blight, and Desecration Demon. Charlie wasted no time making another Rat and swinging in for 2. When Louise again simply played a land and passed, Charlie made the third rat and cracked in for 6, dropping Louise to 10. Louise made his fourth land drop and put a stop to the rat shenanigans with a Supreme Verdict.
Charlie, unfazed, attacked with his Mutavault and cast a second Pack Rat from his hand. Louise played a Temple of Deceit and saw Elspeth, Sun’s Champion on top, deliberating for a moment before deciding to keep it. He had a Temple in his hand as his sixth land, so the Elspeth would be two turns away, but he cast Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver hoping to distract Charlie in the meantime. Charlie ignored the planewalker, activating his two Mutavaults and attacking Louise to 1.
The Ashiok hadn’t found a blocker, and the Elspeth on the top of Louise’s deck couldn’t save him from the Mutavault beatdowns. He extended the hand in defeat.
Charlie Rinehart 2, Louise Callanta 1