Semifinals: Luis Alfonso vs. Matt Costa
If I’d told you that only one of these players was playing blue, odds are you’d guess Matt Costa. On any other day, you’d be right, but Matt put down the Islands and picked up the Forests this weekend, opting to play a Jund Midrange deck.
Turn 1 Judge’s Familiar for Luis gave him both an attacker and a way to slow down Matt’s removal spells, and Matt began with Temple of Abandon to keep his top card in place. Turn 2 Thoughtseize from Matt nabbed Thassa from his opponent’s hand, leaving Luis with an assortment of creatures he’d been unable to play due to turn 2 Mutavault.
Frostburn Weird for Luis on turn 3, while Matt played Scavenging Ooze and a tapped shockland, already on 16 due to the Bird beatdown. He appeared to debate a block when Luis attacked, and eventually did make Luis use his valuable colored mana to boost the Weird, killing the Ooze. After combat, Nykthos allowed Luis to cast his Nightveil Specter.
Anger of the Gods from Matt mopped up with a mana to spare for the Familiar, leaving Luis on just Frostburn Weird. An attack from Mutavault alongside the Weird put Matt to 11 life, and Cloudfin Raptor offered Luis an air force. Matt had a brick wall in Polukranos, but Thassa, God of the Sea threatened to overwhelm the Hydra.
Abrupt Decay from Matt on his own turn, and Luis used Rapid Hybridization to convert the Weird into a 3/3. Matt had Scavenging Ooze with a green up afterward, and Luis’s play made more sense when he slammed Bident of Thassa and attacked, forcing Matt to trade the Ooze or give Luis a free card.
Trading, Matt untapped with Polukranos against a 1/2 Raptor and a tapped out opponent, but he declined to monstrous in favor of casting his final Scavenging Ooze. Luis dropped Judge’s Familiar on the next turn and then Master of Waves for six Elementals. Matt went to 13 growing his Ooze into a 5/5, and had Hero’s Downfall in hand or Polukranos available to slay all those blockers... he used Polukranos, and Luis conceded.
Matt 1, Luis 0
Judge’s Familiar once more for Luis, while Matt had Stomping Ground to start and fell to 19. Sylvan Caryatid caught Matt up on mana, while Luis failed to make a two-drop. He did have one of his most important turn 3 plays in Thassa, while Matt just continued to play Caryatids. Luis tried Bident, but Matt had Doom Blade to kill the Bird and shut down the draw... for now.
Out of land drops, Matt played Polukranos and ended the turn. Luis had Tidebinder Mage to lock up the Hydra, and that enabled an attack with Thassa that Matt elected to chump block with a Caryatid. He found a replacement land waiting for him on top, which let Matt cast a 4/4 Mistcutter Hydra in defense mode. Luis spent the mana he needed on Thassa, drawing a card and getting in 5 damage.
Matt swung Luis to 16 with his Hydra and passed. When Luis attacked, Matt blocked Tidebinder with his Caryatid and then used Golgari Charm to destroy the Bident of Thassa, taking away devotion. Luis rebuilt his board with Nightveil Specter, but Matt was ready to cash in with Anger of the Gods, losing his Caryatid but reducing Luis to just Thassa.
Falling behind, Luis played Frostburn Weird and passed. When Matt attacked on the next turn, his Hydra became a Frog Lizard quite Rapidly, but the Mistcutter was inexorable. Luis had Master of Waves, but another Polukranos from Matt had headed Luis off on that angle. Unwilling to risk a Hybridization that killed his Hydra, Matt decided to Anger of the Gods and then attack.
Luis traded Master for the damaged Polukranos, and had Nightveil Specter on the next turn to attack Matt down to 4 life. When Matt tied to swing for lethal with Mistcutter Hydra, Luis pulled out his last trick—Hybridization on Thassa to make a green blocker—but Matt had Abrupt Decay at the ready to clear the path.
Matt 2, Luis 1