Semifinals: Mario Martinez vs. Jon Goss
Jon Goss was representing the Mardu Hordes in this semifinal, while Mario was looking to punch his ticket to the finals with G/R Monsters.
Mario gets aggressive.
Jon opened things up with a turn 2 Thoughtseize, seeing a hand of Chandra, Pyromaster, Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, Courser of Kurphix, Goblin Rabblemaster, Forest and Mountain. He ultimately decided to take the Courser, but Goblin Rabblemaster still made a fine 3-drop, and its accompanying token attacked Jon down to 16. Jon used Lightning Strike on his next turn to clear away the Rabblemaster, and Chandra, Pyromaster was Mario’s follow-up, and it pinged Jon down to 14.
Jon had a Goblin Rabblemaster of his own, and the token pecked away at Chandra, Pyromaster. Mario used a Crater’s Claw to keep the board Rabblemaster-free, and used the Chandra to kill off Jon’s token. A Thoughtseize from Jon knocked away Mario’s last card, the Sarkan, the Dragonspeaker, and a Hero’s Downfall got rid of Chandra. Mario immediately found Courser of Kruphix, while Jon eagerly slammed Butcher of the Horde into play.
Nissa, Worldwaker came off the top for Mario, and a spooky Crater’s Claw was revealed right behind it thanks to the Courser of Kruphix. The Nissa animated a Forest, and Mario bashed in with it, dropping Jon down to just 3. Jon untapped and spent a moment in the tank, looking for a way to stay alive. He played Goblin Rabblemaster, made the token in his beginning of combat step, then sacrificed both to his Butcher of the Horde to give it lifelink and vigilance. He attacked away the Nissa and climbed back up to 8.
Unfortunately for Jon, that 4/4 Forest was still waiting in the wings, turning on Mario’s Craterclaws and allowing him to deal 9 damage Jon’s face. He fired it off immediately, and Jon laughed and picked up his cards.
Mario Martinez 1, Jon Goss 0
It was just “land, go” from both players for the first two turns, and Jon got the party started on his turn 3 with a Brimaz, King of Oreskos. Mario still had no turn 3 play, and the way was clear for Brimaz and his accompanying Cat Soldier to swing in for 4. Butcher of the Horde entered play post-combat, and suddenly Mario was in a deep hole.
Polukranos, World Eater on turn 4 was Mario’s bid to begin turning things around, but Jon was ready with a Crackling Doom to clear it away. Jon sent in for 10 with his army, and Mario fell to 5. He untapped, took a peek at his top card, and scooped up for game 3.
Mario Martinez 1, Jon Goss 1
Jon feeds his Butcher of the Horde.
A turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid from Mario started things off in the decider. Jon simply made his land drops and passed, although he did use a Lightning Strike at Mario’s end step when he flashed in a Boon Satyr. Having drawn out the burn, Mario untapped and played Goblin Rabblemaster, attacking in for 1 with the 1/1 Goblin Token that came with it. Jon had a turn 4 Butcher of the Horde in a bid to stabilize.
Mario simply moved to combat on his own turn and added the second 1/1 Goblin to the board, swinging with both tokens and a 4/2 Goblin Rabblemaster. Jon blocked a token and fell to 12, and another Sylvan Caryatid came from Mario post-combat, but no third land. Jon had Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker on his own turn to shoot down the Rabblemaster, but he held his Butcher of the Horde back to protect it.
Chandra, Pyromaster allowed Mario to keep the Butcher from blocking, and his remaining 1/1 Goblin token was able to sneak through and finish off the Sarkhan. Jon untapped and fired off a Thoughtseize, seeing what goodies were stuck in Mario’s hand: Polukranos, World Eater, Stormbreath Dragon, Xenagos, the Reveler, Setessan Tactics, and a third Sylvan Caryatid. He got rid of the Xenagos, and Mario untapped and developed his manabase, casting the Sylvan Caryatid he had held along with another that he had just drawn.
Jon attacked Mario down to 15, then Mario spent his turn getting Polukranos, World Eater into play. Jon had a monster play on his own turn: Harness by Force, striving to take both the Goblin Token and the Polukranos. He attacked Mario down to 5, then sacrificed both creatures post-combat.
Mario had a plan to turn things around, casting Stormbreath Dragon and using Setessan Tactics to fight the Butcher of the Horde with his Pro: White 4/4. Crackling Doom from Jon dropped Mario to 3 and solved the Stormbreath Dragon problem, and Brimaz, King of Oreskos looked to keep the pressure up. A Crater’s Claws from Mario killed off the Cat King, and another Stormbreath Dragon the next turn started knocking away Jon’s life total.
Jon fell to 9, and then to 5. He untapped and drew on his final turn—a Lightning Strike. Mario fell from 3 to 0, and extended the hand.
Jon Goss 2, Mario Martinez