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%2C+Pyromaster, Sarkhan%2C+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%2C+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%2C+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%2C+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%2C+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%2C+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%2C+the+Dragonspeaker on his own turn to shoot down the Rabblemaster, but he held his Butcher+of+the+Horde back to protect it.
Chandra%2C+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%2C+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%2C+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%2C+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