Semifinals: Nathan Fabilenia vs. Gabriel Joglar
Two decks trying to trade haymakers go toe-to-toe. Is it Nathan’s Dragons or Gabe’s Rhinos that will come out on top?
Nathan, being our first seed, will be on the play. After a mulligan to six, Nathan leads with a Forest into Elvish Mystic. Gabriel starts off his semifinals with a Temple of Silence, bottoming his card. Nathan attacks for one with his Elf, followed by playing a Mountain. A Llanowar Wastes into Fleecemane Lion by Gabe puts up the brick wall against the Elf onslaught.
Nathan follows with a Xenagos, the Reveler, making a Satyr token and threating to pressure Gabe’s life total. A swing with the Lion (which is blocked by a Satyr) playing an Anafenza, the Foremost, and Gabe passes back to Nathan. Nathan decides to Roast Gabe’s Anafenza, and makes another Satyr token with Xenagos. Another attack by the Elvish Mystic, and a pass from Nathan.
However, Gabe puts a stop to the Xenagos shenanigans by Murderous Cutting the Satyr token, killing the Xenagos with his Fleecemane Lion, and then Thoughtseizing a Genesis Hydra away from Nathan’s hand, leaving him with only a Mountain. Not a bad turn at all.
Nathan decides to cast a freshly drawn Courser of Kruphix, revealing a Dragonlord Atarka on top of his library. With that knowledge, he plays his last card in hand, a land, and passes back, tempting Gabe to do his worst. Gabe obliges him by playing a Siege Rhino and passing back. So, Nathan plays the Dragonlord, killing the Siege Rhino, and threatening a ton of damage. However, for Gabe’s turn, he exiles the Dragonlord Atarka with Abzan Charm and passes back.
Nathan draws a Thunderbreak Regent for his turn, which is met with another Abzan Charm from Gabe. A land and a pass from Gabe is all he has for his turn. Nathan finally draws a blank, in the form of Temple of Abandon. However, it allows him to scry a Xenagos to the top of his library, giving him more to do with his mana.
For his turn, Gabe plays a Tasigur, the Golden Fang, exiling his graveyard except for a Siege Rhino. After Nathan plays his Xenagos and makes a Satyr token, Gabe activates Tasigur, getting a new Rakshasa Deathdealer from his graveyard. Gabe then attacks Nathan’s Xenagos, making Nathan chump block away his Courser of Kruphix and Satyr token after a Monsterous activation by the Fleecemane Lion, Gabe plays the Deathdealer. Nathan can only play a land and pass.
Keeping the pressure up, Gabe deploys a Siege Rhino and continues to attack. Nathan hopes to stem some of the pressure by playing a Thunderbreak Regent, but an alpha strike by Gabe’s motley crew and a casting of Anafenza leads to concession by Nathan. Time for sideboarded games.
Gabe wins Game 1 and is up in the match, 1-0!
Nathan will be on the play for Game 2, and after keeping his opening seven, starts things off with a Rugged Highlands, gaining a life. Gabe, also keeping his opening seven, leads with Temple of Silence into keeping his scry on top. Nathan has a double Elvish Mystic draw, accelerating his draw at a very fast pace. After a Llanowar Wastes and pass from Gabe, Nathan plays a Turn 3 Nissa, Worldwaker, making a 4/4. Thankfully for Gabe, he has the Hero’s Downfall for Nissa on his turn.
A scryland and an attack from the team by Nathan is followed by a Thoughtseize, taking Nathan’s Dragonlord Atarka, and an Abzan Charm on his 4/4 Forest. Not to be deterred, Nathan plays a Thunderbreak Regent for his turn, keeping the pressure on his opponent. Deploying a Fleecemane Lion is all Gabe can do for his turn, followed by a quick concession to an attack from the Dragon.
Nathan wins Game 2 and ties the match at one game each!
Finally on the play for the first time, Gabe unfortunately has to mulligan to six. Nathan, however, keeps his opening seven. Gabe leads with a scryland and keeps his card on top, with Nathan following suit. A Windswept Heath and a pass from Gabe is followed by a “Forest, go” from Nathan. These players seem to be building up to something big.
Gabe has the first play of the game, with a Turn 3 Anafenza, the Foremost. Not wanting to deal with the Legendary 4/4, Nathan casts Roast, killing it. But Gabe has a second Anafenza on his turn, but no fourth land drop. Nathan once again has another Roast for the Anafenza, and he too does not have a fourth land drop. Gabe tries a Fleecemane Lion, but that meets a Draconic Roar from Nathan, revealing a Dragonlord Atarka. If only either player had lands to go with these big spells. Even after a main phase Abzan Charm to draw two cards, Gabe still can’t find land number four.
However, Nathan does find his fourth land, and plays a Xenagos, the Reveler, creating a 2/2 hasty Satyr token, and attacking Gabe. Gabe finally finds his fourth land, and plays a Fleecemane Lion for his turn, with a pass back to Nathan. Another Satyr is made by Nathan, and an attempt to kill the Lion with a Draconic Roar, but Gabe has a Dromoka’s Command to prevent the damage from the Draconic Roar and kill off a Token.
For his turn, Gabe casts a Murderous Cut on the second Xenagos token, kills Xenagos with the Fleecemane Lion and casts a Rakshasa Deathdealer, hoping to turn the corner. But Nathan has a Thunderbreak Regent to keep the pressure on. An attack by the team by Gabe and a pass without casting anything makes Nathan suspicious, but after his attack with a Thunderbreak Regent, Gabe taps two painlands and casts a Hero’s Downfall targeting the Dragon…killing himself in the process. One can respect a man who wants to go out on his own terms.
Nathan wins Game 3 and the match, 2-1! Nathan is one game away from being crowned our champion!