Semifinals: Nick Malatesta vs. Joan Anton Mateo
Joan Anton Mateo came to the US on holiday from Barcelona, and he brought with him a unique spin on Temur Delver. Now he sat in the Semifinals, and it would be Nick Malatesta with the Combo Elf menace looking to keep him from advancing further.
Joan Anton Mateo builds his Elemental army.
Nick kicked things off with Green Sun’s Zenith, fetching up Dryad+Arbor, while Joan simply played a Polluted+Delta and passed the turn. Sensing some mischief, Nick was content to attack for 1 with his Dryad+Arbor, play a Wooded+Foothills, and pass the turn. Joan played his land and passed right back, but was ready with a Stifle when Nick attempted to crack the Foothills at his end step, as well as a Lightning+Bolt for Nick’s Dryad+Arbor.
A turn later, Joan tapped out for a Tarmogoyf, and Nick made the most of the opportunity. With Joan tapped out, Nick was free to cast Glimpse+of+Nature, then Birchlore+Rangers, Heritage+Druid, and Quirion+Ranger, netting 3 more cards. He passed back to Joan, who cracked in for 4 with his Tarmogoyf then used Forked+Bolt to leave Nick with only a Birchlore+Rangers in play.
Nick was able to reload to some extent, casting another Heritage+Druid and playing a second Dryad+Arbor, but he was out of action after that. He took two more hits from the 4/5 Tarmogoyf over the next two turns, then Joan showed him a pair of Lightning+Bolts to finish the job.
Joan Anton Mateo 1, Nick Malatesta 0
Nick Malatesta looks for a way to break the stalemate.
Zenith into Dryad+Arbor was the opener of choice for Nick once again, and Joan led off with a turn 1 Ponder. Nick had an explosive turn 2, first casting Glimpse+of+Nature then Quirion+Ranger, allowing him to bounce his tapped Forest to untap his Dryad+Arbor. He tapped the Dryad+Arbor for Heritage+Druid, then replaced his Forest and cast Nettle+Sentinel. This gave him the third untapped Elf he’d need to start using Heritage+Druid, and soon Deathrite+Shaman, Elvish+Visionary, a second Heritage+Druid joined the party.
Joan faced a scary board when he untapped for his second turn, and decided his best shot at shutting Nick down was a Forked+Bolt, taking out both of the Heritage+Druids. Nick untapped and attempted a Natural+Order. Joan said “No” with a Spell+Pierce. Nick couldn’t pay, and shipped back to Joan, who was happy to play his third land and cast Young+Pyromancer. Nick developed his board a little further, casting a second Quirion+Ranger and another Deathrite+Shaman to his board.
An end-step Brainstorm from Joan set him up to untap, Lightning+Bolt away Deathrite+Shaman, then empty his graveyard for a Treasure+Cruise. He sent the turn back with a trio of elemental tokens back on defense. Nick played his fourth land and began counting up his mana, getting to 8 mana for a potentially lethal Craterhoof+Behemoth, but Joan was ready with a Force+of+Will pitching Treasure+Cruise. He untapped and fired off a second Forked+Bolt to thin Nick’s ranks, then cast a 4/5 Tarmogoyf.
Nick was facing down a growing army of Elementals and a burly Lurghoyf, but he found a means of making headway in the form of Glimpse+of+Nature, which searched up Wirewood+Symbiote and allowed him to begin looping his Elvish+Visionary. He found another Elvish+Visionary with the first, and successfully drew 4 fresh cards before Joan used a Lightning+Bolt to kill off the Symbiote.
A prolonged staredown ensued, as Tarmogoyf, Young+Pyromancer, and seven 1/1 Elementals couldn’t make a profitable attack against Nick’s board, which now totaled 2 Nettle+Sentinels, 2 Quirion+Rangers, Deathrite+Shaman, and an Elvish+Visionary. Nick drew another Wirewood+Symbiote, played it, and began the card-drawing process again. He bounced and recast Elvish+Visionary, which found him a Glimpse+of+Nature. His follow-up Heritage+Druid found him a second Visionary, which found him a second Wirewood+Symbiote, which opened the floodgates. Soon, Nick was tapping Gaea’s Cradle for 19 mana, sinking it into Green Sun’s Zenith, and plopping Craterhoof+Behemoth into play for the win.
Nick Malatesta 1, Joan Anton Mateo 1
A turn 1 Nettle+Sentinel from Nick went unanswered by Joan, who tapped out on his second turn for Young+Pyromancer. Nick played a Gaea’s Cradle next and attempted a Heritage+Druid. Joan used Daze in response, which forced Nick to tap his Cradle and pass it back. Joan wasted no time Wastelanding away the Gaea’s Cradle, but the floodgates were already open, as a Deathrite+Shaman made the third elf for Nick, who quickly emptied his hand, playing Nettle+Sentinel #2, Quirion+Ranger, and an Elvish+Visionary.
Joan tapped out for Tarmogoyf to his board on his next turn, giving Nick the green light. Nick started off with Glimpse+of+Nature, then followed up with Wirewood+Symbiote, allowing him to bounce and replay his Elvish+Visionary. From here the floodgates opened, as Nick drew through his deck before finding Natural+Order into Craterhoof+Behemoth.
Nick Malatesta 2, Joan Anton Mateo 1