Semifinals: Owen Turtenwald (11) vs. Dan Cato
It’s arguable that the best player in 2013 was Owen Turtenwald. Heck, it might not even be arguable! The Peach Garden Oath member (alongside Reid Duke and William Jensen) had a great year, winning not only his first and second Grand Prix but also top 8ing his first Pro Tour. But Dan’s had the deck of the tournament, G/R Monsters, on his side today and been using it to great effect. Can he continue his streak?
Owen was on the play and led off with Temple of Deceit, scrying his card to the bottom, and Dan had some of the same with Temple of Abandon. Owen’s draw involved Pack Rat though, and Dan did not have an answer… but Owen’s third land was not on time! Instead, Owen beat in for one and then cast a second copy from his hand before passing. Dan dropped Chandra, Pyromaster with his third turn.
Thoughtseize allowed Owen to snag Dan’s Poukranos, World-Eater, and left him with Ghor-Clan Rampager and Scavenging ooze. A Stormbreath Dragon off the top was even better, and Owen fell to 13. Dan dropped to 11 on Owen’s next attack step (having attacked the red planeswalker a turn earlier) and finally found a third land… but it’d have to wait for just a bit, as it was another Temple. Dan used Mizzium Mortars to clear out one of the rats before attacking Owen to 9 and dropping Scavenging Ooze as well.
Owen thought long and hard about how to proceed from here, but elected to just pass. Scavenging Ooze tried to eat the dead Pack Rat but Pharika’s Cure solved that problem before it got out of hand. Life totals sat at 12-11 in Dan’s favor. Domri Rade finished off the remaining Pack Rat the next turn though, so Owen was not out of the woods yet. But now armed with mana, at least, he had options. Owen began with a Hero’s Downfall on Stormbreath Dragon in response to a monstrous activation. Then Mutavault knocked out Domri Rade and Owen kept three mana available which he used to cast Nightveil Specter.
He could turn this corner!
Dan dropped another 4/4, this time a Ghor-Clan Rampager, to maintain his board position. Nightveil Specter attacked and Gray Merchant of Asphodel made life even more difficult for Dan. Owen could even afford to take four from the Rampager, as he had a follow up Gray Merchant for seven the next turn.
Owen 1, Dan 0.
Dan led things off with Elvish Mystic into Sylvan Caryatid, and Owen decided to keep things off being too ridiculous by using Pharika’s Cure on Elvish Mystic. Dan dropped a second copy of Sylvan Caryatid as well as Scavenging Ooze. Owen played a turn three Lifebane Zombie, but Dan’s hand now only contained Stormbreath Dragon and Plummet. In came Stormbreath on Dan’s next turn, and Owen fell to 17.
Owen activated a Mutavault and swung in for five, dropping Dan to 15, before casting Devour Flesh on Dan to force him to sacrifice a Cayatid (and gain back some life). Dan kept chugging along though, casting both Xenagos, the Reveler and Domri Rade in the same turn (using the +1 from Xenagos to make the requisite mana). Dan fought the 3/1 Zombie with 4/4 Dragon and Owen was now well behind. Desecration Demon met a Plummeted end, and Owen fell to 2. A turn later, Owen conceded.
Owen 1, Dan 1.
Owen now had the play, and used it to Thoughtseize an opponent who was already on the mulligan to six. He took Xenagos, leaving a somewhat bare hand that also included Domri Rade, Mizzium Mortars, and three lands. Dan found Scavenging Ooze on top to drop it a turn later, and fortunately for Dan Owen stumbled on mana again. He played Pack Rat instead of a third land on turn three.
Luckily, Owen wasn’t there for very long. He played a third land, used Hero’s Downfall to knock out a now 3/3 Ooze, and similarly felled a Ghor-Clan Rampager a turn later. Dan got in with his Mutavaults though, so Owen still dropped to 11. Desecration Demon is a good place to start fighting little 2/2s, but Chandra, Pyromaster prevented a block and meant Owen went to 7. Owen elected to play Gray Merchant of Asphodel on his next turn, gaining four life in the process and dropping Dan to 19. Chandra once more used the +1 to make Owen’s creature unable to block, and Owen fell back to 6 from the pair of man lands.
Owen swung in for nine, dropping Dan to 6… and Owen had the second Gray Merchant to Corrupt Dan for the last six damage!
Owen 2, Dan 1.