Semifinals: Richard Richey vs. Gabriel Wilson
Richard Richey was the last hope for non-blue mages in this tournament, bringing Jund Monsters to battle against the three remaining Mono-Blue Devotion players in the top 4. Would he stop the rising tide, or would Gabriel Wilson make it a mono-blue finals?
Gabriel likes his spot.
Gabriel took to the skies early, with turn 1 Cloudfin Raptor into turn 2 Judge’s Familiar, cracking in for 1. Richard had a turn 3 Courser of Kruphix, which was promptly tapped down by Tidebinder Mage. Richard’s follow-up Domri Rade killed it off, however, unlocking the Courser. Gabriel attacked away the Domri as well as dinging Richard for 2 with his Cloudfin, then slammed Master of Waves into play, making three tokens and passing.
Richard had Polukranos on his turn 4, but didn’t have an immediate way to kill the Master of Waves. Gabriel played Tidebinder Mage #2 to tap down the Hydra, then crashed in with everything except the Master. Courser ate an Elemental, but Richard fell to 6 from the rest of the attackers. Richard had no other option than to Monstrous the Polukranos for 1 on his own turn, killing the Master and accompanying Elemental tokens but still on a two turn clock in the air. Alec attacked Richard down to 3 with his two fliers, then added two more to the board ,casting a second Cloudfin followed by a Nightveil Specter to evolve it.
With only four lands in play, Richard was unable to cast the Overloaded Mizzium Mortars he’d need to turn the game around. He found no way out, and conceded the game.
Gabriel Wilson 1, Richard Richey 0
Richard was first to the board with a Scavenging Ooze on two, while Alec had Frostburn Weird on 2, followed by Cloudfin Raptor and another Frostburn Weird on 3. Richard’s Domri Rade came down in time to fight off the Cloudfin Raptor before it got out of control, and Gabriel used his Frostburn Weirds to finish off Domri before tapping down the Scavenging Ooze with a Tidebinder Mage. Richard fired off a Stormbreath Dragon and attacked with it, but then it too was tapped down by a second Tidebinder Mage.
Unfazed, Richard killed off with Tidebinder Mage holding down his Stormbreath Dragon with an Ultimate Price, then cleared out Gabriel’s graveyard with his Scavenging Ooze to gain some life. Gabriel redeveloped his air squad, casting Cloudfin Raptor and Nightveil Specter, which Richard looked to clear away on his next turn with a Polukranos, World Eater.
Gabriel plopped a new face into play—Jace, the Living Guildpact. He used it’s -3 ability to bounce Polukranos, World Eater, then crashed in with everything. Stormbreath Dragon locked Tidebinder Mage, but Richard fell to 5. He untapped his Ooze along with everything else for the first time since turn 2, and looked for a way to stabilize. After some deliberation, he simply recast his Polukranos, World Eater, added a second Elvish Mystic to the board, and passed with give blockers and one mana up.
Deciding he had no good attacks, Gabriel cast an enormous Master of Waves, adding eleven 2/1 Elemental Tokens to the battlefield. He passed back, and Richard had some very bad news in store for him—an overloaded Mizzium Mortars, leaving Gabriel with nothing but a Master of Waves in play. Polukranos attacked Gabriel down to 6, and Stormbreath cleared away the Jace. Suddenly it was Richard with the seemingly insurmountable board, and Gabriel hoping to peel something miraculous.
He drew his card and found no such miracle. When the monster squad came swinging again, Gabriel scooped up his cards.
Richard Richey 1, Gabriel Wilson 1
Richard tries to will Master of Waves out of existence.
Cloudfin Raptor was the turn 1 play from Gabriel in the decider, and Nightveil Specter on turn 3 was the first follow-up after Richard played a turn 2 Sylvan Caryatid. A pair of Scavenging Oozes came down on turn 3 for Richard, and Gabriel had a big turn in response, Playing Tidebinder Mage to tap one Ooze down (and grow his Cloudfin) and then Frostburn Weird to grow his Cloudfin even further, attacking for five in the air and pilfering a Temple of Abandon in the process.
Richard didn’t have enough Scavenging Oozes in play just yet, so he cast a third, passing the turn with two mana untapped. When Gabriel crashed in with everything, Richard showed him Ultimate Price to take down the 3/4 Cloudfin Raptor and blocked Tidebinder Mage with a Scavenging Ooze. Thanks to Nykthos, Gabriel was able to play Polymorphist’s Jest and keep his Tidebinder Mage while still pumping his Frostburn Weird to 4/1, dropping Richard to 9. The Nightveil Specter found Domri Rade, and Gabriel’s post-combat Temple of Abandon meant that he could potentially cast his on his next turn.
Richard was having none of that, however, and cast a Domri Rade of his own. He ate a Cloudfin Raptor out of Gabriel’s graveyard to grow his Scavenging Ooze to 3/3, then used Domri to fight away Nightveil Specter. Gabriel simply drew, cast Cloudfin Raptor, and passed back to Richard, who appeared to have stabilized. He added Polukranos, World Eater to the board, pressing his advantage.
A second Tidebinder Mage locked the Polukranos out of combat, and Gabriel attacked with his freshly evolved Cloudfin Raptor at the Domri Rade, and with Frostburn Weird at Richard’s face. Richard put the Scavenging Ooze in front to trade, then untapped and used the monstrous ability on his Polukranos, killing off the Tidebinder Mage that was keeping it tapped down.
Gabriel drew a second copy of Frostburn, which evolved Cloudfin Raptor to 2/3, then activated two Mutavaults and attacked with everything, killing off Domri Rade and dropping Richard to 4. Richard simply untapped and passed the turn back, representing removal in hand. Gabriel crashed in with everything, and Richard blocked the two Mutavaults and the Tidebinder Mage, then Abrupt Decayed the Cloudfin Raptor and fell to 1 from Frostburn Weird. With a freshly restocked graveyard, Richard was back up to 3 post-combat thanks to some Scavenging Ooze activations, and untapped in fine shape, adding Stormbreath Dragon to the board and passing back.
Thassa, God of the Sea came off the top for Gabriel, and he quickly activated it to make his Frostburn Weird unblockable, pumped it to 4/1, and attacked. Richard was ready with the blowout Golgari Charm, giving the Weird -1/-1 to kill it. The Scavenging Ooze brought him back up to 7, and he untapped and came swinging with Stormbreath Dragon, dealing his first damage of the game. Gabriel drew a second Tidebinder Mage to tap down Stormbreath Dragon and turn Thassa into his creature, and 7 unblockable points of damage came across. Scavenging Ooze could gain Richard the one life he needed to survive the turn, but his draw step yielded no answer to the Thassa, and he extended the hand in defeat.
Gabriel Wilson 2, Richard Richey 1