Semifinals: Ricky Sidher vs. Brian Zunter
Brian Zunter is now three for three in Standard Open top 8s here in Los Angeles, but he was still missing a trophy. His opponent, Ricky Sidher, earned a Legacy Open trophy last year, and is looking for a Standard trophy to match. Could Brian’s GR Monsters deck weather Ricky Sidher’s Sphinx’s Revelations?
Brian kept seven, but Ricky went back to the well once, keeping six.
Brian had the first play of the game with a turn 1 Forest, Elvish Mystic, while Ricky simply played some Temples and stuck an Elixir of Immortality into play for his first three turns. Brian attempted a Domri Rade on his third turn. It resolved, and he plucked a Courser of Kruphix from the top before passing the turn back to Ricky. Ricky wasted no time exiling the Domri with Detention Sphere.
Brian’s planeswalker parade wasn’t finished yet, however, as his follow-up play was Xenagos the Reveler. He made a Satyr and crashed in with the 2/2 token and his Elvish Mystic, dropping Ricky to 15. On his turn, Ricky briefly considered casting the Jace, Architect of Thought in his hand, but opted instead to activate Mutavault and attack Xenagos down to 1 loyalty, passing with 3 mana up. Brian kept the hits coming, dropping a Polukranos, World Eater, and then making another Satyr an attacking Ricky down to 10. Ricky was back up to 15 at Brian’s end step, however, as Elixir of Immortality shuffled back in.
A stone-faced Ricky Sidher studies the board.
Ricky’s needed to turn things around quickly, and was able to do so. He dropped a sixth land, falling to 13 from his untapped Godless Shrine, then Supreme Verdicted away Brian’s creatures and killed off Xenagos with his Mutavault. Brian had a backup Xenagos, but this time he chose not to attack with his Satyr token, leaving it back on defense to defend his planeswalker from Mutavault.
Xenagos wasn’t the only planeswalker stepping up to bat, as Ricky had a big play on his own turn in the form of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. He made three tokens and sat back. Brian played his Courser of Kruphix, plopped a free land into play from the top of his library, then made a second Satyr and attacked Elspeth. Ricky sensed some trickery, and opted not to block with any tokens. Brian bloodrushed Ghor-Clan Rampager, and then showed Flesh/Blood in his hand.
Brian: Is that game?
Ricky was quick to point out that the Satyrs were coming for his planeswalker.
Brian: Oh, wow. Yeah, I’m tired.
Brian had to be content with passing the turn with a solid on-board lead. Ricky attacked with Mutavault and his three tokens to kill off the Xenagos, losing his Mutavault to blockers in the process. After combat, he used Supreme Verdict to clear away Brian’s Courser of Kruphix. Brian’s next threat was another Ghor-Clan Rampager. Needing some gas, Ricky played Jace, Architect of thought and immediately ticked down, revealing Sphinx’s Revelation against land and another Jace. Ricky took the 2-card pile.
Brian wasted no time killing off the Jace with his Rampager, then played Sylvan Caryatid and passed. Ricky untapped and immediately passed with 6 lands open, declining to play his Jace. His reasons were revealed when Brian tried to close out the game with a fused Flesh/Blood. Ricky had the Dissolve, but fell to 9 from the Rampager attack. On his next turn, Ricky cast his Jace and ticked it up.
Brian opted to ignore the Jace on his own turn, attacking Ricky to 6 with his Rampager, and adding Polukranos to his board post-combat. Ricky ticked his Jace down on his own turn.
Brian: No Verdict, okay?
Ricky didn’t find Verdict, but he did find Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, good enough to sweep both of Brian’s threats with it’s -3 ability. Brian drew his card, found no more action, and conceded in the face of Ricky’s two on-board planeswalkers.
Ricky Sidher 1, Brian Zunter 0
Ricky kept his seven, and Brian jokingly beseeched the table judge for advice on whether to mulligan his seven-land hand before shipping it back. His six card didn’t suit him either, and he mulliganed down to 5 before keeping.
Both players opened with Scry lands, and Brian had a turn 2 Elvish Mystic to enable a turn 3 Ghor-Clan Rampager. Ricky continued to play Scry lands and pass, and Brian swung in for 5 dropping Ricky to 15. Perhaps sensing Supreme Verdict, he declined to further develop his board, simply passing the turn back.
Brian Zunter senses Danger.
Ricky did indeed have the turn 4 Supreme Verdict, but Brian replaced the Elvish Mystic and Ghor-Clan Rampager with additional copies from his hand on his next turn. Ricky played a Mutavault and passed, and had Doom Blade for Brian’s Rampager when it attacked. Brian had no further plays, and passed back. Ricky took advantage of the lull to cast a Divination.
After Brian again had no play, Ricky cranked up the pressure by casting Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. He made three tokens and passed, and Brian simply drew his card and passed right back. Ricky had another closer on his next turn, adding Aetherling to the board to join his six soldier tokens.
Brian tapped out for a 7/7 Mistcutter Hydra, but kept it back on defense. Ricky showed him Far/Away to remove both creatures and attacked with his squad, dropping Brian from 20 to 10. Brian called first for Bonfire of the Damned, realized Ricky was probably sitting on counterspell, and revised his order, calling instead for Molten Disaster. When his draw step predictably revealed a card that was actually in his 75, he scooped up his cards.
Ricky Sidher 2, Brian Zunter 0