Semifinals: Rudy Briksza vs. Daryl Ayers
Rudy and Daryl are good friends, but here in the semifinals they would have to battle for a finals appearance. Could Rudy's Stoneforge Mystics beat Daryl's tried and true RUG Delver?
Daryl began with Delver of Secrets.
“Is that good?”
“It’s always good.”
Rudy followed with Deathrite Shaman, and since Daryl didn’t flip Delver he saved some early damage. Daryl Brainstormed the following turn to set up the Delver flip, and Rudy had Thoughtseize on the next turn. He took Stifle from a hand that also included a pair of Tarmogoyfs before casting Stoneforge Mystic and passing. Daryl flipped his Delver with another Brainstorm on top, and cast the Brainstorm to dig for some answers to the pair of 1/2s. Insectile Aberration dropped Rudy to 14, Wasteland got rid of Rudy’s Tundra, and Rudy untapped.
Rudy Briksza shuffles up for Game 2 of the semifinals.
On Daryl’s next upkeep, Rudy dropped in Batterskull. Daryl dropped a ‘Goyf, but the Batterskull got to work thanks to Swords to Plowshares removing it from the battlefield (a pair of Force of Wills exchanged in the process). Rudy leaned on his Batterskull alongside the Deathrite Shaman and the Stoneforge Mystic, countering another Tarmogoyf along the way. Daryl dropped from 21 after the first Swords down to 16 to 11.
Rudy’s Batterskull was somewhat stymied, but traded 2-for-1 for both of Daryl’s creatures. True-Name Nemesis got Dazed, which was a tad awkward for the Esper pilot, but the hits kept on coming: a second Stoneforge Mystic found Sword of Fire and Ice, and Daryl only added another Nimble Mongoose to his board. Forked Bolt removed the Deathrite Shaman from the board, but Rudy kept on going down the rabbit hole, equipping Stoneforge Mystic and getting the card advantage engine going.
A few turns later, Daryl saw the writing on the wall and got ready for game two.
Rudy 1, Daryl 0.
Daryl had quite the tempo start, using Stifle to deal with Rudy’s fetch activation and landing Nimble Mongoose and Tarmogoyf on back-to-back turns. Stoneforge Mystic got Dazed too, and Daryl trundled in for five before Rudy could land anything. A second Stoneforge Mystic finally stuck, getting Umezawa’s Jitte, before Daryl was able to untap… but Lightning Bolt took that guy down in a jiffy.
Rudy attempted to use a fetchland to try to get the Goyf, but Stifle took down that fetchland activation as well. Daryl also added Delver of Secrets, and Rudy was squarely behind the eightball. Swords to Plowshares took down the ‘Goyf, but it didn’t matter as Daryl flipped his Delver and Rudy fell below zero.
Rudy 1, Daryl 1.
Daryl Ayers readies up for Game 3 of the semifinals.
Both players led with naked fetchlands, with Daryl breaking his before Rudy broke both of his in response to avoid Stifle. Daryl used Ponder to fix his hand before he sued Wasteland to take out Rudy’s Tropical Island. Rudy only played a second copy of Underground Sea for his turn, while Daryl landed Delver of Secrets. A tad flooded, Rudy watched on as Daryl flipped the Delver and began the Insect Wizard parade. Another Wasteland also took down Rudy’s white source.
Deathrite Shaman resolved for Rudy, but after Insectile Aberration dropped Rudy to 11 Forked Bolt took it down. Rudy elected to fetch before going for True-Name Nemesis, which Daryl had to let resolve after using Brainstorm to try to dig for Force of Will.
“Jerk! I haven’t let it resolve yet… but it’s going to resolve…”
Daryl knocked Rudy down to 7 and got another Delver into play, but Sword of Fire and Ice was Rudy’s next play. Daze forced Rudy to pay the extra mana for the Sword, which meant that he couldn’t use the Sword that turn to kill off the flipped Delver. That allowed Daryl to flip his other Delver on the next upkeep and use a burn spell to drop Rudy to dead. Daryl Ayers moves on to the finals!
Daryl 2, Rudy 1.