Semifinals: Stephan Hink vs. Austin Downs
Stephan is undefeated this weekend with Zombies. In fact, he was undefeated in games before the top 8! That may sound strange, considering he’s the 8 seed, but he intentionally drew his last two rounds. Austin Downs is his next opponent, armed with Delver. Can he take out the undead menace?
Austin Downs is prepared to take it down...
Austin was on the play but mulliganed his opening seven, while Stephan kept his original grip. Austin led with the typical start of Seachrome Coast and… Gitaxian Probe. Not quite that exciting, but revealing a pair of Swamps, a pair of Diregraf Ghouls, a pair of Falkenrath Aristocrats, and a Dragonskull Summit. Stephan led with Diregraf Ghoul. Austin took his second turn shuffling off of Ponder and playing Moorland Haunt. Ghoul struck first blood and was joined by a brother from another cadaver after combat. Austin cast another Ponder, this time keeping, and Snapcaster Mageing a Gitaxian Probe, with Stephan adding Geralf’s Messenger and a second Summit to his hand.
“Chances I win this game? Not very good.”
Stephan attacked with the Ghouls, getting one blocked, and adding Geralf’s Messenger to the board. Another Ponder from Austin dug deeper, but he could only manage another land. In response to Falkenrath Aristocrat, Austin Vapor Snagged the Messenger, and then Stephan’s crashed into Austin and putting him to 8. Snapcaster Mage number two cast Ponder number four of the game, and shuffling once again Austin dug for answers. Stephan untapped and added the second Aristocrat to the board. Vapor Snag from Austin’s hand attempted to take out one of the flying 4/1s, which resolved, and the other one took Austin to 4 (Ghoul and Snapcaster traded). Austin cast Thought Scour targeting himself and followed it up with Delver of Secrets, leaving Moorland Haunt mana up. Aristocrat rumbled in and Austin attempted to block with a Spirit token, but Murder took out the troublesome 1/1 and they moved to sideboarding.
Stephan 1, Austin 0.
Perhaps you’re wondering about the pointing that Austin and Stephan are doing in these photos as well as their top 8 pics. The story goes that on a tournament road trip one of their friends started ‘star shooting’ at every rest stop and gas station. “We even got PV to do it with us at GP Kansas City.”
Stephan wanted to point out why he’s running Shatter over Smelt in this tournament: “I originally had Smelt, but I would get Mental Misstepped every time. So I just added Shatter instead.” Pretty sneaky, sis.
But not if Stephan Hink can help it!
Austin once again had the play and this time had the turn one Gitaxian Probe off of Island, showing Stephan’s hand of double Geth’s Verdict, Sign in Blood, Geralf’s Messenger, Cavern of Souls, and a pair of Swamps. Stephan led with his Swamp and passed. A second Probe (paying mana again) from Austin revealed another Sign in Blood, then Ponder. He kept and passed. Sign in Blood targeted Stephan, and at end of turn he discarded his eighth card, a Swamp. Blade Splicer came down for Austin on his third turn, and Stephan had Geralf’s Messenger. Life total sat at 18 all.
Golem and Artificer attacked Austin, and then was joined by another.
“This game is looking awkward,”
No fourth land for Stephan, only a pass, showed just how awkward. Austin untapped and cast Ponder, which allowed him to shuffle. The pair of artifact creatures attacked, and Messenger blocked one of them. After combat, Austin attempted to Vapor Snag his own Blade Splicer, but Go for the Throat answered those shenanigans.
“Geist too, huh?”
Indeed, Geist of Saint Traft also joined the fray before Austin passed. Stephan played another Cavern and played a pair of Diregraf Ghouls on his turn. Better late than never… well maybe not, as another Vapor Snag took out Stephan’s only untapped creature, the now-4/3 Geralf’s Messenger, and they then prepared for their rubber match.
Stephan 1, Austin 1.
The players discussed the various Charms coming out in Return to Ravnica during the intermission.
“I can’t wait to play Izzet Charm in Legacy. Gonna be good to Snapcast that.”
Stephan led with Blackcleave Cliffs and Gravecrawler and Austin had Island. Stephan played Mortarpod on turn two and attacked. Austin Thought Scoured himself and played Glacial Fortress. The players both played lands on their third turns but had no spells. The next spell cast was Falkenrath Aristocrat, which got Vapor Snagged on the attack step. Austin landed Geist of Saint Traft on his next turn, while Stephan attacked Austin to 12, then sacrificed a Germ token to Mortarpod and followed that up with a cast and equipping of Geralf’s Messenger. Geist attacked Stephan, but didn’t have any action on his turn after that.
A Gravecrawler and a Geralf’s Messenger stumbled into Austin on Stephan’s next turn, and Restoration Angel came down and blinked the Geist. Murder took care of the ubiquitous 3/4 flier before blockers, and Geist stood in front of Gravecrawler. A Gravecrawler came into play from Stephan’s graveyard and his hand post-combat, and things looked grim for Austin. Thought Scour attempted to dig for answers, but unable to find anything worthy Austin scooped up his cards and Stephan moved on to the finals.
Stephan 2, Austin 1.