Semifinals: Zac Hicks vs. Bernardo Fonseca
After going undefeated into the Standard Open Top 8, Zac Hicks found himself eliminated in the quarterfinals and on the outside looking in. He's done one better in Legacy, advancing to the semifinals with Welder… but he'd have to get through Bernardo's Elves for a shot at the trophy!
Bernardo awaits his opponent in the arena.
Zac took the play and kept an opener featuring turn 2 Wurmcoil Engine—would that be a big enough threat against the combo-riffic Elves deck? Ancient Tomb into Grim Monolith left Zac on 18, and he passed. Elvish Spirit Guide enabled Llanowar Elves, and Bernardo passed without a Forest.
Lotus Petal changed Zac's plans a little. He tapped Grim Monolith to cast a second, adding Lotus Petal mana to the mix and tapping his lands for Kuldotha Forgemaster. Bernardo, on no lands, cast Nettle Sentinel. Zac played Hall of the Bandit Lord and passed, declining to make Wurmcoil Engine.
Birchlore Rangers and Heritage Druid got Bernardo started, but he could do nothing more than play another Heritage Druid after that. Zac turned his board into Blightsteel Colossus; if he'd cast that Wurmcoil, he'd have had some tokens and still a Forgemaster.
Still, his swing dealt 9 poison damage after Nettle Sentinel blocked. Bernardo moved to his turn, making three green mana with his two Druids and the Birchlore before casting Glimpse of Nature. Elvish Visionary drew two cards and left Bernardo with just his Llanowar. Casting Heritage Druid, he tapped that and the Visionary to play Wirewood Symbiote.
Zac 1, Bernardo 0
Keeping quickly, Zac waited for Bernardo to make his own decision. Forest and Fyndhorn Elves started things, but Zac had Ancient Tomb and Powder Keg to make it more complicated. If Bernardo didn't turn 2… they were in for a long one. Elvish Spirit Guide enable Elvish Archdruid on turn 2 for Bernardo.
City of Traitors gave Zac a turn 2 Lodestone Golem, and he popped the Keg for one—Archdruid plus Forest would keep Bernardo pretty stranded. He didn't have another Forest, and could only muster another Fyndhorn Elves before passing. Zac swung for 5, dropping to 14 to cast a second Lodestone Golem. He added Lotus Petal and passed the turn.
His mana problems growing more complicated as the 5/3s presented more pressure, Bernardo had the mana to cast just one spell on the board. He made it Quirion Ranger, but passed after that. Two mana from City enabled Buried Ruin on Powder Keg, and Zac swung for 10 damage to put Bernardo on 5 life. He played Keg and passed the turn, waiting to see what Bernardo could do.
Tapping Archdruid and Fyndhorn for Elvish Visionary, he drew a fetchland to search for Forest. Floating mana and using Ranger to rebuy the Archdruid, he cast another Archdruid and ended the turn. Zac played Mox Opal and popped the Keg, killing off two Elves and sending in his 5/3s afterward. Bernardo traded Visionary and an Archdruid away, but wasn't happy to see Forgemaster land during the second main, although he lost a Petal he could've kept by doing it before attacking.
Bernardo dropped Forest and Glimpse, followed by Nettle Sentinel. Archdruid made two mana, and Heritage Druid needed a one-mana friend… Bernardo didn't appear to have one. He passed the turn. Zac played an Ancient Tomb after floating City mana, going to six mana for Wurmcoil Engine. He sacrificed the Engine, Opal, and Forgemaster to get Spine of Ish Sah, destroying the Archdruid. On 6 life, he actually needed to avoid dying to Tombs by entering an awkward race!
Zac had the semi-nuts in game 2...
Drawing Forest, Bernardo laughed to himself and tried to find a way out. He'd need a blocker next turn, at a minimum—no more creatures meant he'd lose one of his vital combo piece… except that Krosan Grip saved him from the lifelinker Wurm, leaving Bernardo on 1 life.
Casting Llanowar Elves, Bernardo followed with Creeping Corrosion—the blowout. Suddenly, Zac was the one on a two-turn clock. He passed, and Bernardo put him dead on the next turn.
Zac 1, Bernardo 1
Citadel and Mox Opal plus Lotus Petal gave Zac turn 1 Trinisphere—on the play! Now that's a hand. Bernardo read it, sighed, and played just Forest on turn 1. Not much he could do about that… Zac played a land and passed the turn, Bernardo doing the same.
Turn 3 Lodestone Golem wasn't too scary, but it was problematic. Bernardo lacked an important third land, binning Fyndhorn Elves during cleanup. Zac attacked for 5 and played Great Furnace, passing. Bernardo hit his Forest and cast Elvish Visionary for the bargain price of three mana.
Feeding a potential Corrosion more Great Furnaces, Zac attacked into Visionary and passed. Zac played City of Traitors and Steel Hellkite after attacking into the Visionary with his 5/3. He could deal 9 damage on the next turn…
Bernardo dropped his fifth Forest and ended the turn. Zac shrugged and made good on his potential—he attacked for 14 damage and passed the turn, tapped out completely. If Bernardo had it, he had it. “I have another Trinisphere in my hand,” he added for good measure. Bernardo drew, and contemplated his options.
Playing Verdant Catacombs proved that he didn't have many available.
Zac 2, Bernardo 1