Semifinals: Felix Lapan vs. Dan Musser
Dan's Zoo deck is a Legacy staple, but his opponent in the semifinals piloted something a bit different today. Hulk Rebirth, a combo deck based around sacrificing Protean Hulk after cheating it into play for a combo kill, wasn't a member of Dan's testing gauntlet. Dan, uncomfortable with a matchup he wasn't confident in understanding, looked to keep his play tight and pounce on openings from Felix.
Mulligans started each player on six cards, Felix started with Forest and Birds of Paradise. Dan went a bit more aggressive with Savannah and Loam Lion, but Felix threatened to leap ahead when he cast Birds of Paradise again on turn 2 and added Misty Rainforest to the board. Attacking for 2, Dan played Taiga and cast Wild Nacatl. During Felix's upkeep, Path to Exile removed one Birds of Paradise from the game—Felix cast another one and played Verdant Catacombs. Dan's next attack was for five, putting Felix on 13 life, and he added a second Loam Lion to the field.
Felix fetched Bayou and played Ancient Tomb, going to 10 life in order to Pattern of Rebirth one Birds of Paradise. Dan lacked the burn spell to cast in response, and reevaluated the board on his own turn. Checking the Oracle text on Protean Hulk, Dan decided to cast Tarmogoyf, Wasteland Ancient Tomb, and then think about the ramifications of attacking—he decided to wait on it, moving for maximum damage.
Another Verdant Catacombs for Felix and no other plays left Dan still frightened to attack and trigger that Pattern of Rebirth. He drew, fetched another dual land, and gave Felix another draw step—Felix whiffed, passing back. Dan's next draw was Lightning Bolt, but he still lacked a lethal attack—he was getting closer, however.
Felix drew and cast Cabal Therapy, targeting Dan, and Dan responded with Lightning Bolt on Felix. Felix had another Cabal Therapy, and he cast it as well in order to flashback one, sacrificing Birds, and then the other, sacrificing the Protean Hulk his Birds fetched upon dying.
Carrion Feeder, Reveillark, Body Double, and Mogg Fanatic entered the battlefield, and that was it—Body Double as an unkillable Reveillark bounced Mogg Fanatic and itself in and out of play until Dan was dead, growing Carrion Feeder arbitrarily large in the process.
Felix 1, Dan 0
Felix mulliganed to six cards, and Dan started with Taiga and Wild Nacatl. Gitaxian Probe costing 2 life revealed Grim Lavamancer, Chain Lightning, Lightning Bolt, Goblin Guide, and Arid Mesa in Dan's hand. Felix played Windswept Heath and fetched for Bayou, casting Cabal Therapy on Grim Lavamancer.
Dan drew, played Goblin Guide, and fetched up Plateau before attacking for 5 damage, revealing Natural Order from the top of Felix's deck and knocking him to 12 life. Felix went to eleven for another Windswept Heath, grabbing another Bayou and casting Birds of Paradise and Tinder Wall, which met Lightning Bolt during the end step.
Another attack for 5 reduced Felix to 6 life, and Dan pointed Chain Lightning at Felix's Birds of Paradise before casting Grim Lavamancer. Green Sun's Zenith for zero found Dryad Arbor, and Felix also played Wild Cantor prior to ending his turn. Dan's next draw step was just a fetchland, and he attacked with the Nacatl and the Goblin Guide, earning one chump block before Grim Lavamancer killed Felix's last creature, sealing the deal.
Felix 1, Dan 1
Dan went through the deck again, evaluating his sideboard strategy against an unfamiliar opponent before shuffling and presenting. Felix took the play and mulliganed his opening hand instantly, while Dan kept his hand. On six, Felix started the game by playing Misty Rainforest and passing, while Dan fetched for Taiga and cast Wild Nacatl.
Another fetchland in Wooded Foothills for Felix, and he ended the turn with no play. Dan's hand looked better and better as he fetched up Plateau next, attacking for 3 damage and then casting the deadly Grim Lavamancer, a major threat against Felix's deck. Felix had Windswept Heath, another fetchland, and started to count how much damage Dan could deal. He decided to Slaughter Pact the Grim Lavamancer, and then pass the turn. Dan played another fetchland and attacked Felix to 14.
Taking 3 damage to make the mana he needed, Felix fetched two Bayou and Savannah to pay for his Pact prior to drawing for turn. Playing Forest, he cast Wild Cantor, and took a Lightning Helix to the chin, going to 8 life. Path to Exile killed the Wild Cantor during the end step, and Nacatl plus Bolt and Chain Lightning finished the job on Dan's next turn.
Felix 1, Dan 2