Semifinals: Brian Eason (Esper StoneBlade) vs. Joe Lossett (Miracles)
The StarCityGames.com Open Series has been kind to both competitors in this match. Joe enters the match having come off a long grueling mirror match against Stoneforge+Mystic on turn three was the first play of the game and was met by Joe’s Fourth Edition Counterspell. Joe Miracled an Entreat+the+Angels for one (which got Spell Pierced) on his fourth turn before adding a fourth land to the board and passing. Brian cast Brainstorm on his turn four, and he followed it up by using a Polluted+Delta to search up dual land number four and cast a Stoneforge+Mystic. This time the Kor resolved, and the Mystic grabbed Batterskull for Brian.
Joe played a turn of draw-go (adding a fetchland to his side of the table), and Brian did the same, but with the intent of activating his Mystic at end of turn. The Mirrodin Besieged mythic equipment indeed came down, and on the next turn Brian attacked for five. He then cast Thoughtseize, which revealed Force+of+Will, Oblivion+Ring, Entreat+the+Angels, and basic Plains. Brian took the counterspell and passed. Joe played the Plains, his seventh land, and passed on his turn.
Once again the pair of creatures dealt damage to Joe, who fell to 9. Joe only had another land to add to his board, and at end of turn Snapcaster+Mage allowed Brian to Brainstorm. He untapped and attacked for seven, putting Joe to 2 and raising Brian up to 25. Flooded and facing Brian’s full grip, Joe scooped up his cards.
Brian 1, Joe 0.
Joe's hand is full of haymakers!
Brian mulliganed to six to start off game 2, but once he kept his six Joe led things off with his singleton Portent. Once the Ice Age common resolved, Joe rearranged the top of his deck and passed. Brian led with Polluted+Delta. Joe added an Arid+Mesa to his Island board and passed. Brian cast Sensei’s Divining Top on his turn. Joe searched out Plains with his Mesa and played land number three, Tundra, before casting Snapcaster+Mage. Spell+Snare prevented Tiago Chan from allowing Joe to flashback Portent, and Joe passed.
Brian untapped and failing to find land number three passed right back to Joe. The Miracles player played a fourth land and went for Moat. Brian activated Top in response, but failing to find an answer let the expensive enchantment resolve. Brian cast Brainstorm during his upkeep, then cast Inquisition+of+Kozilek. Brian took nothing from Joe’s hand of Baneslayer+Angel, Misty+Rainforest, Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor, and Terminus and having no land or further play passed back to Joe. Joe attempted to cast Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor but Force+of+Will prevented the mythic planeswalker from entering the battlefield. Brian cast Brainstorm at the end of turn.
Wasteland was Brian’s third land, but it did not take out a land just yet, since Brian needed the mana. Joe played Glacial+Fortress and attempted to cast Baneslayer+Angel. Brian used the Wasteland to activate Sensei’s Divining Top in response, and cast Force+of+Will removing Brainstorm to counter the 5/5. Brian untapped and cast thoughtseize, to which Joe responded by grabbing a Volcanic+Island from his deck with his fetchland and casting Brainstorm in response. Thoughtseize revealed two more lands for Joe, and Brian dropped to 15. Joe played a land and passed.
Brian is looking to Batter some Skulls in this match!
Brian untapped and went for Lingering+Souls, which resolved and got around Joe’s pesky Moat. A Miracle Terminus off of a fresh shuffle felled the pair of tokens, and Joe passed. Brian Topped and cast the flashback cost of Lingering+Souls on his turn, and also added a fourth land to his board. Joe cast Vendilion+Clique on his main phase, which resolved and targeted himself. He put a card on the bottom of his library and passed. Brian Topped once more at end of turn to dig deeper for more gas, and when he untapped he revealed that he found it in the form of a Lingering+Souls. Two more Spirits entered play, but they quickly left play when Joe hardcast Terminus from his hand on the next turn. Brian played his fifth land and cast Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor. Jace (still better than all) used its Brainstorm ability, and Brian added a card to his hand.
Joe cast Vendilion+Clique on the end of turn step, which this time targeted Brian and revealed a Snapcaster+Mage. The Mage went to the bottom and Vendilion+Clique took out the Jace. Brian untapped and played another land before flashing back Lingering+Souls. Joe drew for his turn and cast Seal+of+Cleansing and Baneslayer+Angel. Brian activated Top and then a fetchland to dig, but Brian made him put the Kamigawa uncommon on top of his library by targeting it with Seal+of+Cleansing. Brainstorm (altered to have Psyduck on it) dug even deeper but the Angel resolved. Brian untapped and Wastelanded Volcanic+Island before Vindicate took out the Baneslayer. One token attacked Joe, and both players went to 13.
Brainstorm? Don't mind if I do!
Joe went for Counterbalance on his next main phase, but Brian cast snapcaster Mage in response, which also allowed him to flashback Spell+Snare to counter the Counterbalance. Once again, one token came into the red zone for Brian and he passed. But Joe Entreat+the+Angels for a bajillion on his turn. What could stop him now?
A Spell+Pierce, that’s what!
Well, Joe was able to miracle Terminus on his next turn so not too much damage was done. Both players played draw go for a bit, then Brian cast Snapcaster+Mage targeting Vindicate. The Apocalypse rare took down the Moat, and he passed. On the next turn, the Mage began its slow march to Joe’s death, chipping away at Joe two points at a time. Joe landed a Counterbalance in the meantime, but nothing came to stop the 2/1 attacker over the next several turns until Joe was at three. At this point, Joe tried to cast a Snapcaster of his own, but Brian hardcast a Force+of+Will to prevent the would-be doppelganger from entering play. Ponder added more defense to Brian’s already commanding position.
Joe topdecked a Brainstorm and found Oblivion+Ring, which took out the Snapcaster+Mage, and also Jace%2C+the+Mind+Sculptor, which used its +2 ability to fateseal Brian. He kept it on top, and Brian fetched to change his fortune (going to 11 in the process, with Joe at 1). The StoneBlade player added yet another land and passed.
Joe activated Jacestorm and played Karakas before passing. Brian legend ruled the freshly played land and the Jace as well on his next turn, leaving only Oblivion+Ring and Counterbalance in play aside from the myriad of lands. Joe plyed draw-go, while Brian found Stoneforge+Mystic. Joe had no choice but to let it resolve after revealing flooded Strand from Counterbalance, and the Kor Artificer found Batterskull. He hardcast the Batterskull on his turn, and seeing the writing on the wall Joe extended his hand.
Brian 2, Joe 0.