Semifinal Feature Match: Car Acrobatic Team vs. Rolled-Up Aces
by Mark Wraith
The Team Pro Tour reaches its last stages, and the two teams from Pittsburgh and California were hoping to make it through to the final, where they would play the winner of the match between Potato Nation and Draften Und Spielen.
Andrew Cuneo took on Dan Clegg in one pairing of this match-up. In game on Andrew got off to a good start, attacking with his Drake Hatchling while casting Daze on a Ribbon Snake, and Thunderclapping a Wild Jhovall. Dan couldn't find anything to deal with the Drake, only playing a Balloon Peddler and a Seal of Fire, while Cuneo waits until he has six mana before playing a Sliptide Serpent. Low on life, Dan needed to find an answer to this 4/4 creature, but it had to be a good because the Serpent can return to it's owner's hand for four mana. Clegg's Lightning's Hounds would probably not have helped, but Andrew anted to take no chances and Foiled them. Dan was soon forced to throw the Balloon Peddler in the way, and eventually lost.
Dan Clegg's opening hand at the start of game two was tricky. He had to think for a long time before eventually deciding to mulligan. His six-card hand wasn't much better, but it's always tough to go down to five, so he kept it and hoped for the best. While Andrew Cuneo plays a Drake Hatchling and a Spur Grappler, Dan had only land, and two Seals, one of Removal, and one of Fire. He did draw a Rootwater Commando, but he needed a defensive creature right then. Drawing a second Mountain, he was eventually able to cast Zarapa the Minotaur, but by then Andrew has a Laccolith Grunt, a Waterfront Bouncer, and a Barbed Field. All Dan could do was chump block with the Zarapa Minotaur, staring at his hand of three land, and swept up his cards on the next turn. This was the first match to finish by some considerable margin.
Andrew Cuneo beats Dan Clegg 2-0
Shawn Keller needed to win his match to keep his team in the hunt. His draw was less than stellar in game one, with only two forests and no swamps. Nevertheless, he recovered quite well, despite not drawing a swamp, playing a Seal of Strength, a Silt Crawler, and a Lumbering Satyr. The Satyr turned the game into a straight race, but Aaron had played a Rathi Intimidator, a Phyrexian Prowler, a Belbe's Percher, and a Deepwood Legate, which he could cast for free. Aaron Forsythe had no forests in play, which meant that he could block Shawn's creatures, while all of Aaron's creatures were unblockable. Aaron Forsythe attacked to bring Shawn to seven, and next turn Shawn had one less damage in play than Aaron's life. He needed to draw an Invigorate, or a Wild Might to win the game, but draw a land instead and was forced to concede.
Shawn was forced to mulligan in the second game, but played a second turn Marsh Boa, joking "that's the game right there." Both players brought out a few creatures, and Shawn brings Aaron to eight with the aid of a Death Charmer, and a Marsh Boa enhanced by a Wild Might. Aaron used a Steal Strength and a Noxious Field to deal with the Boa, as the Boa had received +1/+1 from a Thrive. Shawn didn't want to give up his Swampwalker so easily, and saved it with an Invigorate. Aaron destroyed it with a Vendetta on the next turn. This brought him fairly low on life, and it looked like Shawn would in when he cast a Battlefield Percher. Aaron Forsythe had more answers, with a Spitting Spider taking care of the Percher. With only a Death Charmer in play, Shawn was forced to look on as Forsythe played a Giant Caterpillar, then a Pygmy Razorback. Soon the Charmer was forced to chump block, and not being able to draw a large enough creature, the game was over in three turns.
Aaron Forsythe beats Shawn Keller 2 - 0
This meant that the match between Thomas Keller and Andrew Johnson didn't matter to the overall result. In fact this match was still in the first game when the other matches had finished.
Thomas Keller was forced to mulligan, but this didn't matter, as the game descended into a stall situation. Andrew Johnson recruited out a bunch or rebels, and Thomas had a defensive board with an Alabaster Wall and a Waterfront Bouncer, along with five other random creatures. A Defiant Falcon and a Rappelling Scout are the only things that can get through, both on Thomas' side of the board. One combat took ten minutes when Andrew decided to attack all out after casting a Defender-en-Vec. The other games were so fast that this match was already last to finish, and in fact they only made it to one more attack phase before Andrew Johnson conceded. There was nothing in terms of the game position that made it reasonable to give in, but with his team already having qualified for the final, he preferred to save his energy for that match.
Car Acrobatic Team defeat Rolled-Up Aces 2-1 and progress to the final later on today.