After the epic battle of giants that was the quarterfinal match between Tim van der Lans and Mikael Lindén, the limelight now belonged to two lesser known players. In this semifinal pairing, Sweden's Hannes Eriksson was facing off against local Kevin Wagner.
Wagner was playing a Mishra's Workshop deck with Arcbound Ravager, while Eriksson had brought Oath of Druids, one of the most popular archetypes in the event's Top 8.
Eriksson led with a turn-one Oath of Druids off a Mox, but had no Forbidden Orchard yet. Wagner matched his speed, though possibly not quite the relevance of Wagner's play, with his turn-one Trinisphere off of Mishra's Workshop.
On his next turn, Eriksson did nothing, didn't even play a land. He continued not to do much of anything for quite a while, whereas Wagner added Thorn of Amethyst, Ancient Tomb, a second Workshop, Sphere of Resistance, a second Thorn, and Tolarian Academy to his battlefield over the course of several turns. However, Eriksson's Oath of Druids meant Wagner couldn't cast any creatures …
Eventually, Eriksson drew some lands, was able to cast another Mox, then Ancestral Recall, and played Library of Alexandria. He asked Wagner, “How many cards do you have in hand? Four? I have double that!”
Wagner looked glumly at those cards in his hand and admitted, “My creatures are kinda [bad] right now.” Then he drew Mishra's Factory and cheered with pretend happiness, “Yay, I can destroy your Strip Mine.”
Finally something of real consequence happened. Eriksson found a Forbidden Orchard and gave Wagner a token. Wagner was able to destroy the Orchard with Wasteland and the token with Walking Ballista. But a second Orchard sealed his fate.
Hannes Eriksson 1-0 Kevin Wagner
Wagner took it well, though. “Well, who knew that the Workshop deck doesn't operate well under Oath of Druids,” he chuckled.
Wagner drew an opening hand of Black Lotus, Strip Mine, Mishra's Factory, Thorn of Amethyst, Sphere of Resistance, Walking Ballista, and Tangle Wire. He considered keeping, but eventually decided against it. He checked the top card of his library. “If that had been a Workshop, this would have been a great draw.”
Eriksson matched Wagner's mulligan. Both players kept their six and off they went. First to the fray, this time, was Wagner who led with a turn-one Sphere of Resistance followed by Tolarian Academy and Foundry Inspector on turn two, Tangle Wire plus Arcbound Ravager on turn three, and a 3/3 Walking Ballista on turn four.
On his turn, Eriksson tapped three permaments for Tangle Wire, which left him with exactly three mana to get out of his predicament. He tried for Time Walk, spending all of his mana, one of them for Sphere of Resistance. In response, with Eriksson now unable to respond with any more spells due to the Sphere, Wagner sacrificed almost all of his other artifacts to Arcbound Ravager, transferred the counters to Walking Ballista, and used that to shoot Eriksson dead.
Hannes Eriksson 1-1 Kevin Wagner
For the deciding game, Eriksson kept a hand with just Island plus Forbidden Orchard for mana … and did I see an Oath of Druids there maybe? After all, he was back on the play, so what could possibly go wrong, right?
Well, here's what: Wagner cast a pair of Moxen and Sphere of Resistance, played Mishra's Workshop and Walking Ballista all on his first turn. On turn two, he played Fleetwheel Cruiser, Tolarian Academy, plus a second Fleetwheel Cruiser and attacked for 11.
Eriksson only found a third land after casting Ponder which would remain the single spell he cast all game. But even if he had been able to deploy Oath of Druids it wouldn't have mattered. He had to give Wagner a token via Forbidden Orchard and Wagner had a Mishra's Factory for his next turn, enabling him to crew both of his Vehicles, winning on turn three.
Hannes Eriksson 1-2 Kevin Wagner