Semifinals: Jan Doise (Bel) vs. Andre Mueller (GER)

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Jan Doise is already a winner. Since he is the youngest players on the Top 8 he got himself a brand new snowboard. Nice. Mueller is also a winner because unlike Doise he wasn't qualified for Pro Tour New Orleans before this event. Now all that remains to be seen is who will play in the finals and who will sit in the sidelines.

Game One

Like any Red-White (Mueller) on Blue-White (Doise) game things started slowly. By slowly I mean very, very slowly. A lot of land playing, Doise allowing Astral Slide unto the table. The German added a Exalted Angel to the table and protected when Jan Doise used his first Akroma's Vengeance.

Calmly the German untapped, played another Slide and attacked. The Belgium answered with a morph. The German took a minute to think.

Andre: "This is pretty difficult."

Finally he cycled Gempalm Incinerator to slide away the morph (Exalted Angel). His Angel brought Jan Doise to seven. Needing some extra help, Doise cycled Decree of Justice for three. Actually he got his timing wrong and got no tokens out of it.

Still, he shook it off, playing another morph. Mueller still had the upper hand. His Slide revealed the second morph as another Angel but he had enough cyclers to keep them away. Doise tried to slow things down with Wing Shards but again the Angel got saved.

At seven, Doise sent his crew in. The German played some cycling tricks and kept things exactly the same. The best his opponent could muster was a virtually useless creature: Silver Knight.

Satisfied the German went for the throat: play Lightning Rift, cycled a card to shoot Doise, attack and...

Jan: "Spark Spray?"
Andre: "Targetting you."

That earned him extra style points. Killing with Spark Spray, what will they think of next?

Andre 1-0 Jan.

Game Two

Mueller had second turn Rift but Doise had other ideas, and the Wipe Clean to implement them. He tried Rift again two turns later but again Jan said no, this time with Complicate. Trying to seize the table the Belgium cycled Decree of Justice for two, but Mueller used Starstorm immediately.

They played "Draw-Go-Sometimes-Cycle" for a several turns until Andre tried Astral Slide. Again Doise said no. This time with Discombobulate. On his turn Jan brought forth the beats: Eternal Dragon.

Not about to be outdone Mueller fired an Wing Shards to ice the Dragon. With the Dragon gone Doise changed plans. He played Decree of Silence. Under it's protection Jan Doise got the crowd laughing when he played Rush of Knowledge. By the time it resolved he would have eleven cards in his hand.

I said "would have" because the spell never left the stack. Mueller shook his head and picked his cards up.

Andre: "Eleven cards should be enough to win it."

Andre 1-1 Jan.

Game Three

Mueller had to take a mulligan, daring Jan Doise to celebrate. Indeed the Belgium did and the game got underway. Despite his mulligan Mueller played a turn two Lightning Rift. Not too shabby. He got to use it once before Doise sent it away.

The German wasn't ready to give up yet. He played another Lightning Rift in deep silence. Doise tapped out to play Exalted Angel.

Andre: "I wonder if you have the Decree in your hand."

Apparently he didn't because he walked his Angel straight into Wing Shards. To replace them he tried to cast Decree of Justice for two Angels. Mueller spoiled that plan with Starstorm, using the extra mana to shoot the Belgium.

With the Rift bringing him to twelve Doise had to move, and quickly. He cycled Decree of Justice for six Soldiers. Mueller leaned back and came up with a plan. It involved playing Astral Slide. That got rid of one token on the next turn, with the Rift shot bringing Jan Doise to ten.

Out came Decree of Silence, making Andre Mueller sit up and take notice. For a few minutes he considered his options. He was ahead in the damage race 10-16, facing five tokens. Doise's next attack meant three lost tokens and six damage. The score was now four to sixteen.

The Belgium was in major trouble. To solve them he was forced to play Akroma's Vengeance following it with a morph. Mueller played another Astral Slide. When the morph came in Mueller agonized before taking the damage.

Out came another morph to give him further food for thought, especially with Doise returning his Dragon from the graveyard. Both were down to two cards in hand, before Mueller returned his own Dragon. Finally one of the morphs got Slided, and it turned out to be Exalted Angel (no surprises there, I guess).

Doise pushed on as best as he could but the Astral Slide was keeping him back. To speed things up he played out his Eternal Dragon. The score was now 12-4 for Mueller. The German needed to make a move and he did. Starstorm for five left his Slide as the only non-land permanent.

He tried to seize the offensive and somehow deal the remaining four points of damage. Doise thought long and hard before letting play Eternal Dragon and the reason was soon clear: Akroma's Vengeance.

Andre: "You have three cards? Ok, you have a Stifle."

Doise liked the Dragon plan so much he played his own. Mueller returned his and dropped it. We had ourselves a Dragon standoff. The Belgium decided to break it with Decree of Silence. Until Mueller could punch through he had the game all to himself.

The German cycled into nothing he wanted to lose, so he passed the turn. Doise sent his Dragon in before playing a second one. With the score 7-4 Andre Mueller pondered very carefully on his next moves. Solar Blast got a counter on the Decree. A Dragon got the second counter on the Decree.

Doise sent his crew in trading Dragons and dropping his opponent two a mere two. Andre Mueller thought for a moment and revealed his useless hand.

Final result:
Jan 2-1 Andre.
Jan Doise now meets Reinhard Blech (Red-White) in the Grand Prix Genova 2003 Finals.

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