Dustin was up against his admitted worst matchup this round and losing the die roll did not help matters. Kyle Kilhefner's Goblins build was the most aggressive deck in the Top 8 designed to end games before his opponents could get anything going. “This is the worst hand possible” Dustin joked before keeping and Kyle passed after playing a Mountain—no Goblin Guide was the first good news Dustin had gotten in this game.
Seachrome Coast permitted a Preordain for Dustin while Kyle cast an Ember Hauler on his second turn. Dustin traded a Journey for the 2/2 and Kyle had no other creatures to follow with. Each player played land go until Dustin cast a Squadron Hawk on the fourth turn searching up one more but missing his fourth land drop. Kyle sighed and dropped a fifth land while Dustin began to lay the beatdown. He didn't cast a second Hawk choosing to hold open Mana Leak after a Preordain failed to find a land.
Kyle cast Goblin Guide and dropped a Peaks to give it +2/+0 crashing in for 4 damage but revealing a Tectonic Edge for Dustin. Journey removed the Guide and Kyle's own Edge destroyed Seachrome Coast. Goblin Chieftain met a Mana Leak and Kyle passed. Dustin cast Stoneforge Mystic for Sword of Body and Mind and Kyle took a deep breath. He fell to 17 as the Hawk pecked at his life once again but Dustin discarded the Sword during his cleanup step—interesting.
Arc Trail killed both creatures but Dustin bounced back with a Hawk for a second Hawk discarding Jace Beleren “Not the most useful card versus you” he admitted. Kyle cast a new Ember Hauler plenty of lands available to dodge Mana Leak and Dustin finally found a fifth land—his second Island. Squadron Hawk landed searching up the last Hawk in the deck and Dustin declined to peck Kyle to 16 as he was sitting on 16 himself. He double-blocked the Ember Hauler which Kyle allowed despite having a Staggershock as he wanted to stick the second Hauler in his hand through a potential Leak.
The last Hawk chumped that Hauler and then a Journey to Nowhere force Kyle to chuck it at Dustin's dome knocking him to 14. Dustin had five lands now but his lack of a second white gave him no plays. A kicked Goblin Bushwhacker and a Teetering Peaks dropped Dustin to 10 as he continued to miss land drops. He probably wished that he had that Beleren now as it would distract Kyle and dig him a bit deeper into the deck but as it was he remained mana screwed either way.
The Bushwhacker dropped Dustin to 6 and Kyle cast a Spikeshot Elder. He allowed Mana Leak to counter the Elder and Kyle added a Goblin Wardriver to the field before passing turn. Dustin drew and cast Jace Beleren but Kyle responded with a Lightning Bolt which resolved. Dustin drew but didn't find a way to stem the bleeding.
Kyle 1 Dustin 0
Dustin had likely died due to missing that second white as Hero of Bladehold and Gideon Jura were two of the best cards in his deck for this matchup. Tectonic Edge had stranded Dustin with an inability to play most of his spells and Kyle's flooding had actually enabled him to push most spells through Mana Leak and Spell Pierce.
Dustin began with Seachrome Coast and Preordain once again while Kyle cast Spikeshot Elder. A Kor Firewalker earned a frown from Kyle and he added a second Spikeshot Elder to the board. Journey to Nowhere relieved him of the spare and the Firewalker dropped him to 18. Goblin Guide and the Elder sent 3 into Dustin's dome revealing a Flashfreeze as Dustin fell to 19 as Kyle missed a third land.
Squadron Hawk for a pair of birdies resolved on Dustin's next turn and he passed after that which led Kyle to draw and pass as well. Journey to Nowhere removed the second Elder and the Hawk began to attack. Dustin found a second Mountain casting Ember Hauler but Dustin sat on a healthy 20 thanks to his defending Firewalker. The Squadron Hawk knocked Kyle to 16 and Stoneforge Mystic searched up Sword of Feast and Famine—the pressure was on although Dustin remained stuck on three lands for now.
Burst Lightning targeting the Mystic met a Spell Pierce and Kyle paid passing the turn. That would buy him some time at a minimum and potentially a true opening. Dustin drew and played a fourth land for the turn casting the Sword after attacking with his Hawk. A Ratchet Bomb for Kyle earned a sigh as he was forced to tap out to force it through another Spell Pierce. Dustin happily equipped the Firewalker and attacked. The Sword's trigger forced Kyle to pitch a Goblin Wardriver untapping Dustin on five lands. A lot of bad things could happen from here but Dustin passed the turn without a Baneslayer or Gideon in sight.
Ratchet Bomb ticked up during the end step and Kyle sent his Ember Hauler into a Hawk chump. Another Hawk hit the field as the Firewalker bashed and Kyle used Tectonic Edge on a fresh Celestial Colonnade to stay safe. Once that Ratchet Bomb hit 2 counters it was huge—it destroyed both Journey to Nowheres both Hawks and the Firewalker as Ember Hauler went into Dustin's face with life totals at 7 to 17. Just as it looked like Kyle might mount a comeback Goblin Guide revealed a second Firewalker and prompted a chuckle from the audience as Kyle shook his head. Dustin untapped to play and equip the Firewalker prompting Dustin to send it all at him in a desperate attempt to force through damage.
Dustin fell to 14 and then 13 as a Staggershock was added to the fight. The Firewalker put Kyle to 3 and the last Hawks put the nail in Kyle's coffin.
Kyle 1 Dustin 1
It all came down to this: one more game.
Kyle had a Mountain without a turn 1 for the third game while Dustin dropped Celestial Colonnade. Goblin Wardriver landed and a second turn Preordain left Dustin defenseless as he added a Plains to the field. Kyle dropped Ember Hauler with Tectonic Edge untapped and Dustin was immediately in danger. He lacked a Firewalker and had just a Squadron Hawk on his third turn passing turn with the Colonnade untapped to at least offer the defense of Spell Pierce. Burst Lightning removed the Hawk as Kyle paid for that Pierce and a Teetering Peaks knocked Dustin to 11.
He untapped and cast a second Hawk searching out the last two before playing a Seachrome Coast. Kyle attacked to force a Hawk's chump of the Ember Hauler and Tectonic Edged a Celestial Colonnade. He then dropped the second one chastising himself for not playing and double-activating. That would have probably crippled Dustin beyond repair but as it stood he remained in the game—briefly. A Staggershock removed his next Hawk as he missed a land drop and the rebound combined with a Lightning Bolt and the Wardriver's attack were enough to earn the concession from Dustin.
Kyle 2 Dustin 1