Quarterfinals: Dustin Klopping vs. Nick Cowden
Dustin had made it into the Top 8 with Belcher, but he faced a tough matchup in the counter-heavy U/W/R Delver deck that Nick Cowden brought to the battle.
Nick's got an edge, but he'll still have to draw his counters to win.
Dustin had the play, beginning with Gitaxian+Probe at the cost of 2 life. He spotted Force+of+Will, Ponder, Wasteland, Tundra, Volcanic+Island, Stoneforge+Mystic, and Grim+Lavamancer. The Force was... disheartening, at a minimum, but at least he knew what was there. Exiling Elvish+Spirit+Guide, Dustin cast Tinder+Wall and ended the turn.
Ponder from Nick left him potentially without a blue card remaining in his hand, but when the top three went unshuffled that seemed unlikely to be the case. Dustin sacrificed Tinder+Wall on his turn for Desperate+Ritual, and then cast Seething+Song—Nick allowed that to resolve. Dustin cast Lion’s Eye Diamond, also resolving it, but his Burning+Wish earned the Force+of+Will and ended his turn.
Nick played Delver+of+Secrets and passed, while Dustin drew and ended his turn. Delver flipped, revealing Lightning+Bolt, and Nick swung prior to casting Stoneforge+Mystic for Batterskull and Grim+Lavamancer.
Another pass from Dustin, and he took 3 more from Aberration as Nick ended turn as well. A shot from the Lavamancer put him to 10 life as the Batterskull entered play, and the next attack was for lethal.
Dustin's hoping to keep the Charbelcher rolling for another round.
Nick 1, Dustin 0
Gitaxian+Probe showed Dustin Daze, Spell+Pierce, Force+of+Will, Gitaxian+Probe, and three fetchlands—a ton of answers, but no threats and Nick’s worst cantrip. He played Lotus+Petal and then exiled Elvish+Spirit+Guide to cast Xantid+Swarm. One had to wonder why cast the Petal, but Nick decided to counter the Swarm with Force, ditching Probe.
Land+Grant for Dustin revealed Chrome+Mox, Desperate+Ritual, Chrome+Mox, and Empty+the+Warrens—Dustin was counting up storm but he did not have a way to make four mana. He ended the turn. Land and pass for Nick meant he could now access Pierce and Daze, which was a lot of disruption!
Dustin sent the turn back, and Nick fetched in the end step for Volcanic+Island. Brainstorming on his own turn, Nick laid another fetchland. Dustin sprung into action on the next turn, playing Chrome+Mox, exiling Burning+Wish, and then casting Desperate+Ritual before an Empty+the+Warrens for a bunch of Goblins also resolved uncontested... because Nick had Pyroclasm!
Dustin was on the top of the deck now, but had access to three mana. He drew and passed, with Nick immediately resolving Stoneforge+Mystic for Batterskull. The equipment entered play, and soon began the inexorable march toward Dustin’s death. He had a few turns to pull together another kill, but against at least Spell+Pierce and Daze it would be very difficult.
Exiling a Spirit Guide for Charbelcher, Dustin lost it to another Force+of+Will. He took 5 more damage, falling to three, and the top card of the deck could not save him.
Nick 2, Dustin 0