Quarterfinals: Nathan Fabilenia vs. Drew Iafrate
In the Lone Star state, people are known to love to attack. This Quarterfinals match is no different. Who will outrace their opponent: Nathan and his large G/R Dragons or Drew and his burn-heavy Mono-Red Aggro?
After both players keep their opening seven, Nathan, being the first seed overall, starts things off with a Forest into Elvish Mystic. Drew also has a one-drop, in the form of Foundry Street Denizen. On Nathan’s second turn, he has a Sylvan Caryatid, but no second land drop. Seeing this, Drew decides to cast Lightning Strike at his opponent’s Elf, hoping to choke him on mana.
But luckily for Nathan, he finds a Rugged Highlands and casts a second Sylvan Caryatid. This makes Drew change up his plans a little bit, by dropping a Goblin Rabblemaster and swinging with his Goblins. No blocks from Nathan, and Drew draws first blood.
Nathan continues to try to hit land drops by casting a Courser of Kruphix, gaining precious life at the same time. However, Drew would have none of it, as he casts a Hordeling Outburst and Stoke the Flames on the Courser for his turn. More attacks from Drew’s Goblin horde lead to some blocks by a Sylvan Caryatid and a Draconic Roar on the Rabblemaster, revealing Thunderbreak Regent. However, more chunks of life and time are taken away from Nathan. Nathan finally hits his third land drop and casts a Thunderbreak Regent, in hopes of blocking, but Drew does not relent on his pressure, this time dashing in a Lightning Berserker and attacking with his team, more blocks from Nathan.
Nathan tries a desperation Genesis Hydra for one, but misses on his turn. Drew puts the final touches on the match by dashing in both a Lightning Berserker and a Zurgo Bellstriker and attacking with them, along with six Goblin tokens, killing Nathan before he has a chance to hit his fourth land drop.
Drew wins Game 1, and is up 1-0 in the match!
After sideboarding, Nathan has to mulligan to six, but starts with a Temple of Abandon, keeping on top. His opponent, Drew, keeps his opening seven, but only has a Mountain and then a pass of the turn.
Nathan hits his second land drop on time and plays a Sylvan Caryatid. Drew also plays his two-drop in the form of Dragon Fodder. But Nathan has his preferred three-drop in this matchup, with a Courser of Kruphix. However, the Courser does not reveal a third land, so Nathan can only pass the turn back.
Drew decides to attack with this Goblins, representing all kinds of burn spells if Nathan decides to block. But Nathan does not, taking only two damage. After spending some time thinking, Drew plays a Mountain and simply passes the turn back to Nathan.
Nathan seizes this opportunity to hit a land off of his Courser, followed by playing a Thunderbreak Regent on defense. The Courser decides to get a little frisky and attacks, and then Nathan passes the turn. Drew attempts a Goblin Rabblemaster, but Nathan has the Draconic Roar for it before it creates anymore Goblins. With that Drew passes the turn back.
Nathan hits another land and casts Seismic Rupture, killing all of Drew’s board. Seeing the writing on the wall, Drew decides to scoop up his permanents and go to a Game 3.
Nathan wins Game 2 and ties the match 1-1!
Both players keep their opening seven, and Drew leads with a Mountain into a Foundry Street Denizen. Nathan plays an Elvish Mystic for his turn, but it is quickly dealt with by a Wild Slash from Drew on his turn. Nathan plays a Mountain and passes, which leads Drew to dash in a Goblin Heelcutter to attack. However, before the attack can happen, Nathan casts Draconic Roar on the Heelcutter, revealing Thunderbreak Regent for full value.
A turn of draw-go takes place between the players, followed by Nathan casting the previously revealed Thunderbreak Regent. However, this is immediately dealt with by a Stoke the Flames by Drew. Another Thunderbreak Regent the next turn, which is again killed by Drew, this time with a pair of Wild Slashes. Drew tries to take the initiative with a Goblin Rabblemaster into Nathan’s newly empty board, but Nathan answers with another devastating Seismic Rupture.
Out of gas, Drew can only play a Mountain and pass. Nathan plays his Thunderbreak Regent, but this time, it lives longer than the end of his turn. Drew can only play another Mountain and pass. Nathan attacks with his Dragon, confirms his opponent’s life total, and Crater’s Claws him for lethal.
Nathan wins Game 3 and the match, 2-1! Nathan is on to the semifinals!