Round 5: Zac Hicks vs. Travis Hilderbrand
Two red decks were paired this round: Goblins and Welder! We're all familiar with the tribal deck, but Welder's got a lot of strange shenanigans, from Blood Moon to Mindslaver to Blightsteel Colossus!
Each player mulliganed, with Zac on the play piloting Welder. Their sixes were acceptable, Zac casting Gamble via Great Furnace on turn 1. Randomizing his hand, he binned Blood Moon and passed the turn. Mountain and Goblin Lackey for Travis revealed his archetype. Zac played Darksteel Citadel and Grim Monolith, having nothing for the Lackey—he took 1 damage, and Goblin Warchief hit the board, followed by another Lackey and no second land.
Ancient Tomb for Zac preceded Lightning Greaves, and he fell to 17 for another Monolith. Travis had a lot of damage—Goblin Piledriver hit the board, followed by an attack that put Goblin Matron and Siege-Gang Commander into play.
Unsurprisingly, that did the trick.
Travis 1, Zac 0
City of Traitors into Grim Monolith offered Zac the potential for a busted opening, while Travis had the same in Mountain and Aether Vial. Of course, Batterskull changed the board significantly—Zac was way ahead off the turn 2 equipment. Travis played Badlands and another Aether Vial, passing the turn.
Swinging for 4 damage, Zac played Darksteel Citadel after floating mana to put Metalworker into play. The Vials all ticked up, and Travis hardcast Goblin Piledriver. Activating Metalworker to reveal Staff of Domination, Top, Sundering Titan, and another artifact, Zac went to infinite mana by casting the Staff, followed by drawing cards until he could setup Blightsteel Colossus and Lightning Greaves, tapping anything that got in his way.
Zac's artifacts are pretty incredible, if he can survive long enough to stick them.
Travis 1, Zac 1
Two very fast games—would the third one be as quick? Zac switched up a bit of his sideboarding for the draw, and each player prepared for the game that would decide their Top 8 contention. Travis mulliganed to start, while Zac kept seven. Shipping the six back and heading to five, Travis would need a strong five.
Mountain, pass for Travis, while Zac led Furnace into Goblin Welder on turn 1. No land or Goblin during the second turn for Travis, Zac playing Ancient Tomb and going to 18 life to cast Spellskite, attacking for 1 damage. Travis drew… and passed.
City of Traitors enabled Zac to cast Kuldotha Forgemaster, making things really dangerous. Travis made a Mountain, but had no other plays. Zac floated two and played another City, casting Steel Hellkite and attacking for 1 with Goblin Welder—Travis saw fit to concede when his next draw didn't offer him anything powerful enough to win.
Travis 1, Zac 2