Round 8: Kevin Lambert vs. Dusty Ochoa
A large crowd surrounded this Arizona turf war as Phoenix's Kevin Lambert and his Heartless Architect deck took on Tucson's Dusty Ochoa armed with Wolf Run Ramp. The winner would have a shot at the Top 8 with another win in the last round while the loser would likely be on the outside looking in.
Phoenix native Kevin Lambert rides the Heartless Summoning train.
Kevin kicked things off with a Gitaxian Probe and a Heartless Summoning after seeing Huntmaster of the Fells, Rampant Growth, Sphere of the Suns, Slagstorm, Inkmoth Nexus and Rootbound Crag. Dusty fired off the Rampant Growth but had to be concerned with Kevin's Grand Architect follow-up.
Huntmaster of the Fells gave Dusty something to fight back with, but Kevin had a huge turn with Perilous Myr to off the Huntmaster before tapping out—including the Grand Architect—for Wurmcoil Engine. Dusty had a maindeck Ancient Grudge to get the Wurmcoil Engine down to Slagstorm-able size before getting in for three poison with Inkmoth Nexus and Kessig Wolf Run.
The leftover wolf token got in the way of one of the Wurmcoil tokens on Kevin's attack as Dusty looked to stabilize with the known Slagstorm, but Kevin made sure to get some value out of his Solemn Simulacrum in the process. Dusty sent his pair of Inkmoth Nexuses in after clearing the board, ticking Kevin up to five poison and threatening lethal with another land if Kevin couldn't find a way to stop the man-lands.
He drew Steel Hellkite, but decided to play Mindslaver in the hopes of buying extra turns if he could survive this one. He didn't, as Dusty had the land already in hand, and the Inkmoth Nexus finished Kevin off.
Dusty 1, Kevin 0
Tucson's Dusty Ochoa looks on in disgust.
This time Kevin's second turn Heartless Summoning was picked off by Naturalize, but Kevin re-raised with another copy of the dangerous enchantment. All Dusty could do was Rampant Growth twice over the next two turns to set up for an eventual Primeval Titan.
Ancient Grudge stifled one attack after Negate stopped the front half of the Shatter and Kevin was wide-open for Slagstorm, but Dusty didn't have it. He was only able to make a Thrun, the Last Troll after attacking for a poison with Inkmoth Nexus. Steel Hellkite shored up Kevin's defenses, but Dusty did have the Slagstorm this time, which forced Kevin into the awkward situation of having to block the Inkmoth Nexus with his already-damaged dragon while Thrun got in for four.
Treasure Mage for Steel Hellkite gave Kevin a way to race the Kessig Wolf Run powered Thrun, the Last Troll as Buried Ruin would let him rebuy the lifelinking Wurmcoil Engine later, and he threw the 1/1 Treasure Mage in the way of Thrun on Dusty's attack. A blank draw step forced Dusty to pump his troll for six trample damage, knocking Kevin to 10 in the process.
Kevin shrugged off the damage and stuck his Steel Hellkite in for four damage to put Dusty on 14. Buried Ruin for Wurmcoil Engine tapped Kevin out and forced Dusty to keep his team at home after playing a topdecked Huntmaster of the Fells. Steel Hellkite and Wurmcoil Engine rumbled in on the next turn, forcing Dusty to chump-block with the wolf token and take another four from the dragon. A second Wurmcoil Engine really put a hurting on Dusty's plans of a Kessig Wolf Run fueled comeback despite a ripped Red Sun's Zenith, and Curse of Death's Hold from Kevin put the game on ice.
Dusty 1, Kevin 1
Dusty came out slowly for the final game, but he was able to pickoff Spellskite with Naturalize on turn two. Kevin fought back with Treasure Mage for Wurmcoil Engine, but Solemn Simulacrum pushed Dusty up to the dangerous threshold of six mana, enabling his first Primeval Titan of the match while Kevin was on just five. Inkmoth Nexuses and Kessig Wolf Runs spilled into play to threaten lethal in a hurry.
Primeval Titan crashed in along with Inkmoth Nexus and Dusty suddenly had all four Inkmoth Nexus and both Kessig Wolf Run in play while Kevin could only answer with Buried Ruin for Spellskite. That at least turned off Kessig Wolf Run temporarily, but he was going to need a lot of help to kick out from under the extremely hostile army. Steel Hellkite was Kevin's answer, but with an ocean of mana to work with, Dusty was able to Naturalize the Spellskite again before crushing in for the kill.
Dusty 2, Kevin 1