This Top 8 was quite the combo platter! Carlos Ale's Merfolk deck was one of the only interactive decks in the Top 8 and he had a nightmare pairing against Alexander Kim. Painted Stone has a strong Merfolk matchup thanks to Goblin Welder and enough counters of its own including the incredible Pyroblast to overwhelm the fishes. Alexander wrote that Merfolk was one of his best matchups in the Top 8 profile but would Carlos upset the odds?
Carlos took down the die roll “handily” in his own words but his starting seven were dicey. He kept but Alexander kept like lightning. All Carlos began with was an Island while Alexander thought over his first land for a while. He decided to play around Daze with Ancient Tomb for Grindstone which resolved. Carlos drew and passed with no second land while Alexander added a Seat of the Synod to the board. Carlos drew a Wasteland and immediately tossed it at Ancient Tomb prompting a Brainstorm in response from Alexander.
Alexander added Great Furnace to the field and cast Mox Opal passing the turn with natural Grindstone available. He decided to draw his Brainstormed card instead drawing and playing a Seat of the Synod before ending his turn. Carlos drew a Cursecatcher and passed the turn after casting it while Alex laid a City of Traitors and shipped the turn. Carlos finally found a second Island using it to cast Lord of Atlantis. Alexander Pyroblasted the Lord and took a point from the Cursecatcher. He drew and cast Goblin Welder a 1/1 the Merfolk deck could not kill and would be very hard-pressed to defeat via counterspells as all Alexander needed to find were some artifacts—then he'd be able to resolve whatever he wanted.
Carlos allowed the Welder to land and Alexander cast a second Grindstone before ending the turn. Carlos played a Lord of Atlantis but Alexander Force of Willed after Grindstoning himself for bricks pitching Misdirection to counter the Lord. Daze countered the Force and Cursecatcher swung for 2 damage. Alexander untapped Grindstoned a Painter's Servant out of his own deck Welded it into play and used his second Grindstone to mill out Carlos.
Alexander 1 Carlos 0
“I guess I should've countered the Welder” Carlos said and Alexander nodded. “My deck goes nuts with Welder!” Both players kept with Carlos casting a Cursecatcher on the first turn. Force of Will countered Alexander's Goblin Welder and a Wasteland destroyed his Volcanic Island as Cursecatcher brought the beats. Alexander cast a Lion's Eye Diamond on his next turn after playing Volcanic Island followed by a second Goblin Welder. Carlos would have to lose his Lord of Atlantis to Force it leaving him with just a pair of Islands and a Cursecatcher but he did so.
His next turn was Island attack go and Alexander cast a Brainstorm into Cursecatcher claiming he needed land. Carlos decided not to counter it and Alexander drew three cards and played Polluted Delta ending his turn. Carlos drew an Island and cast Merfolk Sovereign his last card to which Alexander responded with a fetch for Volcanic Island and a Brainstorm. The lord resolved and Cursecatcher dropped Alexander to 15. He played a Great Furnace and a Grindstone Pyroblasting the Sovereign.
Alexander tried a Brainstorm after Carlos drew and attacked but Daze countered it. Alexander untapped counted his available mana—seven—and then cast Intuition for three Painter's Servants. He received one and passed turn to Carlos who had an empty hand. Carlos attacked Alexander to 13 and died to the Painter's Servant on the following turn.
Alexander 2 Carlos 0