This matchup threatened to be over quick—two blazing graveyard decks were facing off with little to no interaction between them as they raced to combo off. The matchup seemed to favor the Cephalid player Joe Lossett whose deck was capable of fast kills and could back it up with Force of Will to slow down his opponent. That said Frankie Mach hadn't made it to the Top 4 by losing at Magic.
Frankie began with a City of Brass and a Careful Study but Joe countered with Force of Will removing Ponder. Tundra to deploy an Aether Vial was a strong start for Joe while Frankie tried a Breakthrough with X=1 but Joe had another Force removing Brainstorm. He ticked his Aether Vial to one and then cracked a Flooded Strand for Tropical Island scores going to 17-all. Joe passed after that leaving Frankie to play draw go. A Worldly Tutor during the end step found Nomads en-Kor and Joe put his Aether Vial to two. In came the Illusionist down came the Nomads en-Kor and up came Frankie's cards—he scooped.
Joe 1 Frankie 0
A mulligan wasn't how Frankie wanted to start the second game and he kept a weak one on six relying on a creature from Joe in order to bin any dredge cards as his only enabler was Firestorm. City of Brass pass met a Misty Rainforest and crack for Underground Sea from Joe casting Cabal Therapy on Breakthrough. That showed him how vulnerable Frankie's hand was and he passed the turn. An Ichorid off the top facilitated nothing and Frankie passed after playing his Coliseum.
Joe cast Aether Vial and added a Tropical Island to the board ending the turn. A tick on the Vial went to one and he cast Brainstorm during his main phase to pick up three cards and sift for the combo. He knew Frankie was completely vulnerable so an Illusionist and a Nomads would do it here if he had a land to cast the Cephalid. The time it took to replace the cards indicated this might not be the case and Joe played a Flooded Strand. He popped it for Tundra casting Qasali Pridemage and passing the turn. That gave Frankie a third target for a bigger Firestorm and he discarded Golgari Thug Iona and Dread Return. Faerie Macabre removed the Thug and the Iona leaving Frankie reliant on his draw step once again.
World Tutor found Cephalid Illusionist during the upkeep after ticking up Aether Vial but Joe had no other plays—he must have lacked the en-Kor. Frankie drew and passed the turn with Joe casting another Worldly Tutor during his upkeep this time for Nomads en-Kor. He drew the Nomads during his draw step cast it and used Aether Vial to deploy Cephalid Illusionst. He milled his deck in three card increments hitting a Narcomoeba then a Karmic Guide then a Dread Return before stopping to flashback Cabal Therapy on Mindbreak Trap. Once he knew Frankie was cold he just binned the deck to reveal the combo pieces to Frankie proving that they weren't in his hand (although he could have Cabal Therapied himself anyway).
Joe 2 Frankie 0