Josh was paired down this round and won the die roll to kick off a very important match. If he won he'd remain undefeated and likely be able to spend the next two rounds drawing. If he lost both he and Rory would find themselves scraping for another win on the bubble a draw a distant dream for Round 9. It was a crucial match pitting two poles of the format against one another—Caw-Blade and Valakut.
He opened on Island and Preordain digging into the deck a card before passing to Rory. Rory just dropped down a Valakut the Molten Pinnacle—that pretty much gives that away! Stoneforge Mystic off a Seachrome Coast searched up Sword of Feast and Famine for Josh giving Rory an opening to land Khalni Heart Expedition. Josh added a second Seachrome to the board and passed a Pyroclasm from Rory earning a Spell Pierce. Evolving Wilds got the Expedition started but Josh dropped his Sword into play during the end step.
A Squadron Hawk and an equip of the Sword put Josh out in the lead as he searched up the trio and untapped his lands—he cast a second Hawk and passed with two mana up. Rory cracked his Wilds to get a Mountain and go to two counters on Khalni Heart drawing for turn. Rory decided to play a Mountain and pass after triggering up his Expedition declining to cast Cultivate. Another Hawk landed for Josh before he entered combat dropping Rory to 12 life and leaving him in bad shape as he discarded a Forest. Josh missed a fifth land and had no other plays—small miracles I suppose.
Rory cracked his Expedition for a pair of Mountains going to four with a Valakut and a Forest to boot. He cast Cultivate to dig up a pair of Mountains dropping one into play. He played Valakut and passed the turn with nothing but lands in his hand. Josh cast Jace the Mind Sculptor to fateseal bottoming Rory's top card and attacking for 6 damage putting Rory all but dead. He drew for turn and played a Terramorphic Expanse passing the turn.
Jace left Oracle of Mul Daya on top of Rory's deck but his Expanse blasted the Mystic off the battlefield as he fell to 3 from the Hawks. Rory remained in trouble but he also remained alive. Josh declined to equip the Sword representing a pair of Man Leaks and he used both to counter Rory's Inferno Titan on the next turn. Rory nodded and scooped up his cards.
Josh 1 Rory 0
Josh had drawn a pretty nutty opening that game while Rory had lacked much of anything that cost six mana—a recipe for disaster. Rory began with a Mountain in the second game while Josh played just an Island. Overgrown Battlement for Rory got the ramp started early and Rory breathed a little easier when Josh had only a Squadron Hawk on the second turn. His Oracle of Mul Daya resolved finding a Forest on top and revealing an Inferno Titan—Josh was under a ton of pressure already!
Celestial Colonnade did nothing to relieve it but Josh did have a Spreading Seas for one of Rory's Mountains. Without another the Titan would be stranded. Rory drew revealed a Gaea's Revenge and dropped a Mountain followed by a Primeval Titan. Wary of Josh's Day of Judgments he searched up a Valakut and a Mountain. Primeval Titan was much better here—after all if Josh didn't have the Day he'd be dead and if he did then Rory would be up a ton of lands. After shuffling he revealed a second Inferno Titan. Josh drew didn't have the Day and conceded.
Josh 1 Rory 1
Josh had the play once again and kept while Rory tanked on the decision for a bit before eventually hanging on. Celestial Colonnade for Josh and a Valakut the Molten Pinnacle for Rory led to a Stoneforge Mystic for Sword of Feast and Famine. Rory shrugged added a Mountain to the board and passed. Josh cast Preordain and kept both cards passing with two mana up for the Mystic. A second Valakut for Rory indicated that he had gambled on no Forests a traditional Valakut trap.
The Sword connected on the next turn pitching a Gaea's Revenge and Jace the Mind Sculptor began to fateseal. Rory drew played a Mountain and passed the turn as Josh happily continued to strand him on a hand filled with green cards thanks to Jace. Hawk dug up more Hawks and another attack forced Rory to discard an Explore. Josh cast two more Hawks and ended the turn. Rory drew and immediately passed. Josh fatesealed leaving another green card and battling for 6 damage with Rory now on 8. Josh cast Gideon Jura and Rory conceded.
Josh 2 Rory 1