Tolga Ince and Sam Pardee both ran through the past eight rounds with a single loss but a plethora of players on 21 points meant that they would be forced to play for a slot in the Top 8. The winner would be a lock; the loser just crossing their fingers for a Top 16. It was a traditional RUG vs. U/W Caw-Blade matchup known to slightly favor the RUG deck. Of course anything can and does happen in a game of Magic!
Both players kept and Tolga opened with Raging Ravine. Sam split a Preordain after playing Seachrome Coast and sent the turn right back. Tectonic Edge and Lotus Cobra promised big things from Tolga—but Sam's Mortarpod was at the ready zapping the 2/1 before Tolga could even untap. An Island and an Explore led into a Preordain and an Island off the top. Sam drew played a Celestial Colonnade and passed with Leak up. He cast it when Tolga tried a Jace the Mind Sculptor missing his fifth land drop.
That encouraged Sam to break Tectonic Edge on Raging Ravine and passed content to try and manascrew Tolga. He Mana Leaked a Preordain but the second one resolved failing to find a land. Sam cast Jace the Mind Sculptor and began to fateseal leaving nonland cards for Tolga to draw. A fourth Preordain found him a Mountain but Tolga was still in the woods and far behind.
Sam's Jace brainstormed and he followed that with a Stoneforge Mystic for Sword of Feast and Famine and a Scalding Tarn. Lightning Bolt killed the Mystic but Sam's Mana Leak saved his Jace when Tolga tried to trade one on the following turn. Another brainstorm followed by a fetch and Sam was casting Gideon Jura against his crippled opponent upping the loyalty before passing the turn. Tolga drew and played Scalding Tarn still stuck. He burned a Leak on Sam's Squadron Hawk with Sam declining to pay the three mana. Jace drew Sam three but a second Leak from Tolga countered Sam's Sword—Gideon entered the red zone and Sam played a tapped a land before passing the turn.
Tolga drew a Misty and cracked his pair of fetchlands to dig up the mana he needed to cast an Inferno Titan sending the damage into Gideon. Sam untapped and fatesealed leaving the card. Tumble Magnet tapped Inferno Titan and Gideon killed him with Squadron Hawk following and searching up a pair of Hawks. Sam cast a second Hawk and passed the turn. Tolga drew the Island Sam ah delft him and used Tectonic Edge on Celestial Colonnade. His fate remained sealed and he scooped rather than continue to allow Gideon to run rampant.
Sam 1 Tolga 0
Both players once again kept opening up on dual lands for their corresponding archetypes. A Preordain for Tolga resolved on the second turn after a fresh Island splitting the top two cards. Sam also Preordained sending both to the bottom and drawing as he added Colonnade to the board. Tolga played a Raging Ravine and passed while Sam had just Tectonic Edge. Tolga decided to break this standstill by cracking a Scalding Tarn on the fourth turn to cast Garruk Wildspeaker getting his planeswalker Spell Pierced.
A second Tectonic Edge let Sam blow up both Raging Ravines but a Copperline Gorge for Tolga got him right back in the game as they continued to lay lands. A second Gorge for Tolga meant a pass but Stoneforge Mystic resolved for Sam on the next turn searching up the Sword of Feast and Famine. Bolt removed the Stoneforge as Tolga continued to play lands. Sam resolved Squadron Hawk for a pair of Hawks on the next turn passing with no other plays and wary of Titans. A Preordain for Tolga wound up splitting and Tolga passed the turn.
Sam began to attack with his Hawk knocking Tolga to 18. Sam cast the Sword but it met Nature's Claim during his end step and the game continued to develop slowly. Tolga drew and cast Lotus Cobra following with a Raging Ravine. Sam added a second Hawk to the board after attacking failing to find on the search. Had he sided one out drawn one or was this a ruse? Tolga contemplated it only briefly before drawing and casting Thrun the Last Troll. The Troll (obviously) resovled and a Lightning Bolt dispatched the untapped Hawk in order to clear the way for Cobra.
Sam decided that the coast was reasonably clear and he cast a Jace with an Arid Mesa already in play. He had nothing else to add to the board beyond a Celestial Colonnade—Jace would certainly die this turn barring a Condemn on Raging Ravine which was not a card Sam was likely to have in post-board games. The Thrun and Ravine slammed into Jace and Tolga passed the turn as Sam cracked his fetch for a fresh draw.
Sam resolved Sun Titan and returned Sword of Feast and Famine losing it once again to a Nature's Claim as his Hawk tried to pick it up and fight. Explore into Explore for Tolga found him nothing too interesting and he was forced to pass the turn. Oust put the Lotus Cobra into the deck in order to allow a safe attack for Sun Titan and a Jace followed for a fateseal sending the card to the bottom. Sun Titan attacked into Thrun to get back the Sword and Sam passed the turn.
Tolga made a mock gasp as he drew Lotus Cobra for turn trying to figure out a way out of this predicament. He began by trading Jaces casting the Cobra shortly after and passing the turn. Sun Titan picked up the Sword and Celestial Colonnade entered the red zone dishing out 13 damage as a Tectonic Edge rejoined the battlefield. Jace landed once again sealing Tolga's fate successfully.
Sam 2 Tolga 0