Orry Swift (White-Blue Heroic) vs. Randall Gay (Abzan Midrange)
In the first game, Orry Swift powered out a Battlewise Hoplite and came hard and fast with the Auras. Aided by Hero of Iroas, a Feat of Resistance when Randall Gay tried to hit a Hero's Downfall, and an Ordeal of Heliod making the totals 31-6 in Swift's favor, Swift was able to take the first game with relative ease.
In the second game, again Swift came out of the gate swinging, but Gay's Abzan deck was able to get going quicker and stalled the board at 9-11—it was a conspiracy. After each player tried to break through, and Swift used Ordeal of Heliod to stem his bleeding, the board was eventually cleared by Gay with a End Hostilities to reset everything with the totals 9-29 for Gay.
Swift recovered quickly but was having difficulty punching through the damage. After a Siege Rhino and a monstrous Fleecemane Lion, Swift's attacks would have exposed him too much to counterattack. He snuck in some damage, but eventually his creatures were playing chump to the indestructible crazy pants. There's only so long you can do that without dying.
Swift did it for like five turns. Then he died. It was 1-1.
In the last game, Swift drew tons of cards with Ordeal of Thassa and made an 8/8 Battlewise Hoplite in the process. Gay kept his life total high, but with all those cards, when Gay cast a Thoughtseize, even before his opponent's hand was revealed, Gay had to admit "I bet I'm not going to like this." It was a bunch of good stuff, obvi. Sorin, Solemn Visitor tokens played chump well enough, but that "stuff" was coming.
Orry Swift wins 2-1 over Randall Gay.
Angel Solache (Abzan Midrange) vs. Albert Ake (Sidisi Whip)
The first game seemed over before it began. Angel Solache kept a "keepable" five cards (read: "well-guess-I-gotta" keepable), but was immediately Thoughtseized by Albert Ake. Ake took an Abzan Charm which further hurt potential card advantage. After that, it was basically elementary. Ake made tons of tokens thanks to Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Whip of Erebos, and Hornet Queen, and cruised straight through a Bile Blight or two to take the first game.
In the second game Solache had a much better hand, and subsequently a much better start. An early Siege Rhino and Sorin, Solemn Visitor made it look like Solache was going to take this game. At one point it was 31-4.
But these were the situations Sidisi Whip was built for. It looks like it's losing, then a bunch of tokens and a Wingmate Roc later it's back in Business. The tokens and birds were joined by Doomwake Giant and Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Solache just couldn't keep up.
Albert Ake wins the match 2-0.
Ryan Scullin (Mardu Midrange) vs. Gareth Aye (Mono-Red Cruise)
This game one was insane. It was constantly back and forth with tokens galore. Ryan Scullin used two early Chained to the Rocks to take out a Firedrinker Satyr and Goblin Rabblemaster. And each player negated any early offense; Aye had more Goblin tokens earlier, but they were mere harbingers of things to come from both players.
Then the Hordeling Outbursts started flowing, and the burn started coming. The life totals swapped back and forth as did the board. Both players at some point had Sarkhan, Dragonspeaker, and Scullin had a Sorin, Solemn Visitor.
It was 20-12 went Gareth Aye resolved his marquee card, Treasure Cruise. But this game was too sloggy to allow three measly cards to decide the battle! It helped him take out Scullin's Elspeth, but not actually win the game.
It all came down to burn, eventually Scullin won the Goblin stall, and was able to plink the last few points of life from Gareth Aye. Scullin was up a game.
The second game seemed to swap roles. It was Scullin who had more Goblin tokens earlier, and assembled five in short order. Aye didn't have a draw that could efficiently deal with all those tokens and he resorted to using a Keranos, God of Storms to take out the tokens one by one.
The strategy might have worked, but Scullin had everything red in his hand, and it all said "deal to target creature or player" somewhere on the card. On the last turn, after throwing burn at Aye with reckless abandon for turns, Scullin said, "Not to be showy but ... " and revealed yet another burn spell off the top to take the final points for Aye.
Ryan Scullin wins 2-0, advancing to the semifinals.
Larry Li (Jeskai) vs. Jeremy Frye (Temur Midrange)
Larry Li started with a handful of burn. It looked like he could take on anything. Even though Jeremy Frye had a Courser of Kruphix, Sylvan Caryatid, and Savage Knuckleblade early, Li had a Jeskai Charm to slow any potential assault. But as the game wore on, and Frye kept applying pressure—first with the Knuckleblade (after it came back from the top of the library), then with a Stormbreath Dragon. It was too much for Li to take and he lost his life in heaping chunks, until it stopped. But it only stopped because he was dead.
Though Li had more creatures and more on-board interaction in the second game, it the early turns looked remarkably like the first. Frye had a Courser, Caryatid, and a knuckle sandwich. And though Li cast Reprisal on a Surrak, Dragonclaw, it still wasn't pretty.
Larry Li was able to counter the first Crater's Claws for like, 85 thousand, but he wasn't able to stop the second. That one was for, like, 86 thousand.
Jeremy Frye wins 2-0, and is going to the next round.