Yuchen Liu finished the swiss rounds in first place, but Yuuya Watanabe scraped in at 8th after Xue Tong Due and Jan Ruess drew themselves out of contention.
Liu put up little resistance in the early game, as Watanabe summoned multiple Walls of Omens and got the beats started with a Noble Hierarch powered Vengevine. Turn four heralded the start of Liu's game, a Lightning Bolt cascading off of a Bloodbraid Elf, and zapping the Hierarch. Watanabe merely summoned a replacement, and sent the Vengevine in past the Elf, dropping Liu to 9, before summoning a Scute Mob. Bituminous Blast took care of the Mob, coming with a free set of steak knives (carried by a Putrid Leech). The Leech traded with the Vengevine, but another Hierarch and a Birds of Paradise had it right back where it belonged – on the Vengabus. Liu summoned a Siege-Gang Commander, throwing one of the accompanying Goblins under the next pass of the 'bus.
A Maelstrom Pulse cleared out Watanabe's Walls, and suddenly Liu was in the red zone with everyone but a lonely Goblin Token, dropping Watanabe to 14 and summoning a Sprouting Thrinax. Watanabe exiled the Thrinax with an Oblivion Ring, and summoned a second Vengevine (plenty o' room on the 'bus!) Liu dropping to 3 and losing the lonely Goblin. Liu attacked back with his Elf and the Commander, getting in for 2 as a Hierarch chump-blocked the Elf. He then summoned a Putrid Leech to keep his last Goblin Token company on defense. Watanabe kicked a Sphinx of Lost Truths, and sent in the Vengabus. The Leech traded, and the Goblin died, leaving Liu on 1 life. Liu cast Sarkhan the Mad, but the resulting Dragon Token was sent on a Path to Exile. Liu frowned at the Sphinx, and scooped up his cards.
Watanabe 1 – Liu 0
Liu Bolted a Hierarch, and Bloodbraided into a Putrid Leech in game two, putting Watanabe on the defensive early. Oblivion Ring exiled the Leech, and a Path to Exile socked a Siege-Gang Commander, right in the kisser. Another Path took out the Elf, but the residual Goblins managed to beat Watanabe down to 9 in no time. Watanabe had little of substance, and was potentially facing down a pair of Raging Ravines, with two Path's already spent. A Bituminous Blast swatted aside a Wall, finding a Bloodbraid Elf and a Sprouting Thrinax, and all it took was a single Ravine activation to send them to game three.
Watanabe 1 – Liu 1
Game three started with the classic "Birds? Bolt it" opening, followed be the more modern Thrinax, Wall of Omens standoff. Jace, the Mind Sculptor bounced the Thrinax, but Liu summoned a Bloodbraid Elf, netting a Putrid Leech. Watanabe gave it some thought, before Brainstorming with Jace and summoning a Vengevine. Liu dropped a Consuming Vapors on Watanabe, hitting the Wall. Liu sent in his team, losing the Elf to a Path, and letting the Leech go in the face of the Vengevine. Watanabe again tanked, receiving a shoulder-tap from the judge about his pace of play. He Brainstormed again with Jace, and summoned a Noble Hierarch, attacking for 5 with his Vengevine. The second half of the Vapors hit the Hierarch, putting Liu up to 18. With two mana open, Liu summoned a Siege-Gang, and passed the turn back, shooting down Jace during Watanabe's upkeep. Watanabe again sent in his Vengevine, crushing one of the Goblins, before kicking a Sphinx of Lost Truths.
Liu pointed a Bituminous Blast at the Sphinx, spinning up a Maelstrom Pulse for the Vengevine. He threw a Goblin at the Sphinx to finish it off, and attacked with the Commander to drop Watanabe to 18. Watanabe untapped, summoned a Wall of Omens and another Vengevine, resurrecting the first one and attacking Liu down to 10. Liu summoned a Goblin Ruinblaster, but was now well and truly on defense. Watanabe's Vengevines spent less than half a second untapped as he sent them straight back into the fray. The Ruinblaster jumped in front of one, and the Commander threw it at Watanabe – the scores Watanabe: 16 Liu 6.
Liu pasted the Vengevines with another Pulse, and summoned a Sprouting Thrinax and a Putrid Leech. Knowing Watanabe would likely have them back any moment, he kept his Commander back. At the end of his turn, Watanabe Celestial Purged the Thrinax. He then untapped, and summoned a pair of Hierarchs. Once more into the red zone, and Liu was out for the count.
Yuuya Watanabe defeats Yuchen Liu 2-1 to advance to the semifinals.