by Mike Krzywicki
Brian Hacker vs. Bjorn Jocumsen
In game one, Bjorn played first and came out with Seal of Strength and Rushwood Herbalist. Hacker responded with a Seal of Fire, which traded with the Seal of Strength when it targeted the Herbalist. Hacker dropped a Rishadan Airship on his third turn, only to have it met by Bjorn's Rib Cage Spider. A Warmonger entered the fray on Hacker's turn, and Bjorn chose to hold off with the Spider and the Herbalist. When Hacker attacked with the Monger on his next turn, Bjorn blocked with the Herbalist and chose not to attempt to regenerate it, Mongered for one, leaving only the Rishadan Airship and the Spider, which got Thunderclapped by Hacker, who had now exhausted his hand of non-land cards, save a useless Alexei's Cloak. Jocumsen dropped a Flowstone Crusher on the following turn, while Hacker attacked with the Airship and passed the turn. The next two turns for Jocumsen provided back-to-back Keldon Berserkers, which proved to be too much for Hacker, who had drawn a total of four spells in the entire first game.
Game two saw Hacker play first and keep a questionable hand of four land, a Scoria Cat, an Ensnare, and a Flowstone Thopter. The first spell of the game came on Jocumsen's third turn, a Rushwood Herbalist, which was followed by a Keldon Berserker before Hacker got to play his first spell, a fifth turn Scoria Cat. The Cat appeared to have stabilized the ground, but Bjorn dropped one of two main-deck Cave Senses on his Berserker the next turn, tapped out with a Rib Cage Spider, and dropped a Rushwood Legate for free. After getting hit for six, Hacker dropped a Fault Rider on the next turn, but chose not to play a land out of his hand, preventing him from casting Flowstone Thopter on his next turn. Bjorn Lunged the Fault Rider, which was countered by Hacker's Alexei's Cloak. However, the two damage dealt by the Lunge, in addition to Jocumsen's all-out attack dropped Hacker to one life. Unable to kill Jocumsen on his next turn, Hacker attempted to Ensnare to stay alive, but Bjorn then dropped Shock Troops, and that was the match.
Igor Frayman vs. Eivind Nitter
Nitter chose to play first in game one, and started things off with a fourth turn Henge Guardian, cast with the help of a first turn Hickory Woodlot. Frayman had a Disenchant ready though, and played a Belbe's Percher on his turn. Nitter did nothing significant for the remainder of the game, simply laying land after land. When his second spell, a Mine Bearer, was met by a Thrashing Wumpus, the game had been decided.
Nitter played first again in the second game, and got a second turn Silt Crawler off of another first turn Hickory Woodlot. Frayman, on the other hand, had kept a one-land hand after a mulligan, and did not draw a second land until turn three, but was still unable to play anything. A Troubled Healer and a Devout Witness were added to Nitter's side of the board, while Frayman could do nothing but alternatively cast Snuff Out on Nitter's Silt Crawler, dropping him dangerously low on life. Even after Frayman had drawn a third land, he was still in dire straights as his two castable removal spells were Vicious Hungers, which were completely neutralized by Nitter's Troubled Healer. The game ended two turns later, with the only permanents on the board being Nitter's Troubled Healer, Devout Witness, and land.
Frayman chose to play first in game three, and once again kept a weak six card hand. Nitter's Devout Witness got Vicious Hungered, but he followed it up, in succession, with Troubled Healer, Vintara Snapper, and Diving Griffin. Frayman was experiencing the polar opposite his problem last game, this time an extreme surplus of land. He managed to stay alive for an extra turn by using Vicious Hunger solely for its life-gain, but could not draw anything to stop Nitter's horde of smaller creatures.
Gabe Tsang vs. Nicolai Herzog
Herzog played first and mulliganed, as did Tsang. Herzog started with a Bouncer, a Death Charmer, and a Parallax Tide, while Tsang got to play a Lightbringer before two of his lands got temporarily removed from the game. On Herzog's sixth turn, he attacked with the Bouncer and the Death Charmer, which left the powerful Spellshaper vulnerable to Tsang's lone removal spell, Afterlife. Unphased, Nicolai continued with his turn by dropping one of his deck's many bombs, Alexei, Zephyr Mage. The remainder of the game consisted of Tsang trying to play through Alexei with Blastoderm and Defiant Falcon, while Nicolai began pecking away with a flying Coastal Hornclaw. Despite Tsang's best efforts, Nicolai swept away all of Tsang's creatures after the Blastoderm faded away, and won with an all out attack on the next turn.
In game two, Tsang played first and started out strong with a turn one Ramosian Sergeant, while Nicolai once again got a second turn Waterfront Bouncer. Tsang began recruiting Rebels out of his deck, starting with a Fresh Volunteers and a Defiant Falcon, which could recruit two crucial Lightbringers into play. Herzog's Highway Robbers could provide devastating synergy with his Waterfront Bouncer, but Tsang's Lightbringers were an effective answer. Nicolai once again dropped Alexei, Zephyr Mage, but this time Tsang was far more well suited to play against it, with a lot of land to recast creatures after they were returned to his hand. Constant attacking from Tsang's growing army of Rebels brought Nicolai to the brink of death, and he was running out of fuel for his Legendary Spellshaper despite a Rhystic Scrying after Tsang tapped out to replay his army. Once Tsang's Spitting Spider hit the board, in combination with a Treetop Bracered Fresh Volunteers, Herzog ran out of cards in his hand to bounce Tsang's creatures and couldn't block with his Coastal Hornclaw on the Volunteers, as Tsang could kill it before it could block. With only three minutes left in the round and the match already decided, both players resigned to drawing the third game.