Quarterfinal 1 – Stephen Menendian vs. Joseph Bogaard
Things didn't start too auspiciously for Menendian, as Bogaard managed a first-turn Thoughtseize to strip the Tinker that was in Menendian's hand. With his method of getting his Blightsteel Colossus in the graveyard, his entire plan came down to resolving a Yawgmoth's Will. Getting the resources in play to put all of that together became a difficult proposition, as Bogaard got Life from the Loam and Wasteland going to keep Menendian off of his lands. Menendian did have a Dark Confidant in play to ensure a steady stream of lands to keep afloat. Bogaard resolved a Jace, the Mind Sculptor at one point, and it looked lost, until Menendian managed to draw a Fastbond, allowing him to combine with multiple copies of Gush to squeeze enough mana out of his two lands to cast Yawgmoth's Will, Tinker, and Time Walk all in one turn. The new Blightsteel Colossus ate Jace one turn before infecting Bogaard to deck in an incredible turn of fate.
The second game was considerably less intense. Bogaard was stuck on one land after a Brainstorm, meaning he had a pair of useless cards on top of his deck. Fortunately for him, Menendian made a Dark Confidant, giving him a target for his sideboarded Darkblast, allowing him to dredge those two cards away. Menendian made a second Dark Confidant and a Trygon Predator over the next two turns, while Bogaard tried desperately to find another land. He eventually found a Strip Mine, but the game was out of reach. In an unusual fashion, Menendian relied on actual damage to kill his opponent.
Stephen Menendian 2 – Joseph Bogaard 0
Quarterfinals 2 – Ryan Glackin vs. Joseph Brown
Glackin's Cat Stax deck got a really fast grip on the first game, using a Mana Crypt and a Black Lotus to literally power out a Chalice of the Void for one and a Sphere of Resistance. He managed to keep Brown locked down with a Strip Mine as his two Mishra's Factories, one of which started life as a Phyrexian Metamorph, ground him to dust.
The second game was about as anticlimactic as the first. Glackin locked down Brown's artifact mana early with a Null Rod, keeping him very restricted on mana. He would have found himself able to deal with it, but he had used his one artifact-removal spell, an Ingot Chewer, on the previous turn to kill a Thorn of Amethyst. Locked down under that Null Rod, Brown's problems were exacerbated thanks to a Strip Mine and a Wasteland from Glackin. With Brown locked down, a Lodestone Golem took his sweet time to bash Brown down.
Ryan Glackin 2 – Joseph Brown 0
Quarterfinals 3 – Paul Mastriano vs. Rich Shay
In this quarterfinals match, Mastriano was able to assemble a near-perfect opening set of turns, using a Time Walk, Vampiric Tutor, and a Brainstorm to set up a third-turn Yawgmoth's Will with Force of Will backup. Shay, who had gone undefeated in the swiss, had the Force of Will to keep Mastriano honest, but once the Will resolved, the game was more or less over. Mastriano got to recast Vampiric Tutor and Brainstorm to get a Tinkered Blightsteel Colossus into play. Shay had no answer, and the first game went to Mastriano
The next game was a textbook example of explosive Vintage at its finest. Shay mulliganned to six cards, but those six cards contained a Mox Sapphire and a Tinker, resulting in a second-turn Blightsteel Colossus. Seemed pretty good. Pretty good until Mastriano drew Black Lotus for his turn. Then, after a significant amount of thought and talking through his decision tree, he played Lotus, Sol Ring, Voltaic Key, and then Time Walk. On his second turn, he dropped a Time Vault into play, to which Shay could do nothing but concede. You can threaten a third-turn kill and find yourself conceding five minutes later. Welcome to Vintage!
Paul Mastriano 2 – Rich Shay 0
Quarterfinals 4 – Mark Hornung vs. Nick Coss
This was possibly the most interesting match to me initially, since both players were playing decks that have been so powerful at one point, that they define sideboards to this day. Because they demand so much hate, they are often deemed unplayable in the current metagame. I am of course talking about Dredge and Worldgorger Dragon.
The first game went pretty standardly for both players. They each mulliganned until they found their Bazaar of Baghdad, using them to dredge their libraries until their graveyards towered over them. Unfortunately, Coss wasn't able to assemble his combo, or another answer, faster than the Bridge from Below could churn out all of the Zombies ever. Needless to say, with that many Zombies, not even Woody Harrelson could survive.
The second game went exactly the opposite way, but for a very unorthodox reason. Nick Coss went to the board for an incredibly surprise way to win. Needless to say, Hornung was probably a little surprised when he only got one activation of his Bazaar of Baghdad before Coss managed to assemble Time Vault and Voltaic Key. That's right, from the board, he stuck the combo into his deck, knowing full well that his graveyard was not going to be how he won this match. When he played the Time Vault, Hornung had a chance to stop it from happening. He had a single copy of Cabal Therapy in his graveyard, and could flash it back to try and stop the combo. He had to choose between Vampiric Tutor, which Coss could cast on upkeep to fetch the Key, or Voltaic Key itself. He said that something was telling him Vampiric Tutor, so he chose the powerful instant. Something lied to him. When Coss revealed his hand, showing the Key that was coming down on his turn, Hornung conceded.
"Man, I thought I had picked right, too."
The final game was right back to the first. Hornung just absolutely went off. He showed off the newest addition to the deck, getting a massive dredge off early. With his graveyard getting full, he cast Dread Return to bring back Sun Titan, getting back a dredged Bazaar, which he used to refill his graveyard, which gave him more Dread Return fodder, so he could keep recurring Sun Titan to get more Bazaars and so on. Eventually, he had so many Zombies that he had to borrow more tokens. Coss made him go through the motions, just to rib a friend, and packed it in when the Zombies hit home.
Mark Hornung 2 – Nick Coss 1