In the second act of what may become an epic story in the annals of Magic history, Casey McCarrel, continuing his comeback from suspension, qualified for US nationals in the evening's waning hours.
McCarrel, coming off an impressive first turn win off a double mulligan in the first round of this open, was playing Neutral Ground New York regular Zev Gurwitz in a match for a spot in US Nationals. Zev, playing a strong Red/White deck, was visibly nervous, noting that he was a follower of the Pro Tour and therefore well aware of McCarrel's accomplishments.
The game started quickly enough, with Casey, drawing first, playing a free Saprazzan Legate on turn two, thanks to Zev's playing a Mountain. Following this up with a Nightwind Glider and Defender En-Vec, allowing him to go on the offensive, with Seth playing Thermal Glider and Laccolith Grunt, neither of which is an effective blocker.
With the score standing at 18-14 in Casey's favor, the first true breaker hit the table in the form of Casey's Jeweled Spirit. Fortunately for Zev, he had a temporary answer in a Story Circle: White, which Casey's deck had no answer to. Casey attacked while Zev's mana was tapped, bringing life totals to 6-16, but then things stabilized, and while Casey drew land after land, Zev continued playing non-land permanents such as Shield Dancer.
Finally, another breaker arises, this time Zev's Cho-Arrim Bruiser, but Zev gets too aggressive and runs it into a Fresh Volunteers and a Rootwater Commando. This mistake would turn out to be a costly one, with Zev soon drawing into a Puffer Extract. Casey finally drew a potential damage source in the form of a Coastal Hornclaw, which Zev was forced to use a Flameshot and a Seal of Fire to kill, setting up Casey's drawing the powerful Overtaker next turn. This would end up being Zev's death knell as he realized that his own Gerrard's Irregulars would be his undoing.