Eight players entered the feature match area for the last round of Swiss in Atlanta. Four left as happy top 8 competitors and four left disappointed losing the last round barely missing the draft for the title.
(12) Shaun McLaren (Blue/White) vs. (5) Owen Turtenwald (4 color Boulderfall)
Owen Turtenwald's deck was one of the more interesting as the day drew to an end in Atlanta. Running four colors with mana fix like Market Festival and strong cards from all colors but Blue it looked quite sweet. But it was Shaun McLaren, and his Blue/White deck that drew the longest straw when they battled for top 8. The Canadian took Game One on the back of unblockable creatures like Flitterstep Eidolon and Whitewater Naiads, locking down Turtenwald's creatures with Thassa's Ire. And in the second game a strong curve of Flitterstep Eidolon into Bident of Thassa got him far enough ahead that he could dispatch Turtenwald who would have to settle for cheering for his teammate William Jensen in the top 8.
Shaun McLaren 2 – 0 Owen Turtenwald
Nathan Holiday (Black/Green/Red) vs. Tomaharo Saito (Blue/Black)
Nathan Holiday went into the last draft needing only two wins to guarantee his spot in the top 8. And his deck was looking good. Sporting a Green/Black base, splashing Red for Xenagos, the Reveler and Underworld Cerberus. It even had a Pharika, God of Affliction for added mythic value. Unfortunately for him, Japanese veteran Tomaharo Saito had other plans, as his King-Macar, the Gold-Cursed locked down Game One. Game Two looked incredibly close, and Saito had to draw his sixth land the specific turn he did to be able to Thwart Holiday's team with a Sea God's Revenge just in time to race with a Nimbus Naiad he fetched from his deck with Disciple of Deceit. In the end, Holiday couldn't deal lethal before the Naiad and Pharika, God of Affliction could only watch, never being transformed into a creature to attack Holiday into the top 8.
Tomaharo Saito 2 – 0 Nathan Holiday
(19) Shuhei Nakamura (Green/Blue/Red) vs. Charley Murdock (Red/White)
The other match between Japan and the US for a seat in the top 8 draft also came down to three games. The players split the first games when Hydra Broodmaster won one for Nakamura and Portent of Betrayal (on the Broodmaster) one for Murdock. In the decider Nakamura stalled on three lands after casting Swordwise Centaur, Hall of Triumph and a Cackling Triton, while Murdock was able to Oppressive Ray the Centaur, burn away the Cackling Triton while mounting his own offense with fast beaters like Arena Athlete, Spearpoint Oread and an Observant Alseid, growing his Athlete. The game ending Portent of Betrayal just added insult to the injury when Nakamura finally found a fourth land to cast a Nylea's Disciple. He conceded in the face of a Flurry of Horns on Murdock's next turn.
Jeremy Clunan (Blue/White) vs (18) Chris Fennell (Green/Blue)
Chris Fennell has been on somewhat of a streak lately, adding fine finishes to his resume that already has 4 Grand Prix top 8 including one win in it. In what turned out to be the most lopsided match for top 8, his Green/Blue deck made short work of Jeremy Clunan's Blue/White one. Game Two looked like it might go to Clunan, after he summoned two copies of Heliod's Emissary and Fennell was mostly on lands. But Fennell came back with a Rise of Eagles, a Retraction Helix (on a double enchanted Emissary) and drew the Desecration Plague he had sideboarded in to get rid of the last of Emissary and sealed his spot in the top 8.