These are the players who battled through 15 rounds of Swiss to end up on top of the Standings. They have earned a qualification to Pro Tour Fate Reforged, but now it's time for them to turn their attention towards the trophy. Here's a brief rundown of what happened in the quarters.
Tamada Ryoichi (Abzan Aggro) - Denis Ulanov (Rabble Red)
In game one, Ulanov played Foundry Street Denizen on turn one, Foundry Street Denizen and Firedrinker Satyr on turn two, and Goblin Rabblemaster on turn three. With his back up the wall against such an amazing start, Tamada tried to claw back, but was unable to do so. "He plays 11 tap-lands, which really hurt him that game," Ulanov commented afterwards.
Game two was all about mulligans. Ulanov had a tough call when he looked at four land and three spells. Flooding out is a real risk with such a hand, but Ulanov still kept because his deck doesn't contain that many lands. Tamada, meanwhile, kept a hand with two Temple of Silence and two Drown in Sorrow, hoping that there would be a third land near the top of his deck somewhere. The way it worked out was that Ulanov drew a few spells and curved out nicely, while fortune did not shine on Tamada: He was unable to find a third land in time, and fell to an onslaught of small red creatures.
Denis Ulanov defeats Tamada Ryoichi 2-0!
Christopher Goldsmith (Abzan Midrange) - Daniel Scheid (GR Monsters)
Game one was over in lightning quick fashion. Scheid ramped into a turn-three Xenagos, the Reveler on the play and followed it up with Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker. "Too much heat," Goldsmith remarked as he packed up his cards.
In game two, both players had Sylvan Caryatid and Courser of Kruphix early on, so it turned into a lengthy mid-range slugfest. Realizing that flyers are good against Courser and Caryatid, Scheid took to the skies with Stormbreath Dragon and Sarkhan, the Dragonspeaker, but Goldsmith would have none of that and promptly took them out with Silence the Believers and Abzan Charm. Afterwards, more haymakers came down as players smashed big spell after big spell into each other, but after the dust settled, Scheid had Xenagos, the Reveler and Hornet Queen left standing, and eventually cast Crater's Claws for the win.
Daniel Scheid defeats Christopher Goldsmith 2-0!
Brad Nelson (Mardu Midrange) - Carlo Falcis (Abzan Midrange)
The first two games were quick. In game one, Falcis had a great draw, curving creatures into Wingmate Roc, and Nelson was unable to answer them. In game two, Falcis had to mulligan down to five and didn't stand a chance, especially since Nelson killed off all of Falcis' creatures right away to prevent a Wingmate Roc trigger.
The third game was closer, with the two players trading resources one-for-one for a while and going toe-to-toe. The key moment, as Falcis told me afterwards, was that he was able to take out both of Nelson's End Hostilities with back-to-back Thoughtseize. As a result, Falcis no longer had to worry about a sweeper, and he was able to close out the game with Rakasha Deathdealer and Wingmate Roc.
Carlo Falcis defeats Brad Nelson 2-1!
Eric Pei (Boss Sligh) - Isaac Sears (Abzan Aggro)
Early on in game one, Pei seemed to have the upper hand as he amassed an army of red weenies with Akroan Crusader and Hordeling Outburst. Sears had bigger creatures, but they were far fewer in number, and it looked like he wouldn't be able to line up enough blockers. And then Sorin, Solemn Visitor came down. In a single attack, Sears gained 25 life, and turned around the game completely. Although it took a while for him to actually win, the game was single-handedly decided by Sorin.
Games two and three were anticlimactic. Pei's deck, which is filled with cheap one-drops, can operate perfectly very well off of just two lands. Sears' deck, however, does not. After sideboard in particular, Abzan relies heavily on Drown in Sorrow to contain the red swarm, and Sears was unable to find a third land in both games.
Eric Pei defeats Isaac Sears 2-0!