Eight players sat down in the feature match area for this first of the three elimination rounds. We have four matches to cover, so let's get right to it!
L-R: Alexander Pasgaard (Jeskai) vs. Thiago Rodrigues (Abzan)
In the first game, Rodrigues led with Fleecemane Lion and Sorin, Solemn Visitor. Pasgaard fought back with two copies of Raise the Alarm and one Mantis Rider, and Jeskai Charm—granting lifelink and +1/+1 to his team—made the game interesting despite Rodrigues's Wingmate Roc. However, in the end Siege Rhino, as it is wont to do, won the race.
After intial trades in the second game Rodrigues managed to stick Courser of Kruphix and once again Sorin, Solemn Visitor. Meanwhile, Pasgaard tried to take the role of control player here, a somewhat ambitious plan that backfired spectacularly, especially when he failed to find a fifth land and was stuck with uncastable Keranos, God of Storms, End Hostilities, and Prognostic Sphinx.
Alexander Pasgaard 0-2 Thiago Rodrigues
L-R: Giovanni Rosi (Mono-Red) vs. Einar Baldvinsson (Temur)
A lot of little red creatures easily overwhelmed Baldvinsson in the first game. But then, playing first and leading with Elvish Mystic, Baldvinsson was able to win the second. In the third, Rosi lost all of his early drops to Lightning Strike, Arc Lightning, and Crater's Claws. He then lost most of his life to Savage Knuckleblade but managed a remarkable comeback, eventually deploying enough creatures to keep Savage Knuckleblade on defense. Just in time, before Rosi's growing army of creatures would take the game, Baldvinsson ripped lethal Crater's Claws.
Giovanni Rosi 1-2 Einar Baldvinsson
L-R: Matteo Cirigliano (G/B Enchantress) vs. Matej Zatlkaj (Jeskai)
Mantis Rider and Ashcloud Phoenix quickly took Cirigliano into the single digits. Thanks to what appeared to be a timely Whip of Erebos it looked as if Cirigliano would be able to find his way back into the game, but it was too late after all: Another Mantis Rider and Jeskai Charm took game one for Zatlkaj.
Zatlkaj's early Seeker of the Way was matched by Cirigliano with a turn-two Courser of Kruphix. Zatlkaj pointed Arc Lightning at Elvish Mystic, at Cirigliano, and at his Courser, attacking with his 3/3 Seeker. Cirigliano failed to find a land, settling for Sylvan Caryatid instead. Zatlkaj suspended Courser of Kruphix with Suspension Field and kept up Disdainful Strokes for the rest of the game, making it impossible for Cirigliano to stage a comeback.
Matteo Cirigliano 1-2 Matej Zatlkaj
L-R: Christian Seibold (Sultai) vs. Lukas Blohon (G/B Enchantress)
The last quarterfinal match to finish took about two hours in total. A lot of stuff happened in those games—on both sides Caryatids, Coursers, and Hornet Queens were cast, cards were put into graveyards, large amounts of life were gained via Whip of Erebos, some creatures died, some more were reanimated—but most of that didn't really matter ...
What mattered was Blohon's constellation engine, especially Doomwake Giant, which in a team effort with Eidolon of Blossoms and Pharika, God of Affliction killed all of Seibold's creatures in the first game.
In the second, Seibold kept all Doomwake Giants off the table via Disdainful Strokes and kept them from being reanimated with his own Pharika, God of Affliction. In the end, Blohon simply ran out of cards.
In the deciding game, Blohon assembled early Courser of Kruphix, Eidolon of Blossoms, and Pharika, got his devotion stats high enough to start beating down with the God, and managed to resolve a total of three Doomwake Giants ... He won.
Christian Seibold 1-2 Lukas Blohon