Michael Hetrick is a highly regarded Modo ringer more commonly known by his online moniker _ShipItHolla facing off against a player we featured previously, Lokman Chen. Lokman is piloting the blisteringly fast Kuldotha Red deck, while Hetrick has chosen the incredibly reliable Caw-Blade deck that has already vaulted several players into the Top 8 in which these two players are vying to place. Both players kept their opening hands and Hetrick got down to business with a turn 2 [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] into turn 3 [card]Squadron Hawk[/card].
Lokman missed his second land drop and resigned himself to simply [card Lightning Bolt]bolt[/card]ing the [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card]. A [card]Teetering Peaks[/card] for Lokman ensured that the game would atleast be a competitive one, while Hetrick simply played and equipped his Hawk with the [card]Sylvok Lifestaff[/card] his Mystic had bequeathed him. Lokman used a [card]Panic Spellbomb[/card] to fuel a [card]Kuldotha Rebirth[/card], but when he elected to tap his second of three lands to draw a card off the Spellbomb, Hetrick [card]Spell Pierce[/card]d the Rebirth. [card]Sword of Feast and Famine[/card] hit the board for Hetrick, but Lokman kept the potential for a Sword connection under control with a [card]Forked Bolt[/card]. A [card]Goblin Guide[/card] for Lokman finally put some pressure on the Caw-Blade player, and he introduced a squadron of hawks to a fiery demise, one-by-one.
After some significant time in the tank, Chen payed 3 mana, cast [card]Devastating Summons[/card] for 2, and played a [card]Goblin Bushwhacker[/card] with kicker to attack for 13! Hetrick casually untapped, equipped a [card]Squadron Hawk[/card] with the Lifestaff, and cast [card]Day of Judgment[/card], gaining 3 life and wiping the board clean. With only 1 land in play and his opponent at 9, things looked bleak for Lokman. When a [card Jace, the Mind Sculptor]Jace[/card] and a [card]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/card] showed up to the party, Chen decided it was time to move on.
Michael Hetrick 1, Lokman Chen 0
Lokman would be on the play for game 2 and both players headed to Paris together, but Chen seemed to like it there so much he headed back for a second trip. He would need some serious help to make up for the card advantage imbalance. [card]Memnite [/card] into [card]Goblin Bushwhacker[/card] brought some early beats, but Hetrick was quick to apply the brakes by taking the goblin on a [card]Journey to Nowhere[/card]. Lokman clearly lacked substantial action, but the [card]Memnite[/card] continued to tick down Hetrick's life total, one point at a time.
Chen attempted to bait some of the counters that had been stagnating in Hetrick's hand with two [card]Burst Lightning[/card]s to sneak in a [card]Kuldotha Rebirth[/card], but to no avail- Hetrick wasn't biting. A [card]Stoneforge Mystic[/card] off the top provided an invaluable [card]Sylvok Lifestaff[/card] that would help to ensure that Hetrick's life total stays out of the danger zone. An [card]Arc Trail[/card] on the Mystic drew a [card]Spell Pierce[/card], and Chen used the opportunity to finally resolve the [card]Kuldotha Rebirth[/card] he had been waiting on. When he went for the kill with a [card]Signal Pest[/card] into a [card]Goblin Bushwhacker[/card] on the following turn, Hetrick [card]Flashfreeze[/card]d the Bushwhacker to stay alive.
When he untapped and played a [card]Squadron Hawk[/card], it seemed that the brief moment of peril had passed. [card]Gideon Jura[/card] solidified Hetrick's position in firm command of the game, and Lokman would need a considerable amount of help with only a 1/1 Goblin in play and a land in his hand. Consecutive equipped [card]Squadron Hawk[/card]s sacrificed themselves for the cause and Hetrick's life total continued to leap out of range by 3's. He got to work closing the game out by animating [card Gideon Jura]Gideon[/card], and Lokman contemplated his options. After some thought, he came to terms with his inevitable fate and conceded, propelling Michael Hetrick into the Top 8!
Michael Hetrick 2, Lokman Chen 0