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 Stoneforge Mystic into turn 3 Squadron Hawk.

Lokman missed his second land drop and resigned himself to simply bolting the Stoneforge Mystic. A Teetering Peaks for Lokman ensured that the game would atleast be a competitive one, while Hetrick simply played and equipped his Hawk with the Sylvok Lifestaff his Mystic had bequeathed him. Lokman used a Panic Spellbomb to fuel a Kuldotha Rebirth, but when he elected to tap his second of three lands to draw a card off the Spellbomb, Hetrick Spell Pierced the Rebirth. Sword of Feast and Famine hit the board for Hetrick, but Lokman kept the potential for a Sword connection under control with a Forked Bolt. A Goblin Guide 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 Devastating Summons for 2, and played a Goblin Bushwhacker with kicker to attack for 13! Hetrick casually untapped, equipped a Squadron Hawk with the Lifestaff, and cast Day of Judgment, 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 Jace and a Linvala, Keeper of Silence showed up to the party, Chen decided it was time to move on.

Michael Hetrick 1, Lokman Chen 0

_ShipItHolla outside of his usual habitat.

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. Memnite into Goblin Bushwhacker brought some early beats, but Hetrick was quick to apply the brakes by taking the goblin on a Journey to Nowhere. Lokman clearly lacked substantial action, but the Memnite 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 Burst Lightnings to sneak in a Kuldotha Rebirth, but to no avail- Hetrick wasn’t biting. A Stoneforge Mystic off the top provided an invaluable Sylvok Lifestaff that would help to ensure that Hetrick’s life total stays out of the danger zone. An Arc Trail on the Mystic drew a Spell Pierce, and Chen used the opportunity to finally resolve the Kuldotha Rebirth he had been waiting on. When he went for the kill with a Signal Pest into a Goblin Bushwhacker on the following turn, Hetrick Flashfreezed the Bushwhacker to stay alive.

Atleast he’ll be a Lok for Top 16

When he untapped and played a Squadron Hawk, it seemed that the brief moment of peril had passed. Gideon Jura 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 Squadron Hawks 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 Gideon, 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