Raphael Levy led France to World Magic Cup victory, which was the beginning of the revolution. Team Revolution, of which Levy is a member, placed Jeremy Dazani and Pierre Dagen in the finals of Pro Tour Theros. Levy, one of the original Hall of Fame class, has just about more Magic experience than anyone, and is currently ranked 18 in the Pro Rankings, but that doesn't mean that he won't have a shaky draw here or there.
Piero Lombardi's red blue deck came out of the gates fast with double Vaporkin, while Levy found himself missing on mana, such that a Voyaging Satyr didn't do as much accelerating as he might have hoped for. Soon enough, Levy was using Voyage's End more to draw him into lands than to hold off an airbourne assault from Lombardi. Aqueous Form kept the scrying coming, but Levy was short on lands for rather too long, while ultimately Lombardi drew into a Voyage's end of his own to get rid of a Centaur Courser that was aiding Levy's scrying cause.
With Griptide Levy began to claw things back, buying the time to get down Nessian Asp. A bestowed Leafcrown Dryad followed, blunting Lombardi's attack. As first the Asp and then a Nemesis of Mortals showed their monstrous sides, the tide of the game seemed to be turning. Time to Feed killed off a Sealock Monster. While Lombardi had a foil Stormbreath Dragon, but it looked puny in the face of Levy's Nessian Asp, which was rendering flying attacks ineffective.
In a game of gods and monsters, it seemed that Levy going to be able to ride his bigger monsters to victory. Those dreams got washed away though as Griptide sent Nessian Asp to the top of the Frenchman's deck, and Aqueous Form from Lombardi meant his force was able to attack above and around the board the Hall of Famer had worked so hard to construct.
Piero Lombardi 1 – 0 Raphael Levy
Game 2 Levy's lands were no longer hiding from him. He curved out fairly neatly in the early game, soon getting down a 3/3 Mistcutter Hydra which he hoped would prove very effective against the red blue deck from Lombardi. Nessian Asp soon joined the party for Levy, who was in an old fashioned race against Vaporkin and friends from his opponent. Voyage's End from Lombardi allowed him to keep swinging, and Titan's Strength even ensured that when Nessian Asp finally did block, that it would die too.
For the second game in a row though, it proved decisive that Lombardi's force was able to attack in the air, while much of Levy's was far more respectful of the regular laws of gravity. As a 3/3, Mistcutter Hydra wasn't racing quite fast enough, and when Titan's Strength allowed a Vaporkin to trade with Nessian Asp, Levy was all out of reach creatures, leaving Spellheart Chimera a lethal attacker.
As Levy shuffled his deck up after the match, he shook his head, reconstructing each turn to try to work out if there was any way he could have played differently to have got the win. Had he played Mistcutter Hydra at any other time, he'd have had a big hole in his mana curve. Had he cast Time to Feed at a different time in game one he'd have lost to an alpha strike from Lombardi. Now on two losses with one round to go for day one at Grand Prix Valencia, Levy steeled himself. While Lombardi was now safe for a spot in day 2, Levy would be playing for his tournament life in the very next round.