Thought I'd get the obvious one in early.
Sele got things underway with Plains, opposite an Island and Nihil Spellbomb for Kunzler. If the early lands were to be believed, Blue-White for Sele would face Blue-Black. Sele's 2/2 flying Kemba's Skyguard got the damage going, with turn four Auriok Replica the follow-up. Rusted Relic for Künzler was blank for now, allowing Sele to attack unopposed. Sky-Eel School arrived on schedule for Sele, and the army – and pressure – was building.
Moriok Replica turned on Metalcraft, making the Rusted Relic the real deal, at least for now. Sele didn't care, using Neurok Invisimancer to grant, you know, invisimancery to Auriok Replica, crashing in for seven total, and leaving Künzler at just seven. The sound of Neurok Replica hitting the table sounded remarkably like the proverbial name in the coffin.
After one of the longest pauses in recent memory for a four mana spell, Künzler put us all out of his misery with Lumengrid Drake, bouncing the Sky-Eel School back to Sele's hand. Not something you want to be doing particularly, but desperate times call for desperate measures. There was nothing desperate about Sele, as he activated his Neurok Replica, looking to bounce Moriok Replica, leaving Künzler the choice of sacrificing it in response. He was happy to take it back to hand, but less happy to see Trigon of Rage preceding a lethal attack.
Sele 1 – 0 Künzler
In a move that was simultaneously rubbish for flavorful reporting and the improvement of my German language skills, the players remained silent between games, possibly contemplating Martina Hingis, army knives, and Nico Bohny (Switzerland's three best-known exports).
Künzler opened game two, with Sele the one to start a card down. Glint Hawk Idol on turn two more or less improved on the entire contents of game one for Künzler, with Sele sending it beyond the grave with Revoke Existence. Künzler now appeared to be Black-White, with his blue mana noticeably absent. Sele used the time to cast Rust Tick, and then Ghalma's Warden, a long way off Metalcraft at this stage.
You had to feel for Künzler, who continued to find no land, watching his fourth Grand Prix Top 8 appearance potentially going the way of the first three, all of which ended at the quarter final stage. On the plus side, Sele had no third creature, instead opting for Trigon of Rage, a curious post-combat play that left him activation mana open. All was explained when Künzler tried for Clone Shell, Sele using the mana to Disperse the artifact, sending who-knows-what to who-knows-where (the Imprinted card from the Clone Shell.)
In came the Sele team, with Künzler now at thirteen, Neurok Invisimancer adding to Künzler's woes. A sixth land, that still wasn't an Island, felt like the last chance, unless he had a cunning Darksteel Sentinel on the way. That would only work if Sele attacked with his Rust Tick, however...
...which he did, allowing exactly the play I described. Just call me clairvoyant, why don't you? Künzler's Sentinel blocked the Rust Tick, while Sele used Twisted Image to turn around Ghalma's Warden, leaving Künzler at just seven. Kemba's Skyguard? Just one more in an uncreasingly unfair parade of beats.
In came the Darksteel Sentinel with Vigilance, while Arrest at least dealt with Kemba's Skyguard. That left the Neurok Invisimancer to attack for five with the Trigon of Rage, unless Künzler had an answer in the form of black removal...
...like the Grasp of Darkness he used to kill the 2/1 unblockable man. Golem Artisan followed for Sele, who was clearly surprised that he wasn't already waiting for the semi final to start. Revoke Existence put paid to the Golem Artisan, with Clone Shell making a reappearance, setting us up for another moment of mystery somewhere down the line.
The Sky-Eel School attacked for six, and now Künzler was at just one life, with Auriok Replica surely leaving him next to no options. For five mana, he cast his last card in hand, a Sky-Eel School, which forced him to draw and discard Rusted Relic. Neurok Replica from Sele.....bounce the flyer...game over.
Yves Sele 2 – 0 Matthias Künzler