Amiel Tenenbaum vs Armin Birner
Armin Birner (with R/G Mana Ramp) won the roll to start, but had to take a trip to Paris. He considered his 6 for a long time before going down to 5, and then 4. "Is this a joke?" asked Amiel (with Mono Blue Control) upon Birners turn one play of "Go" with no land drop.
Armin Birner managed to hit turn three and turn four Treetop Village, but by that point Amiel had cast Think Twice, Think Twice and a main phase Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir. His reasoning for the sorcery speed flash Wizard was, and I quote, "Can you make anything good for 3 mana? I don't think so. Teferi."
Birner did get a third land and a Wall of Roots, telling Tenenbaum "I'm totally in this game!". "Yeah, maybe" was the unconvinced Frenchman's reply. The following turn Birner tried to resolve Garruk Wildspeaker and the players had the following conversation:
"Tell you what" said Amiel, "I'm going to flash in Guile, then Pact of Negation your Garruk, and then cast him on my side."
"Next game?" offered Birner
Expert matchup analysis: Mulligan to four does not beat mono-blue control decks.
This time it's the Frenchman who had to go down to a six card opening hand. Turn one Forest and suspend Search for Tomorrow were a much better opening for the Mana-Ramp deck, although to be fair, turn one Forest on its own beats the previous game's start. Birner followed this more positive start with a Tarmogoyf and double Mvonwuli Acid-Moss. "Uh-oh" commented Amiel upon the second one, "you're getting annoying!"
2/3 Goyf beats continued for a while, accounting for half of Tenenbaums life total. Siege-Gang Commander tried to come down to threaten lethal damage the following turn, but was met with Cryptic Command. This pumped the amazing green 2-drop to 4/5 and that dropped Amiel to 6.
Tenenbaum went digging for an answer, but there simply was none to the split seconded Molten Disaster for six that Birner has been holding back. Quick as that and we were off to a finalist deciding Game 3.
Finally a game in this match opened with seven card opening hands for both players. Armin did his thing with Search for Tomorrow and Fertile Ground. Cryptic Command took care of the enchantment though, bouncing its land whilst countering an Acid Moss. A second blue Command answered Garruk Wildspeaker and the following turn, Siege Gang Commander was Draining Whelked to give the French blue mage a serious beater.
Tenenbaum flashed his hand of double Pact of Negation, double Faerie Trickery to his opponent questioningly, sending Birner deep into the think tank. He briefly considered his options of how he could avoid dying whilst playing around the solid grip of counter magic and extended the hand. Mono-Blue Control took Amiel to his first individual GP final!