Julien Perez began his semi-final with a huge gamble, hanging onto a one-land opening hand that needed only a second land to make it work. Unfortunately for the Frenchman that second land was a looooong time in coming. In fact it arrived in the second game. After discarding five cards the Frenchman conceded defeat moments before Sele's Myr and Skyguards dealt lethal damage.
Yves Sele 0 - 1 Julien Perez
"I guess you had Myr in your hand?"
"Two Myr, one Palladium", Perez replied. Most of his hand had cost just two mana - a single land in his first couple of draws would have transformed the game, but a Grand Prix semi-final is a bad time to be gambling that the mana gods will favor you.
It was Sele's time to have a long think about his opening hand at the start of the second, although he eventually decided to hang onto his initial seven. Perez ran out a Mimic Vat and followed it with an Oxidda Scrapmelter, with Sele using a Disperse to save his Glint Hawk Idol. It was all that the Swiss player could do, in truth - his lands had cursed him in this second game and he had already missed two land drops to remain trapped with only two mana.
Perez pressed onwards with a Myr Galvaniser and Iron Myr before Sele finally found a third land and summoned a Palladium Myr. The Swiss player would have mana next turn, but would it be too late? The answer was yes - Perez put down a Rusted Relic that was simply too large for anything Sele could bring to his aid. Sele went deep into the tank has he attempted to formulate an escape plan, but there was nothing that could save him from an imminent and certain death, and Perez levelled the match!
Yves Sele 1 - 1 Julien Perez
"It's now fair because of the lands we both missed". offered Sele - the two players would have to hope that the deciding game of their semi-final would be one decided by their skill rather than their opponent's misfortune.
Finally the two players got into a game without mana concerns. Sele led the way with a Glint Hawk Idol that he began to pump to scary proportions with his Trigon of Rage, but Perez was not far behind in the race by playing a Leaden Myr and Myr Galvaniser so that he could punch back on the ground. Sele found perhaps the best possible use for the much-maligned Twisted Image but turning Perez's Wall of Tanglecord from a 0/6 to a 6/0 and drawing a card into the bargain, then played an Auriok Replica and continued his aerial assault, putting the Frenchman to 10 life.
A Rust Tick was Perez' response, before equipping his Leaden Myr with a Sylvok Lifestaff and sending it into the fray. Sele couldn't afford to have Perez gaining 3 life at this stage in the race and accepted the damage from the Myr to drop to 10 life himself. Another hit from Sele's 5/2 Glint Hawk put Perez to just 5 life, but with his Rust Tick now available it could be the end for the Glint Hawk's damage.
Sensing his chance to enter the endgame Perez played a Molder Beast, but at the end of his turn Sele revealed the last card in his hand - a Disperse for the Rust Tick! The Glint Hawk wouldn't be tapped, and instead it swooped down to deal the final 5 points of damage and send Yves Sele into a final showdown with the Phyrexian infestation of Martin Juza!
Yves Sele 2 - 1 Julien Perez