Both Michael Bonde and Francesco Giorgio had been able to overpower their respective opponents in the quarterfinals with a decisive 2-0 victory. If one of them were able to pull off that same feat one more time, they would find themselves in the finals of Grand Prix Madrid 2015!
Bonde had been in a similar situation before; he advanced to the Top 8 of Grand Prix Strasbourg back in 2013. For Francesco Giorgio, this was his first time in the Top 8, but since he overcame the all-star Wenzel Krautmann in the quarterfinals, he seemed to be in pretty good shape.
While Giorgio went with a white-blue deck that tried to reach the later turns, Bonde opted to rely on a very aggressive strategy with just the right colors for the job: black and red.
The first game was a true rollercoaster ride with Bonde kicking things off in furious fashion with Subterranean Scout, and Abbot of Keral Keep and Giorgio fighting back with Celestial Flare, and Stalwart Aven.
Giorgio shifted gears with the help of a Stratus Walk and suddenly found himself in the driver's seat, but Bonde was far from being out of options. First an Act of Treason and later a big attack with Nantuko Husk after sacrificing his entire field was a one-two punch that left Giorgio hanging in the ropes with just 2 life.
The Italian, however, had now total control over the board, thanks to his Sentinel of the Eternal Watch. Bonde needed something and fast, but his deck wouldn't provide him with an out.
Francesco Giorgio 1-0 Michael Bonde
"I only had two outs," Bonde admitted. Valuable information for Giorgio, but since both players had already started shuffling, it didn't affect his sideboarding decisions.
"Let's go! I start again!" Bonde announced. He wished his opponent good luck before shifting gears again, immediately announcing that he would keep his hand. Giorgio took two mulligans, going down to five cards!
Bonde had to use Throwing Knife and a creature to deal with the threatening Lieutenant and that made it look like Giorgio had turned the game around. Bonde's comeback in a Priest of the Blood Rite and Pia and Kiran Nalaar, however, was simply too much for Giorgio's few remaining cards.
"15 exactly!" Bonde exclaimed overjoiced.
Francesco Giorgio 1-1 Michael Bonde
"I will start," Giorgio announced. "Finally," Bonde shot right back.
This time, Bonde went down to five cards while Giorgio kept. The Italian tried to not provide his opponent with any breathing room, starting fast and furious with Consul's Lieutenant and following it up with Cleric of the Forward Order, Bonded Construct, and Aspiring Aeronaut over the course of the next turns.
By the time turn four for Bonde came around, he was already hanging in the ropes. Pia and Kiran Nalaar were supposed to give him some breathing room and thanks to a Throwing Knife, he could deal with Consul's Lieutenant. Giorgio's flyers were merciless, though, continuing to pick apart Bonde's life totals.
With just 1 life remaining, Bonde finally found an out in Lightning Javelin and thanks to Ghirapur Gearcrafter, he could also deal with his opponent's Thopter artifact creature. He only had a split second to celebrate the small victory as Giorgio then slammed Sentinel of the Eternal Watch on the table!
"I don't think I got any outs to that card", Bonde announced.
Over the course of the next few turns, Bonde was forced to block the 6 drop with weaker creatures and once Giorgio found a removal for the sole remaining blocker, Bonde immediately extended the hand!
Francesco Giorgio 2-1 Michael Bonde