A lot was at stake for the eight chosen players that shuffled up for their quarterfinal matches. Not only would the winners still have a shot at the title, they would also qualify for Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir in Honolulu i October. And win the flight ticket to bring them there as a bonus.
Ivan Floch (SVK) vs. Timothée Simonot (FRA)
The first match to finish was the one with the fastest deck. Although not quite in the fashion one might expect. The match-up was Floch's aggressive Black/White deck against Simonot's Blue/Black/White control deck with multiple Thassa's Devourer and other sweet blockers to take on Floch's army of 2-drops.
The second one however, was a grueling struggle. It started of with both players wisely choosing to mulligan. Floch went to four cards, while Simonot settled for five. Perfect settings for another quick game? Quite the opposite!
This time Simonot was able to fend off Floch's early assault. Viper's Kiss took out Nyxborn Eidolon and Nyx Infusion took out Tormented Hero, getting an Ordeal of Heliod with it. Fortunately for the Slovak, Simonot's board wasn't exactly scary with just a Meletis Astronomer and a Thassa's Devourer. Add to that the fact that the Frenchman he seemed to have hit a pocket of lands in his deck, and Floch clawed back in the game.
Bile Blight took out the Astronomer, and Gray Merchant of Asphodel gained him some life back. When Simonot continued with just lands a Spiteful Return enchanted the Gray Merchant allowing Floch to attack to trigger through some damage. Simonot went to Divine Verdict it, but the Slovak had Boon of Erebos to save it.
Ordeal of Erebos found it's way onto the Gray Merchant, threatening over time to make it able to defeat the Devourer in combat. A very frustrated Simonot couldn't find anything but another Thassa's Devourer, turning over a few cards from Floch's library, but not really taking over the board. A few attacks later, and a few counter added to the Gray Merchant, and Simonot was down to just six life. And on the final turn Ivan Floch could attack for lethal damage with his team without even using the Sip of Hemlock in his hand.
Ivan Floch beats Timothée Simonot 2-0
Jérémy Dezani (FRA) vs. Serafin Wellinger (CHE)
In the second match it was Dezani's turn to defend the French honor, when his Blue/White deck took on Swiss Wellinger and the Green/Black creation he had managed to draft.
The players split the first two games before the match was decided in a fashion we've become used to see Jérémy Dezani act in all weekend. His pet card in the format seems to be Stymied Hopes, and although his board wasn't looking stellar and he had several chances to use it just for the scry, he saved it as he knew the power of this often overlooked Theros common. In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen a better Stymied Hopes than this.
After a fast start Dezani had managed to get his opponent down to just six life, and by waiting patiently and bluffing tricks like a mad man he was able to get down an Evangel of Heliod with six tokens while still sitting safely at over 20 life due to a Hopeful Eidolon. His opponent had a trick up his sleeve though, when Dezani attacked with his soldier army along with all of his other creatures, Wellinger cast a Cruel Feeding, that would gain him 13 life and taking out half of Dezani's creatures with his big Green and Black Blockers. Dezani did what Dezani does, and slammed the Stymied Hopes on the table. Pumping his fist in victory.
Jérémy Dezani defeats Serafin Wellinger 2-1
Nico Bohny (CHE) vs. Guido Citino (ITA)
In the battle over the Swiss/Italian border of two green decks Bohny's rares delivered and he rode them to a pretty easy victory. Boon Satyr, Polis Crusher and the almost rare, Raised by Wolves turned out to be too much for Citono's deck that also had some sweet ones in Hero of Leina Tower and Nylea, God of the Hunt. In the end though, Nylea without enough devotion doesn't really do much, and Polis Crusher did what he does best – crushes!
Nico Bohny overcomes Guido Citino 2-1
Marcio Carvalho (PRT) vs. Evgeny Pestov (RUS)
When Portugal took on Russia in the last quarterfinals it was a dream replay of the Football World Cup final this year that could never come to be, as both Russia and Portugal didn't make it past the group stage. They did here in Milan though, and it was a battle of Red removal and Blue bounce as Carvalho's Red/White deck took on Pestov's Blue/Red.
The players split the two games and the last one was a real nail biter, not unlike the overtime match of Brazil against Chile last night, for those lucky enough to find the time too see it between watching the Grand Prix coverage.
Carvalho had a quick start with Deathbellow Raiders into Elite Skirmisher, then tapping down Pestov's first blocker by bestowing Nyxborn Rollicker on the Elite Skirmisher. Pestov wasn't out of it yet though, as Retraction Helix and Pinnacle of Rage looked to bring him back in the game, despite the low life he was down to from the early onslaught. Unfortunately for him, Carvalho had the overtime decider in God's Willing, saving his Elite Skirmisher from the Pinnacle of Rage, and tapping down the one blocker Pestov had that could allow him to survive to a penalty shoot-out.
Oh well, that's football, err... I mean Magic.
Marcio Carvalho wins over Evgeny Pestov 2-1