With 2460 players at Grand Prix Boston-Worcester only a few can make it to the second day of competition. In the final round of Day One many players were playing with their backs against the wall needing a win to make it into competition tomorrow.
I caught up with three matches with players on the bubble:
Martin Juza vs Carlo Angiuli:
With 18 Grand Prix top eights under his belt, Juza is no stranger to the 9th round win-and-in. Juza brought his Merfolk deck, while Angiuli made it to the last round with Scapeshift. In game one, Juza got out a small army of little blue men and starting chipping away at his opponent's life total. Angiuli attempted to slow down the onslaught with Izzet Charm and Cryptic Command, but, in the end, Angiuli was unable to assemble his combo before Juza took him out.
In game two Juza had two Æther Vials but only two lands. Angiuli, on the other hand, quickly accelerated into seven lands. With Juza having just a Master of the Pearl Trident out, Angiuli went for Scapeshift. Juza promptly used Swan Song to counter the game ending spell and used Vial to put another Master of the Pearl Trident into play. On Angiuli's following turn, he tried Scapeshift again. Juza had another Swan Song, but Anguili had a Cryptic Command. With Anguli tapped out from the pair of four-mana spells, Juza used Spell Pierce to counter Scapeshift once again. At the end of his turn he put a Master of Waves into play, untapped, and attacked for lethal.
Juza 2 - 0 Angiuli
Gerard Fabiano vs Alexander Fincher:
Gerard Fabiano and his W/U/R Control deck faced off against Alexander Fincher's 8-Rack deck--one that utilized discard, The Rack, and Shrieking Affliction to leave his opponent cardless and lifeless. In game one, Gerard lost many permanents thanks to a pair of Smallpoxes, but was able to cast a Vendilion Clique nonetheless. Alexander, unfazed, cast an Ensnaring Bridge, locking down the faerie. Alexander soon got access to Dark Confidant, which got him a Raven's Crime. Things looked bleak for Gerard, but he was able to draw a Cryptic command, which, with Vendilion Clique and potential damage from Alexander's own Dark Confidant might've been able to deal the last points of damage. Unfortunately for Gerard, Alexander had more discard, forcing him to use his Cryptic Command early and denying him the ability to deal the final points of damage. When Alexander found The Rack and a Shrieking Affliction, Gerard perished a few turns later.
In game two Alexander made quick work of Gerard's hand with Inquisition of Kozilek, Wrench Mind, and Thoughtseize. With Gerard floundering, Alexander was able to cast a Dark Confidant and The Rack. With an opening, Gerard cast Threads of Disloyalty on Dark Confidant but, Alexander had all the answers, promptly casting a Smallpox on the following turn. On Alexander's subsequent turn, he cast a Liliana, which, paired with The Rack locked Gerard down and slowly drained his life total.
Fincher 2 - 0 Fabiano
Frank Karsten vs Mathieu Brault:
In the final round of day one, Pro Tour Hall of Famer Frank Karsten and his Affinity deck faced off against Mathieu Brault and his Zoo deck. Game one was a tight race, with Brault amassing a quick army of Wild Nacatls and a Tarmogoyf and with Karsten getting a pair of Vault Skirges and Nexuses. With both players under 10 life Brault attacked with his entire army. Karsten blocked with his pair of Inkmoth Nexuses and fell to a precarious 3 life. Without a burn spell from Brault, Karsten was able to untap, attack with his creatures and use Galvanic Blast to finish off Brault.
In the second game, Brault came out of the gates with another pair of Wild Nacatls. Karsten had an awkward double Glimmervoid hand, but, when he reached 3 artifacts was able to pump out a pair of Etched Champions thanks to a Mox Opal. After falling to 10 life from the cats, Karsten began to stabilize. Brault though, promptly played an Engineered Explosives with 3 charge counters. Karsten untapped and played an Arcbound Ravager. Brault let it resolve, and waited until his turn to use his Engineered Explosives during combat. But the damage was already done; Ravager grew to become a 5/5 and Karsten had a third Etched Champion up his sleeve. Using Ravager's Modular ability to make his Etched Champion a 7/7 unblockable creature, Karsten sealed his invitation to play on Sunday.
Karsten 2 - 0 Brault