The hall was quiet and a cluster of spectators leaned against the rail of the hall's feature match area as the Grand Prix's two semifinal matches began. The face off between Andreas Ganz and Robert Graves began with Ganz taking a mulligan while across the table Graves, on the play, kept seven.
Each player developed their game plan, though not necessarily their board, in the early turns of game one. Graves curved a turn one Birds of Paradise into a turn two Fulminator Mage. He chose to apply pressure to Ganz's life total by attacking with Fulminator Mage as Ganz cultivated his mana and his draws with a suspended Lotus Bloom, a Serum Visions, and a Pentad Prism.
The pieces looked to be in place for Ganz to take game one until he flipped over a Laboratory Maniac. Unfazed, he continued turning cards over from the top of his deck and putting them in his graveyard. Then, Ganz paused as he put a Lightning Storm into his graveyard.
"Are those your win conditions?" Graves asked.
"That's one way to win I guess," Graves said as Ganz shook his head and gathered up his cards.
Ganz chuckled and shook his head. "It just makes the deck look bad" he lamented.
"No, I know it's pretty unlikely," Graves told him.
Game two began with Ganz again taking a mulligan, but quickly keeping his six-card hand.
An early Thoughtseize from Ganz took a Chord of Calling from Graves, leaving him with a Voice of Resurgence, a Fulminator Mage, and a Lightning Helix, but no other action. Graves played the Voice and once again began pressuring Ganz's life total.
Ganz put Ad Nauseam in his hand by scrying to the top with a Temple of Enlightenment and then casting Spoils of the Vault. On his next turn Graves used Fulminator Mage to destroy Ganz's Darkslick Shores, his only source of black mana.
Both players kept their opening hands at the start of game three and the deciding game began, both players developing their mana with a turn one Birds from Graves and a suspended Lotus Bloom from Ganz.
A Thoughtseize from Ganz took a Nahiri, the Harbinger from Graves's hand, but an Eternal Witness returned it to his grip and the planeswalker hit the table, discarding a Reclamation Sage in favor of an unknown card.
"After game one I was afraid my deck was letting me down," Ganz said.
"No," Graves replied, "I think that would be my deck."
Andreas Ganz defeats Robert Graves 2-1 to advance to the Finals of Grand Prix Charlotte.