Advancing to the semifinals was a really big deal for Portuguese pro player Marcio Carvalho. With the Pro Points he'd be awarded for his finish here, he had now officially crossed the magical threshold of 43. 43 meant he was guaranteed Platinum status simply by showing up at the upcoming Pro Tour Magic Origins.
While Carvalho was playing in the tenth Grand Prix Top 8 of his career, this was Przemek Knocinski's first time in the playoffs of a major tournament. Which doesn't mean he was new to the game. In fact, he could look back on plenty of high-level tournament experience himself, with appearances at multiple Pro Tours and at the World Magic Cup.
Marcio Carvalho had brought Jund to the table, a deck that's been around and would likely be around for ever. Knocinski, on the other hand, had unearthed an old favorite in Merfolk which unexpectedly turned into the breakout deck of the tournament.
But eventually, the Merfolk, led by two copies of Lord of Atlantis, rose from the depths of the sea (actually Spreading Seas) and put Carvalho in a particularly painful pickle. Due to islandwalk, his Faeries were of no help whatsoever and the life he lost to Bitterblossom was just adding insult to injury.
The whole game took about five minutes …
Marcio Carvalho 0-1 Przemek Knocinski
In the second game, Knocinski opened on Relic of Progenitus. While that kept Carvalho's Tarmogoyf at a manageable size of 0/1, Knocinski wasn't exactly mounting much pressure either, passing turn two without casting a spell.
To replace his lost army, Knocinski's deck meekly offered up a single Kira, Great Glass-Spinner. Surely, that couldn't be all and Carvalho took a look at Knocinski's hand via Thoughtseize to see what was going on there … Knocinski just revealed further lands.
The game dragged on, with Kira, Great Glass-Spinner and Treetop Village trading some lackluster blows for a while which still put Carvalho at a disadvantage. In the end, it was Knocinski who was able to draw better off the top. He found further creatures and finally snagged victory via Vapor Snag.
Marcio Carvalho 0-2 Przemek Knocinski