And now it was down to four. Of an original field of 1,548 only four players remained. In this semifinal match, Germany's Christoph Alsheimer met Italian Claudio Bonanni. It was the first major finish for both of them and they were determined to make it count.
Bonanni was running the popular choice of Miracles, but an unusual version of it. Typically, the deck makes do without any creature cards at all or with some combination of Snapcaster Mage, Vendilion Clique, and/or Venser, Shaper Savant. Bonanni's deck, however, included four copies of Monastery Mentor and three copies of Daze, allowing him to take a much more proactive role should the matchup or situation demand it.
Meanwhile, Alsheimer had brought a four-colored version of Aggro Loam built by Niklas Kronberger. Jaroslav Boucek had piloted the same deck all the way to the quarterfinals where he, incidentally, had lost to none other than Claudio Bonanni.
So would this be a repeat of Bonanni's quarterfinal match? It certainly promised to be an interesting battle between two of the most succesful decks of the tournament …
The action began with both players deploying their countering device of choice. Bonanni had Counterbalance, and Alsheimer resolved Chalice of the Void set to 1. Bonanni couldn't have been happy about that, but he didn't let it show and simply cast another Counterbalance.
The second copy of the blue enchantment may have looked redundant but really wasn't. When Alsheimer tried to summon Dark Confidant to his side of the board, for example, Bonanni let one Counterbalance ability resolve, and when he failed to hit a card with converted mana cost 2 he activated Flooded Strand before resolving the second ability. He again failed to hit the requisite mana cost, revealing a 6 in Terminus instead. At least, that dealt with Dark Confidant too.
Nevertheless, Alsheimer managed to develop some board presence with Gaddock Teeg and Knight of the Reliquary. However, Bonanni's Monastery Mentor managed to keep up easily. Some spells were cast and tokens were created. But, whereas usually Bonanni's Brainstorms and Sensei's Divining Tops would lead to more spells, this time, thanks to Chalice of the Void, they just went straight to the graveyard.
Alsheimer managed to land Liliana of the Veil. He took out one of the Monk tokens and left Bonanni with just too few creatures to harm the planeswalker in return. The game dragged on for quite some time afterward, and Bonanni created further tokens and even got in some attacks. Yet Liliana of the Veil did her thing and Chalice of the Void did its, while Gaddock Teeg was saved by Karakas and Knight of the Reliquary searched up Maze of Ith and Dryad Arbor. Bonanni never managed to pose a credible threat again and was eventually overwhelmed.
Christoph Alsheimer 1-0 Claudio Bonanni
Faced with the dangerous artifact once again, which had proved troublesome in the first game already, Bonanni switched gears and went on offense with Vendilion Clique. He lost the flier to Liliana of the Veil but redoubled with Monastery Mentor.
Bonanni then had Force of Will, stopping Dark Confidant and creating the first of many Monk tokens. He further filled his hand and board via Dig Through Time and things were looking good. Soon, Liliana of the Veil was gone, and it didn't take much longer before Alsheimer was too, especially when more Force of Will as well as another Monastery Mentor became involved.
Christoph Alsheimer 1-1 Claudio Bonanni
In an anticlimactic end to this exciting match, Alsheimer never managed to keep a nonland permanent around. He lost Mox Diamond to Disenchant and Knight of the Reliquary to Swords to Plowshares. He then didn't do much of anything anymore, as his deck profusely refused to cooperate.
Christoph Alsheimer 1-2 Claudio Bonanni