Playing in his ninth Grand Prix Top 8, Marcio Carvalho squared off against Nikolas Labahn, for whom it was his second career Top 8. Carvalho had drafted a solid Temur deck, Labahn had assembled a nifty Abzan deck with quite a number of tricks up its card sleeves.
Carvalho led with Smoke Teller and Summit Prowler, then stopped Sandblast via Temur Charm. Meanwhile, however, Labahn's lonely morph turned out (and up) to be Abzan Guide which recovered some of the life Labahn had lost earlier.
The race was on … and soon it was over again, namely when Labahn cast Dragonscale Boon on his Abzan Guide, gaining yet more life, surprising one of Carvalho's attackers, and leaving a 6/6 lifelink creature behind.
Marcio Carvalho 0-1 Nikolas Labahn
Carvalho went off to an early lead with the help of Ghostfire Blade and some morphs, while Labahn was stuck on three Forests as his only lands. Labahn never managed to draw out of it and lost quickly.
Marcio Carvalho 1-1 Nikolas Labahn
In this game both decks were able to really show what they could do. A massive board stall developed, mostly due to Labahn's Temur Sabertooth. Carvalho was able to grow his Longshot Squad to epic proportions, to put a Ghostfire Blade on Snowhorn Rider, and to cast a Wildcall to manifest a card with a whopping eight +1/+1. But thanks to Temur Sabertooth progress was slow. There was some combat and some creatures died, interspersed with long stretches of nothingness.
In the end, it all came down to two turns. On his turn, Carvalho cast Barrage of Boulders and attacked for lethal damage. He was fully expecting Labahn's Winds of Qal Sisma and had left back enough creatures not to die on the backswing, especially since he was also holding Dragonscale Boon.
However, Labahn didn't only have Winds of Qal Sisma; on his turn, he took out two of Carvalho's blockers with Valorous Stance and Savage Punch, crucially increasing the power of one of his attackers as well. Carvalho could only look on in horror. He shook his head, then shook Labahn's hand in concession.
Marcio Carvalho 1-2 Nikolas Labahn