Going into the tournament, these two players already had two Grand Prix Top 8s their name each, now they were looking to add a third to their résumé. With two wins so far, neither one was in immediate danger of being eliminated from Top 8 contention yet, though even a single loss today could spell trouble for such ambitious plans.
Mayer was playing Affinity with Chalice of the Void main deck; Boussaud had brought a mostly white Martyr of Sands deck with splashes of red and black. The matchup supposedly favored Martyr of Sands, but it wouldn't have been the first reversal of fortune being cast in the feature match area this weekend …
Mayer started with a pair of Memnites, Ornithopter, Springleaf Drum, and Chalice of the Void (X=1) all on the first two turns. At that point, Boussaud had only summoned one Martyr of Sands and he wouldn't be resolving anymore.
What Mayer didn't have was a reasonable offense yet, but he soon changed that with Master of etherium and Etched Champion. He attacked, had his Master blocked, and then saw Boussaud's hand via Martyr of Sands. What he saw included two copies of Wrath of God. "Well, that's unfortunate."
Following Wrath of God, Mayer didn't even have any Inkmoth Nexus or Blinkmoth Nexus as a backup. And things only got worse for him. Thanks to a couple of Orzhov Charms, Boussaud was able to get first Serra Ascendant, then Martyr of Sands onto the battlefield, despite Chalice of the Void. He went to about 40 life and began attacking with his 6/6 lifelink monster.
Mayer tried to fight back with Arcbound Ravager and Vault Skirge. Boussaud's deck didn't let him down though. "That's awesome," Boussaud commented as he drew Linvala, Keeper of Silence. Mayer agreed and soon conceded.
Eliott Boussaud 1-0 Manuel Mayer
"That was a nightmare," said Mayer. "The matchup is bad anyway, but when you kept drawing all those Orzhov Charms …"
Mayer had a slow start, cast Ornithopter on turn one, Cranial Plating on turn two, and Master of Etherium on turn three. Boussaud, meanwhile, had Serra Ascendant and Martyr of Sands, and increased the number of white cards in his hand to five via Squadron Hawk. He sacrificed Martyr of Sands went to 32 life, attacked with Serra Ascendant and went to 38.
Astionishingly, Mayer was still winning the damage race. He cast a second Master of Etherium and equipped Cranial Plating, increasing his creatures' total power to 14. A pair of Ghostly Prisons did slow him down, but eventually Serra Ascendant reverted back to being a lowly 1/1, blocked, and died, and Boussaud had to clear the table with Wrath of God.
Mayer regrouped with Etched Champion, soon 12/2 due to a pair of Cranial Platings. Neither Path to Exile nor Orzhov Charm and not even a third Ghostly Prison could stop the champion, as Mayer had drawn a total of eight lands. Boussaud found a novel solution, though, in Emeria, the Sky Ruin returning Spellskite as a potential repeat chump-blocker.