SEMIFINAL: LOUIS DELTOUR VS. NICCOLO BELLINI

Posted in GRAND PRIX MILAN 2015 on December 14, 2014

By Tobi Henke

In this semifinal, France's Louis Deltour, veteran of two previous Grand Prix Top 8s, met the Italian newcomer Niccolo Bellini. Going by those stats, Deltour was the clear favorite, though Bellini was just as eager to win, of course.

To do so Bellini's Birthing Pod would need to defeat Deltour's Jeskai Ascendancy.

Game 1

Deltour opened with Serum [autocard]Visions[/autocard], Thought Scour, and Serum [autocard]Visions[/autocard], while Bellini had Birds of Paradise and Kitchen Finks. On turn three, Deltour cast Jeskai Ascendancy, but immediately lost it to Qasali Pridemage. He subsequently lost a second to Abrupt Decay, then lost a cast Fatestitcher to Shriekmaw.

Trying to recover from losing all of these Ascendancies, Deltour used a lot of card-draw spells, trying to find a third copy. And he did—at the last possible moment before Bellini's creatures would take the game! However, he didn't have any noncreature spell anymore to actually start his combo.

Louis Deltour 0-1 Niccolo Bellini

Game 2

Deltour kept an opening hand of Fatestitcher, Izzet [autocard]Charm[/autocard], Serum [autocard]Visions[/autocard], Unburial Rites, and lands. Visions and Charm yielded Jeskai Ascendancy, potentially leading to a turn-three kill! However, all other cards Deltour had drawn were lands, so he was still missing a piece. Weighing his options, Deltour decided not to discard Fatestitcher to Izzet [autocard]Charm[/autocard] even, possibly in an attempt to lull Bellini into a false sense of security. He cast Jeskai Ascendancy and passed the turn.

Bellini left the enchantment intact and tapped out for another creature. Deltour drew Izzet [autocard]Charm[/autocard], started his combo, and lots of draws, triggers, taps, and untaps won the game.

Louis Deltour 1-1 Niccolo Bellini

Game 3

Bellini used Thoughtseize to disrupt Deltour's main plan and took Jeskai Ascendancy. Deltour's backup—Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite via Unburial Rites—was similarly dealt with per Path to Exile, and soon both players were out of gas and sat without cards in hand: Deltour was left with just Fatestitcher and lands, among them one Faerie Conclave, on the battlefield; Bellini had Noble Hierarch, Kitchen Finks, and Gavony Township to go along with four other lands.