The day began with 1,300 players all trying to finish Saturday here: undefeated heading into Day 2. But only four players found themselves in that enviable position after nine rounds of Eldritch Moon Sealed Deck play. Even better, all four were relatively unknown heading into the event — something they hope to change before the weekend is over. And with such a hot start to the tournament all four will have that opportunity come Sunday.
The first to finalize the deal was Felix Tse, whose aggressive green-white deck made quick work of his opponent. All day Thalia, Heretic Cathar and friends flooded the board for Tse, dispatching foes by curving out and breaking open the game with cheap combat tricks. Nothing fancy here, just a classic Magic archetype doing what it's meant to do — despite Tse's initial uncertainty.
“And you wanted to throw away your pool!” One of Tse's friends teased him after he capped off his undefeated run.
“Well, you can't deny the deck had some bad cards,” he responded with a laugh.
Whatever Tse might have thought about his deck Saturday morning, he was thrilled with it by Saturday night.
Jamie Madill joined him soon after, making his first career Day 2 of a Grand Prix and doing so in style. His blue-green deck featured Ishkanah, Grafwidow and stymied opponents all day on his way to the stellar finish. With his last round victory over Niall Wilson Madill will be in prime position to turn his first-ever Day 2 into something much more.
When John Severin defeated Johan Edet in an extremely tight three-game set, he took a few moments to sit at the table after the match to compose himself. The Sturgeon Falls native has competed in a handful of Grand Prix over the past few years but hadn't ever converted those into a Day 2 appearance, narrowly missing the cut in Toronto last year.
“I felt the pressure all day, but it feels great to finish like this,” said Severin after earning his nine victories without a single bye to his name. “It's been a grind, and I'm excited for tomorrow.”
Three tickets punched, one to go. It would go to either Philippe Gareau or Hayden Passarelli, who were locked deep in a third game as the clock on the round ticked down. Passarelli had a blue-red deck filled to the brim with spells, while Gareau was battling with a white-black controlling deck.
Philippe Gareau found himself facing down an terrifying Drownyard Behemoth as he tried to cap off a perfect Day 1.
As the final game stretched on Garaeau found himself behind on board, facing down a Drownyard Behemoth with a lackluster board and just one card in hand. But as he stalled out the ground as best he could, he was able to slowly weather Passarelli's barrage of removal spells and somehow completed an improbable comeback victory to finish the day perfect.
These four players will return Sunday at the top of the standings for six rounds of Eldritch Moon draft, with their eyes on the ultimate prize: a trophy and title at Grand Prix Montreal.