My report for GP Bologna, the amount details I could remember for each match varies a lot as I wrote this down a while after the tournament was over. The list I registered differs from the one I played in Luzern by a couple cards main deck to make it more explosive, the sideboard also has more answers for the mirror match and Eldrazis.
Main ==== -1 x Thoughtcast -1 x Spellskite +1 x Galvanic Blast +1 x Ensoul Artifact Side === -1 x Etched Champion -1 x Stubborn Denial -1 x Whipflare +1 x Ensnaring Bridge +1 x Ghirapur AEther Grid +1 x Spellskite
2200 players showed up, biggest Magic event ever organized in Italy. I had no byes so I had to start from Round 1.
Round 1 UWR control • 2-1
I initially put him on UW control because he did not see any red mana source. My hand was bad but I brought him down to 3 life before seeing my Galvanic Blast pointed to his face countered and being wiped by a Supreme Verdict. In game two I kept an Etched Champion in hand until he played his first wrath, which took him down to 6 life. I played an Arcbound Ravager with several artifacts on the board. He played Pia and Kiran Nalaar, which would have kept him safe for some time because the tokens are colorless artifacts and the Etched Champion could not get through… but from his body language I could notice that he was fairly sure to be dead on the next turn (??). I decided to go for it, attacked with the Champion, he said ‘ok’ to which I replied ‘no blockers?’ - ‘no blockers’… Game 3 ended fairly quickly in my favor with 2 attacks from an Inkmoth Nexus with a Cranial Plating on it, first poison kill of the day!
Round UWR control • 2-0
My opponent came from Austria, looked fairly nervous and told me it was his first GP (mine too for what it’s worth). I don’t remember too much from the first game but my notes tell me that I swinged for 9 damage on turn 3 and soon thereafter I ended the game in my favor. In game two I kept a not very explosive hand with a Thoughtseize, which revealed me that my opponent was heavily mana screwed. I slowly grinded him down with 2 Vault Skirges until I could close the game with a Galvanic Blast to his face.
Round 3 Affinity • 2-0
Game 1 was a race. I lost the die roll and had a slower start but probably with more reach. On turn 4 I was tapped out at 15 life, he (also tapped out) miscounted the damage on the board and decided to attack with everything. I let slip in exactly 13 damage to swing for lethal on the following turn! Game 2 was very grindy, we both drew 2 Steel Overseer and a copy of Ancient Grudge but I managed to get two activations out of them, while I held onto my removal to target his Overseers exclusively. I was pretty much in control afterwards, being above 20 life with him low on life points and high on poison counters.
Round 4 Grishoalbrand • 2-1
I had a very good hand, my opponent was at 8 life at the beginning of his 3rd turn and scooped without even playing a spell. I put him on grixis control based on the lands he played, so I sideboarded for that. In game 2 I was attacked by a hasted Emrakul on turn 3, which left me without permanents… the more you know. Turns out he scooped to hide his deck, not because of no playable cards. For game 3 I sided correctly for a combo matchup, he drew probably every removal of his deck and also resolved a Shatterstorm because I used my Thoughtseize to remove Goryo’s Vengeance. That did not stop my two Inkmoth Nexuses to slowly take him down through infect damage.
Round 5 Scapeshift • 2-0
Round 5 showed my lack of experience in the Modern format because for the first 3 turns I seriously believed my opponent was playing a homebrewed 5 color deck. After a while something clicked and I realized it’s Scapeshift, so I prioritized slamming a Cranial Plating on a Vault Skirge to get out of damage range for the 7-land combo, and it worked. In Game 2 I saw the Stubborn Denial I sided in and held onto it for a few turns without countering his removal spells, since I still had something on the battlefield to beat him. I gloriously countered the green Shatterstorm with it for which he tapped out, and I had enough damage on the board to win on the next turn.
Round 6 Grishoalbrand • 1-2
First win-and-in for day 2. In Game 1 he went down to 2 before reanimating Emrakul and leaving me to 3 life and no permanents in play. He bolted me for the last 3 damage. In Game 2 I disrupted his hand with a perfectly timed Thoughtseize the turn before he could go off, after which I cruised to victory. In game 3 I brought him down to 7 before facing Emrakul (again), which left me with a plated Signal Pest in play and no other permanents, but with some hope. He did not have anything to kill me immediately but managed to remove my creature, and after a few dead draws on both sides he found Creeping Tar Pit to deal the last 3 damage.
Round 7 UWR Delver • 2-0
A very chilled opponent from the Netherlands, in the first game I beat him down with a large Master of Etherium until he finally found a Path to Exile. On the next turn I had to draw any artifact to have exactly 7 damage for lethal with a Cranial Plating on a Signal Pest (he had a Geist of Saint Traft in play but no flyers). I drew an Ornithopter. In Game 2 my deck decided that I had to make it to day 2: my hand was Darksteel Citadel, Memnite, Spellskite, Mox Opal, Mox Opal, Cranial Plating, Signal Pest. I dropped everything but Cranial Plating on the first turn, drew a Glimmervoid and rode a plated Signal Pest to a 3rd turn victory!
Round 8 Scapeshift • 0-2
My opponent was just terrible to play against, very nervous and unfriendly. He called a Judge multiple times over ridiculous claims, like that I had skip the “Beginning of Combat Step” since I used “verbal shortcuts” (that would have been only harmful to me). Just an idiot. On top of that I drew terribly in both games mulliganing to 5, and even though I put up a good fight bringing him down to 5 life in both games, I lost a matchup that should have been an easy win.
Round 9 Infect • 0-2
Worst matchup of the meta to end day 1. I lost Game 1 horribly but almost stole Game 2 because my opponent misplayed with a bad block while I was tapped out, which let me live another turn and attempt to cast a Galvanic Blast for lethal - only to see it dispelled.
A great run! In general, I am very happy about my deck choice and build, for the current meta I would have not changed anything other than maybe trying to fit a second Stubborn Denial in the sideboard. I probably made mistakes during the day but I could not realize immediately - which I hope means I did not play too poorly. Compared with the previous tournament I improved a lot my decisions on taking mulligans or not, and that definitely helped putting me at 6-1 with no byes after 7 rounds. I shouldn’t have lost round 8 as my opponent was not very good and I think the matchup is favorable to Affinity, but I had not tested against the deck at all and that affected my game.
I had other plans for Sunday so I did not show up for Day 2, and getting into top 8 from 6-3 would have been a long shot anyway, but I can say I am satisfied qualifying for Day 2 at my first GP appearance.