Quartefinals Round-upby Tobi Henke
Mads Utzon (Green-Black) vs. Aleksa Telarov (Red-White)
In the first game, Aleksa Telarov led with Bronze Sable and Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass whereas Mads Utzon's somewhat disappointing deck could only come up with its first play on turn five. Still, for a moment, it looked as if Pheres-Band Centaurs, followed by Nessian Asp, would allow Utzon to stabilize. However Telarov's Purphoros, God of the Forge, especially in combination with Wild Celebrants, proved quite the capable finisher.
Mads Utzon 2-0 Aleksa Telarov
Denniz Rachid (Red-Green) vs. (1) Jérémy Dezani (Green-Black)
Although (1) Jérémy Dezani was forced to work with creatures like Felhide Brawler and Fleshmad Steed to get there, he was able to win the first game. Denniz Rachid was slightly flooded, then had his Nylea's Disciple and Ordeal of Purphoros destroyed by Sip of Hemlock, and finally succumbed to lots of 2/2s courtesy of Raised by Wolves.
The second game then really showcased the power of Rachid's deck: Deathbellow Raider on turn two, Bow of Nylea on turn three, Ordeal of Purphoros on turn four, activate Bow for a second +1/+1 counter. Next turn, Rachid's Ordeal killed Dezani's Pheres-Band Tromper and Bow of Nylea killed Blood-Toll Harpy ... They quickly moved to game three.
Unfortunately, this was extremely anticlimactic. After a mulligan, Rachid was stuck on two Forests and saw his Voyaging Satyr killed by Dezani's Pharika's Cure. He only drew his third land, another Forest which didn't even help, when Dezani had already cast Keepsake Gorgon. He never stood a chance.
Denniz Rachid 1-2 (1) Jérémy Dezani
Robert Jurkovic (Blue-Green) vs. Alexey Antonenko (Blue-Black)
Robert Jurkovic led in the damage race early on, with among other things a constantly growing Pheres-Band Tromper, but then the Sirens went off for Alexey Antonenko: Shipwreck Singer, Siren of the Silent Song, and Siren of the Fanged Coast threatened to take over the game, but in the end it was Jurkovic's Meletis Astronomer which, triggered four times over the course of the game, provided enough material to overwhelm the opposition.
In game two, Antonenko again assembled a few early fliers, while his Sealock Monster held the fort against Jurkovic's ground creatures. At a crucial point, he also had Nullify for an otherwise neck-breaking Nylea's Emissary, and when his Sealock Monster turned monstrous, Jurkovic lost in short order.
In the all-deciding third game, Antonenko had Asphyxiate for Prophet of Kruphix but sadly no fifth land to cast the Nullify in his hand for the Nessian Wilds Ravager which followed. The Ravager took out Returned Phalanx, then acquired Nyxborn Triton, and started hitting for 8 a turn. Soon it was time for Antonenko to chump, and his attempts to race with fliers were summarily thwarted by a surprise appearance of Horizon Chimera and Triton Tactics.
Robert Jurkovic 2-1 Alexey Antonenko
Aniol Alcaraz (White-Blue) vs. Andreas Lesch (Black-Red)
Andreas Lesch went off to an aggressive start into the first game and almost managed to push through lethal damage with the help of Erebos's Emissary. But then Alcaraz stabilized at 3 thanks to Hundred-Handed One. Fate Unraveler, with its ability to deal damage and not cause loss of life, died to Spear of Heliod, and that was the win for Alcaraz.
The second game basically came down to one interesting combat phase: Alcaraz blocked a 3/3 creature with his Wingsteed Rider carrying Chosen by Heliod and blocked Flamespeaker Adept with his 6/8 Hundred-Handed One. Lesch had Magma Jet for the 3/5 Wingsteed Rider, which gave Flamespeaker Adept the necessary boost to take down Hundred-Handed One via Fall of the Hammer and even live to tell the tale. Alcaraz almost recovered, but eventually lost his Spear of Heliod to Lesch's sideboarded Demolish and the game to Ill-Tempered Cyclops.
In the third game, Alcaraz's Battlewise Hoplite died to Magma Jet, his Lagonna-Band Elder died to Searing Blood, but his Phalanx Leader survived. More creatures followed as did Chosen by Heliod and Ordeal of Heliod for the Phalanx Leader. Spear of Heliod and Voyage's End sealed the deal.
Aniol Alcaraz 2-1 Andreas Lesch
Semifinals - Jérémy Dezani vs. Robert Jurkovičby Oliver Gehrmann
In his Top 8 profile, Robert Jurkovič claimed that he has "only" been the 2010 World Team Champion. That's an understatement, considering that he's been a regular ever since the Pro Tour Mainz back in 1997. He ended up in the Top 16 of a World Championship as well as of a Pro Tour, so it wouldn't be too surprising if he ended up claiming the victory here at Grand Prix Vienna.
The first game had quickly turned into a race between Dezani's Sylvan Caryatid that helped him accelerate into big creatures against Robert Jurkovič's good curve of Agent of Horizons, Horizon Chimera and Pheres-Band Tromper.
Despite being on the draw, Dezani was the first to recruit some huge creatures thanks to Sylvan Caryatid!
That changed when Jurkovič found his own accelerator: Prophet of Kruphix. He untapped at the start of Dezani's turn.
Pheres-Band Tromper went in for the third time; it was now a 5/5 creature. Jurkovič cast Meletis Charlatan when the attack was declared (which was possible thanks to Prophet of Kruphix). Together with Pheres-Band Tromper, it double blocked the attacker.
Jurkovič didn't mind losing 2 creatures for the price of one!
Jurkovič lost Meletis Charalatan while Dezani lost his Tromper. The leader of the Top 25 rankings then cast Erebos's Emissary and he followed it up with Marshmist Titan. He was now out of cards and out of mana, but he was once again ahead on the field - at least in terms of sheer numbers.
Quality seemed to trump quantity in this game, however; Agent of Horizons became unblockable and it tied the life totals at 14 each.
Pheres-Band Tromper blocked the Titan, but a Feral Invocation from Jurkovič's hand made sure that Dezani would not win this particular fight. When the French tried to start some shenanigans with Keepsake Gorgon, Jurkovič had the perfect answer in Retraction Helix!
Jurkovič now had perfect control over this game.
This blowout was followed up by a Deepwater Hypnotist the following turn and after he drew for his turn, Dezani started shuffling up.
Robert Jurkovič takes the lead!
This time it would be Jérémy Dezani going first and he had a much more aggressive start, courtesy of Felhide Brawler. A Sedge Scorpion matched it, but Jurkovič opted against blocking when Dezani declared the first attack on his following turn - he wanted to get more value out of his Scorpion.
Nyxborn Wolf seemed like an OK target to Jurkovič, who used the Scorpion to block, causing both creatures to leave the field. Dezani replaced it with Pheres-Band Tromper and Jurkovič had no play on his following turn, telegraphing an instant among the five cards in his hand.
Dezani was clearly curious and he also seemed fearless, attacking with both of his creatures. Feral Invocation was the Instant of Jurkovič's choice, but a Pharika's Cure from Dezani's hand was a great answer!
This chain would get even bigger in just a second!
Jurkovič wasn't quite done yet, however, also finding a Retraction Helix among the cards in his hand. That meant that both creatures left the field while Felhide Brawler dealt more damage. Dezani then used Traveler's Amulet to add another land to his back row before passing play.
Nylea's Emissary marked Jurkovič's preferred way to finally put up a strong defense. Dezani didn't attack for once, instead adding Marshmist Titan. Jurkovič on the other hand started to enchant his creature, first with a Nyxborn Triton and the turn after with Fate Foretold.
Dezani decided that it was now the perfect time to unload his hand!
Dezani took the invitation, he attacked with Marshmist Titan before unloading: Pheres-Band Tromper and Odunos River Trawler came down. He now saw an opening - he simply had to find more threats than Jurkovič could handle to deal the last crucial points of damage before his opponent could find a way to stop him. Not the most creative strategy, but certainly effective.
Jurkovič attacked with both his Pheres-Band Tromper and Nylea's Emissary. Dezani blocked the Tromper, Jurkovič then added Prophet of Kruphix and Dezani's facial expression showed a lot of displeasure.
He focused again after he entered his turn, did the maths and he came up with the right play: Tapping all his creatures! While Jurkovič was able to block two of them, he still lacked the numbers to stop all the attackers, which meant this match would need an all-deciding third game!
Jérémy Dezani ties the score!
What a thriller between the current leader of the Top 25 and Robert Jurkovič, one of the most experienced players that have enrolled in Grand Prix Vienna! If the Prophet of Kruphix would have come down just one or two turns earlier, Jurkovič might have been able to turn the second game around.
In the last game, both players found creatures with matching stats; Jurkovič sent Nyxborn Triton into battle while Dezani matched it with Felhide Minotaur. Pheres-Band Tromper and Dezani's Erebos's Emissary then repeated this performance.
Jurkovič attacked with Pheres-Band Tromper and Dezani blocked with the identically matched creature, causing both to bite the dust. He then added Agent of Horizons so he finally had a more reliable way to deal damage no matter what Dezani would throw in his way.
Jurkovičfinally found a key to pick the lock of Dezani's defenses!
Dezani knew that Jurkovič's multi colored creature would most likely turn the tide in Jurkovič's favor if it only had enough time to provide his opponent with lots of extra mana. A Time to Feed was supposed to take care of it, but Crypsis was the perfect answer from Jurkovič!
A timely Crypsis from Jurkovič saved his all important Prophet of Kruphix!
At the start of Jurkovič's turn, a Pharika's Cure took out the Agent of Horizons. Jurkovič didn't feel like attacking with the Marshmist Titan on the field, passing play right away again - he could easily flash his creatures into play, after all.
Erebos's Emissary enchanted the Titan the following turn and it dealt 7 damage to Jurkovič. He didn't have anything to stop the attack and when he just drew another land and passed play right away again, it became somewhat apparent to Dezani that his opponent was only holding on to two more lands in his hand!
All the extra mana in the world wouldn't help Jurkovič who waited for his deck to provide him with a creature!
Dezani kept attacking the following turns and Jurkovič was forced to block with Prophet of Kruphix - the last thing he wanted to do. When he again failed to find a creature that could deal with the huge threat, he immediately extended the hand.
Jérémy Dezani advances to the finals!
Finals - Jérémy Dezani vs. Aniol Alcarazby Oliver Gehrmann
It's already 9 pm here in beautiful Vienna, so you can tell it's been a very long day. Still standing after 9 rounds of Sealed deck competition, 6 more rounds of Draft and the quarter as well as the semi finals are Jérémy Dezani, who is currently ranked No. 1 in the Top 25 and Aniol Alcaraz, a former National Champion who came close at two Limited Grand Prix before, reaching the Top 8 of both GP Barcelona and GP Madrid. Could the Sealed expert finally go all the way and overcome one of the biggest names Magic has to offer just now?
The first game was dominated by a very aggressive start from Alcaraz who found Oreskos Sun Guide and Phalanx Leader among the cards in his opening hand. At the same time, a Traveler's Amulet fixed his mana base so he could continue to bring the beatdown.
Dezani on the other hand had a Blood-Toll Harpy, but it couldn't quite stem the bleeding thanks to a timely Triton Tactics that made sure Alcaraz would not only get to keep his creatures, but also add counters to them. Dezani went down to 14.
Erebos's Emissary now attempted to stem the bleeding, but Alcaraz went in with both creatures once again. In response to Dezani's block, he found a Gods Willing to make sure his Phalanx Leader would not only not fall victim to Erebos's Emissary, but also add more counters to his field.
Dezani discarded a second copy to Blood-Toll Harpy to make sure he would get to keep his creature, but he was running out of life and fast! Only 10 more points remaining for the former Pro Tour Champion.
Commune with the Gods didn't exactly get Dezani what he needed, but for the first time since the beginning of the match, Alcaraz took a breather. Apparently, he didn't have another targeting spell. He passed play and it was up to Dezani who had a Marshmist Titan.
A devastating Celestial Archon spelled doom for Dezani's hopes to turn this game around!
Alcaraz found Celestial Archon and Dezani could only smile. He went down to 2, he drew for his turn, he didn't find an answer and that already concluded the first game!
Aniol Alcaraz claims the lead!
Dezani went first in the second game and much to everyone's surprise, Alcaraz didn't find a turn 2 play. A Nyxborn Wolf came down for Dezani and Alcaraz matched it with Wingsteed Rider. Dezani let out a sigh, he clearly didn't like to see fliers that were so hard to deal with.
In fact, after he attacked with his Nyxborn Wolf, he used Time to Feed to make sure the flier wouldn't become a threat Dezani was no longer able to handle. Considering all the enchantments that Alcaraz was playing, that seemed like a good choice.
Alcaraz took the invitation to claim control of the game, adding Nyxborn Shieldmade and enchanting it with Chosen by Heliod.
Alcaraz had now claimed control of the game!
Once again, Pheres-Band Raiders entered play.
Dezani then found Fleshmad Siren and it blocked Wavecrash Triton the following turn, with Alcaraz considering to use Gods Willing. He opted against it, instead inviting a Setessan Battle Priest after combat.
Pheres-Band Raiders attacked and made it 22 on Alcaraz.
Nyxborn Shieldmate attacked once again the following turn and the air was getting thinner for Dezani, so he now opted to double block it with his token and Fleshmad Siren. Alcaraz once again opted against using Gods Willing; Dezani lost the token.
He replaced it the following turn thanks to the Pheres-Band Raiders, he then tried to use Asphyxiate on Wavecrash Triton, but Alcaraz felt the time was finally right for Gods Willing, which also allowed him to tap Pheres-Band Raiders.
He was now out of tricks, however, only holding on to two more lands. He didn't seem to need them with his extremely powerful Nyxborn Shieldmate, which attacked, ending the Fleshmad Siren.
Dezani was apparently also running out of gas, not making any plays on his next turn.
Dezani was forced to block with his token.
While things seemed to be going downhill for Dezani, the tokens that got produced by Pheres-Band Raiders were still helping him to hang in there. This time it was Alcaraz who lost a creature when the Raiders attacked, but that was all that happened on Dezani's turn.