Posted in Event Coverage on March 28, 2004

By Craig Jones

This is it. One more match for all the marbles. Kraft is currently 16-0 and on a seemingly unstoppable rampage. Standing in his way is the young Austrian Stefan Jedlicka. Jedlicka isn't inexperienced though, he's already got a GP title under his belt and knocked out Kai Budde to reach the top 8 here.

Kraft has a solid black-red deck while Jedlicka is running a bomb-laden but slow green-blue deck.

Game 1

Kraft went first and opened with a Bonesplitter while Jedlicka had a Chromatic Sphere. Both players accelerated their mana: Kraft with a Talisman, Jedlicka with a Myr.

Kraft didn't need his as he laid a land and cast Grimclaw Bats. The bats were given a Bonesplitter to hold. How a bat wields an axe I'm not quite sure. Maybe it grips it in its mouth or something.

Jedlicka didn't really have much to do on his next turn and took an axe hit from Rene's talented bats. Kraft brought out a Goblin Replica for back up.

Jedlicka had some Tel-Jihad Archers but a Terror stopped them from hanging around too long. And that was Jedlicka's game pretty much as the bats flew over and chopped him up with a Bonesplitter.

Don't laugh at a flying rodent with an axe.

Kraft 1 - 0 Jedlicka

Game 2

Kraft's mana base stumbled slightly in the second game but a Myr meant it wasn't too costly. Jedlicka came at him with a Neurok Spy and then a Tel-Jihad Exile. Kraft found another land and had a useful turn when he cast a Talisman and Terror'ed Jedlicka's Exile.

The problem with green things is most of the time you kill one critter only for it to be replaced with something bigger, meaner and uglier. Jedlicka called forth a Fangren Hunter.

Kraft was playing black though, and black happens to have even bigger, meaner and uglier monsters. He tapped five and brought out an unpleasant looking Greater Harvester.

The Harvester charged in on the next turn only to be ambushed by a Tangle Spider that joined the mob of Spy and Hunter blocking it. The Harvester traded for the Hunter and Kraft followed up with some Chittering Rats.

The green monsters still hadn't quit as Tel-Jihad Archers entered the fray. Kraft had a Spikeshot Goblin and Nim Lasher. They're nice creatures but the game was entering into the bomb stage and Jedlicka was packing plenty of those. Mindslaver could have been a wrecking ball if Kraft didn't have Echoing Ruin.

Jedlicka wasn't over yet. A Wurmskin Forger came in and boosted the Spy and Archers. Kraft had to chump with the Spikeshot Goblin and Lasher. The Spy was still coming through though.

The next turn was desperate. Kraft summoned a Krark-Clan Grunt and sacrificed all his artifacts to it so he could block the Spy. It still wasn't enough as the Archers came through for the final damage.

Kraft 1 - 1 Jedlicka

Game 3

Kraft had to mulligan in the third game. His second hand didn't seem too bad though as he dropped a turn two Talisman and then a Goblin Replica. Jedlicka made an annoying Sun Droplet and then a Mana Myr.

Kraft's hand was starting to look a little land heavy as he summoned a Scavenging Scarab. A Tel-Jihad Archers showed up to discourage that from attacking. Kraft sent it in regardless and Jedlicka didn't block, fearing a trick. The Sun Droplet powered up and Kraft decided it made an appropriate target for the Replica.

Kraft powered up the Scarab's with some Vulshok Gauntlets. Nope I don't know what use a beetle has for gloves anyway, but they scuttled in regardless. Jedlicka chumped with a Myr and it provided the Mana to power out a Tangle Spider before dying.

Then the giant beetle got a little confused about wearing gloves despite not having any hands and forgot to untap. Kraft had to leave them tapped for a turn before he could switch them onto an Oxidda Golem.

Jedlicka took advantage of the momentary confusion to stick the Spider through. The Gauntlets were a hefty problem as now Kraft had enough mana to shift them around. A Nim Lasher joined the fun as another Myr got smashed by a Gauntlet-armed Golem.

Jedlicka was running out of blockers as he kept picking away with the Spy. A Spider had to trade with a Gauntlet-armed Lasher. A Journey of Discovery might have thinned some land out his deck but he was more concerned with Kraft's freshly summoned Krark-Clan Grunt. The Scarab and the Grunt charged in and Jedlicka sighed as he tried to work out his options. He threw both his Archers and Spy in the way of the Grunt and took seven from the Scarab. A Bolt finished off the Archers
and the Spy took it for the team on the following turn.

Kraft had to lose a little momentum to shift the Gauntlets around and Jedlicka took advantage of the lull to bring out a Tel-Jihad Exile and then a Fangren Hunter. All of a sudden Kraft's offence was blunted. Jedlicka was clinging on at 4 life while Kraft was at a healthy 11.

A Crystal Shard allowed Jedlicka a cheeky hit for 4 with a hunter. Echoing Ruin stopped those shenanigans but Kraft's deck was stubbornly refusing yield one of the many cards that would end the game and give him the title. Another Exile appeared for Jedlicka. The Golem traded for the Hunter to leave Jedlicka with two Exiles to Kraft's Gauntlet armed Scarab. Still the German couldn't find the killing blow.

Jedlicka was drawing like a god. With Kraft stuck with only a Scarab that couldn't block the Austrian ripped a Wurmskin Forger off the top. Kraft looked in disgust as three counters went onto an Exile. Both attacked for exactly the seven damage required to give the game and a second Grand Prix title to Stefan Jedlicka.

Stefan Jedlicka beats Rene Kraft 2-1 and is the winner of Grand Prix Birmingham.

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