The finals of Grand Prix Bochum are all about the BlackBorder.com team. Between Czech star Martin Juza and Swiss Yves Sele, this final is definitely limited edition rather than core set. Juza's deck, a terrifying infect concoction including a pair of copies of Hand of the Praetors had ripped its way through both the quarter and semi-finals. Could Sele stop him from getting a second Grand Prix title? He certainly hoped so.
Each player shuffled intently, in the prelude to the storm.
"Which faction did I choose at the start of the weekend? I'm pretty sure I chose the good guys. Are these the good guys? They seem pretty good to me." Juza pointed at the various infect monsters in his deck. Slowly but surely he was being infected by the new order of things.
Sele won the roll, and chose to keep. Juza's hand was a little slow, with 4 lands, Blackcleave Goblin, Throne of Geth and a Trigon of Corruption. He decided he could do better and shuffled them back in.
The six was better, and Sele led with an Island, He had a Glint Hawk Idol on turn two, which Juza matched with an Ichorclaw Myr. It was only the third turn, and Sele was already faced with some tricky decisions. He played a Plains and a Strider Harness before attacking, content to take a little poison damage on the swing back. Juza's turn was lightning fast. Attack, Contagious Nim, go.
Strider Harness and Glint Hawk Idol were not exactly a combo. Yves added to his board with an Auriok Replica, which promptly got equipped, but stayed back. Again Juza's line of play was simple. Hand of the Praetors, attack. Sele traded his replica for the now 3/3 Contagious Nim, and took two poison from Ichorclaw Myr.
While the type line on Hand of the Praetors reads zombie, it was the worst nightmare of Sele's deck, affording Juza a massive boost to his potential to infect. Sele cast a Neurok Invisimancer, and a Gold Myr before swinging with Glint Hawk Idol and passing. The Invisimancer died to Instill Infection, which allowed Juza to swing with his Ichorclaw Myr and Hand of the Praetors. Gold Myr chump blocked the infect lord, and Sele was up to 5 poison. Halfway there.
Sele cycled a Twisted Image, looking for an answer, but then passed the turn with five mana up. Juza cast an Ichor Rats, giving Sele two poison counters (one thanks to his lord) and attacked. He then cast a Throne of Geth, which prompted the concession.
Martin Juza 1 - 0 Yves Sele
All in all, the shuffling had taken longer than the game for game one, and Sele probably spent as long again sideboarding. He knew he was facing a monster, and had to do whatever he could to fight it.
There is only so much that you can do against monsters on Halloween though. That is when monsters are their most powerful. When asked what he would dress up as for Halloween if it were a Magic card, Sele had said Hand of the Praetors. As it was it was the Hand in Juza's deck that was putting him on.
Both players kept in game two, and this time Sele had a turn one play, in Origin Spellbomb. Juza's first turn brought a Sylvok Lifestaff. There was nothing but a spellbomb activation for Sele, who looked on as Ichorclaw Myr joined Juza's board. Juza's myr disappeared thanks to a Revoke Existence from Sele, who had caught a break inasmuch as Juza had not yet drawn a third land. Sele played a Palladium Myr and passed after a small attack.
When Juza did hit a third Swamp, it brought with it a Contagious Nim. Sele had made it to turn four without being poisoned, and when Juza elected to trade his Nim for Palladium Myr, it looked like he might make it even longer. Sele dropped Auriok Replica and Screeching Silcaw onto his side of the board to make up for the loss of his myr. Juza added Contagious Nim to his.
With a flyer, Sele was able to plink in for a little damage, but Juza seemed unconcerned. He watched as an Ichorclaw Myr came for his opponent (after combat, such that there was no metalcraft). He cast an Infiltration Lens, double equipped his Nim, and ran in. Infiltration Lens meant that Sele was much less inclined to block, taking his first three points of poison of the game.
The swing back milled Juza for four, and dealt him four. The cards that hit the bin were two copies of Hand of the Praetors, Contagion Clasp and Cystbearer. Given that only one of them would have been castable for Juza, he didn't seem to mind. Sele added a Neurok Replica to his board and passed. With the replica and Ichorclaw Myr to block with, and mana up for replica activations if necessary, he didn't seem in bad shape.
Juza drew for his turn and swung in. Juza was on 13, while Sele had 3 poison. It was tricky to work out how the race was going, and Sele thought long and hard before blocks. Eventually he settled on a double block, which let Juza draw a whopping four cards. Now Juza had some thing to do, as he suddenly had a lot more options for his turn. He elected to put 3 counters on Neurok Replica, and letting his Nim die, gaining him 3 from Sylvok Lifestaff. He then used Throne of Geth to ditch his Infiltration Lens and finish off the replica while there wasn't a good target for Sele to bounce, and give Sele another poison counter, thanks to proliferate.
After a little thought, Juza cast a Corpse Cur post combat to fetch back Hand of the Praetors. At the end of turn he discarded due to his suddenly ample grip. A Blackcleave Goblin was deemed the worst card, and hit the grumper to take Hand of the Praetors place. A reasonable trade.
Sele cast a Golem Artisan for his turn and attacked with Auriok Replica, Screeching Silcaw and his 1/1 Myr token. He this time milled four lands from Juza's deck, In the face of the possible pump from Sele, Juza blocked Auriok Replica for the trade, and took three as Golem Artisan pumped the 1/1 Myr token to 2/2.
Juza was on 13, and had 13 cards left in his deck. That Silcaw was suddenly not looking too silly, and Golem Artisan threatened quite a bit of damage the following turn from Sele, who had seven lands in play, and no cards in hand. Juza cast a Contagion Clasp and used it to make Golem Artisan a 2/2, before casting a Plague Stinger, and equipped his Lifestaff to it. Now Sele would have to think very hard about attacking in the air, as once his Golem succumbed, he would only have that Silcaw to defend the air.
Sele cast an Auriok Replica and pondered attacking. He eventually went in with Auriok Replica, the Silcaw and his Myr. Juza blocked the Silcaw, stopping any milling for the turn, but taking a little damage from the other members of Sele's attack squad. He was on 12, thanks mainly to lifegain from Sylvok Lifestaff, which he finally sacrificed to Throne of Geth to get Golem Artisan down to 1/1 in size, and Sele up to five poison.
A Fume Spitter to clear the path made the attack easily enough to finish the game. Sele extended his hand, and Martin Juza became Grand Prix Bochum champion!