Finals Feature Match: Chris Benafel (USA) vs. Xavier Curto Vives (Spain)

Posted in Event Coverage

By Wizards of the Coast

by Mark Wraith

This is the fourth major event final that Chris has been in - but so far he has lost all of them, prompting some people to wonder whether he is choking at the last hurdle, so he will be hoping to prove all of them wrong, right now.

Chris won the dice roll and opted to play first, and both players were happy with their initial hands. They both had good two mana plays as well - a Shivan Zombie for Chris and a Benalish Trapper for Xavier. With the Trapper unable to use it's ability on the Shivan Zombie, it managed to attack the Spaniard down to 16 life. Chris played a Firescreamer, which was immediately tapped and Shackled. Xavier had to get to six mana to be able to play the only potential blocker in his hand - a Vodalian Serpent, and so the Shivan Zombie and a Thunderscape Apprentice brought him to 11 before he was able to stabilize with the 6/6 creature.

Chris had the Void though, which had been doing wonders for him throughout the top 8, and destroyed the Serpent, also killing his own Firescreamer, and revealing Xavier's hand of Armadillo Cloak, Exclude, and Restrain - good tricks but he needed a blocker - so he decided to cast the Cloak on his Benalish Trapper to gain some life.

However, Chris cast Annihilate on it, another card that has been amazing for him so far, and the Zombie and Apprentice managed to get in a couple more attacks. He could only manage to attempt to Shackles the Wizard, but Benafel cast Zap in response on his own guy, and knocked Xavier down to four with the Zombie.

Xavier's hand of Restrain and Exclude wasn't looking great, and Chris could even afford to let him Exclude a Sparring Golem, in order to get a Hate Weaver into play, and Curto was forced to concede.

Xavier debated for a while, and then chose to go first, and both players (eventually) decided to keep their opening hands. This looked like a pretty poor decision for the Spaniard, as he missed a turn two land drop, although luckily he drew land on both turns three and four.

This enabled him to bring two tappers into play - a Stormscape Apprentice and a Benalish Trapper. Chris just had a Kavu Aggressor at this point, but he did manage to Zap the Apprentice. On turn five he lay out a Rage Weaver and a Sparring Golem, hoping to get some damage through early while Xavier was still tight on mana. Curto did draw a land but it was a Mountain rather than the Forest he wanted. It was desperation time for him after the Benalish Trapper and his Plains was destroyed by a Plague Spores - he cast Probe without kicker to try and find some more land.

Although he did so, Chris next attack brought him to twelve - as Chris had cast a Nightscape Apprentice and a Shivan Zombie, and given them Haste with the Rage Weaver. Chris joked that Breath of Darigaaz would be bad for him, but unluckily for the Spaniard, all he had was a Razorfoot Griffin.

Chris' next drop was a Pouncing Kavu, and his attack forced Xavier to chump, and still brought him down to 4. Without even the non-existent Breath of Darigaaz saving him now, Xavier was forced to concede on his next turn.

Final Result: Chris Benafel defeats Xavier Curto 2-0 and is the winner of Grand Prix Amsterdam

So Chris managed to get over his losing streak in the finals of major events - and this is the second Grand Prix win in a few months for his team -

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