Finals: Marlon Jacob Avila Gutierrez (Orzhov Control) vs. William “Huey” Jensen (Azorius Control)

Posted in Event Coverage on December 12, 2013

Things progressed very slowly to open this game, as expected in this control-heavy matchup. The first contribution to the board was a Desecration Demon from Gutierrez. Thoughtseize drew out a Dissolve, Jensen making sure to leave mana up to Azorius Charm, but a second hit home, revealing a powerful hand of Supreme Verdict, Sphinx's Revelation, Detention Sphere, Divination, and the Charm. After recording the contents, Gutierrez took the Revelation. His Demon attacked and was summarily sent to the top of Gutierrez's library. When he came down the next turn, Jensen cleared it away with his Supreme Verdict. A second followed in its wake, and it found itself trapped in a Detention Sphere.

Jensen began to try and assume control of the game with Jace, Architect of Thought, using it two draw cards twice, netting himself an Azorius Charm and two Dissolves over the course of the two activations. He even had the second Supreme Verdict already in hand to deal with a Blood Baron of Vizkopa that hit the table. After denying Gutierrez an Underworld Connections and resolving a Sphinx's Revelation for six, Jensen appeared to be well on his way to taking the first game of this finals.

William Jensen

Gutierrez managed to slowly draw cards out of Jensen's hand, but another Sphinx's Revelation for ten cards simply negated the losses. An Elixir of Immortality gave him a way to shuffle his now enriched graveyard back into his library, as he set on his long, grinding path to victory. It took quite a few more turns and another Elixir activation, but Jensen finally managed to draw enough cards out of Gutierrez to actually win the game. Victory by resignation has likely accounted for more wins for this Azorius Control deck than any other source over the weekend, and a resourceless Gutierrez added another tally in that column.

Game 2 opened with a fight over card advantage. Gutierrez's first Underworld Connections was stopped by Syncopate, but the second landed, ensuring a stream of cards for the Mexican player. Jensen responded with a Jace, Architect of Thought, but he only got a single activation before it was locked down under a Pithing Needle. Jace, Memory Adept, came down to take its place, but it suffered a Hero's Downfall. Jensen managed to find a Pithing Needle of his own to shut down Gutierrez's Underworld Connections and any other shenanigans that Gutierrez's Swamps might try to get into.

With the card advantage war behind them, both players took to the board with creatures. Gutierrez landed a token-spewing Pack Rat, matched on Jensen's side by the equally annoying Elspeth, Sun's Herald. Hero's Downfall betrayed the Elspeth as well, and a Supreme Verdict set the game back to null.

Both players were effectively playing off of the tops of their decks at this point, and Gutierrez struck first, landing a Blood Baron of Vizkopa against a defenseless Jensen. Jensen played a Jace, Architect of Thought, which was soon freed from the constraints of the Pithing Needle by a Detention Sphere. With a target other than Jensen now available, the Baron switched paths, taking Jace out of the equation and ensuring that Gutierrez maintained his advantage. Jensen managed to find himself a Supreme Verdict to kill the Baron, but Gutierrez's [Mutavault was still enough to finish off the wounded Jensen, as he floundered his attempts to draw into defense.

Gutierrez was faced with an interesting decision on the second turn of the final game. A Thoughtseize had the chance to strip a Pithing Needle, Elspeth, Supreme Verdict, Dissolve, or the Divination that Jensen needed to draw into more lands. He ended up denying the card drawing spell, and a Sin Collector denied him the Supreme Verdict as well. A second Thoughtseize denied Jensen his other defensive card, Detention Sphere, and things looked decidedly in Gutierrez's favor. He added a Lifebane Zombie to his side of the board, giving himself a fast clock.

Marlon Jacob Avila Gutierrez

With his back against the wall, Jensen managed to find a Divination, using it to draw himself into a pair of lands. Those lands would allow him to dig even further with his Sphinx's Revelation, though it was going to be from a losing position. Gutierrez had the chance to strip Jensen of the Revelation with a third Thoughtseize, but opted instead to take the Pithing Needle, a decision that made much more sense when he cast an Underworld Connections immediately thereafter.

Jensen was down to ten. He dropped himself even lower with an untapped Hallowed Fountain, allowing him to play Elspeth from his hand, though it didn't change the clock the Lifebane Zombie represented. A second Lifebane Zombie represented a lethal upcoming attack, and left things to Jensen's library. He slowly peeled the card off the top of his deck, looking for a Supreme Verdict. Instead, he found another Counterspell. He made Gutierrez go through the motions of killing him, which he was more than happy to do. As the handshake came out, the dozen or so Mexican players flanking the feature match area erupted in cheers for Gutierrez, champion of Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth!

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