Grand Prix Valencia 2013 - Alexis Cortes vs. Feyyaz Melih Akcakaya

Posted in Event Coverage on November 10, 2013

There are few starts as aggressive in Theros limited as Akroan Crusader on turn one, with Titan's Strength on turn two. That is what Alexis Cortes was working with though, and when Feyyaz Melih Akcakaya had his first play on turn five in a Sedge Scorpion that was hit by Lightning Strike, he really wasn't playing the same game at all. Before other matches had finished resolving all their mulligans, Alexis Cortes was already a game up.

Guardians of Meletis stood firm on defence for Akcakaya in game two, but gain Cortes was a relentless aggressor, with successive copies of Minotaur Skullcleaver following another early assault from Akroan Crusader. A Feral Invocation made the wall a fine blocker, and Lagonna-Band Elder gained Akcakaya some much needed life, but his deck had still not really shown a way of winning the game, as Cortes' blisteringly fast starts hadn't really given it a chance to. 

More copies of Guardian of Meletis meant that Cortes had to go big if he was going to prevail. He did so in Titan of Eternal Fire, with a human on board in Akroan Crusader. Now the question was, could Cortes gun down Akcakaya before a fresh Wingsteed Rider on the other side of the board squared things? Tymaret, the Murder King seemed to suggest that yes, he could. When Grey Merchant of Asphodel joined the party, the infernal machine that Cortes had been assembling looked almost complete. He just needed one more turn of burn to finish the match. However, that Wingsteed Rider had been attacking in each turn. Cortes was not so far off death himself. When Helios's Emissary came down bestowed on the rider, that was enough to force a rubber game.

The deciding game saw Tymaret, the Murder King again take command, but this time from far earlier in the game. Akcakaya had a little lifegain engine going, with Setessan Battle Priest becoming enchanted by Hopeful Eidolon. Lifegain is not the friend of the red/black deck, but it seemed that Cortes had the tools to fight back. Grey Merchant of Asphodel got to drain for a little bit, and Mogis's Marauder allowed for more unopposed swings. Having nickel and dimed for a few points here and there, Cortes dropped the hammer blow once he got to seven mana. 

"End of turn, sacrifice Mogis's Marauder to Tymaret? Cast Journey into the Underworld sacrificing Grey Merchant of Asphodel to get back Mogis's Marauder?"

That's two damage from Tymaret. Then when the creatures came back from the underworld, another four point life drain. Mogis's Marauder gave Cortes's team intimidate, allowing for attacks for six, and there was still mana available for Cortes to sacrifice his team again, taking the overall damage total up to 16 since the end of Akcakaya's turn. That is how red/black does it.

Alexis Cortes wins 2 – 1 over Feyyaz Melih Akcakaya

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