Nothing like the smell of feature matches in the morning. As the players show up for the first round of Sunday the smell of coffee was still in the air and red eyed players shuffled up to continue their fight for a top finish.
For round 10, (15) Martin Juza, with more merits to his name than anyone in the room was up against Spaniard Joel Calafell, with three lifetime Grand Prix top 8's, including a win in Barcelona in 2009. Both players had finished day one with a record of 8-1 and as both are heading to Valencia for the Modern Pro Tour in a few weeks. So a good finish this weekend would set winds in their sails heading to Spain.
(15) Martin Juza vs. Joel Calafell
Whereas how the decks matched up it was a battle of Juza's traditional Jund deck, and Calafell's Scapeshift deck. A deck that some people have dismissed, but a few of the top players still cling on to.
The key to unlocking the match would be whether Calafell could cast enough ramp spells to get seven lands into play and casting Scapeshift before Juza could deal lethal damage, while disrupting Calafell's hand with discard.
Sometimes it's just not in the cards though, which became very obvious when Joel Calafell couldn't find his key one – Scapeshift even after casting several spells like Izzet Charm and Peer Through Depth's to look for it.
“Whatever, you win,” he exclaimed as he threw in the towel for game one, and reached for his sideboard, where 2 Urban Evolution, 2 Inferno Titan and 4 Obstinate Baloths hopefully would aid him for game two and three.
Martin Juza disrupting Joel Calafell's hand.
However, Martin Juza and his Jund deck had other plans, continued doing what Jund does best. Filling his own hand with Dark Confidant, while discarding Calafell's key cards. Game two looked to be a repeat of the first one, but a pair of Spanish Títan infernal claimed it for Calafell.
With only seven and a half minute remaining for the decider, both people picked up their paste significantly. Calafell even apologising for his paste in the previous game. “I thought we had more time,” he said.
The end looked to come as quick as the players paste, when a lack of mana accelerants from the Spaniard looked like he would be unable to deal with Juza's start which was as quick as his paste of play.
Things got confusing when Calafell drew, and cast an Obstinate Baloth, without playing a second green source, which was realized during Juza's turn, judges were called in and confusion followed.
GP Prague judge sorting out the confusion.
“How do I never notice these things?,” shrugged Juza, throwing out his arms in exasperation.
The issue was finally resolved, when the head judge showed up, but time was called shortly after. Extra turns followed, where and Juza managed to deal lethal damage to win a match that had been slow and well played, but ended up in confusion.
“I feel like that matchup is really good for my deck, and unless Martin gets a very aggressive start I can most likely trump him in the late game with control elements,” Calafell summed up the match, somewhat surprised by his defeat.