Round 6 Feature Match - Stanislav Cifka vs. Jonas Koestler

Posted in Event Coverage on January 20, 2014

By Olle Rade

With both players at undefeated 5-0 records, the winner of this match will almost for sure secure their spot for tomorrow. Not that every round doesn't count, but both players would surely like to draw the victorious sigh of relief in this match.

The players

If the reigning champion of Modern format is the latest Pro Tour winner of the format, it is Stanislav Cifka. He won Pro Tour Return to Ravnica in 2012 with a deck so powerful that one of it's key cards, Second Sunrise, ended up being banned. His opponent, german Jonas Koestler, once famous for wearing a guy Fawkes-mask to tournaments, but admits that he stopped doing so when he started traveling to the US, where it has been adopted by the Occupy-movement.

Stanislav Cifka vs. Jonas Koestler

The Decks

Stanislav Cifka, is running the artifact deck notoriously known as Affinity. After pondering all the decks in the format, he and fellow teammate Ivan Floch decided that it was the best. "We both agreed that affinity is very powerful, and we wanted to try it," says Cifka, whose tech of the tournament is four main deck copies of Welding Jar.

Jonas Koestler on the other hand is running a Birthing Pod based deck that wins with Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker, copying either Restoration Angel or Pestermite, and then blinking or untapping the Kiki-Jiki, to be able to do it as many times as he pleases, creating an infinite number of creatures, winning in a single attack.

Cifka's increasing board state.

The Games

In a matchup between two of the most powerful decks in the format, the action sure wasn't disappointing. Key plays stared from the very first turns from both players. Koestler's Birds of Paradise into Wall of Roots and a second bird was met by both first and second turn Steel Overseers by Cifka. However, Cifka's lack of cards to interact other than through creatures proved a critical weakness as Koestler cast a Birthing Pod, followed by a Pestermite and a sequence he has been doing all day:

Sacrifice Birds of Paradise, searching up Phantasmal Image, cloning Pestermite, untapping Birthing Pod, sacrificing the cloned Pestermite, getting Restoration Angel, blinking Pestermite, untapping Birthing Pod, sacrificing Restoration Angel, getting Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker and creating an infinite amount of copies of Restoration Angel.

In a game between two silent players, it was clear that the important round had them focused on the outcome of the game rather than making small talk. Game two followed in fast manners as Koestler again had the opening of Birds of Paradise into Wall of Roots and a second Birds of Paradise. This time followed by a Spellskite, that threatened becoming a Pestermite if Koestler held a Birthing Pod.

"Thinking," Cifka exclaimed, realizing he might be facing the lethal combo again if Koestler held a Birthing Pod. He took a few minutes thinking before laying out his plan. The plan? Turned out to be an Arcbound Ravager and activating his Steel Overseer to pump his team crossing his fingers that Koestler didn't have the Birthing Pod. He did however, but seemed to have sideboarded out one of his combo pieces, so Cifka got another turn to try and find something.

The Pod combo

When he didn't though, Koestler let out a sigh of relief, untapped and exclaimed, "That should be game", once again setting up his chain of infinite creatures, forcing Cifka to extend his hand in concession. "I sideboarded the Phantasmal Image out, since it's rare to win against Affinity the the Birthing Pod chain as it costs both a lot of life and a lot of mana," Koestler explained after the game.

"Cifka would have won the first game if he had started,", Koestler added graciously, now at 6-0 and with big toe into making day 2, whereas Stanislav Cifka can only afford one more loss in the coming three rounds.


Jonas Koestler (GER) beats Stanislav Cifka (CZE) 2–0

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