GRAND PRIX VANCOUVER 2014 - ROUND 14 FEATURE MATCH

Posted in NEWS on January 29, 2014

Coming into Round 14, both of these players, Hall-of-Famer William "Huey" Jensen and two-time Grand Prix Top 8 finisher Robert Smith need to win the next two rounds to break into the Top 8. If Huey makes it, this will be his third Theros Standard Top 8, and his second piloting his Azorius Control deck. It has a strong game against Robert Smith's Mono-Blue Devotion deck, as long as it can contain Thassa, God of the Sea and Bident of Thassa.

Game One

Smith and Jensen faced off Islands, then Robert Smith started the aggression with a Tidebinder Mage, Mutavault, and an Omenspeaker. This was not the most aggressive of starts and it didn't take much effort for Huey Jensen to put the kibosh on the assault.

 


William Jensen 

Smith knew this first wave wouldn't actually win the game, so he went for the mid-game route of Thassa, God of the Sea and her Bident of Thassa—those two cards I just mentioned earlier. But both require other cards to operate. Huey tried to keep everything else clear from the board to blunt the effectiveness of the two problems.

Both players cast Jace, Architect of Thought. Jensen used his to make attackers smaller and Smith used it to gain some more cards. His opponent had an Omenspeaker, Nightveil Specter, and two Mutavault on the board, so Jensen had to be mindful of not just the damage they could do, but the cards Bident of Thassa would provide. The score was 14-24 in Smith's favor when Jensen predictably swept the board with a Supreme Verdict to reset much of Smith's efforts.

After a couple turns, Smith's Jace was down to one counter and Jensen's was up to seven. Smith was no closer getting Huey down to 0 life than he was four turns ago. This was bad news for him. When the Elspeth, Sun's Champion came down and made three tokens, it was the beginning of the end for Smith. He looked at his hand and shook his head while considering how to get out of this jam—if at all he could.

Both of Jensen's Planeswalkers had practical and helpful effects that added loyalty counters. So not only would it be hard to damage Jensen, it was going to be hard to damage the 'walkers too. How many turns would it take for Smith to pack it in? He made tons of creatures to try and keep pace, but Jensen simply shrugged. He cast Supreme Verdict whenever he felt behind on the creature count, then just made three more tokens.

Jensen was so shruggy, he just shrugged again when he used Jace's ultimate ability to take a Thassa, God of the Sea from his opponent's deck and a Divination from his own—an ultimate shrug.

Yeah, it was time for Smith to scoop.

William Jensen 1 – 0 Robert Smith




 

Game Two

In the second game, Jensen again stopped early aggression from Smith with ease. Smith cast the same Frostburn Weird three times. Each time he attacked, he pumped it up to maximum attacking size. The first two times Azorius Charm wasted turns' worth of mana. But finally, on the third go-around Jensen ran out of stall tactics. He went down to 16, to 12, and to 8 before he sacrificed an Elixir of Immortality to buy more time.

 


Robert Smith 

Jensen cast a Supreme Verdict, seeming despondent about it. He wasn't happy getting a 1-for-3 against a two-drop that had already dealt him 12 damage. But regardless, he was sitting comfortably at 13 life because of his plays, and he cast a Dissolve on the next Frostburn Weird. So when he passed the turn back with seven untapped lands, three cards in his hand, and no creatures in sight, Jensen was feeling pretty good.

Huey cast his first Revelation for three (leaving up two mana), and Smith let that resolve. Smith realized that the Gainsay, Dissolve, and Negate would be better used on the subsequent cards Sphinx's Revelation drew.

But sadly for Smith, it didn't work out that way. Each time Huey had the answer. Gainsay may have stopped the first Detention Sphere, but the second Sphere made it through, thanks to Huey's Syncopate on Smith's Dissolve. And the last card in Smith's hand, Negate, tried to stop the second Sphinx's Revelation and that was met with a Gainsay.

After that counterspell flurry that spanned two turns, Huey confidently cast the third Sphinx's Revelation, and the first big one of the game (X=7). Ladies and gents, generally after that amount of Revelations, it's all done. And let me tell you, it was done. Jensen was casting stuff just so that he wouldn't have to discard too much. Smith stuck strong in the game for the next few turns, but it was over long before he extended his hand.

William Jensen 2 – 0 Robert Smith

Huey's Top 8 hopes stay alive as he moves to 12-2!