Posted in NEWS on June 14, 2014

By Olle Rade

The bubble here in Moscow might not be the biggest, as only 532 players are in attendance, and the amount of top level pros are far from GP Atlanta a few weeks back, where 17 out of the top 25 ranked players were in attendance. That doesn't mean that a few of the big names didn't have their backs against the wall in the 8th(!) and last round of the day.

Alessandro Portaro (Esper Control) vs. Vitaly Korol (Black Devotion with Green)

The young Italian, who has made a claim to fame lately not only by being a regular at the European Grand Prix circuit, but also by making the top 8 at 10 PTQs this year, without picking up the much desired invite to the Pro Tour.

The match that was make or break turned out to be a lot about Pack Rats. In the first game Portaro held the Rat invasion at bay with an Elspeth, blocking with Soldiers until he could sweep the board with Supreme Verdict and take over the game with Sphinx's Revelation. In game two however a second turn Pack Rat meant a quick demise for the Italian.

The third and deciding game was a race of Underworld Connections against first Divination and then multiple Sphinx's Revelation. After drawing a massive number of cards and answering all of Korol's threats, two brothers in arms in the form of Blood Baron of Vizkopa sealed the deal, and Day Two, for Portaro.

Alessandro Portaro 2–1 Vitaly Korol

Trey van Cleave (Mono-Blue) vs Dimitriy Pavlov

A named player who wasn't quite as lucky was Trey van Cleave, who despite valiantly having made the trip to Moscow saw his army of Flying Men being raced y multiple copies of Nemesis of Mortals, while Nyx Weaver held the ground and Shadowborn Demon showed up right on time in both games for a pretty lopsided victory.

Dimitriy Pavlov 2–0 Trey van Cleave