Posted in NEWS on March 23, 2014

By Oliver Gehrmann

In his Top 8 profile, Robert Jurkovič claimed that he has "only" been the 2010 World Team Champion. That's an understatement, considering that he's been a regular ever since the Pro Tour Mainz back in 1997. He ended up in the Top 16 of a World Championship as well as of a Pro Tour, so it wouldn't be too surprising if he ended up claiming the victory here at Grand Prix Vienna.

The first game had quickly turned into a race between Dezani's Sylvan Caryatid that helped him accelerate into big creatures against Robert Jurkovič's good curve of Agent of Horizons, Horizon Chimera and Pheres-Band Tromper.

Despite being on the draw, Dezani was the first to recruit some huge creatures thanks to Sylvan Caryatid!

Dezani found a Time to Feed to deal with Horizon Chimera and he followed it up with Felhide Brawler. Suddenly, he was the one that seemed to be ahead.

That changed when Jurkovič found his own accelerator: Prophet of Kruphix. He untapped at the start of Dezani's turn.

Pheres-Band Tromper went in for the third time; it was now a 5/5 creature. Jurkovič cast Meletis Charlatan when the attack was declared (which was possible thanks to Prophet of Kruphix). Together with Pheres-Band Tromper, it double blocked the attacker.

Jurkovič didn't mind losing 2 creatures for the price of one!

Jurkovič lost Meletis Charalatan while Dezani lost his Tromper. The leader of the Top 25 rankings then cast Erebos's Emissary and he followed it up with Marshmist Titan. He was now out of cards and out of mana, but he was once again ahead on the field - at least in terms of sheer numbers.

Quality seemed to trump quantity in this game, however; Agent of Horizons became unblockable and it tied the life totals at 14 each.

The following turn, Dezani went in with Marshmist Titan and Erebos's Emissary.

Pheres-Band Tromper blocked the Titan, but a Feral Invocation from Jurkovič's hand made sure that Dezani would not win this particular fight. When the French tried to start some shenanigans with Keepsake Gorgon, Jurkovič had the perfect answer in Retraction Helix!

Jurkovič now had perfect control over this game.

This blowout was followed up by a Deepwater Hypnotist the following turn and after he drew for his turn, Dezani started shuffling up.

Robert Jurkovič takes the lead!

This time it would be Jérémy Dezani going first and he had a much more aggressive start, courtesy of Felhide Brawler. A Sedge Scorpion matched it, but Jurkovič opted against blocking when Dezani declared the first attack on his following turn - he wanted to get more value out of his Scorpion.

Nyxborn Wolf seemed like an OK target to Jurkovič, who used the Scorpion to block, causing both creatures to leave the field. Dezani replaced it with Pheres-Band Tromper and Jurkovič had no play on his following turn, telegraphing an instant among the five cards in his hand.

Dezani was clearly curious and he also seemed fearless, attacking with both of his creatures. Feral Invocation was the Instant of Jurkovič's choice, but a Pharika's Cure from Dezani's hand was a great answer!

This chain would get even bigger in just a second!

Jurkovič wasn't quite done yet, however, also finding a Retraction Helix among the cards in his hand. That meant that both creatures left the field while Felhide Brawler dealt more damage. Dezani then used Traveler's Amulet to add another land to his back row before passing play.

Nylea's Emissary marked Jurkovič's preferred way to finally put up a strong defense. Dezani didn't attack for once, instead adding Marshmist Titan. Jurkovič on the other hand started to enchant his creature, first with a Nyxborn Triton and the turn after with Fate Foretold.

Dezani enchanted his Marshmist Titan with Cavern Lampad, which attacked to make it 8 life remaining on Jurkovič.

Jurkovič was now busy looking for answers; Fate Foretold helped him find it, he went in with Nylea's Emissary and he then played Pheres-Band Tromper.

Dezani decided that it was now the perfect time to unload his hand!

Dezani took the invitation, he attacked with Marshmist Titan before unloading: Pheres-Band Tromper and Odunos River Trawler came down. He now saw an opening - he simply had to find more threats than Jurkovič could handle to deal the last crucial points of damage before his opponent could find a way to stop him. Not the most creative strategy, but certainly effective.

Jurkovič opted against attacking, Dezani wanted to declare attacks, but Sudden Storm tapped Pheres-Band Tromper and Marshmist Titan. Dezani emptied his hand: Nyxborn Wolf and Flehmad Steed.

Jurkovič attacked with both his Pheres-Band Tromper and Nylea's Emissary. Dezani blocked the Tromper, Jurkovič then added Prophet of Kruphix and Dezani's facial expression showed a lot of displeasure.

He focused again after he entered his turn, did the maths and he came up with the right play: Tapping all his creatures! While Jurkovič was able to block two of them, he still lacked the numbers to stop all the attackers, which meant this match would need an all-deciding third game!

Jérémy Dezani ties the score!

What a thriller between the current leader of the Top 25 and Robert Jurkovič, one of the most experienced players that have enrolled in Grand Prix Vienna! If the Prophet of Kruphix would have come down just one or two turns earlier, Jurkovič might have been able to turn the second game around.

In the last game, both players found creatures with matching stats; Jurkovič sent Nyxborn Triton into battle while Dezani matched it with Felhide Minotaur. Pheres-Band Tromper and Dezani's Erebos's Emissary then repeated this performance.

Jurkovič attacked with Pheres-Band Tromper and Dezani blocked with the identically matched creature, causing both to bite the dust. He then added Agent of Horizons so he finally had a more reliable way to deal damage no matter what Dezani would throw in his way.

Jurkovičfinally found a key to pick the lock of Dezani's defenses!

Dezani had Odunos River Trawler and that caused Jurkovič to use the effect of his Agent of Horizons to deal the first points of damage in this heavily contested game.

Dezani added a Marshmist Titan, Jurkovič once again found the Prophet of Kruphix when he needed it and he untapped at the start of his opponent's turn with two more cards in hand.

Dezani knew that Jurkovič's multi colored creature would most likely turn the tide in Jurkovič's favor if it only had enough time to provide his opponent with lots of extra mana. A Time to Feed was supposed to take care of it, but Crypsis was the perfect answer from Jurkovič!

A timely Crypsis from Jurkovič saved his all important Prophet of Kruphix!

At the start of Jurkovič's turn, a Pharika's Cure took out the Agent of Horizons. Jurkovič didn't feel like attacking with the Marshmist Titan on the field, passing play right away again - he could easily flash his creatures into play, after all.

Erebos's Emissary enchanted the Titan the following turn and it dealt 7 damage to Jurkovič. He didn't have anything to stop the attack and when he just drew another land and passed play right away again, it became somewhat apparent to Dezani that his opponent was only holding on to two more lands in his hand!

All the extra mana in the world wouldn't help Jurkovič who waited for his deck to provide him with a creature!

Dezani kept attacking the following turns and Jurkovič was forced to block with Prophet of Kruphix - the last thing he wanted to do. When he again failed to find a creature that could deal with the huge threat, he immediately extended the hand.

Jérémy Dezani advances to the finals!