Alexey Rogov is playing the tournament of his life today. He finished first after Swiss and he just managed to deal a crucial blow to all fans of the southern hemisphere, eliminating Keraan Chetty from competition.
He picked Jund Monsters for the tournament, specifically since he expected to see a lot of Black Devotion and he liked his chances against this deck. This plan worked out rather well so far and he would now have to prove it once again when he would go up against Sergey Zheleznov and his take on this particular archetype.
Speaking of Zheleznov, he is a huge fan of Pack Rat. In fact, he claims it's the best card in Standard, if not even Modern, and it's served him extremely well this weekend.
With the introductions now out of the way, let's move on to the matches, shall we?
In the first game, Rogov had a seemingly perfect start with Elvish Mystic and Sylvan Caryatid, however, Zheleznov had a Thoughtseize to make sure there wouldn't be a strong follow-up. It turned out that Rogov had yet to draw into a big creature, with him only holding on to another Elvish Mystic and lands.
Rogov then drew into Courser of Kruphix and it revealed Xenagos, the Reveler on top of his deck. This series of draws suddenly gave him the upper hand and when he revealed a Domri Rade to be the next card, things certainly weren't looking too great for Zheleznov.
The following turns, it was Zheleznov who started to turn the tide, with a Desecration Demon fighting the uphill battle against the two Planeswalkers.
Zheleznov continued to level the playground with a second copy of the Demon. It appeared like Rogov was now shifting gears, attacking with all 3 tokens that his Planeswalker had generated, but it was actually a move to lure Zheleznov into a block with his new Demon, which then got taken care of with Mizzium Mortars.
Hero's Downfall, the next removal that impressed with great timing, it left Rogov with no blockers and that meant game for Zheleznov!
Sergey Zheleznov claims the lead!
In the second game, Zheleznov took an early peek at Rogov's hand with Thoughtseize, which left the latter with lands only after Dreadbore was sent to the graveyard. Rogov had an Elvish Mystic on the field, however, and he drew into Sylvan Caryatid and then Domri Rade.
Zheleznov's only answer at that point was Lifebane Zombie and it took down the Planeswalker over the course of several turns. Rogov, meanwhile, had found Rakdos's Return to strip Zheleznov off his hand! He followed it up with Courser of Kruphix which would finally get him back into the game after his rough start in this game.
Rogov added Ghor-Clan Rampager while Zeleznov failed to make a big play. Polukranos, the World Eater got revealed and cast the turn after. Rogov then revealed Xenagos, the Reveler and he had to laugh about the fact that his deck allowed him with this comeback, seemingly out of nowhere.
Zheleznov thought "if you go down, go down with style", casting a Thoughtseize and targeting himself!
Sergey Zheleznov ties the score!
Zheleznov kept his opening 7 while Rogov was rather quick to decide on sending his cards right back. He was happy with his second hand and then things got underway.
Zheleznov used Doom Blade to deal with an early Elvish Mystic and what followed was a short-lives war of attrition. After he went up to 4 mana, Zheleznov cast Thoughtseize and he saw plenty of threats waiting for him, among them Polukranos, World Eater, Stormbreath Dragon and Rakdos's Return.
The following turn, Zheleznov added Pack Rat.
Rogov had Stormbreath Dragon and it attacked. Zheleznov made the first copy of his Rat. Both attacked the following turn. He added Desecration Demon before passing play - something that matched the dragon that seemed so very threatening just a second ago.
Rogov only cast Scavenging Ooze, with an expression that couldn't exactly get described as sheer happiness.
Zheleznov then had the much-needed removal (Hero's Downfall) to take out both of Rogov's creatures and immediately after, Rogov extended the hand, wishing his opponent the best of luck for the finals!
Sergey Zheleznov advances to the finals of Grand Prix Moscow 2014!