Grand Prix Vienna 2014

All good things came in threes for Spaniard Aniol Alcaraz, who finally claimed his first Grand Prix title after coming close at two Limited Grand Prix before. Having drafted an impressive white-blue heroic deck, sometimes considered the marquee archetype in Born of the Gods/Theros Limited, he bested Jérémy Dezani in the finals. Until then, Dezani, the current leader in the Top 25 rankings, had been nigh-unstoppable, defeating two-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Denniz Rachid in the quarterfinals and 2010 Team World Champion Robert Jurkovic in the semis. But in the end, it was Alcaraz's tournament and not even the mighty Dezani could change that.

It was an amazing weekend here in Vienna, and not just for Alcaraz. Lots of exciting and close games were played, a lot of fun was had, and quite a few insights into the intricacies of the Limited format were gained. 1,208 players had entered the tournament, 149 made it through to the draft rounds, yet at the very end just one remained. Congratulations to Aniol Alcaraz, champion of Grand Prix Vienna 2014!


top 8 bracket

Quaterfinals

(1) Andreas Lesch

(3) Aniol Alcaraz

(4) Mads Utzon

(7) Aleksa Telarov

(6) Jérémy Dezani

(8) Denniz Rachid

(2) Robert Jurkovic

(5) Alexey Antonenko

Semi-finals

Aniol Alcaraz, 2-1

Aleksa Telarov, 2-0

Jérémy Dezani, 2-1

Robert Jurkovic, 2-1

Finals

Aniol Alcaraz, 2-1

Jérémy Dezani, 2-1

Champion

Aniol Alcaraz, 2-0



       

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EVENT COVERAGE

INFORMATION

     
1. Aniol Alcaraz $4,000
2. Jeremy Dezani $2,700
3. Robert Jurkovic $1,500
4. Aleksa Telarov $1,500
5. Andreas Lesch $1,000
6. Mads Utzon $1,000
7. Alexey Antonenko $1,000
8. Denniz Rachid $1,000

pairings, results, standings

Pairings

15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Results

15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Standings

15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

 
 

 

Robert Jurkovič

Age: 36
Hometown: Bratislava, Slovakia
Occupation: Professional Magic Online player
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
2010 World Team Champion

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Fabled Hero; I went 8 - 1 with a red-white deck.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I had two copies of Kragma Warcaller and I ended up 3 - 0 with a black-red deck.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I picked a Fabled Hero again and this time it carried me to a 2 - 1 with a red-white deck.

 

 

Denniz Rachid

Age: I feel old
Hometown: Kungsbacka, Sweden
Occupation: Teacher
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 8 Pro Tour Dark Ascension and Pro Tour Avacyn RestoredTop 8 Grand Prix Warsaw 2013

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Polukranos, World Eater was the best card, but a honorable mention goes out to Noble Quarry. I piloted my green-white deck to an 8 - 1 finish.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Ordeal of Thassa was the best card in a green-blue deck. I finished 1 - 1 - 1 thanks to an unintentional draw.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Portent of Betrayal helped me to finish 3 - 0 with a red-green deck.

 

 

Jérémy Dezani

Age: 23
Hometown: Orléans (somewhat) close to Paris, France.
Occupation: Magic Professional that also works for MTG Madness.
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Pro Tour Theros ChampionSix Grand Prix Top 8 (Lyon, Vienna, Warsaw, Prague, Verona and Paris)Another one with my team in Barcelona 3 weeks ago.

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I played Jund (red-black-green) with Stormbreath Dragon to a 9 - 0 finish.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Prophet of Kruphix wasn't quite enough and I ended up with a 1 - 2 performance with a blue-green deck.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Bident of Thassa carried me to a 2 - 0 - 1 with my blue-black deck.

 

 

Aleksa Telarov

Age: 24
Hometown: Novi Sad, Serbia
Occupation: Being handsome (it's hard work!)
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Numerous day 2 / Top 64 finishes as well as some good results at the World Champoinships.

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Fall of the Hammer was my best card and I ended up with 8 - 1.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Minotaur Skullcleaver helped me to tear through the first draft 3 - 0.

What was the best card in second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I had a Lightning Strike and ended up on 1 - 1 - 1.

 

 

Alexey Antonenko

Age: 29
Hometown: Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
Occupation: Software Developer
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Not much; I ended up on the Ukranian National Team twice.

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I had a Meletis Charlatan that helped me amass eight wins with a blue-red deck (I took one loss).

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Whip of Erebos put in some serious work and I won my respective draft pod with a blue-black deck.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
This time I went for a blue-green deck and my best card was Arbor Colossus. I finished 1 - 0 - 2.

 

 

Mads Utzon

Age: 23
Hometown: Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation: Student
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
I reached the Top 16 of two Star City Games Opens.

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I got passed a Nessian Wilds Ravager that was my best card and my red-green deck finished 7 - 2.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Ordeal of Erebos helped my red-black deck win my respective draft pod.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Prognostic Sphinx (he called it Procrastinating Sphinx) carried me to yet another 3 - 0 with a red-blue deck.

 

 

Aniol Alcaraz Coca

Age: 28
Hometown: Sabadell, which is close to Barcelona, Spain
Occupation: Nihilumbra!)
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
A long time ago, I reached the Top 8 of Grand Prix Barcelona and Madrid, which also happened to be Limited events.I won my National Champonship in 2004.

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I really underestimated Courser of Kruphix at first, but it turned out to be a real star in my deck. My blue-green deck featured a lot of solid and big creatures. I lost the first round, but I won the following eight, so 8 - 1!

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
I played a very regular Boros (white-red) deck. I managed to finish 2 - 1. Nothing stood out particularly, but the best card was still Wingsteed Rider.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Probably Ember Swallower, though Portent of Betrayal (in my main deck) gave me a couple of close games. It was mono red with some blue cards that I splashed. I was very lucky to finish 3 - 0 with it.

 

 

Andreas Lesch

Age: 23
Hometown: Cologne, Germany
Occupation: Student and Magic Grinder in Hiveworld Cologne.
 

Previous Magic accomplishments:
I ended up in the Top 8 of a Pro Tour Qualifier two weeks ago and I reached Day 2 at 3 Grand Prix before.

What was the best card in your sealed deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Sudden Storm; I played Blue-Green Critters because all the other colors were weak and my pool was missing any spoilers. I piloted it to a 8 - 1 finish.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Mono black devotion with a splash of blue; Rescue from the Underworld was my best card and I won my draft pod (3 - 0).

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?

Raised by Wolves was the best card; it was a heavy green deck with a splash of white and it was enough to end up on 2 - 1.


Top 8 Draft Decklists

by Oliver Gehrmann
 

Aniol Alcaraz, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Aleksa Telarov, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Mads Utzon, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Alexey Antonenko, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Denniz Rachid, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Andreas Lesch, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Robert Jurkovic, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Jérémy Dezani, Top 8

Download Arena Decklist

Quartefinals Round-up

by Tobi Henke
 

Mads Utzon (Green-Black) vs. Aleksa Telarov (Red-White)

In the first game, Aleksa Telarov led with Bronze Sable and Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass whereas Mads Utzon's somewhat disappointing deck could only come up with its first play on turn five. Still, for a moment, it looked as if Pheres-Band Centaurs, followed by Nessian Asp, would allow Utzon to stabilize. However Telarov's Purphoros, God of the Forge, especially in combination with Wild Celebrants, proved quite the capable finisher.

Telarov went off to a slow start for the second game, but his late game of Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass and Fanatic of Mogis, with Hopeful Eidolon for good measure, was enough to beat Utzon's mana flood.

Mads Utzon 2-0 Aleksa Telarov


Denniz Rachid (Red-Green) vs. (1) Jérémy Dezani (Green-Black)

Although (1) Jérémy Dezani was forced to work with creatures like Felhide Brawler and Fleshmad Steed to get there, he was able to win the first game. Denniz Rachid was slightly flooded, then had his Nylea's Disciple and Ordeal of Purphoros destroyed by Sip of Hemlock, and finally succumbed to lots of 2/2s courtesy of Raised by Wolves.

The second game then really showcased the power of Rachid's deck: Deathbellow Raider on turn two, Bow of Nylea on turn three, Ordeal of Purphoros on turn four, activate Bow for a second +1/+1 counter. Next turn, Rachid's Ordeal killed Dezani's Pheres-Band Tromper and Bow of Nylea killed Blood-Toll Harpy ... They quickly moved to game three.

Unfortunately, this was extremely anticlimactic. After a mulligan, Rachid was stuck on two Forests and saw his Voyaging Satyr killed by Dezani's Pharika's Cure. He only drew his third land, another Forest which didn't even help, when Dezani had already cast Keepsake Gorgon. He never stood a chance.

Denniz Rachid 1-2 (1) Jérémy Dezani


Robert Jurkovic (Blue-Green) vs. Alexey Antonenko (Blue-Black)

Robert Jurkovic led in the damage race early on, with among other things a constantly growing Pheres-Band Tromper, but then the Sirens went off for Alexey Antonenko: Shipwreck Singer, Siren of the Silent Song, and Siren of the Fanged Coast threatened to take over the game, but in the end it was Jurkovic's Meletis Astronomer which, triggered four times over the course of the game, provided enough material to overwhelm the opposition.

In game two, Antonenko again assembled a few early fliers, while his Sealock Monster held the fort against Jurkovic's ground creatures. At a crucial point, he also had Nullify for an otherwise neck-breaking Nylea's Emissary, and when his Sealock Monster turned monstrous, Jurkovic lost in short order.

In the all-deciding third game, Antonenko had Asphyxiate for Prophet of Kruphix but sadly no fifth land to cast the Nullify in his hand for the Nessian Wilds Ravager which followed. The Ravager took out Returned Phalanx, then acquired Nyxborn Triton, and started hitting for 8 a turn. Soon it was time for Antonenko to chump, and his attempts to race with fliers were summarily thwarted by a surprise appearance of Horizon Chimera and Triton Tactics.

Robert Jurkovic 2-1 Alexey Antonenko


Aniol Alcaraz (White-Blue) vs. Andreas Lesch (Black-Red)

Andreas Lesch went off to an aggressive start into the first game and almost managed to push through lethal damage with the help of Erebos's Emissary. But then Alcaraz stabilized at 3 thanks to Hundred-Handed One. Fate Unraveler, with its ability to deal damage and not cause loss of life, died to Spear of Heliod, and that was the win for Alcaraz.

The second game basically came down to one interesting combat phase: Alcaraz blocked a 3/3 creature with his Wingsteed Rider carrying Chosen by Heliod and blocked Flamespeaker Adept with his 6/8 Hundred-Handed One. Lesch had Magma Jet for the 3/5 Wingsteed Rider, which gave Flamespeaker Adept the necessary boost to take down Hundred-Handed One via Fall of the Hammer and even live to tell the tale. Alcaraz almost recovered, but eventually lost his Spear of Heliod to Lesch's sideboarded Demolish and the game to Ill-Tempered Cyclops.

In the third game, Alcaraz's Battlewise Hoplite died to Magma Jet, his Lagonna-Band Elder died to Searing Blood, but his Phalanx Leader survived. More creatures followed as did Chosen by Heliod and Ordeal of Heliod for the Phalanx Leader. Spear of Heliod and Voyage's End sealed the deal.

Aniol Alcaraz 2-1 Andreas Lesch


Semifinals - Jérémy Dezani vs. Robert Jurkovič

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