The Key Moments of the Finals: Israel vs. France

Posted in Event Coverage on December 16, 2018

By Frank Karsten

It all came down to this. To get to the final match of the tournament, Israel had defeated China in the quarterfinals and Hong Kong in the semifinals. France's road was arguably even more impressive: they had defeated Japan, the defending Champions, in the quarterfinals, followed by Italy, whose captain Andrea Mengucci was in his fourth consecutive World Magic Cup Top 8.

But Israel and France got to battle it out for the win, and for both, this would mean more than just a set of trophies. France, led by Jean-Emmanuel Depraz, had the opportunity of becoming the only country to win the World Magic Cup twice, as their squad led by Raphaël Lévy had become Champions in 2013. And Israel had the chance to put their captain, Shahar Shenhar, in a very exclusive club of players who won both individual and team World Championship events.

Let's go over the key moments shown on camera from each of the three matches.

Seat A: Yuval Zuckerman (Boros Aggro) vs. Jean-Emmanuel Depraz (Golgari Midrange)

The most amusing moment came when coverage tuned into the match between Yuval Zuckerman and Jean-Emmanuel Depraz mid-game and the commentators had to evaluate the game state on the fly. "Uh oh, here's one of those board states. That's a Wildgrowth Walker with eight +1/+1 counters on it and another one with six?" commentator Marshall Sutcliffe laughed.

Indeed, Depraz was at 36 life while his board contained multiple ridiculously large creatures. As Boros Aggro excels in the early game but struggles in the late game, Zuckerman had no way to come back from this point. The second game was also won by Golgari Midrange in similar fashion.

Seat B: Shahar Shenhar (Izzet Drakes) vs. Arnaud Hocquemiller (Jeskai Control)

Arnaud Hocquemiller's take on Jeskai Control, which contained no creatures, had been the talk of the tournament. Instead of attacking with Crackling Drake or racing with Niv-Mizzet, Parun, his deck aimed to answer every single threat that opponents would put out. Eventually, he would win by copying a kicked Fight with Fire with Expansion // Explosion. This works because even though you paid nine mana for Fight with Fire, it's still a three-mana spell on the stack. You can't even counter it with Disdainful Stroke.

Alternatively, if the combo didn't show up, he would use the ultimate on singleton Ral, Izzet Viceroy for an alternative burn plan. Using the emblem in tandem with Ionize, he won a key game against Shahar Shenhar in style.

Seat C: Amit Etgar (Golgari Midrange) vs. Timothée Jammot (Selesnya Tokens)

Finding the key moment in Seat C was easy: the final turn of the final game of the final match at the World Magic Cup. Selesnya Tokens had been one of the big surprises of the tournament, largely on the back of a combo that Andrea Mengucci had referred to as the "Splinter Twin of Standard": March of the Multitudes to create a large amount of tokens, followed by Flower // Flourish to boost all of them at once. It was a fitting end to an awesome tournament for Team France, with Timothée Jammot having the honor of playing the victorious spells.

France defeats Israel 2-1

Depraz, Hocquemiller, and Jammot are your 2018 World Magic Cup Champions, and France is the only country in the history of the game to win the event twice!

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