Posted in GRAND PRIX MADRID 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 16, 2014

By Tobi Henke

Only two players remained in the running for the title of Grand Prix champion: Germany's Till Riffert and Immanuel Gerschenson from Austria. While it was the first Top 8 for both, now only one more match separated one of them from hoisting the trophy.

Gerschenson was playing Blue-Red Delver with green for Tarmogoyf, a card many players considered crucially weakened with the advent of delve cards like Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time. Gerschenson still swore by it. Meanwhile, Riffert had brought Scapeshift with Dig Through Time, a strategy quite popular at this event. So, whoever won, the winning list would be a Temur deck

Game 1

Riffert suspended Search for Tomorrow on turn one and after that had to reveal his hand: more lands and Remand. "Not the best draw," Riffert admitted.

Over the next couple of turns, Gerschenson cast a lot of spells: a couple of Serum Visions, more Gitaxian Probes, and one Treasure Cruise, but the only spell of real consequence was Tarmogoyf, which brought Riffert to 9, before it was joined by a second Tarmogoyf.

Till Riffert

Riffert just sat there, played land after land, before he finally tried Dig Through Time. It resolved and Riffert commented, "I did not expect that." So did his Cryptic Command, tapping Gerschenson's Tarmogoyfs and buying Riffert one more turn. That was exactly what he needed. He played his seventh land, cast Scapeshift with two mana in his pool, and Gerschenson just nodded and picked up his cards

Immanuel Gerschenson 0-1 Till Riffert

Game 2

Gerschenson mulliganed into four lands, Serum Visions, Lightning Bolt, and thought long and hard about another mulligan. He kept, drew another land off the top and kept Spell Snare and Remand on top. All the disruption in the world wouldn't save him, however, if he didn't deploy a threat anytime soon. And no, the Molten Rain he cast next didn't count either.

Finally, on turn five, he managed to find some creatures with the help of more Serum Visions and Treasure Cruise. He summoned Delver of Secrets as well as Tarmogoyf. Suddenly, things didn't look half bad for Gerschenson. Riffert fought back with sideboarded creatures of his own, first Obstinate Baloth, then Inferno Titan.

Baloth died when it blocked Tarmogoyf, Inferno Titan was returned to Riffert's hand via Vapor Snag, and with Riffert's life total already dangerously low, another Tarmogoyf sealed the deal.

Immanuel Gerschenson 1-1 Till Riffert

Game 3

While Riffert mulliganed to five on the play, Gerschenson led with Delver of Secrets and attacked with Insectile Aberration on turn two. Riffert's five weren't half bad, however, and by the end of his fourth turn, he had already summoned two Obstinate Baloths to join the race. Soon enough he was leading 11 to 16 and Gerschenson was using Young Pyromancer tokens to chump.

Immanuel Gerschenson

But Gerschenson simply wasn't running out of spells to trigger Young Pyromancer, largely thanks to Treasure Cruise. In fact, not only was he able to chump and chump, he managed to amass an army of his own, which overwhelmed Riffert eventually. A pair of Lightning Bolts and one Vapor Snag did the rest.

Immanuel Gerschenson 2-1 Till Riffert

Congratulations to Immanuel Gerschenson, champion of Grand Prix Madrid 2014!