Posted in GRAND PRIX MADRID 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 15, 2014

By Oliver Gehrmann

Facing each other in round 4 are the two Germans Till Riffert and Patrick Dickmann. Ever since Dickmann's victory at Grand Prix Antwerp a little more than 2 years ago, he has been on a roll. He turned into a regular on top of the standings at most of the Grand Prix that were held over the course of the past year and he finished a very respectable third place at Pro Tour Born of the Gods last year.

Till Riffert on the other hand has come close a number of times, but so far, he had never been able to make the crucial last step and secure himself a spot in the Top 8 of a major event. Naturally, he wanted today to be the exception to the rule and finally advance to the knock out portion of an event, but it would still be a very long way to go.

Till Riffert had to go up against one of the most accomplished players!

Riffert went with a Scapeshift deck while Dickmann relied on the deck that secured him his two biggest accomplishments: Splinter Twin.

Game 1

Not surprisingly, the first game turned into a war of attrition with both players trying to dig through their decks and assembling their respective combo.

Dickmann resolved a Deceiver Exarch the second time he tried after Remand bought Riffert some more time and in the turns to follow, more copies of the blue instant denied Dickmann an easy victory. While Riffert was able to buy himself turn after turn, he wasn't able to deal with Dickmann's threats once and for all.

What proved crucial was that Riffert didn't use his fetch lands to add more lands that would allow him to produce green mana. This way, he wasn't able to put Dickmann under more pressure who started to pick apart Riffert's hand with Vendilion Clique. When a Remand by Dickmann then negated Riffert's Dig Through Time, Dickmann had finally pulled ahead enough.

He used the opening and he tried to resolve Pestermite. Another Remand was supposed to foil that plan, but Spellskite made sure that Dickmann resolved the creature. "I would be surprised if you couldn't follow it up," Riffert admitted when he saw the writing on the wall. Dickmann flashed a Splinter Twin and Riffert immediately started to access his sideboard.

Game 2

In the second game, Dickmann found a Relic of Progenitus in his opening hand and this way, he was able to slow down Riffert tremendously at the start of the game.

Patrick Dickmann only needed one more game win to remain undefeated!

Over the following turns, Dickmann started to gain the upper hand thanks to Vendilion Clique, but when he didn't expect Riffert to hold onto any significant cards and he tapped out for Desolate Lighthouse, Riffert immediately announced that he wanted to respond. "Did you really just draw into a Dig Through Time?", Dickmann asked in surprise. "Yep", a smiling Riffert replied.

While Riffert was now able to set up his follow-up plays, Dickmann pulled further ahead with the help of his Desolate Lighthouse. A second Dig Through Time was met with a Dispel that got returned to Dickmann's hand courtesy of Snapcaster Mage and since Riffert hadn't been able to exile more cards from his graveyard, he didn't have the necessary mana to respond - this is where the Relic of Progenitus turned out key.

Another Vendilion Clique resolved and Dickmann now had a pretty good idea of what his opponent was holding on to. The following turn, Dickmann cast a Deceiver Exarch for game, causing both players to empty their hands and cast their respective counters, but when Dickmann also had a Snapcaster Mage for yet another counter, Riffert extended the hand.

Both players emptied their hands at the end of the second game!

"If my Dig Through Time had cost 2 mana less, I would have won the game," Riffert announced after the game. Relic of Progenitus did turn out to be the deciding factor in the second game, much to Dickmann's own surprise. "I didn't know it had had such an effect, but yeah, it's definitely a great card."