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

By Oliver Gehrmann

Jeremy Dezani is all but a stranger to the top tables; he is currently ranked 2nd in the Top 25 Pro Rankings following his very successful last year in which he added a Grand Prix victory and two more Grand Prix Top 8 to his already impressive resume.

In a way, it feels like it's all on the line for him now, though. He has already amassed 2 losses in the first six rounds of competition, so he needs to step up his game and start a streak to keep up his hopes of adding yet another strong finish.

His opponent in this round is the hometown hero Emilio de Diego who hasn't been playing in a feature match before. Could the underdog beat the odds and de-throne Goliath or would Dezani's experience help him to start his comeback?

Emilio de Diego found himself staring down a lot of pressure early on!

Game 1

Dezani's deck worked like a clockwork in the first game: Mox Opal, Springleaf Drum and Vault Skirge were followed by Memnite and Etched Champion on his second turn.

De Diego immediately got busy searching for answers with Serum Visions. After Flame Slash and Lightning Bolt bought him some more time, a Cranial Plating put him on a much larger clock, however.

With just 5 life remaining on his fourth turn, de Diego thought long and hard how to turn the game around, but he couldn't quite come up with a plan and that's when both players started accessing their respective sideboards.

Game 2

While Dezani's start in the second game wasn't quite as aggressive, he was still able to invite two copies of Etched Champion into his party come turn three that started to pick apart de Diego's life points.

Jeremy Dezani had a slightly less furious start in the second game!

The Spaniard again went searching with two copies of Serum Visions and when he cast a Deceiver Exarch on the end of Dezani's turn to deny his opponent any untapped lands, it appeared like this game would come to a very sudden and unexpected conclusion...

... only to drag on for a little longer when de Diego couldn't quite follow it up with a Splinter Twin on his following turn. Fortunately for the Spaniard, he had at least drawn into an answer to a crucial Cranial Plating that would have otherwise ended the game, but he was running low on life regardless. When he again went searching with Twisted Image and his deck denied him the second combo piece, he extended the hand and wished Dezani the best of luck for the rounds to follow.

After the match, Dezani explained that he was caught a little off-guard by de Diego's mana base. He had introduced a Choke from his sideboard for the second game, but when it turned out that his opponent played a lot less Islands than the Pro assumed, he made a mental note to side it out again for a possible third game. That was all we were able to get out of him after these very one-sided games, but it's definitely something to consider if you find yourself in a similar situation.