Finals: Eliott Boussaud vs. Peter Vieren

Posted in Event Coverage on August 30, 2015

By Olle Rade

The 1464-player field was reduced to two players with the title at stake as the final table was set at last. One match would crown a champion and the stakes were almost as high as the heat wave temperature in the Czech Republic.

The Players

Eliott Boussaud, the tutor from Toulouse proved his prowess in Standard at Grand Prix Utrecht in 2014 by making the finals. That time the title as champion escaped him, but he's been after it ever since.

Between him and his goal stood Belgian Peter Vieren, a calm and collected 29-year-old who's one Grand Prix Top 8 was in Lyon 2010. The format then? Rise of the Eldrazi limited. Perhaps fitting when we are headed back to Eldrazi-land with Battle for Zendikar in a few weeks.

The Decks

A lot has been said about Hangarback Walker this weekend. And in the finals it was two Hangarbacks for Boussaud against zero for Vieren. Their decks choices being Red-Black Dragons and Blue-Black Control respectively.

It would be a finals of Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury against Silumgar, the Drifting Death. France against neighboring Belgium in an all dragon derby.

“Can I read Kolaghan, just to make sure?” Peter Vieren asked as the players looked through each others deck before the match in a sportsmanlike matter.

“One Pearl Lake Ancient and one Silumgar. Are you going to win by milling me out?” was Boussad's reply when he saw Vieren's threat light deck.

“Challenge accepted,” he laughed and they shuffled up for the action.

The Games

The first game proved to be a hard battle to fight for Boussad. Mostly because the removal half of his deck would be virtually irrelevant against Vieren's creature-less deck. Instead he would have to present his threats and hope that Vieren would run out of answers before refilling his hand with card drawing spells like Jace's Ingenuity and Dig Through Time.

And the attempts started:

Thunderbreak Regent? Hero's Downfall.

Thunderbreak Regent? Hero's Downfall.

Thoughtseize? Negate.

Thunderbreak Regent? Dissolve.

Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury? Dissolve.

A series of event that could dishearten even the bravest Dragon-wielder. Boussad however, seemed unaffected by his failures and cast one of his four Kolaghan's Command to try to return one of his dragons.

Vieren's answer? Another Dissolve.

A second copy of Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury? Hero's Downfall.

Boussad was now left with nothing but removal in his hand. Surely just waiting to be able to replace them with Outpost Siege, Chandra, Pyromaster and Duress after sideboarding.

Peter Vieren, like he had been doing all weekend, refilled his hand with Jace's Ingenuity after Jace's Ingenuity. Surely Boussad started to realize that he was out of the game, but still not able to concede because of Vieren's lack of win conditions.

In the end Boussad's hand ended up so full of removal that he had to discard to hand size. Peter Vieren went for one of his win conditions. Cranial Archive, allowing him to shuffle back all his removal back into his deck and eventually killing every single creature from Boussad with his continuous card drawing. In other words – who needs win conditions when you can have endless removal and card drawing?

Boussad played out the game with patience and even got to resolve a Thoughtseize or two, but it left Vieren with a handful of removal and card drawing spells that allowed him to eventually finishing the game with Pearl Lake Ancient.

Peter Vieren

“I drew a lot of removal after my first few threats, so I couldn't really get anywhere in the game,” Boussad explained before reaching for his sideboard.

“You can sideboard in your creatures now, I have no removal left in my deck,” he joked before the second game commenced.

“You can keep Draconic Roar,” Vieren answered with a smile.

Boussad's plan for the second game would be to discard any counterspells from Vieren and try to resolve either a Chandra, Pyromaster or an Outpost Siege to get his own card drawing engine going. Or a quick Dragon to pressure Vieren's life total.

And things started out well for the Frenchman when Duress discarded Jace's Ingenuity and he could follow up with a Hangarback Walker, seeing no removal in the Belgians hand. Mentally noting to play around the Dissolve he had seen in Vieren's hand.

Growing the Hangarback Walker at the end of Vieren's next turn baited a Hero's Downfall, but left Boussad with two Thopter tokens, and the window to resolve Chandra, Pyromaster if he could only find a fourth land on top of his deck.

He sadly didn't, and was forced to go for the plan of casting more discard spells, frowning when he saw Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Jace's Ingenuity and a Dissolve. He also added a second Hangarback Walker, establishing quite the board presence against Vieren's removal light hand.

Vieren summoned Tasigur, the Golden Fang. But Boussad, even with just three lands in play, looked confidant when he attacked with his Thopters and cast a Kolaghan's Command, getting back his first Hangarback Walker and discarding a card for Vieren.

The race was on, Tasigur, the Golden Fang against Thopters when Boussad resummoned his first Hangarback Walker, but let out a sight of disbelief when Vieren cast Jace's Ingenuity at the end of his turn.

“That changes things,” he commented, knowing the game now was far from as over as it had looked the previous turn.

His Hangarback Walker-duo kept growing, but Vieren had Dissolve for a Thunderbreak Regent and wrapped up Boussad's turn with a Dig Through Time. Now pulling further and further back into the game, still at a healthy 14 life, being attacked only by Boussad's two Thopters for a few turns.

Boussad's next threat in Chandra, Pyromaster was met by Negate and it looked like Vieren would be able to trade cards one for one before taking the game over with card drawing.

Between Jace's Ingenuity, Dig Through Time and activating Tasigur, the Golden Fang, he did exactly that. Silumgar, the Drifting Death also meant he didn't have to worry about neither a 3/3, a 4/4 Hangarback Walker or any Thopter tokens on Boussad's side.

Boussad shook his head, and apologized for taking so long with his next decisions. Now trying desperately to find a line of plays to finish the game in his favor.

He summoned Stormbreath Dragon and attacked along with his Thopters. Vieren blocked the Dragon and dropped to 12.

Vieren just drew and passed the turn. Surely Boussad's next turn would be the crucial one for the game, and the match if Vieren had enough answers for the Frenchman's board.

Boussad attacked with Stormbreath Dragon, a 5/5 Hangarback Walker and his two Thopter tokens. Vieren cast Dig Through Time. Blocked Stormbreath with Silumgar and put his Tasigur, the Golden Fang in front of Hangarback Walker.

A post combat Thoughtseize from Boussad was countered by Psychic Rebuttal, but with no Spell Mastery due to Dig Through Time emptying Vieren's graveyard.

Boussad was now faced with the dilemma of adding more to his board and being blown out by Perilous Vault, or not having enough to win through two removal spells. He chose to just pass.

Languish killed Boussad's entire team as even his 5/5 Hangarback Walker fell to the ability of Silumgar, the Drifting Death. The Tokens however generated by the Hangarback blocked and killed Silumgar, and it looked like Boussad might be able to take the game after all.

Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury was countered by Dissolve, but Boussad's five tokens dropped Vieren to 5 life before a second Languish cleared the board.

Goblin Rabblemaster was Boussad's next play. Met by another Dissolve, before a second Rabblemaster resolved. The token attacked Vieren down to 4. But he refueled with Dig Through Time at the end of turn.

Silence the Believers handled Goblin Rabblemaster and the token, but Thunderbreak Regent resolved and threatened lethal damage if it would get to attack. Hero's Downfall ensured it wouldn't, but dropped Vieren to one life.

Thoughtseize for Vieren's final Negate followed but Kolaghan's Command did the last point of damage, and Boussad was not yet out of his chance at the title.

Eliott Boussaud

“If you're hoping for a quick game, you might be disappointed,” Vieren told the spectators as the players shook hands before the beginning of the last and final game.

And the game was an instant reminder of the last. When first turn Thoughtseize discarded Dissolve and was followed by Hangarback Walker for Eliott Boussad. Glad to only see Ultimate Price and Languish for removal in the Belgian's hand.

Hangarback Walker grew for a few turns, before it was joined by Goblin Rabblemaster, that fell to the Ultimate Price.

Duress and Thoughtseize netted a Dissolve and Languish from Vieren, but Boussad also saw three copies of Dig Through Time in his hand and had to hope he could ride his Hangarback Walker to victory before Vieren could start drawing insane amounts of cards.

Vieren Dug for answers and it looked like he would be in good shape if he could find any, as Boussad was stuck on three lands, and couldn't present a threat other than his aforementioned Hangarback Walker.

Kolaghan's Command got back Goblin Rabblemaster when Vieren tapped low for Jace's Ingenuity and Boussad's attack dropped the Belgian to 16.

Ultimate Price again took out Goblin Rabblemaster, and Hero's Downfall the Hangarback Walker. Sensing that Vieren was holding a sweeper to handle the tokens, Boussad went for Outpost Siege instead of more creatures. Surprising both spectators and coverage reporters alike by naming Dragons. With Vieren already at 11 from the tokens this might be the winning play, as Boussad felt unlikely to be able to keep up with multiple Dig Through Time with just one extra card per turn from the Khans mode on Outpost Siege.

A Belgian Dragonlord Silumgar raised an eyebrow from Boussad, and stole a Thopter token before being taken out by a Hero's Downfall from Boussad. Now dropping Vieran to six life.

Dig Through Time into Languish took out Boussad's army of Thopters, but left Vieren at a precarious two life and completely tapped out and dead if there was anything able to damage him in Boussad's hand.

Eliott Boussad drew for his turn. Thought for a while, and it was almost like he wanted to parade in the glory of the Grand Prix victory for a few seconds before wrapping the match up. With a million dollar-smile on his face he finally cast Stormbreath Dragon and sent it through the air for the final points of damage, finally claiming the victory and his long sought after title as Grand Prix Champion.

Eliott Boussad wins 2-1 against Peter Vieren

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