Round 4: Michael Bonde vs. Thoralf Severin

Posted in GRAND PRIX PRAGUE 2015 on August 29, 2015

By Tobi Henke

Both of these players had one previous Grand Prix Top 8 to their name and have been around the proverbial block. Sometimes on the Pro Tour, often high in the standings at Grand Prix, they just always seem to be around. And they often play entertaining decks.

This time Michael Bonde had brought a copy of the white devotion deck which, on this same weekend, Sam Black had piloted to a Top 4 berth at the World Championship. Meanwhile, Thoralf Severin was piloting a blue-white control deck which everyone agreed was one of the harder matchups for White Devotion.

The Games

Bonde led with Soldier of the Pantheon and Hangarback Walker, Severin with Jace, Vryn's Prodigy. Bonde resolved Mastery of the Unseen. Traditionally, the enchantment spells trouble for control decks but here it seemed somewhat lackluster, as Bonde was stuck on three lands and had his subsequent Knight of the White Orchid countered by Clash of Wills.

Thoralf Severin

Over the next couple of turns, Severin used Jace to pull further and further ahead, keeping Bonde's creatures at bay via Swift Reckoning. Bonde managed to put Severin to 3 with Thopter tokens but soon he was facing Jace, Telepath Unbound as well as Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Things were coming to a close, one way or another.

"Three cards left?" Bonde asked with a sigh.

"And all of them insane," Severin replied.

"One of them's End Hostilities," Bonde guessed.

"What?" Severin retorted in mock shock. "That's a lie!"

Of course Severin did have End Hostilities. However, he got a little greedy: he used Jace, Telepath Unbound and went to 2 by cracking a Flooded Strand before casting the sorcery. This way, Bonde was able to save two Thopter tokens with a pair of Valorous Stances and stole the game.

Michael Bonde 1-0 Thoralf Severin

In the second game, Bonde again led with Soldier of the Pantheon, but he had no further plays for a while, and no third land for even longer. Eventually, his Soldier of the Pantheon and Kytheon, Hero of Akroas both met Ojutai's Commands.

Michael Bonde

Dig Through Time, End Hostilities, Banishing Light, yet another Ojutai's Command, Elspeth Sun's Champion, another End Hostilities, another Elspeth ... One really only needed to look at the cards Severin played to guess who won this game.

Michael Bonde 1-1 Thoralf Severin

"Did you know the deck before yesterday?" Severin asked while they were shuffling.

"I knew it on Tuesday. Craig Wescoe sent a list to Thomas [Enevoldsen]."

"Asking for his opinion?"

"Asking whether he would play Grand Prix Prague and wanted to have a good deck!"

Another game, another Soldier of the Pantheon. And now that it counted, Bonde even had a sweet follow-up in Hangarback Walker, with Kytheon, Hero of Akros and Wingmate Roc up next! Meanwhile, Severin had taken a mulligan and was still staring at two lonely Islands as his only lands, even after activating Jace, Vryn's Prodigy twice.

Michael Bonde 2-1 Thoralf Severin

Severin still bemoaned the loss of the first game. "I knew he could manifest into Archangel of Tithes with Mastery of the Unseen at end of turn, then flip it, and attack, and there was no way for me to beat that line," Severin explained to me after the match. "So I figured there'd be no difference between 3 life and 2. I didn't even think about double Valorous Stance."