The tournament, like every Grand Prix, had been full of memorable stories, of exciting matches, of interesting decks doing interesting stuff. The following are our Top 5 picks, the five moments that made Grand Prix Prague an event to remember.
5. Wielding Jitte Correctly Is Still Important
The following story comes courtesy of one Valentin Mackl, veteran of six Grand Prix Top 8s and semifinalist at the 2015 World Magic Cup, and it showcases just how many interesting and intricate interactions exist in Legacy. For instance, even more than a decade after Umezawa's Jitte had been ubiquitous in Standard, matches still came down to who was better equipped (pun acknowledged) to wield his Jitte.
In the match in question, Mackl was down a game and low on lands, unable to cast any of the cards in his hand. His opponent had Serra Avenger with Umezawa's Jitte carrying two counters, Mackl had two 1/1 flying Thopter tokens and a Thought-Knot Seer newly equipped with his own Jitte, as yet without counters.
He attacked with Thought-Knot Seer. Opponent decided not to block and pump, but instead gained 2 life and went from 5 to 1. Let's call that a bad play, considering how a block and pump would have killed the Seer and left the defending player at a higher life total, and wouldn't even have risked Serra Avenger's life.
Then Serra Avenger attacked and was blocked by a Thopter token. Mackl's opponent went to put two additional counters on his equipment, but Mackl stopped him. He used one of his Jitte counters to kill his own Thopter before damage was dealt, so the opposing Jitte wouldn't receive any counters. Good play.
Opponent summoned Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and passed the turn back to Mackl, who attacked with his Seer. Both Seer and Avenger were carrying a Jitte with one counter at that point. Opponent double blocked and pumped, Mackl pumped as well, and all three creatures went to the graveyard. Mackl put two counters on his Jitte and passed the turn. Opponent forgot to put counters on his Jitte and died to the one remaining Thopter token on the next attack, despite casting a Batterskull and generally being in position to take over the game.
So, one bad play, one good play, and one missed trigger later, Mackl had won a game that he really couldn't have won any other way...and promptly went on to win the match.
4. Sometimes You Have to Liliana Yourself
In one of the more epic on-camera matches of the weekend, none other than 24-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Martin Jůza was gradually shedding life to not one, but two Dark Confidants. Meanwhile, his Liliana of the Veil was accumulating counters, and things were actually looking quite good for the Czech pro player. However, the Confidants remained a problem, and eventually Jůza even chose to kill one of them with Liliana's -2 ability.
But what he maybe should have done, at least according to Pro Tour champion Simon Görtzen, was to use Liliana's -6 ability to get rid of both Dark Confidants. That play was certainly debatable—Jůza himself either didn't see it or decided against it—but the simple fact that one could in all seriousness consider using Liliana's ultimate ability on oneself is one of the crazy and awesome decisions one only gets to make in Legacy.
3. And Sometimes You Need to Dismember Your Own Creature
In another match we heard about, a Storm player was going through the motions against an Eldrazi opponent. Things came to the point when he cast Infernal Tutor with an empty hand, going for the kill. And he clearly didn't expect his opponent's Dismember to disrupt his combo. But it did. By targeting the opponent's own Thought-Knot Seer, turning an empty hand into a one-card hand at just the most inopportune moment.
See that look of surprise on Thought-Knot Seer's face? Doesn't it seem to say, "Hey, what did I do?" We imagine the Storm player must have given quite a similar impression.
2. A Massive Storm Gathers in Support of Rodrigo Togores
The weather here in Prague had been warm and sunny all weekend long. But when the finals between Miracles player Nicolas Tholance and Storm player Rodrigo Togores got going in the feature match area, all hell broke loose. A colossal torrent of rain was drumming on the tin roof of the event hall, drowning out almost any other sound. Thunder followed suit, and the growing darkness was illuminated by flashes of lightning. Outside, water was everwhere, gushing from the gutters and collecting in veritable lakes.
As summer storms do, it went as quickly as it had come. It almost seemed like a deliberate show of support. By the time the final storm trigger was put on the stack in the finals, an eerie silence filled the hall. Of course, then, it was only moments before the audience erupted in applause and cheers, one show of support replaced by another.
1. Rodrigo Togores's Storm Can't Be Flustered
Storm master Rodrigo Togores
In the final game of the final match of the weekend, Rodrigo Togores cast Gitaxian Probe and saw in his opponent's hand: Snapcaster Mage, Surgical Extraction, two Flusterstorms, and two copies of Force of Will. Not a good situation for the Storm mage to be in. Yet, only one turn later, under pressure from another Snapcaster Mage already in play and despite the involvement of a third Flusterstorm, Togores cast lethal Tendrils of Agony.
How did he manage to do that? Well, you'll have to read Olle Råde's write-up of this epic match for the full details. It likely was the best game of the tournament, something we coverage reporters always wish for but seldom get: the perfect ending to a great Grand Prix.