Crossing the Finish Line on Day 1, Undefeated

Posted in Event Coverage on August 13, 2016

By Tobi Henke

889 players had been in the running originally, but after eight rounds only six remained who still sported a perfect record of 8-0. Most notable among them was of course (3) Lukas Blohon. He hadn't lost a single match of tournament Magic since he began playing on the second day of Pro Tour Eldritch Moon a week ago.

But his streak did come to an end now, in Round 9, the final round of the day. In an extremely close third game between Blohon's Blue-Red Fevered Visions and Jaroslav Boucek's Bant Company, the latter came out on top.

Jaroslav Boucek

"This game was pretty sick. I was dead to any damage spell," said Boucek moment's after he had clinched the coveted ninth victory. Hailing from Samotišky in the Czech Republic, the 29-year-old card player had previously reached the Top 8 of two Grand Prix events, in Lille last year and in Bologna earlier this year. "But I never went 9-0 before. Only 8-1."

About his deck Boucek said, "It's pretty much LSV's list from the Pro Tour, with but a few minor changes."

There really wasn't anything interesting for him to add; he was playing Bant Company, after all. So instead I asked Boucek for a cool story from his games of the day. And he delivered:

"One of my opponents today killed himself with [Emrakul, the Promised End]," he said and chuckled over the memory. "He had Pilgrim's Eye, I had Nissa, Sage Animist in play when he cast Emrakul which I countered with Clash of Wills. But he still got control of my turn. During that turn he made a token with Nissa, then tried to bounce the token with Reflector Mage. Which doesn't work so he was forced to return his own Pilgrim's Eye instead. Now I had a great board presence while he had no board at all, and I won shortly after. If I had had control of that turn myself, I hardly would have played differently."

Meanwhile, at the other end of the feature match area, Yusuf Kemal Vefa defeated Steve Hatto in the Bant Company mirror match. Among other things, Hatto's claim to fame was being the longtime national champion of Luxembourg. As things would have it, Yusuf Kemal Vefa had also been his country's national champion several times.

Yusuf Kemal Vefa

"I have made the Turkish national team for something like the last twenty years," said Vefa. "I'm on the team this year as well. I also played in about twenty Pro Tours, with my best finish a 42nd place at Pro Tour Theros."

When asked for his age, Vefa paused before answering. "42. Or 43. It's actually my birthday today. Let's still call it 42, okay? I'm so old."

When asked for his occupation, the 42-year-old from Istanbul said, "I'm the guy who does everything for Magic in Turkey and has been doing so for the last 21 years. I have stores, I organize more than half the tournaments in the country. We were even distributor for a while."

For his deck choice he gave credit to his teammates on the Turkish national team. "According to many players, Bant Company is either the deck to play or the deck to beat at the moment. I didn't have a lot of time to prepare, so I figured I'd just assume the former and take the deck to play."

Because of his lack of preparation Vefa hadn't expected to have such a great run today. A nice birthday surprise and another cause for celebration.

Finally, Mathias De Momi and had squared off against Pro Tour Avacyn Restored quarterfinalist Thomas Holzinger. When time ran out, Holzinger, another Bant Company player, was in a commanding position, but the two weren't able to finish the match in time.

This left Jaroslav Boucek and Yusuf Kemal Vefa as the only two players at 9-0. Congratulations!

Jaroslav Boucek's Bant Company

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Yusuf Kemal Vefa's Bant Company

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