Posted in GRAND PRIX STRASBOURG 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 30, 2014

By Tobi Henke

Following the Top 8 draft, eight players gathered in the feature match area with brand-new decks for the first of the three single-elimination rounds. We have four matches to covere, so let's get to it, shall we?

Oleg Plisov (Abzan) vs. Pierre Dagen (Abzan)

In the first game, Dagen generated a lot of small to medium advantages, for example when he cast Dragonscale Boon on his Alpine Grizzly when that was blocked by Archer's Parapet or when he saved his morph from Debilitating Injury via Feat of Resistance. Said morph later turned out to be Abzan Guide and put Dagen squarely in the lead. Things continued in a similar fashion: when Woolly Loxodon and a morph double-blocked the 5/5 Abzan Guide, Dagen got a two-for-one trade by killing the Loxodon with Abzan Charm. The final nail to Plisov's coffin was a Rakshasa Deathdealer Plisov just couldn't deal with.

Both players were missing one color in the second game, but whereas Dagen, lacking black, could still cast all but one card in his hand, even if only face-down, Plisov was more impacted by his lack of white mana. In particular, he was unable to assemble three creatures for his Incremental Growth.

Oleg Plisov 2-0 Pierre Dagen

Kentarou Yamamoto (Jeskai plus green) vs. Max Pritsch (Mardu)

For game one, Pritsch took two mulligans and failed to find a source of red mana, while Yamamoto could draw on the power of all of his four colors. Jeskai Ascendancy ensured an easy victory off superior card flow and card quality.

In a reversal of fortune, Yamamoto got stuck on three lands for the second game, while Pritsch followed Alabaster Kirin up with Wingmate Roc.

In the deciding game, Yamamoto unmorphed a pair of Efreet Weaponmasters to great effect and easily took control of the board. However, Pritsch decided they both would need to start over and wiped the table with End Hostilities. Thanks in part to Treasure Cruise, Yamamoto recovered much better, though. The Japanese was constantly ahead on cards, ahead on fliers, and was finally able to end things when he pointed first Set Adrift and then Mindswipe at Pritsch's only flying creature.

Kentarou Yamamoto 2-1 Max Pritsch

Tamás Nagy (Sultai) vs. Kees van Montfoort (Abzan)

Nagy threatened an early lead with Bellowing Saddlebrute. Van Montfoort removed that with Kill Shot but was then left without answer for Nagy's much bigger threat of Sidisi, Brood Tyrant! Sidisi, with the help of Dragonscale Boon, put Nagy at a big advantage and things only got worse for van Montfoort with Nagy's Treasure Cruise. Soon, Montfoort was reduced to hopes of winning by decking. However, with active support from Archer's Parapet and Rakshasa Deathdealer, Nagy managed to win with one card left in his library.

Van Montfoort went off to a blisteringly fast start in the second game: Bloodsoaked Champion, Mardu Skullhunter, Chief of the Edge, and Gurmag Swiftwing on turns one through four. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant entered the battlefield just in time to stabilize. Once, Nagy did stabilize, van Mortfoort quickly ran out of business, whereas Nagy once again restocked with Treasure Cruise. He destroyed van Mortfoort's Necropolis Fiend with Sultai Charm and finished the game on the back of an impressive air force of Jeskai Windscout, Sultai Scavenger, and Abomination of Gudul.

Tamás Nagy 2-0 Kees van Montfoort

Martin Jůza (Blue-Red with two green cards) vs. Daan Pruijt (Mardu)

Pruijt got stuck on lands for a while, both players assembled some creatures, Jůza had Icy Blast, and won the first.

Pruijt didn't fare much better in the second game. As Jůza put it, "He was drawing a lot of lands and cards that didn't really seem to be doing much with a lot of lands."

Martin Jůza 2-0 Daan Pruijt