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

By Olle Rade

Halfway through the first draft. Slovak (5) Ivan Floch saw himself paired up against Dane Morten Winter.

Fresh from a 10 hour drive from Denmark, Winter and most of his car had successfully advances to Day 2 yesterday. He also won his first match of the draft, and was now up against his toughest opponent so far. A far traveled Dane against a world class professional. The odds couldn't be higher, but the cards might have something else to say.

Ivan was on Red/Green with a slight touch of Blue for Bear's Companion and Temur Charm, whereas the Dane, agonizing that Red/White isn't a Tarkir Clan was on Sultai with numerous morphs and a Trail of Mystery to go nicely with them.

"You brought a Legacy deck against me?", Floch laughed as he saw that the Dane took out his deck from an old deck box labeled "Legacy".

"Let's see if I have a good match-up against a Legacy deck".

Winter was first on the board in game one with two Heir of the Wild. Flochäs opener had his powerful rare, Crater's Claws, but no creature until a turn four Summit Prowler, who traded for half the pair of the Wilds.

Winter put down Trial of Mystery, but with no creatures other than Archer's Parapet, it looked like Floch might turn the race around with a second copy of Summit Prowler.

Morten Winter

Winter took the race though, figuring he could probably chump with his wall if needed, or draw into morphs eventually.

Ivan, with Barrage of Boulders, Savage Punch and Crater's Claws in hand had a touch decision to make. He could attack into the wall, and kill it with Barrage post combat. Or use Savage Punch to kill it straight away and deal some extra damage.

The decision proved to be the decider for the entire game, as Floch went for the Savage Punch, but when Winter drew two straight morphs he was forced to use Arrow Storm on one of them and Crater's Claw on the second. In the end Floch was stuck with Barrage of Boulders in hand, losing the race to a third morph, Abomination of Gudul, just one point short of winning on his turn.

"I lost that one to my line of play. That Savage Punch on the Wall was a bit too aggressive. Especially when he drew two morphs in a row," Floch commented between games, clearly unhappy with the route he chose.

The second game came down to a classic nerve wrecker. After trading creatures and life totals early, both player were low on life with Floch at 11 and Winter at 6. Whoever could draw the first haymaker would probably take the game, and perhaps even the match.

Floch drew first, and cast a Mardu Warshrieker.

Winter drew....

... a morph.

Flock drew...

... a land. And could only pass the turn.

Winter's morph attacked, and turned out to be Pine Walker, to put Floch to 6.

Floch drew...

Temur Charm, not doing a whole lot right now.

Winter drew...

Secret Plans. And passed the turn.

Floch drew...

Dragon Claw, to enchant his Warshrieker into a 5/3 with first strike.

Winter took it, dropped to one and drew for his turn...

... and passed.

Ivan drew...

.. Bloodfire Expert, attacked with his 5/3 first striker, forcing Winter to chump with Pine Walker. Summoned the expert. And the Dane unable to come up with anything packed up his cards for the decider.

To Floch's great surprise only ten minutes remained on the clock.

"Not more?" he asked, genuinely surprised.

Although the games hadn't gone too many turns, a lot of close decisions for both players had consumed a lot of time in the round.

A quick start for the Dane looked like it might be over though. Turn one Kin-Tree Warden followed up with Heir of the Wild and a Debilitating Injury for Floch's Horde Ambusher.

However, Winter was lacking a third land to cast the two morphs in his hand.

Floch on the other hand, had both lands and spells and summoned Bloodfire Expert to trade with Heir of the Wild. He followed up with morphs and more lands, flipping a Woolly Loxodon and enchanting it with Dragon Grip, to take out a second Heir of the Wild from Winter, still lacking a third land.

Ivan Floch

Although he could block the 8/7 with his Kin-Tree Warden and regenerate, that wouldn't do anything to improve his own board, and without more lands to cast anything, Winter fell quick to the Woolly Loxodon and Floch's array of creatures and red removal spells.

"A bit unlucky never to hit that third land, but there was no way I was going to mulligan two lands, Heir of the Wilds, Kin-Tree Warden and two morphs," said the Dane after the game.

And nor would I. Nor would I...

Ivan Floch moves on to 10-1, putting him in a position where he can afford one more loss to make top 8. Morten Winter will have to win all of his remaining matches to make it. Or hope to drive the ten hours back to Denmark with at least an honorable finish at the end of the day.