This was it. What had started with 1,509 players on Saturday morning had been reduced to 172 in the evening, then Sunday's six rounds eliminated another 164, and now only these two players remained, both playing in the second Grand Prix Top 8 of their career: Eliott Boussaud of France and Austria's Oliver Polak-Rottmann.
In theory, both were playing the same deck—actually one of the big stories of the weekend: After a lackluster showing at Pro Tour Magic 2015, Mono-Blue Devotion was able to celebrate a remarkable comeback at this Grand Prix. However, Boussaud's version was not exactly mono-blue, instead splashing white for Detention Sphere and Deicide out of the sideboard. Removal could certainly give Boussaud more options in the almost-mirror match but at the prize of having worse mana. Would that trade-off prove to be worth it?
White appeared to be a liability at first: Thanks to two copies of Temple of Enlightenment, Boussaud got off to a slow start in the first game. By the time Polak-Rottmann controlled Cloudfin Raptor, Frostburn Weird, and Thassa, God of the Sea, Boussaud had just cast a measly Cloudfin Raptor. Polak-Rottmann's God soon turned into a creature—and sideways. The clock was ticking for Boussaud and he needed an answer soon.
However, in this regard, the white part of Boussaud's deck did prove quite helpful: Detention Sphere neatly answered Thassa, God of the Sea. After that, both players added a host of further creatures to their respective teams, in various sizes, both flying and nonflying, all rather inconsequential, and soon the board was clogged up almost beyond repair.
On the battlefield, nothing moved for quite a while until, at the end of one of Boussaud's turns, (out of the blue, so to say) Polak-Rottmann pointed Cyclonic Rift at Detention Sphere. Thassa, God of the Sea rejoined its minions on the battlefield, and facing the inevitable (namely incoming unblockable creatures, and lots of them), Eliott Boussaud picked up his cards to shuffle up for game 2.
Eliott Boussaud 0-1 Oliver Polak-Rottmann
In the second game, Boussaud answered the first two of Polak-Rottmann's threats, Tidebinder Mage and Nightveil Specter, with Claustrophobia and Detention Sphere, respectively, and the theme continued, when Boussaud exiled all of Polak-Rottmann's Thassas via Deicide.
"It is done," sayeth Elspeth (in the flavor text of Deicide), but the game was far from over. Each player had one Master of Waves, then Polak-Rottmann navigated Jace, Architect of Thought past Boussaud's Negate with the help of Gainsay. Jace found a second Master of Waves, and suddenly Polak-Rottmann was one Master and several tokens ahead.
Polak-Rottmann's two Masters, their tokens, and the Mutavault—now 4/4—soon forced Boussaud into unfavorable blocks and, not much later, forced him to admit defeat.
Eliott Boussaud 0-2 Oliver Polak-Rottmann
Visibly relieved, Polak-Rottmann slumped in his seat but was quickly picked up by his Austrian friends frenetically cheering and congratulating him on his title. From our side, too: Congratulations to Oliver Polak-Rottmann, champion of Grand Prix Utrecht 2014!