Finals: Jeremy Dezani vs. Adam Jansen

Posted in Event Coverage on February 1, 2016

By Melissa DeTora

Melissa is a former Magic pro player and strategy writer who is now working in R&D on the Play Design team.

After an extremely long weekend we are finally down to two at Grand Prix Vancouver. After starting the day 7-2, Dezani won all of his matches on Day 2 and was convinced that he would be in 9th place after the Swiss. Many of his friends offered their premature condolences before the Top 8 was called. When the head judge announced the 8th seed and Dezani heard his name, he was in disbelief. He had made his 10th GP Top 8!

Jansen had a much easier day today. He still had to win the majority of his draft rounds, but once he won his win-and-in he knew he was locked. As the higher seed, Jansen elected to play first. He was playing a blue-red surge deck complete with Jori En, Ruin Diver. He plowed through the Top 8 with his inexpensive spells and tempo.

Unlike many blue-red decks in Oath of the Gatewatch Limited, Jansen made a point to avoid colorless mana. He did have a lone Wastes in his deck for Immobilizer Eldrazi, but his strategy was to play a solid two-color manabase with no splash.

Players shuffled in silence as Dezani was not one to say much. Jansen snap kept his seven card hand while Dezani took a mulligan after some thought. After keeping his six, the game was underway.

The Games

Dezani cast the first spell of the game- a Zada's Commando. Jansen's follow up was Jori En, Ruin Diver. After adding a Valakut Predator to the board, Dezani passed on turn four with no fourth land. Jansen's Touch of the Void took care of the Predator and a Grip of the Roil was surged to give Jansen some tempo and two cards, one thanks to Jori En. Still without a fourth land, all Dezani could do was summon a Makindi Aeronaut.

Jansen continued to have two-spell turns and gained card after card from Jori En. Dezani's aggro deck couldn't do much about the card advantage and big spells. Eldrazi Skyspawner and Immobilizer Eldrazi were added to Jansen's side of the board, and the Scion token gave him the colorless mana he needed to activate it. Dezani's fourth land finally came, but he couldn't overcome Jansen's massive card advantage and conceded soon after.

This time it was Jansen's turn to take a mulligan. After a keep of six cards and a scry to the bottom the second game was ready to begin.

Dezani came out strong after electing to play. Reckless Cohort into Kozilek's Sentinel was the start while Jansen could only play lands and pass for the first three turns. Finally he deployed a Gravity Negator but an Expedition Raptor from Dezani allowed him to push the attackers through. Jansen didn't have many options and was forced to use a Press into Service on the Raptor just to put a counter on his Negator and attack for two. The new 3/4 Negator provided Jansen with some defense but it wasn't enough to stop Dezani from pushing everything into the red zone. Jansen only found lands on the top of his deck and soon they were on to Game 3.

Both players kept their openers and Jansen began with Immobilizer Eldrazi. A first-striking Zada's Commando out of Dezani made attacks non-existent and Jansen deployed an Eldrazi Skyspawner. Dezani had the perfect answer in Sparkmage's Gambit which took out both 2/1s, devastating for Jansen.

Dezani was finally able to attack with his Commando but a turn later a 2/3 Valakut Invoker put the attacks on hold. In the meantime, Jansen had drawn quite a few lands while Jeremy summoned a Belligerent Whiptail and an Allied Reinforcements.

Jansen finally drew a spell, and a good one at that. Eldrazi Skyspawner entered the battlefield which created another Scion token. The threat of activating Valakut Invoker was now there and Jeremy had to be careful if he were to play around it.

This didn't stop Dezani from attacking with his Belligerent Whiptail. He triggered its landfall giving it first strike, and Jansen wasn't ready to throw away his Scions in order to activate the Invoker. Jansen wasn't out of it yet as he played his seventh land. The window was closing for Dezani. He had to close the game quickly or else he would just slowly lose his board to the Invoker. He made an attack with all of his creatures which included a pair of Ally tokens, the Whiptail, Maw of Kozilek, Makindi Aeronaut and Zada's Commando.

Jansen made appropriate blocks and sacrificed a Scion to deal three damage to the Whiptail, but Dezani had Dazzling Reflection to prevent the damage. This exchange caused Jansen to fall to eight and lose a lot of his board, but his own Zada's Commando and Goblin Freerunner gave him what he needed to survive another turn.

Again Dezani sent everything into the red zone. Jansen had no choice but to block with everything and fall to three.

Jansen untapped and played his eighth land, turning the corner and making things a nightmare for Dezani. Jansen could now activate his Invoker and Dezani had no profitable attacks. He passed the turn and Jansen dealt three to the Makindi Aeronaut.

Turns went by and Dezani slowly lost his board while all Jansen did was play lands and activate his Invoker. Finally Dezani was out of creatures giving Jansen the window to start attacking. Dezani continued to pass the turn while Jansen tapped eight mana, dealt his opponent three, untapped, and attacked for two.

Dezani cast a Press into Service targeting Jansen's newly-deployed Jori En, Ruin Diver, but Jansen dealt three to it in response. Dezani was getting nowhere and the pattern of deal three, attack continued. Once Jeremy was on five life, Jansen knew he had the game. He cast Slip Through Space to make the Invoker unblockable, attacked and dealt the final three points with the Invoker. Dezani extended his hand.

Adam Jansen defeats Jeremy Dezani 2-1.

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