Roughly 1,100 players made their way to Warsaw for the second Standard Grand Prix following Kaladesh's debut in Honolulu a few weeks ago. When the Polish dust settled, only two remained to play for the trophy and the Grand Prix title.
Both finalists were rather new to Grand Prix success, and Niels Molle, 29 was the only one of them who had a previous Top 8 finish, in Prague earlier this year. For 27-year-old Lithuanian Gabrielius Kaklauskas it was not only the first time he had made a Grand Prix Top 8 – it was the first time he made it as far as Day Two.
If there were two decks destined to face of in the finals of it was these two. White-Blue Flash against Green-Black Delirium had been the talk of the tournament all weekend long. On Day Two the two decks made up 60 percent of the field, and the finals couldn't have a more fitting pair of decks matched up for the title and the grand prize of 10,000 dollars.
On his way to the final Gabrielius Kaklauskas had already taken down Hall of Famer Ben Stark, also on Green-Black and he quickly showed that he knew exactly what plan was needed to dispatch the boogeyman of the format – Thalia, Heretic Cathar. In the first game it stopped Molle from casting his spells on time, and when the Dutchman found an answer for it Kaklauskas added his second copy and along with quick beats from Selfless Spirit and a pair of Spell Quellers could easily fly past both Ishkanah, Grafwidow and it's fellow spiders as they came into play tapped because of Thalia's ability.
The second game looked better for Molle, who got his dream start of Vessel of Nasency into Grim Flayer, setting up for both quick delirium and the chance to sculpt his draw steps. Things looked even better when a third turn Transgress the Mind showed that Kaklauskas had only two Plains for lands, and no way to crew the Smuggler's Copter he had just summoned to answer Molle's board.
A Prairie Stream from the top was the perfect draw from Kaklauskas though, and Reflector Mage made sure he was back in the game, bouncing back the Grim Flayer and jumping into the Smuggler's Copter, and let the Lithuanian choose how to best build a gameplan to take the match.
It suddenly seemed more and more like that key turn, where Molle chose to discard a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar rather than the Reflector Mage, and Kaklauskas drawing the Prairie Stream was the beginning for the Promised end for Molle.
Not even his last hope, a *drumroll* Liliana, the Last Hope, bringing back an Emrakul, the Promised End could do much work, as Kaklauskas answered with a second Spell Shrivel, and taking control of the Lithuanians turn didn't accomplish much as he saw Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and two copies of Archangel Avacyn in the soon to be Grand Prix winner's hand.
On his last turn Molle summed two last blockers in Mindwrack Demon and Pilgrim's Eye. But Avacyn came down as expected and a Reflector Mage saved the audience thirty seconds and they could start celebrating with their Lithuanian friend early.
Final result: Gabrielius Kaklauskas and his White-Blue Flash deck takes down Niels Molle and Black-Green Delirium two games to zero.
After the match Gabrielius Kaklauskas gave his view on what he actually thought was a positive match-up.
"On the play I play really aggressive and those games usually go well, but on the draw it's harder and I have to switch into control. But I have 11 cards that I sideboard in on the draw, and this weekend I went 4-1 against Black-Green," he said.
When asked what he most feared from his Dutch opponent, he didn't hesitate before answering.
"Ishkanah! If I don't have an answer to the spider or can keep it from the board I'm dead"