Semifinals: Patrick Dickmann (Affinity) vs. Ivan Floch (Colorless Eldrazi)

Posted in Event Coverage on February 7, 2016

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Patrick Dickmann already overcame one Eldrazi opponent in the quarterfinals here at Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, as Dickmann's army of robotic threats overwhelmed Andrew Brown in three quick games.

Now, he'll be facing off against Platinum Pro Ivan Floch, a man who's widely considered one of the best players in the world by many of his Pro Tour peers. Floch slogged his way through a long Eldrazi mirror match against Frank Lepore in the quarterfinals before asserting himself as the master he is.

Dickmann has been here before. He made it to the Top 4 of Pro Tour Born of the Gods. The Dickmann we're seeing today is a far cry from the young man who made his first appearance on the Sunday stage two years ago. A nervous anxiety has been shed and replaced with a cold confidence. A victory here would break down a wall for Dickmann and put him in a realm of success that he's never previously achieved.

Floch went years without ever making it to the Top 8 of a Pro Tour. He finally broke the curse at Pro Tour Magic 2015 and ended up winning the whole thing. Now, we can't get rid of him. This is his third Pro Tour Top 8 in less than two years. Another victory this weekend would firmly establish Floch as an elite player of his generation.

The two sat down and started chatting. "So, I guess this is the battle of the undefeated Constructed decks," Floch said.

"You didn't lose either?" Dickmann asked. "Nope," Floch replied. Dickmann raised his eyebrows. "Well, that doesn't happen very often," he said.

Patrick Dickmann returned to Sunday of the Pro Tour calm and composed. Ivan Floch returned to Sunday's stage the same, as both veterans sought two more wins.

And he was right. It's rare that even a single person goes undefeated through the Constructed portion of a Pro Tour. Two separate individuals achieving the feat and squaring off in the semifinals is even more impressive.

The Games

Both players kept their opening hands and Dickmann got things started with a Memnite. It wasn't the scariest thing that Floch could've seen, but it was a sign that Dickmann's hand was filled with a variety of other powerful tools.

Floch cast Ratchet Bomb and started ticking up, but Dickmann had stuck Springleaf Drum and Steel Overseer in the meantime. Dismember dealt with Steel Overseer and Eldrazi Mimic gave Floch the potential to get aggressive. Dickmann had another Memnite and Master of Etherium. Floch was happy to trade his Eldrazi Mimic with the Memnite when Dickmann attacked.

Ratchet bomb was threatening, but Dickmann did his best to play around the card by never playing more than one card at each converted mana cost that could possibly be hit by the powerful interactive artifact.

Matter Reshaper came down for Floch, but it wouldn't be big enough to trade with Dickmann's Master of Etherium once Arcbound Ravager hit the table.

Floch was deep in thought when Dickmann made an attack, and he eventually decided to chump block Master of Etherium with his Matter Reshaper, which flipped a Blinkmoth Nexus onto the battlefield.

Dickmann remains sharp and on-point each game.

Floch had no board and was facing down a significant amount of power from the German. Ratchet bomb provided some semblance of defense, and was popped for two, but Dickmann was able to sacrifice his 2-mana artifacts to Arcbound Ravager before moving the +1/+1 counters over to his Memnite.

Endless One for five was big enough to trump anything that was happening on Dickmann's side of the table, but Cranial Plating certainly changed the math. Dickmann's attack hit Floch for a whopping 12 damage and it looked as though he only had a single turn remaining at just four life.

It only took one more attack for Dickmann and his army of robots to seal the deal and ensure victory.

Both players kept their opening hands for the second game of the match. Floch led things off with a second turn Endless One, while Dickmann had Signal Pest.

Matter Reshaper came next and was answered by Steel Overseer, one of the strongest cards in this particular match-up. Floch was winning the race and continued leaning on the German's life total as he cast yet another Endless One, this time for four. Pithing Needle was keeping the Steel Overseer from being activated, while Floch managed to put Dickmann down to 10.

By this point, Dickmann had assembled a small army of Arcbound Ravagers and was threatening a ton of damage on the following turn. Floch tried to race a bit with Blinkmoth Nexus, but Patrick knew he was in the lead.

That is until Floch found another Pithing Needle.

Dickmann analyzed his options and couldn't figure out a way to get through the pair of Blinkmoth Nexus on Floch's side of the table. The game turned into a bit of a staring match, and neither player wanted to make the first move. What's usually about traded blows was suddenly an intricate dance wherein both players were deep in complex board states.

Eventually, Floch got to the point where he could be activating his Eye of Ugin each turn. Dickmann saw the writing on the wall and packed up his cards for a third game.

Floch kept his opening hand, but Dickmann couldn't find a good seven, or six…

Affinity's draws are largely dependent on card interaction, and the deck mulligans very poorly as a result. It was certainly possible for Dickmann to achieve victory with just five cards, but it wouldn't be easy.

Floch is one of the steadiest and most impressive players of the current generation of Magic professionals.

Patrick Dickmann led things off with Vault Skirge, but it ate a Gut Shot in response to the Springleaf Drum that he tried to play on the following turn.

Meanwhile, Floch was going bonkers on the other side of the table with Eldrazi Mimic, into Matter Reshaper, into Reality Smasher to make short work of the German, who was still trying to get his feet under him.

Again, Dickmann didn't like his opening hand and Floch had a fine seven. Dickmann was starting to get frustrated, while Floch remained calm and collected, as he had the German right where he wanted him. Six cards were better, and Dickmann kicked things off with Signal Pest.

Floch had Gut Shot for the Signal Pest, and was able to play Eldrazi Mimic for free with his Eye of Ugin.

Dickmann had Ornithopter and Cranial Plating to equip on the following turn, but it couldn't stand up to the Reality Smasher that came down on the following turn with the help of two Simian Spirit Guides for Floch, making Eldrazi Mimic into a 5/5 and allowing him to smash away for 10 points of damage.

Dickmann had Thoughtcast and a few more small bodies, but he started nervously laughing when Floch had dismember for his Vault Skirge and was able to smash again, leaving Dickmann with just 3 remaining life.

Ratchet Bomb meant that Cranial Plating wouldn't be working nearly as hard, and another attack was good enough to secure Ivan Floch a spot in the finals.

Ivan Floch defeats Patrick Dickmann 3-2 to advance to the finals!

Patrick Dickmann: Affinity

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Ivan Floch: Colorless Eldrazi

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