The Slovak Republic's Robert Jurkovic earned his stripes as a recurring member of his national team, but now he's known as a terror on the individual scene, and has been called one of the best players without a Pro Tour Top 8. For this young Standard environment, he and his teammates brewed up a blue-white-red control deck backed by Manor Gargoyle. This round he faces off against Pro Tour regular Melissa DeTora and her updated Bant list that harkens back to the popular builds from Return to Ravnica standard.
Usually, when both sides of control-on-control matchup have Sphinx's Revelation, the game centers around that card. Each side works to overwhelm the other with card advantage before landing a final protected threat. However, with Gatecrash's dual lands helping out, DeTora's Bant has access to Kessig Wolf Run, turning ordinarily inconsequential cards into must-answer threats, and it keeps her from over-committing into sweep spells, exactly what Jurkovic's deck wants it to do. Here's how it played out.
Melissa DeTora and Robert Jurkovic settle in for a battle of many Revelations.
DeTora chose to play and shuffled back her first hand. Her next six didn't seem much better, and with a frown she sent them back. She stayed on five.
You'd be excused for assuming at this point that Game 1 had been decided.
They started with a wealth of dual lands between them. DeTora cycled an Azorius Charm, but stumbled at three mana with no play. Jurkovic was content to hit his land drops and pass. DeTora found a Breeding Pool and paid two life to have access to it right away, playing Restoration Angel on Jurkovic's next end step. She untapped and swung in. Jurkovic was happy to put it back on top with Azorius Charm.
At the end of Jurkovic's next turn, DeTora cast Sphinx's Revelation for one. In response, Jurkovic played his own for 3, keeping a full grip. This was the sort of dance you'd expect from all Revelation decks, each trying to resolve more and better card draw spells and winning through attrition. By the numbers, DeTora was way behind.
However, Jurkovic had no way to pressure her. He got Boros Reckoner into play just in time for DeTora to hit her fifth land and start making Thragtusks. She got two in play before a Detention Sphere sent them away, leaving the beasts behind. For a couple turns they stared down the Reckoner. Jurkovic tried Jace, Architect of Thought, but it was Dissipated. DeTora summoned another Angel and attacked. Jurkovic used Snapcaster Mage to flash back his Azorius Charm, giving DeTora a window to resolve Sphinx's Revelation for 5.
Jurkovic untapped and passed on eight lands rather than tapping out for a Revelation of his own. He played it at the end of DeTora's Turn. She responded with Think Twice, flashed it back, but ultimately let Revelation resolve. Jurkovic was finally on the offensive. Detention Sphere cleared out the beast tokens and let him swing for five. He also resolved Jace, Architect of Thought and started boosting its loyalty.
Even after DeTora played Supreme Verdict, the situation seemed ideal for Jurkovic. He had a full grip, plenty of land, and an active unopposed planeswalker. Jace ticked up to six. DeTora played Restoration Angel at end of turn, then the all-important Kessig Wolf Run on her turn. She swung at Jace and boosted the Angel to six power, forcing Jurkovic to spend two Searing Spears on it.
Wolf Run not only adds value to having lots of lands. It also lets you threaten a lethal strike with a minimal number of creatures in these intense control matches.
For two turns nothing happened except land drops and Jace activations. DeTora was forced to go for the gusto with a Sphinx's Revelation for a whopping NINE cards. Amazingly, Jurkovic had no response. DeTora got Augur and Centaur Healer into play. Jurkovic sacrificed Jace for his ultimate ability, netting a Thragtusk from DeTora and one of his Manor Gargoyles. He also replaced his Jace and started ticking it up, but of course, DeTora had the Kessig Wolf Run still in play. She had Syncopate for a Snapcaster, and Jace was off the board.
Jurkovic had to Supreme Verdict, but even with Manor Gargoyle holding the fort, he wasn't out of danger. Any creature could be thrown at him as a fireball. His 30+ life didn't seem nearly so safe. He counted their decks and risked a Sphinx's Revelation for five. He was officially on the decking plan.
DeTora started sacrificing her creatures for damage. Jurkovic was down to 16 before he put a stop to it with Boros Reckoner. First strike meant that ground creatures could no longer trample over. Detention Sphere cleared out the Manor Gargoyle and Supreme Verdict caught the Reckoner, but DeTora was down to just eleven cards in her deck.
She summoned Augur of Bolas. Jurkovic was down to just three cards in hand. He tried Sphinx's Revelation for five, but was Dissipated. He was forced to Supreme Verdict immediately. DeTora had no immediate follow-up. A couple turns later it was Restoration Angel at end of turn, dodging further sorcery-speed removal. She untapped and swung in, pumping with Wolf Run for lethal. Jurkovic bought time with Azorius Charm.
He found his second Manor Gargoyle waiting for him. The end-of-turn Angel showed up shortly thereafter. DeTora swung in. Jurkovic activated the Garygoyle to block. DeTora fired up the Kessig Wolf Run, but chose to leave Jurkovic at 1. Jurkovic double-checked his life total with her, then let both creatures die. DeTora played Augur of Bolas. Just three cards remained in her library.
Jurkovic drew and passed, but had Searing Spear for the Augur. Another turn passed, and the Angel came back down. DeTora attacked, but Jurkovic had yet another Charm. He also had Supreme Verdict for Centaur Healer. With one card left in her library, DeTora played the Angel at the end of Jurkovic's turn, drew her last card and swung in, but alas, Jurkovic had yet another Azorius Charm, and DeTora was out of threats. She would lose to her empty deck before she could swing with the lethal Angel.
DeTora 0, Jurkovic 1
Between games, Jurkovic swapped out some burn for more counters and Jaces. DeTora swapped a healer, two Verdicts and two Charms for Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, two Negates, and two Garruk Relentless.
Both players kept their openers and they were off. Knowing time pressure was on, DeTora sped through her opening turns, Farseek getting her to four mana quickly. She played a Restoration Angel at the end of Jurkovic's turn, then played her fifth land and hit for five with the help of Kessig Wolf Run.
Jurkovic stalled at four lands and was quickly down to 12. He found his fifth land, but made no play, falling to 9. He tried Sphinx's Revelation for 2 at end of theturn only to be faced with DeTora playing her own for 4. Supreme Verdict took care of the Angel, but Jurkovic was well behind on lands and cards.
DeTora tapped seven for the mighty Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, forcing another Supreme Verdict from Jurkovic. Centaur Healer was blunted by Boros Reckoner, but Restoration Angel came down to fly overhead. DeTora hit and activated Wolf Run leaving two mana free, using the mana to Negate Jurkovic's attempted Azorius Charm. He was down to 4. Detora tried to swing for the win, but another Charm backed by Dispel pushed through Dissipate.
Jurkovic took the opportunity to Sphinx's Revelation for three, getting him up to 7 life with one white open for his Reckoner. Unfortunately for him, DeTora had Detention Sphere, and two attacks later it was over.
DeTora 1, Jurkovic 1
Again both kept. Just 11 minutes remained in the round.
Despite a cycled Azorius Charm, Jurkovic stalled on two lands. He Negated DeTora's Garruk Relentless, but continued to miss. DeTora hit her sixth land before Jurkovic hit his third. She resolved an Augur of Bolas, getting Sphinx's Revelation, and started hitting for 4 with the help of Kessig Wolf Run.
Jurkovic gambled on a tapped Sacred Foundry and tried Boros Reckoner, walking into a Syncopate for one. DeTora hit for another 4. Supreme Verdict stopped the attacks for a moment, but DeTora got back on the board with Garruk Relentless and started to make wolves. Another Reckoner came down as a roadblock, pushed past Dissipate with Counterflux.
DeTora made another Wolf and played Sphinx's Revelation for six. Jurkovic played Jace, Architect of Thought and dug for answers, taking two lands over Supreme Verdict. Detention Sphere cleared out the wolf tokens and his Reckoner went after Garruk. Augur made a noble sacrifice for the cause, and the extra Reckoner damage transformed Garruk.
Unfortunately, DeTora's next play was Gisela, Blade of Goldnight and the Supreme Verdict Jurkovic had scorned mocked him from the bottom of his deck.
Gisela: quite good at ending games quickly.
Jace provided no help, and the match was DeTora's to claim.
DeTora 2, Jurkovic 1
After the match, DeTora admitted that, though she had expected Wolf Run to be good, she had no idea that it would be so crucial. She also said that Jurkovic's unorthodox build put her at a disadvantage, not knowing how much countermagic he had.
Melissa DeTora's Bant
Standard – Pro Tour Gatecrash
Robert Jurkovic's UWR Control
Standard – Pro Tour Gatecrash