Christoph Hölzl has blazed a trail through the swiss portion of the Grand Prix posting a perfect 14-0 record with his mono black deck. Gerard Garcia on the other hand had just scraped into the top eight beating out Gary Wise on tiebreakers.
Following a short delay whilst the rest of the top eight were seated Gerard won the die roll and elected to play first. This turned out to be a good plan as his turn two shade was met by no response from his opponent. Gerard further improved his start by playing a turn three Rancid Earth with a flourish and then attacked for 2. Christoph attempted to rebuild his position by making a land but was devastated when Gerard untapped his land and made a Braids, Cabal Minion on turn four and attacked again. Christoph drew and conceded.
Garcia 1 – Hölzl 0
Christoph got to play first in this game and made the first play with a turn two Mesmeric Fiend revealing a solid hand from Christoph and took a Nantuko Shade. Gerard had no turn two play now that the insect was no longer in his hand. Christoph made a land and attacked in his turn knowing that Gerard had a Rancid Earth in his hand. Gerard made Rancid Earth and in response Christoph played Tainted Pact. The pact gave Christoph a swamp to replace the one he had just lost. Christoph untapped made his new swamp and played another Fiend. The hand he saw was Aether Burst, Rancid Earth, Braids, Shadowmage Infiltrator and Chainer's Edict. Christoph chose to take the Infiltrator and attacked again with the Fiend.
Gerard again untapped and made Rancid Earth but could not press home any form of advantage from them as he also missed his land drop and was stuck on three mana. Christoph also had nothing o do and the German could only attack with his two fiends and pass the turn back to Gerard who made a Shadowmage Infiltrator hoping it would allow him to draw some more land. Christoph however was able to search for whatever he wanted when he made a Diabolic Tutor on his turn and in this instance chose to go for a Skeletal Scrying. Gerard attacked with his Infiltrator and Finkel came through unblocked and Christoph was able to make his fourth land and play Braids. Gerard chose to sacrifice the fiend holding onto the shade to satisfy Braids’ upkeep and played a Mutilate clearing the board of all of the creatures. Christoph tried to rebuild by make another Infiltrator and Gerard could only play Skeletal Scrying for 3 during his turn. The game progressed with regular Mutilates and edicts keeping the creature count very low on both sides until Christoph was able to accrue two tutors in his hand at the same time and could go and search for Cabal Coffers and the using the coffers search for Haunting Echoes but was unable to make use of two left over mana and had to burn for two. However Gerard had nothing in his hand of any great note other than one Faceless Butcher that he chose not to play. Christoph Echoesed the next turn and removed all of Gerard creature kill in on stroke. Cristoph then make Braids and Christoph’s decision not to make butcher looks better as he is able to remove the Cabal Minion for the loss of only one land. Unfortunately Christoph had a tutor and was able to go and get a Chainer's Edict and a Nantuko Shade clinched a game that had gone back and forth throughout.
Hölzl 1 – Garcia 1
Gerard got to play first in this game and was able to play a turn two Mesmeric Fiend taking an Innocent Blood. Christoph could do nothing on his turn but neither could Gerard. At the end of turn Christoph played Tainted Pact and kept a swamp which he made on his turn along with a Nantuko Shade. The shade did not live long as it as Gerard cast a Chainer's Edict on his turn but was stuck for land. Christoph was now free to use his Innocent Blood to kill the Mesmeric Fiend and leave a board free from creatures. Gerard was unable to set back Christoph’s development by casting a Rancid Earth on his Swamp but was stuck on three land again and could not capitalise. Gerard made a Shade on his next turn but still found no land. Christoph then cast Innocent Blood and Diabolic Tutor in his turn and went and went for Skeletal Scrying which he cast for five extra cards on his next turn after Gerard had again failed to make any play at all.
Gerard tried to punish his opponent for paying five life by summoning a shade but due to him only having four land it was not particularly threatening. Christoph was able to remove the threat of the shade by making a Faceless Butcher. Gerard made a fiend and Christoph had to use his Chainer's Edict to get back his Faceless Butcher he then Tutored for a Nantuko Shade and attacked with his Butcher. Gerard made an Ichorid on his turn and with a well stocked graveyard the horror might have been able to go all the way. Christoph tutored for Cabal Coffers and tried to end the game quickly by resolving Haunting Echoes but the blue splash in Gerard’s deck proved its worth by allowing him to Envelop. Though he did have to suffer a hit for five from a shade. Christoph swung again with the Ichorid and knocks Christoph’s life to a dAngerously low level and made a Braids to attempt to get another creature into the graveyard. Christoph however made Faceless Butcher and attacked for the win. An Aether Burst from Gerard keeps him in the Grand Prix. However a few turns later Christoph was able to generate twelve mana and pump his hade before mutilating away all of Gerard’s creatures and attack for a place in the Semi Finals.
Christoph Hölzl beats Gerard Garcia 2-1