The overall field here in Prague hadn't been that heavy on the red decks, but the Top 8 surely was. Five of the fourteen mono-red decks in the tournament made it to the playoffs, including one played by Thoralf “Toffel” Severin, a longtime player with one Grand Prix Top 8 under his belt. His opponent Torsten Anders, meanwhile, was one of the few holdouts. He had brought Blue-Red Control and was looking to keep the red menace in check.

Game 1

Severin opened with a pair of Earthshaker Khenras and an Incendiary Flow. Anders matched Severin's plays with a pair of Harnessed Lightnings, but not before taking quite a bunch of damage. A Shock soon took Anders to 7

Thoralf Severin, a.k.a. Toffel

One Hazoret the Fervent was stopped by Disallow, but a second resolved and attacked, and that was essentially game over. Severin commented, “Hazoret is so amazing. The card does everything at once, considering how unstoppable it is.”

Game 2

This time Anders had all the answers: Magma Spray killed Bomat Courier, Censor countered Falkenrath Gorger—as Severin was missing a second land—and, following that, Kari Zev, Skyship Raider as well as Earthshaker Khenra both were stopped by Censors too!

“What the [censored]!”

Before long, Anders had summoned a pair of Torrential Gearhulks, generating further advantage. Severin was able to abrade one of them, but the other quickly teamed up with Wandering Fumarole to even the score.

Game 3

Now the aggressive deck was back on the play and did its thing. Severin led with a pair of Soul-Scar Mages and Ahn-Crop Crasher. He did lose all three of them to Kozilek's Return, but the damage was done and Sunscorched Desert plus Collective Defiance soon took Anders to 10.

Torsten Anders

Facing Ramunap Ruins, Anders was kind of/maybe forced to disallow another Collective Defiance, which left him without means to stop Hazoret the Fervent. Once again the goddess's divine fury was poised to end the game, even if Hazoret wasn't able to attack quite yet. One reason for this turned out to be that Severin was holding Abrade which took out a Torrential Gearhulk that might have been a potent blocker otherwise.

Eventually, though, attacks happened. Over a couple of turns, Hazoret got to eat a surprising number of chump blockers: Wandering Fumarole, an untransformed Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror, and a second Thing. In between, another Torrential Gearhulk met another Abrade which left Anders without blockers for the turn and consequently at 5 life.

In the end, the god of zeal was not to be denied; Hazoret took the game and match.

Thoralf Severin 2-0 Torsten Anders