Larsson Chews Up Competition!

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Congratulations to David Larsson Grand Prix Copenhagon Champion!

Going into Grand Prix Copenhagen there were 120 Red decks of the 610 player field. It seemed vaguely appropriate therefore, that we should end up seeing Red well represented in the top eight. Tomoharu Saito had made it undefeated until round 15 of the tournament with his red deck, and David Larsson had also been playing the part of the hot knife in the format, rather than the butter.

When the two met in the final, it was a contrast of sideboard plans, and one that favoured Larsson. The Swede, who made top eight in Pro Tour London, powered through thanks to flawless execution of a great plan, in order to be the one to deny Saito.

For those of you that still have a Nationals coming up, prepare for fire, because there is one deck in this format that is smoking hot right now.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Tomoharu Saitou [JPN]   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-0        
8 Robert Van Medevoort [NLD]   Tomoharu Saitou, 2-1
       
4 William Cavaglieri [ITA]   Jahoda, Jakub, 2-1   Larsson, David K, 2-0
5 Jahoda, Jakub [CZE]    
       
2 Guillaume Wafo-tapa [FRA]   Shuuhei Nakamura, 2-0
7 Shuuhei Nakamura [JPN]   Larsson, David K, 2-1
       
3 Larsson, David K [SWE]   Larsson, David K, 2-1
6 Philipp Summereder [AUT]    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

 1.  Larsson, David K $4,000
 2.  Saitou, Tomoharu $3,000
 3.  Jahoda, Jakub $2,000
 4.  Nakamura, Shuuhei $2,000
 5.  Wafo-tapa, Guillaum $1,500
 6.  Cavaglieri, William $1,500
 7.  Summereder, Philipp $1,500
 8.  Van Medevoort, Robe $1,500
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Profiles
    by Tim Willoughby

  • Shuhei Nakamura
    Age: 26
    Occupation: Drifter
    Deck played: Elves, because it's 'Elf Week' on magicthegathering.com!
    Record: 12-3
    Best card this weekend: Profane Command
    Magic Achievements: 3-0 at the Y's draft
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Fencing, so I could be like a samurai!


    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa
    Age: 27
    Occupation: Professional Magic player
    Deck played: Quick 'n Toast
    Record: 13-2
    Best card this weekend: Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
    Magic achievements: Winner, Pro Tour Yokohama, 2 other PT top 8s
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? None really, I don't play a lot of sport


    David Larsson
    Age: 25
    Occupation: PhD History Student
    Deck played: Red Deck Wins
    Record: 12-2-1
    Best card this weekend: Unwilling Recruit
    Magic achievements: top 8 Pro Tour London, top 32 Pro Tour Geneva
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Curling


    Tomoharu Saito
    Age: 24
    Occupation: Professional Magic player and trader. Trade happy for happy!
    Deck played: Red
    Record: 14-1
    Best card this weekend: Figure of Destiny
    Magic achievements: 4 Pro Tour top 8s
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Magic!


    Robert van Medevoort
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Student
    Deck played: Reveillark
    Record: 12-3
    Best card this weekend: Pact maindeck, Glen-Elendra Archmage in the sideboard
    Magic achievements: 3 times national team, once Team Champion, once National Champion
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Duck hunt!


    William Cavaglieri
    Age: 26
    Occupation: Video game tester for Nintendo (yes it is a real job!)
    Deck played: Full Fat Merfolk (blue/green merfolk is too boring!)
    Record: 12-2-1
    Best card this weekend: Island (when my opponent plays it)
    Magic achievements: current Italian national champion, with various money finishes at Grand Prix and Pro Tours
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Is there anything you can do on a sofa?


    Philipp Summereder
    Age: 25
    Occupation: Law student
    Deck played: "Christien Mauhart ist ein Bye" - a version of Quick 'N' Toast (and yes, Christien did ask me to call my deck this)
    Record: 12-1-2
    Best card this weekend: Guttural Response and Bogardan Hellkite
    Magic achievements: Top 4 in the team event at Worlds 2005
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Female mud wrestling!


    Jakub "Banan" Jahoda
    Age: 20
    Occupation: Student
    Deck played: Merfolk
    Record: 12-2-1
    Best card this weekend: Lord of Atlantis
    Magic achievements: this GP isn't good enough?
    What Olympic event would you want to compete in? Volleyball



     
  • Quarterfinals
    Shuhei Nakamura vs Guillaume Wafo-Tapa
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Shuhei Nakamura had a tough match in the quarter finals, in Pro Tour winner and constructed master Guillaume Wafo-Tapa. Wafo-Tapa can also not have been too thrilled

    After a Vivid land from Wafo-Tapa, Shuhei led with a Thoughtseize, seeing Rune Snag, Firespout and lands. He took the counter and soon followed up with a Llanowar Elves. Wafo-Tapa was slow to start, simply playing lands and saying go, accelerating with both Dreadship Reef and Coalition Relic in turn.

    When Shuhei had a Chameleon Colossus, there was a Wall of Roots from Wafo Tapa. It never got a chance to block though, as Eyeblight's Ending cleared the way for Nakamura to run in, with a pump on Llanowar Elves thanks to Pendelhaven.

    There are thems that would suggest that Wafo-Tapa is one of the more deliberate players on the tour, so either they were wrong, or the speed of the match was proof positive that Wafo-Tapa's draw offered few decisions. When Shuhei tried a second swing with his Colossus, a Mystical Teachings found Condemn to send the shapeshifter to the bottom of the Japanese player's deck, setting him back briefly.

    The next threat from Shuhei was Murderous Redcap, who went to the dome and took Wafo-Tapa to 10. A Mutavault made that 8. At this point, Wafo Tapa felt compelled to Firespout, though it did little to stem the bleeding. When Shuhei attacked in again the next turn, Wafo-Tapa had to Slaughter Pact Shuhei's man land, and still fell to 5, as Pendelhaven made the now persisted Murderous Redcap into a 2/3 creature.

    When Shuhei tried for a Civic Wayfinder, Wafo-Tapa had to pause for thought before finally allowing the 2/2 land searcher. Guillaume was now on the ropes, as on top of everything else, Shuhei had a Treetop Village with which to attack. The Frenchman bounced the Village with Cryptic Command and drew a card, before drawing two more with a Mulldrifter, but he did not find what he needed, and was soon scooping up his cards, to move on to the second game.

    Shuhei Nakamura 1 - 0 Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

    For game 2, Shuhei again led with a Thoughtseize, taking Mulldrifter over either of 2 Wall of Roots, Rune Snag or a Coalition Relic. One of those walls came down on turn 2 for the Frenchman, but it seemed that Nakamura had little to fear from it, as he played a Wren's-Run Vanquisher to be able to attack in unimpeded.

    An Eyeblight's Ending meant that the wall would not even prove much of a mana source. Guillaume shrugged and simply played the second. Seeing that Guillaume was a little short on lands, Shuhei used a second Eyeblight's Ending on Wall of Roots #2 in Wafo-Tapa's upkeep. This would leave him just 2 lands and his Coalition Relic. After a little thought, this removal spell drew out a Rune Snag, and it seemed that Guillaume's draw step didn't draw him a land.

    A second Rune Snag came from Wafo Tapa to protect his Wall of Roots from Shriekmaw. This enabled a Careful Consideration from him, as he desperately dug for the lands he so badly needed. Down to 10 from attacks, and a point of mana burn from his Coalition Relic, Guillaume finally hit his third land. He had to face down Civic Wayfinder and Bitterblossom though, and looked in bad shape.

    This 10 soon dwindled away, as Shuhei relentlessly entered the red zone. Even Oona, Queen of the Fae from Wafo-Tapa was of minimal concern to the Japanese player, as by the time the legend had hit the board, there were only 4 points of damage left to do. He swung in with just Wren's Run Vanquisher, and paid 5 for a second, only to see a Rune Snag from Guillaume.

    After much thought, Guillaume used Oona for 3 on Shuhei, naming Green. If he hit, he'd have a veritable army of blockers. He saw a pair of land and Bitterblossom. Not ideal.

    Passing, Guillaume tried again for the final one that he had mana for when Shuhei attacked with a sizeable team. He saw a Profane Command, and extended his hand.

    Shuhei Nakamura defeats Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 2 - 0. After the game, Shuhei collapsed on the table, clearly very happy to have won a potentially very hard match.



     
  • Semi-finals
    Jakub Jahoba vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Tomoharu Saito has had a quite superb tournament thus far here in Copenhagen. Going into the final round of the swiss portion of the tournament, he had yet to drop a point. Paired against Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, Saito took his chance at making history, and played for undefeated status on the Swiss. He lost that match, but this flicker certainly didn't give him any cause for concern. He smoothly defeated Robert van Medevoort in the quarterfinals, stunning the Dutchman who felt the matchup was a good one for him.

    Now Saito finds himself against Jakub Jahoba, the Czech who has had a great tournament, making his way to top 8, and then top 4 with Merfolk. While there weren't as many Faeries decks to prey on as he might have liked, the existence of Magus of the Moon in the format had meant more basics, a circumstance that Lord of Atlantis is well set up to prey on.

    Saito took a mulligan to five in the first game of this semi-final. Not an ideal start, but certainly not one that rattled the Player of the Year. He had a Magus of the Scroll turn one, while jahoba had a Cursecatcher followed by a Stonybrook Banneret.

    The pace was furious as Saito committed a Blood Kniht to the board, while Jahoba played a Ponder to fix up his draws by allowing him to shuffle his deck. There was no follow-up from Jahoba, who passed with mana up to represent Sage's Dousing. Saito tried for an Ashenmoor Gouger, and met the counterspell.

    On his turn Jakub had a Silvergill Adept, which drew him a second, but no attacks. There was still that mana up for Sage's Dousing, and Jakub still had 4 cards in hand. He had a second Dousing for Magus of the Moon.

    Saito crossed his arms and leant on the table. Game 1 was not going well for him. A second Stonybrook Banneret came down, followed by a 2 mana Sower of Temptation, which took Blood Knight. Attacks for 8 put Saito on 11, but Magus of the Scroll soon killed off the Sower.

    Magus of the Scroll being active was the first good thing to happen in Saito's first game, but it seemed that it might be a case of too little too late. Aquitect's Will turned one of his Mountains into an Island, and a Lord of Atlantis spelled a virtually lethal attack, even bearing in mind that Saito could kill off the Lord with Magus of the Scroll. He did shoot the Lord, and blocked where he could, going to 1.

    After drawing a card, Saito scooped up his cards.

    Jakub Jahoba 1 - 0 Tomoharu Saito

    For game 2, Saito was much happier with his hand of seven, and kept on the play to lead off with Figure of Destiny. It became a 2/2 on attacks before Jahoba had ever played a creature.

    The first creature from Jahoba was a Stonybrook Banneret, which did not block a 4/4 Figure of Destiny. Instead it attacked in, and allowed a 3 mana Sower of Temptation, to steal the sizeable threat.

    A Flame Javelin from Saito killed the faerie wizard, only for Jakub to have another the following turn. This one met an Incinerate, and a Magus of the Moon also came down.

    Jakub wasn't too scared of the 2/2, and played first a Silvergill Adept, and then another Stonybrook Banneret. Saito was happy to keep running in with his Figure of Destiny, now as an 8/8.

    "Next game? Next game please?"

    Saito was desperate to get things back level, and really hoped that his 8/8 flier would get him there. A Ponder from Jakub saw him shuffle his deck. When he drew his cards, he scooped it up. The match would come down to a deciding game.

    Jakub Jahoba 1 -1 Tomoharu Saito

    Jakub kept his opener, and had a turn one Ponder to his opponent's turn one Magus of the Scroll. Saito was keen to keep getting damage in, and played Skred on Stonybrook Banneret before attacking with his Magus. There was a second Skred waiting for Merrow Reejerey, and a Figure of Destiny Next.

    Jakub had a pair of copies of Lord of Atlantis next, that would have been phenomenal had Saito not already killed off two more merfolk on the Czech side of the board. They were still each 3/3 though, and it was with some trepidation that Saito attacked with his Figure of Destiny.

    After combat an evoked Spitebellows killed off one lord, leaving Jakub with just a single creature, and 3 cards in hand. Yet another Skred from Saito emptied that board entirely. Saito compounded his advantage by attacking with Figure of Destiny again, still as just a 2/2. At the end of turn, Cryptic Command bounced the Figure of Destiny and drew Jakub a card. He then played a Reveillark on his own turn. This one flier could bring back a pair of lords upon its death, and represented a major threat from Jakub, breaking the parity of all those one for ones in the early game.

    Saito used Magus of the Scroll at end of turn to shoot Jakub for two, then on his turn played both Magus of the Moon and that Figure of Destiny. On 12, Jakub had to be a little careful, and he thought long and hard before playing a Lord of Atlantis and a Loxodon Warhammer.

    In upkeep, Saito used Magus of the Scroll to kill Lord of Atlantis, revealing that he had a Flame Javelin in hand. He played a third Mountain after his draws and passed the turn, with Flame Javelin ready to go.

    After much thought, Jakub just passed his turn. Saito changed his Figure of Destiny into a 4/4. Saito was being very cagey in this game. He knew that if he started casting spells he could be giving extra value to Cryptic Commands in his opponent's hand. As such, he did as much as he could with whatever was on the board while he felt himself to be in the race.

    After some thought, Saito also passed the turn. The waiting game would afford him more burn, and he could always act at any time with most of his effects.

    At this point the game seemed to become a battle of wills where the first person to act would ultimately regret it. At the end of turn Saito went for it, making his Figure of Destiny an 8/8. Threat at the ready.

    Saito moved to his attack step. He bashed with his 8/8, and killed off Reveillark, allowing Jakub to return a Merrow Reejerey and Lord of Atlantis. By now, with the other semi-final long finished, there was a crowd three or four people deep around the match, Things were very close, and Jakub was deliberate about his plays to ensure that he didn't throw away what was the biggest game of Magic of his life. the Loxodon Warhammer that Jakub had remained unused before swings from the Czech, who was still afraid of Flame Javelin from his opponent.

    There was indeed one, targeting Merrow Reejerey, to which Jakub responded with Cryptic Command, to counter the burn spell and bounce the colossal Figure of Destiny. An Incinerate did for Merrow Reejerey, and Saito dropped to 16 on attacks.

    Saito had a Murderous Redcap, to again empty Jakub's side of the board. He swung the Czech down to 10, and with Magus of the Scroll at the ready, and 3 lands untapped, now seemed in control for the game. He dealt 2 with his Magus at the end of turn, showing Figure of Destiny, and then bashed for 4, to put Jakub within easy burn range.

    At the end of turn Magus dropped him to 2, and he knew that he was one upkeep away from death. He played Venser to bounce Figure of Destiny, and then got to swing in with it equipped with his hammer. A Merrow Reejerey from Jakub got killed off, and then Magus of the Scroll finished Venser himself.

    Jakub clung on desparately to his last life points. Was there any way out of this?

    He drew for the turn, and threw his hand on the table. A Burrenton Forge-Tender that might have got him right into the game was stranded in his hand by Magus of the Moon.

    Tomoharu Saito wins 2-1, advancing to the finals.



     
  • Semifinals: David Larsson vs Shuhei Nakamura
    by David Sutcliffe
  • Such has been the trailblazing path (a Burn Trail, perhaps?) set by Tomaharo Saitou's Red Deck you could be forgiven for not having noticed David Larsson very quietly slipping a second red deck into the Top-8 here at Grand Prix Copenhagen. He faced the vastly experienced Japanese legend Shuhei Nakamura in his Semi-Final, but you had to expect that Larsson wouldn't be phased by the occasion either, having already placed in the Top-8 of a Pro Tour in London a few years ago.

    Larsson, having won the coin flip, started slowly... no first turn creature from the red deck, just a nasty shock for Shuhei's Llanowar Elves, and then no answer for a Wren's Run Vanquisher on the next turn either. It was on turns three and four that Larsson finally burst into fiery life, with an Ashenmoor Gouger and Boggart Ram Gang (Larsson has ignored the ubiquitous Magus Of The Moon), but Shuhei had an Eyeblight's Ending ready for the Gouger, and followed up on his fourth turn with a Thoughtseize. Larsson pondered for a while (the verb, not the card) before sending a Skred at the Wren's Run Vanquisher before allowing Shuhei to tear a second Ram Gang away with his Thoughtseize.

    But just because he had no creatures left wouldn't stop Shuhei from attacking and his Mutavault and Treetop Village grew legs and headed back at Larsson, dropping the Swede to 10 life. Ram Gang and Village traded away, and Incinerate accounted for the Mutavault, but with Larsson's supply of removal dwindling Shuhei Nakamura sensed an opening and played his Chameleon Colossus, only for Larsson to immediately make it an Unwilling Recruit and send it back at it's master for 7 damage, dropping Nakumara down to 5! Shuhei took back possession of his Colossus and sent it back in the correct direction putting Larsson to 4, and added a Tarmogoyf... with no cards in hand it would be down to the top of Larsson's library now... he flipped the card... Demigod Of Revenge! Off the top, into play, turned sideways and sent into the red zone, Larsson stole the game from the jaws of defeat and took the lead.

    David Larsson 1 - 0 Shuhei Nakamura

    Into Game 2, and on his first turn David Larsson showed again that his red deck was a bit of a break from the norm, and suspended a Greater Gargadon while Shuhei searched up a Swamp with Civic Wayfinder and added a Tarmogoyf and Wren's Run Vanquishers on his fourth turn. But Larsson wasn't done, he made an Unwilling Recruit of the Vanquisher and Nakamura took both his Elf and an Ashenmoor Gouger on the chin to drop to12 life, before the Greater Gargadon devoured the Vanquisher at the end of Larsson's turn. Not prepared to accept he was outgunned Shuhei Nakamura attacked back with his Tarmogoyf, and added a Chameleon Colossus but Larsson immediately made the Colossus an Unwilling Recruit and Nakamura had to frantically hurl his Civic Wayfinder in front of it, but still dropped 8 life and again could only watch the Gargadon chomp away one of his best creatures like a big red Pac man sat just out of play.

    Having absorbed two Unwilling Recruits it was the Japanese star's turn to cost the big spells, and he sank six mana into a Profane Command, giving Larsson's Ashenmoor Gouger -4/-4 and pulling his Chameleon Colossus back into play. For once David Larsson seemed short of a response, but with only two time counters remaining on his Greater Gargadon he seemed happy enough to wait it out, saving his mana to Flame Javelin Shuhei's Chameleon Colossus when he attempted to double it in size, but still taking a Tarmogoyf and dropping to 9 life. Shuhei added a twin brother for his Tarmogoyf but Larsson untapped, aimed a second Flame Javelin at it, and sacrificed a land to finally bring his Greater Gargadon into play! 9/8 haste! Attacking! Into the red zone! Into the graveyard! Slaughter Pact from Shuhei Nakamura! He untapped, dropped Larsson to 5 life, added a Civic Wayfinder, and on Nakamura's next turn a pair of Mutavaults joined his other creatures in the red zone and levelled the match.

    David Larsson 1 - 1 Shuhei Nakamura

    Having inquired about the fate of Tomaharo Saito in the other semi-final (1-0 down at this point) Nakamura began strongly in the final game, a Llanowar Elf and Civic Wayfinder hitting play. Larsson had again waited until his third turn to join the game, starting out with a Ram Gang, and adding an Ashenmoor Gouger after Shuhei played Murderous Redcap and dealt two damage directly to Larsson, quickly putting the Swede down to 15. Nakamura's Chameleon Colossus ate a Skred when it arrived on the board but next turn he resurrected it, Profane Command again eating an Ashenmoor Gouger and providing Nakamura with a valuable 2-for-1 card swing only for it's stay in play to be brief as Larsson hurled a Flame Javelin at it. Burnination!

    Larsson, still trying to make headway, suspended a Greater Gargadon and attacked again with his lone Ram Gang which Shuhei accepted, before playing a Wren's Run Vanquisher and a second Redcap that hit back at the Swede again doing 2 damage directly to his head, Larsson down to 13 life against 10. In with the Ram Gang again, this time Larsson throwing even burn out with an Incinerate for a Treetop Village that dared to try and block, Shuhei Nakamura to 7 life. Neither player was prepared to blink in this high-risk game of lifetotal chicken, and Shuhei hit right back, dropping his opponent to 9.

    David Larsson finally pulled a Demigod from his deck but Nakamura had been waiting and his Elves deemed the fiend an Eyeblight unworthy of life. On the back foot, Larsson finally left his Boggart Ram Gang on defense and traded it against a Wren's Run Vanquisher. With his momentum stalled David Larsson was left waiting for his Greater Gargadon, it seemed... but no, the hard-fighting Swede had a nasty trick up his sleeve - Unwilling Recruit. With Nakamura having tapped out of blockers Larsson stole the Murderous Redcap and gave it +3/+0, dropping Nakamura to 2 life before feeding the Redcap to his Gargadon.

    Shuhei Nakamura struck back, still racing, putting Larsson to 4 life and dead next turn, but another Unwilling Recruit stole Nakamura's lowly Llanowar Elf, made it a 4/1, the Greater Gargadon made breakfast, lunch, and evening meal out of Larsson's mountains and roared into play, would it make dessert from Nakamura? It wouldn't, Nakamura revealed his Slaughter Pact for the Gargadon but took four damage from his treacherous Llanowar Elves.

    "And you're dead".

    "Umm. Am I?"

    Shuhei Nakamura looked confused, as he thought he was on 5 life before that attack while Larsson had him on 2... with a 4/1 Llanowar Elf unblocked that's a critical difference! Unravelling the life totals it quickly became clear that Nakamura hadn't realised the Murderous Redcap had been a 5/2 the turn before, when it was Unwilling Recruited, and had only taken two damage on his score sheet. The Japanese star extended his hand when the mistake was explained, looking a little crestfallen at the error, but David Larsson had despatched a formidable opponent in this round and proceeded to the final looking very strong indeed, with a red deck that could seemingly win without warning.

    David Larsson 2 - 1 Shuhei Nakamura



     
  • Finals
    David Larsson vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Tomoharu Saito sat down for the finals of Grand Prix Amsterdam having lost only a single match with his mono red deck. The Player of the Year had shown a combination of "good play and good luck" to make it as far as he had, and sat down excited about a red deck to play against in the final. His opponent, David Larsson is an amiable Swede who has felt the lights of a Sunday Stage before, having made the top 8 of Pro Tour London.

    While the decks were on their way back from a deckcheck, Saito won what may be one of the most important parts of this match - the die roll. Both David Larsson and Tomoharu Saito are playing versions of Red Deck Wins, and in an aggressive mirror, having the early initiative can be huge.

    In point of fact, this isn't quite as much of a mirror as it may first appear. While Saito's maindeck is more or less identical to the deck Michael Jacob used to win US Nationals, Larsson has a build in which Stigma Lasher and Boggart Ram-Gang make the cut for the main. Even more interesting is the sideboard options open to the two.

    Each player suggested to me separately before the match that they had a good sideboard against red decks. Saito would be bringing in Spitebellows and Murderous Redcap, while Larsson had Unwilling Recruit and Greater Gargadon.

    Larson is ready for Red
    Larsson's sideboard plan in abstract seemed to trump that of Saito, playing for huge late game spells, but it would all rely on the tempo of how the Swede could get through the early turns of the game.

    On the play, Saito led with Magus of the Scroll, while David had Figure of Destiny. He followed up with Blood Knight, hoping to hold off the figure, but finding that a Skred was waiting for it.

    Saito's next play was not overly exciting, in Magus of the Moon. While this Magus had been instrumental in getting Saito to the finals, it would do little in the matchup he found there. Larsson's 3 drop seemed better. A Boggart Ram-Gang got cast straight into the red zone, and hit Saito for 3. The Magus of the Moon struck back, but Saito was not winning this race, as another Boggart Ram-Gang came along, forcing a Flame Javelin from Saito. After combat, Larsson had another Figure of Destiny, making for a very powerful board.

    Saito dropped a Blood Knight onto the table and passed with two mountains up. Yet another Boggart Ram-Gang came from Larsson. Both Magus of the Moon and Magus of the Scroll blocked one of these 3/3's, while the other knocked Saito to 7. As another Figure of Destiny came down, Saito just sighed.

    While Saito had a Demigod of Revenge, he was in no position to start attacking, wary of his life totals.

    "Can't really win can you?" asked David as he attacked with his colossal force.

    Saito just nodded to himself, looked at things, and scooped up his cards.

    David Larsson 1 - 0 Tomoharu Saito

    Saito prepares himself for a tense final.
    When these two players had met in the Swiss portion of the tournament, Saito had won, though Larsson felt this may have been down to a mistake on his part. It seemed pretty clear that in Game 1 his draw had been so much better than Saito's that mistakes weren't really a worry. For the following game though, it would become clear whose sideboard plan was the winner.

    Both players kept their opener, and Larsson had more of the early action, with a turn one suspend on Greater Gargadon, turn two Figure of Destiny and turn 3 Boggart Ram-Gang. Saito had a turn 3 Ashenmoor Gouger, and a Murderous Redcap to off the Kithkin.

    Larsson's sideboard tech was quick to get going. He used Unwilling Recruit to steal Ashenmoor Gouger, and attacked with it and Boggart Ram-Gang. This dealt 7 damage, before the Gouger got sacrificed to Greater Gargadon, putting it at just 5 counters.

    Saito evoked Spitebellows to get Boggart Ram-Gang sacrificed, but could do little on just 8 life, when a pair of Skreds finished off his Murderous Redcap, and Greater Gargadon came in to finish off a stunned Tomoharu Saito.

    Congratulations to David Larsson, Grand Prix Copenhagen Champion!



     
  • Podcast: The Prince of Sweden?
    by Rich Hagon
  • Somehow 'Hamlet, Prince of Sweden' doesn't sound quite right, but that certainly won't stop Swede David Larsson and seven more worthy contenders from striving every synapse towards the Danish crown here at the climax of GP Copenhagen. Pro Points could have a massive impact on the Player of the Year Race, as Messrs Saitou, Nakamura and van Medevoort (not to mention the mighty Wafo-Tapa) are all in the running for the maximum ten point boost to their total. All the action from the last eight men standing.



     
  • Finals (Japanese): David K Larsson vs. Tomoharu Saitou
    by Naoaki Umesaki
  • 『グランプリ コペンハーゲン』決勝戦は、5人に1人の割合と非常に多くのプレイヤーが『Red Deck Win』を選択した本大会のメタゲームを象徴するようなマッチアップとなった。

    『Red Deck Win』 vs. 『Red Deck Win』

    斉藤 「先攻をとって、ブン回ったほうが勝つ簡単なマッチアップだと思われがちだけど、実は結構難しいマッチアップなんだよね。」

    決勝戦を前にした休憩中、このマッチアップについて語りだす斉藤。

    斉藤 「サイド後のゲームは特に、お互いに攻め手を除去しあう消耗戦になるから、プレイングが重要。例えば、中盤以降は《運命の大立者》を温存したりね。そして、事前練習の印象だと消耗戦になるから後手を取ったほうが有利っぽいんだよね。」

    そして、こう付け加えた。

    斉藤 「決勝戦の相手だけどスイスラウンドで対戦してて、その時は勝ってるんだけど、後手を選択してきた。赤単同士のマッチアップをよく理解してるよ。」

    今現在、国際的には無名であるDavid K Larssonであるが、手ごわい相手には間違いないようだ。

    Game1
    ダイスロールに勝利した斉藤は、先攻を選択。
    《巻物の大魔術師/Magus of the Scroll》《血騎士/Blood Knight》という立ち上がりの斉藤に対して、Larssonは《運命の大立者/Figure of Destiny》スタートから《雪崩し/Skred》で《血騎士》を除去して《ボガートの突撃隊/Boggart Ram-Gang》を展開してのアタック!

    Larsson、斉藤の攻めを押し返す。

    Larssonは次のターンにも2体目となる《ボガートの突撃隊》を出してアタックを仕掛けるのだが、このアタックに対して斉藤は《炎の投げ槍/Flame Javelin》で《ボガートの突撃隊》を除去することによってライフの被害を最小限に留める。しかし...。

    “二度あることは、三度ある”

    Larssonは、3ターン連続となる《ボガートの突撃隊》を出してのフルアタック!

    斉藤 「手札の枚数は?」
    Larsson「2枚です」

    Larssonが火力を持っていたら一方的に損な戦闘となるが、意を決して《月の大魔術師》《巻物の大魔術師》で《ボガートの突撃隊》をブロック。 結果、Larssonは火力カードを持っておらず2:1の相打ち交換になるのだが、Larssonの手札から展開されたのは2枚の《運命の大立者》。

    斉藤も《復讐の亜神/Demigod of Revenge》を出して対抗するが、Larssonの《運命の大立者》3体+《ボガートの突撃隊》によるフルアタックを確認すると、ライフを残す手段を持たない斉藤は投了を宣言した。

    Larsson 1-0 Saitou

    斉藤は、《恨み唸り/Spitebellows》と《残忍なレッドキャップ/Murderous Redcap》の7枚をサイドイン。

    Game2
    戦前の話では、「サイド後は消耗戦になるから後手のほうが有利」と語っていた斉藤だが、勢いよく「アイ、スタート!」と宣言して先攻を選択。

    カードをプレイする手にも力が入っており、攻める姿勢が全面に感じられる。「理論ではなく、ハート!」といったところであろうか。

    1本目を勝利したLarssonは、《大いなるガルガドン/Greater Gargadon》待機から、《運命の大立者》《ボガートの突撃隊》とGame2も良い立ち上がり。

    対する斉藤のファーストアクションは、《アッシェンムーアの抉り出し/Ashen Gouger》。
    続くターンには、Larssonのマナが立っていないことを確認して《残忍なレッドキャップ/Murderous Redcap》で【2/2】の《運命の大立者》を除去するのだが、待っていたのは斉藤が想定していた中でも最悪の展開。

    Larssonは《不本意な徴募/Unwilling Recruit》で斉藤の《アッシェンムーアの抉り出し》を強奪。 アタック後に《大いなるガルガドン》で生け贄に捧げて擬似的に除去。これにより、斉藤のライフは8へと追い込まれる。

    返すターン、《恨み唸り/Spitebellows》を想起でプレイすることによって《ボガートの突撃隊》を除去して、何とか持ちこたえたい斉藤だったが。

    Larssonは、斉藤の場にブロッカーとして立っている《残忍なレッドキャップ》に対して《雪崩し/Skred》を打ち込む。 一度は頑強能力によって場に戻ってくる《残忍なレッドキャップ》だが、それも更なる《雪崩し》で排除。

    自身の土地を生け贄に捧げ、待機から解放されたLarssonの《大いなるガルガドン/Greater Gargadon》が無人の荒野となった斉藤のフィールドを駆け抜けた!

    Larsson 2-0 Saitou
    Congratulations to David K Larsson, GP Copenhagen 2008 Champion!

    『Red Deck Win』の優勝に終わった『GPコペンハーゲン』。
    さて、これから『日本選手権2008』に向けてスタンダードのメタゲームはどう動いてゆくのだろうか?

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