Event_Coverage

Müller Magical in Madrid

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Grand Prix–Madrid, the largest Magic tournament of all time, is at an end. 2,227 players were there at the start, but at the very end, it came down to just two. David Do Anh of the Czech Republic had bested Tomoharu Saito, and Andreas Müller had made it through an incredible battle with Richard Bland, to set up for a final between Reanimator and Ad Nauseam Tendrils. These finals came down to the turn of a card, as an agonising Ad Nauseam turned on its master ending the deciding game in decisive fashion. With this, Andreas Müller of Germany found himself on top of the world here in Madrid.

All weekend we have seen innovation and invention, triumphs and bitter defeats as the great and the good from around the world have converged on Madrid for a colossal 20 rounds of Legacy competition. We have seen new takes on old decks, and old cards in new ones, only adding to the diverse metagame for which Legacy is so justly popular. With a whole world of magical cards available to build with, Legacy has shown itself to be full of cool interactions, making for an amazingly entertaining format.

As the lights fade here in Madrid, and we look to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the next Grand Prix in the calendar in a few short weeks, there are over 2000 people leaving the site with a story to tell. For one player in particular, this story had a very happy ending. Congratulations to Andreas Müller, the Grand Prix–Madrid 2010 Champion!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Andreas Muller [DEU]   Andreas Muller (2-0)        
8 Sven Dijt [NLD]   Andreas Muller (2-1)
       
4 Richard Bland [ENG]   Richard Bland (2-1)   Andreas Muller(2-1)
5 Lluis Restoy [ESP]    
       
2 David Do Anh [CZE]   David Do Anh (2-0)
7 Alejandr Delgado [ESP]   David Do Ahn (2-0)
       
3 Rubèn Gonzalez Parrado [ESP]   Tomoharu Saito (2-0)
6 Tomoharu Saito [JPN]    

EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

  • by Tobias Henke
    Final:
    Andreas Müller vs. David Do Anh

  • by Rich Hagon
    Podcast:
    The Final

  • by Rich Hagon
    Semifinal: An A-List Animated Affair
    Andreas Müller vs. Richard Bland

  • by Tim Willoughby
    Semifinal:
    Tomoharu Saito vs David Do Anh

  • by Luis Scott-Vargas
    Quarterfinal:
    Tomoharu Saito vs. Ruben Gonzales Parrado

  • by Rich Hagon
    Quarterfinal: Library Fine
    Lluis Restoy vs. Richard Bland

  • by Tobias Henke
    Quarterfinal:
    Sven Dijt vs. Andreas Müller

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8:
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8:
    Deck Lists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Day 2 Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Day 1 Undefeated Decklists
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Day 1 Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Blue Country Breakdown
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Green Country Breakdown
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Blue Playerlist
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Green Playerlist
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info : Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  Andreas Müller $3,500
 2.  David Do Anh $2,300
 3.  Richard Bland $1,500
 4.  Tomoharu Saito $1,500
 5.  Rubén González $1,000
 6.  Lluís Restoy $1,000
 7.  Alejandro Delgado $1,000
 8.  Sven Dijt $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 - Deck Lists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Ruben Gonzales Parrado (Countertop Progenitus)

     

  • Top 8 - Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Top 8 Profiles


    Grand Prix Madrid 2010 Top 8

    Name: Alejandro Delgado

    From: Madrid, Spain

    Age: 19

    Occupation: Student

    Previous achievements in Magic: Top 8's in Legacy tournaments in Spain

    What deck did you play and why? Zoo, because I knew that this GP would be so big, and with this deck I don't need to think so much. Also, because my friend Dario Moreno had the idea.

    What was your record day 1? 7-0-2

    What was your record day 2? 7-1-0

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? I don't go to much FNM, but I play at a lot of Legacy events in Spain

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    What was the last book you read? A book of economic history for an exam


    Name: Richard Bland

    From: Coventry, England

    Age: 22

    Occupation: Student

    Previous achievements in Magic: top 64 at Pro Tour Berlin, won a Planeswalker novel in a raffle.

    What deck did you play and why? Zoo, because it is fairly easy to play and punishes bad draws

    What was your record day 1? 9-0

    What was your record day 2? 5-2-1

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? At Warwick University

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? Perimeter Captain

    What was the last book you read? The Planeswalker novel I won in the raffle


    Name: Lluis Restoy Hernandez

    From: Barcelona, Spain

    Age: 28

    Occupation: Food technologist

    Previous achievements in Magic: top 8 at Spanish Nationals in 2008

    What deck did you play and why? Progenitus Bant because of its stability

    What was your record day 1? 8-1

    What was your record day 2? 5-1-1

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? Terrasa, "La Coral"

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    What was the last book you read? The Art of War by Sun Tzu


    Name: Rubin Gonzalez Caballero

    From: Palonica, Spain

    Age: 29

    Occupation: Telecommunication engineer

    Previous achievements in Magic: 2nd at the Madrid Vintage Open in 2008, and various top 8s in the Catalan Vintage League

    What deck did you play and why? Progenitus Bant because Miguel Aloriza (a team player) recommended it to me

    What was your record day 1? 9-0

    What was your record day 2? 5-2-1

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? The only card I know is Dispel!

    What was the last book you read? The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett


    Name: Andreas Muller

    From: Regensburg near Oppersdorf, Germany

    Age: 22

    Occupation: Student

    Previous achievements in Magic: Pro Tour Berlin top 16, some PT day 2s.

    What deck did you play and why? Reanimator, because it's really unfair!

    What was your record day 1? 7-1-1

    What was your record day 2? 7-0-1

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? Sax

    What was the last book you read? Machoman, I can only recommend it.


    Name: David Do Anh

    From: Prague, Czech Republic

    Age: 16

    Occupation: Student

    Previous achievements in Magic: some Grand Prix day 2s

    What deck did you play and why? Ad Nauseam Tendrils – it's the best deck (provided by my friend Jan Zuskac)

    What was your record day 1? 9-0

    What was your record day 2? 5-2-1

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? Cerny rytif or Dungeon

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? Treasure Hunt

    What was the last book you read? I don't like books :D


    Name: Sven Dijt

    From: Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    Age: 34

    Occupation: Owner of Manamaze.com and father

    Previous achievements in Magic: top 4 of the first ever GP, in Amsterdam in 1997!

    What deck did you play and why? Zoo. I play it in Extended. I don't usually play Legacy, and played it in two trials. I won one of them, and saw no reason to change.

    What was your record day 1? 7-2

    What was your record day 2? 7-1

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? At the fabulous Magic Café de 2 Klaveren in Amsterdam

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? Loam Lion

    What was the last book you read? The Third Reich at War


    Name: Tomoharu Saito

    From: Tokyo, Japan

    Age: 26

    Occupation: Pro Magic player and MTG shop owner

    Previous achievements in Magic: Pro Tour Champion, Player of the Year 2007

    What deck did you play and why? Ad Nauseam Tendrils, because it only has one bad matchup (CounterTopGoyf)

    What was your record day 1? 7-0-2

    What was your record day 2? 7-0-1

    Where can players meet you at Friday Night Magic? Tokyo. I will open up a shop this year where I will play.

    What is your favorite card in Worldwake? The Big! Terastodon!

    What was the last book you read? An English study book

     

  • Quarterfinals - Sven Dijt vs. Andreas Müller
    by Tobias Henke
  • Sven Dijt

    This is the first Grand Prix top eight for Andreas Müller (not to be confused with fellow German player Andre Müller who got a couple). Facing him is Sven Dijt of the Netherlands who got his first Grand Prix top eight a wee little while ago. In fact, he made top eight at the first Grand Prix ever held, in Amsterdam 1997.

    The match-up is Zoo (Dijt) against Reanimator (Müller). Before the match, Müller told me: "This is going to be a lot harder than the deck lists suggest." When Dijt arrived at the table, he jokingly remarked: "This is actually going to be my first play-test match against Reanimator."

    Dijt won the roll and had Wild Nacatl on turn one, followed by Gaddock Teeg on two. Müller responded with Force of Will (exiling Daze) and had Entomb on Dijt's end of turn, binning Iona, Shield of Emeria. His main-phase Brainstorm, however, yielded no option to reanimate the protective Angel Legend just yet.

    Meanwhile Dijt was lacking red mana, but had Wasteland to deny Müller his blue. Loam Lion also made his way onto the battlefield. The German had Polluted Delta, though, and cast Careful Study off a basic Island, discarding Empyrial Archangel. But again, no reanimation.

    Dijt fetched Taiga, went in for five and cast Chain Lightning. This left Müller at five life. He cast another Brainstorm and found Exhume. Finally. Iona, Shield of Emeria entered the battlefield and hence forbade the use of all red magic. On the other side, Exhume also allowed Dijt to return his previously countered Gaddock Teeg. His now three creatures attacked, Wild Nacatl on a suicide mission, Teeg and Loam Lion on a mission to put Müller at one.

    Müller passed the turn without any action, facing two lethal attackers. When these smashed in, a surprise Echoing Truth bounced Loam Lion, while infinitely less surprisingly Iona ate Gaddock Teeg.

    On his next turn, Müller completed this remarkable comeback, exhuming Empyrial Archangel. The Archangel‘s damage redirection effect allowed him to safely attack with Iona to put Dijt at 11, even though Exhume meant yet another return trip for Gaddock Teeg. Dijt didn't draw an answer and Müller turned his 7/7 and 5/8 sideways.

    Sven Dijt 0 – 1 Andreas Müller

    Andreas Müller

    During sideboarding the players chatted about old times. Well, mostly Dijt. With a little help from Magic historian Richard Hagon they figured out that Müller had been ten years old, when Dijt was last playing in a GP top eight.

    Dijt started the second game in quick fashion with Taiga, Kird Ape, Tormod's Crypt, followed by two Wastelands. Stuck on one mana and with the imminent threat of Tormod's Crypt exiling his very own crypt, Müller was in a lot of trouble.

    As soon as he got to two mana, however, Müller dropped the bomb. Or rather the bomb, to drop the bomb with. Show and Tell off Dark Ritual allowed him to by-pass his graveyard entirely, putting down Empyrial Archangel directly from his hand onto the battlefield. Dijt made a face and put down a permanent of his own: Arid Mesa.

    Three attacks later the Dutch still had not found an answer to the 5/8 shrouded damage-absorbing flier. Dijt died, Müller advanced to the semifinals.

    Sven Dijt 0 – 2 Andreas Müller

     

  • Quarterfinal:Libarary Fine - Lluis Restoy vs. Richard Bland
    by Rich Hagon
  • It's a quite staggering achievement to still be playing at this late stage in the largest Magic event ever seen. It also requires, depending on your point of view, either:

    (a) A passionate and hopeful imagination, able to visualize yourself dominating a field of over two thousand two hundred players and holding the trophy aloft.

    Or

    (b) Precisely no imagination whatsoever, ignoring utterly the improbability of winning round after round after round.

    As the players shuffled up for their Grand Prix Top 8 debuts, it was unclear which of these applied to them.

    Lluis Restoy

    Restoy won the die roll and opened up with an uncracked Windswept Heath. Wooded Foothills for Bland had an immediate use, turning into Taiga, and powering out Kird Ape. Restoy's Windswept Heath became Tropical Island, and he added turn two Plains before casting Sylvan Library, a card Bland was no stranger to.

    The Kird Ape dealt the opening damage of the match, and was joined by Wild Nacatl. Sylvan Library sucked extra cards into Restoy's hand, but against Zoo he would have to be careful. He chose not to pay any life, and cast Kitchen Finks to go back to 18 life, a total Bland stood at as he cracked a Windswept Heath. Path to Exile looked to, er, exile the Kitchen Finks, but a discarded Daze to Force of Will scuppered that plan. Bland had a second Path to Exile, and this time Restoy had no counter. In came Wild Nacatl and Kird Ape, and a second Nacatl completed a fine turn for the Englishman.

    Once again, Restoy declined to pay from the Sylvan Library. Bland moved to attack, but Bant Charm sent one Nacatl to the bottom of his library. Out came Knight of the Reliquary and another Wild Nacatl, and Restoy had no answer. The power of Zoo had propelled Bland to the opening game.

    Lluis Restoy 0 – 1 Richard Bland

    Both players began with an opening seven, and Noble Hierarch was straight out of the gate for Restoy. Windswept Heath into Taiga allowed Bland to cast Grim Lavamancer. That didn't last long, as Restoy used Brainstorm before sending the Lavamancer packing with Swords to Plowshares. Lightning Bolt dealt with Restoy's Hierarch, but a second attempt at making Grim Lavamancer never got off the ground, with Daze being more than just Force of Will fodder.

    Down came Tarmogoyf for Restoy, and this was a much, much better start to this must-win game for the Spaniard. Bland offered Gaddock Teeg, and finally he had some presence on the board, albeit smaller than the 3/4 Tarmogoyf. That was bad news for Bland, but so was the second Tarmogoyf that followed it onto the battlefield.

    Grim Lavamancer number three hit play for Bland, who added super-Equipment Umezawa's Jitte to the board. Three more damage from one fearless Tarmogoyf dropped him to thirteen, and Sylvan Library for Restoy looked like being rather more use than in the previous encounter. Lightning Helix aimed at the untapped Tarmogoyf allowed Bland to finish it off with Grim Lavamancer, and finally he was able to deal some damage, putting Restoy to eighteen with Gaddock Teeg, a card not exactly noted for his beatstick qualities.

    Bant Charm banished Bland's Jitte, and with the Tarmogoyf attacking as a 4/5 he was now down to twelve. He attempted the same Lightning Helix + Grim Lavamancer activation, but Restoy had Daze ready for the Helix. As Plan B (what else would Bland have?), both Gaddock Teeg and the Lavamancer attacked. A fetchland allowed Restoy to find Dryad Arbor, which promptly blocked and traded with the Grim Lavamancer. If you're sitting and thinking this was a tasty turn for Restoy, I do believe you are correct.

    Tarmogoyf smashed for four again, and Restoy added a second. One attacked, trading for one of a pair of blocking Wild Nacatls, but the threats kept on coming, this time in the form of Rhox War Monk. Bland needed to stablize the board, and he did so with a Tarmogoyf of his own. While the Englishman was relying on the top of his deck, Restoy's library was of the Sylvan variety. That allowed him to massively improve his draw quality, and Bland's Tarmogoyf bit the dust courtesy of Swords to Plowshares.

    The fantastic trading blows kept on coming. Path to Exile from Bland dealt with Rhox War Monk. Restoy finally paid four life for the privilege of Sylvan Library bonus cardage, but Bland now had momentum, with Gaddock Teeg and the last remaining Tarmogoyf. Kitchen Finks for Restoy got in the way, and just like Restoy, was most persistant. Bland kept on coming, with Kird Ape the next onto an increasingly-English-tilting battlefield.

    Brainstorm from Restoy....Brainstorm from Restoy....dig, dig, dig.... He finally tapped out for another Kitchen Finks, and was back up to thirteen. Even so, the 4/5 Tarmogoyf was the big player on the board. Brainstorm again from Restoy, at the cost of a Sylvan payment, and he was back to nine. Qasali Pridemage looked to add some cover for the Spaniard. Since irony is practically a national sport in England, it was probably not lost on Bland that it was one of his own best-performing cards – Sylvan Library – that was currently so effectively blocking his route to the semifinals.

    When Kitchen Finks attacked, Bland smelled a rat, but couldn't tell quite where the smell was coming from. He blocked with Tarmogoyf, and then saw Restoy cast and crack Relic of Progenitus, thereby killing the Tarmogoyf. Now the pendulum was right back with Restoy in a bare-knuckle carry-him-out-on-his-shield Game 2. Could Bland match the combat shenanigans of his opponent? He attacked with Kird Ape, faced a triple block, and traded for both Kitchen Finks, finally sending the lifegainers from the board.

    Noble Hierarch for Restoy meant his Qasali Pridemage could attack as a 4/4, and he paid four life in order to get Kitchen Finks down a turn ahead of schedule. Bland was down to six, with Restoy at eight, and still anything could happen. Wild Nacatl....go. Well, this isn't Hollywood. And Bland knew he wasn't writing the script when Restoy added Kitchen Finks number four. Even Legacy Zoo decks aren't designed to deal thirty-some damage, and Bland elected to move to a decider, knowing that at least he'd be on the play.

    Lluis Restoy 1 – 1 Richard Bland

    Richard Bland

    The "I'm on the play" edge for Bland increased when Restoy mulliganed to six. If the self-inflicted bruise was anything to go by, Restoy wouldn't be keeping his six either. It took him a while, but in the end the disciplined decision won. Five it would be.

    Arid Mesa got Bland cracking, and out came Wild Nacatl. Tropical Island opened for Restoy, and Bland added Mountain before beating for three. Second Nacatl resolved, but a potentially backbreaking Kird Ape did not, defeated by a defensive Daze. Land for Restoy, and again he passed. Six more damage crashed across. Bland added Grim Lavamancer, and it looked all but over.

    Still nothing from Restoy, and now he was at just four life. A second Grim Lavamancer seemed academic, and three mana couldn't save Restoy. In an anti-climactic Game 3, Zoo did what Zoo does best – defy opponents to stumble.

    Lluis Restoy 1 –2 Richard Bland

     

  • Quarterfinal - Tomoharu Saito vs. Ruben Gonzales Parrado
    Luis Scott-Vargas
  • In his Top 8 questionnaire, Saito claimed that Countertop Goyf was the only bad matchup for his Ad Nauseam deck, and that is indeed the matchup he now faces. The theoretically good matchup may be little consolation for Ruben Gonzales Parrado, as he faces the undoubtedly most experienced player in the Top 8 of this enormous Grand Prix.

    Tomoharu Saito

    Game 1

    Saito wins the ever important die roll, and to top it off, Parrado mulligans to six. He grimaces and keeps his hand, which prompts Saito to consider his first play. After a few moments of thought, Saito fires away, with an Underground Sea and a mainphase Mystical Tutor for the namesake of his deck, Ad Nauseam.

    Parrado's next turn is less impressive, as he simply plays a Tropical Island and passes. Saito, having drawn the Ad Nauseam, again goes back in the tank to determine his options. Playing against a deck that sports Force of Will, Daze, and a fast clock certainly puts him under pressure, and he contents himself with playing a land and a Chrome Mox, imprinting Infernal Tutor.

    Again, Parrado has a fast turn, as he develops his board with a Volcanic Island and a Noble Hierarch. At the end of his turn, Saito fetches for an Underground Sea but chooses not to cast anything.

    On Saito's turn, the action starts. He casts Cabal Ritual (without Threshold), then plays City of Traitors and Ad Nauseam. After a Brainstorm, Parrado hesitantly lets the Ad Nauseam resolve with a soft "Ok". This excites both the crowd and Saito, who confirms "OK!" quite energetically.

    With Saito at 19, Ad Nauseam is more than likely lethal. He flips, in order:

    Dark Ritual
    Ad Nauseam (prompting more than a few "oohs" from the crowd)
    Lion's Eye Diamond
    Mystical Tutor
    Tendrils of Agony
    Sensei's Divining Top
    Cabal Ritual
    Polluted Delta
    Chrome Mox
    Underground Sea
    Brainstorm

    After some counting, Saito decides that is sufficient, and puts those 11 cards into his hand. He imprints Ad Nauseam on Chrome Mox, then casts Dark Ritual and Lion's Eye Diamond. Brainstorm follows, then Cabal Ritual, then a Tendrils of Agony for 18. Not quite lethal, but the 36-point life swing will presumably buy Saito enough time to find another copy of Tendrils.

    Parrado Ponders on his turn, then plays a Flooded Strand and attacks for one with Noble Hierarch, which draws some chuckles from the ever-growing crowd.

    On his turn, Saito Mystical Tutors during his upkeep, prompting a concession when he reveals that he will indeed search for Tendrils of Agony.

    Tomoharu Saito 1 – 0 Ruben Gonzales Parrado

    Ruben Gonzales Parrado

    Game 2

    Parrado begins the game with another mulligan, with Saito rapidly deciding to keep. Parrado keeps his six, and again only has a Tropical Island on his first turn. Saito's Flooded Strand finds him an Underground Sea and a broken sleeve, which he quickly replaces. Lotus Petal follows, Daze protection for the Thoughtseize he plays next. Parrado responds with a Brainstorm, likely planning on hiding his best cards.

    He fans out his hand, revealing Ponder, Swords to Plowshares, Rhox War Monk, Plains, and Misty Rainforest, and Saito quickly takes the Ponder.

    The hidden cards are yet to be seen, as Parrado only plays Misty Rainforest on his next turn. Saito doesn't do much more, only Pondering and playing a land before passing.

    Parrado decides that the time isn't ripe for him to cast any spells mainphase, and just contents himself with playing a third land. Saito also has a third land, and he too passes the turn after some counting.

    Rhox War Monk for Parrado breaks the stalemate, which Saito follows with an end of turn Mystical Tutor. The Tutor fetches a Duress, signalling a pretty strong hand for the Japanese player. Duress takes Dispel, leaving Parrado with only a Swords to Plowshares and an Island. If Tomoharu has what it takes to go off, Parrado will be unable to disrupt him.

    Cabal Ritual and Ad Nauseam are Saito's next two plays, which gives Saito 15 life, a Lotus Petal, and a land drop to play with.

    Ad Nauseam reveals:

    Cabal Ritual
    Mystical Tutor
    Infernal Tutor
    Mystical Tutor
    City of Traitors

    At this point, Saito pauses to do some calculation, but ultimately decides to continue.

    After revealing just Thoughtseize, Saito picks up the pile of cards. In a flash, he plays Mox, Mystical Tutor, Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, Thoughtseize, and a now-hellbent Infernal Tutor, which finds the tenth spell of the turn, Tendrils of Agony.

    Tomoharu Saito 2 – 0 Ruben Gonzales Parrado

     

  • Semifinal - Tomoharu Saito vs David Do Anh
    by Tim Willoughby
  • David Do Anh

    For the semifinals of Grand Prix Madrid, we have an Ad Nauseam Tendrils mirror. While the decks are very similar, the players are quite different. Tomoharu Saito has a Player of the Year title and huge Pro Tour success to his name, the same of which cannot yet be said of 16 year old Czech player David Do Anh.

    What David does have going for him though is his record with the deck he's playing today. He has played a total of 3 Legacy tournaments. All have been with this deck. He has won all of them. Ad Nauseam is what he knows, and he romped to 2nd place in the swiss with the deck, so he is well qualified to be here.

    Saito won the roll, but had a mulligan on the play, finally leading with Underground Sea and a Sensei's Divining Top. Do Anh had Flooded Strand and nothing further to begin with.

    Saito began doing math from the second turn, working out what he needed to do to end the game fast. After a little thought, he looked at the top 3 cards of his deck with Sensei's Divining Top in his upkeep. He didn't have much more for the turn though, with just a Flooded Strand. David cracked his Strand at the end of turn, and went for a Tundra. Access to white mana would prove important, as Orim's Chant in Do Anh's deck would allow him to disrupt any attempt from Saito to go off. Saito had no such luxury, and would have to use discard spells to clear the way.

    David played an Underground Sea, and used it to cast his own Sensei's Divining Top. This would be a game of carefully building position, before brief flurries of activity. Winning with Storm rather requires such activity.

    The first big play of the game came from Saito, who played a Mystical Tutor to fetch Ad Nauseam, then used Sensei's Divining Top to draw it. A Dark Ritual from Saito was responded to by Do Anh with Orim's Chant. There would be no big storm for Saito this turn.

    The first barrage from Saito had been weathered by David Do Anh, and now it was his turn to build up to something. He used Sensei's Divining Top, then a fetchland, followed by Brainstorm to give him a great many options. A Mystical Tutor then let him both shuffle away those cards he didn't want, and find a Cabal Ritual, which would be worth a lot of mana given that Do Anh now had threshold.

    Two Cabal Rituals from Do Anh made 8 mana. Then came Ad Nauseam. It revealed

    Dark Ritual
    Ill-Gotten Gains
    Dark Ritual
    Orim's Chant
    Dark Ritual
    Wipe Away
    Mystical Tutor
    Duress

    These put Do Anh on four life, as he had already used some fetchlands.

    "I have a chance!" declared Saito, who looked on as Do Anh stopped with the Ad Nauseam, and started casting Dark Rituals.

    The 16 year old Czech player built up both storm and mana, casting Duress to snag that Ad Nauseam of Saito's (seeing an Infernal Tutor and Lotus Petal as well). Mystical Tutor from Do Anh found Tendrils of Agony, and Sensei's Divining Top drew it.

    Infernal Tutor found another Orim's Chant and upped the storm count to make Tendrils of Agony lethal.

    Tomoharu Saito 0 – 1 David Do Anh

    Tomoharu Saito

    Post sideboard games promised to be interesting, as both players had Sadistic Sacrament available to them, which could happily remove the other's win conditions. There was a real chance that Dark Confidant beatdown could decide the match.

    Saito kept on the play, dropping a Misty Rainforest onto the table and passing. Do Anh had a Tropical Island into Ponder. Saito fetched an Underground Sea at the end of turn, and untapped into a turn two Dark Confidant. The beatdown plan was on.

    Do Anh fetched an Underground Sea for his second turn, and played a Chrome Mox, imprinting Mystical Tutor. Next came Lion's Eye Diamond. Saito started to laugh, he might just be hit by the combo after all. Infernal Tutor was responded to by Do Anh by cracking his Lion's Eye Diamond. Do Anh had 4 black mana, and fetched Ad Nauseam. He tapped his Tropical Island to help cast it, and

    Cabal Ritual
    Brainstorm
    Mystical Tutor
    Extirpate
    Lotus Petal
    Lion's Eye Diamond
    Sensei's Divining Top
    Tundra
    Dark Ritual
    Dark Ritual
    Ill-Gotten Gains

    Still more cards came, and Do Anh went down to just one life before stopping. He stormed up and made a hefty amount of mana before using Ill-Gotten Gainsto get back some cards, most importantly Tendrils of Agony. Saito had no disruption, and was soon on the wrong end of a very much lethal Tendrils.

    David Do Anh wins 2 – 0, advancing to the finals.

     

  • Semifinal:An A-List Animated Affair - Andreas Müller vs. Richard Bland
    by Rich Hagon
  • All day yesterday, and all day today, Richard Bland has punished decks for not quite performing at optimum level. That’s what Zoo does – simply devours mediocrity, error, stumble, or fumble. Across the table, Andreas Müller has the explosive Reanimator strategy, and that can put Zoo in the bin faster than you can say “in the bin”. Even if you can say it really fast.

    Both players kept, with Müller on the play opening on “go”. That’s right, the first turn of the semifinal saw no land for the German, but with Reanimator decks, that might be a blessing. After Bland cast Wild Nacatl, Müller was able to spend his second turn discarding Sphinx of the Steel Wind. In came the Wild Nacatl, with Kird Ape and then Chain Lightning completing the turn, Müller now at fourteen.

    At last, the first land arrived on the German side, a Polluted Delta that became Underground Sea. Reanimate brought the Sphinx onto the battlefield, but the German was down to just five life. Could Bland apply the burn to take Game 1? Chain Lightning....Müller at two....Lightning Bolt....

    Force of Will! Müller at one! Literally spine-tingling Magic. Did Bland have one more burn spell?

    “Go.”

    The sweetest two letters ever heard for Müller. In came the Sphinx, and Müller was back to seven, and it was hard to see Bland winning from here. Brainstorm at end of turn for Müller only added to the fact that there was a 6/6 flying, vigilance, first strike, lifelink, protection from red and from green monster on the table. Bland was down to seven, Müller up to twelve, and it was all one-way traffic. Bland swept up his permanents, having ended a lightning-fast Game 1 just one lightning point short.

    Andreas Müller 1, Richard Bland 0.

    Andreas Muller

    As soon as he uttered the words “So close, so close”, it was clear that Bland was heading for six cards. Kird Ape and Tormod’s Crypt opened the game, and Crypt isn’t shabby against a deck that relies on the graveyard. Müller opened on Careful Study, sending a land and Iona, Shield of Emeria to the bin. In came a thoroughly unimpressive Kird Ape as a 1/1, and Chain Lightning sent Müller to sixteen, rather than the fifteen he was expecting. “Strong”, deadpanned Bland.

    Reanimate for Müller left the Englishman no choice but to blow his Tormod’s Crypt, emptying the German graveyard. Another 1/1 Ape attack, another Chain Lightning, and Müller was at twelve, in a weird version of beatdown. Grim Lavamancer joined the timid little 1/1, leaving Bland just two cards in hand after his mulligan.

    With more pain coming from fetchlands, Müller slipped into single digits, and cast Show and Tell. It resolved, and while Bland got Sylvan Library, Müller had Empyrial Archangel. Sure, it flies. Sure, it has Shroud. Sure, it has five power. More to the point, it has EIGHT toughness, and everything goes her way. She is, in common parlance, a kicking.

    Bland wasn’t going to give up easily. He paid four life to the Sylvan Library, and passed with three cards in hand. In came the Archangel, dropping the Englishman to eleven. Müller passed, seemingly in control. So often a gamebreaker for Bland, could Sylvan Library come to his rescue at the last moment? He could drop to just three and take all the cards available, be picky and drop to seven, or remain at eleven with no significant Sylvan edge. That was the path he chose, attacking with just the Kird Ape, and falling to six when the Empyrial Archangel smashed again. Müller stood at nine, but unless the Archangel could be defeated, that nine might as well be infinite. Bland, with no better use for it, cast Path to Exile on his own Kird Ape, searching out a land and at least allowing him one more possible look into his Sylvan Library future, a future that looked likely to have death written all over it.

    Chain Lightning – resolve.
    Lightning Bolt – resolve.
    Grim Lavamancer activation – resolve.

    The Empyrial Archangel was dead. Dead dead dead dead dead, deader than a dead thing. D E A D spells Dead.

    Müller cast Exhume.

    Chain Lightning you.
    Lightning Helix you.
    Grim Lavamancer activation, you.”

    The Empyrial Archangel was dead. No, not a misprint, actually in the bin, not breathing, dead.

    Müller cast Exhume. Bland cast Tarmogoyf. These things are not the same...

    Müller went right back to work, with Mystical Tutor searching up Misdirection, to the accompanying sound of a door being thoroughly nailed shut. Bland wasn’t dead, but he was on the kind of life support that only the mad or the British would try to survive. He blew up his own Qasali Pridemage to put Sylvan Library in the bin, making Tarmogoyf truly enormous, and then activating the Grim Lavamancer to finish the Empyrial Archangel for the third time.

    Ding dong, the witch is dead etc, etc, etc.

    The crowd went NUTS. Twenty-four points of damage had been dealt to the Angel, and now, against all possible reason, Müller was into the tank, with a grip of doom against nothing in Bland’s hand, but facing down a giant Tarmogoyf and a small Grim Lavamancer. His choice was Perish, and Bland laid a Wooded Foothills before leaving Grim Lavamancer back, ready to start eating his own graveyard in pursuit of victory.

    Careful Study from Müller, discarding two Reanimate, cards he wouldn’t be casting any time soon. Bland fetched yet another dual land and dropped to two, before activating his Lavamancer, sending Müller to seven. Implausible. Utterly, utterly implausible.

    Bland added a second Lavamancer, leaving Müller to cast Entomb. Sphinx of the Steel Wind hit the graveyard, practically begging to join the fray somehow. Müller passed, and another two cards got eaten, dropping Müller to five. Bland found Tarmogoyf on top of his deck, and when he cast it, Müller responded with Mystical Tutor, searching up Exhume. The Tarmogoyf resolved, and Bland went deep into thought, desperately trying to avoid a fourth encounter with the mighty Angel. Both Lavamancers attacked, leaving Müller at three.

    The German drew his Exhume, but now led by the narrowest of margins at three life to two. A crowd six-deep had gathered to witness this rearguard action by the Brit Bland. The German Exhume returned Tarmogoyf for Bland, and Sphinx of the Steel Wind for Müller. He passed, and the crowd held its collective breath.

    In came all three monsters. The Sphinx gained six life for Müller, but the second Tarmogoyf dealt six right back, leaving him at three. Grim Lavamancer dealt one, and the second Lavamancer was able to swallow the last two cards from Bland’s graveyard, completing one of the most miraculous comebacks in Magic history.

    Andreas Müller 1 Richard Bland 1.

    Richard Bland

    Bonkers.

    For Game 3, Müller liked his opening seven, presumably still wondering exactly what he was doing still playing in the semis, and not waiting for the final to start. Bland, meanwhile, sent seven away, aware that despite those second-game heroics, he was facing an amazingly explosive deck, on the draw. Land opened for Müller, with the huge crowd still buzzing. Bland began with Tormod’s Crypt, a card that might at least buy him a little time. When he attempted to add Wild Nacatl, Müller responded with Mystical Tutor, finding Brainstorm, before using Daze to counter the Nacatl. Bland tried again, with Qasali Pridemage causing Müller to respond with Brainstorm. Another counter? Or just the right time to cast the Instant? Daze again, and the board was empty of creatures for Bland, and empty of everything for Müller.

    A second Mystical Tutor for Müller brought him Show and Tell, not a card particularly good for Bland’s heart rate. He laid land number two, and passed, but the lack of action from Bland was significant. Tarmogoyf met yet another counterspell, and this time it was Force of Will, removing Daze. Land number three for Müller, but presumably nothing to power out with Show and Tell. Bland passed yet again, and the hushed expectation among the huge crowd continued to grow.

    Careful Study drew Müller two cards deeper, discarding two land, and passing. With the long-ago cast Tormod’s Crypt in play, the German was looking to bypass the graveyard route entirely with his blue Urza’s Saga Sorcery. Brainstorm, and you could almost hear the sound of him digging through the library. What on earth did Bland have in hand that he would pass so many turns running? Nothing but land would be the most obvious and most disappointing answer, but he had shown throughout the weekend an inability to lay down and die.

    Three land for Müller. Three words for Müller. Show. And. Tell.

    Müller had Sphinx of the Steel Wind. Bland put a Mountain into play. These two are not the same either...

    Bland cast Grim Lavamancer, but that “nothing but land” looked increasingly likely. Everything he’d thrown at Müller had been countered in the early game, and now Müller had established a mighty bridgehead to the final, leading by twenty-three to ten. Reanimate wanted to bring Bland’s Tarmogoyf back to life, and losing two life barely put a dent in the German life total, at twenty-one.

    Wild Nacatl surely wasn’t relevant. Bland fell to four, destroying what was ultimately his own Tarmogoyf, and now needed Path to Exile very, very badly. He cast Tarmogoyf, and passed the turn. In Müller’s upkeep, Bland forced himself to keep breathing via Lightning Helix, but trailed thirty life to one.

    All good things, except possibly pizza, must come to an end, and there was no fairytale Path to Exile waiting for Bland to prolong the agony any longer. Match 7,756 of 7,757 at the biggest Magic event of all time might very well have been the very, very best.

    Andre Müller 2 Richard Bland 1.

     

  • Podcast - The Final
    by Rich Hagon
  • Multi

    Using the wonders of time compression, which he's just invented, Rich brings you warp-speed coverage of the Final here at Grand Prix Madrid. Surely nothing could top the semifinal between Reanimator and Zoo? Click here for a six minute thrill ride to close out a record-obliterating weekend. Let's do it all again very soon.

    Download MP3

     

  • Final - Andreas Müller vs. David Do Anh
    by Tobias Henke
  • David Do Anh prepares mentally for the finals.

    Last season the Czech Republich and Germany were the two most succesful nations on the European Grand Prix circuit. The Czech were responsible for six top-eight appearances, the Germans for 11, as well as three wins. And here we find ourselves in the final match of the first European Grand Prix 2010 with those two countries battling it out.

    The matchup - Reanimator against Ad Nauseam Tendrils, looked likely to be an explosive one. Ad Nauseam Tendrils can go off fast, but Reanimator has plenty of tools to slow it down, from Force of Will and Daze to the biggest trump of all - Iona, Shield of Emeria.

    The first game in what would be the final match started with Brainstorm from Do Anh and Thoughtseize from Müller. The discard spell revealed a hand with a bunch of Rituals and Lotus Petals alongside Infernal Tutor, but not much business in the card-drawing department, so Müller took Ponder.

    On turn two... well, on turn two Do Anh went off. Two Lotus Petals, a fetchland, and a Cabal Ritual had him reach Threshold, another Cabal Rituals made him reach hellbent status. Infernal Tutor searched Ad Nauseam and the black instant was cast with one black mana floating.

    More Lotus Petals, Cabal Ritual, and two Lion’s Eye Diamonds, Duress, and another Infernal Tutor followed. That of course found lethal Tendrils of Agony, or would have if not for this exchange:

    “Do you want me to show you?” Do Anh asked, reaching for his library. “The Tendrils?”
    “Nah, it’s OK,” replied Müller, shrugging it off.

    Andreas Müller 0 – 1 David Do Anh

    A different kind of lethal Tendrils of Agony

    The fourth turn of the match was Müller’s and also it was the beginning of the second game. He cast Careful Study and carefully study he did, when he drew Iona, Shield of Emeria and Show and Tell. He finally chose to discard Entomb and Inkwell Leviathan. Do Anh’s first turn was not bad either with Chrome Mox (imprinting Mystical Tutor), Tropical Island, and Sensei’s Divining Top. Only Müller had the Force of Will ready to stop the Top, though he needed to pitch his Show and Tell to pay for it.

    Next turn, Müller cast another Careful Study and now without Show and Tell he could just as well discard Iona. This was turn two and it passed on both sides of the table without further action. Turn three looked as if it might go the same way, but in Do Anh’s end step Müller cast Brainstorm followed by Mystical Tutor, setting up Thoughtseize. In response to Thoughtseize it was Do Anh’s turn to Mystical Tutor. He, of course, went for the namesake card of his deck: Ad Nauseam, safely hiding it away on the top of his library, while Thoughtseize took Dark Ritual out of a hand which now held one Cabal Ritual and one Lotus Petal only.

    In Do Anh’s end step, Müller tapped out for Brainstorm at which point the Czech stopped him. “Cabal Ritual is a sorcery, right?” Müller asked, slightly uncertain. Turns out, it isn’t. Müller smiled nervously, as he watched the powerful instant resolve. Ad Nauseam proceeded to draw cards amounting to 12 points of life, after which Müller was allowed to resolve his Brainstorm. Do Anh discarded four lands, four Brainstorm, and two Duress. You can probably imagine how good his hand was at this point.

    Müller was not out of gas yet either. On his turn he brought back Iona by means of a Reanimate. By choosing blue, he gave Do Anh the chance to go off, but he would have to do so without card drawing or search. The only way that Do Anh had to get rid of it was with a lone Slaughter Pact. When Do Anh cast Duress, revealed to be holding two Spell Pierces, one of which went to the bin. The other was used on Cabal Ritual and that was good enough to at least delay Do Anh’s combo for one more turn. One more turn was, of course, all it took for Iona, Shield of Emeria to get rid of the remaining four points of life

    Andreas Müller 1 – 1 David Do Anh

    Off to the final game of the final match: Do Anh started with Sensei’s Divining Top on turn one, Müller had Careful Study, discarding Iona and a land. Do Anh used Top in his upkeep, played a fetchland and passed the turn. Likewise in his upkeep, Müller cast Mystical Tutor, getting Thoughtseize. He cast it and once again Do Anh responded with Mystical Tutor putting Ad Nauseam on top of his library.

    When the Thoughtseize resolved, Müller didn’t seem happy at all to see the following line-up: Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Lotus Petal, and Infernal Tutor. No matter what he took, Do Anh would still be able to go off! To not make it too easy for him, one Diamond had to go.

    In his upkeep Do Anh rearranged the top three cards of his library, so he wouldn’t draw Ad Nauseam just yet. Instead he laid a third land, cast Lotus Petal and Lion’s Eye Diamond, sacrificing the latter, before using Sensei’s Divining Top to get Ad Nauseam.

    Daze from Müller meant he had to sacrifice Lotus Petal too, and start the combo without any mana in his pool. But with 19 life left to spend, that surely wasn’t going to be a problem, was it?

    Andreas Muller watches on nervously as Ad Nauseam resolves

    Sensei’s Divining Top – 18
    Misty Rainforest – 18
    Ill-Gotten Gains – 14
    Dark Ritual – 13
    Polluted Delta – 13
    Mystical Tutor – 12
    Underground Sea – 12
    Ponder – 11
    Orim’s Chant – 10
    Dark Ritual – 9
    Orim’s Chant – 8
    Cabal Ritual – 6
    Infernal Tutor – 4

    Still, he had not found a single source of mana, that didn’t require an input of mana first. Without any in his pool, Do Anh was forced to press on. He turned the next card: Tendrils of Agony! Down to zero! We have a winner! As his deck’s kill spell turned on him, Do Anh slumped back in his chair. Müller raised his hands to his head in exultation and disbelief, as the crowd erupted in applause.

    Congratulations to Andreas Müller, the champion of the largest Magic tournament in history!

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