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Casadei Crowned Champion in Moscow

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Facing a field of 869 competitors from 30 countries, Luca Casadei from Italy has won Grand Prix Moscow, defeating Wenzel Krautmann from Germany in the finals.

Luca, who has affiliated with the Izzet guild, posted a 7-2 record during Day 1's sealed deck play, and then didn't lose another match in the draft rounds. Prior to this event, Luca had drafted M13 well over 200 times on Magic Online, and that experience paid off big time as he assembled a deadly blue-black deck with an exalted theme in the Top 8.

We've had a great weekend all around, and the hall has been brimming with excitement from the Russian competitors who were pumped to have a shot at Grand Prix glory in Russia. Two Russian players, Petr Kuznetsov and Roman Masaladzhiu, made it to the semifinals in their quest to keep the title in their home country, but in the end no one could get in the way of the Italian player.

Congratulations to Luca Casadei, our Grand Prix Moscow 2012 Champion!



Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
1 Chuhwichev, Anatoly Kuznetsov, Petr 2-1
6 Kuznetsov, Petr Krautmann, Wenzel 2-0
8 Tolkatchov, Dmitriy Krautmann, Wenzel 2-0 Luca Casadei 2-1
5 Krautmann, Wenzel
2 Kerem, Hannes Masaladzhiu, Roman 2-1
7 Masaladzhiu, Roman Luca Casadei 2-1
3 Yarosh, Konstantin Casadei, Luca 2-0
4 Casadei, Luca









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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Casadei, Luca $3,500
 2.   Krautmann, Wenzel $2,300
 3.   Kuznetsov, Petr $1,500
 4.  Masaladzhiu, Roman $1,500
 5.  Chuhwichev, Anatoly $1,000
 6.  Kerem, Hannes $1,000
 7.  Yarosh, Konstantin $1,000
 8.  Tolkatchov, Dmitriy $1,000
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Top 8 Profiles

by Event Coverage Staff



Hannes Kerem

Age: 24
Hometown: Keila, Estonia
Occupation: I watch football.
Guild: Rakdos

Previous Magic accomplishments:
World Championship Top 8, three times National Top 8

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Blue-red with Talrand, the Sky Summoner and 13 instants/sorceries. 5-1 after three byes.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Unsummon in a blue-green kinda fast deck.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Akroma's Memorial in a red-black kinda fast deck.

What is your favorite Return to Ravnica preview card so far?

Slitherhead
Slitherhead




Wenzel Krautmann

Age: 30
Hometown: Tübingen, Germany
Occupation: Law student
Guild: Don't know yet.

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Two times Grand Prix Top 8, Pro Tour Top 50.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
8-1 with the help of Rhox Faithmender.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-1 with red-black and four Murders!

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Green-white with Rhox Faithmender. 2-0-1.




Luca Casadei

Age: 24
Hometown: Rimini, Italy
Occupation: Poker coach and player
Guild: Izzet


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Some Pro Tour Day 2s.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Garruk's Packleader in green-red. 7-2.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
3-0 with red-blue control. Stormtide Leviathan.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-0-1 with blue-white fliers. Sublime Archangel.




Petr Kuznetsov

Age: 21
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Occupation: Manager
Guild: Orzhov

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Fourth place at 140-player PTQ.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Akroma's Memorial. Blue-black

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
Black-green-red with Krenko, Mob Boss. 3-0.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
1-1-1 with white-blue. Sleep.




Dmitri Tolkachev

Age: 18
Hometown: Bryansk, Russia
Occupation: Student
Guild: Boros

Previous Magic accomplishments:
None.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
8-1 with black-red. Thundermaw Hellkite.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-1 with blue-white. Talrand's Invocation.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-0-1 with black-green. Vampire Nighthawk.




Konstantin Yarosh

Age: 32
Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine
Occupation: Business man
Guild: Golgari

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 3 at Ukrainian Nationals.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
8-1 with blue-black aggro-control. Vampire Nighthawk.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-1 with blue-white-black. Arctic Aven.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-0-1 with white-black exalted. Planar Cleansing.

What is your favorite card from Return to Ravnica that has been previewed so far?

Abrupt Decay
Abrupt Decay




Anatoly Chuhwichov

Age: 34
Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Occupation: Jobless poor guy
Guild: Azorius

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Day 2 at Grand Prix Milan.

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
9-0 (three byes) with black-white. Mutilate was great!

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-1 with red-green. Rancor.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
One win with green-white, then two intentional draws. I won by sideboarding Naturalize.

What is your favorite card from Return to Ravnica that has been previewed so far?

Lotleth Troll
Lotleth Troll




Roman Masaladzhiu

Age: 29
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Occupation: Lawyer
Guild: Boros

Previous Magic accomplishments:
Just everybody knows me!

What was the best card in your Sealed Deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
8-1 with black-green. Thragtusk.

What was the best card in your first draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-1 with black-white. Serra Angel.

What was the best card in your second draft deck, what color combination did you play, and what was your record?
2-0-1 with blue-red. Krenko, Mob Boss.

What is your favorite card from Return to Ravnica that has been previewed so far?

Detention Sphere
Detention Sphere




 

Quarterfinals - Hannes Kerem vs. Roman Masaladzhiu

by Tobi Henke


It's only the second Top 8 of Hannes Kerem's career, but his previous one came at the World Championship in 2008 which easily marked him as the most accomplished player in this Top 8. He had drafted a blue-green tempo deck, its highlights being the finishers Sleep and Predatory Rampage.

Hannes Kerem and Roman Masaladzhiu

Sitting across from him was Roman Masaladzhiu, the hometown hero. Throughout the day, whenever he was called to the feature match area an unbelievable cheer went through the crowd. Maybe even more, the crowd cheered on Riccardo Tessitori, our poor head judge, whose attempts to pronounce Masaladzhiu's last name gradually improved over the weekend. Masaladzhiu had drafted a slow but powerful red-green deck with a splash of black supported by Farseek.

Game 1

Kerem led with a pair of Islands and nothing else. "Mono-blue control?" Masaladzhiu joked. "Almost," replied Kerem, dropping a Forest and a Wind Drake.

Masaladzhiu's start wasn't the best either, with Wall of Fire on turn three followed by Spiked Baloth. Meanwhile Kerem had started the beatdown with his flier and deployed a Spiked Baloth of his own, as well as an Elvish Visionary and a Timberpack Wolf.


Once Masaladzhiu reached five mana, Kerem was in for a surprise though. Mindclaw Shaman took a peek at his hand, and look what he found: Predatory Rampage! Kerem's own sorcery turned against him, turned Spiked Baloth into an 7/5 monster, which in turn turned sideways to wipe all of Kerem's board except for Wind Drake. Quite a turn!

The Drake continued the job of beating down, but its measly 2 points of damage per turn seemed awfully unimpressive when Masaladzhiu summoned Thragtusk. A newly-cast Voidstalker for Kerem first killed Mindclaw Shaman in combat (with the help of Titanic Growth), then took care of Thragtusk, leaving Masaladzhiu with a 3/3 token.

However, Kerem was almost out of gas by now—a lowly Timberpack Wolf was all he could muster—whereas Masaladzhiu was only just beginning: Firewing Phoenix provided him with a veritable airforce of his own and Essence Drain killed Kerem's Drake. 3/3 token and Phoenix soon wrapped up the game.

Hannes Kerem 0-1 Roman Masaladzhiu

Game 2

Kerem looked disappointed, almost hurt, when his supposed tempo deck once again didn't deliver a smooth opening. This time, he had a two-drop in Timberpack Wolf, but nothing on three. He wasn't entirely happy with his Primal Huntbeast either, as Masaladzhiu had just deployed a Wall of Fire. He cast Fungal Sprouting for three Saprolings, which Masaladzhiu basically undid immediately via Chandra's Fury.

Acidic Slime destroyed Kerem's only Forest, leaving him without play, then it was once again time for Mindclaw Shaman. Kerem's hand was Negate, Sleep, Encrust, Elvish Visionary, and a Switcheroo which Masaladzhiu took, simply casting it on two of his own creatures.

Without green mana, Kerem spent the next couple of turns simply drawing cards and passing back to Masaladzhiu who summoned Spiked Baloth, cast an Elixir of Immortality and a Farseek. The Baloth traded with Kerem's Wolf, Acidic Slime got stuck under Encrust, and soon Masaladzhiu had to cease fire. By now he had two Walls and a Mindclaw Shaman, but the former couldn't attack and the latter wouldn't in the face of Kerem's Primal Huntbeast.

Hannes Kerem event up the match

Masaladzhiu used Elixir of Immortality to hopefully improve his draws, but the game entered a phase were nothing much was happening at all. Masaladzhiu was throroughly (and sorrowfully) flooded, while Kerem was yet waiting for some reforestation.

After what seemed an eternity, Kerem found a Forest and began unloading his hand. Well, not really, since Elvish Visonary replaced itself. A second Elvish Visionary found a second Forest, and Kerem also dropped a Scroll Thief and a Yeva's Forcemage.

Masaladzhiu still knew some of the cards in Kerem's hand. One was Sleep which was cast just now. The other was Negate which was cast when Masaladzhiu tried to copy Sleep with Reverberate. The resulting damage (and card draw via Scroll Thief) was too much and soon the score stood at ...

Hannes Kerem 1-1 Roman Masaladzhiu

Game 3

Fresh off a mulligan, Kerem had no plays for the first three turns, while Masaladzhiu did, but didn't really get anywhere with Ring of Valkas followed by Wall of Fire. His Canyon Minotaur looked considerably more interesting as did Kerem's Spiked Baloth. The latter was shot down with Turn to Slag and the Minotaur drew first blood.

Kerem summoned Primal Huntbeast, which kept Canyon Minotaur at bay. Masaladzhiu summoned Dragon Hatchling, apparently liked it, and put a Ring on it.

Roman Masaladzhiu takes this match and moves onto the semifinals

The growing Dragon Hatchling brought Kerem to 8 before he found an answer in Voidstalker, and its final attack put him at 3, and soon it was all over. Malasadzhiu summoned Spiked Baloth, all ringed-up and hasty, and delivered the final blow.

Fun fact: All this time, since the beginning of the game, Kerem had been holding Predatory Rampage, but could never use it profitably because of Ring of Valkas.

Hannes Kerem 1-2 Roman Masaladzhiu




 

Sunday 7:48 p.m. - Top 8 drafting with Luca Casadei

by Frank Karsten


Before the Top 8 started, Antonino de Rosa came up to me to endorse his compatriot Luca Casadei. "He is a good player, he has Pro Tour experience, and he has drafted M13 well over 200 times on Magic Online," Antonino said. That's an incredible number of drafts, especially considering that the set has only been out for a couple of months. I clearly didn't want to pass up the opportunity of watching the draft of a player with that much experience in the format.

Let's get to the draft!

Pack 1

Pick 1: Knight of Infamy (over Sentinel Spider and Void Stalker)
Pick 2: Attended Knight (over Griffin Protector and Deadly Recluse)
Pick 3: Essence Scatter (over Angelic Benediction and Furnace Whelp)
Pick 4: Divination (over Ring of Thune and Timberpack Wolf)
Pick 5: Servant of Nefarox (over Evolving Wilds and Encrust)
Pick 6: Evolving Wilds (over Vedalken Entrancer and Dark Favor)
Pick 7: Duskmantle Prowler (over Walking Corpse and Elvish Visionary)
Pick 8: Mark of the Vampire (over Vedalken Entrancer)
Pick 9: Dragon Hatchling (over Divine Favor)
Pick 10: Bloodthrone Vampire (over Volcanic Strength)
Pick 11: Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
Pick 12: Wild Guess
Pick 13: Index
Pick 14: Bountiful Harvest

After the draft, Luca said that he actually preferred green decks in this format, but he felt that Knight of Infamy was simply a better card than Sentinel Spider. After that first pick, Luca kept taking the best card in the pack all the time. As Pack 1 progressed, Luca began to cement himself in black and blue, although white was still an option.

Looking to his neighbors during the review segment of the draft, I saw that his left neighbor was on Red-Green, while his right neighbor was on Green-White. So staying in Black-Blue would probably be a profitable move.

Pack 2

Pick 1: Faerie Invaders (over Liliana's Shade, Turn to Slag, and Sentinel Spider)
Pick 2: Scroll Thief (over Serra Angel and Attended Knight)
Pick 3: Divination (over Crippling Blight and Griffin Protector)
Pick 4: Archaeomancer (over Crippling Blight and Mark of the Vampire)
Pick 5: Sign in Blood (over Drowned Catacomb and Walking Corpse)
Pick 6: Tormented Soul (over Kraken Hatchling and Phyrexian Hulk)
Pick 7: Duty-Bound Dead (over Mind Rot and Walking Corpse)
Pick 8: Harbor Serpent (over Kraken Hatchling and Ring of Evos Isle)
Pick 9: Angelic Benediction
Pick 10: Blood Reckoning
Pick 11: Dark Favor
Pick 12: Guardians of Akrasa
Pick 13: Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
Pick 14: Rain of Blades

Luca faced a difficult second pick here: take the Serra Angel and leave the blue, or stay on the blue path by picking the slightly weaker Scroll Thief? Luca chose the latter because he felt that blue was much more open, given his observations from the previous pack.

After that, Luca was basically fixed on blue-black. The second pack provided a nice selection of card draw spells, evasion creatures, and exalted creatures. His deck was shaping up fine, though it was not spectacular.

Pack 3

Pick 1: Servant of Nefarox (over Serra Angel and Sleep)
Pick 2: Stuffy Doll (over Bloodhunter Bat and Tormented Soul)
Pick 3: Mutilate (over Servant of Nefarox and Arctic Aven)
Pick 4: Switcheroo (over Crippling Blight and Diabolic Revelation)
Pick 5: Tricks of the Trade (over Rewind and Sign in Blood)
Pick 6: Essence Scatter (over Faerie Invaders and Archaeomancer)
Pick 7: Unsummon (over Glacial Fortress and Veilborn Ghoul)
Pick 8: Scroll Thief (over Harbor Serpent)
Pick 9: Kraken Hatchling (over Watercourser)
Pick 10: Jace's Phantasm
Pick 11: Giant Scorpion
Pick 12: Harbor Serpent
Pick 13: Merfolk of the Pearl Trident
Pick 14: Craterize

Another Serra Angel? Luca realized that he could have had two Serra Angels if he had made the switch to white earlier, but now it was too late for that now.

Luca took his time for the second pick. Stuffy Doll did not fit his deck very well and would easily die to the many Crippling Blights that had been going around the table earlier. He still took the Doll over one of the black cards because, after a quick count of the number of playables in the booster, he was hoping that one of the two black evasive creatures would wheel. Unfortunately, neither did.


The third-pick Mutilate was also a tough one, as Servant of Nefarox fit the exalted theme of his deck much better. Nevertheless, he felt that if he drew Mutilate in his opening hand, he would be able to craft a game plan around it.

All in all, Luca was not very happy about his deck, but was still hoping to be able to win some rounds with it.




 

Top 8 Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff


Roman Masaladzhiu
Grand Prix Moscow 2012 - Top 8

Hannes Kerem
Grand Prix Moscow 2012 - Top 8




 

Semifinals - Petr Kuznetsov vs. Wenzel Krautmann

by Frank Karsten


Having won their respective quarterfinals and the coveted Pro Tour Gatecrash invitation that goes with it, Wenzel Krautmann from Germany (in his third Grand Prix Top 8) and Petr Kuznetsov from Russia (the hometown hero) shuffled up their decks and got down to the match at hand. Wenzel had drafted an excellent red-black deck featuring lots of Goblins and burn, while Petr brought a green-black deck with a red splash to the table.

Game 1

Petr got to play first and cast Ravenous Rats and Ring of Kalonia on turns two and three. (That's not a combo, by the way.) Wenzel, in the meantime, lacked red mana and was unable to cast any of the red spells in his hand. The all-Swamp board of Wenzel still allowed him to play a Liliana's Shade followed by another one, although they quickly fell to Cower in Fear and Public Execution.

As the game developed, Wenzel sat with 7 red cards and 7 Swamps in play, and even had to discard a Torch Fiend at some point because he was unable to play any of his spells. Petr, on the other side of the table, was unable to punish Wenzel for his mana screw, as he was holding a bunch of lands, a useless Plummet, and an Acidic Slime that he was saving for a Mountain.

When Wenzel finally drew a Mountain, he was able to get a Mogg Flunkies in play before the Acidic Slime stopped his ability to play red spells again. But Wenzel could still cast the black spells that he started drawing in lieu of a Mountain: Essence Drain dealt with Acidic Slime, and Rise from the Grave on Acidic Slime took out Petr's Ring of Kalonia.

Petr Kuznetsov

Next, Giant Scorpion and Mark of the Vampire provided Wenzel with a 3/5 lifelink deathtouch creature. It provided huge life swings for a while, until Petr drew a Murder to deal with it.

Petr drew some small creatures that traded against some of Wenzel's creatures, but mainly Petr just drew a lot of lands. At some point, Petr had 12 lands in play, while Wenzel only had 6.

Then, finally, with 11 cards left in his deck, Wenzel found a Mountain! Yes, there was only one Mountain in the top 28 cards of Wenzel's deck. Really astronomical odds. But now Wenzel could play his red spells again. An Arms Dealer, Mogg Flunkies, and Goblin Battle Jester later, Wenzel was attacking for lethal. He didn't even need the Krenko, Mob Boss or the Volcanic Geyser that he still had in his hand (and still couldn't cast).

Wenzel Krautmann 1 - Petr Kuznetsov 0

As he was reaching for his sideboard, Wenzel summarized the game: "Pfff...Mono Black! That Acidic Slime was rough. It took me hours and hours to find another Mountain."

Game 2

Petr had to mulligan twice, and then kept his five-carder with a sigh. A turn 1 Duress from Wenzel revealed the hand that Petr had kept: Acidic Slime, Public Execution, Essence Drain, Centaur Courser, and Mountain. Essence Drain had to go.

Wenzel Krautmann

A Mountain and a Forest off the top meant that Petr could play his Centaur Courser, but it quickly fell to Searing Spear. Wenzel, in the meantime, was not wasting any time: he upped the pressure with two Mogg Flunkies and a Servant of Nefarox. Petr, still struggling with his mulligans, could not muster a defense. A couple short swings later, Wenzel was on to the Finals.

Wenzel Krautmann 2 - Petr Kuznetsov 0




 

Finals - Luca Casadei vs. Wenzel Krautmann

by Tobi Henke


This was it. One more match before a new champion would be crowned. Both players, German Wenzel Krautmann and Italian Luca Casadei, had just dispatched the last of the Russians in their respective semi finals, to the big disappointment of the audience. Still the finals gathered quite a crowd, slightly undecided who to root for, despite the best efforts of Antonino DeRosa who wanted to draw everyone to the Italian side.

Game 1

Krautmann, playing first, went off to a fast start with Chronomaton, Walking Corpse, and Torch Fiend, but it seemed as if Casadei's was the perfect anti deck, putting an early stop to the German offensive with Kraken Hatchling and Giant Scorpion. Casadei fell to 18, but only because he chose to, casting Sign in Blood. Krautmann wanted to have some card drawing to and summoned Rummaging Goblin.

Casadei had Essence Scatter for Liliana's Shade, then summoned Stuffy Doll, further clogging up the board. A second Liliana's Shade for Krautmann did nothing to change that, and neither did the fact that his Chronomaton grew to 5/5.

Wenzel Krautmann

Casadei put Mark of the Vampire on Stuffy Doll. Now, whenever he activated it to deal 1 damage to itself, he would gain 2 life. Krautmann took down Giant Scorpion with Searing Spear at end of turn, put his own Mark of the Vampire on Chronomaton and attacked with the resulting 7/7.

... which somehow only made Casadei gain 9 life, since all the life Krautmann gained through lifelink was immediately subtracted again through Stuffy Doll. Oops. When Casadei added insult to injury, performing a quick Switcheroo on his Kraken Hatchling and the truly monstrous Chronomaton. Krautmann quickly picked up his cards.

"I think, you misplayed that," said Casadei. Krautmann could only agree. "But I don't think I can actually beat that anyway."

Luca Casadei 1-0 Wenzel Krautmann

Game 2

This time Krautmann began with a threat Casadei might have a more difficult time trying to stop—Tormented Soul. He followed it up with Giant Scorpion, while Casadei played a Scroll Thief. Krautmann resolved Liliana's Shade, Casadei had Servant of Nefarox.

Krautmann got in with Tormented Soul and his Shade before casting Goblin Battle Jester—apparently his deck wasn't quite as vulnerable to Stuffy Doll as he had wanted to make Casadei believe. Another Servant of Nefarox for Casadei meant Scroll Thief attacked as a 3/5 and traded with Giant Scorpion. Then Krautmann summoned the boss, Krenko, Mob Boss, to be precise. "Murder?"

Casadei had no Murder but he did have Mark of the Vampire, resulting in an attacking 7/5 Servant of Nefarox, which was taken down by Liliana's Shade and Goblin Battle Jester.

Casadei was now down to one Servant of Nefarox as his only nonland permanent, whereas Krautmann replaced his fallen Goblin Battle Jester with a new one and proceeded to create some Goblins. More followed and without an immediate answer, or any answer at all, Casadei quickly moved on to sideboarding.

Luca Casadei 1-1 Wenzel Krautmann

Game 3

Things took a turn to the worse for Krautmann. One mulligan was followed by another, his Swamp was followed by no land at all, and when he finally found another land all he could do with that was to cast Mogg Flunkies—not exactly the best at playing lone wolf.

Meanwhile, Casadei's deck worked beautifully. What had seemed like a clear-cut control deck in the first game revealed itself to be much more aggressive than Krautmann had anticipated. Knight of Infamy, Servant of Nefarox, and Servant of Nefarox delivered some quick beatings.

Krautmann fought back valiantly, killed one Servant with Crippling Blight, then the other with another Crippling Blight. (No, his deck really wasn't bad against Stuffy Doll at all.)

Luca Casadei, your 2012 Grand Prix Moscow winner.

But the Knight beat down relentlessly. When Krautmann was on single-digit life and still stuck on two lands, he took a quick peek at Casadei's hand with Duress and extended his hand in concession.

Luca Casadei 2-1 Wenzel Krautmann

Congratulations to Luca Casadei, champion of Grand Prix Moscow 2012!




 

The Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Moscow

by Tobias Henke



1. Clone

Magic 2013 is chock-full of awesome creatures (just look at the other entries on this list!), and what's better than having one awesome creature? Having two awesome creatures! What's worse though is when an awesome creature shows up on the other side of the table. Thankfully, Clone helps in both scenarios, either leveling the playing field or turning a favorable situation into a win. This weekend, we saw Clones of Thundermaw Hellkite, of Sublime Archangel, of Vampire Nighthawk, Vampire Nocturnus, of Sphinx of Uthuun, and—briefly—of Krenko, Mob Boss.






2. Rain of Blades

Whether it's Krenko's Command or Captain's Call, Attended Knight or Captain of the Watch, tokens are everywhere! Antonino DeRosa even put Fungal Sprouting to good use in his draft deck. And those 1/1s—and there are a lot more than just tokens—can get quite aggressive, with the help of Trumpet Blast or Glorious Charge, for example. Many players drafted blisteringly fast token decks ... while some players drafted the perfect foil to that strategy in Rain of Blades. Rain of Blades turned out to be one of the most important sideboard cards this weekend. Goblins, Saprolings, Soldiers, some Elves, many an army died an untimely death, often in response to Trumpet Blast or Glorious Charge, turning what seemed like a certain win into, well, a certain win, but for the other player.






3. Acidic Slime

Perennial favorite Acidic Slime proved itself time and time again over the course of this tournament. All the "flashy stuff"—the Angels, the Dragons—might draw more attention, but a lot more games are won by the small stuff, the gradual accumulation of small advantages. And no card does it better than Acidic Slime, whether it's killing enchantments like Pacifism, artifacts like Primal Clay, or simply lands like, say, Forests or Mountains. Two differnet copies of Acidic Slime did just that in the quarterfinal between Hannes Kerem and Roman Masaladzhiu and in the semifinal between Petr Kuznetsov and Wenzel Krautmann, both times deciding that respective game.






4 & 5. A Tie: Krenko, Mob Boss and Sublime Archangel

At the final outing of the M13 Limited format, among other things, players tried to settle the question: What is the most unfair bomb in the set? The field was soon narrowed down to either Krenko, Mob Boss or Sublime Archangel, but the debate about these two was still going on long after the last cards had been slung. Both creatures come down early and they come down hard on players who're not prepared to deal with them instantly. What's more, both are impervious to Pacifism, one of the more common removal spells, especially in Sealed where white decks seem to be everywhere. Vitaly Grechishkin, for example, had the help of two Sublime Archangels when he went 9-0 on day one. Krenko, Mob Boss on the other hand made it all the way to the final, where it won one game for Wenzel Krautmann against eventual champion Luca Casadei. It should be noted, however, that while the Archangel and the Boss may be the champion's of their respective teams, neither one wins all by itself. They are team players, after all.



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