gppra11

Baudys Blows Away the Competition

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Ondrej Baudys, your Grand Prix-Prague 2011 Champion!

New Phyrexia came to Prague this weekend, and a highly-talented top 8 showed that this is a Limited format that is going to test the skills of the best players in the world at Pro Tour Nagoya next month.

Headlining the final eight was former Player of the Year Shuhei Nakamura, but he fell in the semi final to old-school Czech player Ondrej Baudys, a multiple National title-holder, with a pedigree at the highest level dating back to 1996.

Emerging from the other bracket was Lukas Blohon, with a Black-White deck headlined by Enslave, Dismember, and Mimic Vat. Blohon took the opener, but the powerful Red-Black deck of Baudys made it a fight to the finish. In the decider, it was Baudys with his Flesh-Eater Imp who prevailed, poisoning in Prague for one devastating final time.

Fifteen years after his first high-level finish, the veteran had claimed a Grand Prix title.

Congratulations to Ondrej Baudys, Champion of Grand Prix Prague 2011!




Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
1 Anders Melin Anders Melin, 2-0
5 Joel Larsson Lucas Blohon, 2-0
7 Lukasz Cichecki Lucas Blohon, 2-0 Ondrej Baudys, 2-1
3 Lucas Blohon
4 Robert Jurkovic Shuuhei Nakamura, 2-1
8 Shuuhei Nakamura Ondrej Baudys, 2-1
6 Petr Brozek Ondrej Baudys, 2-0
2 Ondrej Baudys

EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by David Sutcliffe
    Finals:
    Lucas Blohon vs. Ondrej Baudys

  • by Rich Hagon
    Semifinals:
    Shuhei Nakamura vs. Ondrej Baudys

  • by David Sutcliffe
    Semifinals:
    Lucas Blohon vs. Anders Melin

  • by Tobi Henke
    Quarterfinals:
    Shuhei Nakamura vs. Robert Jurkovic

  • by Rich Hagon
    Quarterfinals:
    Petr Brozek vs. Ondrej Baudys

  • by Tobi Henke
    Top 5 Cards:

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8:
    Decklists

  • by David Sutcliffe
    Top 8: Pairings
    Runners and Riders

  • by David Sutcliffe
    Top 8: Drafting Feature
    Lucas Blohon

  • by Tobi Henke
    Top 8:
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2:
    Complete Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1:
    Complete Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
  1.   Ondrej Baudys $3,500
  2.   Lucas Blohon $2,300
  3.   Shuuhei Nakamura $1,500
  4.   Anders Melin $1,500
  5.   Petr Brozek $1,000
  6.   Lukasz Cichecki $1,000
  7.   Joel Larsson $1,000
  8.   Robert Jurkovic $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 – Player Profiles

    by Tobi Henke
  • Your Grand Prix-Prague 2011 Top 8
    Shuhei Nakamura

    Name: Shuhei Nakamura
    Nickname: Nakashu
    Hometown: Tokyo, Japan
    Age: 29
    Occupation: Pro Magic player, traveler

    Previous Magic achievements:
    15 GP Top 8s, five PT Top 8s, Player of the Year 2008

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    9-0 with U/G/r

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with U/W

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    1-0-2 with U/G/r

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    Play white.



    Petr Brozek

    Name: Petr Brozek
    Hometown: Pardubice, Czech Republic
    Age: 28
    Occupation: Store owner, Magic player

    Previous Magic achievements:
    one GP Top 8, one time National Champion

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    8-1 with R/G

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with G/B

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    2-0-1 with G/B

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    Infect and U/B



    Anders Melin

    Name: Anders Melin
    Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
    Age: 19
    Occupation: McDonald's

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Swedish National Champion, Top 8 at GP Florence

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    8-1 with R/W creatures

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    2-1 with W/B

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with W/R



    Lukasz Cichecki

    Name: Lukasz Cichecki
    Nickname: Shadet
    Hometown: Józefów, Poland
    Age: 18

    Previous Magic achievements:
    That's my first Magic tournament ever ... well, first GP at least.

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    8-1 with five-color control (post-board), W/R "Patriot" (maindeck)

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with U/W "Affinity"

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    2-1 with G/W "Jurassic Park"

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    I don't know archetypes. I'm playing since 2010, so I just take cards with nice pictures. =)



    Ondrej Baudys

    Name: Ondrej Baudys
    Nickname: Bad
    Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic
    Age: 38
    Occupation: IT consultant

    Previous Magic achievements:
    16 times competitor at Czech National Championship, three wins

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    7-2 with B/G/R

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with G/U

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with G/W

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    White flyers



    Joel Larsson

    Name: Joel Larsson
    Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden
    Age: 19
    Occupation: Model

    Previous Magic achievements:
    13th at GP Paris

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    8-1 with B/W

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with R/W

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    1-0-2 with R/W

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    Dunno.



    Robert Jurkovic

    Name: Robert Jurkovic
    Nickname: Jurda
    Hometown: Trnava, Slovakia
    Age: 33
    Occupation: Tourist, pro player

    Previous Magic achievements:
    World Team Champion, third at Magic Online Champs 2009, sixth at PT San Diego (2HG), Slovak National Champion

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    8-1 with W/R/B/G

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    2-1 with G/U

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    2-0-1 with R/W

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    Infect



    Lukas Blohon

    Name: Lukas Blohon
    Nickname: Kenny
    Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic
    Age: 21
    Occupation: Tourist

    Previous Magic achievements:
    PT Top 16, GP Top 8

    What colors did you play in Sealed Deck? What was your score?
    7-2 with W/R/G

    What colors did you play in the first draft? What was your score?
    3-0 with G/B

    What colors did you play in the second draft? What was your score?
    2-0-1 with G/u

    What do you think are the best draft archetypes in this format?
    Green plus x


     

  • Top 8 – Drafting Feature: Lucas Blohon

    by David Sutcliffe
  • Despite the absence of Martin Juza, the strength of Czech Magic ensured that there were no less than three players flying the flag for the Czech Republic in the Top 8. With one of the three 'B's to choose from – Baudys, Brozek and Blohon – I settled down behind the Pro Tour regular Lucas Blohon to watch his draft. The Czech star had already made the Semi-Finals of the fictional Top 8 of 'Tap: Max's Game' but could he draft the deck that would add an actual Grand Prix Semi-Final?

    Pack One

    The first pick proved to be a comfortable one for Blohon, and he took the Black 'Control Magic' – Enslave, which proved an easy choice over a Blind Zealot or Razor Swine. Up next was more powerful removal, with Dismember, and then a trio of white cards; Remember the Fallen and a pair of Sensor Splicers. Impaler Shrike was a brief distraction to blue, then it was back into artifacts that he knew could play, with Pristine Talisman, Gremlin Mine and Hovermyr. An Isolation Cell came round late in a booster that still held a Death-Hood Cobra – Joel Larsson would collect that Cobra as his 14th pick!

    Lucas Blohon

    Pack Two

    After a first booster that had delivered some solid creatures and creature removal, the second pack began was less promisingly – a Divine Offering was fine, but Inkmoth Nexus was a pretty unexciting second pick that came from a booster that had a veritable bonanza of Red-Green riches. Morbid Plunder, Ichor Wellspring and Virulent Wound in his next few picks would all vie for a spot in his deck they would hardly strike terror into opponents. The packs finally came good as they started to wheel, with Blohon picking up a Copper Carapce, Nested Ghoul and Dross Ripper. That meant the pack hadn't been a total misfire, and he rounded off his picks with a pair of Flensermites and a Razorhead. Mirrodin Besieged hadn't been a total loss, but it could certainly have gone a lot better for his Black-White deck.

    Pack Three

    Into the Scars of Mirrodin booster, then, but there was no Carnifex Demon in the rare slot and instead Blohon had to settle for a Mimic Vat. Kemba's Skyguard was preferred to a Kuldotha Forgemaster in his next pick, and then Blohon settled down to picking a succession of solid but uninspirational creatures – Moriok Replica, Moriok Reaver, Corpse Cur, Soliton, Loxodon Wayfarer. From the promising beginning of Enslave and Dismember, Blohon's draft had gradually unravelled and he couldn't have been happy with the final result.


     

  • Top 8: Pairings – Runners and Riders

    by David Sutcliffe
  • A) Lucas Blohon (CZE) vs Lukasz Cichecki (POL)

    In the Lucas vs Lukasz deathmatch, Blohon was not happy about his chances.

    "My deck is horrible!" he told me, as soon as I sat down to watch him build, "I don't know if I could have done anything differently thought, I can't remember a time when I could have switched to Green. Probably I could have done something differently, because it's been a long time since a draft went this badly. I'll have to ask somebody to see what I could have changed".

    Blohon's Verdict: 4/10. Maybe a 5/10

    Lukasz Cichecki was much happier with his White-Red deck, though, "It's not the best but it's ok. It's fine," he said with some understatement, "I had to take a Tezzeret, even though I'm not playing him – I just knew I couldn't beat him if I played against it. I do have Jor Kadeen the Prevailer though, that guy is awesome – I won so many games with him yesterday!"

    Cichecki's Verdict: 7/10

    B) Anders Melin (SWE) vs Joel Larsson (SWE)

    The semi finals were only big enough for one Swede, and the two Scandinavians would have to battle it out between them, and both of them liked their decks – Larsson went first:

    "I'm happy- I've got a good Blue-Green deck, and maybe a red splash for the Hellkite. Probably not though. I got a lot of good cards late, like I got a Death-Hood Cobra 14th pick, and then a Halt Order 14th pick. They're both in my deck, and I actually nearly took the Halt Order when it first came around – I think that card has got better in New Phyrexia because people are playing so many artifacts. I've got a lot of good creatures, so I like my chances".

    Larsson's Verdict: 7/10

    At first Anders Melin was not happy with his deck, managing only a curt "It may be good enough" but he seemed to have changed his mind once he'd finished building it. I watching him playing with the cards in his deck, and he seemed to have a fairly typical Green-Red deck of monsters and burn spells, although the curve seemed a little off, with a lot of four-drops. I left him to worry over the merits of including Furnace Celebration and a Gnathosaur.

    Melin's Verdict: 7/10

    The Top 8 make critical draft decisions, separating the wheat and passing the chaff to their opponents.



    C) Shuuhei Nakamura (JPN) vs Robert Jurkovic (SVK)

    "Shuuhei! Black White?"

    "Yes"

    "Happy?"

    "No!"

    The one thing I've learnt about Shuuhei is that he's a terrible judge of Draft decks. He always says they are bad, and they turn out to be really good. Or maybe he's just a very convincing liar. His deck featured what looked to me like some solid White and Black creatures, with bombs in the form of Black Sun's Zenith and a Chancellor of the Annex.

    Shuuhei's Verdict: 3/10 (you should probably just pretend he said 8 instead of 3, though)

    Robert Jurkovic is, like Shuuhei, a man of few words. He had the classic Green-Black Infect deck, but unlike Shuuhei he was happy to offer that he thought it was good, "yeah I'm happy. It has the right cards in".

    Jurkovic's Verdict: 7/10

    D) Petr Brozek (CZE) vs Ondrej Baudys (CZE)

    Czech on Czech, only one of these two could make it to the Semi-Finals.

    Brozek didn't like his Blue-White deck, decreeing it "About four playables short" and it was easy to see why. His deck featured True Conviction and the Sword of War and Peace, but it had a distinct lack of flyers – trying to pilot a Blue-White deck along the ground would take some work from Brozek.

    Brozek's Verdict: 6/10

    Baudys felt similarly – he liked his Red-Black deck, but saw a problem; "I think my cards are really good, but from what I saw there were really good cards in the pool, so I think everyone else will have good cards too. My opponents will be the same as me". Baudys isn't a name we hear much of around Europe because he doesn't travel, but the three-time National Champion is one of the best players in the Czech Republic and would be a Top 8 contender who was used to the feature match pressure.

    Baudys' Verdict: 6/10

    That was how the players lined up, let's see how they got on!


     

  • Top 8 – Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Anders Melin - Top 8
    Grand Prix - Prague 2011 Booster Draft

    Joel Larsson - Top 8
    Grand Prix - Prague 2011 Booster Draft

    Lukas Blohon - Top 8
    Grand Prix - Prague 2011 Booster Draft

    Robert Jurkovic - Top 8
    Grand Prix - Prague 2011 Booster Draft


     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Tobi Henke
  • Grand Prix Prague is in the books, and as is coverage tradition, we once again take a look at the Top 5 cards that helped to shape this weekend's storylines.

    1. Moltensteel Dragon

    The first two times I sat down in the feature match arena yesterday, matches were decided largely by this card. The real strength of the Dragon is not that it's unbeatable, because clearly it isn't. Any number of removal spells exist which take care of the Dragon good and proper. Most of the creature removal and all of the artifact removal works just fine. The power of Moltensteel Dragon instead lies in its speed. Have an answer now, or die a fast, fiery death, the Dragon demands.



    2. Blinding Souleater

    Creatures with the ability to tap others have traditionally been powerhouses in all Limited formats. Always. They do have one minor flaw though. Their activation cost, at times, will be at odds with the reasonable wish to continue casting spells. Blinding Souleater, with the help of New Phyrexia's brand-new mana innovation, avoids this issue elegantly.



    3. Corrupted Conscience

    What's better than them having a monster? Them having no monster? Close, but not quite there yet. Indeed, it's you having their monster. No matter what creature, from Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite to Fangren Marauder to Blinding Souleater, when you play this (or one of its brethren Volition Reins and Enslave) they will most likely join the winning side a.k.a. yours.



    4. Act of Aggression

    Blinding Souleater may need white mana, at least a little—this one really doesn't. Act of Aggression has shown up throughout the weekend in so many decks which had a grand total of zero red mana sources ... in fact, I might have seen more copies in nonred decks than in actual red decks.



    5. Mycosynth Wellspring

    The influx of New Phyrexia led to more players going beyond the usual two colors. We've seen three, four, and even five colors in decks this weekend. Mycosynth Wellspring is partly responsible. One thing to keep in mind: being able to sacrifice it is obviously preferable, but optional. The card provides fine mana fixing even without.




     

  • Quarterfinals – Petr Brozek vs. Ondrej Baudys

    by Rich Hagon
  • In the one quarter final that's guaranteed to see a Czech player advance to the final four, Petr Brozek - representing the New - takes on Ondrej Baudys, representing the Old. Baudys has multiple National titles to his name, and was on the National Team at Worlds as long ago as 1996. Nowadays he rarely plays more than one high-level event each year, but he's certainly making his 2011 foray into global competition count.

    Game 1

    Both players kept their opening hands, with Baudys showing Black-Red early, using Mycosynth Wellspring to fetch a second Mountain on turn two. Brozek also had a popular turn two play, paying two life to cast Porcelain Legionnaire. That was promptly shattered by Baudys, leaving Brozek to start again with Kemba's Skyguard.

    Vulshok Refugee was next for Baudys, while Brozek revealed his second color to be Blue when he laid an Island. Pith Driller is a card that frequently kills outright, but Baudys used it to halve the damage from Kemba's Skyguard. Spire Serpent ensured a powerful ground defense for Brozek.

    Grim Affliction changed the math, proliferating to kill the Kemba's Skyguard, and reducing the Spire Serpent dramatically. Brozek had a riposte, however, using Mutagenic Growth to save his Serpent, and kill Vulshok Refugee. Brozek improved his board position with Soliton.

    Baudys was struggling to get aggressive, and his next offering, Trigon of Corruption, looked to mean more ground stalemate. Ichor Wellspring drew him a card, but that was his only action, in a game that had yet to catch fire. However, Gnathosaur became a legitimate threat, especially as Baudys had the Trigon of Corruption to spread counters around.

    Petr Brozek

    Brozek cast Tezzeret's Gambit before adding Kuldotha Forgemaster to the board, currently with no way to activate it. Gnathasaur gained trample when Baudys sacrificed his Ichor Wellspring for maximum value, then sent his 5/4 into the red zone. Five points of damage dropped Brozek to six, before Invader Parasite stole the lone Island from Brozek, who was suddenly looking in trouble.

    A second Porcelain Legionnaire arrived, supported by Gust-Skimmer, and now Kuldotha Forgemaster was active, if needed. Moriok Reaver and Flayer Husk joined the team for Baudys, and now the creatures in play were up to double figures. With no play from Brozek, Baudys took the chance to destroy Porcelain Legionnaire with his second counter from Trigon of Corruption, and with plenty of Black mana available, the long game would ensure he would never run out of counters.

    Mycosynth Wellspring sacrificed to Gnathosaur, with the final counter coming of Trigon of Corruption to kill Brozek's Gust-Skimmer. S triple block from Brozek saw his Kuldotha Forgemaster die in exchange for the Gnathosaur, before Baudys landed Batterskull. With Brozek passing the turn once more, it was time for an alpha strike from Baudys, who piled into the red zone with his team. Brozek's inactivity wasn't masking tricks of awesomeness, and it was time for game two.

    Brozek 0 - 1 Baudys

    Game 2

    Brozek opened game two with Gust-Skimmer, while Vulshok Refugee answered for Baudys. The air assault began, with a backup Kemba's Skyguard ready to lend support. Not for long, though, as Baudys had Slagstorm to wipe the board, leaving his Vulshok Refugee to attack for three. Looking to reclaim some of the lost ground, Brozek cast Trasure Mage, searching up Lumengrid Gargoyle, the 4/4 flyer. With the job done, Brozek was happy to trade his Treasure Mage for the Vulshok Refugee.

    Baudys cast Kuldotha Ringleader, facing off against Kuldotha Forgemaster for Brozek. The Ringleader had to attack, of course, but the Forgemaster and Ringleader merely bounced off each other, with no tricks on either side. Baudys added Razor Swine, while Brozek had a first strike man of his own in the form of Porcelain Legionnaire.

    Shrine of Piercing Vision completed the turn from Brozek.

    First strike met first strike when Baudys attacked, Razor Swine and Porcelain Legionnaire both heading for the graveyard. That left Ringleader and Forgemaster once again bumping heads to no meaningful effect. Brozek cast the Lumengrid Gargoyle he had found with his Treasure Mage, while Baudys flashed out a Darksteel Sentinel.

    Ondrej Baudys

    The war of attrition continued, and it wasn't long before Lumegrid Gargoyle and Kuldotha Forgemaster for Brozek, and Kuldotha Ringleader for Baudys, were gone from play, leaving the Darksteel Sentinel alone, save for that troublesome Trigon of Corruption, which Baudys had just cast. Brozek began again with Spire Servant, his Shrine of Piercing Vision now up to four counters. Baudys wasted no time in casting Flayer Husk and Equipping it to a Moriok Replica.

    Then came a game-changer - Blue Sun's Zenith for Brozek. He drew four cards, and now Baudys knew there was Inevitability on the other side of the table. Brozek blew his Shrine of Piercing Vision, and now he had six cards in hand to just a lonely singleton for Baudys.

    Baudys continued to doggedly use his Trigon of Corruption, now empty of counters, Brozek having his Spire Servant reduced by two counters.

    It blocked the Moriok Reaver, and Brozek had a surprise in store with Quicksilver Geyser, returning Darksteel Sentinel to hand, and his own Spire Servant, finishing up an excellent turn with Divine Offering for the Trigon of Corruption. Spire Servant and Darksteel Sentinel both returned to their respective sides of the battlefield, but Grim Affliction from Baudys ended the Spire Servant when it went to block the Sentinel the following turn.

    The land was piling up for Brozek, and with Moriok Reaver and Darksteel Sentinel attacking, he was down to six. Ferrovore from Baudys added to the considerable pressure. Brozek needed answers, and soon. Baudys moved to attack one final time. The answers? Nothing, and the Old had triumphed over the New.

    Petr Brozek 0 - 2 Ondrej Baudys


     

  • Quarterfinals - Shuhei Nakamura vs. Robert Jurkovic

    by Tobi Henke
  • Former Player of the Year against reigning Team World Champion? Why, I think we got us the most high-profile quarterfinal right there.

    Game 1

    The match started off blisteringly fast. By turn six, Jurkovic's green-black infect deck had already provided him with Necropede, Whispering Specter, Phyrexian Digester, Blightwidow, and Darksteel Axe. Blightwidow died to Grasp of Darknesss, Whispering Specter was placed under Forced Worship. Phyrexian Digester picked up Darksteel Axe, then traded with Nakamura's Priests of Norn. Jurkovic had Ichor Rats, Nakamura blocked that with a newly-summoned Inquisitor Exarch.

    Finally, the relentless onslaught of Jurkovic's infect deck subsided. Nakamura on the other hand / side of the table, was not out of gas yet and summoned Peace Strider. Jurkovic's Whispering Specter was boosted by Darksteel Axe to provide a three-power blocker. Nakamura happily took the trade and returned Forced Worship to his hand. When, with no other creatures on the battlefield, Necropede picked up Darksteel Axe, Nakamura got rid of it with Divine Offering.

    Nakamura first cast Phyrexian Hulk, then Mortis Dogs, while Jurkovic went without plays for a couple of turns. The heavy hitters took the game.

    Shuhei Nakamura 1 – 0 Robert Jurkovic

    Shuhei Nakamura

    Game 2

    This time around, Nakamura had the first play with Blistergrub, which immediately died to Geth's Verdict, leaving Jurkovic at 18, Nakamura at 19. Nakamura's Bladed Sentinel stayed on the battlefield, Jurkovic's Blightwidow, however, met Grasp of Darkness. Jurkovic had Scourge Servant, Nakamura had Blinding Souleater. Jurkovic killed the tapper with the help of Grim Affliction and Mortarpod.

    Nakamura summoned Chancellor of Annex and started the beatdown. Jurkovic cast a second infecter in Necropede. Nakamura continued to attack with the Chancellor and held back Bladed Sentinel on defense. This proved to be not enough of a defense at all though, when Jurkovic attacked with both of his creatures and delivered the lethal blow with Untamed Might.

    Shuhei Nakamura 1 – 1 Robert Jurkovic

    Game 3

    Once again, the action began on turn three, when Nakamura answered Jurkovic's Phyrexian Digester with Kemba's Skyguard. The two didn't trade, however, because Jurkovic had his Geth's Verdict. Nakamura summoned Fume Spitter on turn four, but chose not to trade it for the 2/1, going to four poison counters instead. Post-combat Jurkovic cast Whispering Specter, which died to Fume Spitter. Nakamura made a Clone Shell, Jurkovic made a Core Prowler.

    Robert Jurkovic

    At this point, Nakamura decided it was time for his Black Sun's Zenith, which killed everything on the board and, thanks to Clone Shell, still left him with Blinding Souleater.

    Time for some rebuilding: Jurkovic cast Blightwidow Nakamura cast Hexplate Golem; Jurkovic cast Rot Wolf, Nakamura cast Alloy Myr.

    Nakamura attacked with his 5/7, and on Jurkovic's next attack, his Blinding Souleater tapped Blightwidow, while Alloy Myr blocked Rot Wolf. Jurkovic had Withstand Death to save his Wolf, but even the extra card didn't change the fact that this stadium of the game clearly favored Nakamura's powerful (if somewhat clunky) monster of a deck over Jurkovic's streamlined infect build. Nakamura summoned Chancellor of the Annex and Phyrexian Hulk, and took the game not long after.

    Shuhei Nakamura 2 – 1 Robert Jurkovic


     

  • Semifinals – Lucas Blohon vs. Anders Melin

    by David Sutcliffe
  • Lucas Blohon had seen off his fellow Lukasz, Cichecki of Poland, while Anders Melin had won the all-Swedish quarter final with Joel Larsson.

    Lucas Blohon was the first to dare an attempt at aggression, but his Kemba's Skyguard was met with an immediate Volt Charge before it really get going. Tired of playing with commons Blohon switched tactics and unloaded his big guns with a Reaper of Sheoldred and a Mimic Vat. Meanwhile Anders Melin weighted his side of the table down with a Tangle Mantis and Molder Beast. This was clearly destined to be a game that was decided by raw power, and Blohon embraced that theme further when he deployed a Razorfield Rhino.

    Activating his Inkmoth Nexus gave Blohon Metalcraft and the Razorfield Rhino +2/+2 – Melin couldn't afford to let that happen and a second Volt Charge killed the Inkmoth Nexus to knock Blohon back down to two artifacts. The Swede still took 4 damage from Blohon's Rhino, however, dropping to 16.

    Lucas Blohon

    The Reaper of Sheoldred appeared to be causing Melin real problems, though – his game plan revolved around powering through on the ground, and he couldn't afford to do that while the Reaper was waiting to block his creatures and deal out poison counters in the process. Melin had a plan, though, and played a Tangle Angler – that would be able to distract the Reaper on the next turn but it meant that Melin was in for anothing mauling from Blohon's Razorfield Rhino. The Swede dropped to 10 life and watched as the Czech player added a Dross Ripper to his arsenal of serious ground threats.

    This was turning into a bar brawl of a fight, and a bar brawl where Melin was in danger of being thrown through the window into the street. The Swede needed to swing back, and he did so with the help of a Panic Spellbomb and Tel-Jilad's Defiance, managing to attack for 6 damage without losing a creature, then deployed a Sylvok Replica.

    The Sylvok Replica could account for Blohon's Rhino, but that was a rock/hard place decision for Melin because to do so would allow Blohon to Imprint the Mimic Vat with the Rhino and begin spawning an endless supply. That wouldn't be ideal and Melin chose to block with the Replica and remove the Mimic Vat instead. It worked at preventing damage for a turn, but Blohon simply played Enslave to steal Melin's Molder Beast and keep up the momentum.

    Fending off Blohon's next attack destroyed all the creatures Melin could marshall, and left the Swede with no choice but to concede the first game.

    Lucas Blohon 1 – 0 Anders Melin

    Anders Melin

    Into the second game, and Anders Melin was determined to take to the front foot – unfortunately his early offense ground to a halt once Blohon had played a Loxodon Wayfarer and a Sensor Splicer followed, while a Pristine Talisman powered the Czech player into an early Razorfield Rhino.

    Melin had bigger problems – the two land he had in play were the only two lands he had! So while Blohon was busy loading up his side of the board with creatures, Melin could only hide behind a single Carapace Forger. Sensing the end was in sight, Blohon played his Enslave to steal the Carapace Forger and leave the young Swede entirely defenseless.

    Blohon drove his forces across the red zone, dropping Melin to 7 life. The Swede drew his card, a mountain, and spent a couple of minutes considering his options before deciding that none of them were good enough. Offering his hand, Anders Melin accepted defeat and sent Lucas Blohon into the Grand Prix Prague Final!

    Lucas Blohon 2 – 0 Anders Melin


     

  • Semifinals – Shuhei Nakamura vs. Ondrej Baudys

    by Rich Hagon
  • Ondrej Baudys has been quietly working his way through a huge field here at Grand Prix Prague. With an impressive win over Petr Brozek in the quarter finals, he now faces the man who has yet to taste defeat this weekend - the Japanese master Shuhei Nakamura. Here in his seventeenth Grand Prix top 8, it's an astonishing four years since his last Grand Prix title.

    Game 1

    Shuhei revealed Chancellor of the Annex from his opening hand, meaning the first play of the game for Baudys was Sphere of the Suns at three mana. Nakamura opened on Blinding Souleater, showing all Black mana through the first four turns - probably not ideal with Chancellor of the Annex. Batterskull arrived for Baudys, but the joys of Phyrexian mana meant that Nakamura could tap the Batterskull even without access to his white mana.

    Using Sphere of the Suns to reach six mana, Baudys cast Kuldotha Flamefiend, sacrificing the Sphere of the Suns to deal four damage to the Japanese tapper. Still no white mana for Nakamura, and even he, with all his experience, couldn't avoid a sigh. In came Kuldotha Flamefiend and Batterskull, dropping Nakamura to nine. Invader Parasite didn't do much by stealing a Swamp, but did at least add three points of pressure.

    Nakamura found a Plains, and wasted no time casting Divine Offering for Batterskull, taking him back up towards safety. When Baudys attacked, Geth's Verdict dealt with Invader Parasite. Ferrovore completed the turn for Baudys, but Nakamura was back in the game at ten life. He had Forced Worship for the Flamefiend, while Baudys had Flesh-Eater Imp, not really a threat to Nakamura's life total.

    Inquisitor Exarch took that life total back into double figures.

    For the first time in the game, Nakamura did something genuinely pro-active, casting Phyrexian Hulk. He needed something soon for the Flesh-Eater Imp, though, as he was now at four poison. He used Forced Worship to shut down the Imp, leaving Baudys to flash out Darksteel Sentinel. Shatter for Phyrexian Hulk allowed the beats to recommence, with Nakamura down to just three life. Artillerize, sacrificing Flesh-Eater Imp, was more than enough to end the game.

    Nakamura 0 - 1 Baudys

    Ondrej Baudys

    Game 2

    Arguably, the highlight of game one for Nakamura came before the game even started, with the revealing of his Chancellor of the Annex.

    That's not a great highlight...

    He had Baudys open game two, and the Czech wasted no time, with Flayer Husk his turn one play, followed up with Sphere of the Suns. Nakamura at least had two colors of mana this time, but still had no play before Vulshok Refugee came down for Baudys. Nakamura had Alloy Myr, and that was considered enough of a threat to be Shattered by Baudys, who attacked the Japanese player down to fifteen. Nakamura gained some control over the battlefield when Skinrender killed the Vulshok Refugee, but Kuldotha Ringleader for Baudys soon outsized it.

    Clone Shell was next for Nakamura, as the game began to take proper shape. Nakamura had four cards to three for Baudys, but what cards they were - Kuldotha Flamefiend, Turn to Slag, and Slagstorm. Now, between you and me, that's a LOT of firepower. Turn to Slag took out the Skinrender before Baudys ploughed in with his Kuldotha Ringleader and Flayer Husk. When Clone Shell died it revealed Master Splicer, creating a 4/4 first strike Golem in the process.

    Nakamura landed Grafted Exoskeleton, and Equipped it immediately to his first strike Golem. That was 6/6 first strike, then, which is pretty impressive in almost any Limited format. Kuldotha Ringleader was obliged to attack, and with no tricks on either side, it promptly died. Slagstorm cleared the board, but Nakamura was back in action with Kemba's Skyguard, once again Equipped with the Grafted Exoskeleton. Baudys remained 19-12 ahead on life, but Nakamura was looking good.

    Ferrovore and Nihil Spellbomb were unexciting additions for Baudys, while Nakamura began the assault with his 4/4 Kemba's Skyguard. That's a lot of flying posion damage. Eat your heart out, Plague Stinger.

    Nakamura added Phyrexian Hulk to the board, leaving Baudys with some significant problems to overcome. He still had Kuldotha Flamefiend in hand, but hadn't yet found a sixth mana to cast it. Nihil Spellbomb sacrificed to Ferrovore, but Baudys was out of luck - no land. Trigon of Corruption appeared instead, but that wasn't going to get cast, much less impact the game.

    The Ferrovore traded with Phyrexian Hulk, Baudys passing the turn before getting smacked again by a poisonous Kemba's Skyguard. Toxic Nim from Nakamura put Baudys in a terrible hole, and it wasn't clear if even a land could save him. We would get to find out, with Kuldotah Flamefiend dealing four damage to the Kemba's Skyguard. Toxic Nim regenerated when the Flamefiend blocked the following turn, and Nakamura added Blistergrub with enough mana to Equip it. To be fair, the Toxic Nim might well have been enough, but the Swampwalking Blistergrub certainly was.

    Nakamura 1 - 1 Baudys

    Shuhei Nakamura

    Game 3

    Nakamura began the decider, but it was Baudys who again had the turn one Flayer Husk, drawing a card from Ichor Wellspring turn two. More significant was Blistergrub turn three from Nakamura, opposite a turn three Ferrovore from the Czech player. Nakamura wasn't keen to use the Swampwalk ability, keeping his 2/2 back for defensive duties.

    Ferrovore became a 5/2 when Baudys sacrificed his Ichor Wellspring, once again getting full value from the little two-mana artifact.

    Blistergrub traded for the Ferrovore, and the board was almost clear.

    That changed when Baudys landed Batterskull. The ideal answer? Divine Offering, and Nakamura had it ready. Did he have an immediate answer for Gnathosaur, up next from Baudys? I guess he did, in the form of Blinding Souleater, undoubtedly one of the star cards of the weekend from New Phyrexia. Answer followed answer, though, with Shatter from Baudys taking out the Blinding Souleater, moments before answer followed answer followed answer (keeping up?) with Nakamura using Grasp of Darkness to kill the Gnathosaur. The hits just kept on coming. Toxic Nim was barely in play before Pith Driller from Baudys ended the 4/1.

    After an epic series of plays it was Baudys who emerged ahead, as Nakamura continued to lose life, three points per turn, from Pith Driller and Flayer Husk. Now he was at nine, and in trouble. Alloy Myr, and another Blistergrub, were his next offerings, as he tried to fight back. Grim Affliction killed the Alloy Myr, though, and Baudys had a hand of awesomeness once again - Kuldotha Flamefiend, Slagstorm, Whipflare, and Invader Parasite.

    In came the Czech team, Blistergrub killing Flayer Husk at the expense of Nakamura falling to seven. Kuldotha Flamefiend - that's four of seven. Slagstorm - that's three. Four plus three equals seven. And two-one. And a final appearance for Ondrej Baudys.

    Shuhei Nakamura 1 - 2 Ondrej Baudys


     

  • Finals – Lucas Blohon vs. Ondrej Baudys

    by David Sutcliffe
  • We had an English champion in Grand Prix London, when Daniel Royde took the crown, and here in Prague we are going to have a Czech champion – all that remains to be decided is who that is; Lucas Blohon or Ondrej Baudys. The smart money was on Baudys – after watching his draft, Martin Juza had tipped Baudys for the title, and my fellow coverage guy Richard Hagon came away from having watched the three-time national champion's semi-final against Shuuhei Nakamura proclaiming "unless Blohon has a block constructed deck, he has no chance!"

    If you remember my appraisal of Blohon's draft it wasn't too positive. Proving me wrong, Blohon had blown past the Grand Prix novice Lukasz Chicheski in his quarter final, before grinding Swede Joel Larsson into the ground with the raw hitting power of his Black-White deck. Finding himself in the final, could Blohon stand up to what Baudys was bringing?

    Game 1

    Baudys certainly made a rapid start to the final, with a Flayer Husk and Ichor Wellspring that he fed into his Ferrovore, although Blohon had a Dismember waiting for the Ferrovore once Baudys had finished drawing cards. Blohon deployed a Soliton, which Baudys trumped with Kuldotha Ringleader, then Blohon played Mimic Vat. Taking time to read exactly what Mimic Vat did, Baudys shrugged and attacked with his Kuldotha Ringleader anyway, then added a Invader Parasite, exhiling Blohon's Swamp.

    On Baudys's next attack Blohon joined the forces of his Soliton and a Virulent Wound to kill the Ringleader, Imprinting it to his Mimic Vat, then immediately generated a copy of the Ringleader and attacked back at Baudys. Ondrej Baudys countered the attack with a Darksteel Sentinel, but Blohon stole the Sentinel with Enslave! Between the Mimic Vat and the Enslave, Blohon was beating his countryman up with his own creatures!

    The pair played a Moriok Reaver each, and Baudys used a Pith Driller to shrink the treacherous Darksteel Colossus to a 2/2, but that barely slowed Blohon down – he produced another Ringleader copy from his Mimic Vat and the end of Baudys' turn, then untapped and created a second Ringleader! Sending his forces into the red zone, Blohon smashed Baudys down to 6 life!

    Baudys needed to find a good response to this, because the Mimic Vat was threatening to steal the game, and the three-time champion went deep into the tank. Surfacing at last, Baudys attacked, trading his Invader Parasite for Blohon's Moriok Reaver, and Blohon used the opportunity to overwite the Kuldotha Ringleader on his Mimic Vat with the Invader Parasite. Baudys was clinging on as Blohon attacked again, but he could find no answer to either his own Enslaved Darksteel Colossus, or Blohon's copies of his Invader Parasite.

    Undone by his own creatures, Baudys conceded the first game.

    Lucas Blohon 1 – 0 Ondrej Baudys

    Game 2

    Lucas Blohon

    Baudys was certainly the busiest of the two players at the start of the second game, playing a Sphere of the Suns, Flayer Husk, Ichor Wellspring and Mycosynth Wellspring. While Baudys was busy playing out his artifacts and pulling up cards, Blohon was taking the more direct approach, playing a Moriok Replica and Reaper of Sheodred. Baudys played a Kuldotha Ringleader, but Blohon was in no mood to mess around and immediately took control of the Ringleader with Enslave, then sent his team onto the attack, bashing Baudys down to 14 life, and up to 2 poison counters.

    Baudys played Invader Parasite, but Blohon followed up with a Mimic Vat before attacking with everything. The Ringleader traded with both Baudys' Flayer Husk and Invader Parasite, meaning that Enslave had accomplished an impressive 3-for-1 trade, even better for Blohon - the Replica and Reaper slipped past, putting Baudys down to 10 life and up to 5 poison!

    Baudys produced a Razor Swine, and seeing the ground path blocked Blohon abandoned his Moriok Replica to draw cards, playing a Kemba's Skyguard. A Trigon of Corruption began to whittle the Skyguard down, and then Baudys' next play handed the three-time champ a lifeline, or more accurately it handed him Lifelink – a Batterskull!

    But Baudys was faced with a thorny problem – Lucas Blohon had the Reaper of Sheodred, and anything that dealt lethal damage to the Reaper would also mean Baudys picked up a lethal number of poison counters. The ground war was at a stalemate – Ondrej Baudys couldn't attack while the Reaper was ready to block, and Blohon couldn't attack with the Reaper because the Razor Swine would Infect it down to a 0/3 that Baudys could ignore. The two players sat down to wait it out.

    After a couple of turns of stalemate the stall was finally broken by Ondrej Baudys, who used a Gross Affliction to create a 3-for-1 trade of his own from Blohon's ground forces, amplifying the effect of the Trigon of Corruption to clear the way. With the Reaper of Sheoldred finished, Baudys could begin to exert his authority and began attacking with his Batterskull - Baudys's health spiralled upwards as rapidly as Blohon's headed in the opposite direction and within a few turns the match was levelled.

    Lucas Blohon 1 – 1 Ondrej Baudys

    Ondrej Baudys

    Game 3

    The early game was once again dictated by Ondrej Baudys' creatures, as he was fastest to get out of the blocks with a Moriok Reaver, Flesh-Eater Imp and Ferrovore. Blohon bought some time with a Loxodon Wayfarer then played his Razorfield Rhino as a 6/6 with Metalcraft, adding a Moriok Replica alongside his hefty Rhino.

    Baudys' early offense had made little impact on Blohon's lifetotal, and indeed Blohon's Pristine Talisman had put him up to 23 life, although he hadn't found an answer to the Flesh-Eater Imp, and had 4 poison counters. Despite Baudys playing an Invader Parasite, Blohon's Razorfield Rhino was now the dominant force on the table, and after one attack had dropped Baudys to 14, the three-time champ went back to the tank to find an answer.

    Deciding that offense was the best form of defense, Baudys attacked with everything. Blohon blocked the ground creatures down but could do nothing about the Flesh-Eater Imp, which went unblocked. Sacrificing all his creatures to the Flesh-Eater Imp to make it a 5/5, Baudys put Blohon on 9 poison counters, then played a Virulent Wound – the Proliferate added a final, lethal poison counter, and Baudys had won the final of Grand Prix Prague in a swift and decisive fashion!

    Lucas Blohon 1 – 2 Ondrej Baudys

    Ondrej Baudys is the champion of Grand Prix Prague 2011!

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