gppra13

Anatoly Beats Them Black and Blue in Prague

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The letter S!aturday morning saw 1505 players open their boosters and build their decks with hopes of taking home the trophy. Pro players from all over the world included american Sam Black along with the very elite of European players. The Rule was that blue was the color to be in, but would it be true? And would anyone be able to balance out the act of the popular Magic 2014 limited format?

204 players made it through to the draft portion, and two drafts later the top 8 cracked open the final boosters for the weekend, starting play well after sundown. In the end it was a final between Red/Green Slivers and Blue/Black control, a strong contender for the best deck of the format. Italian gentleman Marco Cammilluzzi fought valiantly, but finally it was Russian Anatoly Chuhwichov who rode his Air Servant to victory.

Congratulations to Anatoly Chuhwichov, champion of Grand Prix Prague!



Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Raphaël Lévy   Balazs Varady, 2-0        
8 Balazs Varady   Marco Cammilluzzi, 2-1
       
4 Martin Jůza   Marco Cammilluzzi, 2-1   Anatoly Chuhwichov, 2-1
5 Marco Cammilluzzi    
       
2 Amit Cohen   Kai Mokrusch, 2-1
7 Kai Mokrusch   Anatoly Chuhwichov, 2-0
       
3 Anatoly Chuhwichov   Anatoly Chuhwichov, 2-0
6 Eliott Boussaudi    













  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Prague provided by Tim Willoughby, Marijn Lybaert, Rich Hagon, and Steven Leeming at twitch.tv/magic.


EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  Anatoly Chuhwichov $3,500
 2.  Marco Cammilluzzi $2,300
 3.  Balazs Varady $1,500
 4.  Kai Mokrusch $1,500
 5.  Martin Jůza $1,000
 6.  Amit Cohen $1,000
 7.  Eliott Boussaudi $1,000
 8.  Raphaël Lévy $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 — Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Kai Mokrusch

    Age: 38
    Hometown: Erlangen, Germany
    Occupation: Substitute teacher

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    /

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    Island

    When did you start playing Magic?
    1995

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Chaos Confetti




    Martin Jůza

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Plzen, Czech Republic
    Occupation: Tourist

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    Devout Invocation

    When did you start playing Magic?
    2002

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Gavony Township




    Anatoly Chuhwichov

    Age: 35
    Hometown: Saint Petersburg, Russia
    Occupation: G.D.Studio "True Story" & g.Club "Hobbyt" manager

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Day 2 in Milano, Top 8 Grand Prix Moscow

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    Archangel of Thune

    When did you start playing Magic?
    In the previous millenium!

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Psychatog—his smile!!!
    Counterspell—it counters
    Ravenous Rats—they hungry




    Marco Cammilluzzi

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Rome, Italy
    Occupation: Business development team for Logista/Bomberteam/MTGMadness

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Three Grand Prix Top 8s

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    Opportunity

    When did you start playing Magic?
    I really don't remember.

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Birds of Paradise—just amazing!




    Raphaël Lévy

    Age: 31
    Hometown: Toulouse, France
    Occupation: Publisher of Jits Magazine France

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Pro Tour Hall of Fame

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    Fortify! Best common in the format, underdrafted. Special props to Soulmender as well.

    When did you start playing Magic?
    At the dawn of time.

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Rakdos's Retuuurn! Even though I didn't get to play it that often.




    Balazs Varady

    Age: 39
    Hometown: Budapest, Hungary
    Occupation: Developer

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    21st at Grand Prix Warsaw

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    Kalonian Hydra

    When did you start playing Magic?
    With Urza's Legacy

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Better than all ...




    Eliott Boussaud

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Toulouse, France
    Occupation: Student and educator

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 64 Grand Prix Warsaw 2013

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    On day one Primeval Bounty, for sure. In draft one, four copies of Young Pyromancer. In draft two, Opportunity.

    When did you start playing Magic?
    In 2000/2001, so 13 years ago.

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Wild Ricochet. In draft one it made me draw eight cards!




    Amit Cohen

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Jerusalem, Israel
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    None

    What were your best cards throughout the weekend so far?
    I think I will have to say Path of Bravery. Just what White aggressive decks need.

    When did you start playing Magic?
    One year ago.

    This year is Magic's 20th anniversary. Of all the cards printed in those twenty years, which one do you have the best memories of playing with?
    Well, I haven't played that long, and I mostly played limited, so I would say Bonfire of the Damned, just because it's so much fun to topdeck.






     

  • Top 8 — Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Marco Cammilluzzi
    Grand Prix Prague 2013



    Martin Jůza
    Grand Prix Prague 2013



    Eliott Boussaud
    Grand Prix Prague 2013







     

  • Sunday, 7:50 p.m. — Drafting with Raphaël Lévy

    by Olle Råde

  • The letter A!ll day Raphaël Lévy has been tearing up his opponents with decks that has been something quite out of the ordinary. Where a lot of the other top players aim at drafting Blue with card draw like Divination and Opportunity, Lévy named Fortify as the most underrated card in the format and favors decks like Green/White and Red/White with a lot of small creatures, token makers in Molten Birth and Hive Stirrings and Fortify to finish his opponents.

    For the top 8 draft he was seated between Kai Mokrusch and Eliott Boussadi and the trouble began already in the first pack, where the two best cards were both green. Lévy chose Rumbling Baloth over a Krosan Tusker, then second picked a Master of Diversion, looking like he might end up in Green/White, like his first draft deck of the day.


    Raphaël Lévy

    The packs and his neighbors however, wanted otherwise and in the first pack Lévy didn't see another green card. Instead he got a mix of Blue, White and Red cards, and it seemed like every time he would pick a card in one of those colors, he would get passed a card in one of the others. The first pack saw him with very few playables and to be frank they were just a Master of Diversion, a Fortify, a Seacoast Drake, a Molten Birth, a Charging Griffin and two Soulmenders, that Lévy admits to liking, but rarely make most people's decks.

    "Coming into the draft I knew I wanted to be White, but as it turned out I had a really hard time picking a second color. I even had a hard time picking my first color," sighed the Frenchman after the draft.

    The second booster was a continuous smorgasbord of cards of all colors. A first picked Flames of the Firebrand (over Mutavault and Opportunity) was followed by a second pick Predatory Sliver (over Divination and Fireshrieker), a Pacifism third, Scroll Thief fourth and Striking Sliver fifth.

    "It was definitely a tough draft, and even in pack two I felt like I really had nothing, but in the end my deck turned out quite alright," said Lévy.

    The small salvation was that he had picked up a few late Coral Merfolks, and added a second Charging Griffin to his pool and by pack three had finally decided to draft a low curve Blue/White deck with a lot of creatures rather than slow card draw like Opportunity.

    Pack three started off good with Claustrophobia (over Divination) and Banishing Priest, followed by Hive Stirrings (another of Lévy's favorites), Trained Condor and Messenger Drake. A late Warden of Evos Isle and a third Coral Merfolk made sure Lévy had enough playable cards to run only 16 lands and make the deck into an as aggressive build as possible.

    "I sort of ended up where I wanted to be, and I don't think Opportuity is very good in this kind of deck, I did miss to pick up a few Show of Valor and a second Frost Breath, which all would have been nice," said Raphael right before setting of for his quarterfinal.

    Lévy's draft Pick by pick:

    Pack 1

    Rumbling Baloth
    Master of Diversion
    Seacoast Drake
    Fortify
    Molten Birth
    Goblin Sharpshooter
    Charging Griffin
    Coral Merfolk
    Frost Breath
    Soulmender
    Thunder Strike
    Cancel
    Soulmender
    Vial of Poison

    Pack 2

    Flames of the Firebrand
    Predatory Sliver
    Pacifism
    Scroll Thief
    Striking Sliver
    Scroll Thief
    Auramancer
    Divine Favor
    Divination
    Coral Merfolk
    Charging Griffin
    Altar's Reap
    Staff of the Death Magus
    Gladecover Scout

    Pack 3

    Claustrophobia
    Banisher Priest
    Hive Stirrings
    Trained Condor
    Messenger Drake
    Disperse
    Archaeomancer
    Warden of Evos Isle
    Coral Merfolk
    Wring Flesh
    Shimmering Grotto
    Elvish Mystic
    Suntail Hawk
    Encroaching Wastes




     

  • Quarterfinals — Round-up

    by Tobi Henke

  • The letter I!n the first quarter final match to finish, Kai Mokrusch and his red-white Sliver deck faced Amit Cohen's green-white deck, beatdown with a small lifegain theme.

    In the first game, Mokrusch quickly assembled Blur Sliver, Sentinel Sliver, and Bonescythe Sliver and simply crushed Cohen, who had to work with Path of Bravery and a lonely Griffin Sentinel for way too long. Mokrusch even took much longer than necessary because he was playing around a Briarpack Alpha Cohen didn't have.

    In game two, however, Cohen's deck delivered the goods. Predatory Sliver, Scavenging Ooze, followed by Giant Growth to kill Mokrusch's blocker, gain a life off Ooze, cast Voracious Wurm—at the end of turn four the board state was: Cohen's two 3/3s plus one 2/2 to Mokrusch's nothing. When Cohen summoned Master of Diversion on his next turn, Mokrusch picked up his cards.


    Kai Mokrusch vs. Amit Cohen

    Game three was a long back and forth between Mokrusch's army of Slivers and Cohen's green fatties, dragged out even longer because of Mokrusch's Bubbling Cauldron. Still missing his eighth land for Woodborn Behemoth as well as his second Plains for Fiendslayer Paladin after what seemed like ages, Cohen finally and narrowly lost to Scourge of Valkas and Griffin Sentinel. The key moment of the game, however, took place much earlier when Cohen didn't respond to Mokrusch's Act of Treason on Brindle Boar. Obviously, Cohen was already quite exhausted, as was Mokrusch who unnecessarily used Bubbling Cauldron to sacrifice the Boar. "It was a misclick!" Cohen defended himself when he was chided by his friends after the match. "If those 4 life had been his instead of mine, I never could have won this game," said Mokrusch.

    Kai Mokrusch 2-1 Amit Cohen

    In our next quarter final match Raphaël Lévy and his blue-white deck met Balazs Varady and his red-white aggro deck deck. Opening on Young Pyromancer and Goblin Shortcutter, Varady got in some early damage, followed it up with Marauding Maulhorn and dealt a near-fatal blow with Fortify. "That's my card!" Lévy complained.


    Balazs Varady vs. Raphaël Lévy

    In the second game, Lévy was stuck on just Plains for a long time, while Varady assembled Sentinel Sliver, Steelform Sliver, Striking Sliver, and Mutavault. Despite his follow-up Serra Angel, Lévy managed to claw his way back into the game with Banisher Priest, several creatures, and Claustrophobia. He finally stabilized on 1 life, only to lose to Varady's Chandra's Outrage.

    Balazs Varady 2-0 Raphaël Lévy

    In quarter final number three Eliott Boussaud and his black-red faced Anatoly Chuhwichov with blue-black.

    Boussaud took an early lead with Regathan Firecat and Blood Bairn, clearing the way with Wring Flesh and Shock, but Chuhwichov recovered with Haunted Plate Mail, Corrupt, and Wall of Frost. When he had stabilized, he quickly wrapped things up with Jace, Memory Adept emptying Boussaud's library.


    Eliott Boussaud vs. Anatoly Chuhwichov

    In the second game, Blightcaster with Mark of the Vampire gave Chuhwichov an early advantage, but Boussaud recovered well. A board stall developed, and again it was Jace, Memory Adept who broke Boussaud's neck

    Anatoly Chuhwichov 2-1 Eliott Boussaud

    And then there were two left: Martin Jůza and his blue-black control deck versus Cammilluzzi Cammilluzzi on red-green.

    Cammilluzzi started off game one by mulliganning to five. His first plays led to nothing: Canyon Minotaur met Essence Scatter, and Pitchburn Devils a Sensory Deprevation. Then Jůza upped the stakes with Colossal Whale. It attacked, swallowed the Pitchburn Devils that were still enchanted with Sensory Deprivation (to play around a block and a Shock or Chandra's Outrage), and Cammilluzzi had the perfect foil: a Briarpack Alpha ambush. Jůza had Opportunity in response, but didn't find another Essence Scatter. Briarpack Alpha traded with the Whale, and Pitchburn Devils returned as a 3/3. "I wasn't expecting Briarpack Alpha there," Jůza said after the game. After that crucial exchange, the game turned into a close one. In the end, however, the card advantage generated by Opportunity gave the first game to Jůza.

    For Game 2, Cammilluzzi chose to go first. His first plays were Rumbling Baloth and Sporemound. Jůza, in the meantime, stopped the bleeding with Sensory Deprivation, refilled his hand with Divination, and added a blocker in the form of Sengir Vampire. Cammilluzzi then played ... a main-phase Giant Growth on a 3/3. It seemed like a strange play, until Cammilluzzi revealed why: he had Hunt the Weak! His now 7/7 creature slayed Sengir Vampire and lived to tell the tale. As a result, Jůza was falling behind—both on life and on the board—and a couple attack steps later, Cammilluzzi tied the match at one game apiece.


    Martin Jůza vs. Marco Cammilluzzi

    In game 3, Jůza has the very blue start of turn three Divination and turn four Divination. Cammilluzzi, meanwhile, played a bunch of green aggressive creatures. Would it be card advantage or tempo deciding this game? Well, Jůza had Sensory Deprivation and Claustrophobia to stem the tide somewhat, but he lacked a good blocker. Then, on turn six, already down to 8 life after Cammilluzzi's attack, he cast Opportunity. Card advantage, sure, but Cammilluzzi was the aggressor: he kept adding creatures to his board and continued attacking. A turn later, Jůza (holding a plethora of good cards in his hand) succumbed to the green onslaught and extended his hand in concession.

    Marco Cammilluzzi 2-1 Martin Jůza




     

  • Semifinals — Round-up

    by Olle Råde

  • The letter T!he semi finals in Prague saw two classic match-ups in Hungary against Italy and Russia vs Germany. Almost like a World Cup in football from the 1950s or 1990s. This time however, the players weren't named Ferenc Puskás or Egisto Pandolfini, but Balazs Varady against Marco Cammilluzzi and Kai Mokrusch versus Anatoly Chuhwichov.

    The Mokrusch–Chuhwichov match was first to start, and first to finish. In game one Anatoly's Blue/Black deck had all the answers to the threats that Kai's Red/White deck could present. Blur Sliver? Essence Scatter. Scourge of Valkas? Time Ebb. Scourge of Valkas again? Claustrophobia. Meanwhile the Russian assembled an armored undead minotaur vampire threat of his own by casting a Haunted Plate Mail, followed by Undead Minotaur, suiting up the minotaur and enchanting it with Mark of the Vampire. 1-0 Russia.

    In game two a Sentinel Sliver and two lands for Kai Mokrusch couldn't race a Seacoast Drake, a Lifebane Zombie and the Haunted Plate Mail for Anatoly Chuhwichov. "Russki Finali!" shouted Anatoly to the cheer of his friends in the crowd, and he was through to the final.

    Anatoly Chuhwichov defeats Kai Mokrusch 2-0

    In what turned out to be a battle of slivers Marco Cammilluzzis Red/Green deck, featuring two Manaweft Sliver, a Megantic Sliver and a Predatory Sliver faced of against Balazs Varady, with Sentinel Sliver, Steelform Sliver, Battle Sliver, Striking Sliver, Thorncaster Sliver and two copies of Blur Sliver.

    And a sliver battle it was. Varady took the first game on the back of Sentinel, Steelform, Mutavault followed up by Young Pyromancer, a timely Show of Valor and a Marauding Maulhorn for the last points of damage.

    In game two the Hungarian fired of an almost lethal Fortify when he attacked for 11 on turn six with Striking Sliver, Sentinel Sliver and Mutavault. The board was then stalled against green creatures including a Megantic Sliver and a few turns later Cammilluzzi cast Seismic Stomp, allowing him to attack for 25 points of unblockable damage.

    The last game turned out to be almost as exciting as the first two, at least if your name was Marco Cammilluzzi. Playing at a pace that on Magic Online would be the equivalence of clicking "attack with all" every turn and spamming the F6 button. Predatory Sliver traded with Sentinel Sliver. Advocate of the Beast got in for damage. Giant Spider joined the bashing and a Young Pyromancer was the victim of Hunt of the Weak. Balazs Varady could only tick up a Ratchet Bomb while falling closer and close to the big zero over his life total. Two Pitchburn Devils followed for Italy, one getting enchanted by Troll Hide and the rest was only a formality before Marco Cammilluzzi could start preparing for the finals.

    Marco Cammilluzzi defeats Balazs Varady 2-1




     

  • Finals — Anatoly Chuhwichov vs. Marco Cammilluzzi

    by Tobi Henke

  • The letter T!his was it. 1,505 players had entered the tournament yesterday morning, only two remained now. Russia's Anatoly Chuhwichov was playing in his second Top 8, whereas Marco Cammilluzzi from Italy, a long-time veteran of the Grand Prix circuit was playing in his third. It was the first final appearance for both, the first time the champion's trophy was literally within arm's reach.

    Chuhwichov had drafted blue-black featuring Jace, Memory Adept and lots and lots of evasion creatures. Cammilluzzi had made it through the quarters and semis with a very solid red-green deck which, during deck construction, he had actually called "nothing special."


    Marco Cammilluzzi

    Chuhwichov curved out with Seacoast Drake, Warden of Evos Isle, and Air Servant, whereas Cammilluzzi's first play was Rumbling Baloth, followed by Manaweft Sliver and Plummet for the Air Servant—eliciting a disappointed "Aww" from Chuhwichov. With his big flier gone, Chuhwichov decided to change gears and cast Jace, Memory Adept, milling ten cards from Cammilluzzi's library.

    Not to be outdone, Cammilluzzi summoned the mighty Megantic Sliver and smashed with his 4/4 Manaweft Sliver and 4/4 Rumbling Baloth. Chuhwichov chumpblocked both, keeping his planeswalker. "You had a really great start, creatures on turn two, turn three, turn four, then Jace," Cammilluzzi said. "But you killed them all," Chuhwichov complained. It really was a remarkable turnaround.

    Chuhwichov cast Time Ebb on Megantic Sliver and put it into Cammilluzzi's graveyard with Jace's +1 ability. He lost the planeswalker in the next attack anyway, and Cammilluzzi added further pressure with Pitchburn Devils. Chuhwichov was all out of gas now, while Cammilluzzi still had Howl of the Night Pack for five tokens. Chuhwichov conceded shortly after.

    For the second game, Cammilluzzi had in Kalonian TUsker two-drop to match up favorably with Chuhwichov's turn-two Seacoast Drake. Warden of Evos Isle and Air Servant again followed, while Cammilluzzi cast Advocate of the Beast. Already behind on the board, this time Cammilluzzi had no Plummet to deal with Air Servant, and when the 4/3 turned into a 6/5 life-linking monster thanks to Mark of the Vampire, Cammilluzzi soon lost all hope, and went to move to game three.

    Here, Cammilluzzi had the first play for once: Predatory Sliver on turn two, followed by Canyon Minotaur on turn four and Pitchburn Devils on turn five. But Chuhwichov had adequate defenses in Undead Minotaur and Wall of Frost.


    Anatoly Chuhwichov

    Chuhwichov took to the air with Warden of Evos Isle and Air Servant yet again, and stopped Giant Spider via Essence Scatter. With the help of Manaweft Sliver Cammilluzzi, however, accelerated into Fleshpulper Giant, killing the 2/2 flier. Left with just Air Servant for offense and Wall of Frost for defense, Chuhwichov was actually falling behind now. His Deathgaze Cockatrice traded with the Giant, but Cammilluzzi replaced it with Sporemound. Quag Sickness dealt with Predatory Sliver, putting Chuhwichov ahead again, but not by much. The race was on and it was going to be a close one.

    Howl of the Night Pack threatened lethal damage on the very next turn, but Chuhwichov, after one final attack with Air Servant, trumped it with Corrupt, taking the game, match, and title. The Russian audience erupted into cheers as Chuhwichov jumped out of his chair, a newly crowned Grand Prix champion falling into the arms of his friends. Congratulations to Anatoly Chuhwichov, champion of Grand Prix Prague 2013!




     

  • Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Prague 2013

    by Tobi Henke

  • The letter T!hese were the cards that shaped the tournament, that sparked discussions and were most debated, that won games and matches, and turned Grand Prix Prague into an event to remember...



    5. Master of Diversion

    Going into the tournament, white was the most-maligned color in the format. Everyone seemed to love blue and green and black and even red in certain combinations, but conventional wisdom dictated you better stay away from white. However Sealed requires players to work with what they get and Draft is a self-regulating format, so figuring out how to make a white deck work proved to be a crucial skill. One such strategy usually involved green or red as a second color and often involved Master of Diversion as the backbone of an aggressive creature rush. And several players posted solid results this weekend passing by blockers with the help of the Master.





    4. Molten Birth

    Matej Zatlkaj snapped victory from the jaws of defeat in a game on Saturday purely by virtue of winning three coin flips with this card. "In a row!" he noted, then on second thoughts added, "Well, obviously." But it's not just the fun/trivial stories of crazy luck which warrant its inclusion here. The card is an excellent role player in a lot of decks, awesome with the black-red sacrifice theme or with Young Pyromancer or Fortify, and clearly insane with Ogre Battledriver. Even if the flip doesn't go well for one, there's just so much value here, much more than meets the eye at first glance.





    3. Fortify

    The card Raphaël Lévy called the most underdrafted, best card in the format certainly deserves a spot on this list. The French Hall of Famer had developed his very own draft style, unique in that, while everyone else seemed to shun white, he embraced it gleefully. The strategy failed him in the Top 8, but it was what got him there in the first place. Just look at the beautiful beast of a deck he used to sweep his second draft pod. (The last photo in this piece.)







    2. Jace, Memory Adept

    Generally considered to be the biggest bomb in the format, its mythic rarity meant we didn't see that much of blue's favorite planeswalker this weekend. That is, until the Top 8 when Anatoly Chuhwichov slew opponent after opponent by the particularly painful way of running them out of cards. Jace, Memory Adept certainly delivered here; in fact, it delivered the trophy to Chuhwichov.








    1. Corrupt

    Aside from all the card draw, all the removal, all the fliers, and even some planeswalker assistance, what decided the final game of the final match at the very end of this long and grueling weekend, was the surprising ability of a blue-black deck to finish the opponent with direct damage.






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