gpbar11

Scheinin Beats Them Black and Blue

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Grand Prix Barcelona is at an end, and what a tournament it has been. 1,201 players started out on Saturday, and after 18 rounds of play, it was Spaniard Martin Scheinin who emerged victorious, over his countryman Toni Ramis Pascual in a lopsided final where Scheinin's blue/black control deck maintained a firm enough grip on things that it proved a shock that Pascual, in his first ever Grand Prix, won an extraordinary game two.

While the field was littered with variations on the Caw-Blade archetype, the top eight showed that there are plenty of ways to attack the format, with a variety of decks represented, both aggro and control. Given some of the explosive Lotus Cobra turns seen in the elimination stage of the event, one could almost call some of the decks combo decks.

As the sun goes down on the Spanish leg of the Grand Prix circuit, we look forward to Grand Prix Dallas Fort Worth, which will also be in the Standard format. We've seen a few new archetypes and variations on existing builds here in Spain, and it will be exciting to see how the metagame adapts as a result.

For now though, the fiesta will go long into the night, as we celebrate our victor for Grand Prix Barcelona 2011, Martin Scheinin.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Richard J Bland   Richard J Bland, 2-1        
8 Simon Bertiou   Martin Scheinin, 2-1
       
4 Martin Scheinin   Martin Scheinin, 2-1   Martin Scheinin, 2-1
5 Karol Nosowicz    
       
2 Jonas Köstler   Eduardo Sajgalik, 2-1
7 Eduardo Sajgalik   Toni Ramis Pascual,
2-0
       
3 Toni Ramis Pascual   Toni Ramis Pascual,
2-0
6 Guillaume Wafo-Tapa    

EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Rich Hagon
    The Final
    Martin Scheinin versus Toni Ramis Pascual

  • by Tobi Henke
    Semifinal
    Richard Bland vs. Martin Scheinin

  • by Rich Hagon
    Semifinals
    Eduardo Sajgalik versus Toni Ramis Pascual

  • by Tim Willoughby
    Sunday, 6:30 p.m.
    Cards of the weekend

  • by Rich Hagon
    Quarterfinals
    Eduardo Sajgalik versus Jonas Köstler

  • by Tim Willoughby
    Quarterfinals
    Toni Ramis Pascual vs Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Decklists


  • 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.  Martin Scheinin $3,500
 2.  Toni Ramis Pascual $2,300
 3.  Richard J Bland $1,500
 4.  Eduardo Sajgalik $1,500
 5.  Jonas Köstler $1,000
 6.  Karol Nosowicz $1,000
 7.  Guillaume Wafo-tapa $1,000
 8.  Simon Bertiou $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 – Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Richard Bland
    Grand Prix Barcelona 2011 - Top 8

    Eduardo Sajgalik
    Grand Prix Barcelona 2011 - Top 8

    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa
    Grand Prix Barcelona 2011 - Top 8

    Toni Ramis
    Grand Prix Barcelona 2011 - Top 8



     
  • Top 8 – Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Name: Richard Bland
    Nickname: Blandy Max
    Hometown: Coventry, England
    Age: 23
    Occupation: Wastrel
    Deck: RUG

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Third at GP Madrid 2010
    Second at Great Britain Nationals 2010

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Being Marco's friend.

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    Lightning Bolt

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    Mirrodin Pure


    Name: Jonas Köstler
    Nickname: Mr. Floppy
    Hometown: Haar, Germany
    Age: 20
    Occupation: Level 8 Trambahn Pro
    Deck: Devil RUG

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Top 8 at GP Bochum
    23rd at PT Paris 2010

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Buying mask on Ebay.

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    Lotus Cobra

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    Mirrodin Pure


    Name: Pascual Toni Ramis
    Hometown: Palma de Mallorca, Spain
    Age: 19
    Occupation: Student, tennis coach
    Deck: Valakut

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Top 8 at PTQ in Mallorca

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Semi-professional tennis player

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    Lotus Cobra and Titan from the top

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    I don't really care.


    Name: Martin Scheinin
    Hometown: Madrid, Spain
    Age: 26
    Occupation: School teacher (Hello, dear Munchkins!)
    Deck: UB Control (4decada.com)

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Some GP Top 32 and Top 16 finishes (missed Top 8 on tiebreaks in Brussels), played several Pro Tours (seven), Top 64 at Worlds '07, made five PTQ Top 8s in a row and still managed to not qualify, 4decada.com writer and collaborator.

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Giving up Magic for this year (studies) and finally making it to a GP Top 8. :-p

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    I should say Jace, but it has been the Golem.

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    New Phyrexia


    Name: Karol Nosowicz
    Hometown: Torun, Poland
    Age: 26
    Occupation: Preservation engineer
    Deck: UWB Caw-Blade

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Top 8 at Nationals

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Can't think of any.

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    Hero of Bladehold

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    No idea.


    Name: Guillaume Wafo-Tapa
    Hometown: Nantes, France
    Age: 29
    Occupation: Magic player
    Deck: UB Control

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Won Pro Tour–Yokohama, finals at Worlds 2010.

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Still working on that.

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    It's a close call between Liliana Vess and Precursor Golem.

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    Mirrodin Pure


    Name: Eduardo Sajgalik
    Nickname: Walaoumpa
    Hometown: Cambridge (among others)
    Age: 23
    Occupation: Community management and marketing
    Deck: Valakut

    Previous Magic achievements:
    2008 Canada national team
    Two Top 8s at UK Nationals

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Obtaining chemistry degree. Being less obnoxious.

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    Precursor Golem (sideboard)

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    Pure Phyrexia?

    Special note: 
    Merci aux Gaulois du Magic pour leur soutien. Hello to Cambridge guys.


    Name: Symeon Bertiou
    Nickname: Silvos
    Hometown: Athens, Greece
    Age: 26
    Occupation: part-time at fatouros.inc
    Deck: Caw-Blade w/ Tezzeret

    Previous Magic achievements:
    Two-time Greek National Chump

    Greatest non-Magic achievement:
    Kept walking.

    What was the MVP (best card) in your deck this weekend?
    Venser, the Sojourner

    What do you think will the next set be called: Mirrodin Pure or New Phyrexia?
    New Phyrexia



     
  • Quarterfinals - Toni Ramis Pascual vs Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

    by Tim Willoughby
  • At Grand Prix Barcelona, as with at each tournament that Guillaume Wafo-Tapa has shown up at, the little Frenchman has coolly and calmly gone about the business of winning. There is little fanfare about Wafo-Tapa's persona, but that doesn't make him any less dangerous a player, especially when equipped with a blue/black control deck – his weapon of choice for this tournament.

    Guillaume's opponent in the quarterfinals is Toni Ramis Pascual. The young Spaniard is equipped with Valakut, a deck against which Wafo-Tapa confided that he felt he had the edge. That said, he was still wary of the powerful starts that the deck can have, and knew that his priority had to be countering the early mana ramp that Valakut can present.

    Toni Ramis Pascual

    Ramis Pascual won the roll, meaning that he had the potential to sneak at least some mana ramping past the Pro Tour Yokohama champion. His turn one Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle was followed by a Forest to enable Lotus Cobra. As acceleration goes, the snake is among the most powerful of options, but also the most fragile – a point evidenced by the casual way in which Wafo-Tapa killed it off with a Doom Blade.

    Toni's next play was a Khalni Heart Exploration, followed by a Terramorphic Expanse. It looked that Wafo-Tapa would not be able to cut Ramis Pascual off green mana (one of the ways that Valakut decks can be vulnerable), so Wafo-Tapa cast Spreading Seas on Valakut itself, making the business of winning a little more complicated.

    Toni was not without big plans though. He cast a Lotus Cobra, followed by a Harrow, sacrificing his enchanted Valakut to fetch two copies of Mountain. Next Khalni Heart Exploration got more lands, and Lotus Cobra enabled a Primeval Titan. The lands it fetched (two copies of Valakut) in turn allowed an Explore. To finish off his very good turn, Toni played a Mountain, and hit Wafo-Tapa for six. None too shabby.

    Wafo Tapa's fight back began with a Spreading Seas on Valakut, and then a second, leaving Toni without any active copies of the powerful land. He did have 8 power of creatures to attack with though, and on attacks fetched up his final Valakut, and a Mountain for 3 more damage. A Harrow finished things.

    Toni Ramis Pascual 1, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 0

    After a lightning fast game one, there was plenty of time for sideboarding. Guillaume, on the play and knowing that this game could be his last of the tournament, led off with a Creeping Tar Pit. He allowed an Overgrown Battlement from Ramis Pascual on turn two, and played a timely Duress to remove one of two copies of Summoning Trap from the Spaniard's hand. Once that was gone there were two more copies of Overgrown Battlement, and two fetchlands left. One way or another, it seemed likely that Ramis Pascual would have plenty of mana available to him.

    Toni only played one of his walls the following turn, content to sit back with mana up. This is what Guillaume did as well, but without playing a land it was not clear that Wafo-Tapa's reasoning wasn't simply that he didn't have a play.

    An Explore from Ramis Pascual was followed by Overgrown Battlement. This still left mana for an Acidic Slime, which threatened to leave Wafo-Tapa high and dry. He had to counter, and did so with a Flashfreeze, turning on Ramis Pascual's Summoning Trap. The trap found Primeval Titan. To say that Wafo-Tapa was in bad shape would have been an embarrassing level of understatement. A Doom Blade despatched Primeval Titan, but not before it had fetched up Valakut and a Mountain, meaning that Toni had four mountains in total.

    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

    Wafo-Tapa used Spreading Seas on Valakut. After a little thought he cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, leaving one Creeping Tar Pit up. He used Jace to fateseal his opponent. Seeing an Inferno Titan, he barely flinched, thinking a little before putting it on the bottom of his opponent's deck.

    Toni couldn't help but laugh when he drew his card. A Primeval Titan was an ideal draw, and found two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. Wafo-Tapa used Jace to bounce the titan, suggesting he had a counter ready for its return visit. This proved to be the case, as Flashfreeze despatched the Titan. Unfortunately for Wafo-Tapa though, it seemed that Ramis Pascual was having the draw of his life, as he cast a Green Sun's Zenith for six off his Overgrown Battlement mana factory, getting a Primeval Titan that way. His active Valakuts left the Frenchman very close to being knocked out of the tournament. A land would mean six damage. A spell would almost certainly mean similar amounts if not more. An attack step would do it too. Wafo-Tapa dug as best he could with Jace and Preordain, but it was to no avail. He extended his hand, and the Spanish crowd went wild. A Spaniard would be in the semi-finals.

    Toni Ramis Pascual wins, advancing to the semi-finals!



     
  • Quarterfinals – Eduardo Sajgalik versus Jonas Köstler

    by Rich Hagon
  • It's fair to say we're going to see some Forests and Mountains in this match. Sajgalik is playing Valakut, while Köstler adds blue to be Red-Blue-Green, or RUG.

    Sajgalik won the die roll, and opened with a mulligan, not surprisingly given the three Titans that sat in his opening grip. Six cards were every bit as poor, and Köstler was looking a strong favorite even before picking up his seven. Two words – Gabriel Nassif.

    That's the last guy who memorably went to four cards on the play before pulling out a stunning victory, on that occasion against Patrick Chapin in the semi-final of Worlds in 2007.

    Sajgalik finally opened on a Mountain, with Misty Rainforest turn two fetching up a Forest. If he ever had cards to play with, he might be able to cast them...

    Preordian opened for Köstler, who added Lotus Cobra on turn two.

    Sajgalik had Khalni Heart Expedition ticking up counters, with Explore leading to about as explosive a start as a four card opener could give. Köstler had Explore of his own, setting up a bunch of turn three mana that eventually landed him Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which quickly leapt to five loyalty, Köstler opting to begin Fateseal action at the earliest opportunity.

    With the Khalni Heart Expedition now at three counters, Sajgalik sat with one lonely card in hand, watching Köstler use Jace to Brainstorm.

    Halimar Depths helped the German's card selection some more, before he landed a meaningful threat in the form of Frost Titan.

    The clock was ticking. Sajgalik sacrificed his Khalni Heart Expedition, allowing him at least a shot of finding something good – like a Primeval Titan! He searched up two Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and incredibly he was back in the hunt. Köstler cast Preordain, but sent both cards to the bottom. Jace moved to seven loyalty, with Köstler leaving the top card of Sajgalik's deck right where it was. Frost Titan and Lotus Cobra attacked, leaving Sajgalik at seven.

    With his green Titan tapped down by the blue Titan across the table, Sajgalik was in a tight spot. He passed the turn, which didn't seem especially powerful. Then again, are four card opening hands meant to be especially powerful?

    Jonas Köstler

    In Köstler's upkeep, Sajgalik went for Harrow, and with six spare mana, he wasn't going to be put off by Mana Leak from Köstler. The German allowed it to resolve, meaning Sajgalik could search up two Mountains. That was a lot of damage to spread around, using four Valakut triggers. While two seemed destined for the Frost Titan, the others weren't clear. Target three was eventually found to be Lotus Cobra, with the fourth leaving Jace alone, and putting Köstler to fifteen instead.

    Now the German continued his turn, in less exciting shape than it had begun. Explore was all he had, and suddenly Sajgalik could untap with his Primeval Titan. This was getting absurd – surely he couldn't pull this one out of the fire? Khalni Heart Expedition met Mana Leak, and then a second. Sajgalik paid, and paid again. The Primeval Titan attacked. It found two Mountains for Sajgalik. That was twelve damage.

    Köstler was down to three, with a Primeval Titan attacking for six.

    Un.

    Real.

    Sajgalik 1 – 0 Köstler

    The curse of the mulligan struck both players down to six for game two , but then we were away. Köstler had Mana Leak mana available for Sajgalik's turn two Lotus Cobra, and also had the same mana for Flashfreeze, which he used. Sajgalik jokingly represented a Summoning Trap, but passed.

    When Köstler went for Lotus Cobra, Sajgalik had no answer, allowing the German to power his mana upwards in a hurry. Fetchland took him to Inferno Titan, while Sajgalik had six mana the hard way, trying for Primeval Titan. Köstler's fetchland, coupled with Lotus Cobra trigger, enabled him to Mana Leak the Sajgalik Titan.

    Now Köstler piled in, with Lotus Cobra, Raging Ravine, and the Inferno Titan. The Primeval Titan had been Sajgalik's only chance to keep in the game, and it was all square at one apiece.

    Sajgalik 1 – 1 Köstler

    For the first time, Sajgalik got to keep seven, while Köstler went to six. Lotus Cobra was first out for Sajgalik, and it was matched on the other side of the red zone by Köstler. We had seen some extraordinary turn threes with the Valakut deck. Were we heading for another?

    Eduardo Sajgalik

    Two mana, Overgrown Battlement. Lotus Cobra attacked for two. Valakut, into play tapped. Apparently, this wouldn't be a ridiculous turn three. Perhaps Köstler could get more value out of his Lotus Cobra?

    Preordain, keeping one card on top and into hand, one to the bottom.

    Köstler attacked Lotus Cobra into the Overgrown Battlement, with Sajgalik biting, and blocking. Köstler had been running a bluff in the hope of getting through a couple of free damage.

    Sajgalik cast a second Lotus Cobra, and now there were serious possibilities. Verdant Catacombs meant three triggers. He cast a second Overgrown Battlement, then Inferno Titan, klling Köstler's Lotus Cobra. It was indeed a huge turn for Sajgalik, and Köstler had no immediate answer. In came both Cobras and the Inferno Titan, and now only an immediate answer would do.

    There was no immediate answer. Gabriel Nassif, eat your heart out.

    Eduardo Sajgalik 2 – 1 Jonas Köstler



     
  • Sunday, 6:30 p.m. – Cards of the weekend

    by Tim Willoughby
  • Perhaps you haven't had a chance to enjoy all the sparkling prose of myself and my esteemed colleagues on the coverage team this weekend. We won't judge you. That's what judges are for. We'll simply reiterate some of the key stories, so that if you do want to catch up, you can do so at speed. Simply put, here are some of the cards that have made this weekend at Grand Prix Barcelona what it is.

    It seems that just about every story that has started 'you'll never guess what I just saw' from this weekend has related to a powerful start from Lotus Cobra. Full four of the top eight decks are running the little snake from Zendikar, and if it survives on turn two, it enables some pretty incredible sequences of plays.

    Richard Bland thought he'd had a good one with a turn three Inferno Titan. The top seed in the Swiss got beaten though by another top 8 competitor – Eduardo Sajgalik. Having started turn three with just the snake and a couple of lands in play, Sajgalik managed to finish up with both a Primeval Titan and an Inferno Titan in play, along with a pair of Lotus Cobras, and a whole mess of lands.

    Even when Magical Christmas land is not happening, Lotus Cobra is a valuable addition to both RUG and Valakut, as incidental acceleration that can attack in the meantime. Its interaction with fetchlands and with Explore makes is a painless addition that can bring a lot of pain to opponents

    In a metagame sporting a large amount of 1/1 and 1/2 creatures, there is a lot to be said for Inferno Titan, who can single handedly turn around games like no other. When there are creatures to kill, he'll happily do so. When there aren't creatures to kill, he represents a terrifyingly fast clock.

    There have been rumours around the room about him gaining a Basilisk Collar, and annihilating whole teams. That said, there is also talk about what happens when he gets enchanted with Corrupted Conscience. Apparently if you play with fire, sometimes you get burned.

    While Sword of Feast and Famine is clearly very powerful indeed, Mortarpod has impressed me in its versatility and strength this weekend. It allows Stoneforge Mystic to fetch removal when removal is needed, to fetch a blocker when a blocker is needed, and even sometimes (just sometimes) to make your Squadron Hawk just a tiny bit bigger than opposing Squadron Hawks.

    I think that the interaction that impressed me most with Mortarpod is with Sun Titan. Sun Titan shows up in some Caw-Blade decks, along with the mono-white control deck featured today, and in Simon Bertiou's innovative UBW Tezzeret/Caw-Blade deck that is in the top eight. Between Mortarpod and Sun Titan, coming into play abilities can be used again and again, while problematic creatures can be dealt with cleanly and easily. Not the most powerful card of the weekend, but one of the ones with the most utility.

    The latest iteration of the Duress/Thoughtseize school of targeted discard is a very powerful element of just about any deck running black, be it poison, Dark Blade, Vampires or traditional blue/black control. As a turn one play, it provides a huge amount of information, and can frequently turn a risky keep into a bad one. Against Stoneforge Mystic decks, it can break the matchup wide open either by pre-emptively stopping the Mystic, or taking the equipment that a turn two Mystic has fetched.

    While the Spanish Inquisition was not particularly surprising, but that didn't stop it being powerful, in spite of the fact that this is a format where most decks have some pretty terrifying expensive spells.

    Half of the top eight here in Barcelona is packing a full set of copies of Creeping Tar Pit. Being able to have lands that function as 'spells' is always a good way for any deck to get extra value, and the blue/black decks have a dangerous weapon in the pit. Fixing mana is just the beginning for this man-land, which can consistently attack planeswalkers without fear of being blocked, and can pick up and wield Sword of Feast and Famine very effectively indeed. Not only is it cheaper to use than Celestial Colonnade, its synergy with the sword goes further, as it will always get through blockers, ensuring that the sword triggers to untap lands.

    The top eight is still going on here in Barcelona, but suffice to say that without these, my top five, it really wouldn't have been the same event.



     
  • Semifinals – Eduardo Sajgalik versus Toni Ramis Pascual

    by Rich Hagon
  • The Spaniard Pascual has made it thus far with just a single Bye to his name, and at his very first Grand Prix attempt. Sajgalik, meanwhile, has been around the block a few times, having dual French-Canadian nationality, played for the Canadian team at Worlds, and twice reaching the top 8 of Great Britain Nationals, where he currently lives.

    Pascual opened with Valakut, indicating a mirror match, with Sajgalik going with Terramorphic Expanse. The first of what could be many fetchlands, a Misty Rainforest, saw Pascual get both colors of mana, with the optimal turn two Lotus Cobra moments away. Terramorphic Expanse became Forest for Sajgalik. Overgrown Battlement was his French/Canadian/British response on turn two.

    Toni Ramis Pascual

    Pascual had the first go at an explosive turn three, with a second Lotus Cobra, a Valakut, an Explore, a Mountain, and Overgrown Battlement. It was a big turn, but not crippling for Sajgalik. Harrow found him a Mountain and a Forest, replacing the green source he'd sacrificed as part of the the Harrow cost, leaving him three mana to play with. Two led to Explore, drawing him deeper into his deck, with the extra land plus Overgrown Battlement allowing him yet another Explore. Terramorphic Expanse ended the turn.

    So, just to recap: three turns each, ten lands in play, plus four additional sources of bonus mana. Standard. So underpowered, clearly.

    Pascual had little to offer, leaving Sajgalik to make the first big move, a seven-mana Green Sun's Zenith netting him Primeval Titan. With two Mountains arriving, both Spanish Lotus Cobras were soon in the graveyard. That sent Pascual into deep thought, before coming up with Harrow, searching out Mountain and Forest, unwilling to let his Overgrown Battlement be his only source of green. Three more mana was for a second Harrow, and this time Mountains five and six were on the slate. Six points killed the Primeval Titan, and the other six came straight at Sajgalik, dropping him to ten.

    Explore began his turn, with a second Overgrown Battlement and Lotus Cobra ending it. The Spaniard passed, allowing Sajgalik to attack with his Lotus Cobra. Now we were close to topdeck mode, with Sajgalik adding a third Overgrown Battlement. Still the Spaniard had the edge, with double Valakut. He had Inferno Titan to kill Lotus Cobra, which was rather better than the second Khalni Heart Expedition for Sajgalik. Still, that's what Pascual had too up next.

    Back and forth we went, until Terramorphic Expanse terramorphically expansing into a Mountain for Pascual signalled the end of the road.

    Sajgalik 0 – 1 Pascual.

    Both players opened on a Forest, with Sajgalik casting Explore before laying Valakut as his bonus land for the turn. Pascual had Lotus Cobra on his second turn. At three mana, Green Sun's Zenith for two was a slightly inefficient Lotus Cobra for Sajgalik, with Mountain plus Cobra trigger allowed him to end the turn with Khalni Heart Expedition.

    Eduardo Sajgalik

    Pascual had fetchland to give his mana a sizeable Cobra boost, enough for Inferno Titan, and enough to put Sajgalik's Lotus Cobra in the graveyard. It was advantage Spain, and Overgrown Battlement didn't look likely to help Sajgalik too much. He matched Sajgalik's Overgrown Batltement before attaciking Sajgalik down to just six life. He was very close to being utterly dead, and he knew it.

    Two mana gave him a second Overgrown Battlement. Enough to buy him another turn?

    Pascual laid a Mountain, sending his Khalni Heart Expedition to two counters. In came Lotus Cobra and Inferno Titan. Sajgalik was down to three, with a lone Overgrown Battlement and four mana to work a miracle with. He'd done it in the opening game of his quarter final against Jonas Kostler, but this was a whole other magnitude of unlikely.

    Moments later, unlikely became impossible, and the Spaniard was through to the final of the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Eduardo Sajgalik 0 – 2 Toni Ramis Pascual



     
  • Semifinal – Richard Bland vs. Martin Scheinin

    by Tobi Henke
  • England's Richard Bland has made his second Grand Prix Top 8 here in Barcelona and was looking to improve on his previous finish—third at GP Madrid last year, which was exactly the same spot he would end up in with another semfinal loss today. His opponent, Martin Scheinin from Spain came close to the Top 8 before, but never made it this far. Now he was playing with the finals on the line.

    Bland won the die-roll and both players kept their opening seven. Bland's didn't include the signature turn-two play of RUG, Lotus Cobra, but it did have Preordain which simply found one. Scheinin had an Island and Preordain himself.

    The Cobra was summoned, but didn't do anything just yet. On turn three Bland played a land, attacked, and simply passed back to Scheinin. Over the next couple of turns, Bland developed his mana and hand further with Explore and two Preordains, but he was in no hurry to cast an actual threat, as his opponent was stuck on two Islands and two Tectonic Edges as his only lands. When Scheinin discarded Grave Titan at the end of his turn, Bland knew he was in a pretty good position. He tried for Jace, the Mind Sculptor but lost it to two Mana Leaks.

    Scheinin finally drew a Swamp and peeked at Bland's hand with Inquisition of Kozilek. He saw two Inferno Titans, Mana Leak, and a Lightning Bolt which he took away. Then he tapped out for Jace, the Mind Sculptor and used the Planeswalker's Brainstorm ability, clearly not afraid of the Inferno Titan that was sure to enter the battlefield on Bland's next turn. It did and Jace died. Scheinin untapped, killed the Titan via Go for the Throat, played a Creeping Tar Pit, and once again tapped out for Jace, this time for Jace Beleren.

    All this time, Lotus Cobra had slowly depleted Scheinin's life, who was down to 9. Bland's second Inferno Titan made that 6, while the Cobra attacked Jace Beleren. Now the game was close—either to its end or to a turnaround in Scheinin's favor. The Spaniard summoned Wurmcoil Engine. The crowd held its breath ...

    Richard Bland

    Bland ripped Lightning Bolt off the top of his deck and was able to hit Scheinin for 6 before his Wurmcoil Engine could even block.

    Martin Scheinin 0-1 Richard Bland

    For the second game Bland once again had Lotus Cobra off a Preordain, but Scheinin immediately killed it with Go for the Throat. Another Lotus Cobra stuck though. Scheinin cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bland apparently had no way to get rid of it just yet.

    Instead, his Lotus Cobra went crazy. With the help of a couple of fetchlands the Snake fueled two Explore, and then payed for Precursor Golem, all on turn four. Bland even had one Scalding Tarn still unused, so he could Mana Leak whatever answer Scheinin would come up with. Bland was a little taken aback, when Scheinin tapped out for Liliana Vess, which was absolutely no answer at all, and would also die to his Golems on the very next turn. Bland chose not to play his Mana Leak and allowed Scheinin to use Liliana's tutor ability (getting Black Sun's Zenith).

    Both Planeswalkers died in the next attack, which also brought Scheinin down to 12. The Spanish player still had something up his sleeve though: he cast Inquisition of Kozilek, to which Bland responded with Mana Leak, the only spell left in his hand at this point being Lightning Bolt. Scheinin chose not to pay and proceeded to cast his Zenith for three, killing all of Bland's four creatures.

    Bland topdecked and summoned Inferno Titan, putting Scheinin at 9, but unlike Precursor Golem, Inferno Titan actually makes a good target for Go for the Throat which was already waiting in Scheinin's hand.

    Now, the game entered a phase where not much was going on ... Until Bland cast a second Precursor Golem! Scheinin was down to two cards in hand (two Mana Leaks) and had to use both of them to stop it.

    Lotus Cobra was summoned and on the next attack put Scheinin at 7. Then Scheinin made Jace Beleren and used its second ability. He tried to prevent the Cobra from killing the Planeswalker via Creeping Tar Pit, but the manland died to Lightning Bolt before it could block. Scheinin topdecked Jace, the Mind Sculptor as more than adequate replacement, and used its fateseal ability. But even a loyalty of five wasn't enough: Lotus Cobra and yet another Lightning Bolt took down this one too.

    Martin Scheinin

    However, next up for Scheinin was Grave Titan. No response from Bland, no Mana Leak, nothing. On his own turn, nothing to deal with the Titan. Soon after—game over.

    Martin Scheinin 1-1 Richard Bland

    For the deciding game, Bland had to do without Lotus Cobra, which slowed things down considerably. There was some Preordaining on both sides, and a Duress traded with a Mana Leak, but the first actual action was Acidic Slime on Bland's fifth turn, which drew a Mana Leak. Scheinin then tapped out for Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which allowed Bland to summon Precursor Golem. This time though, the Golem and its retinue proved a liability rather than an asset, as Scheinin untapped, smoothly cast a kicked Into the Roil on the trio, and drew three cards in the process.

    When Bland recast the Golem, Mana Leak proved to be a more final solution. Scheinin apparently wanted in on the token action and made a Grave Titan. Meanwhile, another one of Bland's Precursor Golems showed up. When Scheinin attacked with everything, two of Bland's 3/3s blocked the 6/6 and another one blocked a Zombie token. Unfortunately for Bland, Scheinin cast Disfigure to turn all of the Golems into lowly 1/1 creatures who didn't put up much of a fight.

    Bland's next turn didn't provide an answer and the Brit extended his hand in concession.

    Martin Scheinin won 2-1 against Richard Bland and advanced to the finals.



     
  • The Final – Martin Scheinin versus Toni Ramis Pascual

    by Rich Hagon
  • Spain v Spain. UB versus Valakut. Who will prevail?

    With the winning die roll, Scheinin began with Drowned Catacombs, with Inquisition of Kozilek revealing two Summoning Trap, Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, Mountain, Harrow, Lotus Cobra, and Explore. The Harrow hit the graveyard, with Creeping Tar Pit completing turn two for Scheinin. He knew Lotus Cobra would arrive for Pascual, and it did. Scheinin was ready with Black Sun's Zenith for one, shuffling it back in, as he must.

    A crowd watches the final game.

    The Explore, which again Scheinin knew about, led to Mountain and Valakut from Pascual, but that was all. With double Tectonic Edge now among his four lands, it looked like the early game was belonging to Scheinin, a thought compounded when he cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor on turn four. Straight into Fateseal mode went the Planeswalker, and Pascual, who had made his way to the final off just a single Bye at this, his very first Grand Prix, was in trouble.

    Harrow found him a pair of Forests, before he laid Khalni Heart Expedition. Not exactly stellar. Spreading Seas denied Pascual a second green source, as Jace continued his work, Fatesealing a card to the bottom. Tectonic Edge killed Valakut before it could do anything nasty, although that seemed a long way off. Up Jace went again, still with Pascual seeing nothing good, despite Scheinin sending cards to the bottom, meaning Pascual at least had a shot at something decent.

    Duress showed Summoning Trap, Summoning Trap, and Primeval Titan, with a Trap heading for the graveyard.

    Jace to eleven, and this time the top card could stay right there.

    Tumble Magnet joined the Scheinin side, leaving Pascual even fewer meaningful options. Overgrown Battlement certainly wasn't an issue.

    Jace to thirteen – now that's Loyal. Go for the Throat killed off Overgrown Battlement, returning Pascual to just one green source, and that was that.

    Scheinin 1 – 0 Pascual.

    After an opening land from Pascual, Scheinin had the turn one Inquisition of Kozilek, which is strange, because it's what I expected, and apparently no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition of Kozilek. Pascual revealed Lotus Cobra,two Overgrown Battlement, Summoning Trap, Explore, and a Mountain, with one of the Overgrown Battlements vanishing.

    Sheinin Happy People.

    Pascual got Lotus Cobra into play, but found Mana Leak waiting for his attempted Explore. Still, he had Valakut in play, a Cobra in play, and that was already more than he'd essentially accomplished in the whole of game one. He offered Explore again on the following turn, with Scheinin using Stoic Rebuttal to say no for a second time. Lotus Cobra attacked, followed by a land and Overgrown Battlement to end Pascual's turn.

    At four mana, Scheinin cast Memoricide, naming Primeval Titan. Away went the giants of the Valakut deck, leaving Pascual significantly lower on potential threats. His Lotus Cobra attacked once more, but all the body language for Pascual was of disaster waiting to happen.

    With a resigned shrug he reached six mana, and cast Summoning Trap for full price, knowing that he was unlikely to hit anything significant.

    Acidic Slime at least meant he didn't miss entirely, destroying Scheinin's Drowned Catacombs.

    Although Pascual had a Valakut in play, Scheinin used Spreading Seas to 'turn off' a Mountain, leaving Pascual back at zero in that department. Go for the Throat killed Lotus Cobra, with Scheinin still at twelve life.

    Acidic Slime continued to fight the good fight for Pascual, dropping Scheinin to ten, who found his first Preordain of the game.

    Inquisition of Kozilek revealed only a Mountain in Pascual's hand, so it was back to Acidic Slime beatdown. Green Sun's Zenith for five resolved, much to Pascual's apparent surprise, allowing him to serve up a fresh Acidic Slime – if Slimes that are Acidic could ever be said to be fresh. Another Scheinin land bit the dust, with him falling to seven as he sacrificed Marsh Flats. After a horrible, horrible game, Pascual was now just two turns from sending the final into a decider.

    Scheinin simply passed. Seriously, was Pascual about to pull this one out of the fire? Go for the Throat stemmed some of the bleeding, but Scheinin was still at five. Preordain sent him in search of more goodness, which his deck was failing to deliver. Two more land stared back at him.

    In came the Slime, dropping Scheinin to three. And...

    INFERNO TITAN!

    Toni looking laid back before the crowd.

    Crazy game, Magic. Just crazy.

    Scheinin 1 – 1 Pascual

    Preordain began the final duel of Grand Prix Barcelona 2011. Evolving Wilds replied for Pascual, who spent an age over his mulligan choice.

    That choice was made clearer by Inquisition of Kozilek from Scheinin, revealing Harrow, Summoning trap, Overgrown Battlement, Inferno Titan, two Mountains, and a Misty Rainforest. The Harrow duly disappeared.

    Overgrown Battlement arrived on schedule turn two, but for the third game running this was no explosive Valakut start. Go for the Throat added to Pascual's problems. End of turn three: three basic lands. Not the ideal Valakut start. Khalni Heart Expedition was met with Mana Leak from Scheinin, who seemed under immense pressure, with at least one hundred spectators crowding round the one remaining table.

    At five mana, he elected to turn Creeping Tar Pit 'live', and begin the beats. Pascual, meanwhile, could lay nothing but land. At six mana, Scheinin had something more exciting to do with his mana than activate his Creeping Tar PitGrave Titan, plus friends.Pascual had a tiny window, with Scheinin tapped out. Could he do anything relevant with that slim chance?

    Pascual: sixth land, Inferno Titan, kill a Zombie, and one to Scheinin.

    Pretty good.

    Scheinin: Go for the Throat on Pascual's Titan. Activate Creeping Tar Pit. Attack for eleven, make two Zombies.

    Really good.

    Pascual passed the turn, and so began what seemed certain to be the final act of the tournament. In came the team, Pascual revealed a lonely Summoning Trap which could do nothing, and Spain had a new Champion.

    Martin Scheinin 2 – 1 Toni Ramis Pascual

    Congratulations to Martin Scheinin, Champion of Grand Prix Barcelona 2011!

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