gplil12

Parker Perfect!

  • Print

Sometime on Saturday lunchtime, round two of GP Lille began. 1505 players could still win. Hundreds hadn't begun. Following his one bye, Richard Parker of England shuffled up his UB Zombies deck for the first time. He won, and won again. Now he was level with the best in the world, the Pros with their three byes. He kept on winning, and by the end of round 7 had locked up a spot on day two. Six players went undefeated on day one. Parker was one of them.

He came back on day two. He carried on winning, and winning, and winning. By the time thirty or so players were desperately scrabbling for places in the top 8, Parker was sitting comfortably ahead of the field at 14-0. Two Intentional Draws saw him into the top 8. Historically, trailblazers fare badly in top 8s. Whether it's simple misfortune, or the pressure of pacesetting, or just heaping expectations on themselves, history is littered with undefeated records that mean nothing when it really matters.

Parker beat RG Aggro in the quarter final. He did it again in the semi final. Only the excellent Simon Diaz with his Delver of Secrets deck stood in the path of the unbeaten Parker. In the end, he wasn't just unbeaten, he was unbeatable.

There were other stories too, of course. There always are. Standard proved to be a ton of fun and ultra-versatile, with enough archetypes running around the top tables to keep the most ardent deck tinkerer happy for weeks. RG Aggro bared its claws significantly, while the French Frites deck and UB Control mostly flattered to deceive down the stretch. In the end, though, it turned out that copying Geralf's Messenger with Phantasmal Image, and smashing face with Phyrexian Obliterator, was something nobody had an answer to - at least when it was Parker Perfect asking the questions.

Congratulations to Richard Parker, Grand Prix Lille Champion 2012!

Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
1 Richard Parker Richard Parker
2-1
8 Martin Zimmerman Richard Parker
2-0
4 Grzegorz Kowalski Kristof Benaets
2-0
Richard Parker
2-0
5 Kristof Benaets
2 Jonas Köstler Simon Diaz
2-1
7 Simon Diaz Simon Diaz
3 Tom Valeneers Tom Valkeneers
2-0
6 Manuel Mayer





EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Richard Parker $3,500
 2.  Simon Diaz $2,300
 3.  Kristof Benaets $1,500
 4.  Tom Valkeneers $1,500
 5.  Manuel Mayer $1,000
 6.  Jonas Kostler $1,000
 7.  Grzegorz Kowalski $1,000
 8.  Martin Zimmerman $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

15
14
13
12
11
10
15
14
13
12
11
10
15
14
13
12
11
10

Blue Bracket

9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

Green Bracket

9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
 
  • Top 8 - Decklists

    by Frank Karsten







  •  
  • Top 8 - Player Profiles

    by Tobi Henke
  • Richard Parker

    Age: 31
    Hometown: Wallsall, England
    Occupation: Accountant/jeweller

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Finished 11th at Pro Tour Valencia 2007.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    U/B Zombies. It's fast and has a decent late game.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Phantasmal Image.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    Diregraf Captain was underwhelming. I would cut two for two Phyrexian Metamorph.



    Manuel Mayer

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Tübingen, Germany
    Occupation: PhD student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8 Grand Prix Bochum 2010

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    U/W Delver. I liked my chances against the field and it has game against anything.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    The one on top of my library.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    Switch the sideboard around, move Phantasmal Image to the main deck.



    Jonas Köstler

    Age: 21
    Hometown: Haar, Germany
    Occupation: Trophy husband

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Two GP Top 8s.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    R/G Hellrider. I haven't played the format since Hawaii, so I had no idea what changed. Also, Tobias Gräfensteiner who built the deck is a genius.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Hellrider and Huntmaster of the Fells.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    More cards against Reanimator in the sideboard. The match-up is just horrible. I would also like to play more Hellriders. Sword isn't as good as it used to be.



    Kristof Benaets

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Leuven, Belgium (hometown of the Spel Fanaat)
    Occupation: PhD researcher

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    2011 Belgian Legacy Champion.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    R/G Aggro, because I like attacking with creatures and it can win against almost anything.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Huntmaster of the Fells, not close!

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    Add more Huntmasters. ;-)



    Grzegorz "Urlich" Kowalski

    Age: 20
    Hometown: Wrocław, Poland
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Day two at Pro Tour Nagoya, Top 32 at Grand Prix Amsterdam.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    R/G Ramp. Good match-up versus Zombies and R/G Aggro.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Huntmaster of the Fells.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    The deck is perfect.



    Simon Diaz

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Bordeaux, France/Hamburg, Germany
    Occupation:

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    U/W Delver. I like it.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Sword of War and Peace/Delver of Secrets.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    I don't know, but I want to thank Matthew Costa for his wonderful deck list!



    Tom Valkeneers

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Zonhoven, Belgium
    Occupation: Multilingual technical-commercial employee

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Competitor at Pro Tour Nagoya 2011, five times GP day two, Top 64 at GP Madrid 2012, grinding at Oberonn, Hasselt.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    B/W Tokens. I did well with it at a Grand Prix Trial and it seemed OK in the current metagame.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Champion of the Parish.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?

    More instants. :-)



    Martin Zimmermann

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Frankfurt, Germany
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 4 German Nationals 2011.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

    R/G Beats, because it could beat Sword of War and Peace.

    What card won you the most matches this weekend?

    Strangleroot Geist and Sword of War and Peace.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?



     
  • Quarterfinals - Richard Parker vs. Martin Zimmermann

    by Frank Karsten
  • This Quarterfinals threw together Richard Parker from England, playing Blue-Black Zombies, and Martin Zimmermann from Germany, playing Red-Green Aggro. It is the first Grand Prix Top 8 for both of them. Parker is the sole undefeated player remaining in the tournament, as he racked up 13 straight match wins after his bye and subsequently ID'd into the Top 8. He is now turning his attention towards the trophy, but Zimmermann is standing in his way.

    Game 1

    Zimmerman had a fast start with double Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise to get ahead on mana. Parker tried to slow things down by playing Tragic Slip on one a Llanowar Elves and subsequently added Geralf's Messenger, Diregraf Captain, and Gravecrawler to his board. In the meantime, Zimmerman played Thrun, the Last Troll.

    Now it was time for the two players to kill each other's creatures. Garruk Relentless dealt with Diregraf Captain, while Phantasmal Image legend-ruled Thrun, the Last Troll away.

    Zimmerman, now facing a Zombie team of Geralf's Messenger and Gravecrawler nibbling away his life total, had to come up with a way to stop the beatdown. He sacrificed his Llanowar Elves to Garruk, the Veil-Cursed (using the last loyalty counter, resulting in a dead Garruk) to search up Strangleroot Geist. The Geist immediately hit the battlefield, together with a fresh Garruk Relentless plus 2/2 Wolf friend.

    Parker replied by summoning a new Diregraf Captain and sent in his Gravecrawler and Geralf's Messenger. Zimmerman, with a board of Strangleroot Geist, Wolf token, and Garruk Relentless (three loyalty counters) chose to preserve his life total by chumpblocking the 4/3 Geralf's Messenger with Stangleroot Geist and by putting his Wolf token in front of Gravecrawler. The 2/1 Zombie immediately came back from the grave however, and Zimmerman wasn't gaining any position.

    A Phantasmal Image from Parker was next. Zimmermann, smelling that Parker was planning to copy his Diregraf Captain, used Galvanic Blast to kill it in response. Parker, unperturbed, copied Geralf's Messenger instead.

    Although Zimmermann kept making Wolf tokens with Garruk Relentless, they did not provide a permanent answer to the recurring Gravecralwer. Zimmermann's next draw steps only provided him with lands that did not help him protect his life total against Zimmerman's onslaught of Geralf's Messengers. A second Phantasmal Image from Zimmermann copied another Geralf's Messenger, and it was enough to convince Zimmermann to move on to the next game

    Richard Parker 1 – Martin Zimmermann 0

    Game 2

    Both players started by taking a mulligan down to 6. Zimmerman, now on the play, led off with Llanowar Elves. It quickly fell to Geth's Verdict, before Green Sun's Zenith provided an attacker in Strangleroot Geist. Parker had an undying creature of his own in Geralf's Messenger.

    Huntmaster of the Fells from Zimmerman forced Parker to seriously think things over. Eventually, he chose to attack with his lone creature (Geralf's Messenger), play Mortarpod and then Phantasmal Image copying Strangeroot Geist. Parker copying Strangleroot Geist rather than Geralf's Messenger clearly revealed that he felt pressurized by Zimmermann's array of 2-power creatures and felt that he needed an untapped blocker to stay in the game.

    Richard Parker

    It was now time to go for the bigger creatures. Zimmermann passed the turn without a play and flipped his Werewolf, turning it into a 4/4 (and turning Geralf's Messenger into a 4/3 while at it). Parker next ran out a 5/5 Phyrexian Obliterator.

    Parker next played Phantasmal Image and exclaimed "So many options!" Indeed, what to copy? Phyrexian Obliterator? Geralf's Messenger? Ravager of the Fells? Parker eventually went for Ravager of the Fells, thinking the trigger read "when this creature enters the battlefield or transforms" on both sides (which would allow him to ping for 2 damage), but that turned out not to be true. In the end, it didn't matter, as the Image was targeted by Galvanic Blast.

    As the game progressed, Zimmermann added Llanowar Elves to his board and flipped his Huntmaster of the Fells for an additional Wolf, while Liliana of the Veil and Fume Spitter from Parker only served to make the board state more complicated. This coverage reporter was impressed with the speed at which both players were navigating the packed battlefield, making plays at relatively fast speeds despite the large number of cards in play that were complicating combat.

    Phantasmal Image from Parker copied another Phyrexian Obliterator, but it was quickly targeted by Garruk Relentless. Acidic Slime was a good draw from ZImmerman, dealing both with Parker's Mortarpod and Phyrexian Obliterator. This meant that Parker's relevant permanents were taken out of the question, and Zimmerman's creatures attacked for lethal a couple turns later.

    Richard Parker 1 – Martin Zimmermann 1

    Game 3

    Parker, now on the play, led off with Fume Spitter, Mortarpod, Diregraf Ghoul, and Phyrexian Obliterator. A good mana curve, but Zimmermann got back with Galvanic Blast on Diregraf Ghoul, Strangleroot Geist, and Phyrexian Metamorph copying Phyrexian Obliterator.

    Martin Zimmermann

    A clash between the two Phyrexian Obliterators was not to happen, though. A sacrificed Germ token and Morbid-enabled Tragic Slip on Phyrexian Metamorph later, Parker could send safely send in his Phyrexian Obliterator. The next turn, exactly the same happened: Parker again shot Zimmerman for one by sacrificing Fume Spitter to Mortarpod, and cast Tragic Slip on his opponent's Metamorph. The Brit added insult to injury by adding Phantasmal Image (copying Strangleroot Geist) to the battlefield.

    The German could only trade Geists, but Parker's came back as a Phyrexian Obliterator. Unable to deal with two Phyrexian Obliterators, Zimmermann extended his hand and wished his opponent good luck in the semifinals.

    Richard Parker 2 – Martin Zimmermann 1

    Richard Parker remains undefeated and advances to the semifinals!

     
  • Semifinals - Kristof Benaets vs. Richard Parker

    by Rich Hagon
  • With both these players now qualified for the Pro Tour thanks to their quarter final victories, attention can turn to claiming a title and a slice of Magic history. For Kristof Benaets simply winning the GP would do that. For Parker, there's a little extra spice, since with only one bye he has reached the semi finals without dropping a single match, two late round Intentional Draws the only thing between him and perfection thus far.

    It's an astonishing run, and it's clear that his UB Zombies deck has plety to do with it. Now Benaets must try to stop the shambling hordes with RG Aggro, a deck that Parker beat in the quarters. He also beat Benaets earlier in the day. Still, the perfect run has to come to an end sooner or later, right?

    Game 1

    Both players had turn one plays, with Benaets opening on Birds of Paradise after a mulligan to six, and Diregraf Ghoul for Parker. Green Sun's Zenith found another Birds for Benaets, with Parker content to bash for two, lay Swamp, and pass. Another Green Sun's Zenith from Benaets found Strangleroot Geist, and for someone with just one land in play he'd already done an awful lot. Birds, Zenith into Birds, Zenith into Strangleroot - seriously, who needs lands?

    Kristof Benaets

    Like Diregraf Ghoul, Parker's next creature arrived sideways, Geralf's Messenger dropping Benaets to 16. The Messenger got copied by Phyrexian Metamorph at the cost of two life to Benaets. He still had just one land, and Parker must have really been wishing those Birds could be sent packing. His team came in, with Benaets unsurprisingly blocking with Strangleroot Geist. Parker's Phantasmal Image copied Geralf's Messenger, and a second did exactly the same. In no time at all, Benaets was down to 6 and in a deep hole.

    Back to Parker, looking to finish things, although there were plenty of potential blockers to chomp through first. In came everything - Diregraf Ghoul, Geralf's Messenger, Geralf's Messenger, Geralf's Messenger - and Benaet found three blocks he (at least relatively) liked. He fell to two, and another 'real' Geralf's Messenger made it game.

    Benaets 0 - 1 Parker

    Game 2

    The players were perfectly friendly towards each other, but there was a marked absence of banter between the two. Tiredness seemed sure to play a factor. As Parker had remarked earlier in the day, "I feel like I'm turning into a zombie more and more with each passing round". He certainly looked shattered - but it was nothing a burst of GP Championship-fuelled adrenaline wouldn't fix.

    Benaets, of course, elected to play first once again, and this time both players kept their opening sevens. Birds of Paradise quickly died to Fume Spitter, leaving Parker to churn out Diregraf Ghoul and Gravecrawler on turn two. Dismember from Benaets killed the Diregraf Ghoul, and although he was at 14 he was able to cast Garruk Relentless and make a Wolf token. That traded with Gravecrawler before Parker landed one of his MVPs on the weekend, Phyrexian Obliterator.

    Richard Parker

    Garruk made Benaets another Wolf, with Phyrexian Metamorph costing him two life in exchange for a Phyrexian Obliterator of his own. Parker simply made another Phyrexian Obliterator! On the other side, potentially making things interesting, was Kessig Wolf Run. Parker sent in Phyrexian Obliterator number one, seeing Garruk bite the dust - no more Wolves. Benaets added a second Kessig Wolf Run and passed with one card left in hand, something Parker was keen to check. Geralf's Messenger dropped Benaets to 10. Back came Gravecrawler, and Parker swung with both his Obliterators.

    For almost the first time in the match, the pace slowed. This was a big moment for Benaets. He didn't like any of his possible blocking options. Whatever way you slice it, there was going to be carnage. Eventually Benaets put his Phyrexian Metamorph in the way, took five damage down to 5, and both players sacrificed five permanents. Back came Geralf's Messenger to send Benaets to just 3. He had eight permanents left, and five of them were heading for the graveyard. In the end he kept two land and a Birds of Paradise.

    It didn't matter - Benaets saw the writing on the wall, and Parker was one match away from winning the Grand Prix without dropping a single match. Astonishing. Quite astonishing.

    Kristof Benaets 0 - 2 Richard Parker

     
  • Semifinals - Tom Valkeneers vs. Simon Diaz

    by Tobi Henke
  • "What did you play against in the quarterfinals?" Diaz asked. "U/W Delver" was the answer he really didn't want to hear as he was playing Delver, too, and said so.

    "I'm playing B/W Tokens," Valkeneers told him. Diaz made a sad face. "I think I already lost then," he said.

    Game 1

    Gitaxian Probe for Diaz revealed three Plains, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, Champion of the Parish, Blade Splicer, and Vault of the Archangel. "Surprise!" commented Valkeneers his first-turn Champion.

    Simon Diaz

    A Doomed Traveler joined the Champion on turn two, while all Diaz was doing was casting Ponder and more Gitaxian Probe. So far he had found no creatures of his own, but he did have a Mana Leak to stop Valkeneers's Gather the Townsfolk. Diaz pondered some more, then tapped out for Geist of Saint Traft. Valkeneers seized the opportunity to cast Blade Splicer, and got in with a 3/3 Champion of the Parish to put Diaz at 10.

    On the next attack, Dismember, Snapcaster Mage, and a flashbacked Dismember put Diaz at 2 and his opponent's Champion and 3/3 Golem token in the bin. In his second main phase Valkeneers cast Lingering Souls, still lacking black mana for the flashback though. The board was now: Blade Splicer, Doomed Traveler, and two Spirit tokens versus Snapcaster Mage and Geist of Saint Traft, with Valkeneers at 20 and Diaz at 2.

    But it was far from over for Diaz. He cast Sword of War and Peace, equipped his Geist of Saint Traft, and attacked with it. Valkeneers chump-blocked the Angel token, Diaz gained 1 life and went back to 3 ... which could have been 4, if he hadn't played Moorland Haunt before combat. He chided himself for his mistake, but Valkeneers's block may have been just as crucial—and just as wrong, as he soon figured out. Now, Valkeneers didn't have enough power anymore to kill Diaz on the backswing. His Blade Splicer traded with Snapcaster Mage (the first creature for Diaz's Moorland Haunt) and Diaz fell back to 1. Valkeneers cast a second Doomed Traveler and passed the turn.

    Diaz went to 3 life again thanks to Sword of War and Peace and cast an Invisible Stalker. Finally, Valkeneers drew his first Swamp, cast Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, got himself a +1/+0 emblem, and only then realized his opponent's Moorland Haunt plus Invisible Stalker provided just enough blockers to survive. The sworded-up Geist of Saint Traft took the game.

    Simon Diaz 1 – Tom Valkeneers 0

    Game 2

    Things started with a mulligan to five for Valkeneers. "Well, what will people think if they read in the coverage that I kept a one-land hand?" Valkeneers wondered aloud. "They'll probably think you're a brave man," Diaz speculated.

    His five had no turn-one play, but a second Plains off the top of his deck gave him Gather the Townsfolk. But that was all Valkeneers had to work with for a while. His Doomed Traveler met Mana Leak, as did his Lingering Souls when he was once again without black mana.

    Tom Valkeneers

    Diaz played his first nonland permanent in Runechanter's Pike and protected it from Revoke Existence with a third Mana Leak. Valkeneers, however, had a second Revoke Existence. Snapcaster Mage on Ponder dug for more cards, while Valkeneers had another Gather the Townsfolk. His mulligans had left Valkeneers without cards in hand by now, and when his opponent's Snapcaster Mage picked up a Sword of War and Peace it was going downhill fast.

    Valkeneers's Honor of the Pure at least gave him another four power, but the damage race still favored Diaz. His Timely Reinforcements and Revoke Existence for Honor of the Pure didn't exactly change that. One more turn, one more attack, one more trigger from Sword of War and Peace, and it was all over.

    Simon Diaz 2 – Tom Valkeneers 0

     
  • Finals - Richard Parker vs. Simon Diaz

    by Rich Hagon
  • You finish higher than 1503, or 1504. Those are the only possibilities left after 18 rounds of Grand Prix action here in Lille. 1505 players began, but there's only room at the summit for one. Will it be Simon Diaz, the Frenchman who has battled quietly and impressively with Delver all weekend? Or will it be Richard Parker, who hasn't lost a single match so far? 1503 or 1504 - there's a big difference.

    Gravecrawler began for Parker opposite the eponymous (and ubiquitous) Delver of Secrets for Diaz. Tragic Slip killed the Delver, allowing Gravecrawler to attack for the first damage of the match. Gitaxian Probe found Geralf's Messenger, Phyrexian Obliterator, Diregraf Captain, and a land in Parker's hand, with Diaz paying two life for the privilege. With that information fresh in his mind, he cast Invisible Stalker to end the turn.

    Gravecrawler attacked Diaz to 14, then Geralf's Messenger made it 12. Invisible Stalker dealt the first damage for Diaz, who was looking to race via a new Sword of War and Peace. Diregraf Captain came down and dropped Diaz to 5 when Parker attacked for seven with his team. Diaz cast Ponder, and eventually elected to shuffle the cards away, drawing blind. The Sword equipped his Invisible Stalker and attacked. Parker fell to 13, with Diaz gaining 5 life back, taking him to 10.

    Parker laid a second Diregraf Captain and turned everything sideways. "I'm dead, yeah?" asked Diaz. "I think so" replied Parker. They were right.

    Parker 1 - 0 Diaz

    Simon Diaz

    Game 2

    Both players kept seven. There was no Delver for Diaz, but there was turn one action for Parker with Diregraf Ghoul. The Delver arrived a turn late, but still arrived. Diregraf Ghoul began the beats, joined by Gravecrawler. The Delver failed to transform, so Diaz attacked for just one. A second Delver joined it, plus Runechanter's Pike. Four damage came in from Parker, with Mortarpod and another Gravecrawler joining the fray.

    Once again Diaz missed on his Delver triggers. One Delver attacked Parker for one, leaving him at 18. Diaz passed, having equipped his other Delver. Nihil Spellbomb for Parker saw him follow up by killing the equipped Delver via Mortarpod. Vapor Snag from Diaz couldn't stop him falling to 10. Parker equipped a Gravecrawler, shot the other Delver, and ended the turn by popping the Nihil Spellbomb.

    Carnage.

    Diaz untapped, laid a Sword of War and Peace, and passed. Desperate trouble. Gravecrawler attacked him to 8, with another Gravecrawler coming back, a Diregraf Ghoul arriving, and a backup Nihil Spellbomb for Parker just in case.

    Richard Parker

    Both players now had two cards in hand, but Parker had so much on the board. Diaz simply passed the turn. Was Parker moments away from a flawless triumph? He attacked with Diregraf Ghoul, Gravecrawler, and Gravecrawler. Snapcaster Mage flashed out, with nothing in the graveyard for bonus fun and frolics. Parker, still with two cards, thought hard. He allowed the block, with four damage getting through. Diaz was at just 4. Nihil Spellbomb saw Diaz get a Moorland Haunt token.

    Geralf's Messenger - Diaz at 2. Phantasmal Image copying Geralf's Messenger - Diaz at 0.

    From one bye, Richard Parker had taken the trophy without losing a single match.

    Richard Parker 2 - 0 Simon Diaz

    Congratulations to Richard Parker, Grand Prix Lille Champion 2012!

     
  • The Top 5 cards of Grand Prix Lille 2012

    by Frank Karsten
  • Here are five cards that sum up some of the biggest stories of the weekend.

    1. Geralf's Messenger

    The big story for me this weekend was Richard Parker going undefeated with his Blue-Black Zombie deck. Richard remarked that his deck played extremely smoothly and felt a lot like a classic Red Deck Wins deck. Geralf's Messenger was largely responsible for that. It is not only a cheap, aggressive creature, but it also functions as a burn spell that can sap away the opponent's last life points. And that's exactly what Black Deck Wins needs.

    With the finals being decided by Phantasmal Image copying Geralf's Messenger, the Undying Zombie is here to stay. (And with a +1/+1 counter to boot!)

    2. Phyrexian Obliterator

    When New Phyrexia gave us Phyrexian Obliterator, many players rejoiced at the opportunity of playing Mono Black again, but it has taken quite a while for the card to find a viable home. With Dark Ascension making the Zombie deck a reality, it was time for Phyrexian Obliterator to shine.

    Richard Parker has Obliteraring throughout the Top 8 on the back of his 5/5s, and the quadruple-black creature also formed a big part of Gabriel Nassif's Mono Black Zombies list. The existence of Phyrexian Obliterator as a card to be reckoned with also prompted various players to find creative and exiting answers: anyone who managed to cast Wrack with Madness on Phyrexian Obliterator this weekend will know what I am talking about.

    3. Huntmaster of the Fells

    A couple of weeks ago in Honolulu, the ChannelFireball team showed with their Wolf Run Ramp deck that the mythic werewolf would be a powerful force in Standard. While Grzegorz Kowalski made Top 8 here in Lille with a Wolf Run Ramp deck very similar to ChannelFireball's Pro Tour wining list, Lille also saw the rise of another Red/Green deck utilizing Huntmaster of the Fells.

    Jonas Köstler, Martin Zimmermann, and Kristof Benaets all piloted Red/Green Aggro to the Top 8, and it will absolutely be a force to be reckoned with in the future. The fast pressure provided by Strangleroot Geist is one side of the deck, but Red/Green Aggro is not only about fast starts – the transforming mayhem provided by Huntmaster of the Fells allows the deck to dominate the board in the late game. I can't put it better than Semifinalist Kristof Benaets' answer to the question of what card won him most matches this weekend: "Huntmaster of the Fells, not close!"

    4. Sword of Feast and Famine

    Sword of Feast and Famine was a crucial element of the Caw-Blade decks from Standard a year ago, but it had fallen out of favor since; many players were favoring Sword of War and Peace instead in recent months. But with the metagame switching to Blue-Black control, Zombies, and Red-Green Aggro, protection from Black and Green has become a pivotal ability again.

    At the beginning of the weekend, dealers were talking about how Sword of War and Peace was in high demand; and it did not come as a surprise that Sword of War and Peace found its way into many player's maindecks and sideboard. For instance, Kristof Benaets made Top 8 with a 2 Sword of Feast and Famine / 2 Sword of War and Peace split rather than the more traditional 4 Sword of War and Peace in his Red/Green Aggro deck. And pretty much everyone I talked to during the tournament mentioned that they would have liked to have additional copies going forward.

    5. Champion of the Parish

    Although no U/W Human deck ended up making the Top 8, U/W Humans was the most popular archetype here on Sunday in Lille, with Champion of the Parish being the signature card of the deck. In the current Standard format, it's hard to think of a more efficient one-drop than Champion of the Parish.

    Semifinalist Tom Valkeneers also used the card in his Black-White token deck, hoping for the dream start of turn 1 Champion of the Parish, turn 2 Gather the Townsfolk. Tom credited Champion of the Parish as being responsible for winning most of his matches this weekend, and it's hard to doubt any card that can parallel Wild Nacatl.

    • Planeswalker Points
    • Facebook Twitter
    • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
    • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
    • Magic Locator