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Day 2 Blog Archive

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


  • Blog - 3:42 p.m. Going to the Wire
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 3:30 p.m. Round 14: Maciej Pasek vs. Wessel Oomens
    by Jörn Hajek
  • Blog - 2:30 p.m. Round 13: Ulrik Tarp vs. Jan Lalák
    by Jörn Hajek
  • Blog - 1:30 p.m. Tog lunches on Greek
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 1:15 p.m. Round 12: Martin Lindström vs.Jussi Timonen
    by Jörn Hajek
  • Blog - 12:34 p.m. Round 11: Frank Karsten vs. Tobias Henke
    by Jörn Hajek
  • Blog - 12:14 p.m. Round 11: Antoine Ruel vs. Jelger Wiegersma
    by Aaron Moshiashwili
  • Blog - 11 a.m. Olivier Ruel Goes 11-0!
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 10:30 a.m. Round 10: Antoine Ruel vs. Wilco Pinkster
    by Jörn Hajek
  • Blog - 9:30 a.m. Day Two Deck Archetypes
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 8:30 a.m. - Round 9: Olivier Ruel vs. Pasi Virtanen ("Affinity Pile-up")
    by Craig Jones

  • BLOG

     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 8:30 a.m. - Round 9: Olivier Ruel vs. Pasi Virtanen ("Affinity Pile-up")
  • Both these players managed to run the tables Saturday to pick up perfect 8-0 records. What is more surprising is they both managed it with Affinity in a field full of Boros Deck Wins and the dreaded Kataki.

    Olivier Ruel.

    I came in after the first couple of turns to see that Virtanen had won the die roll and got off to a flier with turn one Pyrite Spellbomb, turn two Arcbound Ravager and a third turn Cranial Plating to leave the Frenchman reeling.

    Ruel had a pretty good start of his own. He opened with an Arcbound Worker, whiffed with a Cabal Therapy on Myr Enforcer, but was then able to flip an Erayo on turn three and flashback the Therapy to strip a Thoughtcast from Virtanen’s hand.

    The first spell Virtanen would cast every turn would be countered but it didn’t seem like too much of a cost as another hit with the plated up Ravager knocked Ruel to 4 life. He tried to mount an offence of his own with a Myr Enforcer. It wasn’t enough as Virtanen filtered a red mana through a Chromatic Sphere to fire off the first Spellbomb and then found a Grand Furnace to fire off the second for lethal damage.

    Virtanen 1-0 Ruel.

    It was another flying Affinity start from both players. Both players shot out of the gates with Ravagers on turn two. Ruel took the early advantage with Cranial Plating on an Ornithopter to smash in for 6 on turn three.

    Virtanen cast Thoughtcast but found only a second Arcbound Worker and Pyrite Spellbomb.

    On the next turn the Ornithopter flew in for 10 damage. Virtanen attempted to shoot it out of the sky with Pyrite Spellbomb and Darkblast, but Ruel had two Ravagers in play so that plan was always going to fail.

    Ah, Affinity mirror. Nice quick games.

    Virtanen 1-1 Ruel.

    Game 3 and Virtanen had the advantage of going first. His advantage was increased as Ruel had to mulligan. It was not much of an advantage. I think maybe Virtanen should have mulliganed too as his hand was just 5 land and 2 Frogmite.

    Pasi Virtanen.

    Ruel’s six card hand was slow but managed to find his sideboard tech: Relic Barrier. This led to a much slower game as Virtanen led off with the Frogmites while Ruel brought out a Talisman and second Relic Barrier.

    Ruel wasn’t to know his opponent was flooded and used the Relic Barriers to shut down a Seat of Synod and Vault of Whispers. Shutting down the Vault was especially important as Virtanen was sitting on Darkblast. With the black source tied down Ruel was free to crash out a big turn that started out with Erayo, continued with a Frogmite and then Myr Enforcer and then finished with a second Erayo to flip the first.

    Facing down two Relic Barriers and an Erayo Essence that would counter the first spell he played every turn, it wasn’t long before the game was over for Pasi Virtanen.

    Olivier Ruel beats Pasi Virtanen 2-1 and is now alone at the top of the standings with a 9-0 record.


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 9:30 a.m. - Day Two Deck Archetypes
  • Deck Day One Day Two %
    Boros Deck Wins 53 13 25%
    UB (Ruel) Tog 36 12 33%
    Madness Tog 30 6 20%
    Affinity 29 3 10%
    Aggro Rock 23 5 22%
    Control Rock 22 3 14%
    GUB (Loam) Tog 22 4 18%
    Heartbeat-Desire 20 4 20%
    Scepter-Chant 16 2 13%
    Goblins 12 3 25%
    Tooth and Nail 8 0 0%
    Slide 8 1 13%
    Madness (no Tog) 7 0 0%
    Balancing Tings 5 0 0%
    BW(U) Solution-type 5 1 20%
    Zoo II 5 0 0%
    Wake 3 0 0%
    Mono-Black control 3 1 33%
    Red Deck Wins 3 0 0%
    White Weenie 2 0 0%
    GW Madness 2 0 0%
    Elemental Bidding 2 0 0%
    Domain 2 0 0%
    Reanimator 2 0 0%
    Troll-a-Tog 1 0 0%
    Dragonstorm 1 0 0%
    Rogue 21 2 10

    Anyone hoping day two would shed some light on this crazy Extended metagame is going to be sorely disappointed. I’ve crunched the numbers on the day two deck lists and the conclusions are...well, inconclusive.

    While propelling two players to 8-0 records Affinity on the whole did not give a good return as only 3 of 29 players took it into day two. Kataki single-handedly demolishes the deck and both Ruel and Virtanen were stocking Cabal Therapies and Darkblast to try and deal with the legendary spirit.

    The old school straight blue-black Tog deck as piloted by Antoine Ruel looks to have given the best return overall, but this is probably disguised by the fact a lot of the Pro players opted for this deck.

    Some of the lower tier decks such as Tooth and Nail, Balancing Tings, Slide and old fashioned Madness performed particularly badly. This implies players should probably recognize that extended requires more than old standard or block decks (With the exception of king Psychatog).

    The rogue decks consisted of a Mono-black zombie deck and an innovative Overgrown Estate/Nefarious Lich deck piloted by Michael Diezel that I might drop in and have a look at later.

    Overall the deck archetypes look like their present in roughly the same proportions as they were in day one. With such a diverse metagame the best strategy might be to stick with a deck you’re comfortable with.


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 10:30 a.m. - Round 10: Antoine Ruel vs. Wilco Pinkster
  • by Jörn Hajek

    One week after his first Pro Tour win, Antoine still hadn’t forgotten how to play extended. He was playing blue/black Psychatog, and lost only one game yesterday. Wilco brought Tog-madness to the table, one of the stars of the tournament in LA. He only went 6-2 on Saturday, but caught up with Antoine today.

    The game was delayed by a deck check, but after Wilco was told to replace one of the sleeves, the players could begin. They wished each other good luck, and Wilco won the coin toss. He started strong with Rootwalla and Cabal Therapy naming Counterspell, of which Antoine had two, so he was left with three lands, a Psychatog and a Force Spike. When Wilco sacrificed the Rootwalla the turn after to flashback Therapy and take the Atog, Antoine revealed that he had just drawn Fact or Fiction, probably the best thing to draw with such a weak hand. Wilco kept trying to put on pressure with a Tog of his own and an Arrogant Wurm, but the Wurm was countered, and the Tog kept at arms length with Antoine’s second Tog, which he got off the Fact or Fiction.

    Antoine kept filling up his graveyard, and his Atog looked more and more dangerous. Wilco got a Genesis into his graveyard, but he was still a little light on lands and couldn’t really return much more than chump blocking Rootwallas for a while. So things looked tough for him when Antoine played yet another Psychatog. Antoine attacked with both Atogs, potentially lethal, into just a single creature on Wilco’s side, a recently returned Tog. But Wilco had drawn another Rootwalla. Antoine chose not to boost his own Atog too much, so that it would still be lethal for the next attack. So Wilco’s Tog got to live. When Wilco played Gift Ungiven during his next upkeep, Antoine shoulders dropped visibly. Wilco found a Life from the Loam, and some lands, and with a little dredging and cycling he was able to get his Atog big enough to kill the defenseless Antoine.

    Wilco- Antoine 1-0

    Wilco’s start in the next game was a lot slower, a missed Cabal Therapy and a countered turn three Aquamoeba didn’t look nearly as scary as Antoine’s fifth turn Meloku the Clouded Mirror. Wilco tried to fight back with a Gifts Ungiven for Wild Mongrel, Tog, Genesis and Wonder, but obviously Antoine put the two madness-outlets in the graveyard, and Genesis and Wonder aren’t that good in your hand...

    Wilco-Antoine 1-1

    The deciding game started with a Pinkster mulligan. Again, his deck showed its slow side, and his third-, fourth-, and sixth turn Psychatogs were countered by Antoine, who also had the time to play a Psychatog of his own and fill up his graveyard enough to attack for the win on his turn six.

    Antoine wins 2-1


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 11 a.m. - Olivier Ruel Goes 11-0!
  • A familiar view for the rest of the Copenhagen field.

    Well we’re at the halfway point in Day Two and Olivier Ruel has already booked his place into the Top 8 with a win over Bodo Rösner that takes him to an impressive 11-0. In terms of the Player of the Year race, that allows him to make up some ground on current race leader Kenji Tsumura, who failed to Top 8 at the GP in Kitakyuushuu also taking place this weekend. Ruel is also conscious of Masashi Oiso breathing down his neck in third place. Currently Oiso is through to the semifinals of Kitakyuushuu and Ruel will need to match or better his performance to keep his other Japanese rival from closing the gap.

    There are only three Affinity decks in Day Two (barring missing deck lists) and it is interesting to note that all three are currently making mincemeat out of Tog decks on the top four tables.


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 12:14 p.m. - Round 11: Antoine Ruel vs. Jelger Wiegersma
  • by Aaron Moshiashwili

    Eleven rounds into this fourteen round GP and the two players were still in strong top eight contention. Since the Extended rotation, the field has opened up and it seems almost anything can succeed. Both players chose to go where the power is, though; Jelger is playing the g/b/u Tog build – between Onslaught fetch lands grabbing Ravinca dual lands, and Life from the Loam recurring cycling lands, this deck lives and dies by its lands. Antoine continues to show that there was nothing wrong with the old Tog build, though, and his deck gains the advantage of both consistency and alternate threats in Meloku and Stalking Stones. Spectating the match was Kai Budde, whose unintentional draw the day before put him at 65th place for the Day Two cut.

    Antoine Ruel.

    Antoine won the die roll, mulliganed, and then both players showed what this matchup is about – long, tense games without any nonland permanants in play. Both decks showed their stuff off early, Antoine quickly filling up his graveyard with Mental Note and Jelger cracking a Bloodstained Mire and then Polluted Delta both for Watery Tomb. Jelger stuttered at three lands, ditching Wonder and then wishing up a Coffin Purge; he discarded the flashback spell two turns later with five lands in play.

    Ruel just continued building that graveyard with Mental Note. Finally, on turn 8, Jelger blinked. He put Gifts Ungiven onto the table, leaving a Watery Tomb and a Polluted Delta open. Ruel played Counterspell, Jelger fetched up an Island and responded in kind, Ruel left two lands up and put Fact or Fiction onto the stack. He took two Watery Tombs and a Mana Leak, which he immediately played, giving up Thirst for Knowledge and a second Fact or Fiction.

    Now it was Tog Time – with Antoine tapped out, Jelger played the smiliest Atog. Antoine, suffering from Tog Envy, tried his own; when it got countered he Smothered Jelger’s. He didn’t actually say “If I can’t have him, nobody can!”, but the subtext was pretty clear to the crowd. The boards were once again clean of non-lands. Antoine tried to exploit a loophole in the ‘no nonland permanents’ rule by turning Stalking Stones into a creature, but Jelger Naturalized it, to the surprise of almost everyone.

    Ruel’s graveyard had grown huge at this point, and a second Cephalid Coliseum showed that wasn’t likely to stop. Finally, the endgame arrived; with both players resources depleted, Antoine dropped a Tog. Jelger tried the same, but those Coliseums turned up gas, and Antoine was able to Circular Logic the Psychatog with a second one in hand. The second Logic stopped Jelger’s Smother, and Game 2 was on.

    That's a lot of Pro Tour power at one table.

    There can’t be a whole lot of matchups either player was more familiar with than this one, and sideboarding is quick and confident. The second game began by featuring the black side of each players’ deck; Antoine’s Duress caught Jelger’s Life from the Loam, seeing two Smother, Psychatog, and three lands including a cycler or two. Jelger doesn’t waste any time, dredging up the Life as soon as he can cast it and returning two cycling lands and a fetchland. That’s pretty much the tone for the game; Jelger turned virtually all of his regular draws into Life, which was soon getting three cycling lands. Ancestral Recall is still good, even when it you’re paying five mana for it.

    With virtually no way to stop it from happening – countering the Life only stalls the combo a turn – Antoine instead focused on getting a single victory condition and making it stick. Jelger has a glut of cards; Antoine turning Stalking Stones into a creature saved him from having to discard by letting him use a Smother. Another Duress from Ruel saw a huge hand – Smother, Gifts Ungiven, Psychatog, and Circular Logic, with those three cycling lands acting as a huge wildcard. He takes the Logic, and with a Counterspell and Logic of his own in hand finally draws his win condition: Haunting Echoes.

    Unfortunately, he didn’t have the two black to cast it yet. Jelger discarded Gifts Ungiven on his turn; who needs it, when you’re drawing three cards? The moment of crisis happened on the next turn when Jelger tried for Duress; after two Counters and a Circular Logic it sat in the graveyard and Antoine had a window to use the Echoes. A second black mana wasn’t forthcoming, unfortunately, but with six lands in play Ruel had enough to use a Coliseum, play a land, and cast his spell; three more cards don’t give it to him, to his visible frustration. Two turns later he scoops to Psychatog.

    Jelger Wiegersma.

    Before shuffling up, Antoine showed the audience the Echoes in his hand; Jelger commented that he wanted to see what the fuss was all about, but Antoine said he’d have to wait for the end of the next game. Jelger mulliganed to start, but both decks do exactly what they’re supposed to... which means that, once again, nothing but lands were on the table. Antoine tried a turn three PsychatogSmother. After that, card drawing, card drawing, card drawing; Jelger used Life for a fetchland and two cyclers every turn, while Antoine built up with FoF after FoF. Duresses flew – Antoine catching one of the two Pernicious Deeds in Jelger’s hand, Jelger getting Antoine’s second Duress.

    Antoine switched up his card drawing with a Thirst for Knowledge. Antoine plays Meloku, and manages to deal three damage with the Legend plus an Illusion – this was the first damage recorded on either player’s scoresheets which did not come from their own lands. Psychatogs generally don’t deal damage; they win the game. Smiles indeed.

    One minor play shows off why these players are in the Feature Match area. True, all around them players are taking five minutes or more to think through moves these two make without even slowing down – but what is really striking is Ruel’s response to Duress. His Circular Logic is taken, he packs up his hand, and the Logic sits on the table EXACTLY until Jelger passes priority, when he buries it. Not complex play, not an unknown rule – but a move that not one in a hundred players will make, even on day two of a Grand Prix. And Jelger, of course, doesn’t bat an eyelash at this. These are two men who know how to play Magic.

    And they know the matchup, too; Jelger’s drawing finally started to outpace Antoine’s, and Antoine knew it; at the end of turn, he paid six to bury his own Stalking Stones. Jelger showed the Smother before throwing it in the bin, more for the audience’s benefit than his opponent’s. A few turns later, out of gas, with his own card drawing dried up, and Jelger still getting three cards every turn, Antoine didn’t even wait for the Psychatog. Both players smile, shake hands, and wish each other luck, as time is called for the round.

    Jelger Wiegersma beats Antoine Ruel, 2-1


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 12:34 p.m. - Round 11: Frank Karsten vs. Tobias Henke
  • Frank won the die roll, and Tobias started to complain about how he only got to win one roll today. The spectators didn’t take too much pity though, as it was only the third round of the day.

    Tobias Henke and Frank Karsten.

    Both players had brought Tog decks, Frank had the blue-black-green version, and Tobias with red instead of green, and quite a few artifacts (Chrome Mox, Isochron Scepter and Engineered Explosives.)

    Frank’s first action was a mulligan. Then it was draw-go for a few turns, until Frank put a Stinkweed Imp into play. It attacked a few times, while the players built their mana bases and drew some cards. Tobias took advantage of Frank tapping out for Deep Analysis twice by playing Isochron Scepters, one with Terminate and one with Orim’s Chant. Although he was Chant-locked, Frank still could play most of his card-drawing at instant speed, so he could keep with Tobias. But when Tobias resolved a Psychatog, the advantage from the scepters proved to be too much for Frank to overcome.

    Tobias – Frank 1-0

    No mulligans were needed for Game 2; but draw-go it was anyway. Frank broke the silence with a Duress, and Tobias responded with Thirst for Knowledge. He revealed Fact or Fiction, two Duress, a Psychatog and a few lands, and the Fact or Fiction went to the graveyard. Frank now had the opportunity to cast his own Atog. When Tobias used his Duresses the next turn, he left a Genesis in Frank’s hand after taking a Counterspell and a Pernicious Deed. A little later, Frank’s Tog and Genesis faced Tobias’ Tog. Frank discarded a land to his Tog and did a few Life from the Loam tricks. Then he attacked with both creatures. Tog blocked Tog, and Frank pumped the Tog six times.

    Frank Karsten ponders a play late in Round 11.

    Tobias put a die on the Tog to keep track of its size, but had completely forgotten about the boost earlier in the turn. He made his own Tog big enough to survive – or so he thought. When Frank informed him that it would die, Tobias called for a judge, feeling that he was tricked illegally. The judge ruled in Franks favor, and Tobias appealed. Lubos Lauer, the head judge, reversed the ruling, and gave Tobias the opportunity to boost the Tog once more.

    Time had run out while discussing, and a huge crowd had assembled to watch the final minutes of the game. Tobias got control of the game, and in Frank’s last turn, both players had an Atog. The crowd was expecting the game to be over, but Frank found a Llawan, Cephalid Empress in his graveyard, that had been dredged down there earlier. He used his Genesis to get it back, bounced Tobias’s Tog and attacked for the win.

    Frank Karsten and Tobias Henke draw, 1-1


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 1:15 p.m. - Round 12: Martin Lindström vs. Jussi Timonen
  • by Jörn Hajek

    Martin from Sweden played the blue-black Psychatog deck, and the Fin Jussi brought the Heartbeat of Spring Combo to the table.

    There is a little disagreement in the beginning, as there was no die available and Jussi claimed that coins weren’t random. When the problems were resolved, Martin got to start, but not until Jussi took a mulligan. Both players drew some cards in the beginning, and Jussi resolved two Heartbeats – the Early Harvest was countered though. Next turn Jussi tried to go off with a Mind’s Desire for eight, but he didn’t have enough mana left to make use of the Nostalgic Dreams he found, so he had to pass the turn. Martin did way too many things during his turn, and had only two lands untapped, so Jussi just went off the turn after that.

    Jussi – Martin 1-0

    Martin Boomerang‘ed Jussi’s land the first few turns, forcing him to discard while building his own mana base. A few turns later, a Duress revealed that this strategy had been worthless, as Jussi didn’t have enough lands anyway, so he would have discarded by himself sooner or later. Still, it meant that Martin was in very good shape, and when he played a Psychatog, Jussi quickly scooped to make sure he would have time for Game 3.

    Jussi – Martin 1-1

    Martin Force Spike‘ed Jussi’s turn two Sakura-Tribe Elder that had been played off two Forests, and that was crucial for the game, as Jussi didn’t have more lands. Martin followed up with the classic turn-three-Tog-turn-four-Fact-or-Fiction-combo, and a huge Skeletal Scrying a little later forced Jussi to extend his hand in defeat.

    Martin Lindström beats Jussi Timonen, 2-1


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 1:30 p.m. - Tog lunches on Greek
  • One of the stories of this GP that I neglected to talk about (too much to do, too little time, etc, etc) is the presence of a strong Greek contingent here today. 10 Greek players traveled from afar to compete this weekend. Evangelos Papatsarouchas used to live in England as a student but has now returned to Greece. The reason he is here is that he won a free flight to a Grand Prix. In fact the Grand Prix Trial system sounds pretty good in Greece as the winner gets byes plus their travel paid for. This is Papatsarouchas’s second day two from just his third Grand Prix. He’s running Boros Decks Wins and will probably face a tough matchup against World Champion Julien Nuijten’s Dredge-a-tog deck.

    Julien Nuijten.

    Papatsarouchas ended up bolting himself early as he used Wooded Foothills and Windswept Heath to bring out two Sacred Foundry. Isamaru and Savannah Lions gave him some early offence.

    Nuijten tried to stem the bleeding with a third turn Psychatog. The Tog ate first a Lion and then Isamaru.

    “Does my name fit”, Papatsarouchas asked when they brought over the name tags for the feature match area.

    Papatsarouchas’s land was giving him some problems as he hadn’t drawn a third. His early offence had knocked Nuijten down to 5 life but he seemed to be a little jammed up. A Goblin Legionnaire provided some reinforcements, but further reinforcement provided by Isamaru and a second Legionnaire was stopped by Nuijten’s countermagic.

    When Papatsarouchas finally got a second Savannah Lion in play Nuijten had two Togs and was casting Gifts to fetch his Darkblast. A Darkblast in upkeep, dredge back Darkblast in draw step combo dealt with the Legionnaire and it looked like the World Champion might stabilize although he was on a precarious 4 life.

    An attempted Pithing Needle was met with Mana Leak and then Papatsarouchas showed the two Pulse of the Forge in his hand that he’d been unable to cast.

    Evangelos Papatsarouchas.

    Nuijten 1-0 Papatsarouchas

    Papatsarouchas’s deck did four early damage to itself again as he led off with Isamaru. A Pyrostatic Pillar that followed was countered with Force Spike. The Savannah Lion that followed came in with no opposition but Nuijten was again able to slam on the brakes with a third turn Tog.

    Papatsarouchas gave Nuijten a tricky decision as he made an Eiganjo Castle before sending in Isamaru. The Tog had to eat its way up to 4/5 just to kill the hound. To add further insult Papatsarouchas immediately followed with a backup hound. Nuijten was having no messing and axed it with a Smother.

    Papatsarouchas then found an interesting card to deal with Psychatog as he summoned Whipcorder. This left the Lion free to take some chunks out of the World Champion’s life total.

    At this point Papatsarouchas had seven land out on the table and could safely said to be a little flooded. On the opposite extreme Nuijten was sitting on only 4 land. Successive Legionnaire’s fell to Counterspells as Nuijten struggled to fend off the Savannah Lions. He was down to five life.

    Counterspell and Mana Leak took care of a Pithing Needle and flashed back Firebolt. The threats kept coming though, as finally a Pyrostatic Pillar stuck to give the game to Papatsarouchas.

    Nuijten 1-1 Papatsarouchas

    Papatsarouchas led off with Savannah Lion and Whipcorder. Nuijten answered with Ghastly Demise and Force Spike. The World Champion then needed a Life from the Loam to fetch back a sac land to give him his third land.

    Papatsarouchas took the opportunity to bust out Savannah Lions and Grim Lavamancer. Unfortunately for him Nuijten had found Darkblast and that card is no friend to Boros Deck wins at all.

    Having to rely on burn alone when your opponent is on 16 life is not good times for a red deck. A Pithing Needle and Pyrostatic Pillar gave the Greek player some hope, but that was snuffed out by Pernicious Deed. Nuijten dredged back and cast Life from the Loam and then made a lethal looking Tog.

    Papatsarouchas failed to find a Purge and the Tog chewed him up in the next turn.

    Julien Nuijten beats Evangelos Papatsarouchas 2-1


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 2:30 p.m. - Round 13: Ulrik Tarp vs. Jan Lalák
  • These two players were still in contention for Top 8 – it would be the first for Jan and the second for Ulrik, who made it to the play-offs last year in Helsinki.

    Ulrik was playing the blue-black-green Psychatog deck that had been so popular at last week’s Pro Tour in Los Angeles, while Jan had a mono-black deck featuring many of the good Torment-cards.

    Lalák and Tarp were in Top 8 contention.

    Ulrik started the game while Jan was still rummaging through his backpack, but after a while Jan was ready to play as well.

    There was a little card-drawing and Duress’ing in the beginning, but nothing really happened until Jan played Solemn Simulacrum. It was quickly killed with the often useless Oxidize though. Then it got a little more interesting: Jan played Haunting Echoes, and caught Ulrik without any counterspells in his hand. He pumped his fist and looked through Ulrik’s deck, removing a big chunk of it. On the bright side for Ulrik, this gave him a few more options for the Cunning Wish in his hand. Ulrik got a Psychatog into play, but without counters he couldn’t protect it against Jan’s barrage of creature destruction spells. When Jan got his Cabal Coffers into play, it was only a matter of time until he could cast the game-winning Consume Spirit. Smother and Putrefy times two were still sitting in Ulrik’s hand, useless against the almost creatureless deck Jan was playing.

    Jan – Ulrik 1-0

    Ulrik’s early Duress took care of the only real threat in Jan’s hand, Phyrexian Arena. But he didn’t manage to draw the fourth land, and suddenly even two lowly Solemn Simulacrums looked dangerous. When Jan played another Arena, Ulrik decided to counter, even though he had a Pernicious Deed on the table – he wanted to save it for the Simulacrums. This gave Jan an opening, and he used it to cast Cranial Extraction, naming Psychatog. He then used Boseiju Who Shelters All to resolve Haunting Echoes and two large Consume Spirits, and Ulrik could only shake his head and scoop up his cards.

    Jan Lalák defeats Ulrik Tarp, 2-0, and is still in contention for the Top 8.


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 3:30 p.m. - Round 14: Maciej Pasek vs. Wessel Oomens
  • This was it for the two players: the winner got to play in the Top 8, the loser got to go home with nothing (apart from the 250$ for top 32 and the amateur money Maciej would collect – this was his first Grand Prix.)

    Oomens and Pasek, winner to Top 8.

    Wessel won the coin flip and decided to go first. He was confident enough to start with only six cards. His Boros Deck Wins gave him a good start, with Grim Lavamancer, Goblin Legionnaire, Molten Rain, and Pillage, while Maciej’s two-colored Psychatog deck only allowed him to play a single Smother on the Legionnaire. Wessel kept playing land destruction spells, and although Maciej could deal with most of Wessel’s creatures, the Grim Lavamancer remained in play the whole game, and used the full graveyard to finish Maciej off.

    Wessel - Maciej 1-0

    Wessel offered Maciej a draw at this point, as the PT points for top 16 would be enough to get him to Player’s Club level three. But this was Maciej’s first Grand Prix, and he decided to try to go for the Top 8.

    Maciej had a much better start in Game 2, using Darkblast to kill Savannah Lions. Wessel played Kataki, War’s Wage, a Legionnaire and a Lavamancer during the next turns. The Legionnaire was smothered. Maciej now had two options: play the Psychatog in his hand, or dredge the Darkblast to kill on of Wessel’s the creatures. He went for the Tog, and that proved fatal: Wessel had Purge, and got another attack. Maciej could kill the two creatures over the next two turns, but by then his life total was too low, and he died to the burn Wessel drew in the last few turns.

    Wessel Oomens defeats Maciej Pasek, 2-0, and gains entry to level 3 in the player’s club and most likely the Top 8.


     
  • Sunday, Nov. 6: 3:42 p.m. - Going to the Wire
  • Zidek faced a suddenly concerned Olivier Ruel.

    Okay, so we’re going into the last round and this one’s messy. Right, lets start with the easy stuff. After finally getting his anti-tog tech Llawan into play against Jelger Wiegersma, Julien Nuijten was able to draw in on table one against the only Danish player left in contention, Alexander Ratkcke. Table two also saw a draw between Pasi Virtanen and Kim Valori of Finland.

    After a flying start Olivier Ruel has lost his last two rounds and now finds himself paired down against Arnost Zidek. The Frenchman is probably still through with a loss because of his tiebreakers but Zidek definitely needs to win to claim the sixth place in the top 8. Ruel is running affinity while Zidek has the updated form of Madness that includes Psychatogs.

    On table 4 Bodo Rösner is battling Jan Lalák. Rösner is running Tog and will have to battle against an unorthodox mono-black control deck containing a bucket load of removal and nasties such as Haunting Echoes. As both players had 31 points going into the round then the winner is guaranteed to advance.

    Then it gets a little tricky as there are a whole slew of players on thirty points all fighting for the last one or two places.

    Rösner's Tog faced a tough match against Lalák.

    Jelger Wiegersma holds the tiebreaker advantage and is definitely in with a win. His opponent, Nikolaos Lahanas of Greece, needs either Ruel or Oomens to win as well as the match go his way to make it in.

    On table 6 a win would put Maciej Pasek in providing Ruel wins or Wiegersma loses. His opponent, Wessel Oomens, needs both himself and Ruel to win. This match is featured and being covered by Jörn Hajek.

    On table 7 Patrick Tomelitsch and Evangelos Papatsarouchas are also on 30 points but are probably both out of contention due to tiebreakers.

    On table three Ruel returned to winning form to eliminate Arnost Zidek and open up a slot for the 30 pointers.

    On table four Rösner emerged triumphant from what looked like a time-warped Standard game back from Odyssey block. From what I could see Lalák failed to resolve a Phyrexian Arena and couldn’t cope with Rösner’s superior card drawing (I saw a Skeleton Scrying for around five or six against Lalák’s single Haunting Echoes).

    Wiegersma's tiebreaks looked good, with a win.

    On table 5 a Fire/Ice caught Wiegersma napping and allowed Lahanas to slip through a lethal Balancing Act (yes I know I said there were no Tings decks in day two – I missed that list). I missed the second game but it looked equally short and brutal as the table was empty after around 10 minutes.

    The other results had fallen right so the winner of table 6 was guaranteed a place and you can read about how that match went in the Hajek’s report.

    On the playing for ninth table Papatsarouchas Boros Deck Wins walked into a nightmare matchup. Patrick Tomelitsch’s solution type deck has both Silver Knight and Worship. Ouch!

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