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Grand Prix-Eindhoven Blog: Day 2

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  • Feb. 27: 10:13 am: When Zebras Relax!
    by Craig Jones
  • Feb. 27: 10:41 am: Round 10 - Kai Budde vs. Olivier Ruel
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 11:09 am: Round 10 - Hung-Anh Nguyen-Khac vs. Bas Postema
    by Craig Jones
  • Feb. 27: 11:57 am: Round 12 - Gert Coeckelbergh vs. Stan van der Velden
    by Craig Jones
  • Feb. 27: 12:40 pm: Round 10 - Ruben Snijdewind vs. Christian Hubacsek
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 1:13 pm: Halfway There
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 1:36 pm: Round 11 - Ruud Warmenhoven vs. Jean Charles Salvin
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 2:44 pm: Round 14 - Pierre Canali vs. Bas Postema
    by Craig Jones
  • Feb. 27: 2:57 pm: Where's Kai?
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 3:14 pm: Deck Tech - The Solution
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 3:35 pm: Day Two Metagame Breakdown
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 3:51 pm: Round 13 - Rogier Maarten vs. Mario Pascoli
    by Dan Paskins
  • Feb. 27: 4:47 pm: Round 15 - Jockeying for Top 8
    by Craig Jones
  • Feb. 27: 5:03 pm: Round 15 - Sebastian Roux vs. Ruud Warmenhoven
    by Craig Jones
  • Feb. 27: 5:21 pm: Artists at GP Eindhoven
    by Craig Jones

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  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 10:13 am - When Zebras Relax!
  • Aah, here we see the zebra's in their natural habitat. After a long day patrolling the cavern they congregate together and drink fermented vegetable juice.

    The gracious judging staff of GP Eindhoven

    Head judge Jaap Brouwer congratulated the troops on a job well done and reflected on some of the issues that arose during the day. One of the more interesting questions the current format raises is what to do when neither player can actually defeat the other. This is not as unlikely as it sounds when decks can gain "infinite" life or drop cards like Platinum Angel and Solitary Confinement.


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 10:41 am - Round 10 - Kai Budde vs. Olivier Ruel
  • A good way to start day two, with the person who has accumulated the most Pro points in the last year against the person with the most Pro points ever. Olivier is confident in the matchup, as is Kai, though Kai explains that Olivier usually has good matchups against him, regardless of the format. Kai is with Psychatog and Olivier with Goblins, which means that Olivier is very likely to win the first game, with games two and three being more even after Kai is able to bring in more removal spells and some Engineered Plagues.

    Game 1

    Olivier wins the roll and keeps. Kai grimaces, and then mulligans. Olivier explained how he had been sleeping in a hotel room which held eight people, with some of the others playing poker all night, the perfect preparation for the second day of a grand prix, while Kai had been staying with Jelger Wiegersma.

    Olivier opens with a Mountain and an Aether Vial, bad news for the Psychatog deck. Kai plays an Island. Olivier has nothing better to do on his second turn then play another Mountain and cycle Gempalm Incinerator to draw a card. Kai plays a second Island, and Force Spikes Olivier's attempt to cast Goblin Matron on his third turn. He plays his third Island and Brainstorms, and has to watch Olivier play Mogg Flunkies with his Aether Vial at the end of his turn.

    Olivier plays a Rishadan Port, and Kai plays Accumulated Knowledge to draw a card. The truth dawns on Olivier.

    "You're not playing Aluren. Someone told me that you were playing Aluren."

    He taps one of Kai's Islands in his upkeep, and Kai plays a Swamp. Olivier goes up to four counters on his Aether Vial and casts Goblin Ringleader, only managing three land and a Skirk Prospector, but allowing him to attack for five. He plays a couple of Prospectors after combat

    Kai has nothing better to do than play a Shivan Reef. Olivier attacks for seven and what Kai plays Fact or Fiction, responds by tapping his Aether Vial and putting Siege Gang Commander into play.

    One-nil to the Goblins.

    Game 2

    Olivier brings in 4 Overload for 2 Gempalm Incinerator, 1 Goblin Sharpshooter and 1 Skirk Prospector. He reveals that there are 8 cards that he has not brought in all day, but that he is rather pleased with this, as he would much prefer not to have to play against his bad matchups then to play against them and bring in his sideboard cards. He tells us about how in the last round of the previous day, his opponent played turn 1 Silver Knight and turn 2 Umezama's Jitte, which Olivier managed to beat because, y'know, sometimes Red Decks just win.

    Kai brings in a whole load of removal - 3 Smother, 3 Engineered Plague and a Diabolic Edict, instead of 3 Cunning Wish, 2 Force Spike, 1 Forbid and a Mana Leak.

    He chooses to play, draws his cards and shakes his head, then mulligans. To pass the time while he is shuffling, he asks why Olivier kept his hand in the first game if he thought that he was playing against an Aluren deck, Olivier explains that he had never played against Aluren before, but thought that the Matron in his hand would be good in fetching Warchief, and also that he had Rishadan Port and Wasteland. Olivier is happy with his hand.

    Kai starts things off again with an Island, and Olivier starts with a very superior kind of basic land, a Mountain, and an Aether Vial. This time Kai has a little more action, with another Island and an Isochron Scepter on Fire/Ice. Olivier just plays a Port and passes the turn. Kai plays another Island. Olivier has a Mountain, and when Kai taps out to activate his Scepter and tap Olivier's Rishadan Port at the end of Olivier's turn, Olivier has the Overload to smash the Scepter. On his turn, Kai has no land to play, and Olivier Vials out a Mogg Flunkies. Kai Brainstorms, and finds no land in his next three cards, which is effectively game as Olivier uses his Aether Vial to put Goblin Warchief in his hand, then untaps, uses the Vial to cast Warchief, plays a Matron to get a Piledriver, plays the Piledriver and attacks for, to use the technical term, lots and lots.

    Olivier Ruel 2 Kai Budde 0


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 11:09 am - Round 10 - Hung-Anh Nguyen-Khac vs. Bas Postema
  • Affinity still won't die. Hung-Anh Nguyen-Anh ran the tables yesterday with Mr Ravager and friends. Bas Postema also ran the tables, in his case with Goblins. Affinity pretty much supplanted Goblins as the dominant deck in Standard but in Extended the little red men have a few more relatives to call on.

    Bas Postema

    Both players led of with first turn Aether Vials. Nguyen-Khac followed with a second and powered out a Frogmite, even managing to draw two cards with Thoughtcast as well. Postema's third turn was pretty good as a Warchief joined Fanatic and Piledriver on the table. Nguyen-Khac had a couple of Welding Jars and so Postema was content to hold his horde back for the moment.

    Nguyen-Khac added a couple more cards to his hand with a second Thoughtcast, but could only manage to summon a couple of Workers.

    Postema chopped at Nguyen-Khac's mana supply with a couple of Wastelands to leave him with a sole Darksteel Citadel. Postema started to grow his Goblin horde with a Matron to fetch Ringleader, which then hit two Fanatics and a third Piledriver as the goblins threatened to boil across the red zone. Nguyen-Kac vialed out a Ravager and fed it a Worker before the red horde erupted at him.

    A Fanatic took down a Worker in the preliminary exchange. The blocks were fairly simple for Nguyen-Khac as his three defenders threw themselves in the way of Postema's three massive Piledrivers. A Welding Jar kept the Ravager alive and Nguyen-Khac took 6 damage from the remainder of the horde.

    Nguyen-Khac's counter attack was brutal. He sent in the Ravager, fed it every artifact he had to make it somewhere around 13/13 and then flung it at Postema's head with Fling after it had dealt damage.

    Goblins is not the only deck to pick up a trick or two from the older sets.

    Nguyen-Khac 1-0 Bostema

    Game 2 and after a mulligan from both players we were into one of those tricky Ravager-Sharpshooter standoffs.

    Nguyen-Khac was again facing off a horde of Goblins with just a sole Ravager. This time his board was not as well developed. He sent in the Ravager and then it got tricky.

    Postema blocked with Matron and Flunkies. The Ravager ate a land and did 2 damage to the Flunkies before being saved by a Welding Jar. I wasn't exactly sure what Nguyen-Khac was trying to achieve here but it turned out to be a play of pure genius as he followed with an Engineered Plague on goblins. In the ensuing massacre the Sharpshooter went down in a hail of bullets that took out Nguyen-Khac's Ravager.

    Postema struck back as a second Wasteland took out both of Nguyen-Khac's artifact lands and netted a Glimmervoid as well as the amateur had no artifacts in play.

    Hung-Anh Nguyen-Khac

    He recovered well with a Vault of Whispers and Disciple of the Vault.

    Postema wasn't about to let himself be handicapped by the Plague either as he Vialed out Ringleader and then found a second Ringleader as well as a Warchief and Piledriver on top of his library.

    Nguyen-Khan had chopped off one of Postema's legs with the first Plague. A second Plague took out the other. With no way of getting rid of the Plagues and no goblins big enough top survive them Postema had no option but to concede.

    Nguyen-Khac beats Bas Postema 2-0


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 11:57 am - Round 12 - Gert Coeckelbergh vs. Stan van der Veldena
  • This is a kind of all Belgian clash as former Dutchman Stan van der Velden is living in Belgium and hasn't managed to escape. "It's a nice place".

    Stan van der Veldena

    "Best country in the world" Gert Coeckelbergh added.

    Coeckelbergh is running red deck wins while van der Velden has Aluren.

    Coeckelbergh mulliganed and then skipped a land drop. Van der Velden immediately took advantage by ramping up his mana with two Birds of Paradise and Wishing for an Auriok Champion. It's sort of like Soul Warden except red deck needs Cursed Scroll to kill it. Until then it was going to sit in the way of Coeckelbergh's army and be a major hindrance.

    Van der Velden failed to find Aluren with either a Brainstorm or Raven Familiar and Coeckelbergh caught a glimmer of hope when he finally bashed the Champion out of the way with a Cursed Scroll.

    It was only a temporary respite as the Aluren showed up a turn later and Van der Velden went off with Raven Familiar and Cavern Harpy.

    Van der Velden 1-0 Coeckelbergh

    Time for red deck to go to plan B: land destruction. Double Stone Rain took care of Van der Velden's first two Battlegrounds. Van der Velden came back with Elder and Birds. He wished for a Auriok Champion and then Intuitioned for three Aluren in his upkeep in response to a Rishadan Port tapping one of his lands.

    Gert Coeckelbergh

    This is the point where red deck starts porting land like a maniac and praying. Usually it likes to be serving with a Jackal Pup as well but sometimes not everything goes to plan.

    Coeckelbergh needed Van de Velden to stop drawing land. That didn't happen and once he reached four land Van der Velden dropped Aluren and gained infinite life off Auriok Champion and a Cavern Harpy.

    Stan van der Velden beats Gert Coeckelbergh 2-0


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 12:40 pm - Round 10 - Ruben Snijdewind vs. Christian Hubacsek
  • Round 10 bonus coverage!
    or
    Why gain infinite life when you can attack with a first pick rare?

    Ruben had gone 9-0 on day one and Christian had gone 8-0-1, so I thought I could probably pick up some tips from watching these guys play.

    I went over to this match on table two as it entered the crucial stage of Game 3. Ruben had an Aluren deck and Christian a Life deck, and they were tied 1-1.

    Ruben had Island, Havenwood Battleground, Yavimaya Coast, Swamp, Birds of Paradise and Pernicious Deed in play, 18 life and Cavern Harpy, Living Wish and Vampiric Tutor in hand.

    Christian had Aether Vial, City of Brass, Forest and Brushland, with Chrome Mox, Test of Endurance and Daru Spiritualist in hand and 15 life. So both players were close to completing their combos, though things turned out rather surprisingly.

    Christian played an Eternal Witness and a Kami of Ancient Law, which destroyed the Pernicious Deed as Ruben only had 2 untapped mana. Ruben cast Vampiric Tutor at the end of turn.

    He untapped and cast Cabal Therapy on Daru Spiritualist, and flashed it back with the Birds on Test of Endurance. He then cast Living Wish for…

    Meloku the Clouded Mirror.

    Christian drew a Nomads-en-Kor and attacked for 2. Ruben cast Meloku and passed the turn. Christian drew nothing relevant, and Ruben attacked again with Meloku and returned all his lands to his hand to make three 1/1 fliers. Christian attacked with his Witness and Nomads and played Starlit Sanctum. Ruben made a fourth flier and attacked Christian to five life.

    Facing a Meloku and 4 1/1 fliers, Christian had to topdeck a Daru Spiritualist or Task Force to be able to gain life with the Nomads and the Sanctum. He drew City of Brass.

    Result - Champions of Kamigawa Limited tech 2 Infinite Life deck 1

    Ruben advances to 10-0.


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 1:13 pm - Halfway There
  • Round 12 was the third round of six on the second day, so a good chance to see which decks had risen to the top of the field. Here are the matchups involving all the decks which had a record of 9-2 or better up to that point:

    Table 1 Aluren vs Cephalid Life
    Table 2 Affinity vs Goblins
    Table 3 Goblins vs Scepter Chant
    Table 4 Topdeck vs Solution (blue-white beatdown)
    Table 5 Solution vs Tog
    Table 6 Red Deck Wins vs Aluren
    Table 7 Green/Black Charbelcher vs Blue-Green
    Table 8 Tog vs Desire
    Table 9 Solution vs Cephalid Life
    Table 10 Goblins vs Desire
    Table 11 Goblins vs Desire
    Table 12 Red Deck Wins vs Life
    Table 13 Rock vs Tog
    Table 14 Goblins vs Goblins
    Table 15 Goblins vs Reanimator
    Table 16 Tooth and Nail vs Life
    Table 17 Rock vs Rock

    So that gives us:

    Goblins 7 (yay)
    Solution 3
    Psychatog 3
    Desire 3
    Rock 3
    Red Deck Wins 2 (double yay)
    Cephalid Life 2
    Aluren 2
    Life 2 (boo)
    Affinity 1
    Topdeck 1
    Blue-Green 1
    Scepter-Chant 1
    Green-black Charbelcher 1
    Reanimator 1
    Tooth and Nail 1

    The next three rounds will show us which of these decks have what it takes to rise to the top.


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 1:36 pm - Round 11 - Ruud Warmenhoven vs. Jean Charles Salvin
  • Ruud has been featured before, and is playing the 'Topdeck' Draco-Explosion-Scepter-Chant deck. Jean Charles has a blue-white beatdown deck. Both are 9-1, and the winner will be in a great position to make the top eight.

    Game 1

    Ruud Warmenhoven, left, vs. Jean Charles Salvin

    Ruud starts. Both players keep their hands. A Flooded Strand for Ruud is met with an Adarkar Wastes from Jean Charles, prompting Ruud to comment that he thought Jean Charles was playing Aluren, which seems to be rather a theme of the day.

    Ruud's attempts to use the Flooded Strand were met with Stifle, so he played Battlefield Forge, Chrome Mox imprinting Enlightened Tutor and an Isochron Scepter imprinting Brainstorm.

    Jean Charles used his own Flooded Strand to get a Plains and cast Meddling Mage on Isochron Scepter. Ruud had a land, and then Jean Charles attacked for two and cast Silver Knight. Ruud brainstormed and cast Enlightened Tutor for Isochron Scepter. He played a land and passed the turn. Most of the action was happening in Jean Charles' turn.

    Jean Charles attacked for 4, and cast another Silver Knight. Ruud cast Brainstorm and found Orim's Chant and Magma Jet. He used the Jet to kill the Mage, and scryed to find Meddling Mage and Draco on top of his deck.

    He cast a Meddling Mage on Stifle, and an Isochron Scepter imprinting Orim's Chant, tapping out. Jean Charles surprised him with an Enlightened Tutor for Engineered Explosives. He attacked for two to bring the life totals to Ruud 10, Jean Charles 14 (all self-inflicted through pain lands), and then cast the Explosives for 2.

    Ruud just casts Brainstorm and lays an Adarkar Wastes in his turn. With Draco on top of his deck, all Ruud needed was an Erratic Explosion to end the game. In Jean Charles' upkeep, he activated the Scepter with Orim's Chant and kicker. Jean Charles activated Engineered Explosives to clear the board.

    Ruud rebuilt with the Sensei's Diving Top, which would let him dig through his deck and find the Erratic Explosion. Each player played lands for a couple of turns, until Ruud managed to get Scepter on Magma Jet. All Jean Charles had was a Waterfront Bouncer, which was Magma Jetted, and the game seemed to be slipping away from him. Ruud kept on digging with the Top and the Scry from the Magma Jet on the Scepter. Just to be sure, he cast Meddling Mage on Exalted Angel. Jean Charles cast Enlightened Tutor for Seat of the Synod, and cast Gilded Drake, Stifling the ability.

    Now the race was on. Ruud used the Scepter to reduce Jean Charles to five life and cast Orim's Chant with kicker, but was only on nine life himself. Jean Charles Tutored for Sword of Fire and Ice. Another Chant with kicker allowed him to drop Jean Charles to three, before Jean Charles was able to equip the Drake with the Sword, attack for five and kill the Meddling Mage and draw a card. Ruud used the Scepter to drop Jean Charles to one life. He attempted to activate the Scepter again in his turn, only for Jean Charles to use Stifle, seemingly on the verge of an amazing comeback. But the Sensei's Diving Top had done its work, and Ruud was able to cast Fire to take a very exciting Game 1.

    Ruud 1 Jean Charles 0

    That game took over half an hour,

    Jean Charles went first in Game 2, and absolutely demolished Ruud. On his fourth turn, he cast Parallax Tide, taking all of Ruud's lands, and Stifled the 'return to play' ability on the Tide. Then he cast Energy Flux, and despite a brief mishap when he cast Damping Matrix and then forgot to pay the upkeep required by the Flux, was able to resolve another Tide and Stifle, after which it was an easy matter for the Silver Knights to finish Ruud off.

    Jean Charles 1 Ruud 1

    Game 3

    There were 7 minutes left as they start to shuffle for the third game, and Jean Charles in particular was very agitated to speed the game up.

    Ruud went first, and mulliganed. He cast Flooded Strand to get a Plains, and Enlightened Tutor to get a Chrome Mox. Jean Charles drew and then discarded a Gilded Drake, having no land. Ruud played a Chrome Mox with Orim's Chant, and then an Isochron Scepter with Orim's Chant. Jean Charles topdecked a Plains, and Ruud had no more land. Jean Charles Tutored for Seat of the Synod and played it. Ruud still had no land, and Jean Charles was able to play Adarkar Wastes, then Plains. On the following turn, he Stifled the attempt to cast Orim's Chant through the Scepter, and resolved Parallax Tide, which left Ruud trying to work out whether his Mystical Tutor could help before all his lands were taken. Jean Charles used Engineered Explosives to destroy the Moxes.

    Time was called with Jean Charles having a Meddling Mage, and Ruud on 19 life. In the first extra turn, Jean Charles attacked Ruud to 17, and cast a morph. Ruud had only an Adarkar Wastes, which Jean Charles took away with the Parallax Wave. He unmorphed the Exalted Angel, attacked for six. Ruud had no play, so Jean Charles stifled the ability of the Parallax Tide when it left play, and on the final extra turn attacked Ruud down to five life, just one turn short of victory.

    Jean Charles was unhappy after the game that Ruud had not conceded, but both players had played at a reasonable pace throughout, and the length of time that the match took was a reflection of the tough decisions facing both players.

    Final result Ruud Warmenhoven 1 Jean Charles Salvin 1


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 2:44 pm - Round 14 - Pierre Canali vs. Bas Postem


  • Pierre Canali

    Pierre Canali shot to victory at Pro Tour Columbus with an Affinity deck everyone had mistakenly believed they could handle. Today he is one of a number of French players running a blue-white beatdown deck. A new "solution" to the diverse Extended metagame. Postema is running Goblins. I've been told Canali has Silver Knight main as well as Absolute Law and Worship in the board with Tutors to fetch them, so I'm guessing the Dutchman is going to have a rough time of it after sideboarding.

    Postema led off with Aether Vial and then Goblin Piledriver. A Wasteland took out Canali's Adarkar Wastes but the Frenchman is one of a number of players running artifact lands because they can be fetched with Enlightened Tutor. Postema dropped another Wasteland, summoned Mogg Flunkies and then passed the turn to Canali.

    Canai made an island and Waterfront Bouncer only to see Postema bust out a second Piledriver through the Vial. It was backed up with another Flunkies and then Sharpshooter completed a steamrollering of a first game.

    Now Canali can board in the hate but I'm not sure if it will be enough if Postema gets another start like that.

    Postema 1-0 Canali

    Bas Postem

    Canali was irritated to see another first turn Aether Vial from Postema. The Dutchman's draw was pretty good as he followed Flunkies with Fanatic and Warchief. He was facing a brick wall though, as Canali followed a Silver Knight with an Absolute Law and Meddling Mage set to Powder Keg. Postema would need a lot more goblins to break through this.

    Or one Goblin Pyromancer...

    Smash ! 4 Goblins got through on the overlap for 18 damage. A Mogg Fanatic administered the final point and the match went to Postema.

    The author would like to point out that many goblins were hurt, maimed and incinerated during the making of this feature match report.

    Bas Postema beats Pierre Canali 2-0.


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 2:57 pm - Where's Kai?
  • At this Grand Prix, Kai Budde is playing a Psychatog deck. This is rather appropriate, because like Psychatog, Kai has been around for quite a while, is extremely good at winning matches, but hasn't been seen at the top tables in big tournaments recently.

    He started this tournament in fine form, rattling off five wins to go with his three byes and stand at 8-0. Then he lost the last round of day one and the first round of day two, and all of a sudden things weren't going so well.

    With two rounds to go, Kai was in 20th place with a record of 10-3. His tie-breakers were very good, so I went over to see how he was getting on in round fourteen.

    He was up against Fried Meulders who had an Aluren deck. Kai won the first game comfortably, with an Isochron Scepter on Accumulated Knowledge and another one on Counterspell.

    He sideboarded in 3 Duress and 3 Engineered Plague for 2 Cunning Wish, 2 Force Spike, 1 Fire/Ice and 1 Diabolic Edict, and started Game 2 with a hand of 3 land, Duress, Psychatog, Fact or Fiction, Fact or Fiction. The Duress revealed that his opponent had a hand of Yavimaya Coast, City of Brass, Birds of Paradise, Brainstorm and Cabal Therapy, which gave Kai plenty of time to cast Fact or Fiction, get an Isochron Scepter on Fire/Ice, and then summon a Psychatog and attack with it, casting another Fact or Fiction when his opponent didn't block in order to finish the game.

    So one round left, and Kai and his Psychatogs have another Grand Prix top eight in their sights. Once again, can anyone stop him?


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 3:14 pm - Deck Tech - The Solution
  • A long time ago, Zvi Mowshowitz managed to win a Pro Tour with a blue-white deck named 'The Solution'. Today, several French players are having success with a similar strategy, designed to combat the Red decks which are running amok, together with Enlightened Tutors to find whatever answer is needed to defeat the various decks which can be encountered at a Pro tour. Time will tell whether this strategy proves successful enough to place anyone in the top eight, but there are currently three players with records of 9-2 or better with it, suggesting that it might be a good choice for the remaining Pro Tour qualifiers.


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 3:35 pm - Day 2 Metagame Breakdown
  • Here we go, 128 players made day two, and here are the decktypes that they are playing:

    Rock 18
    Goblins 17
    Red Deck Wins 15
    Aluren 9
    Desire 9
    Scepter-Chant 8 (including three which also included Draco-Explosion)
    Psychatog 7
    Blue-Green Madness 6
    Solution 5
    Cephalid Life 4
    Life 4
    Reanimator 4
    Grow a Tog 3
    Affinity 3
    Enchantress 3
    Mono-blue beatdown 2
    Solitary Confinement 2
    Trinity Green 2
    Teen Titans 2
    White Weenie 1
    Tooth and Nail 1
    Charbelcher 1
    Sneak Attack 1
    Awakening 1

    I also found some other Betrayers of Kamigawa cards being used, which will please the marketing department.

    Some Red Deck Wins players chose to run Genju of the Spires, White Weenie deck had 1 Umezama's Jitte, and one of the mono-blue decks had Kira, Great Glass Spinner. So there you go.

    And here, for your viewing pleasure, are my choices for the coolest decks of GP: Eindhoven (and, no, the Solitary Confinement deck isn't one of them. That's the most tedious deck out there, which given the competition is saying something):



     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 3:51 pm - Round 13 - Rogier Maarten vs. Mario Pascoli
  • Rogier is a former Dutch National Champion, while Mario is the current Italian national champ. They are both on 10 wins and 2 losses with just three rounds remaining. Neither player is qualified for Philadelphia, though each is only a few pro points short of qualification. Rogier is with Affinity, while Mario has Blue-black-white control deck with Psychatogs and the Scepter Chant combo.

    Game 1

    Rogier Maarten, left, vs. Mario Pascoli

    Mario wins the roll and plays first. He mulligans his starting hand, not good news versus a Ravager deck, though Rogier also mulligans, and then mulligans again. That is the last bit of good news Mario has for quite a while.

    Mario starts with a Flooded Strand, while Rogier opens with Great Furnace, Aether Vial. Each player just plays land on turn two, with Rogier adding Aether Vial and Chromatic Sphere, and on turn three Mario counterspells Rogier's Myr Enforcer.

    Mario plays a Psychatog, and Rogier Vials out an Arcbound Ravager and a Disciple of the Vault. He casts Myr Enforcer on his turn, and attacks. The Psychatog blocks the Arcbound Ravager, and the winner of the fight between these two mighty creatures was the Arcbound Ravager, which grew to 6/6, leaving Mario on ten life. Mario managed to stay alive for one more turn

    Rogier

    Game 2

    Both players sideboard heavily:

    Mario
    -4 Duress
    -1 Cunning Wish
    -2 Vampiric Tutor
    +3 Diabolic Edict
    +2 Engineered Explosives
    +1 Smother
    +1 Echoing Truth

    Rogier
    -4 Thoughtcast
    -1 Welding Jar
    -2 Myr Enforcer
    + 3 Rack and Ruin
    + 4 Pyrostatic Pillar

    Mario mulligans and looks rather disenchanted. He then has to mulligan again and again, leaving him with four cards to try to hold off the Ravager Onslaught. Some would argue that Ravager is unfair enough without a three card headstart. Rogier tries to even things up by mulliganing himself, but then keeps, which sinks Mario even further into gloom.

    Mario starts off with a Flooded Strand into Island and an Engineered Explosives for one. Rogier has Darksteel Citadel and Arcbound Worker. Mario topdecks Underground River, and imprints Accumulated Knowledge on Isochron Scepter. Sadly, this will not be a long battle of card advantage, as Rogier plays a Great Furnace, an Arcbound Ravager and a Frogmire. Mario has no play, and on the next turn Rogier has a Myr Enforcer, which gets counterspelled, and an Atog, which doesn't. Again Mario has no play, and scoops up his cards when Rogier casts Pyrostatic Pillar.

    Rogier Maarten 2 Mario Pascoli 0


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 4:47 pm - Round 15 - Jockey ing for Top 8


  • Michael Leicht vs. Markus Pantelait

    As we go into the last round it seems fairly clear cut. The top three tables all draw with the winners of tables four and five joining them in the top 8. Kamiel Cornelissen, Petr Nahodil, Bas Postema and Tobias Radloff all took the intentional draw. Xuan-Phi Nguyen gave former Dutch champion Rogier Maaten a scare when he refused it. In the first game Nguyen made Humility. This was a surprise as I thought Paul Barclay had successfully expunged this card from existence. As Humility hit the table its come-into-play effect of "ask head judge what this card actually does" was triggered. All of Maaten's creatures were turned into 1/1's. This didn't seem to matter as he had rather a lot of them and after being pummelled Nguyen decided he wanted a draw after all.

    This left two matches to decide the remaining two places. Michael Leicht was paired down against Markus Pantelait and had to play. I went over and was surprised to see Rancor, Call of the Herd and Mesmeric Fiend being played. Unfortunately Pantelait looked to be struggling on one land in the deciding game and it seemed like the more conventional Madness deck would go through.

    Ruud Warmenhoven faced off against Sebastian roux in a feature match you can find covered here (insert link to dan's article here)


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 5:03 pm - Round 15 - Sebastian Roux vs. Ruud Warmenhoven
  • This is it, the final round - winner makes the top eight. With the top tables all drawing, this is where the main action is. Ruud, as you will know by now, has the blue-white-red 'Topdeck' deck, while Sebastian has a Psychatog deck. Traditionally a matchup between two control decks, one with counterspells and one without, is pretty lopsided in favour of the counterspells, but Ruud has Boseju in his sideboard which might even things up.

    Game 1

    Sebastian Roux vs. Ruud Warmenhoven

    Sebastian wins the die roll and plays first. Each player spends the first couple of turns playing land, but Sebastian misses his third land drop. Ruud, however, cannot take advantage, getting a Scroll RackMana Leaked. On the next turn, however, he manages to get Isochron Scepter into play with a Magma Jet imprinted. Sebastian finally gets his third land and casts a Psychatog.

    A Betrayers of Kamigawa card makes a cameo appearance as Ruud plays Tendo Ice Bridge, and imprints Orim's Chant on another Scepter. Sebastian just attacks, and counterspells a Meddling Mage. Ruud imprints Enlightened Tutor on Chrome Mox to get more mana to fuel his Scepters. The game, though, is slipping away from him as Sebastian casts Fact or Fiction at the end of Ruud's turn for Masticore, Swamp, Engineered Explosives, Accumulated Knowledge, Accumulated Knowledge. He gets the Masticore, Accumulated Knowledge and Engineered Explosives. In Sebastian's upkeep, Ruud tries to Ice the Psychatog, because casting Orim's Chant would lose to Cunning Wish for Stifle. Sebastian has a Force Spike for the Ice, and the Tog attacks for more than enough to take the first game.

    Ice Tog, Force Spike, AK

    Game 2

    Sebastian brings in Chalice of the Void, and Ruud brings in Boseju. Ruud plays first. Sebastian keeps his hand, while muttering and shaking his head. His hand in fact has three land, a Psychatog and some card drawing, so he has nothing to grumble about except as an attempt to trick his opponent.

    Again, the game starts with each player laying land, with Sebastian playing a devastating Chalice of the Void for one on turn two. Ruud plays Boseju, but with Chalice in play he can't use the Top or Brainstorm to put Draco on top of his deck. At the end of Ruud's next turn, Sebastian casts Intuition for Accumulated Knowledge, and Ruud is in deep trouble. There is a moment of light relief where Sebastian tries to cast Brainstorm, only to have it countered by the Chalice of the Void. Since he has mana in his mana pool, Sebastian chooses to Cunning Wish for Fact or Fiction. He takes Island, Psychatog and Intuition, losing Counterspell and Fact or Fiction. Ruud used Boseju to cast Erratic Explosion, hoping to steal an unlikely win by turning over Draco. He flipped his cards…

    Battlefield Forge

    Chrome Mox, dealing a mighty zero damage.

    On Sebastian's next turn he plays the Tog. Ruud tries another Erratic Explosion, and turns over…

    Enlightened Tutor.

    As Sebastian prepared to attack with his Psychatog for victory, Ruud had asked a judge earlier and thought that the judge had said that casting Orim's Chant with kicker counted as a two mana spell. In fact, though, it wasn't, so Ruud had no defence against the lethal Tog.

    Sebastian Roux 2 Ruud Warmenhoven 0


     
  • Sunday, Feb. 27: 5:21 pm - Artists at GP Eindhoven


  • Wayne England and Brian Dugan.

    Artists Wayne England and Brian "Chippy" Dugan have been very busy signing cards today. Ever the generous man, England has donated several goodies including artist's proof cards, prints and an original piece of artwork. Side event competitors got a bracelet with a number on them and before the top 8 the winners were drawn from a box.

    The lucky winner of the Wayne England art giveaway was Anton Karlinski. He gets to go home with the original artwork for Krosan Groundshaker.


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