Sunday, Feb. 27: 5:45 pm - The Top 8 Decklists
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
GP Eindhoven Top 8
Sunday, Feb. 27: 5:51 pm - Top 8 Predictions
The matches in the top eight are as follows:
Kamiel Cornelissen (Cephalid Life) vs Tobias Radloff (Reanimator)
Petr Nahodil (Red Deck Wins) vs Rogier Maaten (Affinity)
Michael Leicht (Blue-Green Madness) vs Sebastian Roux (Tog)
Xuan-Phi Nguyen (Confinement) vs Bas Postema (Goblins)
So in the interests of looking foolish for your viewing pleasure, here are my predictions, together with the slightly more informed opinions of top Dutch pro Frank Karsten and reigning world champion Julien Nuijten:
Frank and Julien
Kamiel beats Tobias
Rogier beats Petr
Michael beats Sebastian
Xuan-Phi beats Bas
Rogier beats Kamiel
Michael beats Xuan-Phi
Rogier beats Michael
Kamiel beats Tobias
Petr beats Rogier
Michael beats Sebastian
Xuan-Phi beats Bas (sadly)
Petr beats Kamiel
Sebastian beats Xuan-Phi
Petr beats Sebastian and the Red Deck Wins.
I asked Craig Jones for his predictions, but all he could come up with was 'Red deck, red deck, bwahahaha'. He's had a long day providing all this coverage…
Sunday, Feb. 27: 6:22 pm - Quarterfinals - Kamiel Cornelissen vs. Tobias Radloff
In the rush to cover red deck I managed to lose out, but don't be too disheartened as there'll be giant monsters galore smashing into the red zone this match. Kamiel Cornelissen is running the Cephalid Life deck. This bizarre concoction either makes itself almost invulnerable by gaining a billion life or milling its entire library away and smashing face with a Reanimated Sutured Ghoul. Tobias Radloff is running straight Reanimator. He'll get his monsters out quicker but they probably won't kill Cornelissen before he gets to pull off one of the combos. On paper this match should be the quickest but there is the Kamiel factor as the Dutch player is known to be a very careful...Oh, the first game is over.
That was brutal. Radloff imprinted a Chrome Mox, dropped a Putrid Imp and then Brainstormed into a monster at the end of turn. The second turn whipped Akroma into play. Rorix followed on turn 3 to end a lighting fast game.
Radloff 1-0 Cornelissen
Cornelissen opened Game 2 with a flimsy Starlit Sanctum. Radloff had a less explosive start this time, merely dropping Akroma off into the graveyard with Careful Study.
Cornelissen dropped a City of Brass and passed the turn. Radloff Exhumed Akroma, Angel of many stupid abilities and slapped Cornelissen in the face for 6.
The critical turn three approached, but Cornelissen had a cheekier play. He cast Worldly Tutor to put a Gilded Drake on top of his library and then cast it. A Gilded Drake for an Akroma is a fair trade, right. Cornelissen kept the Angel at home, not even blocking when Radloff swung at him with the Drake. If the Drake died it would be too easy for Radloff to steal it out of a graveyard and get Akroma back.
Radloff was getting his girl back anyway, as Echoing Truth returned her to hand. He then imprinted a Tutor on a Mox to summon a Putrid Imp Cornelissen Brainstormed into his third land and managed a Nomads en-Kor. He wasn't pulling this one out though as Radloff discard Akroma to the Imp and then Reanimated her for a final brutal attack.
In all the match took maybe 14 turns.
Tobias Radloff beats Kamiel Cornelissen 2-0.
Sunday, Feb. 27: 6:37 pm - Quarterfinals - Bas Postema vs. Xuan-Phi Nguyen
Bas is a well-respected player in the Netherlands since he wins a lot of PTQs and performs well in other tournaments, but he's never posted a very good result in international tournaments until now. This is Xuan-Phi's second GP top 8 result, his first being 2003 GP Brussels.
As soon as I sat down to cover the matchup, Bas commented that it would be boring because of the silliness of it. It's all about speed: Can Xuan-Phi set up his Confinement lock which Bas has no answer for before he gets beaten down by the little green men?
A big part of the matchup is the die roll. Bas wins it and elects to play first. He opens a hand of double Mountain, Wasteland, Port, Gempalm Incinerator, Goblin Warchief and Goblin Matron. He thinks about it for a short while, but sends it back. A lot of people would keep this hand immediately since they see lands and spells, but the cards Bas opened are just not what he's looking for. If he can't kill Xuan-Phi quickly, he's going to get hardlocked. Bas' second hand looks a bit better as it has the key card of his deck which can also get around a Scepter/Chant lock: AEther Vial. Along that he's got a mountain, Port, Wasteland, Mogg Fanatic and Gempalm Incinerator. Xuan-Phi keeps his hand.
Bas starts with an AEther Vial and uses Rishadan Port to slow Phi down. Port taps a land in Phi's upkeep, and in response he taps it for mana, but apparently he found an Isochron Scepter in his draw step since he took a point for mana burn. Scepter comes down and Phi imprints Orim's Chant. Bas lays down another Vial; his game plan is now to hope that Phi doesn't have three mana open each turn, so he can tap one land so that Phi can't pay the kicker for his Chant. If that doesn't work, he'll have to win on the AEther Vials with either Goblin Sharpshooter or Siege-Gang Commander. Phi is on 17 though, so he's got a lot of time to find his Solitary Confinement lock. Phi tries to find a fourth land, using Ice in his upkeep, but he doesn't find it and Bas gets another attack with Gempalm and Mogg Fanatic. The next turn Phi plays Solitary Confinement and shows Bas an Intuition, which he uses next turn to find three Squees. Bas isn't ready to concede the game yet though. He's thinking if he has any way to win in his deck, and concedes after a couple of turns.
Xuan-Phi 1-0 Bas Postema
For the post-sideboarded games, Bas brings in 2 copies of Overload, 1 Shattering Pulse and a Sparksmith. He takes out 4 Goblin Ringleaders, meaning his game plan is to just be really aggressive and forget about card advantage. Phi switched his Arcane Laboratory for Fire/Ice.
Bas plays first again and keeps his opener of 3 Mountains, an AEther Vial, Rishadan Port, Mogg Flunkies and Goblin Piledriver. Not a real good hand, but as long as Phi doesn't have a fast lock, he's got a good chance of winning. Phi has a Scepter with Orim's Chant on the second turn, but he cast it with two Islands. As long as Phi doesn't have double white available, Bas can tap down Phi's white mana source and be able to attack every turn. Bas uses the Vial to add a Mogg Flunkies to his Goblin Piledriver and other Flunkies, and he takes Phi down to 14. Phi draws an Adarkar Wastes for the Solitary Confinement, and shows Bas Squee, Goblin Nabob to get Bas locked again.
Final result: Xuan-Phi Nguyen beats Bas Postema 2-0
Sunday, Feb. 27: 7:01 pm - Quarterfinals - Rogier Maaten vs Petr Nahodil
Rogier Maaten is a little bit unknown to the outside world, but he has always done well in major tournaments in his homeland. He won the Dutch Nationals last year and this year he finished in 3rd place. This is his first top 8 in a premier non-Nationals event. Remarkably enough, it's in an event in the Netherlands yet again. He made it to the gravy train on the verge of his finish in this Grand Prix. If he can manage to use his skills to win outside the Netherlands, you should expect to see a lot from this Dutch talent! He brought a Fling-Affinity deck to this tournament.
Petr Nahodil hails from the Czech Republic. He won his National Championships twice, which is a great accomplishment. Another remarkable performance was that he went 0-7 on pro tour. He made it to the top 8 with Red Deck Wins.
Petr won the coin toss and chose to play first. He started off with a sacland and Cursed Scroll. Rogier played out three permanents on his first turn: artifact land, Welding Jar and Aether Vial. Petr had no pressure; he just played Rishadan Port and tapped Rogier's land in his upkeep. Rogier simply played a land and passed the turn. No exiting things were happening yet… Petr continued his mana denial plan with a Wasteland that took out another artifact land. It didn't seem a very effective strategy in the face of Aether Vial though. Rogier showed that he didn't care about land destruction: Aether Vial brought Arcbound Worker and Arcbound Ravager in play. This brought Rogiers artifact count up to 6, so he so he could play a one mana Myr Enforcer. The score after 6 turns of play: Petr had 3 permanents (Cursed Scroll, Rishadan Port and Mountain) versus Rogiers 7 (2 artifact lands, Welding Jar, Aether Vial, Arcbound Worker, Arcbound Ravager and Myr Enforcer). You can imagine that things were looking good for Rogier.
Petr could only muster a Jackal Pup on his turn. He smiled when he played it, showing that he felt that this game was a lost cause. Rogier played another Arcbound Ravager and swung all of his men into the red zone. Jackal Pup blocked Arcbound Ravager. Rogier sacrificed Arcbound Worker and a land to keep his Ravager alive. The attack put Petr down to 10. He untapped, drew a card, shook his head and scooped up his cards.
Rogier 1 - Petr 0
This time, Petr led with a useful creature on turn 1: Grim Lavamancer. Rogier had Aether Vial yet again. Petr improved his board with not just one, but two Cursed Scrolls. Rogier then played Absolute Law. Normally giving all of your creatures protection from red would mean game right away, but Petr had Cursed Scrolls on the table that gave him a way around the protection. Petr attacked his Grim Lavamancer into an Aether Vial with one counter, feeling that he needed to take a chance to win. Rogier had Arcbound Worker, which quickly blocked. Petr played another non-red card; a morph (Blistering Firecat). Rogier played out 2 Chromatic Spheres and Myr Enforcer. That Enforcer could spell big trouble for Petr. His best bet to deal with it now was to block with his morph and hit it with Cursed Scroll. Petr then played Fledgeling Dragon. Thanks to some saclands, he already had 4 cards in his graveyard. So this gave him another game plan against Absolute Law. Rogier Vial'ed Atog in play and attacked with all of his creatures. The morph blocked Atog, since Absolute Law gave it protection from red too. Rogier sacrificed a land to save it. Arcbound Worker and Myr Enforcer came through for 5 damage.
Then Petr took his turn. He played a third Cursed Scroll. Not useful right now, but it left him with only one card in his hand. A Scroll revealed Lava Dart to take care of Arcbound Worker. Fledgeling Dragon attacked, making the life totals Rogier 17 - Petr 12. Rogier was ahead, but if Petr could quickly manage to get 6 lands in play for double Cursed Scroll action or archieve threshold for the Dragon, it might turn out to be a close damage race. Rogiers turn however changed this perspective; Rogier sacrificed his Chromatic Sphere to draw a card and played Frogmite and Myr Enforcer. He attacked with Myr Enforcer, putting Petr dangerously low on life. Petr considered his options. He realized he couldn't win anymore. Two Myr Enforcers with protection from red were too much too handle. He extended his hand and wished Rogier good luck in the semifinals.
Rogier 2- Petr 0
Sunday, Feb. 27: 7:22 pm - Quarterfinals - Michael Leicht vs. Sebastien Roux
Michael is appearing in his first top eight, playing blue-green madness. Sebastien is a much more experienced player, and is playing a Psychatog deck. They met in the Swiss, with Michael winning 2-0 after Sebastien got terrible draws. Before the match, Sebastien explains that it will be very difficult for him to win because of Michael's 4 Deep Analysis.
Sebastien starts and keeps his hand. Michael mulligans twice. After Sebastien plays an Island, Michael gets things going with a Yavimaya Coast and a Careful Study, discarding Deep Analysis and Wonder. Sebastien plays an Island and goes for the tempo play of Boomeranging the Coast, hoping to delay the appearance of Michael's creatures until Psychatog is ready for them. Michael, though, has a Forest, a Chrome Mox imprinting Daze and a Wild Mongrel. Sebastien plays a Swamp and a Psychatog. Michael plays an Island, flashes back Deep Analysis and attacks for three with his flying dog. Sebastien has an Accumulated Knowledge, but his attempt to cast a second is met with a Circular Logic, and he has to content himself with attacking for one.
Michael has another Careful Study, for Basking Rootwalla and a Deep Analysis, which he flashes back. He attacks for two more, leaving the life totals as Michael 8, Sebastien 12. Sebastien attacks with his Tog and Michael blocks with the Rootwalla. Sebastien makes the Tog a 3 / 4 and casts another. Michael has Intuition for Arrogant Wurm, and casts one, holding back his creatures for fear of letting a lethal Tog through. Sebastien intuitioned for Wonder, Swamp, Swamp, and two Togs attacked, one being blocked by the Mongrel and one by an Arrogant Wurm. When the dust cleared the Psychatogs had killed their enemies, but there were very few cards left in Sebastien's hand or graveyard.
Michael rebuilt with an Aquamoeba, and an Intuition for Roar of the Wurm, Deep Analysis and Wonder. The Aquamoeba traded with a Psychatog, and Michael went to five to flashback Deep Analysis and cast Roar of the Wurm. Seeing his opportunity, Sebastien tapped out to cast Cunning Wish for Coffin Purge, to get rid of the Wonders from Michael's graveyard and attack with his flying Psychatog. Seeing this, Michael packed up his cards.
His mood was not improved when he realized after the game that since Sebastien only had one black mana, he couldn't actually remove both the Wonders in the next turn, so the concession was premature.
Sebastien 1 Michael 0
Sebastien brought in a Masticore, while Michael made no changes.
Michael was on the play, and had to mulligan three times. By this stage he was quite flustered and had received a warning from the judge for slow play. Sebastien joined in the fun by mulliganing once, but then kept his six cards.
Michael started by doing nothing on his turn, not even laying a land. He had an Island on the second turn, and a Chrome Mox imprinting Daze to cast Aquamoeba. Sebastien continued playing Islands, and Michael attacked for three, discarding and flashing back Deep Analysis.
Sebastien tried to cast Psychatog on his next turn, but this was met by a Circular Logic from Michael. Michael attacks for another point of damage, and Sebastien casts Intuition, to which Michael responds by casting Arrogant Wurm. Sebastien's Intuition gives a choice between Psychatog, Psychatog and Masticore, and he gets the artifact creature. He plays a Masticore, with only one land untapped, and takes another four damage from the Wurm, leaving the life totals at Michael 16, Sebastien 10.
While Sebastien has managed to stop the creature beatings, he has a bit of a problem. He has five lands for his Masticore, which is not enough to kill the Arrogant Wurm or even the Aquamoeba, and every turn he has to discard a card. Michael has a Careful Study, discarding Wonder and Daze. Sebastien is able to Cunning Wish for Coffin Purge and cast it when Michael attacks , but can only block the Aquamoeba and has to let the Wurm through, falling to just six life. He decides to cast Cunning Wish and get Fact or Fiction.
Michael has another Aquamoeba, but has to read Fact or Fiction when it is cast, which is never a good sign. He decided to split the piles Counterspell against Accumulated Knowledge and three land, which Sebastien gratefully took. The advantage of this was that he had more cards in his hand, so was able to lay more land and still pay for the Masticore's upkeep. Sebastien cast Intuition, to which Michael responded with an Arrogant Wurm. Sebastien got Accumulated Knowledges, and cast it to draw four cards.
Michael sensed that he might actually be able to win this, and attacked with 2 Arrogant Wurms and an Aquamoeba. Sebastien had a Boomerang to return one Wurm, blocked another with the Masticore (with mana available to regenerate) and took one damage to fall to five life. He attacked back for four damage, to drop Michael to 10, and had another Fact or Fiction, which gave him Counterspell and two land over Fact or Fiction and Engineered Explosives. He took another hit from the Aquamoeba, falling to four life, and attacked again to put Michael on 6. He Miscalculated an Arrogant Wurm which had been Madnessed out by the Aquamoeba and did a point of damage to the Aquamoeba with the Masticore. In response to this, Michael, who was obviously very nervous and who was being urged by the judges to hurry up his play, decided to discard two Basking Rootwallas, but messed up the timing and ended up with the Aquamoeba in the graveyard and the Masticore destroying the Rootwallas. With this ended Michael's chances of a remarkable comeback considering the number of times he had to mulligan, and it was Sebastien who advanced to the semi-finals.
Sebastien Roux 2 Michael Leicht 0
Sunday, Feb. 27: 7:40 pm - Semifinals - Rogier Maaten vs. Tobias Radloff
Rogier is the Netherlands' last hope to keep the Grand Prix trophy home. He won Dutch Nationals in 2003 and made it to the national team the year after that again. It's Tobias' first GP top 8.
Rogier plays a very aggressive version of Affinity. He runs Atogs, Flings and no Meddling Mage or Cabal Therapy. Tobias has a pretty normal Reanimater-deck. Since both the decks don't really interact with the opponent, it will be quick games, lasting only a couple of turns. It also depends a lot on whether Tobias has Reanimate or Exhume to put his creatures into play, since the 8 life will save Rogier a turn.
Tobias won the die roll and opens up a hand with three lands, Duress, Therapy, Putrid Imp and Exhume. The hand had all the tools but no creature to reanimate, and against a deck like Affinity he can't afford to give away too much time finding a creature. His second hand is basically the same, but Tobias doesn't want to take the risk to 5. Rogier keeps his hand.
Tobias plays a Brainstorm but fails to find a creature. He does have Polluted Delta though to shuffle away a card. Rogier has an Aether Vial and shows a hand of Welding Jar, Frogmite, Arcbound Worker, Thoughtcast (but no blue mana for it) and two artifact lands to a Cabal Therapy on Arcbound Ravager. Rogier plays his Worker and a Frogmite, and Tobias builds up his board with two Putrid Imp. Rogier draws another Frogmite, and Tobias finds a creature to Reanimate: Rorix Bladewing. It doesn't seem good enough though, since he's losing the damage race. Rogier adds Myr Enforcer to his team and sends his guys in for victory.
Rogier Maaten 1-0 Tobias Radloff
Rogier doesn't have a lot of sideboard cards against Reanimator-decks and he decides not to change his deck. Tobias takes out Show and Tell, 3 Duress, 2 Cabal Therapy, and puts in 4 Smother, an Energy Field and a Rebuild, but decides to keep his additional Echoing Truths in the side.
Tobias opens a good hand with Putrid Imp, Exhume, Rorix, Echoing Truth, Brainstorm and two Swamps. Rogier sends it back. Tobias makes his second-turn Rorix while Rogier makes a Worker and a Ravager. Rogier takes 7 again (1 from a flying Putrid Imp), and goes down to six, meaning that he has to win on his next turn or make his Ravager big enough to Fling at Rorix. A Thoughtcast gives him more cards to work with, but he can't deal the full 19 damage.
Rogier Maaten 1-1 Tobias Radloff
The matchup is a close race; it's almost always a matter of only one or two turns. Maybe if Rogier had started the second game, he would have won it. He can play first again in the third game though. He keeps his opening seven but Tobias sends it back. His second hand isn't good either and he goes down to five. Meanwhile Rogier tells about his mull-to-three-win-on-turn-5 top 8 match the other day to give Tobias some hope. Tobias' five look reasonable: Polluted Delta, Careful Study, double Akroma and a Smother. Rogier plays an Aether Vial and Tobias plays Careful Study, drawing 2 Reanimate but no lands. He has another Study though, leading into Polluted Delta. He casts Reanimate on his Akroma, going down to 10. This doesn't win him the game though as Rogier has double Disciple, Frogmite and an Arcbound Ravager, giving him a third-turn kill!
Final Result: Rogier Maaten beats Tobias Radloff 2 to 1.
Sunday, Feb. 27: 7:53 pm - Semifinals - Sebastien Roux vs. Xuan-Phi Nguyen
Sebastien from France is playing Psychatog, an old favorite. Its popularity greatly decreased the last couple months for some reason. A couple French prlayers felt that the deck was still very powerful and took it to this Grand Prix. Sebastien was one of them.
Xuan-Phi from Germany made it to the top 8 with a Solitary Confinement deck that also includes the Isochron Scepter/Orim's Chant lock. Combining different strategies seems to be the latest trend. What will be next? The Cephalid Life Confinement Scepter combo deck with a splash for Erratic Explosion/Draco?
The players got to review their opponent's decklists.
Sebastien:"Can you win?"
Xuan:"I don't think so… Do you want a split?"
Sebastien had better card drawing and countermagic than Xuan-Phi. He also had an answer to Isochron Scepter and Solitary Confinement in Boomerang, so he seemed to be the favorite in this matchup.
Xuan-Phi Nguyen, left, vs. Sebastien Roux
Sebastien played first and just like you could expect from a control on control matchup, the first couple turns weren't particularly action filled. Just a land each turn and an Accumulated Knowledge from Sebastien. Xuan-Phi tried a Compulsion, which was met by Mana Leak. Sebastien missed his fourth land drop. Having access to enough mana is of vital importance in control matchups, so it was a huge hit. Xuan-Phi did have a fourth land and played Orim's Chant, setting himself up to resolve an Isochron Scepter this turn. Sebastien responded with an Intuition for 1 Island and 2 Accumulated Knowledge. This was a hint that he probably had his fourth Knowledge in hand. Xuan-Phi gave him the Island and played Isochron Scepter, imprinting Fire/Ice. Sebastien's turn got him right back in the game; he had his fourth land and Boomerang on the Scepter.
Sebastien indeed had the 4th Accumulated Knowledge in his hand and played it at the end of Xuan-Phi's turn. The German responded with Intuition, fetching 3 Brainstorm. A fine choice, especially since he had a sacland in play. Accumulated Knowledge resolved, Sebastien cycled Miscalculation and Xuan-Phi played his Brainstorm. Sebastien discarded down to 7 cards. Xuan-Phi then took his turn and thought for a while. His hand was Isochron Scepter, Counterspell, Cunning Wish and Enlightened Tutor. Those cards gave him a lot of options, so he needed to figure out a game plan. The head judge told him to speed up a bit and eventually he just passed the turn.
Then the control game went on. For the duration of 10 turns or so, almost all spells were played at the end of the opponent's turn. Both players were trying to maneuver themselves into a good situation and tried to create card and land advantage. Sebastien resolved a couple Fact or Fictions. The first one revealed 2 Psychatog, Underground River, Counterspell and Cunning Wish. Xuan-Phi divided it in 2 Psychatog or the three other cards and Sebastien took the bigger pile. The second Fact or Fiction forced Xuan-Phi to divide Wonder, Underground River, Island and 2 Brainstorm in 2 piles. Sebastien chose Wonder and 2 lands over 2 Brainstorm. Lands are useful. Sebastien also played Cunning Wish for Corpse Dance. With 2 Psychatogs in the graveyard and a hand full of cards, it would be lethal.
In the meanwhile, Xuan-Phi played Cunning Wish to fetch Orim's Chant and chose Compulsion out of his deck with Enlightened Tutor. It didn't make it in play though since Sebastien had a Counterspell ready. Sebastien continued with a couple Cunning Wishes; first he found Fact or Fiction in his sideboard. It resolved and he got the choice between Psychatog and Forbid or Force Spike, Cunning Wish and Dust Bowl. He chose the latter. The next Cunning Wish got Mana Short.
Now finally something was going to happen! Here we go…At the end of Xuan-Phi's turn, Sebastien played the Mana Short. Xuan-Phi responded with Orim's Chant. That resolved and Xuan-Phi stopped the Mana Short with a Counterspell. Then Sebastien took his turn and he felt confident. He played Corpse Dance and won the counterwar. As was to be expected, he had enough cards between his graveyard and hand to make his Psychatog deal 20 damage.
Amount of turns played; I'd guess about 40. Amount of turns a creature was in play: one. What a matchup.
Sebastien 1 - Xuan-Phi 0
Sebastien:"After sideboarding it gets more interesting, you might kill me with Exalted Angel". True, hopefully something more exiting than repetitious draw-land-go and the occasional card drawing spell will happen in the next games.
Xuan-Phi chose to play first. He kept his hand, but Sebatien took a mulligan. The first play was at the end of Sebastien's third turn: Xuan-Phi cast Intuition and got 3 Brainstorm. The German then used Orim's Chant to force through a morph. Yay, a creature! Sebastien improved his hand with Brainstorm. Xuan-Phi attacked and flipped the morph into Exalted Angel. Sebastien had Boomerang ready and bounced it. Sebastien missed a land drop again and Xuan-Phi played Compulsion. It was Counterspelled. Xuan-Phi followed it up with morph and it was Mana Leaked. Would a permanent ever stay in play longer than a turn in this match? Bweurk…
Well, the impossible happened: next turn Xuan-Phi resolved Compulsion and a morph! Wow! At the end of that turn, Sebastien played Fact or Fiction into Cunning Wish , Force Spike, Counterspell and 2 Island. It was split in Cunning Wish or the other cards. Sebastien picked the bigger pile. Xuan-Phi flipped the Angel and swung for 4. At this point, Xuan-Phi seemed to be on the winning hand so my mind started to recoil in horror at the thought of going to a third game. This matchup is quite boring, to say the least. Sebastien had Intuition for Accumulated Knowledge. He drew 3 cards with the Knowledge he got, but didn't find an answer to either Compulsion or Exalted Angel. He did have more card drawing in the form of Fact or Fiction. He got the choice between Intuition, Psychatog and Force Spike or Intution and Cunnig Wish. Sebastien chose the latter.
Xuan-Phi attacked Sebastien down to 9 life and the Frenchman thought it was time to make a move. He cast Cunning Wish to get Corpse Dance and resolved an Accumulated Knowledge for 4. He then took his turn and played Corpse Dance. It resolved, so Psychatog got in play. However, Xuan-Phi had Ice to tap it down. Despite having drawn a lot of cards, Sebastien hadn't found proper countermagic. He had absolutely nothing and scooped up his cards.
Sebastien 1 - Xuan-Phi 1
When this reporter arrived from a bathroom break, he saw two lands on both sides and a Brainstorm on the stack. I then fell asleep. When I woke up, the graveyard showed that the following had happened:
A Polluted Delta was sacrificed. Someone played a Brainstorm. Enlightened Tutor fetched Compulsion. The enchantment was countered with Mana Leak. Chalice of the Void for 1 was Counterspelled. Another Brainstorm resolved. Intution found 3 Isochron Scepter. A mainphase Orim's Chant was Counterspelled. Isochron's Scepter resolved and it imprinted Fire/Ice. An end of a turn Intuition got 3 Accumulated Knowledge. One of them was played. It probably resolved. A Brainstorm was on the stack at some point. The Scepter was activated a couple times, netting Xuan-Phi additional cards. Someone used a sacland and the judge loudly announced the life totals: Xuan-Phi 19, Sebastien 18. Good to know.
Now a turn filled with action would follow. Brace yourself; this is going to be exiting. Engineered Explosives for 2 came down. At the end of Sebastien's turn, Xuan-Phi activated his Isochron Scepter. Sebastien responded by blowing up his Explosives. Now an argument followed within the judging staff. Since the Scepter was gone by the time its ability resolved, there was no imprinted card when the ability resolved. Would it be possible to still play Fire/Ice? The head judge looked up the right ruling and based on "last known information" Xuan-Phi had the opportunity to play Ice. Hurrah!
Xuan-Phi then played Cunning Wish and got Orim's Chant. He resolved it in his mainphase and morphed an Exalted Angel in play. He only had three lands left after that, so Sebastien played Engineered Explosives for 0. He immediately activated it and because Xuan-Phi didn't have enough mana to morph the Angel, it was killed. Sebastien then seemed to get the upper hand with Accumulated Knowledge for 4. He Intuitioned for 3 Psychatogs and played one of them. Next turn Sebastien attacked and removed exactly enough cards to make his Psychatog letal. Xuan-Phi had no answer so finally this endurance contest was over.
Sebastien 2 - Xuan-Phi 1
Sunday, Feb. 27: 8:38 pm - Finals - Rogier Maaten vs. Sebastien Roux
This is it. The final round. Former Dutch national champ Rogier Maaten gets a chance to make sure the title stays at home. It looks good for him as he's running Affinity against Sebastien Roux's Tog deck. There haven't been many counterspells floating around this tournament and part of the reason is one little innocuous 1 mana artifact. Maaten also has the advantage that he's had plenty of time to relax after his Semi-final while Roux played out a gruelling 2 hour match against Xuan-Phi Nguyen. Could Mr Ravager eat yet another big tournament.
Maaten went first and managed a modest start: a second turn Ravager. The third turn was more exciting as he played Worker, Welding Jar and then a 1 mana Myr Enforcer. Mana Leak stopped the Enforcer, but Maaten wasn't about to waste any time as the Ravager fed itself up to a 4/4.
Roux Boomeranged the Ravager on the following turn when Maaten went for a second Enforcer. The Enforcer got in to knock Roux down to 11 and then Maaten emptied his hand.
A Cunning Wish to fetch a Rebuild made the Dutchman pick it all up again. Would it give Roux enough time to get into the game. He took a few nibbles from an Atog and then cast Fact or Fiction in response to the Ravager coming back.
Maaten split Intuition, Engineered Explosives, Island to Masticore and Accumulated Knowledge. Roux took the larger pile and then Brainstormed. He Intuitioned in his upkeep to fetch the Swamp he needed and then dropped an Engineered Explosives for two. That picked off both an Atog and Ravager and it was starting to look like Maaten might have run out of steam. He dropped a Frogmite only to see Mr Teeth finally make an appearance on Roux's side of the board.
Could Maaten retrieve this game? He paid two mana for a Myr Enforcer and followed with Disciple of the Vault. End of turn Roux used the Tog to send Rebuild into the removed from play. From here he could retrieve it with Cunning Wish. Maaten picked up virtually all of his permanents for the second time in the game. From here it was all about counting cards as Psychatog went lethal.
Maybe this wouldn't be the bloodbath anticipated.
Roux 1-0 Maaten
"This is the first time I've lost Game 1 this weekend," Maaten mentioned as he looked through his sideboard.
Game 2 started much better for the Dutchman. His opponent mulliganed and he found turn one Aether Vial. Maaten didn't have a second land but a second Aether Vial felt just as good. He Vialed out a Worker and started swinging.
Two Chromatic Spheres took the artifact count to 7. Except Roux didn't like the second Sphere and countered it with Miscalculation.
Both players were sitting on only two land, but it was not even remotely balanced as Maaten had six other permanents to Roux's zero.
Roux drew another non-land card, and was forced to discard. Maaten hadn't really exploded but as Roux hadn't even got started, a hand of minor threats was enough to level the match.
Roux 1-1 Maaten
And so it came down to a deciding game with Roux to lead off. This time it Maaten with the mulligan. His affinity deck hadn't really fired yet this match and was in danger of missing the opportunity. Another mulligan and predictions of a one-sided bloodbath were feeling rather premature.
Maaten went with the five cards, finding Chromatic Sphere and then Frogmite. The Frogmite met a Mana Leak, but this allowed a Ravager to sneak in on the next turn. Roux calmly Wished for Rebuild. He held onto it as Maaten didn't look to be going anywhere in a hurry.
Mr Teeth entered the board as Maaten looked for juice with a Thoughtcast. He had an Aether Vial but desperately needed some form of offence as the game was slipping away from him.
A second Accumulated Knowledge pumped up Roux's hand. He thought for a while and then cast the Rebuild. Maaten Vialed a Disciple into play and thought. Could he do enough damage if the Ravager ate everything and was Flung at Roux's head.
Maybe not, he only chose to ate a excess land for one damage before picking up his cards. Roux took total control on his next turn. Engineered Explosives blew up Maaten's Aether Vial and Disciple and a Dustbowl left the Dutchman permanentless. There was no coming back from that.
Sebastien Roux beats Rogier Maaten 2-1 and is champion of GP Eindhoven.