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Brits and Boros Team in Hasselt!

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Grand Prix Hasselt is over. All 1066 competitors managed to fight through the cold to get to the venue, but only one managed to fight through the others to get to the trophy: Sam Gomersall.

In the last premier event using the triple-Ravnica draft format, a Boros deck won once again. It was the first time in seven years that an Englishmen won a Grand Prix - back then it was some long-haired heavy-metal guy whose playing skills are best described as "rubbish." This time, the title was well deserved.

Quite a few former world champions had shown up, but in the end, none of them got in. We had a fairly inexperienced top 8, that was won by the most experienced of them.

The European pros will be getting another chance soon, as GP Dortmund is only three weeks away - but by then, Guildpact will be added to the mix, and we will have a completely different format. It will be exciting to see who can adjust fast enough.


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Helge Nelson [DEU]   Sam Gomersall, 2-0        
8 Sam Gomersall [ENG]   Sam Gomersall, 2-0
       
4 Quentin Martin [BEL]   Maurice Palijama, 2-0   Sam Gomersall, 2-1
5 Maurice Palijama [NLD]    
       
2 Julien Goron [FRA]   Julien Goron, 2-1
7 Francois Moreau [FRA]   Julien Goron, 2-0
       
3 Ziga Fritz [SVN]   Ziga Fritz, 2-0
6 Dimitri Reinderman [NLD]    


EVENT COVERAGE FINAL TOP 8 STANDINGS

  • Blog - 10:02 p.m.: Final: Julien Goron vs. Sam Gomersall
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 9:36 p.m.: Semifinals: Sam Gomersall vs. Maurice Palija
    by Frank Karsten
  • Blog - 9:25 p.m.: Quarterfinals: Quentin Martin vs. Maurice Palijama
    by Rogier Maaten
  • Blog - 9:02 p.m.: Quarterfinals: Julien Goron vs. Francois Moreau
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Blog - 8:36 p.m.: Semifinals: Ziga Fritz vs. Julien Goron
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Blog - 8:20 p.m.: Quarterfinals: Dimitri Reinderman vs. Ziga Fritz
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 7:57 p.m.: Quarterfinals: Dimitri Reinderman vs. Ziga Fritz
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 7:33 p.m.: Top 8 Drafting with Sam Gomersall
    by Rogier Maaten
  • Blog - 7:31 p.m.: The Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff



  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Drafting With Top Pros, Side Events, The Most Vicious Feature Match of all, The Judges and much more!
    by Event Coverge Staff
  • Round 15: Maurice Palijama vs. Hans Joachim Hoeh
    by Frank Karsten
  • Round 14: Tiago Chan vs. Olivier Ruel
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Round 14: Georgios Kapalas vs. Quentin Martin
    by Rogier Maaten
  • Round 13: Sam Gomersall vs. Petr Haka
    by Rogier Maaten
  • Round 13: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Round 12: Julien Goron vs. Jeroen Remie
    by Rogier Maaten
  • Round 12: Antoine Ruel vs. Lubos Lauer
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Round 11: Bernardo da Costa Cabral vs. Gabriel Nassif
    by Rogier Maaten
  • Round 11: Julien Nuijten vs. Ruud Warmenhoven
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Round 10: Thomas Preyer vs. Tiago Chan
    by Craig Jones
  • Round 10: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 2 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 2 Country Breakdown
    by Event Coverage Staff



  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Day 1 Undefeated Decklists, Boys in the Bubble, Deckbuilding with Olivier Ruel and much more!
    by Event Coverge Staff
  • Round 8: Quentin Martin vs. Olivier Ruel
    by Wessel Oomens
  • Round 7: Tiago Chan vs. Olivier Ruel
    by Wessel Oomens
  • Round 7: Pierre Canali vs. Bernardo da Costa Cabral
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Round 6: Antoine Ruel vs. Sam Gomersall
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Round 5: Geoffrey Siron vs. Nikolaus Eigner
    by Craig Jones
  • Round 4: Anton Jonsson vs. Denis Tagunov
    by Craig Jones
  • Round 3: Raphael Levy vs. Yann Hamon
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Round 2: Tom van de Logt vs. Holger Wiedenbein
    by Jörn Martin Hajek
  • Info: Day 1 Player List (Green Bracket)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Player List (Blue Bracket)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown (Green Bracket)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown (Blue Bracket)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Sam Gomersall $2,400
 2.  Julien Goron $1,700
 3.  Maurice Palijama $1,200
 4.  Ziga Fritz $1,000
 5.  Helge Nelson $800
 6.  Dimitri Reinderman $800
 7.  Quentin Martin $800
 8.  Francois Moreau $800
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BLOG

 
  • Sunday, January 29: 7:31 p.m. - The Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff





  • Julien Goron
    Top 8 Decklist GP Hasselt 2006





     
  • Sunday, January 29: 7:33 p.m. - Top 8 Drafting with Sam Gomersall
    by Rogier Maaten

  • As Sam is the most experienced player in this top8 (he now has three GP top8's under his belt, while the other seven players had only two GP quarterfinal appearance combined), I decided to cover his draft.

    Half of the Top 8 Draft table, Sam Gomersall at far right

    Opening one of the best cards in the set, which also turns out to be in the guild that is wide open is quite nice. First pick Flame Fusillade over some green cards (Carven Caryatid, Pollenbright Wings, Farseek) was followed by Veteran Armorer out of a mediocre booster (Julien Goron, on Sam's right took Drift of Phantasms from this pack). In the next booster Bramble Elemental was the card Sam drafted, above Scatter the Seeds. The next few picks were all Boros: Galvanic Arc 4th, then Wojek Embermage, Sell Sworn Brute and Flash Conscription. Finally a Frenzied Goblin came 13th.

    Sam proved his skills at opening booster again, as this time Moldervince Cloak was an easy pick. The cloak is powerful enough to splash for, and a good first pick. After that Sam took Firemane Angel, Boros Swiftblade, Skynight Legionnaire, Flame-Kin Zealot, Viashino Fangtail, Centaur Safeguard and Sell Sworn Brute. These picks were all straightforward which is quite usual as soon as you are settled into Boros.

    Booster three gave Sam another Fangtail, then came Thundersong Trumpeteer, third he drafted Bathe in Light over Veteran Armorer which surprised me a little as Gomersall passed up on plenty of Incite Hysterias earlier on, and as good two-drops are necessary in this guild. After this pick followed Viashino Fangtail number 3, a second Legionnaire, Rally the Righteous and Mindmoil over Selesnya Sanctuary. I would have chosen the Sanctuary here, since basically it let's you run a Forest less and a Plains more when you are splashing for a Cloak. Mindmoil is a underrated card, but in a deck full of cheap creatures I don't think it has great effects.

    I am fairly sure that Sam was the only player drafting Boros at this table, and when such a thing happens, you know you are one of the favourites to win the whole thing. Since Sam is also probably the best player in this top8, I think he will get the job done.


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 7:57 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Dimitri Reinderman vs. Ziga Fritz
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Dimitri Reinderman contimplates a play

    Dimitri won the die roll and decided to play. He started with two mulligans, and then had to spend his first turns playing Islands and Surveilling Sprites. Meanwhile, Ziga got all three of his colors of land - white, red, and green - and quickly developed his board with Courier Hawk, Veteran Armorer, Benevolent Ancestor, and Divebomber Griffin. He then cleared Dimitri's side of the board with a Cleansing Beam. Dimitri got to draw five cards with flow of Ideas on his next turn, negating Ziga's cardadvantage from the mulligans, but he was at six life, facing 11 points of power before he got to untap and play some of these cards. Even the combo of Keening Banshee and Peel from Reality couldn't save him when Ziga showed him Galvanic Arc.

    1-0, Ziga

    Ziga Fritz carefully scans the board

    In Game 2, it was Ziga's turn to mulligan. His start still looked better than Dimitri's, as he got Selesnya Evangel, Selesnya Guildmage and Centaur Safeguard facing Dimitri's Surveilling Sprite and Junktroller. Dimitri tried to increase the card-advantage he got from Ziga's mulligan with Strands of Undeath, but when Ziga played his last hand card, Siege Wurm, Dimitri was really far behind on the board. He slowly tried to recover with Vedalken Dismisser and Drift of Phantasms, but the Selesnya tag-team of Guildmage and Evangel pumped out hordes of tokens, and Dimitri was overrun by them.

    Ziga Fritz beat Dimitri Reinderman, 2-0, and advanced to the semifinals.


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 8:20 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Sam Gomersall vs. Helge Nelson
    by Craig Jones

  • Helge Nelson casually makes a play

    Well we're onto the quarter-finals. The most recognizable player in the top 8, Sam Gomersall, is paired against the highest ranked finisher from the swiss portion of the tournament, Helge Nelson of Germany. Although the Boros deck is not popular with the pro's Gomersall looked to have drafted it unopposed and has a powerful looking deck. It should be an interesting match as Helge Nelson has a meaty looking Golgari deck.

    The game had a relatively slow start. Nelson passed turn three still with nothing on the board while Gomersall had only a Sparkmage Apprentice. The game got a little more interesting on turn four. Nelson summoned a Necroplasm and Gomersall matched it with one of his three Viashino Fangtail. A Dimir House Guard entered play on the other side of the board.

    Gomersall thought for a while and then summoned a Flame-Kin Zealot, busting into the red zone with that and a boosted Sparkmage Apprentice. The Fangtail hung around in the background, waiting to pick off any blockers. A Gather Courage prevented any damage coming through and ensured an even trade of Nelson's trick and Necroplasm for Gomersall's Zealot and Apprentice. A Disembowel on the Fangtail left Nelson with the only creature in play, the House Guard. Gomersall soon fixed that as a Skyknight Legionnaire zipped into the red zone.

    Nelson was ready to race. He dredged back the Necroplasm, unfortunately losing a Last Gasp in the process, and also added Civic Wayfinder to his forces. Gomersall shot down the Wayfinder with Galvanic Arc and added an Embermage. An attack from Nelson left the life totals poised at 13-12 in favor of Nelson. Gomersall thought for a while, getting a request to play faster from the judge, before dropping Mindmoil on the table, perversely a card guaranteed to slow things down as Nelson had to read what it did.

    Gomersall kept the Legionnaire on defence hoping the Galvanic Arc would keep Nelson at bay. It didn't and a Sundering Vitae took away first strike at an inconvenient moment although the Legionanaire and Necroplasm traded.

    The English player looked a little in trouble here as Nelson summoned a Golgari Rotwurm. Gomersall zipped back in with a second Legionnaire he was on the losing end of a race against the fatty Wurm here. Mindmoil proffered up a Centaur Safeguard, but that would only buy a turn at the most.

    Nelson dredged back the Necroplasm to add to the pressure, unfortunately losing the Primordial Sage he would have drawn instead. Still he looked in good shape.

    Sam Gomersall has to check some numbers

    Unfortunately Gomersall chose that moment to draw one of the broken rares lurking in his deck. Flame Fusillade left Nelson's board demolished. He dredged back the Necroplasm again and this time lost both Hex and Drooling Groodion. Nelson seemed to be hitting lousy luck with his dredges this game and as he hadn't found anything that could survive the Embermage it seemed like that Fusillade off the top had been enough to turn the game in Gomersall's favor.

    Gomersall 1-0 Nelson

    After an interesting first game the second was a complete anti-climax. Nelson mulliganed to six and his only play in the game was a Shambling Shell on turn three. Land number four failed to show and Gomersall wasn't long in ruthlessly finishing off his crippled opponent with a fantastic curve that went War-Torch Goblin, Veteran Armorer, Galvanic Arc (killing Shambling Shell), Flame-Kin Zealot. Brutal would be an apt description.

    Sam Gomersall beats Helge Nelson 2-0.


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 8:36 p.m. - Semifinals: Ziga Fritz vs. Julien Goron
    by Jörn Martin Hajek

  • Julien Goron, left, and Ziga Fritz

    Julien played first, and both players keot their hands although Ziga had to think about it for a while. Ziga had to discard when he played Boros Garrison on turn two, but played very aggressively, and traded a Gaze of the Gorgon for a Drift of Phantasms early, hoping Julien would be short on creatures. He wasn't, and quickly stabilized the board with Tidewater Minion and Stinkweed Imp. He even had the opportunity to mount an attack of his own after getting additional blockers in Tattered Drake and Vedalken Entrancer, as he used Flight of Fancy on the Minion. He just decided to keep it safe and hid behind this creatures by milling Ziga for four cards per turn. Ziga built up some creatures and then an alpha-strike simplified the board position immensely with the help from a Cleansing Beam and Seeds of Strength. But he was very low on cards already, and Julien managed to keep his Entrancer alive for a few more turns.

    1-0, Julien Goron

    Ziga started, and again got in a little damage before Julien tried to set up an defense. But it wasn't much, and Julien quickly setup an Entrancer and a Vedalken Dismisser, and started killing, blocking, and countering creatures all over the place. Seeds of Strength set him back a little, but he always kept the Entrancer out of harms way and slowly ate from Ziga's library. When a second Entrancer hit the table, the game was quickly over.

    Julien Goron beat Ziga Fritz, 2-0, an advanced to the finals of GP Hasselt.


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 9:02 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Julien Goron vs. Francois Moreau
    by Jörn Martin Hajek

  • Francois Moreau in another Top 8 appearance

    Julien, reigning French National champion is taking on a relatively unknown fellow countryman, Francois Moreau.

    Game 1

    Francois got to play first and started the game with a Shambling Shell, which was killed by a Clinging Darkness right away. He dredged it back to his hand on the next turn, conveniently milling a Grave-Shell Scarab in the process. Francois recast the Shambling Shell, and over the course of the next couple turns, it was joined by that Grave-Shell Scarab, a Siege Wurm, an Elves of Deep Shadow, and a Fists of Ironwood. Julien, with 5 lands in play, couldn't really put a halt to that Onslaught. The only spell he could cast was a Disembowel on the Shambling Shell, which was quite unimpressive. However, on turns 6 and 7, Julien played two Vedalken Dismissers to try and slow down the beatings somewhat. On turn 8, there was good news and bad new for Julien. The bad news was that he played his 8th land; he hadn't missed a land drop all game long and seemed to be facing a mana flood. The good news was that those 8 lands allowed him to play Peel from Reality on Francois's Grave-Shell Scarab and on his Vedalken Dismisser, replaying the Dismisser on the same turn. It promptly put a Siege Wurm on top for the third time in a row. Julien might appear to be stabilizing somewhat, but he was down to a rather unhealthy 2 life. Francois recast all of his guys, did some dredging and simply attacked with his team for the win.

    Francois 1 - Julien 0

    Game 2

    Julien chose to play first. Francois played a couple tiny beaters in his first couple turns: Transluminant, Golgari Brownscale and Stinkweed Imp. They got in for a couple points, but Julien quickly stabilized with Vedalken Entrancer, Tidewater Minion, and a Stinkweed Imp of his own. Then it got boring. In the next four turns, no one played any spell and no one attacked. Julien was not unhappy about that, because he was easily winning with the current board position. Vedalken Entrancer and Tidewater Minion allowed him to mill 4 cards per turn. When Francois finally played a spell (Grave-Shell Scarab), Julien countered it with Induce Paranoia to speed up the milling even more. Two turns later, Francois was out of cards.

    Francois 1 - Julien 1

    French Champion Julien Goron was all business

    Game 3

    Francois chose to play first and started with a Nightguard Patrol, which was killed by a Darkblast right away. Julien played Vedalken Entrancers on turns 4 and 5, making his game plan painfully obvious. Francois accelerated into a turn 5 Drooling Groodion on the verge of a Farseek in the meantime. He beefed it up with a Moldervine Cloak and started to hit for 7. Julien played Flight of Fancy on his Entrancer, digging for answers. He found a chumper in Drift of Phantasms, which quickly threw himself in from of the incoming Groodion. Francois then played Plague Boiler and blew up the board. He got rid of the Entrancers this way, but lost his 7/6 fatty in the meantime. He only had 10 cards in his deck, and Julien had 6 life left to play with. Who would prevail? In the turns after the Plague Boiler, Julien cast a Tidewater Minion and a Snapping Drake, whereas Francois cast Stinkweed Imp and used Recollect to get back the Moldervine Cloak. Sure enough, he played the Aura on his flyer and attacked. Julien had a Disembowel at the ready though and on the next turn, he played a lethal Psychic Drain for Francois's entire deck.

    Julien beats Francois 2-1, without dealing a single point of damage. Ah, Dimir.


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 9:25 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Quentin Martin vs. Maurice Palijama
    by Rogier Maaten

  • Maurice Palijama in his first ever Top 8

    This match features a young Dutch player, in his very first GP top8, playing a Selesnya deck with a few red cards. He is playing against Quentin Martin, who as usual has some kind of slowish control deck based on card advantage.

    Game 1 starts with Maurice dealing the most damage, his two drop is Watchwolf, his three drop a Scion of the Wild. Quentin tries to trade his turn four Mortipede for the Scion, and is successful. On the next trun Greater Mossdog trades with Watchwolf, and Maurice takes the skies with Diverbomber Griffin. Quentin's answer to this: Vulturous Zombie. For a while no spells are played, and no cards hit Maurice's graveyard, so the Zombie and the Griffin are trading blows on successive turns. When Quentin finds a Vedalken Dismisser, it looks as if he has a clear advantage in this game. Divebomber Griffin goes to the top of Palijama's library, but this is something Maurice does not really regret. End of turn Scatter the Seeds followed by Hour of Reckoning clears Martin's side of the table, and Maurice gets to attack Quentin down to 5. Not all in lost at this point, a Strands of Undeath is pointed at Maurice, who discards Bramble Elemental and Skynight Legionnaire and keeps Divebomber Griffin. The Griffin gets Putrefied. The Greater Mossdog that gets dredged to hold off the Saproling tokens tries the stop the assault, unfortunately for Quentin a Seeds of Strength seals the deal.

    Maurice 1-0

    5 Lands, Mark of Eviction is the hand Quentin keeps after mulliganning a one-land hand. His first draw step nets a Clinging Darkness, and then Dimir Guildmage shows up. Maurice starts with Golgari Brownscale, Skynight Legionnaire and Screeching Griffin while Quentin spends turn 4 and turn 5 drawing extra cards with his Guildmage. Making Maurice discard cards seems a little more appealing to me in this situation, especially as Quinten was never gonna play the drawn cards any time soon. Also, with the Strands of Undeath and the Mark of Eviction he could have tried to get rid of everything Maurice was holding. Maurice discards Scion of the Wild and Faith's Fetters to Strands, keeping two cards in hand. At this point Quentin is down to ten, and Maurice plays Scatter the Seeds. An all-in attack plus a Seeds of Strength put Quentin at four. He tries to come up with some blockers, but on the next turn at least one token is going to deal Quentin damage. This mean that the Galvanic Arc Palijama is holding is good.

    Maurice 2-0


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 9:36 p.m. - Semifinals: Sam Gomersall vs. Maurice Palijama
    by Frank Karsten

  • Maurice Palijama is all smiles when he thinks about the check he's taking home today

    Sam drafted a slow Boros deck, with 3 Viashino Fangtails and a Wojek Embermage for mad pings. Maurice has a Boros / Selesnya deck with a bunch of fatties, which could cause problems for Sam's deck.

    Game 1

    Maurice got to start, but had to mulligan to 5. He started aggressively with a turn 1 Mountain and Boros Recruit, but on the next couple turns he only played a Forest and passed the turn. Without any Plains in play, Maurice looked at the white cards in his hand and he knew that he would have a hard time winning this one. Sam got out a Skynight Legionnaire and a Boros Swiftblade in the meantime and looked good. He topped it off with a Firemane Angel. Maurice, unable to cast any card in his hand, let alone answer Sam's flyers, simply scooped it up.

    Sam 1 - Maurice 0

    Game 2

    No mulligans this time, so hopefully we will see a less lopsided game. Sam had the first play: a Sparkmage Apprentice. "Get ya!", he said, pinging Maurice for one. Sam proceeded to add a Thundersong Trumpeter and a Viashino Fangtail to his board, while Maurice played Nightguard Patrol and a Selesnya Evangel. Maurice used Galvaic Arc to get rid of the Fangtail, but Sam had another one. Sam, in an unlikely course of events, used Galvaic Arc to destroy Maurice's Evangel, but Maurice also had a second copy of the creature that got Arc'd. Doubles anyone? Maurice then added a Screeching Griffin and a Divebomber Griffin to his board and played Scatter the Seeds. Sam answered that with a Skynight Legionnaire and a Centaur Safegaurd in the meantime.

    The board was now cluttered with lots of irrelevant creatures, but I'll just tell you the sequence of actions that repeated for a number of turns. Every turn, Sam would attack for 2 with his Skynight Legionnaire. Then on Maurice's turn, Sam would use Thundersong Trumpeter on the Divebomber Griffin, allowing Maurice to hit for 2 with his Screeching Griffin. Selesnya Evangel made a token every turn, while Viashino Fangail shot one down. Then Sam broke the 'stalemate' with a Mindmoil, which Maurice and the table judge had to read. Quinten Martin from the sidelines, joked 'not enough playables, Sam?', but he is also in the know. It is actually a very good card that will surely give Sam some long game card advantage.

    Anyway, the players kept on exchanging blows like this for a while, until the life totals were 7-7. At that point, Maurice decided to shoot the incoming Skynight Legionnaire with his Divebomber Griffin, but Sam used Bathe in Light to save it. Mindmoil gave him 4 fresh new cards, amongst which a Wojek Embermage. In the face of this global ping effect, Maurice swung with his whole team and used Rally the Righteous to pump every single one of his creatures. This way, Sam lost his Viashino Fangtail and went down to 4 life. But the Wojek Embermage survived and decimated Maurice's team on the next turn. Sam could now win in the current board position, but he had to make sure he would make the right attacks and play around some cards to make sure he wouldn't lose. After thinking for a while, he just went for the easy and cheesy plan. He quickly cycled through his deck with Mindmoil. Like, play a random dude, draw 3, play Terrarion, draw 2.

    Eventually he found Flame Fussilade and simply tapped out his permanents to deal the final points of damage to Maurice.

    Sam 2 - Maurice 0


     
  • Sunday, January 29: 10:02 p.m. - Final: Julien Goron vs. Sam Gomersall
    by Craig Jones

  • Julien Goron senses something...

    Rather unsurprisingly the two best players in the draft have managed to fight it all the way to the final. Sam Gomersall is the English draft master, one of the most feared limited players on the planet, but has yet to pick up that all important title. In fact this is the first time an Englishman has reached the final of a Grand Prix since John Ormerod back at Manchester in 2000.

    Julien Goron is the current French National Champion and managed a string of very credible finishes on the Pro Tour Circuit last year.

    After the novel strategies employed in the swiss it is almost a shame to see the final boil down to a straight dogfight between Boros and Dimir. Gomersall's Boros deck has a bit more legs on it than most as he has some nice late game cards in Flame Fusillade and Firemane Angel. It's going to be a tough battle as Goron has a very strong looking Dimir mill deck with multiple Vedalken Entrancers, Drift of Phantasms and Induce Paranoia. Gomersall is going to have to batter through a lot of toughness, but he does have triple Fangtail to ping away from long distance should it come to that.

    Both players mulliganned but it was Gomersall who seemed to find a better draw. Signet and Terraion set him up to come racing out of the blocks. Skynight Legionnaire was followed by a War-Torch Goblin and then hot on their heels came a Viashino Fangtail followed by Sell-Sword Brute and Boros Swiftblade.

    Goron looked in danger of being overwhelmed as all he had was a Drift of Phantasms. An Induce Paranoia stopped the Swiftblade and after Gomersall summoned a Centaur Safeguard it seemed like the Boros rush had run out of steam.

    Goron dragged himself back into the game with a Tidewater Minion, Vedalken Dismisser and then another Drift. His high toughness monsters slowed down the beats but he was still leaking life thanks to Sunhome pumping the Skyknight Legionnaire to blocker killing levels.

    Clinging Darkness showed up to negate the threat of the Legionnaire. It looked too late though. Goron was now at three life with a Fangtail waiting to ping those last few precious points away. Induce Paranoia prevented a second Fangtail from hastening his doom.

    Then the Frenchman started counting Gomersall's library and looking at his mana.

    "Psychic Drain?" Gomersall asked.

    It looked like the Frenchman had a lifeline as 'Drain Library' sucked 6 precious points of life back while dropping Gomersall down to 12 cards left.

    Unfortunately the Frenchman hadn't found any of his Entrancers to carry the attack on Gomersall's library forward and a couple of turns later Gomersall top-decked Flame Fusillade to bring the game to a brutal conclusion.

    Gomersall 1-0 Goron

    This time only Gomersall had to mulligan. He did give a chortle when this meant he could lay his Garrison on turn two without having to discard a card going second.

    Gomersall started curving out with Trumpeter, Legionnaire and then Fangtail, but Goron had got his defenses up very quickly this game. Drift of Phatasms, Vedalken Entrancer and Stinkweed Imp formed an almost impenetrable wall. Sensing that this might go long Gomersall used Flame Fusillade to take out the Entrancer before it could start inflicting too much damage to his library. Goron replied with a Stasis Cell that would keep the Fangtail from whittling down his life total.

    The game had ground down to a stall that could only favor Goron. Flight of Fancy took a Tidewater Minion to the skies and found a second Entrancer. Clinging Darkness removed the threat of the Trumpeter and there really didn't seem like any way for Gomersall to pull out of this.

    Goron used the Tidewater Minion and Entrancer to rip four cards from Gomersall's library and he conceded to save time.

    Gomersall 1-1 Goron

    And so it comes down to the final game. To win Gomersall would have to bust through enough early damage before Goron locked up the game with his high toughness monsters. In this game he would at least have the advantage of going first.

    A Sell-Sword Brute showed up on turn two but only got to attack once before the inevitable Drift of Phantasms appeared on Goron's side. The Englishman went to plan B and summoned a Viashino Fangtail. A missed land drop proved very painful for Goron as it enabled to Gomersall to get a Firemane Angel into play without having to worry about Induce Paranoia. Against the first-striking Angel a Stinkweed Imp was an irrelevance.

    Sam Gomersall is the 2006 Garnd Prix Hasselt Champion!

    I think it was pretty much game at that point. The Angel was simply too big for Goron to block. It got in for two hits before the Imp had to sacrifice itself and block.

    Disembowel gave the Frenchman some hope as he could take out the Fangtail and bring the Drift into the game as a blocker. That plan went down in flames as Rally the Righteous ripped the Angel straight through the wall. A Vedalken Dismisser bounced the Angel to buy a turn, but it couldn't even done that as Gomersall simply showed the Flame Fusillade he was holding in his hand.

    Sam Gomersall beats Julien Goron 2-1 and is champion of Grand Prix Hasselt.


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