Sunday, April 24: 4:33 pm - Top 8 Photos
Go ahead, make your pick.
Everything revolves around the draft.
Anton Jonsson picking his card.
Marcio 'Undefeated So Far' Carvalho.
Joao 'Random Toni' Martins.
Mikael Polgary considering his options.
Marco Manuel, the lone survivor of the Torres Vedras' crew.
Pierre Meurisse, the only French in the Top 8.
Luis Sousa building his Green-Black deck.
Somehow this will eventually be a deck.
Again, it's all about chosing the right card.
The Top 8 in the final draft of Grand Prix Lisbon 2005.
Sunday, April 24: 6:06 pm - Quarterfinals: Luis Sousa vs. Joao Martins
Sousa and Martins battling for a semifinals' spot.
These two Portuguese certainly know each other from countless other battles, and are no strangers to Top 8s. They are two of the four Portuguese players in this Top 8, hoping to keep the title at home. As you can see from the Top 8 decklists Sousa drafted a Black-Green deck while his opponent had Black-Blue.
Sousa opened the first game with Child of Thorns and Kami of the Hunt while Martins played Nezumi Cutthroat and Takenuma Bleeder. The Bleeder ate up the Child and Luis replaced it with Order of the Sacred Bell.
Martins's Black duo came in to bring Sousa down to thirteen and he then added Villainous Ogre to the mix. Sousa sat back and shook his head. He didn't seem happy with his draws. Finally he found a plan. The plan involved sending his crew in, dropping Joao to seven and playing a second Order.
Joao: "Another of those bald guys? I might have to knock the table over to Upheaval everyone away."
He settled for sending the Ogre and the Cutthroat in bringing his friend to eight. Then he played Floodbringer and Phantom Wings on one of the Orders.
Luis: "If I send it in, you'll bounce it, right?"
He sent the whole crew in - keeping only Genju of the Fens back - and Joao shook his head. He blocked the other two creatures and bounced the enchanted Order.
Joao: "Good guess."
He untapped and dropped the elbow. Befoul on the land enchanted with Genju of the Fens. That convinced Luis Sousa to scoop his cards.
Joao 1-0 Luis.
Luis: "That was cold."
Joao: "I hope I have something to kill those bald guys."
Luis: "That Befoul… that hurt. I just hope you don't Eradicate my bald guys."
Sousa started with Genju of the Fens, Nezumi Cutthroat and Matsu-Tribe Decoy before Martins found something to do: Rend Flesh on the Cutthroat. He followed that with Soratami Seer. The Decoy attacked to usher in Okiba-Gang Shinobi.
Joao: "Ouch. Don't do that."
He came back with what he labelled "my bomb": Quillmane Baku. Sousa sent the Seer away with Swallowing Plague before trading the remaining creatures. Martins rebuilt with Takenuma Bleeder and Sousa topdecked a bald guy: Order of the Sacred Bell.
Joao: "Soooo… lucky."
Again the creatures traded and Martins came back with Throat Slitter. Sousa sat behind his Black Genju and used Pull Under on the Slitter. The Genju hit Martins and Sousa went about rebuilding his army with Matsu-Tribe Decoy and Order of the Sacred Bell.
Joao Martins drew card after card but seemed unable to find an answer. Staring down three monsters he was soon convinced he had no way out.
Joao 1-1 Luis.
Apparently there is some sort of "urban myth" that every time Luis Sousa wins the first game in a Top 8 he either wins the match 2-0 or loses. Martins tried to talk him into conceding to keep the streak but he claimed it was a good time to break it anyway.
Sousa's smells out Martins' bluff.
The decisive game started with the usual opening for Luis Sousa -- Child of Thorns followed by Nezumi Cutthroat. Martins started complaining that he couldn't find his third land and Sousa joked about the upcoming bald guy before falling into a respectful silence.
Two turns later Joao Martins found his third land, the first Island, and played Takenuma Bleeder. But Sousa was in a hurry. He sacrificed Sakura-Tribe Elder to find the fifth land and sent his army in.
The Bleeder stepped in front of the Cutthroat and Sousa agonized before using Roar of Jukal and Kodama's Might to force the trade and deal extra damage. That brought Joao Martins crashing down to a mere four with no blockers.
Martins drew one last card and extended his hand.
Luis: "Life seems so unfair right now, doesn't it?"
Luis: "It was such a stupid game. It really wasn't fair."
Joao: "The fourth land might have given me a chance now.
Luis Sousa now advances to the semifinals of Grand Prix Lisbon 2005, to play against Mikael Polgary who finished his quarterfinals in less than ten minutes.
Sunday, April 24: 7:44 pm - Quarterfinals: Anton Jonsson vs. Márcio Carvalho
Anton Jonsson vs. Marcio Carvalho.
This is the match everyone's talking about. Anton Jonsson is the most awarded player on this Top 8. He's one of the top players in the world, and has recently proven his skill on this format by finishing second at Pro Tour Nagoya. His opponent is the young Portuguese kid, Márcio Carvalho. He already has a GP Top 8 to his name, acquired the last time a Grand Prix was held in Portugal, and is still undefeated this weekend, so he has drawn the attention of a huge Portuguese crowd.
Anton drafted a classic aggressive Red/Black deck, while Márcio has a slower Black/White deck with Kokusho, Patron of the Kitsune and Patron of the Nezumi. Both are some of the top draft archetypes in Kamigawa Limited with the inclusion of Betrayers to the mix.
Anton went first with turn one Frostling, and neither one made another play until Anton played Ogre Recluse on his turn four. Márcio was just hoping for a target to drop Cage of Hands on.
Kami of Fire Roar on the next turn from Anton meant that Márcio would have trouble with his blocking. Nevertheless, he played one, in the form of Moonlit Strider. Anton killed it with Rend Spirit, attacked with both his creatures and played a third one, Heart Kami. Anton now had 3 creatures to attack, while Márcio had an empty board, staring at Kami of Fire Roar.
Márcio played Hundred-Talon Kami trying to contain Anton's attack, but it was also killed. Anton sacrificed the Frostling for 1 damage on the flying Kami, and played Souless Revival, splicing Glacial Ray for the remaining two damage. That cleared the way for another attack.
Márcio's life was dangerously low, but Anton had run out of Arcanes and Spirits, and Márcio started accumulating creatures on the table. However, Thief of Hope for Anton meant that he had inevitability, unless Márcio could kill him before.
Eventually, Márcio found his sixth land to play his legends. First came Patron of Kitsune, to help regain some life. Then came Kokusho as a winning condition. Anton tried to kill some of Márcio's creatures, but they were protected by Moonlit Strider.
Anton had no way to deal with Kokusho, and Patron of Kitsune gave Márcio some breathing air. Dance of Shadows guaranteed the win one turn earlier.
Márcio Carvalho 1-0
Anton takes a mulligan going first, but manages a nice curve: Second-turn Heart Kami, third-turn Wicked Akuba and fourth-turn Kami of Fire Roar. Márcio answered with his own curve. Konda's Hamatoto, which stopped all of Anton's creatures, Ogre Marauder, and on his fourth turn played Tallowisp and Cruel Deceiver fetching Cage of Hands from the Tallowisp.
However, Anton dismantled all of Márcio's defenses. The Ogre Marauder was tapped because he attacked. Anton destroyed the Tallowisp with Rend Spirit, and played Frostling that was sacrificed to kill Cruel Deceicer. Konda's Hamatoto was unable to block, and Anton attacked with all of his team.
The next turn he got the Frostling back with Souless Revival, and this time it was sacrificed to get rid of Ogre Marauder. Konda's Hamatoto was once again unable to block, and Márcio refused to trade his Kami of Waning Moon and absorbed all damage. His life was low, but this time it was a damage race.
The board once again stabilized, but Anton found Frostwielder that could wreck some of Márcio's guys and deal the final points of damage. Before Frostwielder become active, he was already holding Heart of Light, Márcio's only answer for the problematic creature.
In Game 1 we saw Patron of Kitsune and Kokusho, this time it was Patron of Nezumi solving the problem. In the first attack, Márcio forgot to play a spirit before attacking, and so Anton blocked the Patron with his Frostwielder with Heart of Light. In the next turns, Márcio didn't forget. One turn, the last of this match, the arcane played to give fear was Waking Nightmare. Anton discarded his hand, which was holding nothing. Márcio saw he could go for the kill, and played another spirit to give fear to another creature, which prompted a concession from Anton.
Márcio Carvalho 2 - 0 Anton Jonsson
Sunday, April 24: 8:31 pm - The Top 8 Decklists
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
GP Lisbon 05 Top 8 Deck
Sunday, April 24: 9:02 pm - Semifinals: Mikael Polgary vs. Luis Sousa
After an agonizingly long quarterfinal we finally got a chance to get the semifinals under way. These two have been waiting in the sidelines for over one hour, eager to find out which of them will earn the right to play in the finals.
Sousa and Polgary in the early stages of a game.
Polgary came out screaming, getting three creatures on the table by turn two. Sousa dropped Matsu-Tribe Decoy and tried to trade it for Devoted Retainer, only to be denied by Indomitable Will.
Again the Portuguese tried to stop the flood. This time with Order of the Sacred Bell. Mikael was in no mood to slow down and locked it with Mystic Restraint. Gibbering Kami was next in line to stop the Swede army. Phantom Wings got it out of the way.
The Blue-White horde brought Luis Sousa down to six. He peeled his next card and scooped. The game was over in less than three minutes. A true bloodbath.
Mikael 1-0 Luis.
Polgary agonized over his mulligan, with Anton Jonsson peeking at his hand and frowning. He decided to keep it. This time Sousa was the one dropping the early creatures getting three on the table on turn four.
The best the Swede could do was Psychic Vortex to slow down Rootrunner. Sousa replaced it with Order of the Sacred Bell. Finally Polgary found a Plains and that brought out Kabuto Moth.
Sousa copied Polgary's first game plan and iced it with Swallowing Plague to free the board of any blockers. Mikael brought forth Kitsune Blademaster and traded it for the Order.
Again Luis Sousa found a creature: Forked-Branch Garami. Mikael found his second Plains and unleashed Samurai of the Pale Curtain.
Luis: "Good card."
Mikael: "Really, really good card."
Still, there is only so much a single creature could do. The Samurai was staring down four creatures, with Polgary at seven. A small Lantern Kami showed up to help out.
The Portuguese sat back and pondered his options. In the end he played Kami of the Hunt and sacrificed a creature to his Nezumi Bone-Reader. What seemed like an amazing swing for Sousa turned into a mess.
Mystic Restraint locked his Garami and the Kami gained Indomitable Will to take down Gibbering Kami for free. Suddenly Mikael Polgary was somewhat back in the game. If only his deck would stop coughing up lands...
Sousa summoned Rootrunner and sent his Kami of the Hunt in. Polgary sighed and traded it for his Samurai of the Pale Curtain.
That spelled the end of Polgary's stand. The Rootrunner brought him down to four and a blur of discard left Polgary living of the top of his deck. A few turns later, under a barrage of monsters the Swede conceded.
Mikael 1-1 Luis.
Luis: "My plan isn't very good. I just have to hope you get flooded once more. That's the best I can do."
Mikael: "Let's see if it works."
The third and decisive game started with a much happier reaction - from Anton Jonsson - to Polgary's initial seven. Sousa still came out quicker with Child of Thorns and turn three Distress getting Shimmering Glasskite. Across the table Mikael had Tallowisp and on the next turn he dropped Hokori, Dust Drinker.
Hokori brought forth the pain and Luis played Kami of the Hunt to stop it. Apparently Mikael Polgary was under the impression that his Hokori had flying. Sousa blocked with it and threw Child of Thorns to save his Kami. The Swede replied with Kitsune Blademaster and the Portuguese added Venerable Kumo.
Sousa thought long and hard before letting the Blademaster drift by unscathed on the next swing. Cage of Hands came down to lock his Kami but that hardly stopped the determined Luis. He tag-teamed Okiba-Gang Shinobi ripping Polgary's hand to shreds.
The Swede was now living of the top of his deck while Sousa had four spells in hand. He left the Blademaster in and Mikael sneaked in Ninja of the Deep Hours. He replayed Kitsune Blademaster but let Shinobi by one more time. That was more than enough for a game winning Strength of the Cedars for more than enough to finish the game.
Luis 2-1 Mikael.
Luis Sousa advances to the finals of the Grand Prix Lisbon 2005.
Sunday, April 24: 9:44 pm - Semifinals: Márcio Carvalho vs. David Blazquez
The local crowd is wishing for an all Portuguese final, but David Blazquez has a word to say. To avoid that, he has to do what no one else has done this weekend: win a round against Márcio Carvalho. Both of them drafted White/Black decks, a powerful and popular draft archetype in Champions/Champions/Betrayers.
Blazquez stalled on 3 swamps for a very long time. He could only play Nezumi Cutthroat and Nezumi Ronin. On the other side, Márcio showed no mercy, playing Kami of Ancient Law, Ogre Marauder, and Cage of Hands on the Nezumi Ronin and Heart of Light on the Nezumi Cutthroat.
However, that was all the offensive Márcio had. In the next turns, the best he could do was a Kami of Waning Moon. That gave time for Blazquez to find a Plains, and when it happened, Blazquez had a full hand to play. First it was Moonlit Strider and Split-Tail Miko to hold the ground. Eventually appeared Hikari, and it was easy from here to win for Blazquez. Márcio didn't exploit the mana screw from Blazquez, and when the Spanish found lands, the tide was turned.
David Blazquez 1-0
Márcio went first, but it was Blazquez who made the first move with Kitsune Blademaster, Márcio tried to stop it with Cage of Hands. Blazquez played Moonlit Strider and sacrificed it giving protection from white to get rid of the Cage permanently.
Tallowisp and Moonlit Strider fetching Heart of Light threatened a long game, especially when Blazques side had Ghostly Prison and Kami of Tettered Shoji. Neither one had a way to break the stall, until Márcio topdecked Patron of Nezumi, bigger than anyone on the table from Blazquez. It attacked a few times, and then it was time for chump-blocking.
Chump blocking wasn't a good option also, because Patron of Nezumi says whenever a permanent goes to an opponent's graveyard, he loses 1 life. Blazquez didn't draw anything relevant, and Márcio payed for every attack under propaganda and won this game.
The final game was really long unlike the previous two. Márcio had a good start with Tallowisp, Nezumi Ronin and Moonlit Strider fetching Heart of Light. Blazquez's start wasn't so spectacular, having missed his curve on some early turns, but he had a Honden of Cleansing Fire that guaranteed his life always close to 20.
Márcio played back-to-back Kami of Waning Moon, that could be decisive, since most of Blazquez army was white. The Gibbering Kami was nullified with Cage of Hands, leaving Blazquez almost helpless to block whenever Márcio had a spirit or arcane. However, that didn't happen in all turns, so the Honden was maintaining his life always around 20.
Blazquez was striking back Márcio whenever he had the chance, to slowly reduce his life. He was confortable with the white honden, and Kitsune Healer plus Split-Tail Miko. But the Portuguese found a way of his own to gain life: Patron of Kitsune. Blazquez tried to kill it, but there was a Moonlit Strider waiting since the fourth turn ready to be used.
The game entered in a huge loop for quite some time. Both players had their lifes above 20, and the board was growing. It seemed that we could have a winner by deck depletion.
But Blazquez creatures were almost all white, and Márcio had a shot: Dance of Shadows. He only needed to drop Blazquez life low enough for an all in kill, or gather enough creatures on the table to power up the potential damage from Dance of Shadows.
When Blazquez played Kami of False Hope, that plan was ruined. For a very long time, both of them were only hitting each other as they could, but their life never went down because of Honden of Cleansing Fire for the Spanish and Patron of Kitsune for the Portuguese.
But the scenario changed, when Márcio found a very large Cursed Ronin. He attacked with him, and Blazquez blocked with everything except the two healers. Márcio pumped the Ronin at maximum size, and only worried to kill the Kami of False Hope. With the little fog gone, he once again worked the plan of the Dance of Shadows.
It was almost unnecessary, due to the Portuguese draws being better than his neighbour from Spain. Kokusho hurried the math, and finally after a very exhausting game, Dance of Shadows could provide an attack dealing more than 20 damage.
Márcio Carvalho 2 - 1 David Blazquez
Sunday, April 24: 10:22 pm - Finals: Marcio Carvalho vs. Luis Sousa
A wide view of the finals.
It's the story of the tournament: Marcio Carvalho breezed through the tourmanent with only wins and two draws. Yes, that includes the Top 8. If he wins now, he will take the tournament undefeated. It isn't something you see everyday and clearly shows he wasn't just the lucky recipient of a broken Sealed card pool.
Sousa is clearly on the other side of the noise spectrum, making a very quiet contrast to Marcio's constant noise. Most of all, they are friends so the whole shuffling process was marked by jokes and jibes.
Sousa got a nasty scare when he picked up his starting seven. Only when he peeked at the last card did he find his second land. Marcio's White-Black deck came out something with double Kami of Ancient Law while Sousa Green-Black coughed up Nezumi Bone-Reader and Matsu-Tribe Decoy.
That put a stop to the early Kami beats and they both set about building up their armies. Through it all Carvalho dared Sousa to sacrifice all his creatures to wipe his hand away with the Bone-Reader.
He muttered a bit and figured out Sousa was holding Serpent Skin - he was right - so he kept his army back. The game completely stopped with none of them playing anything.
Luis: "I feel like attacking."
Marcio: "I assure you I'll block."
Sousa did attack, using his Decoy and Roar of Jukal to kill one of Marcio's creatures. Carvalho cheered when he found another spell and dropped Moonlit Strider. A turn later he found his six lands.
Marcio: "Now I can play my bombs."
Luis: "Go right ahead."
He did. Out came Patron of the Kitsune. Sousa dared him to play his other Patron. Marcio happily obliged: Patron of the Nezumi.
Marcio: "You are sure anxious to play Pull Under."
A blur of spells later Marcio ate up Sousa's hand, losing the Strider to the Pull Under. That left Sousa in the single digits. He untapped and emptied Marcio's hand with his Bone-Reader before unleashing a huge Swallowing Plague on Patron of the Kitsune.
Luis: "That was a huge topdeck!"
The black Patron attacked and the best Sousa could do was to play Okiba-Gang Shinobi. Carvalho leaned over the table and tried to figure out his next attack. He found no way to alpha strike.
Marcio: "Yup, you are still alive."
Sousa found one of his Order of the Sacred Bells.
Luis: "You are taking too long, kid."
Marcio: "I can't seem to draw my Kokusho."
Across the table Luis Sousa could do no wrong. He found spell after spell and soon had one more creature than Marcio, but a huge life disadvantage. He Decoy lured the black Patron and Strength of Cedars brought it down.
Luis: "I already killed your two rares. You better find that Kokusho."
Marcio: "I can't find it."
Luis: "See, I rather get lucky than have good rares."
By now Marcio did little else besides arguing with his deck. Sousa ignored him and sent most of his crew in. At eighteen Carvalho had a lot of room to work. He blocked and fell to ten.
Carvalho drew and found a black creature… but not his rare. Wicked Akuba. The next swing brought him to one facing five creatures. The key was the Okiba-Gang Shinobi that tag-teamed in, stealing the last card in Marcio's hand. A Swamp.
That Swamp would have given him enough black mana to pump his "Fear" Wicked Akuba in for the win.
The players share a good laugh
Marcio: "You are soooo lucky! Stop topdecking…"
Luis 1-0 Marcio.
The second game opened with Marcio pouring out creatures. When Sousa finally blinked at three mana, Carvalho already had three creatures out. Kami of the Hunt traded with Kami of Ancient Law.
At four mana Sousa found his trusty Order of the Sacred Bell. That finally convinced Carvalho to keep his army back. They started dropping creatures and Luis Sousa again announced he was a fan of Nezumi Bone-Reader. This time he played and immediately sacked it to get Carvalho's last card: Patron of the Nezumi.
Luis: "Great rat."
Marcio: "That worked."
The Order started striking back and Sousa brought in Gibbering Kami to counter the Hundred-Talon Kami. Marcio smiled and sent his crew in. Luis absorbed all the damage.
Luis: "I think I'm one point short of killing you."
Marcio: "That's nice. And I bet you have Pull Under as well."
He did have it, but used Strength of Cedars to bring the Hundred-Talon Kami down on the next turn. Marcio played Cursed Ronin and lost it to Pull Under. He bounced right back with Wicked Akuba. That put Sousa on the spot. He now needed to have a blocker to keep the Akuba back.
Then Marcio found one of his bombs: Dance of Shadows. Sousa scooped his cards. They shuffled up for the decisive game amongst jokes that Marcio's luck had ran out when the weekend ended.
Carvalho cracked a smile when he saw his hand. He showed us the seven cards he mulliganed away: six lands and the black Patron. He didn't seem happy with his six cards but he kept them.
He still came out with turn-two Kami of Ancient Law and turn-three Kami of the Waning Moon. Sousa had turn-two Sakura-Tribe Elder and turn-three Matsu-Tribe Decoy.
Marcio: "Are you happy with your hand?"
Luis: "I love it. You know I wouldn't lie to you."
Sousa did his best, but lost in the finals
The Decoy lured the Kamis in and Kodama's Might wiped them away. Carvalho rebuilt with Cursed Ronin and another Kami of the Waning Moon, after missing his fifth land drop.
As Luis Sousa poured green creature after green creature unto the table, Carvalho started talking to his deck. He couldn't find a fifth land and Cage of Hands hardly seemed like the answer to his growing problem.
Sousa showed us his sideboarded card for the Patron of the Kitsune: Pus Kami. The Cage moved over to the Kami and Sousa finally hit a land pocket. Marcio found two extra lands but still couldn't do anything with his hand.
Marcio: "This is annoying."
The best he could do was drop Heart of Light. Finally Carvalho found his second Swamp. Out came Kokusho, The Evening Star. Sousa's deck seemed unable to provide anything but lands. Distress got Marcio's Dance of Shadows and Luis Sousa did his best to hold on.
Marcio Carvalho - undefeated through the tournament - wins Grand Prix Lisbon 2005!