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Jůza Repeats in Bochum

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This weekend had it all: big names, rising stars, close matches, and exciting new decks. Czech super-pro Martin Jůza used one, a Somberwald Sage-powered Craterhoof Behemoth concoction developed by Brad Nelson, to take home the trophy.

But let's start this short recap at the beginning. On Saturday, a whopping 1,731 players had entered the tournament, played in nine grueling rounds of Standard; afterwards the field was cut down to just 198 who returned on Sunday for seven more rounds; at the end of those, only eight players remained. Among a lot of promising young talent, one name immediately stood out: Martin Jůza had now made the fourteenth Grand Prix Top 8 of his career, with wins so far in Hiroshima, Portland, and actually right here in Bochum two years ago. Would he be able to repeat his performance from 2010? Of course he would.

His Top 8 matches were close—all went to three games—but he won them all. He never got to cast the signature card of his deck, Craterhoof Behemoth, not in the quarterfinal, where he bested Sascha Stein's Jund deck, not in the semis, when his Lingering Souls tokens outnumbered Kamil Napierski's Zombies, and not in the finals, where Gavony Township and Loxodon Smiter raced Fabian Dickmann's UWR tempo deck. But he did make good use of an excellent, somewhat transformational sideboard which kept his opponent guessing and earned him a deserved fourth Grand Prix title.

Congratulations to Martin Jůza, repeat champion of Grand Prix Bochum!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Enrico Van Eijsden   Kamil Napierski
2-1
       
8 Kamil Napierski   Martin Jůza
2-1
       
4 Sascha Stein   Martin Jůza
2-1
  Martin Jůza
2-1
5 Martin Jůza    
       
2 Pierre Dagen   Fabian Dickmann
2-1
7 Fabian Dickmann   Fabian Dickmann
2-0
       
3 Lukas Tajak   Tomas Vanek
2-1
6 Tomas Vanek    







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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Frank Karsten
    Top 5 Cards of GP Bochum

  • by Tobi Henke
    Finals
    Martin Jůza ("Hoof there it is") vs. Fabian Dickmann (UWR Tempo)

  • by Frank Karsten
    Semifinals
    Martin Juza (Hoof, there it is!) vs. Kamil Napierski (Black-Red Zombies)

  • by Tobi Henke
    Semifinals
    Fabian Dickmann vs. Tomaš Vanek

  • by Frank Karsten
    Sunday, 9:30 p.m.
    Matchup Madness

  • by Frank Karsten
    Quarterfinal Round-Up
    Lukas Tajak (U/W Flash) vs. Tomas Vanek (B/R Zombies)
    Sascha Stein (Jund) vs. Martin Juza (Hoof, there it is!)
    Kamil Napierski (B/R Zombies) vs. Enrich van Eijsden (Jund)
    Pierre Dagen (Bant control) vs Fabian Dickmann (UWR Geist Midrange

  • by Tobi Henke
    Top 16
    Decklists

  • by Tobi Henke
    Top 8
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  Martin Jůza
 2.  Fabian Dickmann
 3.  Tomas Vanek
 4.  Kamil Napierski
 5.  Enrico Van Eijsden
 6.  Pierre Dagen
 7.  Lukas Tajek
 8.  Sascha Stein
Pairings Results Standings
Final

16
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12
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10
16
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14
13
12
11
10
16
15
14
13
12
11
10

Green Bracket
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
Blue Bracket
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1

 

Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Tobi Henke

Martin Jůza

Age: 25
Hometown: Plzen, Czech Republic
Occupation: Professional tourist


Guild:
Simic, splashing black

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Won the last Grand Prix Bochum.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

"Hoof there it is" because it's different and the surprise factor gives you a big edge.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

No, it was perfect. Thanks Brad!



Tomaš Vanek

Age: 25
Hometown: Prague, Czech Republic
Occupation: Student/part-time accountant


Guild:
Orzhov

Previous Magic accomplishments:

WPN Championship #1 in Amsterdam, World Magic Cup 2012, a few money finishes at Grand Prix.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

BR Zombies. I don't have time to test or even choose my decks.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

I would change the whole deck. This deck is terrible to play with. Don't play it. It's just playing for the nuts draw.



Fabian Dickmann

Age: 22
Hometown: Bochum!
Occupation: Student


Guild:
Izzet

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Day 2 at Grand Prix Bochum 2010, being bad at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

UWR because Valentin Mackl lent me the cards for it.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

The sideboard. It#s Really random. I didn't get the cards I wanted to play from the store so I just put in random good rares/mythics which could be useful.



Lukas Tajak

Age: 25
Hometown: Nuremberg, Germany
Occupation: Software developer


Guild:
Simic

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Pro Tour Philadelphia participation.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

UW Delver because Thomas Holzinger told me to.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

No Delver, more lands, but not the usual UW Flash list. Geist is insane.



Pierre Dagen

Age: 25
Hometown: Paris, France
Occupation: Business consultant


Guild:
Orzhov

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Played several Pro Tours (one Top 50 in Nagoya), three Grand Prox Top 16s.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

Bant Control because Sphinx's Revelation seemed to be way ahead of this Standard's power level. Basically, it crushes any form of nonblue non-Threaten deck. The sideboard is fairly efficient too, and the mana base is sweet. You absolutely can't beat UW, though.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

Minus one Dissipate, plus one Detention Sphere maindeck. (Aggro decks found a way to beat Thragtusk.) Possibly a second Staff of Nin instead of the Terminus (way more resilient against Jund, but weaker against Rites.)



Enrico van Eijsden

Age: 18
Hometown: -, Netherlands
Occupation: Student


Guild:
Golgari

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Made a PTQ final.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

Jund. It's very good, been testing it a lot on Magic Online.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

Another Bonfire of the Damned in the maindeck. The card is soo sick!



Sascha Stein

Age: 41
Hometown: Hille/Rothenuffeln, Germany
Occupation: Sale of industrial stuff


Previous Magic accomplishments:

I won some small tournaments.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

A friend lent me the Jund deck on Friday.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?

I would play one more Bonfire of the Damned instead of one Pillar of Flame.



Kamil Napierski

Age: 29
Hometown: Grudziądz, Poland
Occupation: TV studio engineer


Guild:
Orzhov

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Played in Pro Tour San Diego 2010 and several Grand Prix.

What deck are you playing and why did you choose it?

RB Zombies/Vampires/Devils designed by Batuthinha. I chose it because I fell in love with the crazy synergies and because stealing Thragtusk is actually very exciting.

Would you change anything about your deck and why would you change it?



 

Top 16 - Decklists

by Tobi Henke

Pierre Dagen
Top 8
Grand Prix Bochum 2012 (Standard)

Martin Jùza
Top 8
Grand Prix Bochum 2012 (Standard)

Tomaš Vanek
Top 8
Grand Prix Bochum 2012 (Standard)

Kamil Napierski
Top 8
Grand Prix Bochum 2012 (Standard)



We know you like decklists, so here are the decklists of the people who finished in places 9 through 16. Note the 3 Black Cat in the sideboard of Milan Niznansky's Blue-White Aggro are not a typo. Milan knew that he didn't want to sideboard many cards with his deck at all, and he put 3 Black Cat in his board simply to jinx his opponents. Maybe he ended up jinxing himself though, as he lost the last round playing for Top 8. Still, finishing so highly at Grand Prix tournament with 3 wasted sideboard slots deserves some respect.


Lukas Jaklovsky (14th)
Grand Prix Bochum 2012 (Standard)

Tom Valkeneers (16th)
Grand Prix Bochum 2012 (Standard)

 

Quarterfinal Round-Up

by Frank Karsten

Lukas Tajak (U/W Flash) vs. Tomas Vanek (B/R Zombies)



"Oh no! Four Cavern of Souls, I hate you," Tajak despondently said when he saw Vanek's decklist. Still, Tajak pulled ahead in game 1 with a quick draw of Delver of Secrets and Geist of Saint Traft. Vanek, in turn, made a close damage race out of it with Geralf's Messenger and Zealous Conscripts, but it was already too late given Tajak's blazingly fast start.

Tajak (Left) and Vanek (Right)

In game 2, Vanek had an amazing mana curve that gave him 9 power worth of creatures on turn 4. Tajak's first play was a turn 3 Geist of Saint Traft and looked very far behind. Swift Justice to gain 5 life was nice, but it wasn't enough to race Vanek's Zombies.

In game 3, Tajak's Augur of Bolas was fending off Gravecrawler, but Vampire Nighthawk plus Falkenrath Aristocrat started flying over Tajak's ground defenses. Tajak fought back with Unsummon and Azorius Charm while attacking with Geist of Saint Traft and holding a bunch of cards in hand with mana open. This gave Vanek pause. Would Tajak be laying a trap for him? Still, Vanek decided to keep pressing on with his creatures, and it was the right decision. Tajak was stuck was two more copies of the legendary Geist of Saint Traft in hand and had no tricks left up his sleeve.

Lukas Tajak 1 - Tomas Vanek 2

Sascha Stein (Jund) vs. Martin Juza (Hoof, there it is!)

"No, not Jund," Martin Juza said when he received Stein's decklist, apparently unhappy with the matchup. In game 1, Juza's Lingering Souls tokens and 1-toughness mana guys were no match for Stein's Olivia Voldaren, and Juza was off to a quick loss.


Stein (Left) and Juza (Right)
In game 2, Juza's transformational sideboard plan of Loxodon Smiter, Thragtusk, and Angel of Serenity (boarding out some mana guys to avoid losing to Olivia Voldaren) worked to perfection.

Could Stein overcome Juza's big reanimation plan? He certainly did his best in game 3, by putting on pressure with Huntmaster of the Fells and by burning Juza's creatures, but Stein was stuck with two Thundermaw Hellkite in hand and only 4 lands in play. When Stein finally found his 5th land, it was already too late as Loxodon Smiter and Thragtusk again came in for the kill.

Sascha Stein 1 - Martin Juza 2

Kamil Napierski (B/R Zombies) vs. Enrich van Eijsden (Jund)


Enrich van Eijsden is only 16 years old, but is already playing in a Grand Prix Top 8---a great start of a Magic career. In game 1, van Eijsden's early Huntmaster of the Fells was stolen with Mark of Mutiny and subsequently sacrificed to Bloodthrone Vampire. A nice play, but Napierski hadn't drawn many creatures, and the few ones that he did draw fell to van Eijsden's removal. A short while later, a duo of Thragtusks gave van Eijsden the first game.


Napierski (Left) and Eijsden (Right)
In the second game, Napierski had Duress to ensure that Pillar of Flame would not exile his Geralf's Messenger. Van Eijsden's blockers (Huntmaster of the Fells and Olivia Voldaren) fell to Pillar of Flame and Searing Spear, respectively. A few swings with Geralf's Messenger later, Napierski had evened the match at one game apiece.

Van Eijsden had to take mulligans down to 5 in search of a keepable hand, and it cost him: An onslaught of Geralf's Messengers was awaiting him. Van Eijsden had Sever the Bloodline for the first one, but couldn't deal with the Geralf's Messenger that followed. After adding a Falkenrath Aristocrat to the board, Napierski attacked for lethal damage.

Kamil Napierski 2 - Enrich van Eijsden 1

Pierre Dagen (Bant control) vs Fabian Dickmann (UWR Geist midrange)



Game 1 started out slow with both players ramping their mana and drawing cards. A bunch of counterspells and Supreme Verdicts later, the board still hadn't developed much. Dickmann's Moorland Haunt gave him an advantage, though, and a group of 1/1 tokens got in for many, many turns. A flashed-in Restoration Angel later, Dagen was already down to 4 life. Double Pillar of Flame then handed the first game to Dickmann.


Dickmann (Left) and Dagen (Right)

The start of game 2 featured excellent Searing Spear timing. Dickmann attacked with Geist of Saint Traft, it was blocked by Thragtusk, and Searing Spear took out Thragtusk after blockers. Now, typically you burn your opponent's creatures before they can block, but Thragtusk leaves a 3/3 behind and this way Geist of Saint Traft could send in a 4/4 Angel for another turn. It wasn't enough though, as Centaur Healers plus the 3/3 Beast token managed to win the damage face for Dagen.

In game 3, Supreme Verdict, Searing Spear, and tons of counterspells meant that nothing would stay in play for long. A while later, Thragtusk was copied with Clone, but once again creature removal spells cleared the board. Eventually, Dickmann took over the game with Tamiyo, the Moon Sage. He was able to build it up to ultimate and started casting the same Searing Spear over and over again to close out the match.

Pierre Dagen 1 - Fabian Dickmann 2

 

Sunday, 9:30 p.m. - Matchup madness

by Frank Karsten

Over 1000 matches of Standard have been played here in Bochum today. That's a lot a lot of raw data, and I analyzed the matchup results between the five most popular decks today. Here's what I found:

 Green-WhiteJundZombiesBant ControlReanimator
Green-WhiteXXX3-4 (43%)5-7 (42%)5-3 (63%)3-6 (33%)
Jund4-3 (57%)XXX6-10 (38%)6-6 (50%)3-8 (27%)
Zombies7-5 (58%)10-6 (62%)XXX3-8 (27%)5-5 (50%)
Bant Control3-5 (37%)6-6 (50%)8-3 (73%)XXX4-5 (44%)
Reanimator6-3 (67%)8-3 (73%)5-5 (50%)5-4 (56%)XXX

So, we see that Zombies played Bant Control a grand total of 3+8=11 times today, and Zombies only won 3 of those encounters. This means that Bant Control is a 73% favorite in the matchup, according to the data above. Looking further at the numbers in the table, it seems that Reanimator remains well-positioned in the format.

 

Semifinals - Fabian Dickmann vs. Tomaš Vanek

by Tobi Henke

Both players have succesfully taken the all-important hurdle of the quarterfinal, earning airfare and invitation to Pro Tour Gatecrash. Now it was all about the fame, glory, and additional prizes. Fabian Dickmann, playing on home-turf, got this far with the help of his UWR tempo deck, whereas Czech Tomaš Vanek had help in the form of Black-Red Zombies. Only one player would advance further, though.

Game 1

Vanek had won the right to go first with his superior finish in the Swiss portion of the tournament. A mulligan and a Rakdos Guildgate on turn one, however, was hardly the ideal start for his aggressive beatdown deck. He had Crimson Muckwader on turn two, which met Unsummon, was the re-played and joined by Diregraf Ghoul. When both attacked, Dickmann summoned Snapcaster Mage, blocked the 2/2 and flashed back Unsummon to bounce the Muckwader yet again.

Vanek re-cast it, then added even more pressure with Falkenrath Aristocrat, after Dickmann had summoned Geist of Saint Traft. The race was on. Vanek fell to 14, Dickmann went to 6. On his next turn, Dickmann used Azorius Charm to grant lifelink to his Geist of Saint Traft and Angel token, putting life totals at 8 (Vanek) to 12 (Dickmann).


Tomaš Vanek

Vanek got his Zealous Conscripts countered by Dissipate, then attacked with Crimson Muckwader (Dickmann at 9), forced to keep Falkenrath Aristocrat back on defense to block Geist of Saint Traft. He did just that, sacrificing Crimson Muckwader to save the Aristocrat (Vanek at 4).

Next turn, Dickmann had ... Thundermaw Hellkite for the win. Vanek, quite upset, slammed his hand on the table: four copies of Mark of Mutiny, possibly his worst maindeck card in this particular matchup.

Fabian Dickmann 1-0 Tomaš Vanek

Game 2

Once again Vanek didn't have the most aggressive of starts, with nothing on turn one and just a measly Bloodthrone Vampire on turn two. That died to Pillar of Flame, as did Vanek's Geralf's Messenger, when Dickmann had Snapcaster Mage on turn three.

Another Geralf's Messenger entered the battlefield and this one stuck, while Dickmann summoned Geist of Saint Traft. Vanek attacked with his Messenger, then made a Crimson Muckwader and a Blood Artist. The former blocked Geist of Saint Traft, but Dickmann had Azorius Charm to return the Muckwader to the top of Vanek's library and save his Geist.


Fabian Dickmann

Now, Vanek simply re-cast his Muckwader and hung back with all three of his creatures. He double-blocked Geist of Saint Traft with Crimson Muckwader and Geralf's Messenger, but once again, the Geist was not to be killed, this time thanks to Restoration Angel.

Vanek cast a second Blood Artist. Another attack by Geist of Saint Traft saw another Restoration Angel. "Seriously?" Vanek complained. He did have Ultimate Price for one of the Restoration Angels, buying some time. But that was only delaying the inevitable.

Fabian Dickmann 1-0 Tomaš Vanek

 

Semifinals - Martin Juza (Hoof, there it is!) - Kamil Napierski (Black-Red Zombies)

by Frank Karsten

The big name in this Semifinals is Martin Juza from the Czech Republic. Juza, is a well-known Platinum pro, Grand Prix Top 8 collector, and the winner of the previous Grand Prix Bochum. Today, he is playing the crazy "Hoof, there it is!" deck invented by Brad Nelson. On the other side of the table, we have Kamil Napierski in his first Grand Prix Top 8, running Black-Red Zombies.

Game 1

Juza mulliganed down to 6 cards and kept a risky hand with Avacyn's Pilgrim and Deathrite Shaman, but only a single Forest to go with it. Unfortunately for him, he didn't draw any land in the first three turns. Tracker's Instincts gave him a Somberwald Sage, but no lands went to the graveyard as to fuel Deathrite Shaman.

Napierski didn't waste any time and put on a lot of pressure with Rakdos Cackler and Geralf's Messenger. Juza went to a low life total before he started chumpblocking with Deathrite Shaman, but that only turned on the morbid of Brimstone Volley, which closed out the first game for Napierski.

Kamil Napierski 1 - Martin Juza 0


Martin Juza

Game 2

Juza fared better in the second game, with turn 1 Avacyn's Pilgrim, turn 2 Loxodon Smiter, and turn 3 Arbor Elf setting up for a turn 4 Thragtusk.

Napierski answered the Loxodon Smiter with two Knight of Infamy, which may have made Juza wonder why he boarded in the 4/4 again, but Napierski's 2/1 with protection from white wouldn't help against Juza's Thragtusk.

Napierski next added Falkenrath Aristocraft to his board and started taking pecking away Juza's life total. Juza, in the meantime, was looking for his 7th mana for the Angel of Serenity lurking in his hand, and found it with Grisly Salvage. Angel of Serenity indeed came down on the next turn, and it removed Napierski's Falkenrath Aristocrat.

Napierski now was in a tough spot. He still had Mark of Mutiny in hand, but an attack from a stolen Angel of Serenity alone couldn't take Juza down from all the way from 9 life to 0. A couple turns later, Juza had evened the match at one game apiece.

Kamil Napierski 1 - Martin Juza 1


Kamil Napierski

Game 3

Both players took a mulligan down to 6, and we were off again! Despite their mulligans, they had great starts: Napierski with turn 1 Diregraf Ghoul and turn 3 Geralf's Messenger; Juza with turn 1 Avacyn's Pilgrim, turn 2 Lingering Souls, turn 3 Lingering Souls.

Juza then added Thragtusk to his board, which could profitably block Geralf's Messenger while the 1/1 Spirit tokens attacked. Napierski now seemed to be out of gas; he was stuck with a few red spells in hand, but no red mana in sight.

The rest of the game wasn't close. Napierski was unable to cast spells, while Juza showed the power of flashback spells with Unburial Rites on Thragtusk and more Lingering Souls.

Kamil Napierski 1 - Martin Juza 2

Juza advances to the finals and hopes to win back-to-back Grands Prix in Bochum!

 

Finals - Martin Jůza ("Hoof there it is") vs. Fabian Dickmann (UWR Tempo)

by Tobi Henke

This was it, the final battle; 1,731 players whittled down to just two. And quite the archetypical battle it was: seasoned veteran, multiple GP champion Martin Jůza vs. local hero Fabian Dickmann.

Game 1

Jůza started on a mulligan and Avacyn's Pilgrim, followed by Arbor Elf and Deathrite Shaman, then Lingering Souls and another Avacyn's Pilgrim. One Pilgrim died to Pillar of Flame and the Shaman died to Searing Spear, but Lingering Souls flashback left Jůza with plenty of 1/1s to spare.

Finally, Jůza played the last card in his hand, with something akin to a dramatic flourish: It was Gavony Township which soon upgraded his army to power 2. Dickmann's Snapcaster Mage blocked/killed one Arbor Elf anyway, and made available a Searing Spear to get rid off one of the fliers. Still, Dickmann took 6, falling to 6 already.

His Desperate Ravings was indeed a desperate search for answers and nothing came of that. The tokens took game one.

Martin Jůza 1-0 Fabian Dickmann


Fabian Dickmann

Game 2

Things started comparatively slow this time around, with just Deathrite Shaman for Jůza, while Dickmann cycled Azorius Charm and shot down the Shaman with Pillar of Flame.

Jůza summoned Loxodon Smiter and promptly had it returned to the top of his library with Azorius Charm flashback off Snapcaster Mage.

Jůza made two tokens with Lingering Souls, then fell to 17 when Snapcaster Mage picked up Runechanter's Pike. Unfazed, he re-cast his Loxodon Smiter and flashed back Lingering Souls. Now he had five creatures to Dickmann's one, a total of 8 power to Dickmann's 3. In a sudden turn of events, however, he lost all four of his tokens to Thundermaw Hellkite, which also attacked and put Jůza on the backfoot, for good.

Jůza had no follow-up play, while the Runechanter's Pike-carrying Snapcaster Mage grew past the magical threshold of power 4 with the help of Thought Scour. Another attack, and Dickmann had evened the score.

Martin Jůza 1-1 Fabian Dickmann


Martin Jůza

Game 3

Jůza took full advantage of going first again, with Arbor Elf into Loxodon Smiter, followed by Tracker's Instincts and Deathrite Shaman. Already, Dickmann was scrabbling for answers with Desperate Ravings.

Jůza had a second Loxodon Smiter, Dickmann just flashed back Desperate Ravings. The next attack had him return one Loxodon Smiter with Azorius Charm and chump-block the other with Snapcaster Mage.

Jůza kept up the pressure with Lingering Souls, while Dickmann once again cast Desperate Ravings. On his face, desperation gave way to resignation. He took a moment weighing his options (of which there were none) then extended his hand in concession.

Martin Jůza 2-1 Fabian Dickmann

Congratulations to Martin Jůza, champion of Grand Prix Bochum 2012!

 

The Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Bochum 2012

by Frank Karsten

Here are five cards that sum up some of the biggest stories of the weekend.


Silverblade Paladin

5. Silverblade Paladin

Three out of four players that went undefeated on Day 1 had Silverblade Paladin in their deck, and it is a cornerstone of the most popular deck on Day 2: Green-White Aggro. Especially when enhanced with Rancor or Sublime Archangel, Silverblade Paladin allows you to pump out mind-blowing amounts of damage every turn. It makes the 5 life provided by any opposing Thragtusk insignificant in comparison.



Nightshade Peddler

4. Nightshade Peddler

The centerpiece of the innovative brew by Max Pritsch and Jan-Moritz Merkel; Nightshade Peddler does an insane amount of work when bonded with Izzet Staticaster or Olivia Voldaren. The seemingly awkward 1/1 for 2 mana has been raising eyebrows the entire weekend, and it has been headlining the list of cards that people were certainly not expecting. Still, both Pritsch and Merkel finished in the Top 32, and their crazy deathtouch-ping concoction will be a Standard force to be reckoned with going forward.



Sphinx's Revelation

3. Sphinx's Revelation

Named to be either the most powerful card in Standard or the most powerful card in their deck by pro players Stanislav Cifka, Olivier Ruel, and Martin Juza. The card is indeed one of the most backbreaking late-game plays in the format, and dealers couldn't seem to keep them in stock. Top 8 competitor Pierre Dagen, who played it in his Bant Control deck, felt that Sphinx's Revelation is way ahead of this Standard's power level. Nevertheless, Dagen fell in the quarterfinals; the Top 4 was fought not with this powerful X spell, but was decided by some of the most powerful creatures in the format.



Geralf's Messenger

2. Geralf's Messenger

When Return to Ravnica was just released, many players predicted that Zombies would dominate the format. But that prediction did not come to be, in large part because Thragtusk stops the brain-hungry creatures dead in their tracks and because Pillar of Flame is simply so efficient at dealing with Geralf's Messenger. But metagames change every week; as players were preparing for Blue-White Flash and Green-White Aggro, they started to pay less heed to Zombies. So, cards like Pillar of Flame and even Thragtusk were on the decline this weekend. This gave Geralf's Messenger its moment to shine in the hands of Tomas Vanek and Kamil Napierski, who piloted Red-Black Zombies to the Top 4. As a cheap, aggressive creature that can sap away the opponent's last life points, Geralf's Messenger is the cornerstone card of a deck that everyone will have to pay due respect to again.



Craterhoof Behemoth

1. Craterhoof Behemoth

And finally, the signature card of Martin Juza's winning deck, which aims to accelerate into a turn 4 Behemoth with either Somberwald Sage or Unburial Rites. And when Hoof enters the battlefield, it almost always instantly kills the opponent as the deck if filled with cheap 1/1 creatures such as Lingering Souls tokens and Avacyn's Pilgrim. The deck was affectionately named "Hoof, there it is!" by Brad Nelson, who invented the deck and is currently tearing up Grand Prix Charleston on the other side of the ocean. But here in Bochum, it was Juza who piloted this amazing Craterhoof Behemoth deck to take the title once again. Hoof!

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