gpmad12

Grinning While You're Flinging

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When Swiss player Ivo Grossholz came to Spain for Grand Prix Madrid, he had a big smile on his face. On holiday with friends, and ready to play some Magic. Known for his persistent grin, his signature cards this weekend have been Grinning Totem, Grinning Demon, and Grimgrin, Corpse Born. At the end of an incredibly close Grand Prix final, as he found the winning Fling to deal the final points while at just 1 life himself, it is safe to say that his grin was never wider.

1,318 players arrived in Madrid to play, and we've had a great weekend all around, with sealed deck action on Saturday whittling us down to an elite field on Sunday. Raphael Levy, with a 32nd place finish, took the lead in lifetime Pro Points from Kai Budde just a few short months before Kai's rumoured return to the Pro Tour at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in Barcelona. Florian Koch and Martin Juza made it to the top eight, but could not get past the quarterfinals, meaning that four Grand Prix players scored shots at that very same Pro Tour.

David Garcia Copete just missed in the finals, but still received a huge ovation from his Spanish peers for defending their honour to the last. While Grand Prix Baltimore is still going on in the USA, right now is Ivo Grossholz' moment to shine, and with a big smile on his face, he's going to enjoy it.

Congratulations to Ivo Grossholz, our Grand Prix Madrid 2012 Champion!











Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
1 Ivo Grossholz Ivo Grossholz, 2-1
5 Florian Koch Ivo Grossholz, 2-1
7 Guido Sondag Guido Sondag, 2-1 Ivo Grossholz, 2-1
3 Marco Frantuma
4 Fabio Rodrigues Fabio Rodrigues, 2-0
8 Martin Juza David Garcia Copete
2-1
6 Christian Von Kalkstein David Garcia Copete
2-1
2 David Garcia Copete

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INFORMATION
 1.  Ivo Grossholz $3,500
 2.  David Garcia Copete $2,300
 3.  Guido Sondag $1,500
 4.  Fabio Rodrigues $1,500
 5.  Christian Von Kalkstein $1,000
 6.  Florian Koch $1,000
 7.  Marco Frantuma $1,000
 8.  Martin Juza $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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Blue Bracket
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  • Sunday, 7:00 p.m.: Drafting with Martin Juza

    by Tim Willoughby
  • All weekend I've wanted to watch Martin Juza draft, and right around top 8 time, everything has come together to let me. Before the draft, we spoke a little about his preferences, and how he sees drafting with Innistrad and Dark Ascension. The ChannelFireball team member was quick to credit one of his teammates for colouring his draft preferences.

    "Ben Stark is just incredible when it comes to working out a draft format. Within 5 drafts he just knows what is going on. It takes me, like, 20 drafts to get there, but he just figures it out faster than anyone. It's a gift."

    "With Dark Ascension you cannot afford to waste time with some of the cute decks that were available in triple Innistrad. Luis spent some time drafting decks with 3 Divination or something, and Ben was always telling him to just draft aggro. The decks that I like now are green/white, red/black and red/green, with lots of one, two and three drops. A lot of the green commons in Dark Ascension aren't that great, so there is the opportunity to get in green/white much more easily now, even if that means going heavy white in pack one and picking up a few bits and pieces in green."

    Martin Juza is set up to be PTQ end boss for Fabio Rodrigues in the quarterfinals

    Pack 1

    The flip cards for pack 1 didn't look too threatening, apart from a Huntmaster of the Fells to Juza's immediate left. Juza had a few great picks instead of his flip card though. Lingering SoulsFlayer of the HAtebound and Burden of Greed are all good, but there was never really a pick beyond the Lingering Souls. No point fighting with Huntmaster guy.

    A Loyal Cathar next looked interesting, but there was also a Vault of the Archangel. Time to fully commit to black white, or send a signal. Elgaud Inquisitor was interesting, and the land definitely gave Juza pause, but he wanted to let people know where he was in the draft and swidtly settled on Loyal Cathar.

    Niblis of the Breath was the third pick for Juza, who is not the biggest fan of blue white. He preferred to be in green white, and signalled as such very clearly with a Scorned Villager. Next up, another Villager or Niblis of the Mist? He went with the flyer. Niblis of the Urn came next, cementing Juza's position in white, and keeping his curve nice and simple.

    It wasn't until there were 8 cards left that Juza went out of green white, taking a Divination. He rounded out the pack with Break of Day, Faith's Shield, another Break of Day, Increasing Ambition, Executioner's Hood, Sanctuary Cat, and a final Saving Grasp.

    Pack 2

    Again to Juza's left the biggest flip card in the draft was opened – this time a Mayor of Avabruck. Juza chuckled a little, but didn't seem too sad. He got a first pick Travel Preparations, followed by Midnight Haunting or Avacynian Priest. Juza took the Haunting, and saw Silverchase Fox, Butcher's Cleaver, Doomed Traveller and Intangible Virtue as his options for pick four. The Cleaver was the pick, with white seeming open.

    Chapel Geist was an easy pick next, and Thraben Sentry or Smite the Monstrous was Juza's next decision. Juza chose the removal. While not a powerhouse in rgreen white, Juza went for Runechanter's Pike in the next pack, and immediately followed up with a Grizzled Outcasts rather than a Moment of Heroism that might help turn on the power boost of the pike.

    Unruly Mob came next, further adding to Juza's creature count. A speculative Clifftop Retreat, Inquisitor's Flail, One-Eyed Scarecrow, Somberwald Spider, Spare from Evil and Cellar Door finished things.

    Pack 3

    Just one pack left, and Juza found that his pack didn't have a double faced card. Time for a replacement pack. While waiting for it, Juza saw that a Bloodline Keeper was opened at the table. Fortunately for Juza, the deck with the Bloodline Keeper and the Mayor/Huntmaster deck would have to play each other in round 1, and if Juza faced them, he'd do so in the finals.

    The new pack was not a very exciting one, with Village Bell-Ringer and Prey Upon as its best cards in green white. The Prey Upon made Juza's pile, and he watched in horror was Bloodline Keeper got passed. Juza's second pick was an Unruly Mob over Shimmering Grotto. Not too exciting. Better was a Midnight Haunting. Worse, that Bloodline Keeper kept on going, eventually being picked to Juza's immediate right.

    Juza got a Selfless Cathar out of that pack, which had also included Bloodgift Demon. He found Prey Upon next, rattled at what was going on with the big black pack. Another Selfless Cathar made it into Juza's pile. He'd be able to pump his tokens like nobody's business. Urgent Exorcism was followed by Rally the Peasants, which Juza might even be able to flash back. Village Bell Ringer had lapped along with 4 blue cards, and that more or less rounded out Juza's draft, with little else coming that was likely to trouble Juza's maindeck.

    At the end of the draft, Juza seemed fairly happy with his deck, with the exception of the Butcher's Cleaver pick. "Any of the other options would have been better. I should have taken the Cloistered Youth. Still... this deck can definitely fight, and I have sooo many pump effects."

     
  • Top 8: Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Guido Sondag

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Maastricht, Netherlands
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Angelic Overseer; 8-1.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    2-0-1 with blue-black crap; 3-0 with mono-black splashing two red cards and one white.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    I don't know yet.



    Ivo Grossholz

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Bern, Switzerland
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Won a Rise of the Eldrazi prerelease.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Strangleroot Geist or Garruk Relentless into Angelic Overseer; 8-1.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    2-1 and 3-0 with blue-white.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    No idea, about GPs, but maybe Pro Tour Barcelona …



    Fabio André Maximino Rodrigues

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Silves, Portugal
    Occupation: Accountant

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    2007 Portuguese National champion.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Kessig Wolf Run; 8-1.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    2-1 with black-green Goodstuff; 3-0 with blue-white Spirits.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    Lisbon, Moscow.



    Christian von Kalkstein

    Age: 32
    Hometown: Berlin, Germany
    Occupation: Consultant

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    9th place Grand Prix Turin.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Bloodline Keeper; 7-2 (starting 1-2).

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    6-0 with green-white splash red in both drafts.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    Malmö, Bochum, Turin, etc.



    Florian Koch

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Aachen, Germany
    Occupation: Gamer

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Won Grand Prix Lyon 2009.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Deck performed really well as a whole, but nothing stood out; 8-1.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    3-0 with black-red aggro; 1-0-2 with green-red Wolfhunter's Quiver.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    All European GPs.



    Marco Frantuma

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Lecco, Italy
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Attending some Pro Tours.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Lingering Souls; 9-0.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    3-0 with green-white; 0-1-2 with blue-black Zombies.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    I don't know.



    Martin Juza

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Plzeň, Czech Republic
    Occupation: Tourist

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Won a GP with three Overrun in my deck.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    Charmbreaker Devils; 8-1.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    3-0 with red-green splashing black for Fires of Undeath; 1-0-2 with green-white.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    All of them!



    David Garcia Copete

    Age: 33
    Hometown: Alicante, Spain
    Occupation: Unemployed/teacher/engineer

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 16 GP Florence, several Top 32 finishes, 4th at Spanish Nationals, several Pro Tour appearances.

    What was your most valuable card for the Sealed Deck portion and what was your record?
    I don't know, one of the three Demons [Bloodgift Demon, Ravenous Demon, Reaper from the Abyss]. All of them did good work; 9-0 without byes.

    What was your record in draft and what archetypes did you draft?
    2-1 with black-white Humans; 1-0-2 with white-blue Humans/Spirits.

    What GPs do you plan to travel to this season?
    Every GP close to Spain.



     
  • Top 8: Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Marco Frantuma - Top 8
    Grand Prix Madrid 2012 Booster Draft



    Christian von Kalkstein - Top 8
    Grand Prix Madrid 2012 Booster Draft





    Ivo Grossholz - Top 8
    Grand Prix Madrid 2012 Booster Draft







     
  • Quarterfinal: Martin Juza vs. Fabio Rodrigues

    by Rich Hagon
  • So, you come along to a PTQ. It's not exactly local, in fact it's a country away. There are 15 rounds, because a lot of people show up to play. You make it to the final of that PTQ. Who do you have to beat to reach the Pro Tour? Why, it's Martin Juza, of course! Isn't he already qualified? Of course he is! Will he concede? Don't be silly! This is the ultimate PTQ final, because it's the quarter final of a Grand Prix, and only the top 4 make it to the biggest show of all.

    Good luck then, Fabio Rodrigues. At least he knows what it takes to make it, having played for Portugal at Worlds 2007 in New York.

    Game 1

    The man from Portugal began his attempt to qualify for the PT (and reach the semi final here in Madrid) with a Plains and Island leading into Avacynian Priest. Two Plains from Juza meant no action, allowing Rodrigues to add Lantern Spirit before Juza's first play of the match, a Chapel Geist, with a Swamp joining his two Plains. After the two traded attacks, Rodrigues gained tempo with an end of turn Nephalia Seakite. Juza looked to claw back with Village Bell-Ringer, untapping his Chapel Geist and allowing potentially favorable blocks. I say 'potentially', because that's what tricks are for, and Rodrigues had Skillful Lunge ready.

    Martin Juza

    Stuck on three land, Juza cast Loyal Cathar, falling to 11, in danger of being overwhelmed. He had taken a while before keeping his opening hand, and it really wasn't working out. Elite Inquisitor joined the team for Rodrigues, before a fourth land allowed Travel Preparations to work doubly hard for Juza.

    After Dead Weight made the Loyal Cathar no less loyal but a lot less big, Rodrigues returned to the air with his Lantern Spirit and Nephalia Seakite, continuing to pressure with a new Voiceless Spirit. That opening hand had cost Juza dearly, and he resignedly scooped up his ineffectual permanents.

    Juza 0 - 1 Rodrigues

    The players shuffled in silence. Rodrigues was on the verge of a momentous PT appearance, and the chance at GP glory, while Juza needed to avoid any more deck malfunctions. Speaking of deck malfunctions, Rodrigues sent his seven back to the pack in search of a better six.

    Game 2

    Once the match resumed, Juza was under way with a turn two Loyal Cathar, which Rodrigues couldn't stop with Avacynian Priest. That 'non-Human' tag was important. The Portugese player added Voiceless Spirit, while Juza had Midnight Haunting for a pair of tokens. Niblis of the Mist got Voiceless Spirit out of the way for a turn, and Juza dropped Rodrigues to 14.

    With four land, including two Forests, Juza was in much better shape than game one. As in game one, he got double use out of Travel Preparations in a single turn, but this time it was more than a token (no pun intended) gesture. Rodrigues used his Avacynian Priest, and Juza passed, still 20-14 ahead as we headed into the mid-game with no obvious edge to either player.

    Fabio Rodrigues

    Elgaud Inquisitor for Rodrigues...Scorned Villager for Juza...One-Eyed Scarecrow for Juza...As the board built up, the fact that Rodrigues was still a couple of cards up on the Czech man seemed increasingly important. One of those was Chant of the Skifsang for Juza's Niblis of the Mist, the other remained unknown.

    Prey Upon from Juza allowed his Loyal Cathar (pumped with the joys of Travel Preparations) to fight successfully with the Avacynian Priest. That led Rodrigues to cast Claustrophobia at the larger of Juza's Midnight Haunting tokens, as the small swings back and forth continued. Selfless Cathar from Juza did nothing to change the overal picture of near-stalemate. Perhaps Havengul Lich from Rodrigues would change things...? (Clue: It probably will.)

    Juza attacked Rodrigues to 10, with the Czech player still on 20. The trouble, though, was the Lich. Rodrigues brought back Avacynian Priest and Elite Inquisitor, more than a little awkward for Juza. When Rodrigues started aiming at cards in Juza's graveyard, the Czech man was horrified. "Both graveyards?" he asked incredulously, before invoking a famous historical religious figure of significance.

    Selfless Cathar left Juza's graveyard, and joined the Portugese team, that was growing. And growing. And growing. Avacynian Priest was back online, and while Juza wasn't yet about to be dead - he 'led' 16-12 on life - he was in desperate trouble. Somberwald Spider was next for him, but then Rodrigues showed the power of the Lich. SacrificeSelfless Cathar. Everything +1+1. Buy it back with the Lich. Sacrifice the Selfless Cathar. Everything +1+1 again. Attack for many. Prepare to do it again.

    Juza had his Somberwald Spider tapped, and even Butcher's Cleaver wasn't enough to justify a foray into the red zone. With eight mana, Rodrigues was ready to do the whole go-round on the Selfless Cathar again. Then Rodrigues cast Feeling of Dread. And flashed it back.

    Juza extended the hand, and Rodrigues was through (a) to the Grand Prix semi-final and (b) to the Pro Tour, five years after he represented Portugal at Worlds 2007 in New York.

    "He's going to win the GP" said Juza ruefully. "In my eleven top 8s, I've either won it, or lost to the winner. He's going to win."

    Martin Juza 0 - 2 Fabio Rodrigues

     
  • Semifinal: David Garcia Copete vs. Fabio Rodrigues

    by Rich Hagon
  • Having qualified for the Pro Tour by winning their respective quarter finals, it's time for these two to turn their attention towards the trophy. Copete represents the home side, while near-neighbors Portugal are in the capable hands of Rodrigues, the conqueror of the mighty Martin Juza in the previous round.

    Game 1

    Winning the die roll, Copete had to wait a while to begin, as Rodrigues chomped his way through seven, then six, before finally settling on five cards. When Copete did open, it was with Spectral Rider, while Stitcher's Apprentice began the match for Rodrigues, who followed with Lantern Spirit. Copete had Selhoff Occultist, using Shimmering Grotto - an important card in his three color deck - to cast it alongside three Plains. The Stitcher's Apprentice took to the air thanks to Spectral Flight from Rodrigues, and Copete went in search of more action via Divination.

    The pace was fast and furious as the Rodrigues air assault continued, dropping Copete to 10. Still, he was on 12 himself, and we were still only moments into the semi final. Claustrophobia slowed the Spectral Rider, leaving Selhoff Occultist to attack alone. Bonds of Faith from Copete returned the compliment, Deranged Assistant joining the Spanish crew. Now the mana issues were for Rodrigues, who had only four land, and enough cards in hand to suggest an inability to cast some tasty goodness. Gallows Warden for Copete continued to add pressure.

    When you're under pressure, a big juciy fat Makeshift Mauler seems ideal, and that's what Rodrigues conjured up, before Dream Twist piled up Copete's graveyard. That powered up Unburial Rights, bringing back a Makeshift Mauler. Feeling of Dread from Rodrigues got two creatures aside, with flashback leaving Copete apparently defenceless. He aimed Dream Twist at Rodrigues to see more cards, but couldn't stop the lethal attack.

    Copete 0 - 1 Rodrigues

    David Garcia Copete

    Game 2

    Having seen both decks up close, Copete had a very powerful collection of spells across his three colors. However, two of those colors matched up with Rodrigues, and we had seen in the quarter final against Martin Juza just how powerful the Havengul Lich could be in the hands of Rodrigues, facing an opposing graveyard full of castable creatures. It looked as if both players might be hoping for the game to go fairly long, but one of them would be mistaken in that desire. Did Copete even know about the Lich? And how would he cope in game two, when he mulliganed to six, and then five, knowing that Rodrigues - keeping his opening grip this time - had taken game one off a mulligan to five?

    Enough with the questions. Time for the answers.

    Copete opened on a Plains, Island, and Shimmering Grotto. At least he had mana to work with. Rodrigues cast Voiceless Spirit, then saw Copete add a fourth different land in the form of Vault of the Archangel, superb if Copete could get it going. The Spaniard cast Silverchase Fox, but that couldn't interact with the Voiceless Spirit or Moon Heron from Rodrigues. When Copete cast a Moon Heron of his own, that stemmed the tide for a brief moment, before Rodrigues cast Avacynian Priest and Lantern Spirit, ready to command the skies once again.

    Copete was putting up strong resistance, casting Gallows Warden, and knowing that he had card-draw spells elsewhere in his deck to bring him back into the game - that is, if Rodrigues gave him the time. Feeling of Dread allowed him to attack for 7, leaving Copete at 9. The flashback was ready to rock and roll, dealing with Moon Heron and Gallows Warden. Copete wasn't done, casting Dungeon Geists to keep Avacynian Priest permanently tapped.

    Now Copete was right back in it, and the Vault of the Archangel was making itself felt. The momentum had entirely shifted, and it was starting to look as if two mulligans to five were going to prevail against the odds.

    Dead Weight landed on Gallows Warden, but not sufficient to kill it. Although Rodrigues finally forced the 3/3 off the board his position was close to hopeless. Elgaud Inquisitor seemed highly unlikely to change things, with Chant of the Skifsang on Dungeon Geists not stopping Copete either, who was Vaulting his way to a game three. He now led 19-9, and couldn't realistically be stopped. With a Makeshift Mauler and Moon Heron now the beating team, backed up by Vault of the Archangel, the unlikely comeback was now all-but certain.

    Then it was certain.

    Copete 1 - 1 Rodrigues

    Fabio Rodrigues

    Game 3

    Finally featuring fourteen cards between them, game three started out with Silverchase Fox from Copete and a following Spectral Rider. Rodrigues waited until turn four for his first play, a Moon Heron, and with Lingering Souls next form Copete drawing a gasp from a large crowd, it was clear that tempo could be an issue here in the decider for Rodrigues. Thanks to Shimmering Grotto, Copete could flash the Souls back, too.

    Claustrophobia went onto the Spectral Rider, as Copete offered to trade Silverchase Fox for Moon Heron. Rodrigues blocked, but paused before damage, representing Skillful Lunge or other trick. He elected (or was forced) to trade, leaving Copete to complete the four flyer package that is Lingering Souls. All Rodrigues had now was Elgaud Inquisitor, which promptly ran away to the top of his deck via Griptide. From the moment Moon Heron landed on turn four, Rodrigues was in danger of dying to tempo, and that was exactly what was unfolding. 18...16...12...8. Then it was Gallows Warden.

    The Elgaud Inquisitor clawed back a little life, Avacynian Priest came to man the barricades, and Lantern Spirit was a presentable blocker. Copete didn't care. He sent in the team, seeing Lantern Spirit block and then kill the Gallows warden with the Skillful Lunge he'd telegraphed earlier. Copete replaced his 3/3 with a 4/4 Murder of Crows. Grasp of Phantoms tried to stem the bleeding. Rodrigues was down to 5, with the Elgaud Inquisitor now enchanted by Chant of the Skifsang, negating the lifelink ability. Could Makeshift Mauler and Invisible Stalker bring Rodrigues back?

    Copete sent his flying army of Lingering Souls once more, with Rodrigues now at 2. Moments later an ear-splitting roar filled the arena. Spain would have a chair at the final table.

    David Garcia Copete 2 - 1 Fabio Rodrigues

     
  • Semifinal: Guido Sondag vs. Ivo Grossholz

    by Tobi Henke
  • Both players had won their quarterfinals 2-1. Ivo Grossholz from Switzerland beat Florian Koch in the red-green mirror with a little help from his Huntmaster of the Fells, while Guido Sondag of the Netherlands and his red-black deck had dispatched Italian Marco Frantuma playing blue-black Zombies.

    Game 1

    Sondag won the die-roll and chose to play first, but the actual first play came from Grossholz who made Young Wolf on turn one. Sondag summoned Typhoid Rats off a Mountain and Shimmering Grotto and passed the turn back to Grossholz who attacked for 1, then cast Gatstaf Shepherd.

    Not willing to trade his Rats for Young Wolf and resigned to see Gatstaf Shepherd transform into Gatstaf Howler, Sondag's Rats attacked for 1 as well. Grossholz delivered another 4, then continued the unusual theme of green evasion with Orchard Spirit.

    Ivo Grossholz

    On the next attack, Gatstaf Howler died to Sondag's Burning Oil, but Grossholz was ready to replace it with Ulvenwald Mystics. Desperately trying to not let this one transform, Sondag cast Harvest Pyre removing Burning Oil (!) to shoot 1 at Young Wolf. Ulvenwald Mystics stayed put for now, but Young Wolf transformed into a 2/2.

    Grossholz went without play on his turn and got his Ulvenwald Primordials after all. The board was now Young Wolf, Orchard Spirit, and Ulvenwald Primordials on Grossholz's side against a lonely Typhoid Rats on Sondag's. When Grossholz added Flayer of the Hatebound to his already dominant team, Sondag shrugged and picked up his cards for game two.

    Guido Sondag 0 – Ivo Grossholz 1

    Game 2

    Grossholz had the perfect opening with Young Wolf into Mayor of Avabruck, whereas things were looking grim for Sondag right from the start. Looking for a third land, he cast Desperate Ravings at the end of his opponent's turn—one of the more unimpressive cards in his deck as he can only pay the blue flashback cost via his one Shimmering Grotto. To add insult to injury, he not only randomly discarded the arguable best card in his deck, Bloodline Keeper, but also failed to find the land! He cast Undying Evil on the Mayor, simply to keep it from transforming, but Grossholz just attacked and passed the turn to, in turn, turn the Mayor.

    Guido Sondag

    Sondag found a land and summoned One-Eyed Scarecrow, while Grossholz's Wolves were joined by their token brethren. Sondag found another land and pointed Wrack with Madness at Howlpack Alpha, by now the only possiblity for him to maybe trý and claw his way back into the game. Alas, Grossholz had Spidery Grasp to save it. On his turn, he checked the lifetotals, cast Nightbird's Clutches on Sondag's solitary blocker and swung in for the win.

    Guido Sondag 0 – Ivo Grossholz 2

     
  • Final: Ivo Grossholz vs. David Garcia Copete

    by Tim Willoughby
  • From the very moment that Ivo Grossholz of Switzerland opened Huntmaster of the Fells in pack one of the top eight draft, there was a ripple around the table that he might be the person with the deck to beat. When Mayor of Avabruck joined his pile a pack later, that only added to the worries that the other players might have had.

    For those watching in the room, it was likely that Ivo was not the person they were supporting. David Garcia Copete is the last Spaniard in the tournament, and is just one match away from winning the whole darned thing. His blue/white/black deck sports some powerful cards itself, including Lingering Souls and Vault of the Archangel – quite the combo.

    Game 1

    For the first game, on the play, David was forced to mulligan. Regardless of this, his Selhoff Occultist was the first creature of the game, followed a fraction of a second later by an end of turn Ambush Viper. David seemed fine with trading off these creatures, and gave a swift nod when Ivo played out an Orchard Spirit. In a pure race, that 2/2 would not outmatch his Moon Heron.

    Grossholz' next play was a Scorned Villager; by no means the scariest werewolf in the Swiss player's deck. Garcia Copete cast a Dream Twist on himself in his turn to stop the werewolf from flipping, attacked for 3 and passed. The life totals were 17 – 18 in favour of Spain, but the Swiss player's attacks ensured this would not last long.

    At end of turn David Garcia Copete flashed back his Dream Twist, and was quick to attack with his Moon Heron the following turn, even with a Kessig Recluse now on the other side of the board. After the two creatures traded, it became clear why, with a Skaab Ruinator coming down.

    Grossholz had a second Kessig Recluse, but a Burden of Guilt kept it on lock and let the Spaniard get stuck in. It was time for Grossholz to start deploying rares. It wasn't a werewolf though, but a Flayer of the Hatebound. The rare was all very nice, but would do nothing against the speedy air force of David Garcia Copete, who soon won game one.

    David Garcia Copete 1 – 0 Ivo Grossholz

    Ivo Grossholz

    Game 2

    Garcia Copete had a good run of winning games having taken a mulligan. For game 2 he didn't have to. That didn't mean to say that he didn't wince a little as Mayor of Avabruck came down on turn two from Grossholz.

    A Dream Twist (self targeted) stopped Mayor of Avabruck from flipping for one turn, but it was only a matter of time before that changed. As Howlpack Alpha it would still do plenty even under the Burden of Guilt that Garcia Copete found for it.

    Riot Devils was the next play from Grossholz, who also got a Wolf at the end of turn. None of his creatures could block Spectral Rider from the Spaniard, but the Swiss player did not seem to mind. Burden of Guilt was not really tapping down Howlpack Alpha so much, as Garcia Copete chose instead to build his board up with a Mausoleum Guard.

    Nightbird's Clutches meant that this new creature could not block, and would likely not be blocking the following turn either. What Garcia Copete could achieve though was to get that Mayor a little more manageable. Divination plus a flashed back Dream Twist flipped the Mayor to the light side. However, Ivo Grossholz had the answer, with Moonmist meaning that the alpha strike commanded by Howlpack Alpha would be good enough.

    David Garcia Copete 1 – 1 Ivo Grossholz

    1,318 players. After this game, one of them would be the champion. The Spaniard would be on the play, and for the second time in the match, he would be taking a mulligan. The six card hand met with an unhappy look, and went back too. The five card hand looked rough. Four blue cards and a Plains. It too went back.

    David Garcia Copete

    Game 3

    Ivo, normally with a substantial grin on his face (and being supported by copies of Grinning Demon, Grinning Totem and Grimgrin, Corpse Born next to his deck), was not smiling; at least not on the outside.

    David Garcia Copete had Island for the first two turns, and a Shriekgeist. While he didn't have a third land, he did find a Deranged Assistant, and soon a Plains to allow for a Moon Heron. Somehow it looked like David Garcia Copete might be able to make a game of it. Ashmouth Hound was the only early play from Ivo Grossholz. Could it happen? A win off the mulligan to four?

    A Kessig Recluse came down for Ivo, and Garcia Copete was quick to attack into it. Wary of what happened when he let a Recluse die in game one, Ivo elected not to block. The Spaniard simply followed up with a Mausoleum Guard.

    The Mausoleum Guard traded with Ashmouth Hound, helping Garcia Copete build up an air force. This was soon wiped away though by a Blasphemous Act. Garcia Copete was now at one card in hand, a Dream Twist which he used on himself, digging for Skaab Ruinator.

    All the Spaniard had was lands, while Ivo Grossholz had a Kessig Recluse with which to attack. David knocked on his deck one turn, but it wasn't listening. The next he peeled a card off more carefully. It wasn't until his third attempt that David Garcia Copete found something of value off the top – a Divination. This in turn got a Makeshift Mauler. The life totals were 15 to 6 in Ivo's favour, but this didn't stop David from attacking with his zombie, before casting Elder Cathar and a Chant of the Skifsang on Kessig Recluse.

    Ivo cast had a Riot Devils, and attacked in even up 3 cards in hand, and a lot of life, he seemed nervous. With every card drawn now, David Garcia Copete was peeling it off the top carefully. A Skaab Runiator came. Ivo had nothing. David attacked in. Rending Vines killed the Ruinator, but it was soon back.

    Ivo Grossholz seemed despondent. What had to happen to close out this game? The life totals were now 11 to 6, and he was facing a 5/6 on the ground (Makeshift Mauler with a +1/+1 counter) and a 5/6 in the air, along with a Selhoff Occultist. Attacks from David made it 6 life each.

    Attacks put Ivo Grossholz to 1 life. Ivo pushed back to get in 2 points, and make the life totals 1 plays 4. After combat, a Fling of Ulvenwald Primordials was enough to seal the deal. While it might not have been the outcome that the crowd was hoping for, after a tantalisingly close game Ivo Grossholz defeated David Garcia Copete 2-1 to become the Grand Prix Madrid 2012 Champion!

     
  • Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Madrid 2012

    by Tobi Henke
  • 5: Avacyn's Collar

    Over the weekend, Avacyn's Collar turned out to be a centerpiece of quite a few black-white decks. With lots of Humans, some of them even provided by the likes of Gather the Townsfolk or even Increasing Devotion, and other cards to sacrifice them for additional value like Falkenrath Torturer, the equipment proved itself again and again. All of the aforementioned could, for example, be found in Raphaël Lévy's day-one Sealed Deck which—in the hands of this grand master of Magic—managed a respectable 7-1-1 finish.


    4: Wolfhunter's Quiver

    While most of the equipment in Innistrad was all about sheer power, say Butcher's Cleaver or Silver-Inlaid Dagger, Dark Ascension instead goes for sweet build-around-me cards. Like Avacyn's Collar, Wolfhunter's Quiver won't be great automatically, but if you put in the effort, it might be able surprise you—and your opponents. Whether you combine it with Midnight Guard or the deathtouch trifecta of Typhoid Rats, Ambush Viper, and Kessig Recluse, the Quiver is not just good against Werewolves.


    3: Forge Devil

    The devil, as they say, is in the details, and this little member of the tribe was able to impress more than once. In the new format, which by all accounts is more geared towards aggro than its precursor, 1 damage was the small detail that sometimes made all the difference. No wonder Martin Jůza called it one of the most underrated cards of Dark Ascension.


    2: Increasing Devotion

    Tricks and neat little combo cards only get you so far, however. Sometimes you need to simply smash face. Nothing better to do that with than a combined total of 15 tokens now, is there? Which isn't to say that Increasing Devotion cannot be a combo piece itself. Raphaël Lévy had it in two different decks over the weekend. In Sealed, he turned all of those tokens into +1/+1 counters for Falkenrath Torturer or upgraded them to Spirits via Avacyn's Collar, while in his second draft deck, the Devotion boosted his two Champion of the Parish to absurd proportions. One of the most devoted players in the history of the game using Increasing Devotion to finally pull ahead of Kai Budde in lifetime pro points? Now that's Magic.


    1: Fling

    And finally, the card that decided the finals. In an incredibly close game three, David Garcia Copete had just turned the tide after a mulligan to four. He had battled his opponent down to just 1 life and was about to clinch the title. But Ivo Grossholz of Switzerland topdecked Fling to deal lethal damage and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

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