Day 1 Recap
By Randy Buehler
302 players showed up to compete in the 2000 European Championships. On Friday they took part in six rounds of Masques/Nemesis/Prophecy booster draft. At the end of the day, John Ormerod was in first place with a perfect 6-0 record. Ormerod is a member of the European Alliance and has a Pro Tour Top 8 on his resume, along with a 9th pace finish last winter at Pro Tour Chicago. Many of the people I talked to before the tournament began predicted that someone from the Alliance would win this event. Kai Budde was the most popular pick, but the reigning world champion and player of the year is only 4-2.
Noah Boeken (of the Netherlands), Tomi Walamies (of Finland) and Jean-Louis D'hondt (of Belgium) are also 6-0. Interestingly, the top 6 players are all from different countries and there is a 7th country represented in the top 8.
Also in position to make a run on Saturday are 1997 World Champion Jakub Slemr, Worlds 1998 3rd place Raphael Levy, and Norwegian Christer Ljones; each with a 5-1 record. A Norwegian has won this event in each of the last two years so keep an eye on Ljones. Ljones has multiple Grand Prix Top 8's and was on table 1 for the last draft at the most recent PT LA.
Germany did not have a good day. The Germans have been widely considered the second best country of Magic players in the world (behind the U.S.), but they didn't really back up that reputation on Friday. Budde is 4-2, Baberowski is 2-4, and reigning national champion Andre Konstanczer is 4-2. Meanwhile Valkyser, Kroger, and Brickwell are each 3-3. Christian Luhrs is trying to uphold the honor of his country with his 4-1-1 record.
France, on the other hand, did have a good day. In addition to Levy, Nicolas Olivieri went 5-0-1, Loic Degrou is 5-1, and Black Ops member Olivier Ruel is 5-1. Michael Debard hasn't been heard from in years, yet there he sits at 4-1-1 and in 24th place. French National champion Yann Hamon is just two spots below him.
And keep an eye on those Spaniards. Grand Prix Madrid champion Carlos Barrado and Pt Chicago Top 8 competitor Hector Fuentes are both 5-1 with good tiebreakers. They're sitting in 8th and 9th.
Daniel Paskins is only 3-3, but he's nonetheless looking forward to playing his red deck tomorrow. He'll spend Friday night trying to convince teammates to play it as well and then those who do are planning to have a contest tomorrow to see who can kill the most elves. Say tuned to the Sideboard for live updates of their running totals.