2007 Magic Invitational Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on October 20, 2007

By Wizards of the Coast

Catch up on all the action from previous days at the Magic Invitational.


  • 4:45 p.m.: Magic Arrives at Essen
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Podcast: It's The Winston Show!
    by Rich Hagon
  • 2:38 p.m.: Postcards from Essen
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • 1:45 p.m.: Drafting You've got some rares... Round 7: Rich Hoaen vs. Raphael Levy
    by Tim Willoughby
  • 11:47 a.m.: Drafting with Rich, Invitational Edition
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Video: Winston Draft
    by Mark Rosewater and Jake Theis
  • 10:25 a.m.: Did it Pay to Pay? An Auction Recap
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Podcast: Auction of the People, Part 2
    by Rich Hagon
  • Recap: Day One
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Feature: Invitationalist Card Submissions
    by Event Coverage Staff


Thursday we played three full rounds of Cube Draft, where Stephen Menendian was the only player to come out with a 3-0 record in a format he will openly admit he hadn't played before landing in Germany. He was hotly chased by such luminaries as Kenji Tsumura, Antoine Ruel and Shuhei Nakamura going into the Auction of the People rounds, which will finish off Friday morning.

The Auction itself happened on Wednesday night, and while some decks looked a little oversold, various players got some real bargains. After the first two rounds of Auction battling, Antoine Ruel and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa share the overall lead on 4-1.

Spare a little thought for Gabriel Nassif, though. While Yellowhat has been Mr. Entertainment throughout the tournament thus far with the masterful suggestion to "draft for the rares" during Cube Draft and the amusing "Mindslaver + Copy Artifact" play, he has yet to win a match. At 0-5, Nassif is hoping to re-invoke the power of "lose the Invitational, win a Pro Tour" which has not happened in some time. Technically he can still 10-0 to fight for top 2, but it will be pretty close.


Podcast: Auction of the People, Part 2

by Rich Hagon

It's time for the bidding to stop and the action to start. Everyone was looking for a bargain basement price for a top-quality product on Wednesday, and now the players got to unwrap the goodies and see how much bang they got for their buck. At one end, Kenji Tsumura, bidding 5 cards and 19 life to get the auction started, in order to get his hands on the Mizzium Transreliquat/Time Vault combo deck. At the other end of the bidding, both Rich Hoaen and Tiago Chan walked away with 8 cards and 25 life. But weren't their decks terrible? We bring you all the action from the second format here at the Invitational 2007.

  • Right-click here to download the podcast to your computer, or just click on the link to open it directly in your browser.

10:25 a.m. - Did it Pay to Pay? An Auction Recap

by Tim Willoughby

While the Cube draft format was pretty comprehensively won by Stephen Menendian as the only player to 3-0, the Auction format was kind of a tricky one to get a handle on. There were a lot of ways to feel like either a "winner" or a "loser."

Right off the bat there was the auction itself, where it seemed like quite a few of the players got into heated battles for decks that left a large proportion of the field in the awkward position of having to play with just five cards in their starting hand. For some, like Kenji Tsumura and Shota Yasooka, this was absolutely fine with them. Each went 2-1 in the format, and was pretty happy with the deal they got.

Evan Erwin was in kind of an awkward position, having bid down to five cards in hand without realizing that he was bidding down his maximum hand size. This is pretty important when you are looking at gaining a bajillion life with Martyr of Sands. Shuhei Nakamura meanwhile, was pretty happy on five cards just to have an easier time discarding fatties to reanimate, though he did feel he was a tiny bit greedy to get the deck, going down to five cards. Jelger was pretty happy with his five-card bit also, with a deck jam packed with one-cost spells with which to beat down.

Meanwhile, Rich Hoaen felt pretty confident that he'd got the best deal in the Auction when he received Cultural Exchange last at 8 cards and 25 life. The deck includes multiple different board-clearing effects, and more ways of abusing Brand than is really fair. With two to three more cards in hand at the start of the game than any opponent, Rich cruised to a 3-0 record in the format, where others had had a little trouble.

Matchups did prove to be of critical importance in the Auction format also. Frank Karsten felt he'd made a fair call getting the deck full of non-basic land hate, but then found himself up against some of the only decks that run plenty of basic land, leading to a rough finish for him. Erwin had a virtually unwinnable matchup in last round of the Auction, as he played the Test of Endurance deck against Kenji Tsumura's Time Vault/Mizzium Transreliquat combo deck. Kenji's deck can pretty much ignore life totals if it gets off its combo, and this left Evan cold, with no disruption beyond Zur's Weirding, which would often be too slow. Kenji won both games with his combo in under 10 minutes.

Gabriel Nassif did get his first win in the format, as in Round 6 he took down Shota Yasooka in a close three-game set. Illusions of Grandeur and Donate is one of the most powerful combos of all time, but against some decks with over 20 life, it loses a little of its edge. When the deck also had a few "filler" cards that didn't quite serve its main goal too well, Gab felt that ultimately he had bid a little too high on it.

Here are the overall results for players, along with the deck they played, and their final bids.

3-0 Rich Hoaen: Cultural Exchange, 8 cards 25 life
3-0 Tiago Chan: Transformers, 8 cards 25 life
2-1 Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa: 5 Colour Sanctuary, 6 cards 14 life
2-1 Shuhei Nakamura: Reanimator, 5 cards 24 life
2-1 Kenji Tsumura: Time Vault Mizzium Transreliquat combo, 5 cards 19 life
2-1 Guillaume Wapo-Tafa: 42 Land deck, 7 card 18 life
2-1 Jelger Wiegersma: Suicide Black, 5 cards 18 life
2-1 Antoine Ruel: An Ode to Jamie, 6 cards 12 life
2-1 Raphael Levy: ChiaPet, 6 cards 14 life
1-2 Willy Edel: Legendary Puppets, 7 cards 17 life
1-2 Craig Jones: Choose Your Destiny, 7 cards 24 life
1-2 Shota Yasooka: Fattie/Geddon, 5 cards 13 life
1-2 Gabriel Nassif: Illusions/Donate, 6 cards 16 life
0-3 Evan Erwin: Test of Endurance, 5 cards 25 life
0-3 Frank Karsten: RG Hate, 6 cards 16 life
0-3 Stephen Menendian: Elves!, 5 cards 25 life

Video: Winston Draft

by Mark Rosewater and Jake Theis

Get the inside scoop on how to draft Winston-style, a head-to-head format played with three boosters apiece.

11:47 a.m. - Drafting with Rich, Invitational Edition

by Tim Willoughby

For the Winston format, we are trying something a little different. You won't get a draft viewer or anything, but one way or another you will be getting a look at both sides of the picks in this. One half, with Mr. Richard Hoaen will be covered by myself in print. The other, Raphael Levy's view on the draft, will be masterfully delivered in the audio coverage by Rich Hagon. Given the way that Winston works, with a lot of cards not being seen at any point by opponents, these could be quite different views on the same draft.

Raph and Rich ponder what's in each stack.In theory there is even more potential than in other Limited formats to "out open" opponents, as you could end up with a high proportion of the rares naturally being seen by one play—but that always assumes that they can actually play the colours necessary to support them. Much like Sealed Deck, Winston is often a format where bombs play a big part, and it's pretty common for decks to splash extra colours to play them.

For Rich, the opening picks of the Lorwyn Winston draft were fairly unexciting. He won the roll and elected to take the second look at the piles, but even with the potential for more cards to look at (if piles got built up) there was nothing that really took his fancy. He went for one off the top, and got an equally unspectacular Soaring Hope. The second time around pile one looked good enough, with Bog-Strider Ash, Ringskipper and Facevaulter.

Unlike in other drafts, there is nothing that makes "early picks" anything special beyond a point where you can get an idea about colour preferences. This was certainly the case for Rich, who spent the early parts of the draft sliding around, getting various green cards, but certainly nothing to send him into the colour with any conviction. The really interesting thing was the lack of blue and black. Raph was clearly valuing the removal-heavy black and tricksy blue cards pretty highly.


Oblivion Ring
When Rich saw a single pile with Hillcomber Giant, Avian Changeling and Giant's Ire, it looked like a pretty strong signal. He took it with little hesitation. From here, the amount of "first picks" that Hoaen had the option on rose greatly. In Winston, there's not so much the decision of "is this a first pick," it is simply just a question of yes or no... and from here, Rich had plenty of Yes cards to add to his pile. Changeling Berserker was a pretty solid choice, and it was followed by an Oblivion Ring which came off the top of the deck after all three piles didn't make the cut.

Chandra Nalaar came along, and was a welcome member of Team Canada. Shortly later, the white hideaway land came in a pile with Cloudgoat Ranger, the latter of which is pretty much a bomb without being a rare. The very next pick was Giant's Ire plus Brion Stoutarm. It seemed that the Canadian reds and whites were a good call for Hoaen. When Mirror Entity showed up in the next pile of one, Rich was done. While Raph appeared pretty happy with the cards he opened at the end of the draft, it looked very unlikely that he could have bested what was a solid two-colour deck, with enough power cards to make life thoroughly awkward for his Hall of Famer opponent.

Rich was a little concerned about how heavily Raph was in blue especially, and kicking himself that he took as many green cards as he did, but ultimately, it was pretty clear that he was happy with his deck.

1:45 p.m. - You've got some rares...

by Tim Willoughby

Raph and Rich were tied at the top with 4-2 records.After a pretty fast and furious Winston draft (where Rich Hoaen felt that his deck was reasonable thanks to bombs, but that he hadn't quite drafted correctly), the game was on. Both players shared the lead in the standings at 4-2 (along with five other players), so there was plenty of incentive to try to pull ahead with the third format of the Invitational.

Game 1

Both players kept, and Rich led with one of his four rares, Windbrisk Heights, to hide a Flamekin Igniter. He followed up with an Adder-Staff Boggart, while Raph still didn't have a creature. This was soon remedied as Streambed Aquitects came into play, but Rich was happy to build his board further with a Blind-Spot Giant. As the only giant in play it looked a little weak, but it soon became clear that Hoaen didn't need it as a Giant so much as a warm body, to potentially be championed by Changeling Berserker. As it happens, given that Raph had no responses to the Changeling, it got to champion Adder-Staff Boggart. For a brief moment it looked that Blind-Spot Giant may be able to attack, right up until Nameless Inversion killed the shapeshifter, bringing back Rich's goblin, who again lost the clash.

Raph had a goblin of his own in Boggart Harbinger, who found Boggart Mob. Rich played a Stinkdrinker Daredevil, and a Flamekin Harbinger finding Mirror Entity. That was rare No. 2, and Raph raised his eyebrows in concern. The changeling came out the following turn, along with Flamekin Brawler.

"So you're going to have how many 5/5's next turn?"

Richie counted up the six creatures he had in play, not even bothering to mention the potential for there being a land on top of his deck.

Rich took a hit from Boggart Mob, and Raph passed the turn. Raph had a Whirlpool Whelm for Mirror Entity, but it still made Hoaen's creatures 5/5 on the way back to his hand, and Raph dropped to five on the attack after throwing a goblin in the way of one of Hoaen's monsters.

Raph was forced to Weed StrangleStinkdrinker Daredevil (who would make Mirror Entity cost just ), and rued his luck as he revealed a land off the clash. Ultimately, it didn't prove to matter, as Hoaen had one of his two copies of Giant's Ire to finish off the Hall of Famer.

Chandra wants to come out and play.

Game 2

Rich kept on the draw, and had a Lash Out to kill Ghostly Changeling, and dome Raph for 3. He played Blind-Spot Giant, followed by Brion Stoutarm, which met with a "You have some rares..." from Raph. While both these monsters were soon dealt with by removal from Levy, the big Hoaen rare show was still going, as he played Chandra Nalaar.

Rich soon put an Avian Changeling and a Flamekin Brawler to protect her, and with only Glen Elendra Pranksters, Raph couldn't get in to take out Chandra before she blew up Levy's side of the world. Ultimately it wasn't even close.

Richard Hoaen wins 2-0.

2:38 p.m. - Postcards from Essen

by Event Coverage Staff
You're not going to sing for us, are you Kenji?
This red has a nice bouquet, but the notes of plum and apricot just don’t do it for me.
Who do you want to be today?
MaRo and his unwitting minions.
Nassif drafts from the cube….
…and then goes to check Gatherer.
Kenji Tsumura, the self-proclaimed 'Lucky Master'.

Podcast: It's the Winston Show!

by Event Coverage Staff

It's the latest format to hit town, and it's a doozy. All you need are two players, a measly 6 boosters and some basic land and you are good to go. It's a breathtakingly fun format to play and watch, with unexpected twists and turns, synergy and raw power colliding in spectacular ways, and horrible cards doing wonderful things. We explore all that's great about Winston, and also bring you an insider's guide to the Pro Tour That Almost Never Was. Join us tomorrow for two blistering shows as the Pros get down to serious business. Fourteen still have a chance of making the Sunday finals. Saturday that will become two, and you won't miss a thing here on magicthegathering.com.

  • Right-click here to download the podcast to your computer, or just click on the link to open it directly in your browser.


4:45 p.m. - Magic Arrives at Essen

by Event Coverage Staff

While the big stars are battling it out at the Magic Invitational...

…at the Wizards booth…
…the small ones are getting taught how to become a great planeswalker.
But there is still more Magic going on elsewhere. Ultra-Pro is showcasing their brand new Magic-back card sleeves.
And there is even one hall full of card dealers selling and trading Magic singles. To hardly anyone's surprise, the best-selling card from Lorwyn is Thoughtseize with all of the Planeswalkers trailing shortly behind.
Many famous (or at least notorious) German players are around as well. From the very best to the… worst. Here we see a friendly handshake between Pro Tour-Valencia runner-up Andre Müller, who's currently the world's highest-ranked player (composite: 2133), and Christopher Eucken, the lowest-ranked player (1226). Eucken even proudly announced that he will soon get his Limited rating (1048) into the area of three-digit numbers. He is on a journey to unfathomable depths no man has ever seen before.

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