Day 1 Blog Archive

Posted in Event Coverage on October 20, 2007

By Wizards of the Coast


  • Blog - 7:08 p.m.: Round 7: André Coimbra vs David Zhao
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 5:23 p.m.: Round 6: Olivier Ruel vs. Shingou Kurihara
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 2:56 p.m.: Round 4: Cole Swannack vs Aaron Nicastri
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 1:16 p.m.: Round 3: Rob Nadebaum vs Jeremy Neeman
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
  • Blog - 10:53 a.m.: The Early Rounds
    by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw


Saturday, October 20: 10:53 a.m. - The Early Rounds

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

The early rounds of any Grand Prix can seem somewhat uneventful for you all at home. The players you're tuning in to see are often sitting in the sidelines, letting their Awarded Byes do all of the hard work for them. I set out to find where these sidelines might be, but with Brisbane being as beautiful as it is, some of these guys are a little hard to find.

However, I did find Olivier Ruel lurking around the back tables instead of checking out the markets in South Bank or chilling in a cafe. Olivier seemed less than pleased with what his sealed pool had given him, his face a picture of scowls under that pink hat. Curious, I cornered him to ask what went wrong. Apparently the pool sucker-punched him somewhat, showing a Dread and a Jace Beleren, giving him hope of opening the saucy Faerie deck he had wanted. But sadly, all he was left with was a passable Red/Black aggro deck, loosely based around Goblins, with such stars as Boggart Loggers and another Boggart Loggers.

Seating players alphabetically to build decks had Olivier Ruel next to Tomoharu Saito"Not the kind of thing you want to fly halfway around the world to see" Oliver grinned, repeatedly Goldfishing his deck to check it's consistency. Apparently he has a great transformation sideboard of around half a dozen islandwalkers, but agreed that his only chance to grab the two plus wins he needs for day two is to stay on target and preserve the decks focus, even against opponents with Islands.


Saturday, October 20: 1:16 p.m. - Round 3: Rob Nadebaum vs Jeremy Neeman

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Fresh off the bench with two byes each, Rob Nadebaum and Jeremy Neeman were the first players to be blessed by my presence in the feature match area. Sure, we let Rolf Nicolas and Hugh Raynor duke it out under the lights in round two, but I was too busy off err, outside taking pictures to cover their match. Yes, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

After fetching myself a chair, I sat down to see Rob holding off Jeremy's Green and White army with a sole Mudbutton Torchrunner. If you'd blinked, you would have missed what happened next, but thankfully I am the unwavering sort and so on. Rob swung in with the Torchrunner, then cleared the table with an Incendiary Command and shuffled their hands back in for a new selection. Rob's freshly drawn Inner-Flame Acolyte and Warren Pilferers soon finished Game 1, as the Command only delivered Jeremy a grip of lands.

Rob takes Jeremy's Crib Swap token to the faceJeremy rallied back in Game 2 by promptly offering his Leaf Gilder to a Changeling Hero. Backed up by a Veteran of the Depths, Rob was soon thrashed into Game 3.

The Veteran showed up again for Game 3, and again Rob didn't have an answer. He considered dispatching it with a Weed Strangle, but decided to point that at the Changeling Hero, who had also been shuffled back into play from the previous game. Jeremy then found a Kinsbaile Balloonist, and while Rob managed throw a Crib Swap at it, and a Neck Snap at the Veteran, he couldn't stop the rest of Jeremy's monsters crushing him.

Jeremy Neeman defeats Rob Nadebaum 2 - 1


Saturday, October 20: 2:56 p.m. - Round 4: Cole Swannack vs Aaron Nicastri

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

I've managed to put Aaron Nicastri on the feature match table from time to time in the past, and somehow the fates always end up conspiring against me actually getting pen to paper to report on his matches. Sitting across from Aaron is New Zealand's favorite son from three years ago, Cole Swannack. No longer eleven years old, three foot tall and defeating Gary Wise in feature matches at the world champs, but certainly slinging spells again and waving the New Zealand flag. Or at least a small black dice bag with a silver fern on the side anyway.

To begin with, both players gummed up the ground with Green guys. Aaron backed his up with Blue and utilizing Wings of Velis Vel to break combat, while Cole retaliated with a Blades of Velis Vel and enlarging his army with a Hearthcage Giant, played on the cheap thanks to a Stinkdrinker Daredevil. Aaron's splashed Oblivion Ring took the Giant off to one side, only for Cole to drop another one.
"Two?" Aaron queried. "They're pretty bad really," Cole replied "just not on this draw."

A Cloudcrown Oak followed up with a Timber Protector and a Changeling Titan looked like a done deal for Aaron in Game 2. Cole managed to burn down the Protector with a Consuming Bonfire, but was forced to trade too many resources to take out the Titan. Aaron managed to pull even further ahead with a Fathom Trawl and a Mulldrifter, so Cole picked up his cards to save time for Game 3.

Twice as tall, somehow Cole Swannack still looks like he did when we last saw him a few years ago.Cole lead Game 3 with a turn two Wren's Run Vanquisher followed by the Woodland Changeling that enabled it. They were joined by a Tar Pitcher, who quickly threw a Stinkdrinker Daredevil at a Silvergill Douser to force Aaron to champion his Cloudcrown Oak to his Changeling Titan instead. The Titan traded with Vanquisher to buy Aaron enough time to Ponder and Fathom Trawl his way through a glut of lands waiting for him on top of his deck. With help from the Tar Pitcher, the Woodland Changeling then traded with the Oak, just back from its vacation in the Removed from the Game zone.

Aaron rebuilt with a Merrow Reejerey, a Stonybrook Angler and another Cloudcrown Oak. The Angler came in very handy when Cole slapped a Hostility into play and headed for the red zone, but was soon brushed aside by a Consuming Bonfire. Aaron then calmly pushed the Oak and an Ethereal Whiskergill in front of Hostility instead. Cole went back to the drawing board and filled out his side of the table with a Hearthcage Giant and a Guardian of the Cloverdell.

Time was then called, prompting Aaron to ask "Overrun?" "Just about" Cole replied, and gave his army of Giants and their respective token companions +2/+0 with his splashed Final Revels and swung them all towards his opponent. Aaron pushed his guys around in front of the attackers, but eventually declared it "too much damaged" and offered the hand.

Cole Swannack defeats Aaron Nicastri 2 - 1


Saturday, October 20: 5:23 p.m. - Round 6: Olivier Ruel vs Shingou Kurihara

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Ahhh finally, a couple of the names we came here to see. Of course, this could be quite a one-sided affair though, with Olivier Ruel not particularly confident in his deck, but hey, we're gonna watch anyway, what with Shingou Kurihara trying to catch up to Tomoharu Saito in the Player of the Year race.


Warren Pilferers
Olivier won the die roll and naturally chose to play first, and steadily played land after land until his first creature play of a turn-five Warren Pilferers to hold back Shingou's small white army. His play became apparent when on the following turn he championed the Pilferers with a Changeling Berserker, giving it a solid back-up plan if Shingou dealt with the 5/3. However, Shingou's small men continued to whittle away at Olivier, and his lack of early action ultimately cost him the first game of the match.

"Maybe I should have mulliganed," Olivier mused, touching his wee toy bear to the top of his library for luck.

Game 2 started out much faster for the Frenchman, leading with a Facevaulter, a Squeaking Pie Sneak, and cycling a pair of Needle Drops off Shingou's face. Retaliating with a Kithkin Healer and a Harpoon Sniper didn't do Shingou much good, as Olivier fed his Hornet Harasser to the Facevaulter to take out the Healer, but playing a Mulldrifter into an Ajani Goldmane did.

"Gain two life"

"Gain two? I thought it was gain one, what a nightmare..."

Olivier struck back with a Mournwhelk, but only nabbing a pair of Mountains for his effort. To make matters worse, an Adder-Staff Boggart's clash revealed a Tarfire on top of Shingou's library. Olivier surveyed his board position, and looked forlornly at his hand before perking up and saying "actually, I think I win."

He played a Spiderwig Boggart, giving his Facevaulter fear and feeding his two new Goblins to it to reduce Shingou to zero life exactly.

Ruel and Kurihara came to Brisbane hunting for Pro Points.Shingou strangely chose to draw, probably because he was splashing both black and blue with his red and white cards. Thankfully, Olivier didn't come out of the gate fast enough to punish him for wanting extra cards before getting to stabilize with a Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile. However, Olivier then dropped a Dread, who threatened to demolish Shingou in short order. Shingou passed the turn back with his four mana open, and Olivier declined to attack into the potential Neck Snap he was representing, deciding that being on 20 life would give him enough room to set up a kill instead of losing his bomb so rashly.

Many turns passed as the players jockeyed for position, Olivier with a Tar Pitcher and Shingou with a Shriekmaw until Ajani Goldmane came down again. Olivier could do nothing but call the Neck Snap bluff, and won. Dread crashed into the red zone unopposed and finished Shingou off handily.

...And it wouldn't be an Olivier Ruel feature match without the shout-outs, even if he did have to come up to the stage to pass them on.

"I love my mum, and good luck to Antoine in the Invitational!"

Olivier Ruel defeats Shingou Kurihara 2 - 1


Saturday, October 20: 7:08 p.m. - Round 7: André Coimbra vs David Zhao

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

And we end the day on the typical "which one of these players will finish the day undefeated" feature match. Saturdauy's contestants are David Zhao and André Coimbra, both of whom are good players in their own right, although André would be considered to have the advantage, being a Level 4 mage and playing the game, seeing the world.

David's draw for Game 1 was too slow to withstand André's faerie assault, which was crowned by a turn four "during your upkeep" Mistbind Clique. A Nameless Inversion cleared out David's only hope at defense, and he was very quickly packing up for Game 2.

Which player would finish the day with a perfect record?Garruk Wildspeaker came down in Game 2 to defend David. In fact, not just defend but summon an army to fight for him. André sent his Merrow Harbinger through David's Island to neutralize the Plainswalker and passed the turn back with four mana open. David attacked back with his Beasts and a Mulldrifter, losing one Beast to a Whirlpool Whelm, but dropping a huge elbow on André when he tried to Nameless Inversion the other one.

David flashed out a Briarhorn, enlarging the Beast beyond the range of the Inversion and reminding everyone watching that it also gives the creature +3 power, dropping André to six. A turn or two later he was also facing a Vigor and scooped his cards up.

André spent most of his time in the last game using his Shapesharer to copy his Merrow Harbinger and Islandwalk through past David's defenses, which again consisted of a Garruk Wildspeaker and friends. Getting dangerously low on life, David began to accumulate loyalty counters on his Plainswalker, eyeing up André's full life total as a lofty yet not unreachable goal. André did the math, and decided that playing a Dreamspoiler Witches and dropping a Whirlpool Whelm on a Beast would leave him on one life and able to attack back for the win. He would have been correct, if it wasn't for David's Wings of Velis Vel, giving him more than enough damage to win the match.

David Zhao defeats André Coimbra 2 - 1

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