- Blog- 11:09 p.m.: Undefeated Decklists
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Podcast - 9:40 p.m.: And the Beat Goes On
by Rich Hagon
- Blog - 9:26 p.m.: A Panopticum of Perspectives
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Blog - 8:17 p.m.: Round 8: André Coimbra vs Willy Edel
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Podcast - 8:06 p.m.: Pros in Pursuit of Points
by Rich Hagon
- Blog - 6:17 p.m.: Round 6: Luis Scott-Vargas vs Olivier Ruel
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Blog - 5:10 p.m.: Round 5: Antoine Ruel vs Nicolay Potovin
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Blog - 4:34 p.m.: Metagame Indicators
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Blog - 3:47 p.m.: A Rich Platter
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Blog - 2:20 p.m.: Round 3 Feature Match: Manuel Bucher vs Saverio Magri
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Podcast - 1:10 p.m.: The Race Heats Up
by Rich Hagon
- Podcast - 12:15 p.m.: Top Tables, Top Players
by Rich Hagon
- Blog - 11:00 a.m.: The Race to the Title and Japanese Impressions
by Hanno Terbuyken
- Info: Day 1 Player List (Green)
by Event Coverage Staff
- Info: Day 1 Player List (Blue)
by Event Coverage Staff
- Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown
by Event Coverage Staff
- Info: Fact Sheet
by Event Coverage Staff
Saturday, November 3: 11:00 a.m. - The Race to the Title and Japanese Impressions
"This is my small Valencia," commented head judge Adam Cetnerowski, as the tournament failed to fire due to a massive problem with the byes for the first round. So while the players were aimlessly milling around and the scorekeepers were overheating their laptops, trying to get every single bye right, we took a look at the Player of the Year race.
Going into GP Krakow, the race to the title looked like this:
1. Tomoharu Saito (55 points)
2. Kenji Tsumura (51 points)
3. Shingo Kurihara (49 points)
4. Guillaume Wafo-Tapa (48 points)
5. Raphael Levy (44 points)
6. Paul Cheon (41 points)
7. Olivier Ruel (40 points)
8. Mark Herberholz (38 points)
9. Mike Hron (37 points)
10. Shuuhei Nakamura (37 points)
The Japanese contestants are here in Krakow – save one: Shingo Kurihara missed out. "Everytime I asked him, he said 'I decide tomorrow'," says Shuuhei Nakamura. When he asked Shingo on Wednesday one last time, the third-place runner declined to join the team. But Tomoharu Saito, Kenji Tsumura, and Shouta Yasooka took the chance and joined Shuuhei on the plane to Europe. The Japanese quartet had enough time to take in the city's numerous sights. "It's much like Prague," said Shuuhei, "only nicer". Krakow is well known for its Rennaissance architecture. Veit Stoß (Polish: Wit Stwosz) was one of the builder-architects who made his mark here. Among other things, he was responsible for parts of the interior decoration of the Wawel castle, Krakow's city residence of the Polish kings around the 15th century.
Shuuhei Nakamura was really hoping for the one pro point that a Day 2 appearance would give him. With the two points he gets for showing up in New York for Worlds, that one crucial point would guarantee him Pro level 5 for next season. The Player of the Year title is out of reach, unless he swings to the top at Worlds. Kenji, on the other hand, very much has his mind on the race. "I hope I can win!" he says, smiling confidently.
Kenji has a dream, and GP Krakow is one stepping stone to his goal. He wants to be the first player since Kai to reach a second Player of the Year title, and he wants the trifecta of multiple PoY titles, World Champion, and Invitational winner. Not a small order for the lightly built Japanese master. But with GPs Daytona Beach and Kitakyuushuu next on his list, Kenji is confident to climb this mountain – and finish above Saito (and everybody else) in the PoY race.
Saturday, November 3: 12:15 p.m. - Podcast: The Race Heats Up
Welcome to Poland and the last stop on the European Grand Prix circuit for the 2007 season. With Amsterdam, Stockholm, Strasbourg and Firenze behind us, the Player of the Year Race is reaching critical mass, with most of the contenders in action here this weekend. In our preview show, we examine the top of the table, and look at more than a dozen decks that could find their way to the top tables as the weekend progresses.
Saturday, November 3: 1:10 p.m. - Podcast: Top Tables, Top Players
In show two here in Poland, we bring you the Top Tables and the Top Players. It's worth remembering that in the early rounds of a Grand Prix, those two don't generally go together, as the top players have multiple byes, and won't swing into action until midafternoon. So, we chat with the top players about their decks, and Ben takes an opening round look at what decks are being played on what will eventually become the Top Tables.
Saturday, November 3: 2:20 p.m. – Round 3 Feature Match: Manuel Bucher vs Saverio Magri
Manuel Bucher gained in fame when Remier Fortier won Pro Tour: Valencia with a deck of his design. But the reigning Swiss champion had already earned his spurs before with a Top 8 in this year’s GP Firenze. Without byes, Bucher already had won two matches with his black-blue control deck.
Magri had decided against trickiness for this GP, running straight R/G aggro with Goblins, Tarmogoyf and Greater Gargadon. Originally, we had tagged Helmut Summersberger as a feature match for this round, but of course as a level 5 pro, Summersberger has three byes at GPs – a clear sign that some of the problems had slipped through the cracks of the system.
Bucher dispatched Magri’s first army with Damnation, had his Jace Beleren kicked to the curb by the next wave of attackers, and soon faced lethal damage on the board. Rift Bolt hit him in the face and took Bucher to four life. Tarmogoyf threatened to kill the Swiss but he transmuted Tolaria West for Slaughter Pact to stop the impending doom. A die on top of his library reminded him to actually pay for the Pact, but Magri finished Bucher with Mogg Fanatic nonetheless.
This format can be very fast.
Manuel Bucher 0 – 1 Saverio Magri
Bucher decided that he wanted to play and take a mulligan. Magri’s Keldon Marauders and Mogg Fanatic boosted by Pendelhaven stood against Bucher’s sideboarded Bottle Gnomes. Mentally, the emaciated Swiss projected confidence, even in the face of Magri’s one-game lead and a suspended Gargadon. Bucher was not out of defense. Pact of Negation in his hand meant that he would take care of any real threat Magri could present.
Faerie Trickery dealt with Siege-Gang Commander, and Bucher transmuted Tolaria West for Academy Ruins. Recurring Bottle Gnomes was the plan to put a mighty wrench into Magri’s aggro plan, who could do nothing but shrug and take yet another counter off his Gargadon.
Magri saw his chance in attacking. Every dead Attacker would give him another counter off his Gragadon. What the Italian did not know was that Bucher had Slaughter Pact in his hand, too. Even though Rift Bolt took Bucher to six and the next attack to two life thanks to Mogg Fanatic, the Swiss needn’t worry – yet.
Gargadon was left with one counter. Keldon Megaliths put Bucher at 1 life, and Magri’s attack would deal three exactly. But Slaughter Pact took out Mogg War Marshal and Bottle Gnomes blocked Mogg Fanatic. Bucher played it safe and risky at the same time, killing the Mogg Fanatic with his second Pact, sacrificing Bottle Gnomes, then in his upkeep recurring the Gnomes to draw them next turn, and paying for both Pacts with his charged-up storage lands.
A Pact of Negtion (fully paid for) took care of the Gargadon, then Margi presented two Call of the Herd. The 3/3 Elephants would not kill Bucher as long as he was keeping his Gnomes around. And Bucher, at 4 life, also had Mystical Teachings for Teferi.
Against Magri’s next attack, Bucher played Teferi and Bottle Gnomes as instant blockers. He went to one while Magri was hellbent on killing Teferi with Keldon Megaliths. Playing off the top of his deck, Bucher had Damnation. All that was left for Magri was a suspended Gargadon that Bucher had hoped to strand outside with Teferi. At this point, Magri could have just sacrificed five lands to bring in his Gargadon, but he feared Bucher’s ability to flashback Mystical Teachings.
So instead, Magri chose to flashback Call of the Herd, denying Bucher the chance to leave him with nothing (and precious few lands) off a potential Slaughter Pact. When that danger was past, Magri did the obvious and went all in, finishing a now helpless Bucher with his Gargadon.
Manuel Bucher 0 – 2 Saverio Magri
Saturday, November 3: 3:47 p.m. – A Rich Platter
WARNING: The following two pictures might be offensive to vegetarians.
Food. It's what makes a country special. According to ace podcaster Rich Hagon, he had "never been confronted with such a massive offering of food before", when we went out for a bite yesterday night. In reality, we bit off more than we could chew off the menu. Curious and eager for traditional Polish food, Rich, his sidekick Ben Coleman and me decided on a restaurant that blue scorekeeper Jason Howlett and card tradesman Nigel Rowledge had recommended.
The restaurant offered such things as "Russian bling with caviar". At least that's what Ben told us when he stumbled across "bliny" on the menu, a Russian pancake. However, we could not but order the "Farmer's Manger", a multiple meat plate served from up to four people. We were just three, though... this is what we had to plough through.
It's finishing move: Meat-filled pierogi. No dessert necessary?After the three of us were so full with meat of various kinds that we moved in slow-motion, the remains were still enough for a couple of more people to eat. Rich argued that ten people could have easily had a fair share of the platter, but we agreed on six in the end. And that was just the four-person portion. It can be done for up to 20...
Saturday, November 3: 4:34 p.m. – Metagame Indicators
It's round 4 and the pros have joined the fray. By now, the decks at the top tables have proven themselves as at least solid enough to win three matches. But walking up and down the first row of seats (tables 1-10 in the blue half, tables 1-16 in green), you'd think that the decks have been mixed randomly. I counted at least 17 different decks, some noticeably different within the same archetype, some completely out of the box.
And "out of the box" is meant almost literally. People kept scrounging the dealer tables for the 10th Edition pre-release deck Arcanis' Guile. Not to play it card by card in the tournament, but to snatch two copies of a certain card. It was chased through the throng like a wounded rabbit by the hounds: You could have sold Unsummon for souls before the tournament started.
And those Unsummons made their appearance in a deck that not everybody had on their radar: a tribal Merfolk deck. That was not really among that small excerpt of the top tables, though. Instead, blue was represented by mono-blue "Pickles" (with the tried and tested combo of Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Brine Elemental), U/B "Pickles", a small number of U/B Mystical Teachings decks, U/W Snow control decks, U/G Tarmogoyf and the popular U/B "Mannequin" decks around Makeshift Mannequin.
Apart from those, mono-red decks and red-based aggro decks showed numbers. A single Rakdos derivate, a couple of R/G aggressive decks (all with Tarmogoyf) and two mono-red Skred decks with Stuffy Doll facing each other on the blue top table dominated the red portion of the top tables.
Black was there either as the defining part of mono-black Snow or as a vanguard for Tarmogoyf. G/B TarmoRack or straight up G/B midgame aggro decks were just as popular as the "Mannequin"-Decks, but with just a handful of copies each, speaking of domination was not justified.
White came up as the metagame stepchild, often lending support to all other colors, but standing on its own only in the Kithkin aggro deck. And even there, white had to share with green, because no serious Kithkin-lover can pass up Gaddock Teeg.
Typically, the dealers can provide a clearer index of what is hot and what's not. This time, a blue rare lead the charge to the cash register: Cryptic Command was the hottest card around. All the Planeswalkers sold well, with Garruk Wildspeaker squarely in front, followed by Jace. Sower of Temptation reached new heights, peaking at about 20 Euros yesterday night on the gray market. Players valued the Sower's interaction with Vesuvan Shapeshifter highly: If you play Vesuvan Shapeshifter with Sower of Temptation in play, you steal an opponent's creature. But when you turn the Vesuvan Shapeshifter back down, you don't have to give it back!
Another commodity of high value were Snow-covered lands. The dealers had not a single one left after today's buying frenzy, and Coldsteel Hearts and Mind Stones flew from the binders straight into people's decks. Apart from assorted Elves and the usual suspects – Tarmogoyf easily selling at 30 Euros each, and Thoughtseizes going for just ten less –, one card surprised the dealers: Manabarbs sold out. It's a valid sideboard card against everybody who wants to tap a lot of lands... but on the other hand, we didn't see any in play so far.
Saturday, November 3: 6:17p.m. – Round 5: Antoine Ruel vs Nicolay Potovin
"You're on fire. You're the man to beat", said Antoine Ruel when he realized that his opponent, Russian level 3 pro Nicolay Potovin, had not only a Top 16 finish at PT Valencia to his name, but also the GP Stockholm title. The Russian was the first in his country to make it to pro level 3, and he is steel-minded at least to stay there in the future, if not more.
Nicolay opened with suspending a Gargadon off a Snow-covered Mountain. Snow has been seen a lot in this Pro Tour, more than during the actual Coldsnap season. Nicolay (with his beautiful cards in Russian) had Looter il-Kor, Phyrexian Ironfoot and stole Antoine's Epochrasite with Sower of Temptation. Antoine looked for help by evoking Mulldrifter, let his Riftwing Cloudskate unsuspend and made a second Mulldrifter, which stayed in play.
But Nicolay Potovin knew he had the game in the bag. The Gargadon decided to shed off a couple of Suspend counters, and double Incinerates fried Antoine in short order.
Antoine Ruel 0 – 1 NicolayPotovin
Both players were quick to keep their initial seven. Nicolay had a solid opener, with a Gargadon to suspend and Mogg War Marshal to go along with it. Epochrasite from Antoine looked not as solid in comparision. Nicolay declined to pay Echo and upped the cute factor on the table by about 248: His tokens of choice were little stuffed puppies.
Psionic Blast from Nicolay fried Antoine's Phyrexian Ironfoot, and the Russian had Jace Beleren join his party as well as Mogg Fanatic. Antoine killed the Fanatic with Nameless Inversion and attacked with his Epochrasite, going for Jace. One of Nocolay's puppies sacrificed itself with a yelp to save the Planeswalker. The other puppy bit a hefty one life out of Antoine's total, who was down to 17.
Nicolay resupplied his front with Looter il-Kor and Phyrexian Ironfoot, but Antoine sent them and the puppy to hell with Damnation. Of course, that just accelerated the Gargadon. Antoine took that beat, went to eight and had another Damnation.
Nicolay, who had spent his Jace, suspended Gargadon number three, while Antoine's Epochrasite came to attack and took Nicolay to 12. Venser from Antoine bounced a land – the Frenchman needed offense, and took Nicolay to a nearly lethal 6 life. Nicolai had one Incinerate, but that was not enough to keep him alive at that point, because Antoine took another chunk of 4 from Nicolay.
Antoine Ruel won a game on Potovin's mistake.Nicolay decided on a risky maneuver: On just 2 life, he took six mana into his pool, sacrificed the lands to finally bring the Gargadon into play, and attacked. Antoine blocked with a fresh Shadowmage Infiltrator. Nicolay played Psionic Blast – oops! The Russian had forgotten that the Blast dealt two damage to himself as well. At first, the players thought the game was a draw, but quickly figured out that Nicolay had, in fact, killed himself.
Antoine Ruel 1 – 1 NicolayPotovin
Nicolay hit it off with a Looter il-Kor, still angry about himself and his mistake that cost him game 2. Antoine opened with Mouth of Ronom and Faerie Conclave, suspending Riftwing Cloudskate. And another one right away next turn. Nicolai discarded Siege-Gang Commander among other things and dealt some il-Kor damage, adding Keldon Marauders to the board. While Antoine mounted an offense with Faerie Conclaves, the Frenchman got tagged by Nicolay's Keldon Marauders. That brought him to triple Incinerate range, and the Russian pushed the red button, burning Antoine Ruel to his first loss of the game.
Antoine Ruel 1 – 2 NicolayPotovin
Saturday, November 3: 5:10 p.m. – Round 6: Luis Scott-Vargas vs Olivier Ruel
It was Luis Scott-Vargas' first European Grand Prix, while Olivier has played about a million of them. Both players had brought controlish decks. Olivier trusted in Makeshift Mannequin to carry him to maybe
After a healthy number of turns, LSV had Rune Snag and a resolved Ancestral Visions in his graveyard, while Olivier had his Makeshift Mannequin, Phyrexian Ironfoot, Riftwing Cloudskate, and Mulldrifter dealt with through that Runesnag and a Wrath of God from LSV. Two Oblivion Rings held Olivier's Riftwing Cloudskate and Shadowmage Infiltrator.
It was a control mirror, and as such, a lot happened without a lot happening. Through occasional beatdown, Olivier took LSV to 9. Mouth of Ronom killed LSV's morph, a Vesuvan Shapeshifter, and Olivier continued to gnaw away at the American's life with Faerie Conclave. Oblivion Ring #3 took away Olivier's second Shadowmage Infiltrator, but not before LSV had copied the Finkel with his Vesuvan Shapeshifter.
Olivier had Venser to return one of the Rings to LSV's hand and block Infiltrator with Infiltrator. Of course, the Ring retured to play a turn later. Small incremental steps make these control mirrors what they are: A long, drawn-out, tedious affair, where neither player can afford to make a even a single mistake.
Olivier killed the Shapeshifter with Mouth of Ronom and decided to squeeze damage through where he could, attacking with Faerie Conclave. LSV drew his next card and realized that Olivier was winning this game, so he packed in.
Luis Scott-Vargas 0 – 1 Olivier Ruel
While Olivier resolved his mulligan, Geoffrey Siron – current score: 6-0 – wandered by to tell us that he won his game because his opponent simply forgot to pay for a Pact. Things like that happen.
Oblivion Ring, Phrexian Ironfoot, Jace Beleren, Venser, Shaper Savant: That was LSV's offering to Olivier's Thoughtseize. The Frenchman took away the Planeswalker, and the players traded beats with Phyrexian Ironfoot on one and Faerie Conclave on the other side. Olivier was on 6 life when Mouth of Ronom finally changed something on the board, killing LSV's attacker and forcing the American to replace it. Suspending Aeon Chronicler for one, with a full hand of seven, seemed good, and Olivier agreed. The Frenchman just said go.
LSV attacked. Olivier activated a Conclave to block the Chronicler and evoked it to hell with Shriekmaw. The American's full grip yielded an end-of-turn Teferi, taking an unprotected Olivier to 3 life. Shriekmaw again, but Teferi enabled an instant suspension of Aeon Chronicler before he died. Olivier had a Faerie Conclave left to block, but LSV tapped it with Cryptiv Command and took game 2.
Luis Scott-Vargas 1 – 1 Olivier Ruel
"Seven spells." -LSV
"Good spells?" -Olivier
The American was content to keep six, and drew Ancestral Visions off the top of his deck. Olivier evoked two Mulldrifters in a row – "that's my Ancestral Vision!" – and followed that up with Pithing Needle. Olivier pointed the prickly stick at LSV's Phyrexian Ironfoot in play. Mulldrifter #3 drew Olivier another two cards, and foregoing the short-term bursts, Olivier made Shadowmage Infiltrator. Meanwhile, LSV had Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, to deal the first damage of the game.
Shriekmaw #1 failed to kill Teferi, Shriekmaw #2 managed it. LSV had three Phyrexian Ironfeet in play when he drew Oblivion Ring, his answer to Pithing Needle. Olivier double blocked the Ironfoot army, lost Shriekmaw in the process, and then tried Makeshift Mannequin.
Both players were moving cards at a quick pace, but the game failed to advance visibly. Ten minutes were left in the round when LSV countered the Mannequin with Cryptic Command and made a morph. With the pressure of the clock mounting, Olivier added Riftwing Coudskate and Ironfoot of his own to the board. LSV answered with another morph and Aven Riftwatcher. With neither player gaining nor losing ground, and LSV at 19 and Olivier at 14, this game seemed set to go to the extra turns.
Olivier pushed his fliers to the imaginary red zone, taking LSV to 17 life. The American revealed his first morph to be the long expected Brine Elemental, locking Olivier's Faerie Conclave and Riftwing Coudskate in place. His other morph turned out to be Vesuvan Shapeshifter. Making two more morphs, LSV attacked and Olivier, fearing for his 14-points strong life total, blocked the Brine Elemental with Ironfoot and two Shadowmage Infiltrators.
Shapeshifter copied the blocked Elemental, and Olivier went to 6 life. He added a third Infiltrator to his board, but lost all of his creatures to stay alive when LSV attacked with Ironfoot, two Shapeshifters, and Brine Elemental. His next draw did not yield his only out, Damnation, and Olivier succumbed to LSV's late game pressure.
Luis Scott-Vargas 2 – 1 Olivier Ruel
Saturday, November 3: 8:06 p.m. - Pros in Pursuit of Points
With their three byes now a distant memory, the Pros must prove round after round that they deserve to be on top of the pile. Join our six gaming gladiators as they attempt to negotiate their early matchups. This show includes a fantastic battle between Raphael Levy and Tiago Chan, and wise words from those in the know.
Saturday, November 3: 8:17 p.m. – Round 8: André Coimbra vs Willy Edel
André Coimbra from Portugal and Willy Edel from Brazil have taken their seats at the feature match table for the green half of this GP. André sat on the left side, and today, no player in that seat had won his game 1 – so far. Would André be the first to break the curse?
Willy Edel operated on one land and still managed to bring Tarmogoyf and Nameless Inversion to play, via Llanowar Elves. But when André started cranking out Nekrataals to kill the Elf and the Tarmogoyf, Willy failed to draw another land and scooped up his lonely permanent shortly after.
André Coimbra 1 – 0 Willy Edel
Willy opened up with Thoughtseize and saw 2 Epochrsites, a Phyrexian Ironfoot and 4 lands, among them Mouth of Ronom. The Brasilian picked Epochrasite to hit the bin and followed with a second Thoughtseize, this times seeing a new Pithing Needle, but discarding the second Epochrasite nonetheless.
André played the Needle, naming Garruk Wildspeaker. Not much help against Willy Edel's Hypnotic Specter! Tarmogoyf was next. André played Venser, bounced the Hypnotic Specter and double-blocked the Tarmogoyf to kill it, leaving himself with only Venser in play. The move had saved the Pithing Needle in his hand, which he promptly used to shut off Willy's freshly minted Imperoious Perfect.
The Perfect traded with Venser, a new Hypnotic Specter from Willy sent André's Damnation flying to the graveyard, and a second Hyppie joined the mounting airforce. André killed one with Mouth of Ronom. Willy meanwhile had suffered severely from Epochrasite beatdown, going down to 3 life. André was at 9, went to 5 and then to 1 from Tarmogoyf beatdown, getting his Epochrasite removed in the process.
But he wasn't dead yet. Grim Harvest on Venser returned the Tarmogoyf to Willy's hand. Willy (re-)made Tarmogyof and Imperious Perfect, going to 2 life from his painland. The players were teetering on the edge now. Any damage, any successful attack from either one would send the other down – and André had creature superiority, with Mulldrifter, Venser, and Epochrasite against Tarmogoyf and Imperius Perfect.
Willy attacked with the 'Goyf, seeing his only hope in forward movement. He killed the Mulldrifter with Nameless Inversion and played another Perfect. André just shrugged. He tipped his two-card hand forward: Shriekmaw, and Shriekmaw. Wordlessly, his eyes demanded Willy's concession, and he got it.
André Coimbra 2 – 0 Willy Edel
Saturday, November 3: 9:26 p.m. – A Panopticum of Perspectives
Apparently, the Player of the Year race is not on everybody's mind. Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, while in the thick of it, strives not for the elusive title. Or, to put it profanely: "I don't really care about it. It costs a lot of money to go to all the GPs." And that's what the race is all about: picking up points everywhere around the world. Grand Prix in Japan and the US are still more expensive than the attendance fee a level 6 gets, says Guillaume. "I'll try to win Worlds, though!"
But even though Guillaume is left cool by the race, the new set excites him. "I like Lorwyn a lot. The tribal thing is endearing," he says. Guillaume expected the new set to make quite a splash here in Krakow: He expected Elves, "and not many control decks. Lorwyn seems to be built for aggressive decks. I'm not sure if my deck is really good against Elves", he added. The French constructed expert piloted a mono-blue deck with Guile through the day, a deck he picked up just the day before the Grand Prix.
"I tested quite a bit, but I ended up playing a deck I built yesterday." Wafo-Tapa explained why: "In the last days before the tournament so many things happen. You see a lot of decks and talk to a lot of people." And that swerved his opinion enough to trust in a deck he barely knew, to pilot it purely on his knowledge of control decks in general.
Walking and talking, that was the same plan Luis Scott-Vargas and his partner in crime, Paul Cheon, had before the event. LSV chose his U/W Snow control deck based on playing in his State Championship, looking at other States results, and "talking to some people." Just like Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, he and Paul Cheon expected a lot of beatdown decks, and chose their decks accordingly. "There were going to be a lot of B/G decks. And we expected the Pros to play Teachings or [other] control decks, but a lot of them play B/G anyway," Scott-Vargas revealed. He estimated Teachings to be not as good as previously, because of its slow speed and the vulnerability to Gaddock Teeg.
Regarding Lorwyn in general, the Planeswalkers are currently still underestimated in his opinion. "The Planeswalkers are really good. They change how the game plays, and they will even get better", said LSV, once people found more interactions other than the obvious uses for the mighty sorcerers.
Both have laid out their road to the next level. "We both need nine more pro points to level up," he says. Two points here in Krakow, two points at GP Daytona Beach, and five more points at Worlds, that's how they want to achieve level 5 in the Pro Players Club. "The Players Club delineates precisely how many points you need to achieve the next level," explained LSV. One point makes all the difference, and that convinces players to actually travel around the world. When Scott-Vargas and Cheon had checked their travel costs for the upcoming end of the season run, they figured that Krakow was cheaper than the upcoming GP in Kitakyuushuu.
One who will be there, as well as in Daytona Beach and generally every premier event he can get to, is Kenji Tsumura. He was in danger of not making day 2 here – again! –, but he gave a perfectly good reason: "I didn't have much time because of all the tournaments." Pro Tour Valencia, the Invitational, and Grand Prix Bangkog: Kenji stretched himself to catch them all. "I practised only one day," he admitted. The Japanese master chose his U/W Snow control deck expecting a lot of beatdown.
But besides not really preparing, Kenji, like everybody else on the planet, likes Lorwyn. Especially the Planeswalkers, which he expects to see a lot in the upcoming two Limited Grand Prix. In Daytona and Kitakyuushuu, Kenji will have to handle more Lorwyn than today: "I play zero Lorwyn cards in my deck!" ...a moment of thought... "No wait, I play four: Oblivion Ring!"
Will Kenji fall into oblivion if he misses day 2 here in Krakow? There's only one way to find out: Watching the last rounds of the day, where two packs of 64 top finishes will make it into day 2.
Saturday, November 3: 9:40 p.m. - And the Beat Goes On
It's almost midnight here in Krakow, and the final round is still unresolved, at least in one half of this 'split' tournament. Tomorrow, as the Spice Girls might have said, two become one, and 128 players will return for day two action, knowing that the job is less than half done, with another 64 due to go home with no Pro Points to their name. In our final show of day one, we bring you the stories of rounds 6-9, culminating in a very significant failure to reach day two by one of the biggest names in Magic.
Saturday, November 3: 11:09 p.m. – Undefeated Decklists
What’s the best color in Magic? If you said “blue”, you’re correct. If you said “blue, then black”, you could have plowed through day one of GP Krakow. The metagame was incredibly varied, with many, many viable decks showing up. But in the end, the blue-black Mannequin deck prevailed. Michal Havlik from Slovakia ran the deck to an 9-0 record in the green bracket. Nipping at his heels was André Coimbra from Portugal, with the same deck in a slightly different version.
In the blue half of the tournament, Mannequin did not come out at the very top. Two players managed a 9-0 record. Andreas Szabo from Hungary piloted a red-green aggro deck with Inner-Flame Acolyte to the perfect 27 points, featuring the new best card in Magic, Tarmogoyf. Also on a clean record stood Przemek Oberbek from the host country Poland, with his build of Scryb & Force – not featuring Tarmogoyf!
Join us tomorrow for ongoing coverage of Grand Prix Krakow here at magicthegathering.com!