Day 2 Blog Archive

Posted in Event Coverage on August 13, 2006

By Wizards of the Coast

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Saturday, August 12: 11:24 a.m. - Drafting with Harald Stein

Harald Stein, one third of PT Charleston's fifth-finishing team "Schere, Stein, Papier", saw his hopes of Top 8 melting like Terisiare under Freyalise's Thaw. He went into the Coldsnap draft with 18 points, but: "I can go 1-2, maybe 2-1, but I don't think it's that good." The players said Harald was one of the more experienced drafters in the field, and his confidence while picking spoke to that. That being said, the draft did just not go the way he wanted.

Harald came into the draft gunning for a white weenie strategy backing it up with red. His plan would have worked, had the other drafters and the packs cooperated. As it were, the draft showed all signs of randomness - and this was on table one!

First pack, first pick saw Harald take a Skred over Disciple of Tevesh Szat, Boreal Druid, Kjeldoran War Cry, Jötun Owl Keeper, Balduvian Fallen and a Snow-Covered Swamp. The red-white plan continued to look good in pick two, with a Kjeldoran Outrider over another War Cry, another Disciple of Tevesh Szat, a Boreal Griffin, an Ohran Yeti and a Surging Might.

Skred

Pick three brought the first agonizing decision that Harald had to face: Do I take a second Skred or the Aurochs Herd that's still in there? Chill to the Bone, Thermopod and a Snow-Covered Forest just didn't seem as good, and he took the removal spell Skred over the finisher. Pick four presented him with yet another Chill to the Bone, a Chilling Shade, Frostweb Spider, Brooding Saurian, Snow-Covered Plains and a Thermopod. He took the 4/3 haste guy, which fits well into his planned strategy.

Then, pick five showed the first signs that the decision to stick with the plan might not have been the best. If Chill to the Bone isn't an incentive to go black, maybe a Stromgald Crusader is? No, Snow-Covered Swamp won this pick over the jump knight, Grim Harvest, and Rimewind Taskmage. Pick six brought an incredible array of black to Harald: Disciple of Tevesh Szat, Chill to the Bone #3, Zombie Musher and Herald of Leshrac. Hello? At least two of those shouldn't be in the pack anymore in pick six. However, Harald decided to take Kjeldoran War Cry.

After the draft, he commented: "I should have taken black. I didn't, I was too afraid it would dry up." He could have had Blizzard Specter in pick seven, too, where he took a Snow-Covered Plains instead, also missing out on Boreal Griffin and Orcish Bloodpainter. Pick eight had him shaking his head: Into the North, Goblin Furrier, Stromgald Crusader, Snow-Covered Island and Goblin Furrier. He takes - the Furrier. Fits his deck, but he was not happy about the draft at this point. The last picks of pack one brought Survivor of the Unseen, two Frostweb Spiders, a Boreal Griffin, a Tresserhorn Skyknight in pick 13 and Ronom Serpent in pick 14. Blue was clearly underdrafted at the table.

Pack 2, Harald opened Deepfire Elemental, Squall Drifter, Greater Stone Spirit, Phyrexian etchings and Ronom Hulk, taking the Elemental with a mighty shake of his head. Pick two, Goblin Rimerunner over Darien, King of Kjeldor, Gutless Ghoul, Drelnoch, Snow-Covered Plains and Tresserhorn Skyknight. Another Etchings was in pack three, where Harald took Skred #3 over Phobian Phantasm. The rest of pack two was unspectacular, although both black and blue were pretty much open. Harald passed a Chill to the Bone fifth, pick eight featured Chill to the Bone, Deathmark, Zombie Musher, Ronom Serpent and Diamond Faerie (Harald took the Chill).

The plan didn't work the way he wanted, as Harald Stein let the Black slide past.

He got two more Kjeldoran Outriders, two more Goblin Rimerunners, a fifth-pick Snow-Covered Mountain and a Greater Stone Spirit for his deck. Of note was the pack with Dark Depths and Ronom Serpent, both of which made it around the table. Harald had to decide in pick 12 which one to take and chose the Serpent.

In Pack 3, there was more of the same, only less black going around. Harald's first pick was a Goblin Rimerunner, showcasing how incessantly he stuck to his plan. The pack also contained Phyrexian Snowcrusher, Ohran Viper, Frostweb Spider, Thermopod, Arctic Flats, Ronom Unicorn and Fest of Flesh. An Ohran Yeti made his pile over Highland Weald, Snow-Covered Plains, another Rimerunner, another Feast of Flesh and Earthen Goo, which he shortly contemplated taking.

Pick three Harald looked at a Ronom Hulk. That's right, a Ronom Hulk that nobody took! And Harald also shipped it in favor of Ohran Yeti. Pick four, Snow-Covered Mountain bested another Rimerunner. And then, pick five, Harald's deck got just a tad better: He windmill-picked Lovisa Coldeyes. Rimerunner is a Warrior, as is Goblin Furrier, and they get boosted by the Berserker lady. Rimerunner #4 came pick six, then a Squall Drifter at seven, Rimerunner #5 at eight and the final Rimerummer #6 at pick ten. A twelfth pick Balduvian Warlord and a thirteenth pick Goblin Furrier (also a Warrior) complemented the deck.

Harald was not really content, although he did have the six Rimerunners, which helped him win the first match of the draft. The draft table clearly had many signs of the players not knowing the format. Harald thought he didn't have enough snow for his three Skreds to work correctly, with four Snow-Covered Lands. His three Kjeldoran Outriders are slightly out of place because he doesn't really play enough white to make the work as they should, and they aren't snow. He hopes to clinch two matches to preserve his chances for Top 8, and the deck can do that on the strength of Skreds and Rimerunners. Regardless of his performance, the one thing he really wanted to say was: "Many greetings to my awesome girlfriend Mara." And how can we not acquiesce that request? Looks like German player's girlfriends are closely following the coverages at home!


Saturday, August 12: 12:01 p.m. - Vot dos zis card do?

Language shouldn't be a problem at a National championship. But since you can play where you live, make sure that you at least understand some of it. Amiel Tenenbaum, a Frenchman living in Germany, was not too happy when he realized that today's Coldsnap draft would be a "Kälteeinbruch" draft, played with German cards. Amiel hadn't drafted Coldsnap before and didn't know just what the cards exactly did. Yesterday evening, he was looking to the judges for help. But what should they do? Give English boosters to his draft table while everybody else was drafting German cards? That wasn't going to happen.

Frenchman Amiel Tenenbaum and the helpful translation guide.

I took pity on Amiel and handed him my Coldsnap player's guide from the Fat Pack, which has a picture of every card in English. Amiel sat down yesterday evening and took a good look at the cards, and had the guide ready while playing the Coldsnap rounds this morning. "Without it, I wouldn't have been able to understand my first pick", Amiel said, "but I would have picked it anyway: It has lots of text, so it must be good, right?" The card he was talking about was the blocker-switching, already confusing Balduvian Warlord, or rather the Balduvianischer Kriegsfürst.

Headjudge Philipp Schulz had allowed Amiel that guide: "The alternatives would have been that he calls over a judge every two turns, or we have to have a judge extra for him to read all cards for him. As long as he uses the guide only for looking up Coldsnap cards, we're ok with it", he said with a smile. Amiel won his first round with that very first-picked Warlord, stating: "I think it's a good card, now that I know what it does!"


Saturday, August 12: 1:13 p.m. - Don't look the wrong way

Headjudge Philip Schulz keeps watch over it all.

Drafting holds many perils. For one player, the icy wastes of Terisiare led to downfall, as he was caught peeking at his neighbor's cards during the Coldsnap draft. One of the floor judges caught him peeling and alerted a second judge to verify his observation. Both judges saw the player looking at his next man's cards repeatedly, and that lead to a disqualification from the tournament.

As headjudge Philip Schulz told me, the player admitted that he had been looking at the cards, but didn't think anything of it. He was informed that his actually falls under cheating. Headjudge Schulz: "When you can see another player's cards during the draft, don't look that way. If he holds his cards so that you can't avoid it, call a judge and tell them." So once again, the old rule holds true: When in doubt, call a judge.


Saturday, August 12: 2:38 p.m. - Round 10: Amiel Tenenbaum vs. David Brucker

Amiel had some trouble with the German cards, as featured before. Nevertheless, he stands at 16 points, while David Brucker has 18 points. Before the match, Amiel (who won the die roll), showed David the Thrumming Stone he wasn't playing. He just didn't have enough multiples. This event was David's third draft, and Amiel hasn't had much more experience than that.

Game 1

Amiel Tenenbaum bent over the player's guide, looking up Karplusan Minotaur.

Amiel won the die roll, and he kicked off the game with a Bull Aurochs and Surging Might. Ripple hit nothing but Skred, Sound the Call, Snow-Covered Forest and Ohran Yeti… pretty bad to lose. But Amiel kept it up with a Karplusan Minotaur, saying "I don't know this card, but I like it!", before looking it up in the player's guide. The first coin flip went in his favor, and Surging Flame from Amiel took out David's Boreal Centaur, rippling away Shape of the Wiitigo. David gained two life with Gutless Ghoul and the Ghoul died as a blocker. Chill to the Bone killed the coin-flipping Minotaur. David had Aurochs Herd, but Amiel put down Ohran Yeti and played his second Shape of the Wiitigo on the Aurochs. That made David scoop.

Amiel Tenenbaum 1 - 0 David Brucker

Game 2

The Frenchman started off with a mulligan. "This format is ridiculous", said Amiel, as he geared up for his second trip to Paris. Many Pros don't like Coldsnap draft because it has so many random effects, and the high number of multiples make the decks pretty strong without much skill necessary. At least that's the argument. Amiel kept his five, and David opened up with the Boreal couple of Druid and Centaur. The mana elf died to Amiel's Skred and the Frenchman put down Balduvian Warlord. Guess what? David had to pick it up and read it, to which Amiel offered the player's guide.

David's Centaur and Amiel's Warlord traded and Amiel replaced it with Frostweb Spider and Sound the Call. Chill to the Bone from David killed Orcish Bloodpainter, and he made Gutless Ghoul: The perfect complement to next turn's Gristle Grinner. Amiel pointed to the Ghoul: "Combo!" Staying alive became difficult for the Frenchman. David also had Disciple of Tevesh Szat and Resize, against which Amiel's two Sound the Call tokens just went to the graveyard. Thermopod from the Frenchman didn't help, and Amiel scooped them up.

Amiel Tenenbaum 1 - 1 David Brucker

Game 3

Amiel was on the play with turn three and turn four Sound the Calls, David had Krovikan Scoundrel and Garza's Assassin. The Assassin took down a token, but Amiel had yet another Sound the Call plus a Boreal Centaur, bringing a potential 11 damage to the the table. David's Gutless Ghoul and Krovikan Scoundrel looked tiny in comparison.

David Brucker heard the call and succumbed to its sound.

Amiel checked out his guide again and thought long and hard. What he was looking for, we don't know, but what he had was a Thermopod with haste. Two 4/4 Wolves and the 'Pod smashed into the red zone, and David double-blocked one token with both Ghoul and Scoundrel. That took care of one token, and Chill to the Bone removed the other one. The lifegain from the Ghoul canceled the Thermopod damage, and David recovered his Assassin to deal with Thermopod.

Amiel kept up the pressure with Ohran Yeti joining his Boreal Centaur, and David at six life had to bring more than just Bull Aurochs and Gutless Ghoul to come out of this game alive. The attack brought him to three, recovering the Assassin took David to one precarious life point. With Gutless Ghoul in play, he had virtual three and another shot at recovering the Assassin. That would stave off Amiel's next attack.

The Frenchman made an interesting play before combat, destroying one of David's Forests with Icefall, presumably to prevent a Resize. David did the sacrificing Gutless Ghoul, recover Assassin dance. Void Maw from David was his last resort but fell to Amiel's Resize, and Sound the Call number four from Amiel finished the German.

Amiel Tenenbaum 2 - 1 David Brucker


Saturday, August 12: 3:41 p.m. - The Standard deck breakdown

It's Standard time! The next four rounds will determine who advances to Sunday's Top 8, and it is the most diverse environment we've had in a long while. 158 players were playing yesterday, and we have the long awaited complete breakdown of their decks for you. So without further ado, here are the tallies of all 158 decks:

Solar Flare 25
Zoo 19
U/R Izzetron 12
Heartbeat 12
U/R Magnivore 9
Boros Aggro 8
Hand to Hand 8
Beach House 8
Snakes 7
4x4 Graft 6
Ghost Husk 6
Orzhov Control 6
Sea Stompy 5
Firemane Control 5
Rakdos Beats 3
Ghazi-Glare 3
Biorhythm 3
Ninja Erayo 2
Gruul Beats 2
U/R Wafo-Tapa 2
French Weenie 2
4-color Wildfire 1
U/G/W Aggro-Control 1
U/W Control 1
Enduring Ideal 1

After yesterday and the draft today, 42 players dropped out of the tournament, so 116 are still competing. One standout in that list is the single Ideal deck that Holger Althues piloted to a perfect Standard record yesterday. The Biorhythm decks are another surprise, but none of them did well enough to be even remotely in Top 8 range.

The Ninja-Erayo-deck is Maximilian Bracht's new creation, carrying him to a 2-1 record yesterday. He currently is 9-2, picking up a loss in Ravnica draft, and confident that his Standard deck will carry him to the Top 8. "I just won this round against my worst match-up, Solar Flare", Maximilian told me. If Solar Flare is his worst match-up, he has a hard time against the field, but the top tables were bereft of the break-out deck from Australian Nationals. Snakes, Vore, Sea Stompy and even the Beach House deck from PT Honolulu were more prominent on the top tables than Solar Flare.

If you want to see Max's deck, look no further: Here it is, mostly tested on MTGO and built with together with Sebastian Homann, who is also playing the deck today. One of Maximilian's favorite plays, by the way, is to flip Erayo with the help of Remand and an opponent's counter, which makes it so much easier. The last addition and Maximilian's favorite card is Disrupting Shoal. Here's the list:

Maximilian Bracht

Download Arena Decklist

Saturday, August 12: 4:55 p.m. - Round 12: Matthias Ludewig vs. Bodo Rösner

Bodo Rösner still has a chance...

The two players know each other well, as they come from the same town, Bremen, and live in the same hotel room at this nationals. Bodo has a grand Prix Top 8 from way back to his name, Matthias is the maintainer of a local Magic site for the Bremen region. The two players were on 24 points each, and had to win their last three rounds to be safe in the Top 8.

Game 1

No mulligans, and Bodo opened up with Adarkar Wastes, Caves of Koilos and Azorius Signet into Court Hussar. Matthias, on the other hand, had an aggro start with Kird Ape ninjitsuing Ninja of the Deep Hours into play. Trygon Predator from him threatened Bodo's Signet, who used that in the face of its imminent destruction to cast Compulsive Research.

An untapped Steam Vents came into play on Matthias' side to pump out Kird Ape. Bodo had Persecute naming Blue, Solar Flare's trademark disruption, but saw a hand of Trygon Predator, double Rumbling Slum, Birds of Paradise and Kird Ape. I'd call that a whiff! With the life totals on 13 for Matthias and 10 for Bodo, the pressure was definitely on.

Bodo tried a Kokusho, but Matthias had the Mana Leak and attacked Bodo down to three, who found neither Wrath nor Condemn and picked up his lands.

Matthias Ludewig 1 - 0 Bodo Rösner

The players proceeded to sideboarding.

Matthias:
Out: 4 Rumbling Slum, 1 Umezawa's Jitte
In: 2 Giant Growth, 2 Giant Solifuge, 1 Trygon Preador

Bodo:
Out: 3 Persecute, 4 Remand
In: 3 Imaginary Pet, 3 Last Gasp, 1 Meloku, the Clouded Mirror

Game 2

Bodo chose to play again, seeking to get to four mana as early as possible to Wrath. This wasn't made easier by the trip to Paris he had to take, but Matthias evened things out by also going down to six cards.

Both players had almost the exact start as last game: Bodo went Land, Land, Signet, and Matthias had Kird Ape into Ninja of the Deep Hours but taking four damage from Stomping Ground and Steam Vents in the process. Compulsive research on turn three made Bodo think, making him discard a Swamp in the end. Matthias' Ninja kept him up on the card advantage, but Bodo had the Wrath of God for the Ninja and a newly cast Predator.

Matthias rebuilt with Birds of Paradise and Kird Ape, but Bodo followed up his Wrath with Imaginary Pet, the two-mana sideboard tech. It blocked Kird Ape and fell victim to Giant Growth, while Matthias ninja'ed out a Ninja of the Deep Hours off his Birds of Paradise. Two mana open represented Mana Leak, and Bodo was hesitant to play something. Bodo went for Imaginary Pet and Court Hussar which Matthias both let resolve. He didn't have the Leak after all!

The game quagmired. Char from Matthias killed the Imaginary Pet and took the life totals to 10 (Matthias) and 12 (Bodo). Bodo had a Kokusho, effectively draining out the quagmire and forcing Matthias to do something. That something was Giant Growth on Ninja blocking the Kokusho, then pumping it with Skarrg, the Rage Pits and killing the Kamigawa dragon. Matthias 5, Bodo back up to 12, and when Bodo Zombified his Dragon, Matthias was down to laying Kird Ape and two Birds of Paradise.

"Do you have lifegain?", Bodo asked, and Matthias answered "Sure". Well, turned out he didn't, and picked up his cards.

Matthias Ludewig 1 - 1 Bodo Rösner

Game 3

... Matthias Ludewig is out of contention.

Matthias decided to play and to mulligan twice. Unfortunately, he knocked over the top of his deck and revealed a Jitte, which earned him a warning for looking at extra cards and a shuffle of his deck by the judge. Matthias would have loved to draw that Jitte to go with his Kird Ape. But instead, Bodo made a Meloku. Matthias asked if Bodo would want to draw intentionally
about an ID at that point to preserve both their chances for Top 8, but Bodo declined. With the win on the table, he didn't want to take any chances, despite knocking his friend out of the Top 8.

Matthias Ludewig 1 - 2 Bodo Rösner

After the match, the two friends parted in kind, definitely showing good sportsmanship with Bodo offering to massage Matthias' shoulders. That's not exactly the compensation you want for getting knocked out of Nationals Top 8, but hey - at least it's better than nothing, right? Bodo is 9-3 now and has to win out or get lucky to make Top 8.

Also, there are more Solar Flare decks on the top tables than I had initially thought. At least a couple of them are still in contention for Top 8, played by Bodo and by Rosario Maji.


Saturday, August 12: 5:24 p.m. - Wayne England in his trenches

It looks so innocuous, the man just sitting there and moving his pen in gentle strokes across the playmat, bringing to life the pictures that adorn the cards we play with. But it is a taxing occupation: "Sketching is a highly conscious process", explains Wayne England, artist on duty, "it's not like doodling, where you don't actually think." His work so far has mostly not been signing cards. The players had higher expectations.

"I've been drawing on playmats all day", says the artist. The Englishman expressed his surprise at how many playmats he gets presented to draw on. "Usually it's lots of people bringing stacks of cards, not the other way around." The favorite motif that players requested to be drawn on their playmats: Dragons. "I've been doing lots of Dragons, actually", says England, as he sketched out a marvelous skeletal knight on yet another playmat. He says he is here to entertain the players, "to do what they want".

What nobody wanted yet is an original artwork, because most players would rather pay ten Euro for a print than 750 Euro for an original. "The biggest size I work at is 3x6 feet, quite large", England described, "but for Magic cards I choose to paint smaller." He knows what he's talking about: England learned to play the game, though he admits to play badly. "I try to learn every game that I work for", and that certainly helps him to understand what the cards require.

One of those cards is Goblin Trenches, which required goblins in trenches and England drew just that. "It's my favorite artwork, because it's a fun card", England says. And how could he know that without playing the game himself? So while Wayne England busies himself with card signings and sketching wonders of art on playmats, the players take those very playmats back to their own trenches.


Saturday, August 12: 5:59 p.m. - The etymology of "mulligan"

With four trips to Paris on the line tomorrow morning, mulligan obviously abound. Nobody can resist the saucy opportunity to work "trips to Paris" into conversations, trash talk and all the other banter going on at a Magic tournament. But what actually is a "mulligan"? Here's what I found:

"Stew made with whatever's available", 1904, hobo slang, probably from a proper name.

So we all wish for our opponents to have left-overs stew at the beginning of a match?

The name is from Gaelic Maolagan, or Irish Maelecan, a double diminutive of mael = "bald", hence "the little bald (or shaven) one", probably a reference to a monk or disciple.

Mr. Mulligan, would you pray for me if I put some copper coins in your bowl?

The golf sense of "extra stroke after a poor shot" (1949) is sometimes said to be from the name of a Canadian golfer in the 1920's whose friends gave him an extra shot in gratitude for driving them over rough roads to their weekly foursome at St. Lambert Country Club, near Montreal.

Thanks, Canada! The extra try at getting a better hand of cards comes closest to this origin of mulligan. So whenever you have your next stew, think of that Canadian golfer monk who goes by the name of Mulligan!


Saturday, August 12: 6:15 p.m. - Round 13: Stefan Meewes vs. Maximilian Bracht

Bracht had designed last year's winning deck, with Ninjas, and has the chance to become the next Ninja champion.

It was Sea Stompy, piloted by Stefan Meewes, against Erayo-Ninja, built and piloted by Maximilian Bracht. A win would have put Stefan on 30 points and kept his hopes for Top 8 alive, and Bracht was safely in if he won this match, enabling him to get an intentional draw in the last round.

Game 1

Bracht led off with the trip to Paris that he wants to win tomorrow morning. Ornithopter enabled him an early Ninja of the Deep Hours, while Stefan had Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise. The Elves blocked the first Ninja attack and Stefan wasted a Giant Growth on it. Wasted because Bracht had Repeal to remove the blocker.

Maximilian's Ornithopter blocked Stefan's attacking Birds, who received another Giant Growth, killing the Ornithopter. He couldn't stop Maximilian's next attack and Birds of Paradise turned out to be Higure, the Still Wind who fetched another Ninja of the Deep Hours. "The only thing that beats me now is Jitte from the top", proclaimed Maximilian while (who would have thought it) flipping both his pen and his opponent's.

Stefan also had a Ninja in the coat of Llanowar Elves. Bracht kept talking like a monkey hungry for his nuts, but this particular Ninja-wielding monkey just swung in with both Ninjas. Stefan tried another Giant Growth but Maximilian had the counterspell, and Stefan picked up his cards.

ninja of the deep hours

Stefan Mewes 0 - 1 Maximilian Bracht

"It's always hard to know what to board out, because I have so many good cards in my deck. On the other hand, better ones come in, so that's an advantage right there", joked Bracht as both players looked through their sideboards. "I have so the secret tech in my sideboard", said Bracht, who has Threads of Disloyalty, Carven Caryatid and Umezawa's Jitte in his board and now has to choose what to bring in.

Here are the sideboard strategies both players employed:

Bracht:
Out: 4 Remand, 2 Sleight of Hand, 4 Soratami, 2 Boomerang
In: 3 Caryatid, 4 Jitte, 1 Shoal, 4 Threads

Meewes:
Out: 2 Giant Growth, 1 Voidslime, 1 Repeal
In: 3 Trygon Predator, 1 Naturalize

Game 2

Maximilian correctly predicted that Stefan would let him draw. "Have fun, good luck", says motormouth Bracht. Stefan had not that fast an opening, with just two lands, while Maximilian came in with an early Birds of Paradise that carried a Ninja of the Deep Hours inside him. Bracht feigned to have drawn the requisite Island from the top, but my guess is that he just wanted to confuse Stefan, because he wouldn't have kept a land without island.

Stefan struck back with Plaxmanta and Llanowar Elves, while Maximilian kept on digging with Sleight of Hand. Stefan had another Plaxmanta at the end of Bracht's turn who just couldn't keep quiet for even fifteen seconds. An all-in attack from Stefan made Bracht fear a Ninja and Plaxmanta traded for Ninja of Deep Hours. Stefan repealed the single Birds of Paradise that Maximilian attacked with, but Threads of Disloyalty from the talkative Bavarian gave him the Dryad Sophisticate that Stefan had just played.

Maximilian went to 15 from an attack that gave Stefan a Ninja of the Deep Hours. Maximilian showed me his hand with Jitte he played, equipped on the unblockable Sophisticate and used to kill Stefan's Ninja of the Deep Hours. Umezawa's forking stick threatened to take Stefan out if he couldn't deal with it soon - but he did have a fork of his own, dismantling Maximilian's pointy stick.

Plaxmantas are smaller than Higure, and Meewes' chances were ninjitsu'd away.

With the Jitte gone, Maximilian wanted a new threat and found it in a ninjitsu'd Higure, the Still Wind, who searched out a Ninja of the Deep Hours. "I think you could have won this game", said Bracht, obviously ignoring that the match was still on. Stefan looked on the ropes with 11 life because he had no answer for either the Sophisticate or the Higure. Vinelasher Kudzu and Oboro joined together for a 2/2. An all-in attack gave Maximilian a Ninja of the Deep Hours in play and one in hand because Stefan didn't block anything and went down to 4 life.

Maximilian: "Do you have the Jitte? Then you could win this", and proceeded to describe in detail how exactly Stefan would have to play to do that. Stefan's response: "It's faster if I think about it myself!" Bracht: "I don't think so." Stefan thought for a minute and then extended the hand. He had no way to deal with Higure, the card that nobody expected and that carried Bracht into

Stefan Mewes 0 - 2 Maximilian Bracht

That result put Stefan on a 9-4 record and out of the Top 8, and Maximilian to a 10-2-1 record and safely into the Top 8.


Saturday, August 12: 6:38 p.m. - The Final Round

One man, two Biorhythms and three Summer Blooms: Sascha Thomsen is happy with his finish, almost making Top 8.

Boy, was I wrong about the Biorhythm decks! Sascha Thomsen actually managed to slip under my radar and piloted the deck to a last-round clincher for Top 8. He lost to Tobias Henke with a hand-crafted burn-and-weenie-deck, who now is one of the top 8 players fighting for trips to Paris tomorrow. Henke won the match in quick fashion, just like Amiel Tenenbaum did, who beat Christian Lührs in a Vore versus Sea Stompy match.

Those were the two matches with Top 8 on the line. Had a player with 27 points won, all other 27's with a win in the last round could have hoped for a slot. Alas, all winners already had 28 points or more, so it was a cut-and-dry affair. For completeness sake, here's how the rest of the top tables resolved their matches: Rosario Maji (Solar Flare) and Maximilian Bracht (Erayo-Ninja) split the match in an intentional draw. Holger Althues (Enduring Ideal) and Carlo Mazzurco (Snakes) took the ID as well, and Jörg Unfried (Zoo) conceded to Harald Stein (Hand in Hand).

Greatest respect goes to Sascha Thomsen, the man who jotted down "Ingrid Stomphowler" on his decklist. His deck is actually more of a Summer Bloom deck, a card that makes crazy mana with the Ravnica bounce-lands. After their match, Tobi Henke took Sascha's concoction and laid it out on the table, commenting how awesome that whole thing is. "I had a similar deck built", said Henke, "but my version was much worse!" For your amazement and your education, here is the Summer Bloom deck with Biorhythm that almost made Top 8 at the 2006 German Nationals:

Sascha Thomsen

Download Arena Decklist

And of course, congratulations to Rosario Maji, Holger Althues, Maximilian Bracht, Harald Stein, Jörg Unfried, Carlo Mazzurco, Tobias Henke and Amiel Tenenbaum for making Top 8!

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