It is ON!!!!!
Here we are again, all fresh and happy, to begin the final matches after a night of solid sleep. Yeah RIGHT. Most probably a lot of the top 8 players have been testing their match-ups with their friends into the wee hours of the night.
Tensions are rising and adrenaline is flowing in the form of a cup of coffee to try and get awake.
In a few matches we will be able to say we have our new “CHAMP”
- Play the Game, see the world
by Eelco van Ruth
- Round 12 Feature Match: Constructed - Horsies and Faeries, weeee!
Robert vs Sjoerdby Henry van den Brink
- Round 12 Feature Match: Constructed - Do or Die
Frank Karsten vs Niels van Reijmersdalby Dustin de Leeuw
- Round 11 Feature Match: Bend or Break
Peter van den Brink vs. Rogier Kleijby Walter Stevenhagen
- Round 11 Feature Match: Sjoerd Willems vs Sander van Wanrooy
by Eelco van Ruth
- Round 10 Feature Match: Really high on life
Frank Karsten vs. Robert van Medevoortby Erik van der Laan
- Blog: 17:31 p.m. - Headliners
by Erik van der Laan
- Round 10 Feature Match: Ruben Snijdewind vs. Rudy Meyer, constructed
by Dustin de Leeuw
- Round 9 Feature Match: Tom van Lamoen vs. Ruben Snijdewind
by Jasper Bongaards
- Round 9 Feature Match: Rudy Meijer vs Gerjan ter Wal
by Eelco van Ruth
- Featured Draft: Rudy Meijer
by Henry van den Brink
- Featured Draft: Drafting with the pros: Bram Snepvangers
by Henry van den Brink
- Round 9 Feature Match: Jasper Blaas vs. Sander van Wanrooy
by Henry van den Brink
- Round 8 Feature Match: Nick Kruithof vs Jos Schreurs
by Dustin de Leeuw
- Featured Draft: Victor van der Broek
by Henry van den Brink
- Round 7 Feature Match: Jasper Blaas vs Ron Cadier
by Eelco van Ruth
- Round 7 Feature Match: Firestarter
Ruben Snijdewind vs. Floris de Haanby Erik van der Laan
- Round 6 Feature Match
Robert van Medevoort vs. Kamiel Cornelissenby Henry van den Brink
- End of day 1 Recap, Preview for day 2
by Eelco van Ruth
- Metagame Breakdown Dutch Nationals
by Event Coverage Staff
- Day 1 Coverage: Miss something? Check this page out for all of the Day 1 Coverage.
by Event Coverage Staff
- Info: Fact Sheet
by Event Coverage Staff
Metagame Breakdown Dutch Nationals
Quick ‘n Toast: 7
Seismic Swans: 7
Swath Storm: 6
R/G aggro: 3
R/G ramp: 3
B/R tokens: 3
Monowhite control: 2
G/W ramp: 2
W/U control: 2
Juniper Order Ranger: 1
U/R skred swans: 1
W/B fog: 1
Juniper Order Ranger: 1
Monogreen Elves: 1
Monoblack control: 1
R/W tokens: 1
9am – End of day 1 Recap, Preview for day 2
The National Mindgames Center in Utrecht had to be abandoned in a hurry, yesterday. Don't be alarmed; there was no flooding (Valencia ‘07) and the roof was not blown of the building in a hurricane (a question I got from Jaap Brouwer when I was doing my level 1 judgetest: the roof just blew off the venue you're organizing a Prerelease tournament at. What do you do now ?!).Chess Grandmaster Dimitri Reinderman
The Nationals tournament was cut short (as always) because the number 1 mind game in Holland had to start at around 7pm. The Mindgame Center is host to a number of local Bridge Clubs in Utrecht, and it might be interesting to mention that frantic old-school Magic players like Wessel Oomens and Olaf Koster from Amsterdam, as well as people like Kamiel Cornelissen and Rogier Maaten are big fans of that game. Also in the latest interview at US Nationals with Mr Richard Garfield himself, he told reporter Rich Hagon on a couple of occasions that he was into Bridge. Great interview, by the way: look it up in Rich's podcast or on Magicthegathering.com.
That's the reason only 5 rounds were played on Friday, but round 6 just started a minute ago and so we'll continue our coverage.
A quick recap concerning day 1: Undefeated after round 5 were Alex Rutten, Tom van Lamoen and dinosaur Victor van den Broek. The players we all recognize that follow closely are Frank Karsten, Jasper Blaas, Kevin Grove, Gerjan ter Wal, Peter v/d Brink and Rudy Meijer on 12 points. Rudy is a big card trader in Holland and I'm pretty sure that every player competing at Dutch Nationals this year at one point in his life traded for a card with Rudy. In total 16 people are on 12 points.
The people that will have to fear for their chances are at 10 or 9 points, but still if they pick up every match for the rest of the day, there will be a 100% chance of making top-8.Spot the Celeb (Noah Boeken)
Big names among the people with 9 or 10 points: Tom v/d Logt (10), Roel van Heeswijk, Bram Snepvangers, Robert v/d Medevoort, Kamiel Cornelissen and Noah Boeken.
The day starts of in dramatic fashion when Robert and Kamiel are paired and the loser of that match will really have to go runner-runner-runner-etc for the remainder of today to make it into top-8 !
But let's look ahead. Today we'll start with the last round of Lorwyn / Lorwyn / Morningtide, immediately followed by the Shadowmoor / Shadowmoor / Eventide draft. After that the last 3 rounds of Standard will be played. Tonight around 7pm we'll be able to report how the top-8 will be like this year. I'm not going to make any predictions, because everyone predicted to make top-8 by people that know (like Jelger or Bram) are with their backs against the wall already and I haven't even ordered my lunch yet...
Feature Match round 6: Robert van Medevoort vs. Kamiel Cornelissen
Both players are 3-2 going into this draft, both having won their first two draft rounds. This round is particularly interesting, because Robert won Nats last year, while Kamiel won it the year before, and they became world champions together. Robert has drafted a Red/White, splash Black deck (for Shriekmaw and Nameless Inversion) which you can see in the draft feature, while Kamiel has drafted a 5-color green deck, splashing for things like Oblivion Ring, Mulldrifter, and Tarfire
Robert won the roll, and after wishing each other luck, we start the match. Both players keep their hands.
Robert has the first play in Sunflare Shaman, which enters the red zone after Flamekin Spitfire was played by Kamiel. Kamiel decides to block after thinking for a little while. Fertilid then enters play, which gets Oblivion Ringed. Robert misses his land drop on successive turns though. Kamiel is also stuck on land, but he has one more. Robert plays Fire Juggler from the top though, and Kamiel passes again. Robert then plays a Caterwauling Boggart precombat, and Fire Juggler gets whirlpool whelmed. Robert puts his revealed mountain on the bottom, probably looking for another colour, and Kamiel keeps his mountain. Kamiel Tarfires the boggart and then plays Cloudcrown Oak.
The next turn, Brion enters play for robert. After an attack with the oak from Kamiel, which gets through, Kamiel passes, signaling a trick. Robert makes the insane play of evoking Spitebellows next turn, shooting it with Brion. I see why these decks are at 2-0 now... because Kamiel indeed has the trick, as he plays Briarhorn to save his oak from Spitebellows. Robert plays another of his good creatures, as Tar Pitcher enters play. Both players are uninterested in entering the red zone for a while, building up their team.
Robert simply replays the Fire Juggler that got bounced a few turns ago, while Kamiel plays a Fencer Clique and it looks like the race is on, as Fire Juggler attacks. Life Totals are 23-14 in Robert's Favor as this happens. Clique blocks, and the clash is won by Kamiel. Fire juggler gets reinforced for 2 by Burrenton Bombardiers, and Clique dies. Soulbright Flamekin is added to the board and Robert passes. . The Fertile Ground that Kamiel kept on top after the clash enables Oblivion Ring on Tar Pitcher, which sacrifices itself to put kamiel to 12. The clash is again won by Kamiel when the Fire Juggler attacks, as Mulldrifter shows its face on the top of Kamiel's library. The double block with Oak and Briarhorn is fatal for Kamiel, as Thundercloud Shaman shows his face post combat to wipe Kamiel's board.
Brion and Thundercloud shaman are staring at an open field, ready to pound into Kamiel. Mulldrifter is played, and Kamiel passes. Thundercloud Shaman attacks, Mulldrifter Blocks, and Robert simply plays another Sunflare Shaman. Kamiel has nothing and we're on to game 2.
Robert 1 -0 Kamiel
Both players are quiet during side boarding. Not very surprising, they are not really the types for small talk, especially Kamiel, who is a very calm player. Kamiel will start the next game. It seems like his only hopes of winning this are racing Robert, since Robert's card quality is quite high.
Both players start with vivid lands, and Robert has the first play.in Brighthearth Banneret, which accelerates into Stingmoggie. A Bosk Banneret from Kamiel enables a Cloudcrown Oak and Flamekin Spitfire on turn four (he could not cast his Oak on turn 3 since the vivid land was played on turn 3 after the vivid land was played on turn 2). Stingmoggie kills the vivid land, preventing the spitfire from becoming active. Oak takes Robert to 17, and Kamiel is stuck on four forests with no play. A turn 5 Spitebellows seems kinda nasty, and Kamiel is in trouble. Lowland oaf is added to the board, and the turn gets passed a few times, Robert probably not wanting to run into Briarhorn. Kamiel finds a swamp and plays Fertilid. Robert kills the swamp with Stingmoggie in response, and Kamiel floats mana and activates his Fertilid when it comes into play. He thinks for a while, then finds an Island to enable him to probably refill with Mulldrifter next turn.
Spitebellows finally enters the zone now that Kamiel is outtapped, and Banneret and Oak trade for it. Thundercloud Shaman rears his big head again after combat, killing Kamiel's two small men. Again Kamiel's board is empty, and again he refills with Mulldrifter. Robert's hand is also quite full though, and Kamiel takes 7 from Lowland Oaf and Thundercloud Shaman to go to 13. Tar pitcher and Smokebraider enter play. Kamiel has another Fertilid on his turn.
Thundercloud Shaman goes into the red zone after Caterwauling Boggart enters play. Kamiel goes to a dangerous 9 life with a big board on Robert's side with a Tar Pitcher who can pitch 2 goblins. Kamiel finds a Mountain with his Fertilid and passes the turn. The Caterwauling Boggart takes to the sky with the help of Lowland Oaf, and Kamiel aims a Tarfire at the Tar Pitcher, which pitches itself at Kamiel's dome. The boggart comes through and gets reinforced, but it gets Whirlpool Whelmed. Robert keeps his Nameless Inversion on top, while Kamiel shoves his land to the bottom. The boggart gets replayed and Kamiel passes again. Shriekmaw from Robert gets countered by Sage's Dousing, and the Oaf, Thundercloud Shaman and Caterwauling Boggart enter the red zone. The shaman and the boggart get through and Tarfire ends the game.
Robert wins 2-0
After the game, Robert reveals that he sided the Stingmoggie, after hearing that Kamiel was playing a 5-color special. It certainly worked out well, although he would probably still have won without it. Both players wish each other good luck for the rest of the tournament and part sides. Kamiel now has to win out to make the top 8, while Robert is in a somewhat more comfortable situation going into the Shadowmoor draft.
Saturday, 13:58 p.m.: Firestarter – Round 7: Ruben Snijdewind vs. Floris de Haan
This round we have two local heroes who are both in contention for top 8 with a nice 5-1 standing. The dice decide to show their brutally low sides: Ruben rolls a 1, which gets answered by another 1 from Floris. So, Ruben wants to do just a bit better and rolls a 2, while Floris rolls...another 1!
Ruben Snijdewind and Floris de Haan love them some Cinders.It's a Leechridden Swamp against a Forest, the latter bringing forth a Tattermunge Maniac. It trades against a Fang Skulkin and Floris follows up with a Heartlash Cinder... "Doing a good job there!" Ruben quips at his opponent forgetting the haste, playing a Wasp Lancer during his own turn. Down comes a Cinder Pyromancer for Floris. Ruben likes the fiery dudes too and doesn't want just one of his own, but a whole Crowd of Cinders! The Pyromancer pings, then Floris uses a Javelin to fire up the Crowd (not as if they need more flames) - which Ruben is quite happy with as that means one less answer for his Demigod of Revenge on turn five. An attack together with the Wasp lancer takes Floris down to 9. His Heartlash Cinder tries the best it can to race but can't really cut it, Ruben still being healthy on 16 life. Floris' play gets Unmade and another attack from Ruben allows him to Leechride game 1.
Snijdewind – De Haan 1-0
Both players keep. A Heartlash Cinder comes in for 2, pre-combat this time; a Soothstoke Kindler from Ruben tries to imitate and comes in for 1. Faerie Macabre gets hasted, putting the board in Ruben's advantage. Floris plays a turn 4 Giantbaiting but isn't able to Replicate. The 4 damage it brings is good enough for him though: "The race is on!" And for Ruben, the race belongs to the skies, as a Wasp Lancer joins the Macabre and flies over for 5. The Lancer leaves a Burn Trail behind on Floris turn, who misses the Replicate again by lack of a second red creature. Kindler finally gets to attack again, as Ruben wisely decides not to haste his Loch Korrigan. Floris has just a Duergar Assailant, quite an underwhelming turn 5 play, which might mean he's on a trick here – or worse, just a bad draw. Faerie Macabre and Loch Korrigan attack, the latter eating the Heartlash Cinder, the former putting life totals on 11-7 in Ruben's advantage. His Syphon Life looks to take it away even more, especially as Floris now has no play at all with 6 lands open. Ruben sends in the team, Floris blocks the Korrigan with the Assailant and then takes out the Soothstoke Kindler with it before damage stacks.
As Ruben mentions that his attack may not have been the best play, he retraces a Syphon Life, and Floris drops his hand of 4 more lands on the table. Tough beats!
Snijdewind – De Haan 2-0
After the match both players commented on their sidedecking. "Yeah, I added some more smaller creatures as your deck is pretty fast." "Oh, I actually sided in some more fat!" Floris answers while showing his Doomgape. "Yes, that one is pretty fat!"
Snijdewind, who has played the Dutch Nationals quite a few times before, has good faith in reaching top 8. "It's gonna be now or never!"
Round 7 Feature Match: Jasper Blaas vs Ron Cadier
Both players are 5-1.Ron claims to have tested extensively, but Jasper only had 4 SSE drafts under his belt before walking into the 2nd draft of this tournament. However, two of those drafts were done in Amsterdam and Utrecht; those two cities are considered to be the strongest tournament scenes in the country. Last year, the top-4 consisted of 2 players of each city.
Jasper makes islands and forests in the first couple of turns and builds a mini-combo to start with: Safehold Elite and Gilder Bairn. I have to mention that one part of the combo is on Ron's side of the table: persist is a lot less good when the 1/3 is in play.
Jasper has an Elite of his own and they trade their 2/2 bodies into 1/1's.
Ron builds his army with forests and mountains and clearly has a whiter and persist strategy. The first creature he makes that doesn't have any of these abilities is the Noggle Bandit.
When it becomes a little bit clearer what Jasper's idea about the format was, it might have something to do with Razorfin Abolisher and Biting Tether: only the Quillspike is missing from a whole lot of -1/-1 counter action. His next play is not too bad either: Primalcrux with 9 green manasources on his side of the board, making it a 9/9 trampler.
The Wickerbough Elder Ron is able to play maybe able to pump itself immediately by disenchanting the Biting Tether, but it's not even close to help form a wall to attempt and block the Crux. Still Ron chooses to at least try and make the fatty smaller by blocking with a bunch of whither creatures. Jasper simply bounces his Primalcrux with the Razorfin Abolisher and replays it immediately with a little help of Devoted Druid: everyone's friend when it comes to paying for GGGGGG castingcosts...
During sideboarding, Jasper shows a couple of other maindeck goodies. He makes sure to point out that there are also UUUUU castingcosts to be paid, but he doesn't seem to worry about manascrewing. He has a bit of help Flooded Grove.
Ron has to start with a mulligan and that gives me some time to point out that he hails from Eindhoven. Back in the days, when the best players in Holland were either from Eindhoven of Tilburg (in the south of the country), the Theseus drafts were the place to be and brought us Ruud Warmenhoven, Jeroen Remie, Frank Karsten, Jelger Wiegersma, Bas Postma and probably even more people from the past. Nowadays people like Ron are drafting at Game Force, a local shop that is famous for organizing 500 and 1000 Euro tournaments.
Meanwhile the game is already in the 6th turn. Not too much eventful has happened, because Ron kept a 5 land hand and Knollspine Dragon. Jasper is able to see that because a River's Grasp bounces a Rustrazor Butcher. The dragon gets discarded because a Scuttlemutt rooting for Jasper's team is able to provide the black mana of the Grasp.
Ron shrugs it off and builds a Morselhoarder and the previously bounced Butcher. Jasper's next play is the UUUUU creature I mentioned earlier: Dominus of Faelty. Ron shakes his head, but attempts to do some damage with the Morselhoarder. Jasper is more then happy to endure 6 damage and simply steals one of Ron's next plays in his upkeep, thanks to the Dominus. His next attack brings Ron's lifetotal dangerously low and his next play causes him to scoop up his cards: Biting Tether steals the Morselhoarder permanently, because Jasper will be able to use the negative effect of the enchantment in his favor. The counters can be used to fix his mana even better, Jasper points out a little later...
Jasper Blaas wins 2-0 and ends up 6-1. Ron is still in ok shape with 5-2.
Featured Draft: Victor van der Broek
Victor is 6-0 going into this draft. Let's see if he can continue this winning streak in another format he hasn't tested much. He tells me before the draft that his strategy is hate picking a lot because he doesn't understand the format at all. He also tells me he played 2 drafts and 2 rounds of sealed in Brussels, and hasn't won a match yet...
Pick 1: Firespout, Wildslayer Elves, Turn to Mist, Scuttlemutt
Pick 2: Aethertow, Barkshell Blessing, Mudbrawler Raiders, Biting Tether
Pick 3: Tower Above, Merrow Wavebreakers, Wildslayer Elves
Pick 4: Lurebound Scarecrow, Safehold Elite, Mudbrawler Raiders
Pick 5: Tattermunge Duo, Rune Cervin Riders, Juvenile Gloomwidow
Pick 6: Thistledown Duo, Crimson Wisps, Merrow Grimeblotter
Pick 7: Gloomwidow's Feast, Raking Canopy, Wildslayer Elves
Pick 8: Rustrazor Butcher, Shield of the Oversoul
Pick 9: Turn to Mist, Ghastly Discovery, Medicine Runner, Smash to Smithereens
Pick 10: Safewright Quest
Pick 11: Old Ghastbark
Pick 12: Loamdragger Giant
Pick 13: Scuzzback Scrapper
Pick 14: -
Pick 15: -
Pick 1: Spawnwrithe, Kulrath Knight, Inquisitor's Snare, Puncture Bolt
Pick 2: Crabapple Cohort, Din of the Fireherd
Pick 3: Thistledown Duo, Curse of Chains, Juvenile Gloomwidow
Pick 4: Medicine Runner, Armored Ascension, Tattermunge Maniac
Pick 5: Steel of the Godhead, Mercy Killing, Giantbaiting
Pick 6: Drove of Elves, Hungry Spriggan, Vexing Shusher
Pick 7: Elvish Hexhunter, Ghastly Discovery
Pick 8: Giantbaiting, Blazethorn Scarecrow
Pick 9: Gloomwidow's Feast
Pick 10: Whimwader
Pick 11: Hollowsage
Pick 12: Ghastly Discovery
Pick 13: Wild Swing
Pick 14: Sinking Feeling
Pick 15: Guttural Response
Pick 1: Wickerbough Elder, Mindcrack Liege, Monstrify, Ballynock Trapper, Unmake
Pick 2: Wistful Selkie, Spitemare, Dominus of Fealty, Flame Jab, Wickerbough Elder
Pick 3: Hearthfire Hobgoblin, Duergar Cave-Guard,
Pick 4: Woodlurker Mimic, Cenn's Enlistment, Harvest Gwillion
Pick 5: Noggle Bridgebreaker, Hearthfire Hobgoblin
Pick 6: Rendclaw Troll, Antler Skulkin
Pick 7: Primalcrux, Shorecrasher Mimic, Wilderness Hypnotist
Pick 8: Inside Out, Monstrify
Pick 9: Monstrify, Heartlash Cinder, Trapjaw Kelpie
Pick 10: Monstrify, Shorecrasher Mimic, Kithkin Zealot
Pick 11: Scourge of the Nobilis
Pick 12: Wilderness Hypnotist
Pick 13: Tilling Treefolk
Pick 14: Unnerving Assault
Pick 15: -
Victor ended up with a reasonably awkward looking W/R deck. He made a couple of awkward picks in my opinion, such as not picking Biting Tether pick 2 (he told me he hadn't read the card) and not picking Medicine Runner when he had just picked Shield of the Oversoul a pick before. The switch to white through Armored Ascension seemed to pay off in the eventide booster though, and I think this kind of saved his draft. He remained undefeated after the 7th round, and is currently playing against Tom van Lamoen for the second time this tournament.
Round 8 feature match: Nick Kruithof vs Jos Schreurs
Nick wins the dieroll and both players decide to keep their hands. Both Nick and Jos start with 2/1 dudes: a vanilla acting Medicine Runner and a Groundling Pouncer with only Forests on Jos' side so far. Jos casts a hasty Boggart Ram-Gang on turn 3 after dropping a third Forest. Nick continues to drop Plains and 2/2 dudes, the biggest for now being a 3/3 Thistledown Duo. Turn 5 Jos finally plays a Mountain which he immediately uses to make a Cultbrand Cinder, killing a Mimic.
Nicks lifetotal being on a healthy 14 points, he lets the Ram-Gang through another time, Jos being down to 8 life points by now. The board seems clogged with a bunch of creatures on both sides, but the Ram-Gang seems unstoppable. Jos' Wicker Warcrawler remains a 6/6 big barrier, and when he casts a Howl of the Nightpack for 6 on his 8th turn, it starts looking very awkward for Nick. He goes into the tank with both players at 8 life, but Jos has 4 more creatures than Nick, the smallest all being 2/2. Nick passes the turn with 4 untapped Plains and Jos goes for an almost all-out attack, just holding back the tiny 2/1 Groundling Pouncer. Nick needs a trick to survive. He blocks all attackers except for 3 Wolfs, kills a Wolf with Last Breath and uses the Burrenton Medic to the max to just let through 3 damage, leaving himself at 5 and Jos, due to the Last Breath, at a healthy 12. After dust has cleared up, the board suddenly is a lot emptier with just a measily 4 critters on each side. Jos has another trick up his sleeve: Monstrify, once normal and once retraced, makes his both remaining Wolves enormous. On the next turn, Jos discards his 10th (!) land for another retraced Monstrify. Nick goes down to 1, draws a card and scoops. After that, his next top card would have been an Armored Ascension, which would have been just enough for the win.
Nick needs just a second for sideboarding, while Jos takes his time to flip through his cards. His sideboard contains a bunch of basic lands, including 4 Islands for some unexpected but this time unused tricks and treats. More critters come into the board, and the second round can start.
Nick plays a Plains and passes the turn, Jos makes a Forest and a Nurturer Initiate. Nick claims that his 2-drop is better, making a Safehold Elite. Jos passes turn 3 and Nick makes a scary Suture Spirit, While Jos makes a Spawnwrithe. Nick attacks for 3, and Last Breaths the Spwanwrithe. Too bad, because this Spawn is the most beatifull judge-provided proxy the players have ever seen... Jos Giant Beatings Nick down to 13, while Nick nibbling slowly but surely at Jos' lifetotal, which now becomes 15. A Shield of the Oversoul on the Elite really fastens the process, bringing Jos down to 6. The lonesome Nurturer Initiate and the newcast Merrow Wavebreakers don't seem to bring a solution, but Jos' hand contains 3 powerful tricks, among others a Snakeform. Nick literally shoves his flying army into the red zone. Jos casts the Snakeform on the Shielded Elite, making it a 2/2 Green Snake without flying, but still indestructible. The judge comes over to verify this complex layering problem, which makes Nick cry out loud: "Want a Hint? Ban Snakeform!". Jos is down to 3 but still alive, but topdecking 2 lands with Nick still on 10 live doesn't seem too hopeful. He ponders for a moment, then Monstrifies his Merrow Wavebreaker, in the process pumping his Nurturer Initiate with its own ability. He happily exclaims "attack for 10, no blocks?" but of course Nick does and Jos scoops. Nick is happy with his deck as is, but Jos once more flips through all the sideboard options he has. As explosive the first game went for him, the second game was a little less overwhelming, to state it carefully.
The third game, Jos is finally allowed to play first, but quickly abandons his first 7. He happily keeps a 6er with enough land and his beloved Boggart Ram-Gang, which gets Niveous Wisps-ed on turn 3. Turn 2 Jos topdecks a Nettle Sentinel... The team gets joined by a Gloomwidow, untapping the Sentinel. Both players steadily build their armies and mana, but Jos seems to do this a little faster and has no less than 6 critters on turn 5, Nick only having 3. Nicks seem to be big enough to stall the board, a 3/3 first strike Ballynock Cohort being the all-star of ground defense. Jos chooses to swarm the board and almost empty his hand, Nick holding a full grip of 4 cards. Finally he lets a Restless Apparition fly free, with no less than 7 Plains on the board. The withery Boggart Ram-Gang seems to hold down Nicks army, and the match seems a little stalled so far. With Jos still at 20 and Nick down to 15, a Monstrified Ram-Gang brings Nick further down to 8. As revenge, Nick attacks with his Restless Apparition, which Jos easily lets through. With 8 untapped Plains, Nick pumps the critter to 5/5, holding back 5 mana, using 3 of them to cast a Flickerwisp and Blink the Restless Apparition. Jos on his turn clogs the board further with a Raven's Run Dragoon, passing the turn. Only Nicks Restless Apparition goes into the red zone, walking into a Ram-Gang. The Apparition finally finds rest with 3 -1/-1 counters on it and Jos plays his first Island of the match. Then he plays his topdecked Giantbaiting, cleverly using his Nettle Sentinels to conspire it and immediately untap them after resolution. The hasty 4/4 Warriors attack; one gets chumped and the other brings Nick down to 4. At still 15 life, Jos relaxedly untaps and draws a card, which is a usefull Cultbrand Cinder, thus expanding his own army while thinning out Nicks. With Jos' 7 creatures against Nicks 4, plus Nick being at an edgy 4 life, Jos goes all-in, just holding back an active Elvish Hexhunter. Nick thinks deeply about how and which to block, but then scoops, revealing a hand full of lands and a Armored Ascension, uncastable because of the threatening Hxhunter on the other side of the table. They shake hands and Nick sighs how much he hates games that are decided on manaflood... a frustrating end for a very exciting match, in which both players continuously cracked their brains.
Nick Kruithof 1 - Jos Schreurs 2
Round 9 feature match: Jasper Blaas vs. Sander van Wanrooy
Jasper Blaas was the two-headed giant teammate of Rogier Maaten and has played a couple of pro tours. He has drafted a very greedy Blue/Green deck, with Dominus of Fealty and Primalcrux. The latter is a bit easier to play than the former, since he has a couple of Devoted Druids in the deck. Sander dispatched Alex Rutten last round, and this match included a turn 5 kill. This could be interesting. Both Jasper and Sander are at 6-2, and need 3 more wins to make top 8.
Sander announces that he keeps his hand, but Jasper looks at his first 3 cards and then stops. He says that he hasn't desideboarded and prepares for a game loss. The judges are lenient however, and Jasper only receives a warning.
Finally Sander starts the game, and how. He curves with Stream Hopper into Tattermunge Witch into Groundling Pouncer. Jasper drops to 16, but he has a good start as well, as he goes devoted druid into wildslayer elves. These get Burn Trailed however, and Jasper drops to 14.
Wickerbough Elder is another nice creature for Jasper, but it trades for the pumped witch at the next attack, which drops Jasper to 11. Scuttlemutt for Jasper doesn't block and Jasper drops to 8. Sander has a Wildslayer Elves of his own. Regal Force for Jasper sterns the bleeding a bit, but Sander has a solid grip of 4 cards and the team still attacks. Wildslayer elves and Barkshell Blessing trade for the Force and Jasper drops to 5. The Wildslayer Elves gets River's Grasped with Black mana coming from Scuttlemutt, revealing lands, but Sander top decks Monstrify to end the game.
Sander 1-0 Jasper
Between games, Jasper says that he definitely knows which cards he's boarding in, the cards he hadn't boarded out before the game began. Apparently fast decks are the way to go at this table.
Jasper starts this game, and he does so with a mulligan. Jasper keeps his second one. Sander keeps as well, and he opens with Nettle Sentinel, with trades with Jasper's side boarded Oona's Gatewarden. Jasper has no turn 3 play and he gets hit by Boggart Ramgang. This gets Tower Aboved, and Scuttlemutt is the victim of the big goblin. Jasper again has no play and Farhaven Elf enters play for Sander after the Ramgang attacks. Wildslayer elves gets in the way, but Outrage Shaman flametongues it for 5 and Jasper drops to 5. Biting Tether on Outrage Shaman is Jasper's best play, but this gets Puncture Bolted, and Sander drops Jasper to 1 and shows Burn Trail. Quite a brutal draw.
Sander 2-0 Jasper
Drafting with the pros: Bram Snepvangers
Bram has quite a reputation both here in the Netherlands and abroad and as he is quite the limited player, it should be obvious that he will be followed during his draft.
When he opens the first pack, he immediately has to decide as to what his plan wil be in the draft with a choice of Final Revels, Thundercloud Shaman or holding open his options with Fertile Ground. He decides to take the Thundercloud, so here's hoping for some giants! The next pick leaves him with a tough decision between Harpoon Sniper, Fertile Ground, Moonglove Extract, Faerie Harbinger and Wings of Velis Vel. After flipping the cards back and forth he decides to take the card that helps him the most with his plan of giants: the Extract. After that he gets a couple of nice cards in two Blindspot Giants (third en seventh), Goldmeadow Harrier and Lowland Oaf. The double Adder-Staff Boggart and a Burrenton Forge-Tender help with the early drops and a Giant's Ire and a Needle Drop fill out the first pack. So far a couplle of giants and some removal. Not bad, I'd say.
The first pick of the second pack takes some time, because Bram has to decide between a Goldmeadow Harrier and a Mudbutton Torchrunner. Eventually, when time is called, Bram takes the Torchrunner. The next couple of picks are easy, as he is shipped a Neck Snap and a Giant Harbinger without any other contenders in the packs. He then gets two Kithkin Greathearts, a Consuming Bonfire and a Tar Pitcher. Though there isn't a lot left by now, he does manage to end up with a Surge of Thoughtweft and a third Adder-Staff. Bram has some really powerful cards now, but he does need to have giants in play for most of them, so those will be especially important in the last pack.
The third pack gives Bram a Weight of Conscience as a first pick and follows it up with two War-Spike Changelings, though he has to pick them over a Pyroclast Consul and a Wandering Greybeard. The next pick gives him a Greybeard anyway, so no problem there. His fifth pick grants him a third War-Spike, which he happily picks up, though he has to pass a Shard Volley to get it. The rest of the pack isn't very great, so he just gets a trio of Order of the Golden Cricket and a Shinewend for his sideboard.
Draft 2: Rudy Meijer
For the Dutch players among us, Rudy does not require an introduction. Even though he doesn't play in a lot of tournaments, he often is at the site selling or trading cards. He is the biggest card dealer in the Netherlands and he has probably fixed cards for over 90% of the competitors at some in their carreer. Rudy is currently at 5-1 and has a reputation of drafting "special" decks, so it's obvious we'll be following his draft here.
Things start with a small problem. One of the cards in his first pack (an Enchanted Evening) is marked, so the booster has to be replaced. This means that Rudy has a little less time for his pick than most of the other players. He quickly flips through the cards, ignoring a Silkbind Faerie and doubting between Glen Elendra Liege and Burn Trail, and decides on Burn Trail. For the next pick, he sees a Devoted Druid and a Curse of Chains, easily taking the former. The next pick gives him a Silkbind he can't leave and after that he seems to go for a white-green deck, taking a Devoted Druid, Hungry Spriggan, Safewright Quest, Last Breath and a couple of Pale Wayfarers as notable cards.
The second pack starts with a choice between Devoted Druid and Prison Term, eventually going for the Term. He then gets a Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers and a Ravens Run Dragoons. In the next pick he decides on a possible splash for Grief Tyrant (to help with his Burn Trail) and next he gets a safe hold Sentry. His next pick is a choice between Shield of the Oversoul and Howl of the Night Pack. Here he takes his time and takes the Shield. In the rest of the picks he gets 2 Prismatic Omen, an Inquisitor's Snare and a Thistledown Duo.
Now it's time for Eventide! The first pick is a tough choice between Regal Force and Recumbant Bliss. Rudy would like them both, but eventually settles on the Bliss. He follows it up with another piece of removal, this time Unmake. In the next pick he has to make a tough choice. He sees two Cenn's Enlistments and a Kithkin Spellduster. He takes the Duster. He then gets a Patrol Signaler, Nightsky Mimic and Desecrator Hag. He then has the option to pick a Cenn's Enlistment or an Aerie Ouphes, taking the Ouphes. He then gets a Savage Conception and one of the Enlistments from the pack with two of them returns.
Seems like a nice green-white deck with some retrace goodness and removal.
Round 9: Rudy Meijer vs Gerjan ter Wal
I stated somewhere in the coverage earlier today that I was quite sure everyone in this tournament at one point in his life traded for some cards with Rudy Meijer. He is one of the card traders we have walking around in Holland and is always to be found at the top of the standings in the last 3 rounds of Dutch Nationals. It always ends up bad for him, because people are always trying to buy cards from him, so a little too much stress usually causes him to miss out on top-8 by a small margin. Today, with Rudy on 7-1, a couple of friends kidnapped all his binders and locked them up in one of the cars, so he will pretty much be forced to focus on his remaining games and maybe finally make top-8. It would be nice.
Gerjan quickly bounces Rudy's board around turn 4 of the first game: Banishing Knack targets Puresight Merrow with 4 islands in play and the Merrow and Augury Adept swing for 2 each. The next time the Merrow tries to deal 2 damage to Rudy, a Safehold Sentry jumps in front of it, to make sure another Knack won't resolve and bounce the board again. The next couple of turns both players work on their defensive positions and the first thing Rudy plays to upset Gerjan is an Aerie Ouphs that shoots himself at Faerie Swarm immediately, causing Gerjan to sacrifice his Grazing Kelpie to prevent the Ouph to return.
Gerjan's next play is a Steel of the Godhead targeting his Augury Adept, but when the Adept tries to make a first impression of Rudy's lifetotal a neat trick is played: Strip Bare makes the Augury Adept loose it's Steel and the Adept is blocked by the an Old Ghastbark. Rudy starts swinging with the mentioned Ghastbark and a Savage Conception token. A flashed Prismwake Merrow helps to block one of the tokens and after damage is on the stack, the Grazing Kelpie catches Turn to Mist to be able to remove the Savage Conception at end of turn. However, both players allow the Kelpie to return before the end of combat step and a judge has to point out that that's not possible. The judge is called two turns later though, and the rules won't allow the situation to be restored. Both players receive a warning.
For Rudy it didn't really matter, because he continues to play fatties while Gerjan keeps picking up land after land. The game is over pretty quick.
Let's try to come up with at least 1 interesting thing about Gerjan. Like a real Pro Gerjan didn't test too much for this tournament, but he was able to qualify for Nationals in one of the many qualifiers. He played Swans combo in the Standard portion of the tournament and was able to 3-0 his table in the LLM draft, building an insane Elf deck with 2 nasty Treefolks.
Game 2 starts out with Gerjan showing me 2 Steel of the Godhead and Rudy showing me the Strip Bare that made quite an impression on the game. The first play Rudy makes is a Devoted Druid that ramps him into a Aerie Ouphes in the next turn. Gerjan simply makes an end of turn Prismwake Merrow and equips him with some Steel of the Godhead.
When Rudy attack with the Ouphes and plays a Thistledown Duo, he sets up Gerjan to walk right into a little trap. He keeps 1 white mana open to be able to play the Strip Bare AND block the 2/1 that Gerjan considers to be unblockable with the 3/3 Duo, thanks to the fact that it gets +1/+1 from playing a white spell.
The trick allows Rudy to hit for 5 and make Gerjan drop to 12 in the next turn and all Gerjan can muster is play an end of turn Prismwake Merrow and a mainphase Silkbind Faeries. The other Steel of the Godhead really wants to jump onto the Faeries, but the Ouphes can kill the Faerie at any point before that would happen. Rudy chooses to attack for 6 first before attempting to sacrifice his 3/3, but Gerjan Banishing Knacks his 1/3, taking 1 manaburn because his only blue source is a Mystic Gate.
Rudy doesn't want to have anything to do with it, because he has a very nice last turn: the Faerie, that came back and caught hold of the Steel finally, is enchanted with Recumbent Bliss as well, and another enchantment is played on the Old Ghastbark. It's a Shield of the Oversoul and the following attack is more then enough to kill Gerjan almost twice.
Rudy Meijer wins 2-0 and only has one loss going into the Standard part of the tournament again. Gerjan was paired up and is at 6-3 now. He likes his chances though, because he plays Swans Combo and hopes to be paired against a lot of Red decks.
Round 9: Tom van Lamoen vs. Ruben Snijdewind
Both players are at 7-1 and are leading this national championship. The winner of this match is almost certain to make it into top 8, as he will need only one more win to get into the top 8.
Both players keep their hand and Tom starts off with a plains. A Leechridden Swamp comes down for Ruben on the first turn. Turn 2 Tom lays down another plains and passes the turn. Ruben continues with a sickle ripper and passes the turn. On the third turn Tom lays an Island and casts a gravel gill duo. A fulminator mage joins the team for Ruben.
On the fourth turn Tom casts a Burrenton Cragheads. With a flying Gravegill duo he attacks Ruben to 18. On the next turn Ruben casts a 3/3 with fear, by casting Crowd of Cinders. No attacks for Ruben this turn. Tom attacks with both of his creatures with four mana untapped, Ruben chose not to block and falls down to 13. A Wingrattle Scarecrow is cast after combat and Tom passes the turn. Ruben makes another creature by casting Nightsky Mimic, and atacks with a 4/4 creature. After combat he also casts Fang Skulkin.
With five mana untapped Tom attacks Ruben again, but now only with Burrenton Cragheads. No blocks and Ruben goes to 10 life. After combat Tom plays an Archon of Justice.
Tom has a pretty nice draw in Steel of the Godhead, and Ruben sighs. The steel joins the burrenton crag heads and goes into the red zone. Unfortunately for Tom, Ruben has the right answer in Unmake.
Ruben finds his fifth swamp and is able to cast Gravelgill Axeshark. The now 5/5 creature with fear attacks and is blocked by Wingrattle Scarecrow. Although it is 2 creatures for Tom and 6 for Ruben, there are no worries for Tom, because he plays a Twilight Shepherd. Life totals are 14 for Tom and 10 for Ruben.
Gravelgill Axeshark and Crowd of Cinders are the brave men for Ruben and they go into the red zone. An Archon of Justice blocks the Axeshark and with Fang Skullkin's help there are 3 counters placed on the Archon.
Tom takes five damage and goes to 9. Post combat Ruben plays Syphon Life. Tom needs to deal with Crowd of Cinders and also has to do something about the Syphon Life, because he is at 7 life. He found one answer in Rivers grasp and let's Ruben discard his Crowd of Cinders. On Ruben's turn he shows that he has more good creatures in his deck, as he casts another Crowd of Cinders. Tom immediately destroys this in his own turn by casting a Soul Reap. A Twilight Shepherd attacks and becomes blocked by Oona's gate warden. He casts a Somnomancer and slowly Ruben is picking away at his life total by activating Leechridden Swamp. Tom is at 6 life. Ruben only casts a Sootstoke kindler. A curse of chains comes down at Tom's turn, tapping the Night sky Mimic from the next turn on.
A Faerie Macabre joins the team for Ruben together with a Cinderhaze Wretch. The soot stoke Kindler gives the Cinderhaze Wretch haste and Ruben let's Tom discard his hand (which contains 2 lands). Tom can only add one creature to the board on his turn, but it doesn't look too good for him. Another activation from the land brings Tom to 5 life and when Ruben takes the turn he sees that Tom has no cards in hand and decides to attack with his whole team. 3 damage comes through and Tom is at 2 life. Ruben also has a land in hand so he can retrace the Syphon life and takes the first game!
Ruben 1 - Tom 0
Tom Chooses to start this game and starts with a 2 plains. Ruben's first two drops are 2 Swamps. On the third turn Tom lays an Island and Thisledown Duo. The Duo leaves play as just as soon as the card entered it, as Ruben cast on his turn an Aphotic Wisp and Soul Reap to take Tom to 17 life.
On the fifth turn Ruben shows why he only has Swamps in his deck, because this makes Demigod of Revenge pretty good. A 5/4 hasty flier attacks Tom to 12 life. Tom has an answer in his own turn though, in River's Grasp and puts the Demigod in the graveyard.
A Crowd of Cinders joins play next turn together with a Torture on the white tapper. Tom only plays a swamp on his turn and passes the turn. A second Crowd of Cinders gives Ruben two 3/3 fear guys, but the tapper still keeps 1 creature tapped.
An Archon of Justice comes down for Tom and he can only pass the turn.
A Faerie Macabre joins the team together with a Soul Reap on the tapper, to take Tom to the low life total of 2 life. Tom really needs an answer right now, because 2 3/3 fear creatures are coming his way next turn.
He finds one in steel of the godhead and attacks Ruben back for a 5 power flier.
In order to win, Ruben needs to cast two black creatures in his own turn to increase his Crowd of Cinders to two 5/5 creatures. He does have them in hand, as he casts an Oona's gate warden and Loch Korrigan to deal the final blow to Tom!
Ruben Snijdewind wins this match and is in really good shape to make it into the top 8!
Ruben 2 - Tom 0
Round 10: Ruben Snijdewind vs. Rudy Meyer, constructed
A very interesting and promising match with two unusual builds, so lets see what this round will bring! Rudy wins the die roll and starts with a double mulligan. Ruben starts the game with suspending a Lotus Bloom, Rudy manages to drop a Knight of Meadowgrain on turn 2. When Ruben casts a Thoughtseize, Rudy reveals a hand with 2 Plains and Idyllic Tutor, which is discarded. Rudy then draws and plays an impressive Wilt-Leaf Cavaliers and swings for 2 with the Knight. Ruben tutors up a Reflecting Pool with his Beseech the Queen, Rudy makes a huge Cavaliers with Shield of the Oversoul and swings again, leaving Ruben at 9 life points. Ruben plays an unexpected Zur, the Enchanter with a Godhead of Awe from his freshly unsuspended Lotus Bloom and passes the turn. Rudy seems to have recovered from his double mulligan and makes his 4th land drop, then swings with his entire army of Knights. Ruben takes some time to decide whether or not to block the Knight of Meadowgrain, but eventually does. Rudy plays no tricks, leaving the Meadowgrain dead and ending at 26 life, Ruben at just 4.
Ruben attacks with Zur, fetching another Steel of the Godhead, then swings for 5 damage and a load of life gain, leaving him at a healthy 17 again. Rudy swings with the now tiny looking 5/6 vigilance Elf Knight, bringing Ruben to 12 again, makes a 5th land drop and passes the turn. Ruben swings with his double enchanted Zur, fetching Story Circle on White and going back to 20 life points. A lot of confusion arises about the exact life totals with all these back and forth's, eventually a judge decides to stay around for certainties sake. Rudy keeps swinging with just 2 cards in hand, Ruben once more gains some life and fetches Seismic Assault, thus revealing the goal of his deck. After Rudy attacks and Ruben attacks back, Rudy stays at a measly 6 life while Ruben has grown to 40.
Rudy attacks, Ruben shrugs and takes the 5 damage. He in turn attacks, putting Rudy at 1 and then discarding a land to Seismic Assault, killing Rudy. Rudy shows a hand of just lands, but states he wanted to play on (realizing he was almost for sure losing the game) just to gain some information about this odd looking deck.
Sideboarding takes some time, because both players have to figure out on the spot what they can expect and what to do about it. "Lets see what it does", Ruben sighs and starts shuffling his deck. Rudy takes some more time to flip through his sideboard, then to decide what he can take out from his main deck. An intensive shuffling session follows, but then both players are ready for the second game.
Rudy happily keeps his hand, drops a Plains and passes the turn. Ruben claims he has a "good but tough" hand, and needs some time to decide which land to drop first. The choice is between Reflecting Pool, Grove of the Burnwillows and Gemstone Mine. He decides to first play the Pool, turn 2 Burnwillows and Pyroclasm to kill Rudies freshly cast Knight of Meadowgrain. Rudy follows up with the 3/4 Knight, Ruben makes a Gemstone Mine and Thoughtseizes Rudy to discard his Oblivion Ring. After a while of pondering, he passes the turn. Rudy makes a turn 4 Wilt-Leaf Liege and swings with his now 5/6 Cavaliers, hitting Ruben down to 13. Ruben makes a Dakmoor Salvage and a Seismic Assault, then passes the turn with 4 cards in hand. Rudy swings with both Knights, putting Ruben at 4. Rudy cycles a Mind stone, then passes the turn. Ruben makes a Swans of Bryn Argol and discards a Dakmoor Salvage to Seismic Assault the Swans. He soon finds the second Dakmoor and combos out, for a very fast 2-0. This game as well, Rudy was heavily flooded, which is extra sour in a deck running no more than 20 lands.
Ruben Snijdewind - Rudy Meyer: 2 - 0
With just 2 more rounds to be played, Ruben can safely ID into the T8, while Rudy is in doubt: play or draw, but now in another sense than usual... After a brief talk with Bram Snepvangers, they figure out that 2 draws will very likely be enough for a T8 finish, but Rudy is a little concerned whether he will be able to manage two draws with opponents who might need the win. A 8-2 result is very satisfying and Rudy believes in the pure strength of his deck, but another series of manaflood in the next round could cause him some serious headaches for the 12th and final round of the tournament. The most important thing for Rudy is that he was able to show off his draft skills, so he will go home satisfied, no matter what the next couple of hours will bring. Meanwhile, more and more people start schmoozing about ID-ing, we'll soon know how many games will actually be played next round. Stay tuned!
Saturday, 17:31 p.m.: Headliners
Of course, this being the Dutch Nationals after all, there are quite a few Dutch Magic stars flopping cards. And of course, it's not that they lack attention from our coverage crew. But, just to show who you could sit across around here in a random match, I decided to take a stroll around and picture some of the 'head'liners. Well, ok, I admit it, of course (of course 'of course' has to be repeated ad nauseam) this is also because it makes such a nice collection of Dutch 'pretty boys'!
I was in luck to find Roel van Heeswijk and Rogier Maaten playing next to each other. Easy hunting! Their opponents were no slouches either, as Rens Feenstra (by many predicted to top 8 here) and Niels Noorlander, who both have played some Pro Tours of their own:
Magicthegathering.com's old favorite Frank Karsten is still running for top 8 and I captured a shot of his typical, think-tank-happy play destined to find the right play each and every time:
The 'nestor of Dutch magic' Bram Snepvangers, shows how you really flash a card!
No-one really quits Magic: Jeroen Remie decided to slam some cards again.
And last, André Pannekoek is just happy to be here. As are we!
Round 10: Really high on life
An important match, where the winner makes a huge step towards the top 8, while the loser still has a long way to go. The battle is between two heavyweights in Dutch Magic and displays a classic aggro vs. control matchup: Frank is playing the popular mono-red deck while Robert plays Reveillark.
Robert van Medevoort is sitting pretty well at 8-2 coming into this round.Robert wins die roll and both players wish each other to have fun this match. Robert keeps immediately while Frank thinks for a few seconds but decides to keep as well, playing a Mogg Fanatic on his first turn. It brings Robert down to 19 as he plays land-go for the first three turns. What have you got?" Frank wonders out loud, trying to deduce the reasons for Robert's passive play. He attacks with the Fanatic and a Magus of the Scroll, dealing Robert 2 more, and adds a Magus of the Moon to the field. It seems to be somewhat ineffective since Robert has two Snow-covered Islands and one Snow-covered Plains to go along with a Vivid Creek.
Frank does manage to get his attacks in continuously, poking Robert to 13 now, and passes with 4 lands left untapped. We finally have a play from Robert on turn 5, laying down a Reveillark, which gets Skredded by Frank, while an incinerate hits Robert's face. All it takes is a Demigod to take game 1 for Frank.
Karsten - Van Medevoort 1-0
"I would've expected something more." "Yeah, maybe I should've mulliganned." Robert admits. Actually, the Magus of the Moon was pretty key as Robert held the Wrath of God but couldn't play it, courtesy of having only one white mana available.
Both players remain silent, Frank taking some time as usual for sidedecking while Robert seems to have had his plan ready for this matchup, taking the time to shuffle his deck some more. In the meanwhile, he mentions that Bram can't make the Dutch team anymore, thus making Frank's prophetic dream not come true. Robert suggests Frank could always try some Astrology show on television...
Frank has a Figure of Destiny while Robert adds a Prismatic Lens to his lands. Frank has another Figure, but both get Wrath of Goded away. Robert then pushes the game ahead with a Mulldrifter, while Frank rebuilds with a Magus of the Moon and an Ashenmoor Gouger. Robert has more non-basic lands in play than last game, but the Prismatic Lens helps a lot in keeping his options open.
A Body Double decides to be a Figure of Destiny, of course hoping to end up with a destiny better than the original Figures of Frank. The play pushes Frank into the tank. Eventually, a Demigod comes down and attacks along with the Gouger, the latter getting double blocked resulting in a dead Figure annex Body Double and Mulldrifter. Robert evokes a Reveillark to get back Mulldrifter and Body Double. Frank considers his options as Robert almost has this game going in the way he wants it.
Demigod of Revenge comes in once more when Frank has done the math. Again a double block ensues, and Frank is decidedly against putting the Mulldrifter in the bin, deciding to put all 5 damage on the Body Double that is really a Reveillark, which returns. Robert plays Bonded Fetch and Greater Gargadon and now has the combo set up. He draws cards, raises his life total to 87.004.000.000.013, gets Frank's board with help of a Sower of Temptation, and eventually manages to get Karsten to concede the game somehow.
Karsten - Van Medevoort 1-1
Jeroen Remie drops by and asks "Hey! how's it going?" "It's 1-1." "Never mind, I just wanted some attention..." Of course, I'm a nice guy, and mentioning this in a feature article should fulfill Jeroen's longing for attention...
Frank Karsten punishes the double mulligan with the stingy Mana Barbs.Frank doesn't seem happy with his hand, but decides to keep anyway. Robert is sincerely unhappy and mulligans to 6, which are not good enough either. "No lands twice, not ideal really." The 5 cards do contain lands making Robert keep. Fanatic attacks for Frank, who has no play on turn 2 and passes again on turn three. Are there some Demigods out there? Robert seems to think so and plays a Runed Halo on Demigod. At the end of turn, Frank throws a Flame Javelin at Robert's face and the Mogg Fanatic brings the score to 20-13.
Frank has a Mana Barbs which spells a lot of trouble for Robert, making an evoked Mulldrifter now technically incinerating Robert as well. A Stigma Lasher looks to strangle Robert completely. Robert has a Sower hoping to stem the bleeding, 'borrowing' Frank's Blood Knight but getting to a dangerously low 4 life. Frank doesn't seem to have the burn to end it immediately, but luckily for him, there's still the attack phase. Both Lasher and Fanatic come in; Robert has to sacrifice his team in blocking and scoops when the top card of his deck offers no more help.
Karsten - Van Medevoort 2-1
Round 11: Sjoerd Willems vs Sander van Wanrooy
We have arrived at the point where people are starting to think "do or die". Both players are X-3 and that means that winners can consider to draw in next round (when tiebreakers allow that) and losers will only win Pro Points and boosters (if they also win the next round). Sjoerd wins the toss and keeps his hand. Sander has to mulligan.
Sjoerd starts playing a swamp and a mountain and suggests playing the Token Deck. Sander starts throwing Elves on the table: Llanowar Elves and Wren's Run Vanquisher, revealing a second copy of the 3/3. Sjoerd answers with Mad Auntie, so we might be in for a treat: maybe a new deck will see the light. Marsh Flitter for Sjoerd after Sander plays a Tarmogoyf crushes our dreams: it's probably still a Token Deck.
When Sjoerd is outtapped and Sander tries his luck with attacking into Sjoerd's tokens. One token receives a regeneration shield from Mad Auntie, so he survives the deathtouch ability from the Vanquisher. When there is a post-combat spell being played for 5 mana, Sjoerd breaks a sweat for a second, but Sander simply plays the second Vanquisher without showing another elf.
Sjoerd's next turn nets him a Bitterblossom and a Nantuko Husk, but when Sander Profane Commands the Auntie and returns his late Vanquisher, Auntie gives 1 token a regenerate shield. Torrent of Souls allows the freshly made Bitterblossom token to attack, eventhough it's summoning sick and the Marsh Flitter accompanies him or her.
Sander understands that he is loosing the battle for ground control and attempts to attack with Tarmogoyf and 2 Vanquishers. The Husk on Sjoerd's side of the table eats a bunch of critters and kills the Goyf and when the turn is passed Sjoerd cripples Sander's chances in this game by playing a Mogg Fanatic, killing Sander's lone blocker Llanowar Elves and resolving another Torrent targeting a Marsh Flitter that was conveniently sacced into the Husk. Lifetotals are 11 to 5 in Sjoerd's favor.
When Sander kills the Marsh Flitter once more with another Profane Command, the Vanquisher is (also again) returned to play. Sjoerd simply attacks for 2 with Bitterblossom tokens and Sander has seen enough when his next draw doesn't hand him an answer.
Sjoerd considers himself not a "2 Klaveren" player. The "2 Klaveren" is a Mindgame Café where people like Noah Boeken, Wessel Oomens, Alexander Witt, Julien Nuijten and countless other Amsterdam Pro's started playing. Sjoerd moved to the other side of Amsterdam about half a year ago and cycling to the venue would take too much time from his life. Also, he started living together. Monday evening is the time Sjoerd and his partner try to unwind as much as possible. He was able to test a little bit for Dutch Nationals at the "2 Klaveren" and Het Spellenhuis Haarlem, a game shop in Haarlem.
Sander is a member of The Hague draftscene KVDeckmasters.
The start of game 2 reveals Sjoerd gambling and keeping a 1 land hand. The plan backfires somewhat when his 2nd landdrop makes him wait till turn 3, but 1 drops keep coming into play in the form of Shadow Guildmage and Mogg Fanatic. In his turn 3 finally a second land is ripped from the top of his library and a Mogg War Marshal is played. On the other side of the table, Sander curves out nicely with Vanquisher, Kitchen Finks and Chameleon Colossus. A 3rd land finally shows up, but all the red goblin tokens have already been assigned as chump blockers to keep the Colossus from killing Sjoerd.
Lifetotals are 22 to 7 though and when Sander attacks with his team and a freshly played Nantuko Husk tries to kill some attackers, a Sudden Spoiling makes an end to Sjoerd's dreams. It's 1-1.
KVDeckmasters is another one of those draftscenes that have been around forever. Sander has been able to attend Pro Tour New Orleans and wants everyone to know he had a splendid time being in the USA. When he is asked if he was able to make a good finish in the tournament, he's less excited. Whatever: what counts is that he might be able to make top-8 today and try to make it to Memphis this year !
Shadow Guildmage is played off an Auntie's Hovel and a Murderous Redcap is revealed. Turn 3 plays are Mad Auntie and Kitchen Finks on either side of the table. Sjoerd has to enter the thinking tank (might be a Dutch expression, sorry about that), because he can play the Redcap, but the Finks will stay around persisting. He still fires 3 at the Finks and passes the turn. Sander simply plays another Kitchen Finksl, but fails to play another land. That's usually not good, because Profane Commands need lots of mana.
Sjoerd makes a creature that is able to pump itself too: the Husk enters play again. Also, an attack is carried out because Marsh Flitter swings in for 3, killing the Recap once dealing 2 damage to Kitchen Finks when returned to play due to persist shenanigans and Auntie's help.
Sander's next turn will allow him to start eating at Sjoerd's lifetotal, because on the other side only black creatures have massed. However, a couple of those tokens are a result of a Bitterblossom, so an attack from Sjoerd would hurt Sander more then Sjoerd. Tarmogoyf is added instead, but Sjoerd wins pretty much immediately when he is able to untap and topdeck a Grave Pact. With the help of some obsolete tokens and sac-outlets like Nantuko Husk and Marsh Flitter, Sander's board would have been wiped. Sander scoops them up in disgust. He has, however, a genuinely honest handshake and will have to hope that he wins his next round to make top-16.
Sjoerd wins 2-1 and might be able to start thinking about drawing into top-8 if his tiebreakers allow that. If he's able to win the next round he's in for sure.
Round 11: Bend or Break
Welcome to another do or die match. This time it's Peter van den Brink playing mono red vs. Rogier Kleij playing... well... mono red. These guys are completely focused on their games, so unfortunately they don't really talk before the game.
Rogier starts the game with a Keldon Megaliths and we're off! They both start dropping creatures. Rogier goes Magus of the Scroll into Figure of Destiny (with a pump) and Peter has Blood Knight into Ashenmoor Gouger into double Blood Knight. This makes attacking a bit of a problem for Rogier, so he just has to pass the turn. Peter now has a Demigod of Revenge and attacks with all he has. Rogier thinks a bit and burns the Demigod and a Knight and blocks the Gouger. He goes down to 8 and when Peter reveals another Demigod from his hand, the game is over.
1-0 Peter van den Brink
Rogier starts again and both players open with a Figure. Rogier then has a Blood Knight and Peter has another Figure. Rogier has another Blood Knight, so the Figures don't get to do a lot. Some Figures get burned and eventually when the dust has settled, Peter plays a Demigod. This one is on block duty, though, since Rogier has another Figure and he still has a Blood Knight with Peter on 9 life. Rogier then evokes Spitebellows to get rid of the Demigod and attacks Peter to 5. Peter then destroys both creatures, but two turns later, Rogier draws a Demigod and swings for the win.
In the third game Peter starts with a mull. Both players have their first nonland permanent in Blood Knight, but it is Peter who draws first blood after he Incinerates Rogier's Knight. Rogier has a Figure, but it also gets Incinerated before it can level-up twice. Peter then has some more creatures, but Rogier has had enough and burns every creature he plays. When Peter has a Demigod he has Skred and when Rogier tries his Demigod, Peter returns the favor. He then uses Sulfurous Blast with Keldon Megaliths to get rid of a Gouger, Flame Javelin to get rid of another one, but he can't really kill the Murderous Redcap. When he draws a second Megaliths as an eleventh land, it's a turn late. Peter Javelins him to three, attacks him with Redcap to one and then kills him by Skredding his own Redcap.
2-1 Peter van den Brink
Round 12: Constructed - Do or Die
After some technical problems concerning pairings, the final round has just started. Now will be decided who will make it to the T8 on Sunday and who will be able to finally get a good night's rest. Four players have already accumulated enough match points to be able to ID into the T8, but for eight players it is Do or Die time. Frank and Niels are both at 22 points now, so a draw is useless for both of them.
Niels wins the die roll overwhelmingly and chooses to play, but decides quickly to take a mulligan. Niels keeps his 6 and Frank his 7; Niels plays Island go, Frank opens with Mogg Fanatic, followed by a turn two Blood Knight. After swinging with both critters (bringing Niels to 16 on turn 3), Frank plays an Ashenmoor Gouger that resolves.
Turn 4, Niels plays his first non-land card: Sower of Temptation taking over the fresh Gouger. Frank makes his 4th Mountain and need some time to decide whether he spends his Flame Javelin to gain control of Gouger again. He swing with both critters, Niels eats them and goes down to 13.
Niels' Body Double gives him another Sower and again the Gouger, Frank tries a Demigod of Revenge which catches a Pact of Negation. Next turn, Niels pays for the Pact en attacks for 6. He passes the turn and says "topdeck another Demigod", which is exactly what Frank does. He attacks with 2 Demigods and Niels instantly scoops.
Niels has some cards to bring in from his sideboard, while Frank seems pretty happy with his deck the way it is.
Niels starts again, this time keeping his initial hand. Now it is Frank who is not satisfied with his 7 and mulligans to a hand with 4 mountains, Demigod and Magus of the Moon, but so far he has seen very little nonbasics apart from a single Mutavault. He ponders and keeps the hand, drawing a sec again, ond Turn Figure of Destiny. Meanwhile, Niels has played as much as 2 nonbasics this game, plus a Prismatic Lens and a turn three Aven Riftwatcher. Frank makes his Magus, leeving Niels with a Plains, Island, 2 Mountains and a Lens, thus causing not too much problems. A turn 5 Sower of Temptation on the now 2/2 Figure of Destiny gets a Flame Javelin the exact next turn, life totals now being 18 for Frank and still 20 for Niels thanks to his Riftwatcher. Niels passé sthe turn with all his 6 mana open, causing Frank a hard time to decide what to do. He finally attacks with his Figure of Destiny, which gets blocked by Niels' Aven Riftwatcher. Frank makes the Figure 4/4 and passes the turn. Niels casts his turn a Body Double, targeting Even RIftwatcher and going up to 24 again. Franks Demigod hits the board, Niels chumps with the RIftwatcher/Body Double and gains some more life in the process. When Frank attacks and blows his Figure to 8/8, Niels plays a surprising Luminesce. On his turn, he follows up with an evoked Reveillark, bringing back the body Double (targeting Reveillark) and Aven Riftwatcher again. Frank Makes Ashenmoor Gouger sees the massive amount of blockers and passé sthe turn without attacking, leaving Niels at a quite comfortable 24 life.
Niels plays draw-go again; Frank takes some time to think about the current board. After a minute or so, he drops a seventh Mountain and attacks all out with 8/8 Figure, Demigod, Magus of the Moon and Gouger. Niels blocks with Riftwatcher and Reveillark/Body Double, and gets them back right after they died. Frank loses his Demigod, but he too returns it to plax when he makes a second Demigod. His comment: "This does not make me happy...". Even though Frank has far more and far bigger creatures than Niels has, the Lark seems to stall the board significantly. Meanwhile, Frank is still at 18 and Niels currently has a healthy 22 lifetotal.
Niels adds Sower of Temptation to the board, stealing a Demigod. Frank makes a big attack, but the Riftwatcher nets Niels at a total of 23 life and even more creatures than he had before, so time seems in Niels' advantage, since Frank seems not to be able to do too much against it anymore. An all out attack catches a second Luminesce, when Frank shrugs and scoops.
This time Frank Takes some time to consider his sideboard, swapping a Magus for an additional Mogg Fanatic. Also a Scred goes out for Moggy, further keeping his deck the same. On the draw, his aggressive deck should be able to beat Niels before he has time to set up his Lark combo.
Frank asks Niels whether he is nervous for the decisive game, but Niels laughs and answers he is not more nervous than otherwise. Frank throws his opener away and looks at a fine opening hand of 3 mountains, Figure, Mogg Fanatic and Keldon megaliths. Niels keeps his sevener, Frank starts as expected with the Figure and attacks for 2 on the second turn, adding a Mogg to the board. Turn 3, Frank brings Niels down to 13, while Niels' side of the board remains scarily empty. E turn 3 Bonded Fetch is no more than a chum blocker that filters. Going down to 12, Niels discards a Reveillark, while Frank adds a Keldon Megalkiths to the board.
Niels evokes a Mulldrifterm drops his 4th land and passes. Frank is able to attack for 5 (pumping the Figure) thus bringing Niels to 7 points away from defeat. Another Figure hits the board, leaving 3 mana open with a Flame Javelin in the hand. Niels clears the board with Wrath of God, but Frank brings him down to 1 with the Javelin, then plays a Manabarbs FTW, also earning a lifetime amount of style points.
Frank 2 - Niels 1.
Round 12: Constructed - Horsies and Faeries, weeee!
Robert van Medevoort needs little to no introduction, he has been covered a couple of times already, and as said, he is our reigning national champion. Can he repeat this feat?
Sjoerd is "living the dream". He went from 0-3 to 8-3 and of course he wants to keep up his winning streak.
Robert won the roll and started with a mulligan. He kept his 6 and started with a vivid. Sjoerd kept 7 and started with Shadow Guildmage. This got in for one and Sjoerd played his top decked Mogg War Marshal. Robert played a Prismatic Lens and passed. Sjoerd payed the echo and attacked for 3, taking Robert down to 16. Robert made up for his mulligan with Careful Consideration, then played a plains and passed the turn.
Sjoerd attacked for 3 and played a Husk. Sower from Robert targeted Husk, which of course got sacrificed.
The Sower also made a cute blocker, it blocked the war marshal when it attacked together with a token. Sjoerd sighed when he forgot to shoot down the Sower, but it didn't matter, since Robert WoG'ed anyway. Sjoerd made another husk, but Robert evoked lark, getting back Body Double copying lark and a sower, which again killed the husk. Sjoerd tried Siege-Gang Commander, but this got Pact of Negationed. Sjoerd added another War Marshal to the board, but it looked unimpressive. Robert cleared Sjoerd's board with Gargadon/Body Double/Sower shenanigans, and the gargadon attacked for 9. Sjoerd managed an unimpressive Husk,. His Kher keep held the gargadon at bay, but there was nothing else he could do against the rest of the board.
1-0 Robert van Medevoort
Sjoerd mulligans, and Robert decides to speed up the game and mulligans together with Sjoerd. Sjoerd mulligans again, and starts with Mogg Fanatic. He then plays Bitterblossom, not bad for a mull to 5. Robert evokes Mulldrifter, again making up for lost cards. Sjoerd plays Redcap after attacking, and he now has quite the Wrath of God-resistant board. Venser bounces a Bitterblossom token and blocks Mogg Fanatic, which sacrifices to kill Venser. Another Venser comes next turn, which blocks the Redcap after bouncing a token. Sower steals an untapped faerie
Life totals are 15-9 in Sjoerd's favor at this moment. Sjoerd thought for quite a while, then simply passed the turn. Robert's Faerie token attacked and Sacred Mesa entered play (who's the token deck here? I'm confused) Sjoerd plays Torrent of Souls on Mogg Fanatic, which resolved after some thinking from Robert. Sower blocked the Mogg Fanatic, and 2 horsies blocked 2 faeries. Robert payed upkeep for Mesa, then played Prismatic Lens and Aven Riftwatcher. Sjoerd played Avalanche riders, then went all in after Robert made a token in response to the Riders trigger. Robert is at two life now, but looks to be getting control of the game. He played Wrath of God post combat and went up to four. Sjoerd, meanwhile, was at 9 due to Bitterblossom. He played Shadow Guildmage and Robert played a land and passed, no cards in hand, but getting a lot of tokens. Sjoerd then topdecked one of his few outs, Torrent of Souls, which dealt 4 via redcap (4 power!)
Between games, Sjoerd, visually relieved, comments ironically on how good this matchup is. After all, he just won with a mulligan to 5 on the play! See, piece of cake.
Both players keep their hands, and we're off to the final game of the day. Sjoerd has a turn two play. Bitterblossom according to Robert, but Mogg War Marshal disagrees. Bonded Fetch enters play for Robert, and Sjoerd does not pay echo for his Marshal, instead playing Fulminator Mage to kill Robert's lone non-basic, the U/W filter land. Aven Riftwatcher enters play for Robert, and Redcap kills the Bonded Fetch. A nice turn for Robert now, as he develops fis mana with a Coldsteel Heart and suspends a Gargadon. Another Fulminator Mage from Sjoerd kills Robert's Shivan Reef, but he is not dealing a lot of damage, as Rift Watcher makes sure that nothing wants to attack. The Riftwatcher attacks and Robert plays another one. Sjoerd's team finally decides to attack, and Robert blocks a token. Post combat another Redcap kills the Riftwatcher, and Robert goes up to 23 after the second Riftwatcher dies due to lack of vanishing counters. Redcaps and token attack, and Robert plays Venser, blocking a redcap after bouncing the token. Nantuko husk enters play next.
Robert evokes Mulldrifter to find more manasources, as he only had 4, but he does not find any. Sjoerd's team attacks Robert to 15 and Robert finally finds a land to play a Reveillark. Sjoerd thinks for quite a time, and then plays Marsh Flitter. At end of turn, Reveillark gets sacced, getting back Venser and Mulldrifter after thinking about returning Riftwatcher ("I'm not at that high a life total, am I?" "You're at 15, man!" "Oh, then I'll draw cards").Robert found a Body Double, and Robert sacrificed Reveillark, explaining he wants to get infinite life and bounce Sjoerd's board. Sjoerd responds with: "I want to respond", then extends his hand with a smile, glad he made a good effort to win a bad matchup.
Robert van Medevoort wins 2-1 and advances to the top 8 of the dutch nationals for the 3rd year in a row.
Play the Game, see the world
Wizards of the Coast official mantra for the past couple of years has been “Play the Game, See the World”. Dutchies are not afraid to step onto a plane and travel to the other side of the world to compete or simply enjoy a good tournament or event. For me, this weekend could have brought me to Birmingham to enjoy M-Fest plus the Great Britain Championships or simply stay at home and do some coverage here in Utrecht at Dutch Nationals.
I'm glad I made the choice to stay at home and report rather then attend M-Fest and help out my friend Nigel from Troll and Toad Europe. I forgot how cool coverage is and for this feature I'll try to talk to as much people as possible about the statement “Play the Game, See the World”. And maybe I'll throw in a couple of stories about my own experiences travelling to far away places and play games.
The first person I want to ask about The Mantra is obviously Victor v/d Broek. He played tournaments East and West of Europe and was considered one of the people that clearly enjoyed traveling around the world and playing the game. One of the stories he is able to share with me is about Pro Tour New York in 2001. Apparently some of the Dutch players attending that particular Pro Tour were planning to be real tourists and visit one of New York's major attractions on a certain morning after the PT was played. That fatal morning a catastrophe happened and the World Trade Center was the target of an attack. The Dutchies involved were a little late that morning, so no one was actually in the building when the world was shook literally, but the problems that arose from that situation forced them to stay in New York a lot longer then planned. Alex Shvartsman came to their rescue and was able to help them out with shelter for about 5 days, when Victor was able to reach him.
Alex is mentioned and another thing that I personally remember is that he used to be the embodiment of The Mantra: long before Ruel Brothers, Saito, Nakamura and Gijsbert Hoogendijk (judges can travel the world just as good as a player can) booked their flights to play in every possible tournament organized, Mr Shvartsman made top-8's in GP's and was even more famous for trading the best cards with anyone interested in rares or playables. I remember him losing the last round of the swiss in GP Heidelberg, missing top-8 on a lousy point or tiebreaker, but when he saw me (we always traded when we ran into each other) his smile was back within a couple of minutes and we were the inventors of the “Feature Trade” an hour later. Top-8 had started at the same time when we opened up our suitcases and started plundering each others binders. Alex always had a lot of DCI Promo Foils, because he was a writer on Magicthegathering.com and I always had multiples of the best rares of the current sets. At one point more then 10.000$ in value was lined up at each side of our tables (we had to use 3 tables) and more people were watching us trade then there were watching the quarter finals. When we concluded our trading there were actually observers trying to figure out whether to applaud or not...
Think about Alex when you're making up your mind about who to vote for in the Hall of Fame for this year. The man deserves to be nominated.
Jasper Blaas is my next target in search for a good anecdote. He clearly remembers PT Hawai when he made the trip with Bas Postma. They were able to stay in Hawai for two weeks without even touching any Magic cards and one of his fondest memories is visiting Volcanoes National Park. In the end they both had to return to reality and build a deck to play in the Pro Tour, but it was not a big success. Still, it was perhaps his best trip to a Pro Tour, even though his success in the game was mediocre.
When I ask judges about cool travel stories, I'm confronted with strange looks on about 6 different faces. Apparently judges either play Elder Dragon Highlander games until 5 in the morning or they experience the kind of stories I'm not able to tell on a family website.
Next time you walk past a judge during a PT of GP, try not to make the mistake to think that he's got an easy job. Besides having to deal with all sorts of difficult rules questions, he's probably preparing for another night of hardcore EDH'ing or recovering from dancing the tables of the hotel bar...