Day 2 Coverage of Grand Prix Warsaw

Posted in Event Coverage on August 11, 2013

By Wizards of the Coast

Yesterday, 984 players entered Day 1 of Grand Prix Warsaw 2013 to show off their skills in Standard Constructed. It was a day of intense competition, of great Magic, and exciting stories. We saw the rise of Gruul Aggro, the continued dominance of Jund Midrange and UWR Flash, and the surprising revitalization of Bant Hexproof. At the end of the day, 5 players were sitting on top of the standings with perfect 9-0 records: Sébastien Wilmotte from Belgium, Jens Brouwer from Germany, Niklas Ramquist from Sweden, Wenzel Krautmann from Germany, and Tomas Kuchta from the Czech Republic.

Today, they and 157 others have earned the right to compete for the title of Grand Prix Warsaw Champion. Join us here for more text and video coverage as we see who can successfully navigate through six more rounds of Standard to make it to the Top 8!

Pairings, Results, Standings


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Sunday, 10:10 a.m. — The 9-0 Decks

by Tobi Henke

Five players escaped yesterday's competition with unblemished records of nine wins, zero losses. The big story Friday evening was the rise of Brian Kibler's Gruul deck, which took down half of all Grand Prix Trials. The big news Saturday evening, however, was the resurgence of Bant Hexproof . Of the five undefeated players, more than half got to their perfect 9-0 scores by enchanting Invisible Stalker and its ilk.

Niklas Ramquist, 9-0

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Tomas Kuchta, 9-0

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Jens Brouwer, 9-0

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Wenzel Krautmann, 9-0

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Sébastien Wilmotte, 9-0

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Round 10 Feature Match — Niklas Ramquist vs. Wenzel Krautmann

by Tobi Henke

So first Brian Kibler's Gruul surged in popularity, and now you find all of these Bant Hexproof decks at the top? How come? Could it be that Hexproof has a good matchup against Gruul? Gruul mage Wenzel Krautmann didn't think so. His opponent, Niklas Ramquist, playing Hexproof, claimed, "The matchup's about even," to which Krautmann replied, "Well, I won against two already."

However, the first game saw Krautmann stranded on three basic Forests, while Ramquist's deck at least delivered on the Aura part of the Hexproof/Aura package. He put Unflinching Courage and Rancor on one Avacyn's Pilgrim and another Courage on another Pilgrim. When Krautmann was about to stabilize by trading away his Arbor Elf and Flinthoof Boar and turning his Scavenging Ooze 5/5, Ramquist redoubled with a third Unflinching Courage, putting Krautmann at 3. Krautmann was forced to trade away his Ooze, but rebuild reasonably well with Strangleroot Geist and Arbor Elf. Meanwhile, Ramquist was left with no creature at all.

Niklas Ramquist

Finally, red mana showed up on Krautmann's side and he began the process of diminishing Ramquist's considerable lifetotal, slow at first, then increasingly faster. Ghor-Clan Rampager, Scavenging Ooze, and Hellrider joined the fray, while Ramquist was still without creature. Invisible Stalker appeared just in time, was enchanted with Rancor, and then Ramquist's Spell Rupture sealed the deal, countering a Thundermaw Hellkite that otherwise would have been lethal.

"That was a close one," commented Krautmann. "It didn't look that way at first, when you missed the red for so long," Ramquist replied. "But you almost turned it around."

For game two, Krautmann started on Strangleroot Geist, Scavenging Ooze, and Ghor-Clan Rampager, while Ramquist opened on Geist of Saint Traft as his first play, which Krautmann's Bonfire of the Damned in hand couldn't really get rid off.

Wenzel Krautmann

Ramquist followed it up with Spectral Flight and Rancor, attacking for 10, putting Krautmann dead next turn. Krautmann got in lethal first, though, with the help of a newly-cast Hellrider, dealing just enough damage to even the score.

Arbor Elf; Flinthoof Boar, attack for 3; Flinthoof Boar, attack for 7. That was Krautmann's start into the third and final game of the match, a good one to be sure. Meanwhile, Ramquist had some trouble with too many of his lands entering the battlefield tapped, and could only muster a Fiendslayer Paladin with Ethereal Armor. When he blocked with it and lost it to Ghor-Clan Rampager, he never recovered.

Wenzel Krautmann defeated Niklas Ramquist to advance to 10-0. "Now, I've beaten three Hexproof decks."

Sunday, 11:09 a.m. — Day 2 Metagame Overview

by Frank Karsten

Day 2 of Grand Prix Warsaw has begun, and we've got a metagame breakdown of what the field looks like here today. Here are the raw numbers:

Deck archetype Number of players
Jund Midrange 37
Gruul Domri Aggro 35
Azorius-based Flash 23 (17 U/W/R, 6 U/W)
Bant Hexproof 13
Aristocrats 11 (9 B/W/R, 2 B/W/G)
Red Aggro 9 (5 mono-red, 4 splashing green)
Naya Midrange 7
Golgari Midrange 6
Esper Control 5
Zombies 4 (2 B/R, 1 B/G, 1 B/G/R)
Selesnya Aggro 4
Rapid Hybridization 2 (1 G/U/W; 1 G/W)
Reanimator 2
Conjurer's Closet 1
Selesnya Elfball 1
Prime Speaker Bant 1

And here's a graphical overview:

Sunday, 12:15 p.m. — Deck Tech: Conjurer's Closet with Maciej Jampula

by Frank Karsten

Maciej Jampula is a 45-year cake baker from Poland who showed up with one of the coolest decks at the tournament this weekend: he's battling Conjurer's Closet and Tyrant of Discord. Let me tell you, blinking Tyrant of Discord with Conjurer's Closet is not even close to fair.

I looked to find out a little more, sitting down with Jampula to ask him a few questions on the deck. For reference, here's his list.

Maciej Jampula

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How was the deck conceived and built?

"I was inspired by a Conjurer's Closet deck that I saw at a Starcitygames tournament a short while ago. That deck was Red-Green; I added blue for Clone. Clone is good with all the enters-the-battlefield effects."

Can you walk me through the key cards and an ideal draw?

"An ideal draw includes Farseek, Chromatic Lantern, or Arbor Elf to play Acidic Slime as fast as possible, and then a Clone to copy it. Acidic Slime is easily the MVP of the deck. Against Jund or UWR Flash, my game plan is to destroy their lands. Acidic Slime also has great synergy with Tyrant of Discord, which is very good when the opponent has few lands due to an early Acidic Slime.

But the engine behind the deck is Conjurer's Closet. It's great with all the enters-the-battlefield effects. Not just Acidic Slime, but Huntmaster of the Fells and Thragtusk as well."

What is your most valuable sideboard card?

"I surprised many opponents with Cyclonic Rift. One match, I played against The Aristocrats, and my opponent got about 10 creatures out. He attacked, I didn't block, and he activated Gavony Township to threaten a lot of damage. In response, I had a devastating Cyclonic Rift. He didn't expect that."

Would you make any changes to the deck?

"Tyrant of Discord is too slow. I think I prefer Progenitor Mimic instead in the maindeck."

Were you happy with your deck choice this weekend?

"Yeah, very happy. I got a good result with a rogue deck!"

If you've been looking for a fun and powerful deck to play for Friday Night Magic, give this deck a spin! If you want to see the deck in action, you could check out the Round 12 video archives of the Grand Prix Warsaw livestream at our Twitch channel.

Round 12 Feature Match — Rasmus Björklund vs. Frederico Bastos

by Tobi Henke

Once again, Jund and Blue-White-Red Control clashed in the feature match area and once again the control deck prevailed. A true veteran of the game, Portugal's Frederico Bastos has two Pro Tour Top 8s to his name from more than ten years ago. Sweden's Rasmus Björklund on the other hand had just finished in his first Top 8 two weeks ago at Grand Prix Rimini. Going into the round both had two losses already and, for another Top 8 berth, desperately needed to avoid any more.

The first game went at a very sedate pace, clearly favoring Bastos's UWR. And indeed, after Think Twice, Bastos seemed to have an answer for everything: Syncopate for Thragtusk, Supreme Verdict for Olivia Voldaren, Searing Spear for Scavenging Ooze. At one point, Björklund peeked at Bastos's hand with Lifebane Zombie and saw Izzet Charm, another Syncopate, Snapcaster Mage, Ætherling, Dissipate, and Sphinx's Revelation. This wasn't looking good for Björklund and continued to get worse later on with Sphinx's Revelation for five.

Rasmus Björklund

Bastos, always a calm player, played it very safe. Only after he had succesfully dealt with each and every threat Björklund could muster, did he finally summon Ætherling. The mighty Shapeshifter, however, didn't take long to end things.

Game two went quite differently, starting with Bastos's two mulligans. Though, at first, it appeared he would have an answer for everything again. Burn took out Huntmaster of the Fells, Negate countered Duress, Warleader's Helix killed Scavenging Ooze. But all of this was only possible because Bastos was stalling on land. As such, he couldn't put Sphinx's Revelation to any good use and soon ran out of answers. Rakdos's Return cleared Bastos's hand, and once he had lost all of his spells, now it obviously was time for him to finally draw some lands. A Wolf token and a Lifebane Zombie finished the job.

Frederico Bastos

Huntmaster of the Fells and Thragtusk were the first spells of game three. In fact, Bastos didn't cast a single spell before his end-of-turn Sphinx's Revelation for two, even allowing Huntmaster to turn into Ravager of the Fells. Supreme Verdict arrived just in time, but a 3/3 beast remained and put Bastos at 2.

Snapcaster Mage targeting Sphinx's Revelation brought Bastos back to 5 and really brought him back into the game too. Assemble the Legion, Jace, Architect of Thought—suddenly all the action was taking place on Bastos's side of the table. He even had a Warleader's Helix to return to a more healthy, if not entierly safe, lifetotal. Björklund, meanwhile, didn't have an answer to Assemble the Legion and was finally overrun by tokens just as time in the round was running out.

Sunday, 2:08 p.m. — Decktech: Mad Hatto's Mono-Red Beatdown

by Tobi Henke

Yesterday I spoke to Steve Hatto about his experience at and thoughts about the World Magic Cup where he had led Luxembourg's team to a Top 32 finish. During our talk he mentioned an interesting deck that he played in that tournament's Unified Standard portion (where his team went undefeated). In fact, he was so impressed with the deck, he was playing it again this weekend.

Steve Hatto

And now, 13 rounds into the tournament, he was still impressed, as were we, as were quite a lot of unsuspecting opponents. A record of 11-2 so far put him within reach of the Top 8. Quite impressive indeed.

So how did that deck come about? "Well, in our testing for Unified Standard we quickly settled on Jund and Bant Hexproof. That only left mono-red as an option for our third deck," Hatto explained. "But we build a rather unusual version of mono-red, taking inspiration from the mono-red decks played in Block."

Steve Hatto

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"This really is a beatdown deck, not a burn deck," Hatto noted. "Originally, we had more Searing Spears in the list, but that didn't accomplish anything the deck actually wanted. You basically always want to cast three creatures within the first two turns, whether one-drops or with the help of Burning-Tree Emissary, and Legion Loyalist and Firefist Striker really need you to have three attackers.

"That's also the reason for the three Mutavaults. Obviously, we're sacrificing the ability to cast Boros Reckoner for it, but having another creature in your land slot is more important to this particular deck," said Hatto. "The one-off Dynacharge admittedly looks weird, but is the result of a long testing process. More didn't really work, but every so often the card creates extreme blow-outs. Rubblebelt Maaka raised a few eyebrows too, though it's actually very good, especially with Legion Loyalist or to save Firefist Striker. And while people expect Ghor-Clan Rampager, no one expects the Maaka!"

Round 14 Feature Match — Ivan Floch vs. Eliott Boussaudi

by Frank Karsten

Wolves, Wurms, even an Octopus---this match was like a zoo.

The Players and the Decks

Ivan Floch is an experienced player from the Slovak Republic. He has played over 500 matches at Pro Tours and Grands Prix, recently led his national team at the World Magic Cup, and was the champion at Grand Prix Lisbon 2012. Today, he is playing the deck that put the most players into Day 2: Jund midrange. "I actually wanted to play the red-green Domri Ooze deck that the Japanese ran yesterday," Floch mentioned. "But I made that decision only hours before the tournament, and I was unable to collect the cards in time. Jund was my backup choice, and it worked out for me. Still, I think the deck of Shuuhei and Yuuya is good, even if they didn't do well in the Grand Prix."

Eliott Boussaudi is a Grand Prix regular from Toulouse, France who hasn't had a breakout finish yet. He came to the table sporting a Norwegian Octopus, called Blekksprut. "This is the mascot of my house in Toulouse. When I go to a Magic tournament, I always bring it with me," Boussaudi explained. The deck he registered for the Grand Prix was Selesnya Aggro.

Both players were sitting at 11-2 records going into this round, so there was a lot on the line. A win would provide a good position to make it to the Top 8, whereas a loss would make it almost impossible to reach the Top 8.

The Games

In game 1, Boussaudi had a fast draw featuring Voice of Resurgence, Rancor, and Advent of the Wurm. Floch, in the meantime, ramped with Farseek into Rakdos's Return, which was unimpressive as it did not stop any of Boussaudi's attackers. A Faith's Shield to counter Putrefy enabled Boussaudi to stay on the offence, and shortly after, he swung in for lethal damage.

In game 2, Boussaudi's deck did not cooperate, as he had to go down to 4 cards in search of a keepable hand. So, before the game even started, Boussaudi was already three cards down. Then Floch's first four plays were all creatures with enters-the-battlefield card advantage triggers: two Lifebane Zombie, and two Huntmaster of the Fells. Seven cards down. Next up were two Ravager of the Fells transformation triggers. Nine cards down. Yeah, this game wasn't really fair. Although Boussaudi fought valiantly with Voice of Resurgence, it was to no avail: he was already down too many cards, and quickly succumbed to Floch's card advantage creatures.

Ivan Floch puts Huntmaster of the Fells to good use.

Game 3 was a similarly lopsided affair. Bonfire of the Damned cleared away two Avacyn's Pilgrim, leaving Boussaudi with only one land, and unable to cast his spells. Huntmaster of the Fells and Olivia Voldaren quickly rumbled in unopposed.

Even though luck was not on Eliott Boussaudi's side, his Octopus kept on smiling.

"Sorry about those two games," Floch offered.

Postgame on Sideboarding

After the games, the players discussed their sideboard choices for this matchup. Boussaudi showed that he sided out Rancor and Silverblade Paladin (which are weak to instant speed creature removal) for Garruk Relentless, Sigarda, Host of Herons, and Ratchet Bomb. "I sided in 2 Ratchet Bomb for to destroy a transformed Huntmaster of the Fells and a Beast token from Thragtusk," he explained. Floch wasn't sure: "I don't know. You're the aggressive deck. You don't want answers for my cards; you want to have as much pressure as possible."

Floch showed that he took out Rakdos's Return for Pillar of Flame. "They are really important to get rid of Voice of Resurgence," he said. He also brought in a Barter in Blood on the draw, but wasn't sure whether Duress might have been better. This serves to show that sideboarding is one of the most difficult aspects of the game---even the best players in the world haven't figured it all out.

Ivan Floch defeats Eliott Boussaudi 2-1

Sunday, 2:55 p.m. — Blue-White's Twists

by Tobi Henke

Everyone's talking about the more popular Blue-White-Red, but for traditionalists Blue-White Control appears to be a viable option in the current Standard metagame too. And there's still some room left to explore within the confines of the archetype.

Take for example Stanislav Cifka's version which eschews all creatures, including the popular Ætherling, and kills only via planeswalkers, Elixir of Immortality, or Haunted Plate Mail out of the sideboard. Haunted Plate Mail in a creatureless deck? Sure sounds interesting. Also interesting here is Render Silent instead of Dissipate for the hard lock with Tamiyo, the Moon Sage's ultimate.

Stanislav Cifka

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Next, let's take a look at old-school player Sturla Bingen's Blue-White Control with Quicken as a four-off! The additional cantrip, in addition to Azorius Charm and Think Twice, means you can much more often use the miracle ability on Terminus. Sweet idea.

Sturla Bingen

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And finally Mathieu Deloly's list, which is, well, mostly blue-white. Most notably, however, his red splash is supported not by the usual duals but by Evolving Wilds and a couple of actual Mountains. This allows him to sideboard Burning Earth. A three-color deck which kills other three-color decks with Burning Earth? We like that.

Mathieu Deloly

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