|Hobby One||Phoenix Foundation|
|Florent Jeudon||Dirk Baberowski|
|Antoine Ruel||Kai Budde|
|Olivier Ruel||Marco Blume|
Even though Phoenix Foundation was the favored team at the beginning of this tournament, their start left doubt of a repeat performance of last year's victory. The Germans started off 2-2, and then proceeded to win five straight matches. At 7-2, they are in serious contention to make Top 4. In their way this round is Hobby One. Jeudon and the Ruel brothers have been teaming up for years now, and have had plenty of success together as well as individually.
Antoine opened the first pack, and took Aven Windreader. Wayward Angel went to Olivier, Dirty Wererat was drafted by Baberowski, Budde took Twigwalker, Blume got Chainflinger, and Jeudon wheeled Gravedigger and Pilgrim of Virtue. Olivier took Aven Flock in the next pack, and Baberowski took Afflict to add depth to his black. Budde took Leaf Dancer for the green mirror match, and Antoine got a great wheel of Metamorphic Wurm and Chatter of the Squirrel. Baberowski opened the next pack and took Aven Flock, signaling that he was considering going black/white. Budde stayed on track with Aven Windreader, and Blume drafted a bomb in Kirtar's Wrath. Jeudon picked up Gallantry, showing that he was also considering going black/white. As the pack came around, Antoine got his own Leaf Dancer to match Kai's.
Budde opened the next pack, and despite the fact that he was solid in green/blue, took Hallowed Healer. This may seem odd, but keep in mind that the Healer can dominate blue/green unless Psionic Gift or Lost in Thought can deal with it. As a result, it would merit a splash of white for Budde and give him an edge in the mirror match. In the same pack, Blume got his second bomb in a row in Savage Firecat, Jeudon took Patriarch's Desire, and Antoine drafted Elephant Ambush. Marco's pack provided Second Thoughts, and gave Antoine a second Leaf Dancer while Olivier picked up Syncopate. As Odyssey ended, Jeudon got Caustic Tar, Antoine drafted Krosan Archer, Baberowski took Gravedigger, and Blume got a great wheel of Blessed Orator and Chainflinger.
Jeudon opened and gladly took a Butcher, passing Violent Eruption to Blume. Baberowski got Waste Away, and Olivier drafted Vengeful Dreams, and a possibly splashable Fiery Temper. Budde's pack made him less than happy. He took Possessed Aven, but Baberowski had to counterdraft Violent Eruption. Olivier got Skywing Aven, and Antoine took Coral Net. Baberowski opened and took Gurzigost. He was only slightly committed to white, so green was an option. Olivier took a second Fiery Temper, showing that he was intending to splash red for them. Pardic Collaborator made its way to Jeudon. Olivier's pack gave him Hydromorph Gull, Deep Analysis went to Antoine, and Jeudon took his second Butcher. Blume drafted Pardic Arsonist, and Baberowski took Krosan Constrictor, showing he was intending to play green as a support color so he could use Gurzigost.
Antoine opened and counterdrafted Filth, which could have been bad news for Jeudon if Baberowski had gotten it. Olivier took Jeska, Warrior Adept, suggesting he might be committing his red splash further. Budde drafted Serene Sunset and Keep Watch and Anger went to Blume. Budde's pack provided an obvious pick in Phantom Centaur, but also contained Guiltfeeder. He asked Baberowski in signals if the rare would be a problem for his deck, and Dirk confirmed that it wouldn't be. This let Blume take Vigilant Sentry rather than counterdraft. As the last few packs finished up, Blume got Shieldmage Advocate, Jeudon got a possible splash card in Unquestioned Authority, and Antoine picked up Thriss, Nantuko Primus as well as Grizzly Fate.
All things considered, both teams drafted well, but the packs favored Hobby One. Even though this gives the French team an edge, the Germans are more than capable of taking the match. Blume has a solid deck highlighted by Kirtar's Desire and Savage Firecat, Dirk's black/green deck has Gurzigost (although Jeudon has two Butchers) and Kai is, well...Kai.