Grand Prix Paris 2009: Day 2 Coverage Archive

Posted in Event Coverage on November 8, 2009

By Wizards of the Coast


Podcast - Motorcycles and the Art of Zen Maintenace

by Rich Hagon

Only one can be one. We are all one. When we hurt another, we hurt ourselves, for we are both of the one...Oh stuff this, just Draft Black/Red and smash face all day, and be The One - the Champion of the largest Grand Prix in Magic history. There's not much time for contemplation in Zendikar Draft - games go like greased lightning, and in our first show of Day Two we go inside the Draft on Table One, before heading for feature match action. We talk (in English, God bless 'im) with Shuhei Nakamura, who is very happy with his opening 40 cards, and see whether triple Grazing Gladeheart is enough to stem the bleeding. Not sure it is....

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Feature Match: Round 11 – Alex Fanghänel vs. Nico Bohny

by Tobias Henke

"So, let’s show people what Zendikar Limited is all about," Fanghänel joked, commenting on the, let’s say, rather unusual decks the two ended up with. Bohny made a face.

Bohny went first, and had an amazingly unaggressive curve of Nissa’s Chosen, Khalni Heart Expedition, Khalni Gem. Fanghänel took a few hits, cast his own Khalni Gem as his first spell, followed by one Nissa’s Chosen for himself.

Bohny had World Queller and then, when Fanghänel didn’t do anything, destroyed both their Khalni Gem s and added Territorial Baloth to his team. Again nothing was going on on Fanghänel’s side. World Queller got rid of a land, Bohny attacked for ten with his five-drops, then summoned Kor Outfitter. Fanghänel drew his next card, frowned, and sighed: "Well, that’s Game 1."

Alex Fanghänel 0 – 1 Nico Bohny

"So... How many lands did you end up with in your deck?"
"Let’s just say: more than 17."
"Of course. But I am even running more than 18."
"Well.. me too."

(Despite Khalni Heart Expedition s and Khalni Gem s abundant, both these players were running 19 lands. Yes, neither was particularly happy about it.)

Game 2 started with Bohny casting Scute Mob on turn one, which elicited a comment from Fanghänel: "Didn’t you say you didn’t have anything aggressive?!"

Bohny returned the 1/1 with Kor Skyfisher wich itself died to Hideous End, then summoned Nissa’s Chosen. Meanwhile, Fanghänel made Quest for Gemblades and Soul Stair Expedition, which in his creature-light deck didn’t really do all that much. Bohny’s Chosen acquired a Savage Silhouette. Fanghänel came up with a not-so-very innovative solution, cast Nissa’s Chosen himself and enchanted it with Savage Silhouette as well.

Still, Bohny had one 4/5 Chosen plus one Scute Mob, compared to Fanghänel’s one lonely 4/5 Chosen: that’s one Scute Mob ’s advantage for Bohny and, well known fact, sometimes all it takes is one Scute Mob. Bohny’s team also got support from Eldrazi Monument to put Fanghänel out of his misery a little sooner.

Alex Fanghänel 0 – 1 Nico Bohny

Sunday, 11:45 p.m. – Drafting with Olivier

by Tim Willoughby

Going into day 2 of Grand Prix Paris who better to follow in draft than a Frenchman who is a Hall of Famer. Raphael Levy is in day 2, but he wasn’t sat at pod 1, so I went for Mr Olivier Ruel.

As I got to the table, Ruel was casually reading the football pages of a French newspaper. In spite of the fact that he was shaping up for a draft in good position to do very well at the biggest Magic tournament ever, Olivier was calm. He has, after all, done this before. Olivier has been staying with friends lately, including Farid Meraghni (winner of Pro Tour San Diego in 2002). Ruel has seen green being drafted successfully quite a bit, and acknowledges the power of zigging while his opponents zag away from what many consider to be the worst colour. Unfortunately, it isn’t a colour he is himself comfortable with yet in Zendikar draft. As such, he went into things looking to be black, red, or possibly white. As it turns out Ruel’s comfort zone in this format is the red zone.

Pack one yielded a Gatekeeper of Malakir, and though Ruel jokingly played with a Marsh Flats in the pack, his value from winning the draft would be far higher than any one rare could provide. The only other card in the pack that interested him was Vampire Lacerator, but clearly it wasn’t close in his estimation to the Gatekeeper, who quickly became the first in what would become a pile packed with aggression.

Plated Geopede came next, from a pack containing Arrow Volley Trap, Whiplash Trap and a Nimana Sell-Sword. Red/black is a combination Olivier had alluded to being keen on, so it wasn’t a massive surprise that he snapped up the powerful landfall creature. From there came back to back Vampire Lacerator s in packs containing little to no red cards at all, which suggested Ruel might be getting cut to his right.

Pack one rounded out a little weakly. A Guul Draz Vampire, Vampire’s Bite and Goblin War Paint came through on the second half of the pack, but it wasn’t a start that had Olivier super-excited. Barring his Gatekeeper of Malakir he was without removal, and his curve looked a little on the low side, potentially thwarted by any creature that could block effectively.

It was with high hopes that Olivier cracked his second pack. He carefully snuck a peek at the rare slot, and saw a Summoning Trap staring back at him. Not the card he was looking for. The uncommons were all green and white. Even in the common slot, things were pretty thin, with the choice ending up between Heartstabber Mosquito and Slaughter Cry. Ruel took the instant, as the Mosquito would likely be a four mana 2/2 flyer in his deck much of the time, and the spell would give him a quick out to such awkward threats as Giant Scorpion, which could shut down his offence thus far.

A Surrakar Marauder came second in pack 2, followed by a much needed Inferno Trap. Red was generally much more free flowing to the right, and Ruel quickly picked up a Shatterskull Giant (over Mark of Mutiny ), Highland Berserker (over a Spire Barrage, as Ruel felt his deck was more black than red), a Magma Rift, and a Zektar Shrine Expedition. The Expedition would serve Ruel well at getting opponents down below 10 in a hurry so that his Vampires would be at their best, and also could be used in a clinch to block and trade with virtually any ground pounder if needed to.

When faced with a second stab at Spire Barrage at pick 8, Ruel pulled the trigger and took the big sorcery. Little did he know he would only grab a Ruinous Minotaur from the rest of the pack. It seemed that he was in some heavily drafted colours, and might be paying the price.

Pack 3 was another where the rares weren’t playing to help out Ruel. He still had an interesting choice to make though. The two best cards in the pack for him were Vampire Hexmage and Zektar Shrine Expedition. The Hex mage is a nice trump to many of the two toughness creatures in the format, and has an ability that is far from blank with all the quests and allies knocking around. Meanwhile, the Expedition is easier on mana, and as Ruel’s second would give him quite a bit of reach even in games where his initial attacks had been blunted somewhat. Ruel went for the enchantment.

A second Surrakar Marauder came along for pick two of pack 3, and was a welcome addition. For his third pick, Ruel didn’t see anything he liked. The three cards he was looking at were Bog Tatters, Spire Barrage and Pitfall Trap. The Barrage was still a little pricey for Ruel’s deck, and he slipped it back into the pack. Ruel took the Pitfall Trap as a defensive draft, but afterwards regretted it. The Tatters is at least as good against his deck as the trap, and he could always have played it himself if he wanted to make opposing black decks’ lives tough.

Pack 3 pick four saw Ruel take Elemental Appeal over a Blood Seeker. The hasty 7/1 plan is clearly one that Ruel likes, though the strain on his mana might make the rare a touch slow. Fifth and sixth picks were solid, in Bladetusk Boar and Zektar Shrine Exploration. From there, there was little to add to Ruel’s deck from the pack, but for a lapped Blood Seeker 12th pick.

All in all, Ruel’s deck finished up solid, if a little short on removal spells. The Hall of Famer wasn’t too worried though – he was ready to get his beat on.

Feature Match: Round 11 – Olivier Ruel vs Lino Burgold

by Tim Willoughby

Coming into round 11, we have a pair of players who have already got a GP win under their belts this season. Burgold won GP Hannover, while Ruel was the victor at GP Brighton. Each is sat on 9-1 going into the match, a nice position to be in with 2 drafts to go. Oliver had gone for the tried and true red black plan, though he felt that he should possibly be in green. Lino, meanwhile, had found himself with a very powerful blue/green ally deck. Given that Burgold had stated that if he could open 6 of any common in sealed, he’d choose Umara Raptor, he was very pleased with himself coming into this draft

Lino led with a Forest, while Olivier had a Swamp and Guul Draz Vampire. He wasn’t able to get stuck in though, as Lino had an Oran Rief Survivalist. A Zektar Shrine Exploration came next from Ruel, whose attacks remained stymied as a River Boa came out next for Burgold.

The only successful attacks of the game were Oran-Rief Survivalist in the early game, though Ruel threatened a big turn in the future with first a Plate Geopede, and then a second Zektar Shrine Expedition.

Burgold had held off on plays following his Survivalist and Boa, which meant that Ruel had plenty of opportunity to build up a force. A Whiplash Trap put Plated Geopede and a fresh Bladetusk Boar into Olivier’s hand, to slow things. Burgold attacked Olivier, who got back in with his Zektar Shrine Exploration, before replaying his guys. A second Whiplash Trap again set back Ruel.

Burgold played a second Oran-Rief Survivalist, and piled in. He took another seven from Zektar Shrine Exploration number 2, but yet a third Whiplash Trap set back Olivier enough that he couldn’t make it. A Merfolk Aerialist finished things decisively for Burgold.

Olivier Ruel 0 – 1 Lino Burgold

Game 2 began with a Plated Geopede from Ruel, which attacked for a meagre single point, and was joined by Goblin Shortcutter. Burgold’s first creature was Umara Raptor.

"A Wind Drake... good enough to stop me..."

It wasn’t a Wind Drake for long though. Olivier had just a Zektar Shrine Expedition on his turn, and saw a second Umara Raptor on turn four. He missed a land drop again, and when he saw Turntimber Ranger from Burgold’s side of the board, he was quick to scoop up his cards and sign the slip.

Lino Burgold wins 2 – 0!

Feature Match: Round 12 – Shuuhei Nakamura vs. Steffen van de Veen

by Tobias Henke

Van de Veen started off fast with Goblin Bushwhacker on turn one followed by Explorer’s Scope, which was equipped right away, but failed to produce any land for the remainder of the game. Next up was Highland Berserker, then Kor Sanctifiers which was met by Cancel, Shuuhei’s first play of the match.

Turn four saw the incumbent Player of the Year cast Merfolk Seastalkers, which was tapped with the help of Kor Hookmaster, bringing Shuuhei down to eight life on the ensuing attack. Shuuhei made more Merfolk Seastalkers, Van de Veen made another Goblin Bushwhacker, smashing in with everyone, having his one Bushwhacker killed in the process and bringing Shuuhei down to just four life.

Now however, Shuuhei cast Sphinx of Lost Truths (without kicker) and had two Merfolk Seastalkers as well as the Sphinx for blockers, while van de Veen just had Highland Berserker, Kor Hookmaster and Goblin Bushwhacker for attackers. Van de Veen restocked with Bladetusk Boar and Zektar Shrine Expedition, but the Japanese had a sixth land and Paralyzing Grasp to allow him to tap down the Bladetusk Boar for good. Van de Veen did have Trusty Machete, though he unfortunately only had three creatures two of which Shuuhei theoretically could tap.

Van de Veen had another Bladetusk Boar, which Shuuhei sent Into the Roil. Then the Japanese player’s control deck did, what it was supposed to do: take control of the game. Mind Sludge removed the last of van de Veen’s cards in hand, including Bladetusk Boar. Life totals now were 20 to four in favor of van de Veen, but cards in hand four to zero in favor of Nakamura.

For van de Veen it was all downhill from there. Shuuhei had more lands to be used for Merfolk Seastakers action, as well as Hideous End and Heartstabber Mosquito. As soon as he started attacking, it was clear that this show was about over, despite van de Veen valiant efforts to the contrary.

Shuuhei Nakamura 1 – 0 Steffen van de Veen

Shuuhei thought long and hard about his opening seven, shipped them back, took a look at his six and instantly went down to five. Fortunately, van de Veen did not have the most aggressive start his deck could muster, with Stonework Puma on turn three followed by Ruinous Minotaur on four.

Shuuhei meanwhile had Trusty Machete on turn one, but his first creature, Merfolk Seastalkers once again, on turn four. Van de Veen cast Geyser Glider and came in with his Minotaur. On turn five Shuuhei had Vampire Nighthawk and equipped it. Ruinous Minotaur and Geyser Glider came in for another nine damage, as Shuuhei was not willing to trade any of his creatures away just yet. Shuuhei fell to four life, van de Veen lost his fourth land. Vampire Nighthawk recovered four points of life on the backswing. In van de Veen’s next attack, Shuuhei tapped down Geyser Glider, put the Stonework Puma (which had acquired a Trusty Machete ) to a Hideous End, and traded Merfolk Seastalkers with Ruinous Minotaur.

Now the board was empty except for Shuuhei’s Vampire Nighthawk and van de Veen’s Geyser Glider, with one Trusty Machete apiece. Good for the control deck. Even better still when Shuuhei had Into the Roil (kicked) to bounce and effectively destroy Geyser Glider, as Ruinous Minotaur had left van de Veen unable to replay the five-mana creature.

This game was almost over. Van de Veen made one more attempt to get back into the fray, but was dismayed when Shuuhei simply kicked Heartstabber Mosquito. It was hard to defeat Shuuhei’s blue-black control monstrosity in the early game and it proved virtually unstoppable late.

Shuuhei Nakamura 2 – 0 Steffen van de Veen

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. – Catching up with Jim Nelson

by Tim Willoughby

Here at GP Paris, we have been blessed with a pair of artists who have been here all weekend, signing cards and doing sketches for never-ending queues of eager fans. Yesterday I managed to corner Rob Alexander during his hectic signing session, and today I managed to squeeze in a few moments with Jim Nelson. Jim is probably best known for such tournament hits as Replenish and Grim Lavamancer, but he’s been illustrating Magic since Bellowing Fiend, and has had cards across sets all the way up to the Planechase decks.

Jim Nelson - there be monsters in that thar brain.

A Chicago native, Jim grew up a comic book fan and that naturally transitioned into a love of drawing. At the University of Northern Illinois, he joined their Illustration programme, and soon found that, through a strong association with their Fine Arts wing, he was better suited to a new Drawing Illustration major, which by chance had been formed just as he joined the school.

These days, most of Jim’s work is related to games in one way or another. On top of illustrating Magic cards, he works with the Dungeons and Dragons team, on both illustrations and design work for various miniatures, where he takes existing monsters, and works with their team to create dynamic poses, and detailing that can then get sculpted right onto the figure. Round things out with some computer game concept art, and the odd children’s book and you have a pretty busy artistic schedule.

When possible, Jim likes to start every piece with a pencil sketch, which is then transferred onto watercolour paper and overpainted using acrylic paints. Sometimes time concerns will turn process digital, to either cut out some of the grunt work of transferring sketches and preparing paper, or just to allow for easier corrections if needed.

Lyzolda looking a little sketchy.

"The briefs I get from Wizards of the Coast are pretty clear. With them I usually get to use paint, which is great!"

Each of Jim’s paintings is about eight by twelve inches in size, and seeing some of the originals at this show really highlights quite how much detail there are in many of his works. Jim’s favourite subject tends to be monsters or mythical creatures, so even with a clear brief there is plenty of room for imagination. Taking inspiration from nature, and whatever background he has on them, he is at his happiest making monsters for our amusement. What does an Omnibian look like? Or a Terravore ? A lot of that was all Jim.

Lyzolda with a bit of colour in her cheeks.

If Jim likes fairly open assignments, that doesn’t mean every element of his work is that open. Quite often, he will choose a restricted palette to work with; influenced by the colour of the card he’s painting. "That way I can focus more on light and value than colour, which I find more fun" he remarked with a little smile. Looking at one of his favourite pieces, Viridescent Wisps, it is easy to see that when Jim gets into something, he’ll really run with it. Replenish is another example where use of light and value can really... er... add value.

Jim is adding value to any number of cards this weekend with his signatures, and as he doesn’t necessarily make it out to Europe all too often, everyone here is very happy to see him. I’m pretty sure he’s happy to see them too.

Podcast - When the Clock Strikes Thirteen

by Rich Hagon

It has taken thirteen rounds to accomplish the feat, but by the end of this show you'll know the identity of the single player in the building who has yet to face defeat in the main event. It's fair to say that the big names are conspicuous by their absence from the top tables, and it's starting to look as if there may be a wide open Top 8 where a new name can rise to prominence. Great matches, then, from rounds twelve and thirteen, as we edge ever closer to the Top 8 showdown.

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Feature Match: Round 13 – Robert van Medevoort vs Raphael Levy

by Tim Willoughby
Fast hands van Medevoort.

Here in round 13 we find two pros who, at 9-3, are a little behind the pace for top 8, but still battling hard for pro points, and indeed to win their pod. In the interests of finding out which plan is the trump in the format, it felt like the right plan to catch up with Robert van Medevoort and Raphael Levy.

Robert led things off with a Forest, and saw a Swamp and a Vampire Lacerator from Levy. He had a great answer though, soon playing Harrow into a Nissa’s Chosen, which would handily hold of Levy’s Vampire, and the Goblin Ruinblaster that followed it.

Given that van Medevoort had played a Harrow, it looked pretty clear that he was straight red/green, with a bias toward the green. When Levy played a Stonework Puma, van Medevoort first killed Goblin Ruinblaster with Seismic Shudder then got a Baloth Cage Trap on the cheap. Nissa’s Chosen traded with Stonework Puma in a double blocking incident, and while Raph had a Hideous End to stop a Territorial Baloth, he was left cold when Terra Stomper joined team Holland.

"That’s a lot of big guys" remarked Levy, who reached for his sideboard and tried to find an answer for the next game.

Robert van Medevoort 1 – 0 Raphael Levy

Levy lost in the shuffle.

Levy had the first play of the second game, in Highland Berserker, but couldn’t get in with it, as a Seismic Shudder killed it off in short order. Ruinous Minotaur was the follow-up from van Medevoort, who was not about to attack in on the following turn after Levy passed without a play. Instead he just cast Bladetusk Boar and passed. Levy had a Hagra Diabolist to drain for one, before trading with the Minotaur.

By the time Raph had an answer for Bladetusk Boar, van Medevoort had cast Baloth Cage Trap, and soon it gained a Trusty Machete. Raph had a Vampire Nighthawk to block with, and a huge Slaughter Cry both meant that the vampire would live, and gained him a big chunk of life.

Robert van Medevoort was not one to hold back though. He had a Ruinous Minotaur as his next creature, and started racing a Vampire Nighthawk. Terra Stomper from Robert looked a great plan in a race, but Raph found a Guul Draz Vampire to turn on a Feast of Blood, which not only killed the Terra Stomper, but gained him another 4 life.

Molten Ravager came down for van Medevoort, who was soon knocked down to 11 by Raph’s flying vampire. One more swing and Guul Draz Vampire would start intimidating. The life totals soon became 12 to 10 in the Dutchman’s favour after a swing, and Robert, who was living off the top of his deck, found a Bladetusk Boar.

Vampire Nighthawk was doing well at keeping Levy in the race. Levy was forced to block when Ruinous Minotaur and Bladetusk Boar came in, leaving him with just a Vampire Nighthawk in play, against Bladetusk Boar, Molten Ravager, Trusty Machete, and a fresh Vastwood Gorger from van Medevoort.

In spite of being behind on the board, Raph kept in on the attacks. These made the life totals 7 to 11 in Raph’s favour. A Hideous End kept him alive, and finally he as forced to keep his Vampire Nighthawk back. Raph had live draws in Tuktuk Grunts and a second Slaughter Cry, but did not see them before the horde of fatties finally did him in.

Robert van Medevoort wins 2 – 0!

Sunday, 2:00 p.m. – Pure Gold with Lino Burgold

by Tobias Henke
Engleitner - the last of the undefeateds.

Lino Burgold, GP Hanover champion and on this year’s German national team, just sweeped the first draft pod 3-0 to put him in second place in the standings. How did that come about?

"First pick, first pack was a close call between River Boa and Roil Elemental," Burgold recounted his draft. "I took the Elemental, then was passed another River Boa. Obviously, two Boas would have been much better, but I really like blue/green anyway, so I went with it."

"Originally the deck started out to be one of your typical Landfall decks," Burgold went on. "In the first pack I only picked up one each of Umara Raptor and Oran-Rief Survivalist. I had another Survivalist as the first pick in pack two and then I got Turntimber Ranger fourth. I started taking Allies really high afterwards, as you can imagine."

Imagine that we can. Unbelievable though, the Allies he could pick up in pack three: another two Oran-Rief Survivalist s and two Umara Raptor s, too. Just take a look at this deck, a true piece of beauty:

Lino Burgold

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Sunday, 2:50 p.m. – Drafting with Lino Burgold

by Tobias Henke
Pillarfield Ox

While arguably there always is something one could have done better (in retrospect), sometimes the cards work against you. In the second draft all wheels came off for Lino Burgold.

He opened a less than stellar first pack, with Magma Rift, Grazing Gladehart, and Surrakar Marauder, which he took. The best (by virtue of being the only one, if nothing else) black card in the next pack was Guul Draz Vampire, where Burgold opted for Torch Slinger instead.

So, looking for black or red cards, are we? Well, then the only option for pick number three would be Highland Berserker, hardly a winner. Take it or leave it? Burgold left and went into white with Kor Sanctifiers. That didn’t help him either, as the next pack held no realistic white or red option, and Soul Stair Expedition as the only black one. So it was Oran-Rief Recluse for Burgold.

Nissa’s Chosen, Timbermaw Larva, and another Oran-Rief Recluse somewhat established green as a main color, but Burgold clearly was concerned for his card quality as well as quantity. The rest of the pack gave Burgold Aether Figment, Nimbus Wings, Joraga Bard... and yes, in all seriousness, those actually were the best he could get his hands on.

Pack two initially went fine (if unexciting), with Shepherd of the Lost either being easily splashed or proposing white/green, followed by Lotus Cobra. But again his colors dried up too quickly. Although they didn’t exactly dry up as such: Kor Cartographer, Pillarfield Ox, Nimbus Wings, Summoning Trap, Turntimber Grove, Khalni Heart Expedition... That is just one booster, chock-full of green and white cards, simply not the ones Burgold was looking for. Good cards he got included (or rather, were limited to): Territorial Baloth, Vines of the Vastwood, and Primal Bellow.

At times stories do have a happy ending, though. Look at his picks from booster number three!

Kor Skyfisher
Kor Sanctifiers
Pillarfield Ox
Khalni Gem
Hedron Scrabbler
Narrow Escape
Kazandu Refuge
Aether Figment
Nimbus Wings
Caravan Hurda
Soaring Seacliff
Shoal Serpent

Err. Sorry, no happy end here. In Burgold’s own words: "This is the worst deck. Ever."

Feature Match: Round 14 – Lino Bergold vs Herbert Engleitner

by Tim Willoughby
Engleitner - the last of the undefeateds.

Coming into round 14 of the tournament, Lino Bergold and Herbert Engleitner are in great shape. Engleitner has yet to lose a round, and Bergold, the winner of GP Hannover is just one match behind him. In the previous draft, Burgold had found himself with a monster of a Green/Blue allies deck, and looking like a seventies pirate, he was ready to give Engleitner hell if he wanted to keep up his impressive winning streak.

Engleitner led with a Vampire Lacerator, but was disappointed to see a Nissa’s Chosen on turn two from Burgold. Burgold followed up a Lotus Cobra, which allowed a quick kicked Aether Figment. Engleitner was quick to block Nissa’s Chosen at the first opportunity with his now impotent Lacerator. He had a Harrow at the end of turn to get up to a pair of Forest s and the same of Swamp s.

With five mana, Engleitner played Guul Draz Specter and a Scute Mob. Nice rares! Burgold attacked Engleitner down to 11, rather than leaving anything back. He needed to race, and had a second Aether Figment to keep things interesting. Burgold discarded a Forest to the specter, and then looked on as a Crypt Ripper joined Engleitner’s side of the board.

Lino had a Khalni Gem and a Kor Cartographer. Between the two he got quite a few extra mana, but it didn’t lead to a particularly spectacular big finish. Those two Aether Figments were big enough anyway. One of them was taken out by Heartstabber Mosquito, but the other took Engleitner to just 2. While Herbert had his Scute Mob up to 13/13, it looked precarious for him, as he had no way of dealing with the unblockable figment. After drawing nothing, and attacking with his specter to see one more card, he scooped up his cards.

Lino Bergold 1 – 0 Herbert Engleitner

Lino Bergold - underneath the colourful outer surface, Lino is hard and durable.

Both players kept their seven, and Engleitner kicked things off with a Surrakar Marauder. He was stuck on only swamps, while Burgold was all about the forests. A Forest from Engleitner allowed for a Timbermaw Larva. Burgold had a Nissa’s Chosen, but wasn’t inclined to block with it. Burgold, unlike his opponent, remained mired in mana issues, and discarded a Kor Sanctifiers at the end of turn.

Engleitner piled on the pressure with a Crypt Ripper. This allowed him to attack his opponent to two. While Burgold drew a Plains at this point, it was too little too late, and after a quick game, it was on to the decider.

Lino Bergold 1 – 1 Herbert Engleitner

Both players sent back their opening seven, but found their six satisfactory. Burgold had the first play of the game, in a turn 3 Kor Sanctifiers. A Khalni Gem followed, while Engleitner followed up with Guul Draz Specter. Burgold was quick to trump the 2/2 flyer, with a Shepherd of the lost. When Burgold attacked, a Baloth Cage Trap killed off his Kor Sanctifiers, but he was still looking fine, especially when he made a Territorial Baloth for himself.

Engleitner cast a Crypt Ripper and passed. He took 9 in the air thanks to a Soaring Seacliff s from Burgold, and looked on warily as a Kor Skyfisher joined Burgold’s team to return the ‘jump-land’. The following turn’s attacks demanded action from Engleitner, as again an air force came in. There was nothing to be done though, and Engleitner extended his hand, gracious in defeat.

Lino Burgold wins 2 - 1

Feature Match: Round 15 – Marcin Sciesinski vs. Gonzague Allouchery

by Tobias Henke

Marcin Sciesinski from Ireland went first, but didn’t have a play till turn four, while Gonzague Allouchery on home soil here in France opened with Adventuring Gear and Kazandu Blademaster, hitting for six on turn three with the help of Teetering Peaks.

Sciesinski had Nimana Sell-Sword, but Allouchery smoothly went Arid Mesa, fetched a Mountain, then cast Kor Cartographer to boost his Kazandu Blademaster up to 8/8. Sciesinski went to six life in just two attacks. He did have Stonework Puma to put his Sell-Sword at 4/4, but another land from Allouchery meant that yet again Kazandu Blademaster would swing as a four-power first-striking monster. After some deliberation Stonework Puma chump-blocked.

Allouchery made another threat with Steppe Lynx. Sciesinski stared long and hard at his hand, which included Paralyzing Grasp. Too bad his opponent’s Blademaster is so very vigilant against ever tapping. Allouchery made a land, cast Cliff Threader, next summoned Ruinous Minotaur... and then, well, then Goblin Bushwhacker really kicked in, providing quite a kicking.

Marchin Sciesinsky 0 – 1 Gonzague Allouchery

Allouchery had Adventuring Gear, then Cliff Threader, while Sciesinski spent his first three turns turning his opponent’s two Plains into two Island s by means of Spreading Seas and casting Trusty Machete. Unfazed, Allouchery put down Teetering Peaks and put Sceisinski down to 14 with his Threader.

Sciesinski summoned and equipped Umara Raptor, Allouchery made Electropotence, then Pillarfield Ox, which was met by Cancel. Arid Mesa stayed unused on the French side to work as a trick, effectively preventing Sciesinski’s Raptor from ever blocking the equipped Cliff Threader. Another attack from Allouchery brought Sciesinski down to two, and Plated Geopede triggered Electropotence. Next turn, Ruinous Minotaur triggered Electropotence one more (and final) time.

Marchin Sciesinsky 0 – 2 Gonzague Allouchery

Podcast - Down The Stretch

by Rich Hagon

It's almost the end of the road, and Rounds fourteen and fifteen will take us to within 60 minutes of the Top 8. Join us as we chart those who fall by the wayside, and those whose fire still burns as we head for knockout-land.

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Historic at the Innistrad Championship by, Mani Davoudi

Throughout the last competitive season, we watched as Standard and Historic took the spotlight, being featured throughout the League Weekends and Championships. The formats evolved with e...

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