Live Coverage of 2004 Grand Prix Paris

Posted in Event Coverage on November 28, 2004

By Kai Budde

In the biggest Magic tournament in history with slightly over 1580 players, only one seasoned pro managed to end up at the first table after nine rounds of swiss – Raphel Levy. He got the third seat while Quentin Martin, the only other player I recognized, was sitting on his left. The whole tabled looked like this:

1 . Max Willenberg (Germany)
2. Davide Fenu (Italy)
3. Raphel Levy
4. Quentin Martin
5. Julien Goron (France)
6. Tomas Klimes ( Czech Republic)
7. Sandy Thevenon (France)
8. Giuseppe Reale (Italy)

Max opened a rather weak pack and picked a Mystic Restraints first. A Ronin Houndmaster went second, followed by a Hundred-Talon Kami for Levy that he picked due to color preference over the superior Orochi Sustainer. Davide had a better first pick waiting for him in the second pack with Blind with Anger. Levy got another rather weak card with Kitsune Riftwalker while Quentin snagged a Frostwieder third. Overall the draft was very friendly and almost everyone went with the colors they picked up in the first two or three packs. At one point Raphael was shocked for a Moment when in pack 4 Davide on his right took a White card as his 10th pick, but he never touched the color again after that.

Mystic Restraints

Thanks to that very friendly attitude, the remaining packs went by without any huge surprises. Julien, sitting on Quentins left, started out heavy Black and never bothered to try and go for a second color. The only serious non-black card he picked up was a Candles Glow but I do not think that he ended up playing that. Tomas Klimes in the 6th seat started out heavy Green and ignored several chances where he could have picked up a second color. Eventually a Rend Spirit came to him and he grabbed it and probably ends up running a few black cards in a decent Green deck topped by two copies of Sosuke, Son of Seishiro.

I thought that Sandy Thevenon clearly overvalued Frostwielder when he chose one over Teller of Tales for his Blue/Red deck but when there were a total of six Frostwielders opened at the table and three of those ended up in his deck, it worked out quite well.

Giuseppe Reale tried to draft Blue with his Green cards early on but the Blue dried up really soon due to Sandy drafted that color to his right and when he saw that White was underdrafted at the table as at that point Levy was the only player drafted a color that can usually support three or four people, he jumped in.

Still, White was heavily underdrafted with only two players and that showed when Levy got a Kabuto Moth as his fifth pick in the second pack. The packs contained only that single Moth and two copies of Cage of Hands so the White decks did not go out of hand. Levy ended up with a quite mediocre deck as his first picks were quite weak his deck full of toughness one creatures seems rather bad for a table that has six Frostwielders. He already lost the first match to Quentins double Frostwielder deck as I am writing this. He has a ton of fliers and if he can avoid Sandy with three of the other four pingers, he might be able to claw his way up to a 2-1 record.

Quentin made one rather huge mistake in the draft when he did not take a Mindblaze when it got to him 5h pick and then took an Unearthly Blizzard over it when it came back to him. The card is already decent in Booster Draft but in Rochester Draft it can be considered a bomb as eight damage for six mana is quite a nice deal. His deck is good anyway with two Orochi Sustainers and three Sakura Tribe-Elders for acceleration along with decent creatures topped by a Blood Rites, a Blind with Anger and a Pain Kami.

Nezumi Cutthroat

But the best decks have probably the two players who ended up with heavy-Black: Julien Goron and Max Willenberg. Julien has three copies of Nezumi Cutthroat along with Hideous Laughter, Devouring Greed and a few good removal spells while Max ended up with a probably even better Black/Blue deck that featues Nezumi Graverobber, a 12th pick Seizan, Perverter of Truth, two Teller of Tales, two Befouls, a Cutthroat and generally just good cards to go with those.

Sandy Thevenon should be winning if his opponent has a lot of toughness one of he draws two of his three Frostwielders but otherwise his deck seems fairly mediocre. The same is true for Tomas Klimes. He does have two Sozuke, but his deck is just solid and not spectacular. He could win the table, but he also might end up 1-2. Giuseppe Reale is in a similar position. His deck seems solid but he does not have any bombs. His Green and White creatures could definitely go all the way – but he might be looking at two Forstwielders or two Cutthroats and lose as well.

Davide Fenu probably has the weakest deck overall. He ended up with Green/Red and his Blind with Anger is the only real highlight. Still, with everyone being overly friendly he should have 23 decent cards as well and that might be enough to pull out a 2-1 record.

I would like to name a favorite for this table, but it is quite hard as the players sat down with different records. Raphael, Quentin, Tomas and Giuseppe were the only four players on 9-0 in the tournament and they have to play each other in the first two rounds while the same is true for the other four who all entered the draft with 8-0-1 records. That means that the four 9-0 players will not have to face one of the two Black decks until the very last round, which is very good news especially for Raphael and Giuseppe, who can not deal with Nezumi Cutthroat at all. Both Black decks already lost the first round as well and the winner of Quentin Martin vs Giuseppe Reale will face the winner of Sandy Thevenon vs Davide Fenu to see who wins the first table and is in a great position to make the final table.

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