TABLE OF CONTENTS
- 8:41 pm - Meet the Judges!
- 8:08 pm - Feature Match Round Nine: Kai Budde vs. Claudia Loroff
- 7:12 pm - Feature Match Round Eight: Markus Schatz vs. Antoine Ruel
- 6:01 pm - Where are they now?
- 5:31 pm - Feature Match Round 6: Julien Nuijten vs. Ondrej Baudys
- 5:14 pm - The Story Behind the Magic: European Grand Prixs
- 4:22 pm - Feature Match Round Five: Gabriel Nassif vs. Christoph Huber
- 2:44 pm - Feature Match Round 4: Janosch Kuhn vs. Jesse Cornelissen
- 1:14 pm - Artist on site: Pete Venters
- 11:30 am - How the Mighty Have Fallen?
Saturday, October 9: 8:41 pm - Meet the Judges!
You can't run a Grand Prix with close to one thousand players without some sort of an army. Here's how little tribute to our own army. Thirty judges who spend the last few days (along with the elusive WotC staff led by Erwin Dielens) setting up and running this event.
Here they are... the few, the proud, the amazing zebras!
Dang Ngoc Huy Dinh
Nick J Sephton
Tom de Baerdemaeker
Saturday, October 9: 8:08 pm - Feature Match Round Nine: Kai Budde vs. Claudia Loroff
We keep delaying feature matches for Kai Budde because we always figure we will stick around at the top tables for the whole swiss portion of the tournament. Every so often, he plays tricks on us and decides to get into trouble.
So here he is playing the last round of swiss against Claudia Loroff, which should prove a tough. Although not as famous or successful as Kai Budde, Claudia is a great player with some good results in European tournaments.
Kai started with turn three Orochi Sustainer, turn four Mothraited Samurai while Loroff couldn't find a spell to play even with two Plains and two Swamps. Kai tried to sneak as much damage in as possible... but Claudia had a surprise.
Two removal spells later Kai had lost three creatures and was in the receiving end of some Red Zone action courtesy of Kami of Ancient Law. Loroff dropped another two white creatures and Kai smiled.
Apparently Loroff wasn't in so much trouble as her initial uneventful turns led us to believe. She was just setting up her Hideous Laughter and getting ready to unleash her white creatures on the unsuspecting Kai.
Budde fought back with Vine Kame and Order of the Sacred Bell but Loroff's Innocence Kami was in full control of the table. A confusing Candles' Glow later Kai was at six facing four creatures.
He was forced to pass the turn. Loroff sent in lethal damage and Kai got rid of one attacker to stay at two life.
Claudia: "Cards in hand?"
She dropped Devouring Greed.
Claudia 1-0 Kai.
Claudia sent back a land-heavy hand. Kai came out with Orochi Leafcaller and Eight-and-a-Half-Tails getting a lot of noise from the huge crowd watching the game. He sent Claudia all the way down to thirteen before she reached four mana.
Then he played Hideous Laughter. This time Kai Budde was ready. He bounced right back with Kabuto Moth and Order of the Sacred Bell. Loroff played Jade Idol and Kitsune Blademaster. The Order snuck in to bring her down to eight.
She drew her card, stared at her hand and passed the turn. Kai frowned before untapping. Still he brought forth his army, killed a blocker and brought Claudia Loroff to five.
A draw step later she conceded.
Claudia 1-1 Kai.
Claudia came out with Hankyu and Kami of the Ancient Law which Kai promptly traded for Orochi Ranger. Kai was absolutely fascinated with the Hankyu, reading it a few times and asking Claudia if it was really any good at all.
Loroff found a creature and Kai found Cage of Hands to keep it out of his way. His Order of the Sacred Bell entered the game and quickly started making frequent trips to the Red Zone.
The Hankyu took out one of Kai´s creatures but he replaced it with Eight-and-a-half-tails. That enabled him to his whole crew in once again, bringing his opponent to six life.
She used Hideous Laughter to send Eight-and-a-half-Tails away and took another hit from the Order to go down to a mere two life. Kai played Orochi Leafcaller and passed the turn. With only one creature - locked under Cage of Hands - Claudia took her time.
Finally she played Wicked Aruba. It wasn't enough. Kai had Blessed Breath to make sure his Order of the Sacred Bell snuck past the lone available blocker for the final damage.
Kai 2-1 Claudia.
Kai Budde will be back tomorrow for some Rochester drafting!
Saturday, October 9: 7:12 pm - Feature Match Round Eight: Markus Schatz vs. Antoine Ruel
You all should know Antoine Ruel by now. The saner half of the Ruel Brothers tag team is again storming through a Limited tournament. Accross the table, Markus Schatz started the day with two byes and has also put up an impressive run so far going X-1 so far... with an extra twist: he won the "free trip to the next GP" competition!
So he has a 6-1 record, a free trip to Grand Prix Helsinki next month and a feature match against a top Pro Tour player. Not too shabby, by anyone's standards. Let's see if his luck holds up in this round.
Markus came out quickly with Floating-Dream Zubera and Kami of the Waning Moon. Ruel answered with Thief of Hope. That set the mood for the next few turns as both players went about dropping creatures.
But Schatz was in a hurry. He used Rend Spirit and Consuming Vortex to clear Antoine's side of the table and sent his crew in. The french dropped to thirteen. In came Scuttling Death to hold off Markus' attacks. Still, he would not relent. The Death blocked Soratami Mirror-Guard, soulshifting back the Thief of Hope.
The Thief entered the fray once again, along with Pain Kami. Schatz crew snuck in for one more hit and Ruel answered with a full attack. Markust studied the life totals and figured he was still way ahead in the race.
Ruel dropped the aptly named Gutwrencher Oni. Schatz liked it so much he went ahead and played one of his own. A foiled one, in fact. Not that it matters, gamewise, but it sure deserves some "style points". The Onis traded in combat... and Antoine played a second Gutwrencher Oni!
With the extra fuel from Honden of Seeing Winds Schatz tried to overwhelmed Antoine's line of defense with a bunch of small creatures. A pumped Cursed Ronin tried to trade with the Oni but Antoine sacrificed his Pain Kami to keep his huge Demon Spirit on the table.
That brought Markus to five, just within range of Devouring Greed. Obviously the French had one, and the necessary land to play it.
Antoine 1-0 Markus.
Again Markus came out smoking, with Floating-Dream Zubera and Distress (seeing that Ruel had a good hand with enough mana to cast almost all cards... and finally picking Kabuto Moth).
Cage of Hands came into play locking the Zubera, as they both tried to developed their board position. Schatz unleashed three extra creatures while Ruel stuck to the "tap out to play an annoying creature every turn" plan. The Frenchman lost a Gibbering Kami using its soulshift to get the Kabuto Moth back.
Slowly Ruel was grasping control of the table. Between Kabuto Moth and Cage of Hands Markus had to think his game carefully. Again Antoine pumped out Gutwrencher Oni, with a Ogre in play.
He stacked up the Oni and Blood Speaker triggers to fetch out a second Gutwrencher Oni without discarding a card. The white flying armada dropped Markus to thirteen while the Oni duo sat back waiting for the next turn.
Markus Schatz surveyed the table, checked the life totals and shrugged. He had no option left. He could only extended his hand.
Antoine 2-0 Markus.
Saturday, October 9: 6:01 pm - Where are they now?
With the seventh round now underway we thought we should take a break and play "track the star". So taking the standings let's check a few of the name players still in the tournament (pardon us if we skip your favorite player by accident).
So here we are - remember, with three rounds to go - all the way from "leading the field", going through "still has a good chance" and ending in the "I bet your sealed deck was just amazingly bad."
|95||Cirigliano, Matteo *||15||66.66%|
|177||Da Costa Cabral, Bernardo *||12||83.33%|
|179||Cornelissen, Kamiel K||12||83.33%|
|180||van Leeuwen, Arjan||12||83.33%|
|280||Lo Moro, Raffaele||12||58.33%|
|659||Summersberger, Helmut *||6||87.50%|
|843||Slemr, Jakub *||3||70.37%|
Saturday, October 9: 5:31 pm - Feature Match Round 6: Julien Nuijten vs. Ondrej Baudys
You knew it was coming... we had to call the World Champion, especially since he still has a perfect record.
The World Champion came out smoking with Orochi Ranger, Kitsune Blademaster and Matsu-Tribe Decoy while his opponent dropped Ashen-Skin Zebura and Harsh Deceiver.
Kodama's Reach gave Julien two extra lands to play with. The Deceiver tried to stop the Balademaster but Nuijten had Call to Glory to save his creature before playing Moss Kami.
Baudys thought things through and used Befoul to send the Moss Kami away. Despite's Ondrej's best efforts the young Dutch seemed to have an infinite supply of creatures to play. He kept dropping one per turn and using the Red Zone despite the Ghostly Prison accross the table.
Clearly backpedalling Ondrej Baudys was forced to take a lot of time to figure his blockers. An instant Indomitable Will saved the Ashen-Skin Zubera but again Ondrej was forced to pass the turn back facing five creatures with only an untapped Bloodthristy Ogre.
Cooly Julien worked through Baudys' resistance, eventually dropping all cards in his hand, assembling a six creature army. His opponent had just the right answer for that: Hideous Laughter getting three of Julien's creatures (Kitsune Diviner, Samurai of the Pale Curtain and Kabuto Moth).
Still, that hardly stopped the Dutch. He kept swinging with his remaining creatures dropping Ondrej to five. Rend Spirit took out a freshly cast Pain Kami and Blessed Breath saved the enchanted Zubera. At five and down to one card in hand... Ondrej Baudys seemed finally up to the challenge. Julien was down to two creatures with no cards in hand. The Harsh Deceiver started swinging back at the World Champion.
The Orochi Ranger attacked and Ondrej blocked with both creatures, afraid of any tricks. The only trick Julien had was Serpent Skin to save his attacker, but by dealing damage the Ranger tapped both blockers.
Ondrej drew and played Vilainous Ogre and was force to take the following attack, dropping to one. Unfazed he sent two creatures in and added Scuttling Death to the table. He was now up four creatures to two but had only a single life point to work with... against a deck apparently splashing Red (Glaciar Ray and Pain Kami at least).
A second Serpent Skin gave Julien a chance to dispatch Ondrej's Ogre while keeping his precious creatures. That seemed to shake the serious Baudys, who buried his head in his hand and worked hard to come up with a new plan.
The Dutch untapped and sent his two guys in, killing Kitsune Diviner, before dropping Kabuto Moth. The Moth would allow him to fly over for the last point of damage if Baudys couldn't find a way to send it away.
He did: Yosei, the Morning Star.
If that affected the young Julien he hardly showed it. Still, he passed the turn back to Ondrej without doing anything. Yosei hit Julien once and Ondrej dropped Kitsune Blademaster.
Julien: "You don't have any flyers?"
The Moth came in and Ondrej sacrificed his Scutling Death to keep it from dealing the final damage point. Baudys sent his four creature crew in, giving Julien plenty to think about during blocking assignment. With lethal damage on the stack the World Champion played Candles' Glow to survive.
Ondrej's jaw dropped. He played a blocker but he knew it wouldn't be enough. Julien sent everyone in.
Ondrej: "You win. Nice game."
Julien 1-0 Ondrej.
Ondrej let JUlien start but still got a chance to play the first creature. With only eleven minutes left on the clock both players played at a lightning pace with Baudys especially interested in finishing this game in a hurry.
He dropped creatures on turns two, three and four but Julien's Pain Kami with open mana convinced him to keep back to avoid a 2-for-1 trade. Sitting behind his Kami the young Dutch pressed on at full speed with his remaining creatures.
Befoul ate up Kabuto Moth and Ondrej finally sent a creature in. The Kami did its thing taking two bigger creatures along with him. Baudys again tried to trade creatures but JUlien had one of his Serpent Skin's. It seemed Julien was in full control, pumping away damage like a madman and then...
The Yosei, the Morning Start showed up to brighten Baudy's day.
The legend struck once dropping Julien to nine, Ondrej chumped and sent Yosei in again before dropping two more creatures. Julien drew his card and shrugged.
Julien 1-1 Ondrej.
With three minutes left, they shuffled up quickly and went into turbo mode. Well, Julien tried to but Ondrej played a turn three Ghostly Prison. Despite the Dutch attempts to go for the quick kill Ondrej's deck didn't give him a single chance, spitting out the right mana, Prison and enough blockers to stop any sort of nonsense.
Ondrej: "The first game was good."
Julien 1-1 Ondrej.
Saturday, October 9: 5:14 pm - The Story Behind the Magic: European Grand Prixs
For those of you who haven't been to a European Grand Prix lately you no idea what you are missing. The overworked crew came out with a new plan to keep players coming. When you enter the tournament you fill out a little green thingy and drop it in a box.
A few rounds later the event manager - Erwin Dielens - and the Head Judge - Jesper Nielsen today - go through a big fuss with the microphone and the box and shout out ten names (actually they do an amazing effort to butcher any idea of correctly pronounciating the names). The first eight get a voucher for a free side event on Sunday, the ninth gets a cool snowboard (no pun intended) and the last name... gets a free trip to the next European Grand Prix. I DO mean free. Plane trip, hotel and entry fee. The works.
I didn't get the names of the eight lucky guys who got a free side event for tomorrow but I can give you the names of the two extra lucky guys. Drumroll please...
Andreas Wurzinger from Austria got himself a spiffy new snowboard with exclusive Magic art.
Markus Schatz from Germany got himself a full-expense paid trip to the next European Grand Prix. Which happens to be Grand Prix Helsinki. Which works espectacularly well for Markus since his girlfriend is from Finland. And... well, Helsinki is in Finland. Mise or what?
Saturday, October 9: 4:22 pm - Feature Match Round Five: Gabriel Nassif vs. Christoph Huber
Player of the Year and Constructed mastermind Gabriel Nassif seemed unhappy about his deck in the previous round, so we thought we might as well follow his match to see if he is in trouble or not.
Huber started things with Commune with Nature followed by Sakura-Tribe Elder. The Elder gave him the second Swamp and that brought forth Kashi-Tribe Reaver. Nassif used Sift Through Sands discarding Sashi, Daughter of Seshiro before unloading Kami of Twisted Reflection.
Christoph showed his third color with a Mountain and Brother Yamazaki. Accross the table Gabriel was in trouble. He missed his fourth land drop and could only play Commune with Nature.
His opponent did not hesitate. He sent his crew in, trading one creature and dropped the elbow on Nassif's hopes with back-to-back Befouls. The French smiled and scooped his lone Island.
Christoph 1-0 Gabriel.
Again Huber came out smoking with a turn two Sakura-Tribe Elder, turn three Brother Yamazaki. But this time Nassif wasn't screwed and he answered with turn three River Kaijin, turn four Kodama of the South Tree.
That put a stop the Huber's attacks. The Elder gave him an extra land but he seemed lost until he reached six mana. Then he dropped No-Dachi and handed it over to Brother Yamazaki. The Red Legend was back in the red zone.
Nassif took a break to think things through. Finally he seemed happy with playing a Spirit and pumping a creature with Okian, Temple of the Grandfathers to deal the first damage to Huber. A cool seven points.
Again the armed Yamazaki struck back. Gabriel fell to eleven and Huber dropped Vine Kami. The French seemed very worried, doing and redoing the math while reviewing his hand. Finally he came to a conclusion: he passed the turn without doing anything.
Huber took his time as well, but after some hesitation send both his creatures into the Red Zone. After a couple of minutes, Nassif flashed a huge grin and blocked. The legends squared of, while the blue creatures teamed up on the Vine Kami.
Before damage the French played Sift through Sands but when the dust cleared he had lost two creatures and killed none, as Christoph Huber saved his Kami with Serpent Skin.
The French drew one final card and scooped.
Christoph 2-0 Gabriel.
Saturday, October 9: 2:44 pm - Feature Match Round 4: Janosch Kuhn vs. Jesse Cornelissen
This is finally getting interesting. With the three-bye boys getting into the fray the top tables are getting a lot more attention. For this round we called up Kuhn, a veteran of the European Grand Prix circuit with a lot of Pro Tour experience and a Dutch named Cornelissen. No, not Kamiel but Jesse can be just as good as his brother. And... he plays considerably faster.
Kuhn opened things with Humbled Budoka and Kitsune Blademaster before Jesse played his first creature: Order of the Sacred Bell. He followed that with Teller of Tales.
Janosch missed his fifth land drop but still powered out two creatures, to bring his army to five. Still, he couldn't be happy. His blue cards were strandled in his hand, waiting for the first Island. Thankfully the last creature he played was Sakura-Tribe Elder.
The Teller struck back but got right back on defense when Cornelissen played a Spirit. Kuhn's Elder bit the dust to find his master the precious Island. Joanosch tried Innocence Kami but Jesse had Hisoka's Defiance waiting for it. The Dutch took its time to come up with his next play.
He played a second Floating-Dream Zubera to tap a blocker and sent two creatures in. The German chumped with the Budoka. Things were slowly slipping out of his grasp. He played Soratami Cloudskater and immediately used it to cycle a card.
Counsel of the Soratami gave him two extra options but he was still outgunned. Cornelissen's Teller of Tales and the small Kitsune Diviner ruled the table. The next swing brought Kuhn to four. Kuhn tried a second Counsel but could only muster Kitsune Healer.
Jesse calmly checked his hand and dropped a Spirit to tap Kuhn's lone flying blocker to power in the final points of damage.
Jesse: "I thought you would surely draw something with all those extra cards."
Jesse 1-0 Janosch.
Kuhn kept a very risky "one land, Sensei's Divining Top" hand - playing first - and found a second land on his second turn. That brought out Soratami Cloudskater. It took him another two turns to find a third land and then he stumbled again, even playing Counsel of the Soratami before find the fourth land
Meanwhile Jesse was busy dropping lands. Loads of them. He also got Kitsune Diviner, Soratami Mirror-Guard and Floating-Dream Zubera on the table. This was hardly pressing for Kuhn.
Then the Dutch decided to speed things up: Keiga, the Tide Star. Go ahead, check it out.
Janosch: "That doesn't look too good."
Jesse: "You haven't played any removal so far."
He was planning on doing it, either. Instead he dropped Innocence Kami which would be a good idea if it wasn't for Cornelissen's Kitsune Diviner. The Dutch tapper could keep the German tapper under control.
Keiga slapped Janosch Kuhn around once and the German had to go into "chump" mode. He blocked with Kabuto Moth and used Indomitable Will to keep it on the table. All of the sudden Kuhn had a blocker big enough to kepp Keiga in check... if Jesse would leave it alone.
The German drew and carefully considered his options. Finally he dropped a second Order of the Sacred Bell and passed the turn. With his legendary Dragon stopped Jesse settled on using his Soratami Mirror-Guard to power in Kashi-Tribe Warriors by making them unblockable.
That brought Kuhn to four, giving him two turns to find an answer. He dug with the Divining Top and sent one of his Orders in. Jesse blocked it with a Zubera to draw an extra card.
Again the unblockable Warriors struck Janosch, dragging him down to a mere two. Cornelissen played Time of Need to tutor out Seshiro the Anointed. Kuhn dug deep and found his second Island, enabling him to finally play the Teller of Tales in his hand.
He tried to, but Cornelissen had his counter and Otherworldly Journey to take Soratami Cloudskater out of the game for a full turn. Seshiro came in and everyone attacked. It was too much for Janosch Kuhn to handle.
Jesse 2-0 Janosch.
Saturday, October 9: 1:14 pm - Artist on site: Pete Venters
Like in every Grand Prix there is someone furiously scribbling away surrounded by a large crowd. Yes, there is an artist amongst us. Pete Venters, assisted by his lovely wife, will surely be sick and tired of his own name by the end of the day.
The queue is just huge, with players and collectors agonizing over which twenty cards to sign on this pass. When they're done... they go right back to the end of the line for another run. It really isn't easy... Venters has over two hundred Magic cards in his portfolio.
Baron Sengir, Aura Mutation, Crosis, the Purger, Ensnaring Bridge, Force of Nature, Grandmother Sengir, Heart of Yavimaya, Lake of the Dead, Lhurgoyf, Phyrexian Arena, Phyrexian Dreadnought, Survival of the Fittest, The Abyss, Sylvan Safekeepr (Olle Rade), Time Warp, Flametongue Kavu, Flesh Reaver, Pyrostatic Pillar, Tendrils of Agony, Windfall, Carnophage, Duress, Phyrexian Ghoul and more different Swamps than you can think of make the delight of both competitive and casual players.
Saturday, October 9: 11:30 am - How the Mighty Have Fallen?
When the first round clock starts ticking in a Grand Prix you can clearly see two groups in the room: people with byes and people WITHOUT byes. The players with byes tend to hang out in the free tables testing their decks, or head back to the hotel to take a nap. The players without byes have to buckle up and start battling it out.
The threshold for byes has been getting more difficult as the level increases so you sometimes see some big name, going through a slump, with only two byes. Every once in a while... even with a single bye. Hey, it happens. No matter how good you are, sometimes Lady Luck walks out on you, or you just don't have the time to keep your game in top shape.
What you don't often see is a former World Champion with NO BYES. Yes, 1997 World Champion Jakub Slemr is sitting in table 33 on the first round. The man who piloted a black-based utility creatures deck to glory is hoping to get back to the top with Champions of Kamigawa. We'll try to keep an eye on him as the tournament progresses and see if he can build on his current 1779 Limited ranking.