Raise Dead

Posted in Event Coverage on June 30, 2002

By Nicolas Labarre

European Championships used to be a tournament where new decks and new concepts emerged (just remember the Altar/Dragon deck or the emergence of post Urza's Destiny Draw-go), but it seems those days are long gone. After an impressive string of metagame shattering tournaments, Euros were the last major event using Type 2 without Judgment. Fittingly enough, this last display of now defunct techs featured a massive return of decks and ideas that many thought had disappeared for good.

Goblin Trenches
First and foremost, Trenches—at one point the defining deck of the format—came back strongly, as a suitable answer to both red-green and red-green-blue madness. Earlier in the season, it had been demonstrated the Psychatog could and actually should beat the deck, but with the downfall of everyone's favourite grinning friend, there was no reason why the horde of goblins should not make a comeback.

In a final twist of irony, the only Pyschatog deck in the Top 8 fell to Marco Lombardi and its Trenches deck. While I am writing this, most of the people here feel that the Italian player is on his way to win the tournament, and thus make sure the metagame has completed its full circle with the end of the season.

However, this tournament also saw a return of other defunct archetypes, which did not dominate as much as the Goblin Soldiers, but nevertheless showed they still had a potential.

Balancing Act
Remember Balancing Tings? While the deck was definitely over-hyped when it first came out in January, it had all the tools it needed to succeed in the late-season environment. No more Meddling Mages? Not that many Duresses? No Chainer's Edict to be seen (actually that's not true, there were four in David Brucker's deck, but only a marginal number in the tournament)? Most decks did not have a proper answer to Terravore, Balancing Act, let alone the unstoppable Obliterate, and the deck did pretty well for the very few people who chose to play it.

Speaking of an archetype coming out of nowhere (nether-land?), what about the Goblin Sligh deck? Finishing in tenth place, Dmitry Karmanov proved that attacking with small cheap red creatures and finishing the opponent with burn was still as viable a strategy as it was a few years ago. Just imagine that Goblin Raiders were actually at the top of his mana-curve, definitely overcosted when compared to the 18 one drops he used as well!

However, decks were not the only defunct things to come back to life this weekend: Svend Geersten's career is definitely resuscitated, with its Top 8 performance confirming his recent semi-final finish at Pro Tour-Nice.

Now, perhaps with Judgment coming in next week, we can get rid of all these phantoms of the past, at last. Just keep the Svend in.

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