A Grand total of 681 players turned up to Austria this weekend for the first of the new Odyssey Block Limited Grand Prix. This made it the second largest European Grand Prix ever, in what was quite a stunning venue: the Hofburg palatial complex - second only in the world to Hampton Court : ).
As had been widely expected, the top tables of the sealed deck day were flooded with a sea of green spells, but some strong players had manage to cut a path through the giant beasts with other colour combinations. A good example of this being Jakub Slemr, who just failed to make Top 8 in day 2, having not cast a single green spell for the entire weekend.
This Grand Prix was running in tandem with one in Cape Town, South Africa , where the Invitational was also being held. Throughout the weekend players had been approaching the Sideboard staff to find out the results as they came in, and it was announced just before the top 8 started in Vienna that Kai Budde had once again emerged victorious - to this day undefeated on a Sunday.
The current European Champion Eivind Nitter had to face off against Nicolai Herzog (European Champion in 1999), and emerged the victor, only to lose to 'the Cat in the Hat' Stephan Meyer with his ridiculously fast red/green deck. Stephan had been playing Magic for about four years for fun, and had only taken up playing tournament magic about a year ago. As such he went into this tournament Flagged and hence not only won the money for the Grand Prix but also the first place money for highest placed finish for an Amateur.
"I cannot believe it! I was at seven and a draw after day one, but I was only really expecting to finish in the money. It's all about the green cards!" he managed through a wide grin. His point of view was understandable as in day 1 he had played green, and his three draft decks had been red/green, blue/green and red/green.