Probably the toughest draft pod of the first draft was the one that contained three well-known players; Gunnar Refsdal, Marco Blume and Daniel Brickwell. Two of them faced off in the very first round of the German Nationals. Gunnar Refsdal, top 8 finisher from Pro Tour London was paired up against Marco Blume, who was on Germany's runner-up team from Worlds 1999. Armed with draft decks and Duellist life counters, the two of them sat down at the feature match table to play while Patrick Mello, who was the one lucky guy to get a bye, roamed around to check out what people had drafted.
Gunnar chose to play first. His opening hand consisted of three swamps but mostly blue spells. Still, he chose to keep. So did Marco, and Gunnar started playing his swamps while Marco got out two mountains and then a Thunderscape Familiar that started to attack. Gunnar continued to play swamps while Marco played another mountain and then a Hooded Kavu.
During his fourth turn, Gunnar eventually drew and played an island. Facing several Kavus, he opted to use his blue mana to cast a Metathran Zombie to get a blocker in play. Still, he took two damage from the Hooded Kavu as Marco played a swamp so that he could activate its ability. Gunnar then played a Cavern Harpy and returned the Metathran Zombie to his hand. Facing a black creature, the Hooded Kavu stayed at home, but the Thunderscape Familiar knocked Gunnar down to 16 life. Then, Marco tapped five lands to play Hypnotic Cloud with kicker, stripping a Faerie Squadron, the Metathran Zombie and an Exclude from Gunnar's hand.
Marco then played a Keldon Necropolis and attacked with his Familiar. He cast yet another beatdown creature, a Viashino Grappler - but Gunnar Repulsed it both to slow Marco down and to dig deeper into his library for something useful. Then, he played a Nightscape Battlemage without kicker. It died though, to Marco's Flametongue Kavu, and Gunnar looked far from pleased when a Lava Zombie put the Flametongue Kavu back in Marco's hand.
The Lava Zombie finally offered Marco a way to get past the Cavern Harpy without risking to lose a creature, and so he attacked with the Zombie and the Familiar. After a short interruption by the judges, who apparently disapproved of the Duellist life counters, Gunnar chose not to block any of the creatures. Instead, he attempted to Repulse the Lava Zombie, but in response, Marco sacrificed it to the Necropolis to force Gunnar to pay one life to return the Cavern Harpy to his hand.
Gunnar was getting low on life when he finally drew another island. He cast a Stormscape Battlemage and returned it to pay for the Cavern Harpy's coming into play cost. Still, the Thornscape Familiar whittled down his life total little by little. Gunnar cast his Stormscape Battlemage using the black kicker to kill the Hooded Kavu, but when Marco played two more creatures, a Mire Kavu and an Ancient Kavu, Gunnar scooped and the two of them started sideboarding and shuffling for game two.
Blume 1 - Refsdal 0
"Flametongue Kavu," Marco replied when Patrick Mello came by to check on the result. "Necropolis too," Gunnar added, and then Marco and Patrick started discussing something in German. The shuffling continued for a while. While Marco cut Gunnar's deck, Gunnar just knocked Marco's deck - perhaps to try and knock the Flametongue Kavu down to the bottom.
Gunnar played first again, and again he started with a swamp. This time he got out a turn two island though, but Marco got the first creature into play - the Thunderscape Familiar. Again, the little first striker started attacking, and before Gunnar could play a creature, the Keldon Necropolis was back in play as well.
This time though, Gunnar had an Exotic Curse for the Thunderscape Familiar. Marco had more creatures, he got out a Mire Kavu, huge, as he had a swamp in play. But Gunnar's start was far better than the one in the first game. He played Probe with kicker, getting rid of some of the many lands he had drawn. The Probe also stripped a Firescreamer and a Hooded Kavu from Marco's hand. Marco started attacking with his Mire Kavu, and he also summoned a Hooded Kavu. Obviously, he was not too happy when a Shoreline Raider came into play on the other side of the table. "Hmm," he pondered. "I think I Strafe it." Then the threat was gone, and he could attack. Gunnar chose to Repulse the Mire Kavu not to take too much damage.
Gunnar then got out a Vodalian Zombie and then he played a bomb, a Doomsday Specter. Marco attacked with his Hooded Kavu, but Gunnar chose not to block so that he could attack for sure the following turn, taking a Phyrexian Reaper from Marco's hand. The Specter continued attacking each turn, and more and more cards ended up in Marco's graveyard. Meanwhile, Gunnar got out a Metathran Zombie that could block the Kavus on the other side of the table.
Marco ended up in a soft lock and had to use all his cards in order not to lose them to the Specter. Eventually he drew a Soul Burn, but unfortunately he was one mana short of being able to kill the dreaded Specter. Instead, a rather innocent Vodalian Zombie went to the graveyard, and Gunnar could continue attacking with his Specter.
A Firescreamer came into play to join Marco's Kavu offence, but Gunnar wasn't really worried. Instead, he started pondering his next move, arranging and re-arranging his eight lands. He then played his Stormscape Battlemage with the black kicker, killing the Mire Kavu. And when Marco saw a Cavern Harpy on the other side of the table, he scooped.
Blume 1 - Refsdal 1
Marco chose to play in the last game. But this time, Gunnar got out the first creature, a Phyrexian Battleflies. Marco followed up by a Rage Weaver, but Gunnar had a Metathran Zombie as well, and so Marco was unable to get the quick start he would have wanted for his beatdown deck. In fact, he played nothing during his turns three and four. During his turn four, Gunnar played a Morgue Toad. He then attacked with his Battleflies and the Zombie, but Marco used a Spite/Malice to kill the Zombie, taking only one from the Battleflies. Then, he cast the Flametongue Kavu he had drawn in his opening hand, and the Morgue Toad went to the graveyard. Marco then started attacking with his Rage Weaver.
Gunnar had had a really good draw too though. A Reckless Spite took out both the Rage Weaver and the Flametongue Kavu. Marco had more creatures though, and chose to play a Firescreamer. He looked calm when losing a swamp to Gunnar's Ravenous Rats, but when Gunnar played another Metathran Zombie, Marco scratched his head, wondering what to do about the annoying blocker.
As Gunnar only had one black mana open, Marco decided to play another mountain and then serve with his Firescreamer. Gunnar blocked with his Zombie and regenerated it, tapping his last black mana source. But Marco didn't have a removal spell that could kill it. Instead, he played a Hooded Kavu before losing his rather useless Agonizing Demise to Gunnar's Marsh Crocodile. Then, he played another Firescreamer.
Finally, Blume drew his Keldon Necropolis. Facing an attack from two angry Firescreamers, Gunnar pondered on what to do for a while. Eventually, he chose to block them both, pushing his Zombie in front of one of them and his Marsh Crocodile in front of the other. Marco didn't have enough mana to both pump the Firescreamer blocking the Crocodile AND activating the Necropolis, so he settled at killing the Crocodile. But Gunnar had a Repulse to save his Crocodile and so both his creatures survived.
Then it was time for some Battlemage action. Gunnar cast a kicked-up Thunderscape Battlemage to kill Marco's Hooded Kavu, and then he started attacking with his Metathran Zombie. Marco, far from pleased by this turn of events, attacked with his Firescreamer, merely trading it for the Battlemage. Then, he cast a Viashino Grappler, emptying his hand.
Gunnar, on the other hand, had four cards in hand and spent one of them to play a Shoreline Raider. Blume drew and played a mountain. Gunnar attacked with his Raider and the Zombie, losing the Battleflies though as Marco sacked the Grappler to the Necropolis. But he didn't worry. Instead, he played a Marsh Crocodile.
The Crocodile put Marco under pressure while the Metathran Zombie made sure that the Kavu attackers wouldn't get through easily. A Cavern Harpy made things look even worse for Marco, who was at seven life. In a desperate attempt to win time he played a Lava Zombie without any other creatures in play just so that he could sacrifice it to the Necropolis to force Gunnar to return the Harpy to his hand. But the Crocodile continued attacking, and eventually Marco just scooped.
Final Result: Marco Blume 1 - Gunnar Refsdal 2