Finals: Greece vs. Belgium

Posted in Event Coverage on November 20, 2016

By Chapman Sim

Historically, Greece had always been a strong contender at World Magic Cups. To date, only Greece and Scotland could boast the fact that they made five out of five Day Twos. Greece National Champion Bill Chronopoulos had also been in this position before, playing for the title of World Magic Cup Champion.

The honor slipped through his fingers two years ago when Greece fell to the Danes in the finals of the 2014 World Magic Cup. Together with teammates Nikolaos Kaponis, Panagiotis Papadopoulos, and Petros Tziotis, I'm sure he cherished this chance to take it all down for Greece.

In seats A and B, Chronopoulos and Tziotis are on Dredge and Abzan respectively. In Seat C, Papadopoulos is piloting Infect. That leaves Kaponis coaching the trio. How would these matchups stack up against their opponents? After defeating Finland and Belarus on the way up, Greece was faced with another tough European squad: Team Belgium.

Belgium finished Day One at the top of the standings, leading all 73 nations. From that position, they skipped over Stage 1, Round 1 because of their advanced standings. They then continued to steamroll through the rest of Stage 1 as well as Stage 2. After beating Panama in the quarterfinals and crushing Italy's dream of becoming back-to-back Champions in the semifinals, they were set to meet Greece in the finals.

Jerome Bastogne in seat A was playing Goryo's Vengeance, Branco Neirynck in seat B was playing Naya Burn, and Peter Vieren in seat C piloted Infect. Not to be forgotten was Pascal Vieren, who coached the most important match of his Magic career.

Eight great players. Two nations. One victor. Eternal glory. Let's watch things unfold!


Abzan has many tools to beat Naya Burn. For example, they have some discard spells and good removal spells such as Inquisition of Kozilek, Path to Exile, and Collective Brutality to slow down Naya Burn. Stopping early creatures and preserving one's life total would be very important. Abzan also had access to Siege Rhino, which is a terrifying card for any aggro deck to face.

Unfortunately for Tziotis, he mulliganed to five in Game 1, and despite receiving two lands from Neirynck's Goblin Guide, he was behind on the board every step of the way. Combined with Wild Nacatl, Neirynck took down more than half of Tziotis's life total. When he offered Dark Confidant to block, Neirynck toasted the Wizard to a crisp with Searing Blaze. One attack step later, Tziotis conceded and reached for his sideboard.

Things did not improve for Tziotis in Game 2, and he mulliganed to five once more. To be honest, that was not a good way to begin the World Magic Cup finals. However, when Neirynck summoned a 2/2 Wild Nacatl on his first turn, Tziotis used Collective Brutality (escalated with Lingering Souls) to not only kill it but also force Neirynck to discard Searing Blaze.

Neirynck rebuilt his army with Monastery Swiftspear, Wild Nacatl, and Eidolon of the Great Revel. Tziotis flashed back Lingering Souls from his graveyard and used Path to Exile and Maelstrom Pulse on Monastery Swiftspear and Wild Nacatl. The intent to race was apparent. The Greeks wanted to lock the Belgians under their very own Eidolon, which is why they left it unmolested.

The life totals were now at 11 to 10 in favor of Neirynck, but things changed for the worse for Neirynck when Tziotis topdecked a pair of Shambling Vents and Siege Rhino! Things spiraled out of control from the point and the score was now tied at one a piece.

At this juncture, the match was held in order to broadcast the match in seat C. Let's switch over as well, shall we?


If you have been paying attention to all our (other) charming broadcasters and coverage writers, or if you're a Modern enthusiast, you should understand that this Infect mirror match is mostly uninteractive. Since neither player could disrupt the other very much, it was a race of speed more than anything else.

In Game 1, Vieren flooded the board with Noble Hierarch and three Glistener Elfs but had insufficient pump spells to press the attack. Despite being outnumbered, Papadopoulos had the unblockable Blighted Agent, which was boosted by Might of Old Krosa and then Mutagenic Growth. Vieren had to do something, and tried to fizzle the latter with Vines of Vastwood. However, Papadopoulos had Become Immense for the overkill.

In Game 2, things went more than smoothly for Papadopoulos. Gitaxian Probes from both sides gave each player perfect information about the other's hand. Not having drawn an infect creature himself (except for Inkmoth Nexus, which he played on turn one), Vieren had to brace himself for what was coming: a mighty turn-one Glistener Elf by Papadopoulos!

Having no other plays, Vieren could only animate Inkmoth Nexus on his second turn and send it in for one poison counter. When Papadopoulos drew his card for his second turn, his teammates began to cheer and pat him on his back.

What was going on? Were we about to witness a turn-two kill in the finals?

Tapping his lone Forest for Might of Old Krosa and slapping three copies of Mutagenic Growth on Glistener Elf, Papadopoulos secured the first match win for Team Greece!

The running inside joke between the Greeks was that Papadopoulos could not win a single game except for the ones that mattered. Aside from the win-and-in match in Stage 2, the finals were a good place to utilize his "superpower"!

Panagiotis Papadopoulos defeated Peter Vieren 2-0.


As the cameras shifted from seat C to seat A, there was a heated battle between Bastogne and Chronopoulos. Chronopoulos was very, very hungry to win. Coming in second at the World Magic Cup twice would make him the biggest loser.


Thankfully for Greece, Chronopoulos's Dredge deck was capable of truly amazing things, and he very quickly assembled a board of multiple Narcomoebas, Prized Amalgams, and Bloodghasts. Reducing Bastogne down to 4 life, Chronopoulos fired off a Conflagrate for 9 damage and attacked with his 10 total power of creatures on board. Even a 15-point Nourishing Shoal was not enough to keep Bastogne alive. Very quickly, the Greece National Champion took Game 1 for his team.

Greece National Champion Bill Chronopoulos surveyed his impressive board state.

Since Papadopoulos had already won the Infect mirror against Vieren, the tournament would be over if Bastogne lost this game. Both decks relied heavily on the graveyard, so a myriad of graveyard hate cards were brought in from both sideboards.

In Game 2, as Bastogne sculpted his hand with Faithless Looting, Chronopoulos worked on filling up his graveyard as well. He, too, was using Faithless Looting to get his engine warmed up, but things truly got crazy when he discarded a pair of Stinkweed Imps to Cathartic Reunion. Suddenly, there were three Narcomoebas, a Bloodghast, and a Prized Amalgam on the board. Bastogne couldn't wait any longer and cleared them away with Anger of the Gods.

However, Chronopoulos still had tricks of his own. Dredging back Life from the Loam to retrieve Bojuka Bog enabled him to clear out Bastogne's graveyard. That effectively gave him more time to rebuild his army. He also found a replacement Prized Amalgam, which entered the battlefield together with Bloodghast. Hoping to stop the madness, Bastogne pitched Simian Spirit Guide for mana to cast Leyline from the Void.

Would Leyline of the Void be enough to protect Jerome Bastogne (left)?

Leyline from the Void stopped future cards from being put into the graveyard, but didn't prevent Chronopoulos from utilizing whatever was already in there. Because of that, Chronopoulos was confident that he already had all he needed to win. Using Life from the Loam to retrieve three lands and playing one of them, he unearthed Scourge Devil and sent it into the red zone along with Prized Amalgam and Bloodghast. This attack reduced Bastogne from 17 to 6. The Belgians were at the end of their line and used Anger of the Gods as a last-ditch effort to stay alive. The only way to not lose this game was for Chronopoulos to forget Conflagrate was in the graveyard.

Naturally, he didn't.

As soon as Chronopoulos untapped, he picked up Conflagrate from the graveyard and dropped his entire hand for the table and declared that the sorcery was going directly at Bastogne's dome.

He waited for a handshake for what to him must have seemed an eternity. When the concession arrived, Chronopoulos and his team erupted into more excitement than I can put into words.

Bill Chronopoulos defeated Jerome Bastogne 2-0.

Team Greece defeated Team Belgium to be crowned 2016 World Magic Cup Champions!

"I told you guys we can win!"

The Greeks did it.

Together, through thick and thin.

This was a story of blood, sweat, and toil, as well as second chances and redemption, especially for Bill Chronopoulos, who had the title wrested from him two years ago. Congratulations to Nikolaos Kaponis, Panagiotis Papadopoulos, and Petros Tziotis as well, and congratulations to Greece, your 2016 World Magic Cup Champions!

Belgium, Seat A - Jerome Bastogne, Goryo's Vengeance

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Belgium, Seat B - Branco Neirynck, Naya Burn

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Belgium, Seat C - Peter Vieren, Infect

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Greece, Seat A - Bill Chronopoulos, Dredge

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Greece, Seat B - Petros Tziotis, Abzan

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Greece, Seat C - Panagiotis Papadopoulos, Infect

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