2009 Germany National Championship

Once again, Merfolk rules Germany. Former Rookie of the Year and PT Berlin Top 8 competitor Sebastian Thaler beat Sebastian Kuchenberger’s Faeries to add his first title since GP Athen to his resume. And the next Rookie of the Year may well come from this Top 8: Lino Burgold placed third, secured a spot on the National team and received six Pro Points for his finish. That puts him currently in fourth place in the Rookie race, six points behind the leader. With a strong finish at Worlds, Lino Burgold could become the next Rookie of the Year.

Looking at the decks, like last year, Merfolk took the top spot. Just like last year, the dreaded Faeries had a presence in the Top 8 of German Nationals, but just two this time. The deck carried Kuchenberger to his second place. After dominating the grinders, Kithkin also delivered, getting Burgold to Rome and even beating the Time Sieve deck that Tobias Gräfensteiner piloted in the third-place playoff.

Once more, Nationals was a fountain of stories for the future, most notably the trivia contest. Originally, the contest was supposed to be held in the bowling hall where the Player’s Party was. When the venue proved unsuitable for a trivia contest, all 60+ trivia buffs moved to the empty market place and spent a pleasant two hours under the summer night sky answering questions about Magic. From Aschaffenburg, Tobias Henke and Hanno Terbuyken brought you the 2009 coverage of the German Nationals, and we look forward to Austin, Rome, and of course next year’s Nationals!




1. Florian Pils

8. Sebastian Thaler

4. Tobias Gräfensteiner

5. Andreas Schraut

2. Lino Burgold

7. André Luff

3. Sebastian Kuchenbecker

6. Thomas Steeger


Sebastian Thaler, 3-1

Tobias Gräfensteiner, 3-0

Lino Burgold, 3-0

Sebastian Kuchenbecker, 3-2


Sebastian Thaler, 3-0

Sebastian Kuchenbecker, 3-1


Sebastian Thaler, 3–1

3rd Place Playoff

Tobias Gräfensteiner

Lino Burgold

3rd Place

Lino Burgold, 3-2


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Standard Decklists
    6-2 and Better
  • by Tobias Henke
    Sunday, 4:40 p.m.
    A Very Special Draft Event
  • by Hanno Terbuyken
    Sebastian Thaler vs. Sebastian Kuchenbecker
  • by Florian Koch
    Sebastian Kuchenbecker vs. Lino Burgold
  • by Hanno Terbuyken
    Tobias Gräfensteiner vs. Sebastian Thaler
  • by Fabio Reinhardt
    Andreas Schraut vs. Tobias Gräfensteiner
  • by Hanno Terbuyken
    Florian Pils vs. Sebastian Thaler
  • by Tobias Henke
    Lino Burgold vs. André Luff
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Coverage
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Coverage
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet


1. Sebastian Thaler  
2. Sebastian Kuchenbecker  
3. Lino Burgold  
4. Tobias Gräfensteiner  
5. Florian Pils  
6. Andreas Schraut  
7. Thomas Steeger  
8. André Luff  

pairings, results, standings


14 13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

If you are looking for the raw data about Sunday’s players you may skip straight ahead to the profiles below, but here is a proper introduction to the Top 8. Going into the finals as the standings leader we have Florian Pils. He is probably not known too well outside Germany, but he has two Grand Prix Top 8 appearances and several close finishes under his belt. In the last round Pils could have drawn intentionally, but elected to play to make sure his friend Sebastian Thaler would have a chance to make the finals. And Thaler has made it indeed, though unfortunately the former Rookie of the Year will face Florian in the first round.Rookie of the Year is also the title Lino Burgold suddenly finds himself in contention for. Brian Robinson leads the race with 24 points while Lino has 12 on the basis of his Grand Prix Hanover victory in March this year. Burgold will have to play a Kithkin Mirror in the quarter-final, facing another rookie: André Luff. He came to Aschaffenburg, hoping to qualify for the main events by winning a grinder. Mission accomplished. Actually, André did not waste time taking the next step. His record is currently 15-3-1. Other players win Pro Tours with such records.Then we have Tobias Gräfensteiner, yet another player who is valued for his skill in Germany, but rather unkown outside. Tobias has a third place from Nationals two years ago. His opponent in the quarter-final is Andreas Schraut. Coincidentally Andreas is tied with Tobias in lifetime Pro Points at 11.In a matchup of dark horses, the last match features Thomas Steeger and Sebastian Kuchenbecker. Neither has any experience on the Tour or high finishes at Grand Prix, but both have shown that they are capable of a perfect record. Thomas was flawless on day one while Sebastian was undefeated on day two.
Name: André Luff
Age: 26
Home town: Brühl (near Cologne)
Occupation: Project Manager
Previous Magic successes: Won the first grinder
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? Limited
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Progenitus
Name: Tobias Gräfensteiner
Age: 21
Home town: Nürnberg
Occupation: Internal Revenue Service
Previous Magic successes: 0-5 at PT Geneva
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? Limited
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? No.
Name: Sebastian Kuchenbecker
Age: 23
Home town: Bayreuth
Occupation: Student
Previous Magic successes: Nothing special
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? Limited
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Rhox War Monk
Name: Andreas Schraut
Age: 34
Home town: Here and there
Occupation: various
Previous Magic successes: I met Marcel Bauche.
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited: 2HG Limited
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Flare und Dark Banishing (the Ice Age versions by Drew Tucker)
Name: Thomas Steeger
Age: 18
Home town: Freital (near Dresden)
Occupation: About to start studying to be a teacher
Previous Magic successes: 3 PTQ Top 8, 2 times qualified for Nationals
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? I like draft the most, even without preparation.
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Rhox, and the Overrun from Odyssey: they feature cool beasts. Eternal Witness and Slave of Bolas: they feature nice women.
Name: Lino Burgold
Age: 18
Home town: Freiburg
Occupation: Currenty Unemployed
Previous Magic successes: 2nd Place at the Trivia Contest! And winner of GP Hanover, by the way.
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? Limited
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Deathmark from M10
Name: Florian Pils
Age: 22
Home town: Munich
Occupation: Student (Physics)
Previous Magic successes: Bavarian Champion 2003, 9th Place Pro Tour San Diego (2HG with Thaler)
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? Limited, of course!
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Artwork doesn’t interest me in the slightest, maybe except the vibrant colors from Alpha and Beta
Name: Sebastian Thaler
Age: 22
Home town: Flintsbach
Occupation: Student
Previous Magic successes: Rookie of the Year 2006, 2 Pro Tour Top 8, 3 GP Top 8
Which do you like more: Standard or Limited? Limited
Do you have a favorite Magic artwork? Beta Lands

Top 8: Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Florian Pils – Faeries

Download Arena Decklist

Lino Burgold – Kithkin

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Thomas Steeger – 5-color Control

Download Arena Decklist

Sebastian Kuchenbecker – Faeries

Download Arena Decklist

Tobias Gräfensteiner – Time Sieve

Download Arena Decklist

Sebastian Thaler – Merfolk

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Andreas Schraut – 5-color Control

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André Luff – Kithkin

Download Arena Decklist

Quarterfinals: Lino Burgold vs. André Luff

by Tobias Henke

Lino BurgoldThis is the quarterfinal of small white creatures, or more specifically Kithkin. Also, it is the match between rising stars André Luff qualified in one of the meatgrinders on Thursday, then his Kithkin carried him to this top 8 berth. Sitting across from him is Lino Burgold, who, though on a whole other level, is also one of the “new guns”. Earlier this year he won Grand Prix Hanover and, depending on his performance today, might still have a shot at the Rookie-of-the-Year title.

Burgold led with Figure of Destiny, Luff with Goldmeadow Stalwart. While Burgold had Honor of the Pure as a follow-up, Luff was getting ahead on the board with another Goldmeadow Stalwart and a Figure of Destiny of his own. Turn three, Burgold passed without play, whereas Luff cast Wizened Cenn and yet another Figure of Destiny to set the board at five creatures to one. Still, he did not attack for fear of Path to Exile, which in this situation would cost him not only his Wizened Cenn, but another creature as well.

Burgold finally had another creature in the form of Ranger of Eos, but Luff had a second Wizened Cenn, smashing with his team. In the combat Luff lost one Figure of Destiny, whereas Burgold lost Ranger of Eos and 12 life. Burgold was under heavy pressure now, even more so, when Luff cast Honor of the Pure on his next turn. He barely survived the attack on two life with a little help from a pair of freshly-cast Figures of Destiny and one Path to Exile.

Then his next turn saw Burgold summoning Cloudgoat Ranger, and now for the first time in the match Burgold was not on the defense any more. On his next turn he attacked with a flying Cloudgoat Ranger for six (thanks to Honor of the Pure) and cast another Cloudgoat Ranger. Next turn all of Burgold’s creatures swung in, and, after blocks, transformed into copies of the Ranger by means of Mirrorweave.

Lino Burgold 1 - 0 André Luff

André Luff This time it was Burgold’s turn to have the quick start, with Figure of Destiny and Knight of Meadowgrain, while Luff had Windbrisk Heights followed by Windbrisk Heights followed by Stillmoon Cavalier. That was enough to fend off Burgold’s offense... at least for now. Instead Burgold lined up three spirit tokens for his Spectral Procession.

Luff cast two Figures of Destiny and passed the turn back to Burgold, who cast Honor of the Pure and laid Windbrisk Heights, then attacked with Knight of Meadowgrain and the flying tokens. Stillmoon Cavalier stood in the way of one token, but that was saved by Harm’s Way (killing off one of Luff’s Figures). In the process, Luff took seven damage and went to twelve.

Luff had Cloudgoat Ranger now, but no mana left to activate his Cavalier. When Burgold’s Windbrisk Heights revealed to be hiding Honor of the Pure, the next attack brought Luff down to three.

“You want me to attack with the non-flyers...? Nah”, commented Burgold, when instead he simply turned his spirit tokens sideways. Luff shrugged and shuffled up his cards.

Lino Burgold 2 - 0 André Luff

“As always”, remarked Burgold, when for the third time in a row now, he led with Figure of Destiny on turn one. Subsequently, he cast Knight of Meadowgrain and Wizened Cenn, while Luff’s draw was maybe a little slower, but certainly more powerful with Knight of Meadowgrain, Wizened Cenn, and Wizened Cenn.

Now, Luff stumbled on his mana, missed a couple of land drops, and simply attacked again and again with the 4/4 Knight of Meadowgrain. Burgold, though, developed his board further. Take a look:

With a board like this and Luff going without land once again, you can possibly imagine that it didn’t take long. In fact it took just one more turn, during which Luff finally found a land, cast Stillmoon Cavalier, and then simply died to Burgold’s all-in attack, complete with Mirrorweave for quite some damage.

Lino Burgold 3 - 0 André Luff

Quarterfinals: Florian Pils vs. Sebastian Thaler

by Hanno Terbuyken

Game 1:

Sebastian ThalerThaler lost the die roll and complained that this was essentially half the battle. Asking around at the Player’s Party yesterday, the matchup predictions were about even, with a slight edge to Thaler with his Merfolk against Pils’ Faeries.

When Thaler played Wake Thrasher as his first creature, Pils hesitated and considered his options. Thaler: “Ah, Sower in hand!” But first, Vendilion Clique put Merrow Reejerey under Thaler’s library, from a choice of Merrow Reejerey, Merfolg Souvereign, double Wake Thrasher and land.

Sower of Temptation was not Pils’ idea of dealing the the Wake Thrasher on board. He used Agopny Warp instead, but of course he knew that Thaler had more Thrashers ready. Mutavault and Vendilion Clique took Thaler to 15. Thaler retaliated with a 5/5 Wake Thrasher and planned to add another one to the battlefield. Pils had Cryptic Command for a counter and card, and Thaler’s third Wake Thrasher of the match never saw the light of play.

The match proceeded one card at a time: Agony Warp killed Wake Thrasher. Merfolk Souvereign entered Thaler’s side of the almost empty battlefield. Path to Exile killed Scion of Oona from Pils.

But Pils had the bigger army when he activated his Gargoyle Castle to put pressure on Thaler. The flier, Vendilion Clique and Mutavaults had put Thaler on a mere 4 life. Two Path to Exiles kept Thaler alive, but not for long.

Florian Pils 1 – 0 Sebastian Thaler

Game 2:

After a double mulligan, Pils opened with Thoughtseize and saw: Path to Exile, Merrow Reejerey, Meddling Mage, Wake Thrasher, Mutavault, and Mystic Gate. A Silvergill Adept was already in play for Thaler, and his position looked quite good, Pils agreed. Merrow Reejerey hit the bin.

Another Mutavault from Thaler, then Wake Thrasher, and once again he proved that going first is crucial in this matchup, as it allows the player to develop his board before the opponent’s defenses go up. Nevertheless, Pils was not defenseless. Agony Warp took out the dangerous Wake Thrasher.

Meddling Mage from Thaler prevented Sower of Temptation. Pils was stuck on three land and already down to 12 life. Thaler attacked with Mutavault, Mutavault, Meddling Mage and Silvergill Adept. While Pils had Agony Warp to stem the tide a little, he fell to 8 and had no game against Thaler’s hand at that point, which was Wake Thrasher, Path to Exile, and two Sygg River Guides. Even Vendilion Clique wasn’t able to dig Pils out of his mulligan hole: Pils took one of Thaler’s Syggs and gave him Cryptic Command instead off the Clique draw.

Florian Pils 1 – 1 Sebastian Thaler

Game 3:

Pils, going first, opened with Thoughtseize. Thaler had: triple Silvergill Adept, Wake Thrasher, Sygg, River Guide, and Cryptic Command, and Mystic Gate. “Oh, come on!” Pils said, only half jokingly. “What now?”

Florian PilsInfest could help,” Thaler answered. But he knew that his hand was gas, even without the Cryptic Command Pils chose to take away. When Pils tried to keep Thaler in check about two turns later with Vendilion Clique, Thaler had drawn another Command that Pils promtly put away.

Sower of Temptation from Pils swung the board his way but Thaler still had Path to Exile past-Clique, and Wake Thrasher, and Merrow Reejerey. Pils went to 13 with just Vendilion Clique in play. A Cryptic Command from Pils later, Thaler still was well ahead, having added Sygg, River Guide to his board.

Pils needed a solution, and he found one: Infest. After his Vendilion Clique brought Thaler to 11 (Pils: 10), he cleared the board. All for naught: Thaler cast Silvergill Adept, countered Scion of Oona with Sage’s Dousing, played a second Adept, and a third Adept, while all Pils had left was to activate Gargoyle Castle.

Thaler’s Merfolk Souvereign prompted an annoyed grunt from Pils. With triple Silvergill Adept and Mutavault on the offensive, all pumped by Souvereign, Pils went to 4 and once again had no choice but dying to Thaler’s running Sushi.

Florian Pils 1 – 2 Sebastian Thaler

For post-game relaxation, both players ate an apple.

An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Game 4:

For post-apple gameplay, both players took no mulligans.

And once again, Thaler presented Silvergill Adept as a starting point, revealing Stonybrook Banneret. This time, though, Pils had Broken Ambitions, preventing a fast start from Thaler. However, Thaler still had Stonybrook Banneret and another Adept to achieve some board presence.

Pils replied with Vendilion Clique and saw: Stonybrook Banneret, Sygg, River Guide, Cryptic Command, Merrow Reejerey, Island. He plowed the Merrow Reejerey under Thaler’s library. Trading beats brought the opponents to 14 each. For the late game, Thaler looked well set-up, as he had drawn a second Cryptic Command and the requisite five lands in play to actually pay for the triple-blue power instant.

Facing Thaler’s fish-faced army, Pils did something new. 1B, Tribal Enchantment – why, it was Bitterblossom’s debut in the match! Only to be killed by seasoned ballroom veteran Cryptic Command. That’s the way the Faeries crumble.

Thaler wasn’t the only one with counters, though. Essence Scatter awaited his Sygg, River Guide, but still: Thaler (11 life) was a smidge ahead in the race against Pils (10). Whatever Pils tried, like Sower of Temptation, Thaler had the answer, like Cryptic Command. Pils found

Florian Pils 1 – 3 Sebastian Thaler

“Now go and win!” Pils told Thaler after the match. The players also discussed their sideboard plans. Thaler revealed that he took out 4 Reveillark and 2 Stonybrook Banneret for 4 Meddling Mage and 2 Glen-Elendra Archmage on the play and 4 Reveillark and 1 Stonybrook Banneret for 3 Meddling Mage and 2 Glen-Elendra Archmage on the draw.

Pils had no fixed strategy besides boarding in 3 Infest and a Deathmark, taking out whatever he felt like.

Quarterfinals: Andreas Schraut vs. Tobias Gräfensteiner

by Fabio Reinhardt

Tobias Gräfensteiner has been in the top 8 of German Nationals before and is somewhat used to the spotlight pressure. Andreas Schraut is known domestically as a long-time solid player but lacked high finishes so far. In this match Andreas is the underdog due to his Cruel Control being disadvanteged against Tobias’s Time Sieve deck.

The dice decided that Tobias would start. Andreas kept a hand with two land and without counters, while Tobias kept mediocre six. The first couple of turns saw not much action, with Tobias playing cantrip artifacts and Borderposts. On his third turn, Andreas played an Esper Charm and made Tobias discard.

Andreas was the first to miss a land drop, but at least he had the first threat in the form of Baneslayer Angel, which sadly went hiking on the Path to Exile. Tapped out, Andreas couldn’t do anything about the action which followed on Tobias’s side of the table. Tobias cast Tezzeret the Seeker, untapped two artifacts, followed it up with Time Sieve and passed the turn. Andreas started thinking. He played a land – his seventh – but as it came into play tapped, he was still short of the mana for the Cruel Ultimatum, that had been in his hand all along. He passed without play. Tobias, on his turn, went for a Howling Mine. Andreas targeted it and the Tezzeret with a Cryptic Command. The action was then followed by several turns of intense draw-go.

The next play was a Baneslayer Angel from Andreas, who passed with three mana open. He obviously felt the need of some kind of clock on the table. Tobias sacrificed five artifacts and tried to sneak in Open the Vaults. Andreas countered it with Broken Ambitions. In his extra turn, Tobias played Open the Vaults again, gaining an extra turn and getting the Howling Mine back into play that was countered earlier on. His hand now contained Jace Beleren and several more artifacts. He cast Jace, used it to make both players draw a card, played several of his artifacts and took another extra turn with his Time Sieve. In his fourth consecutive turn, he sealed the deal with Tezzeret and a Time Warp. On his next turn, the Planeswalker’s ultimate ability turned lots of artifacts into a lethal damage... and then some. Andreas dutifully noted a -30 on his life totals.

Tobias’s Sideboard: +4 Negate, +3 Silence, +1 Cryptic Command, +1 Vedalken Outlander, –1 Ethersworn Canonist, –3 Path to Exile, –4 Pollen Lullaby, –1 Kaleidostone

Andreas: +3 Anathemancer, +3 Runed Halo, +2 Ajani Vengeant, +2 Thought Hemorrhage, +1 Essence Shatter, –3 Cruel Ultimatum, –1 Hallowed Burial, –1 Sunken Ruins, –3 Mulldrifter, –3 Plumeveil

Game 2

Both players developed their mana, with Tobias sneaking in some cantrip artifacts on the way. On his third turn, Andreas summoned an Anathemancer. „Grey Ogre is in, again”, was his accompanying remark. Tobias came right back with the lonely Vedalken Outlander he had sideboarded in. Both players chose to attack for two each turn. Andreas now missed several land drops, while Tobias kept developing. After his third missed land drop, Andreas discarded a Volcanic Fallout. Tobias, on his turn, played a Tezzeret with two mana open, threatening a Negate. Andreas played a Broken Ambitons for one, leaving one red mana in his pool. The clash revealed a much needed land on Andreas library. Tobias left a Time Warp on top of his library. Andreas played a Lightning Bolt in response to Tezzeret’s untap ability. In his turn, his Anathemancer took out Tezzeret completely. It seems here, that Tobias shouldn’t have attacked with his Outlander. Andreas then played a Thought Hemorrhage which was met with Negate.

Tobias took an extra turn via Time Warp, during which he cast Jace Beleren and used its +2 ability. He attacked twice with the Outlander and passed the turn, leaving two mana open. The relevant board parts now were Jace and a tapped Outlander on Tobias’s side vs. an Anathemancer on Andreas’s side who still had only four lands. Andreas played lightning Bolt on the Planeswalker, destroying it with the attack, then drew two extra cards. He then played a Vivid land and passed the turn, tapped out.

Tobias, missing his window of opportunity, attacked with the Outlander, bringing the life totals to 16 to 8 in his favor, then passed without further action. Andreas, sensing his chance to work on the life totals in his favor, added Baneslayer Angel to his side of the battlefield. But Tobias had the Cryptic Command for it, drawing a card in the process. In his turn, with seven mana available and an opponent who was tapped out once again, he cast Howling Mine, then passed the turn. Andreas played his seventh land – a Cruel Ultimatum would be good now but the card was stuck in his sideboard.

He brought the life totals to 12 to 6, then played a second Thought Hemorrhage which was met with a second Negate. Tobias, in his turn, just played Time Warp, attacked Andreas to 4. Next turn, he attacked him to 2 and played Jace, selfishly drawing a card just himself. Andreas, on 2 life, attacked with his Anathemancer and attacked Jace, who went to rest peacefully. Tobias cast Silence in the attack step which was met with yet another Negate. Andreas then cast Runed Halo. He managed to win the ensuing counter war over the card and named Vedalken Outlander as his rescue line. Tapped out but safe from Outlanders, he passed and waited for further action. Tobias played an Open the Vaults and brought back Ethersworn Canonist and Time Sieves. He took an extra turn, threatening to deal the last lethal two damage with the Canonist. Andreas had no answer and shuffled it.

Andreas decided to take back in two Plumeveils from his sideboard for the two Anathemancers.

Game 3

The third game started with some mana problems on Tobias’s side, who missed his third land drop. To make matters worse, Andreas played a cantripped Cryptic Command on one of the two sources of mana Tobias controlled. Tobias had to discard for the second time, passing with two Borderposts as his only mana sources. Then, he played a Howling Mine. Andreas played a Thought Hemorrage, naming Tezzeret. Now Tobias’s only remaining source of damage was the lonely Vedalken Outlander!

Andreas played Baneslayer Angel. Tobias replied with Cryptic Command in his turn, sending the Angel bach to heaven for now. Andreas just replayed the angel. Tobias kept drawing cards and developing, adding a Time Sieve to battlefield. After Andreas’s attack the life totals were 12-25 in favor of the angel player. Andreas then added an Ajani Vengeant to his board. Tobias’s Negate was met with Cryptic Command, bouncing one of Tobias’s Islands, who still had only four mana sources available. One of those four remained tapped due to Ajani.

Still, this would be the last time Andreas would have played a card. Tobias started his combo turn by sacrificing five artifacts to his Time Sieve. Next turn, he played Time Warp. Then, having six mana sources, he played Open the Vaults, netting him two extra cards, not counting the cards from the Howling Mine, and bringing back the Ethersworn Caonist, he had to discard in the beginning. In his next extra turn, he started attacking with his Canonist. „Looks like I need another 12 extra turns in this process”, he said, looking at Andreas 21 life. He continued Opening the Vaults, taking extra turns and drawing cards. When he drew Jace Beleren, he started to count the cards of both players’ libraries. As he had no way of shuffling cards back to his library, he had to think about ways to kill quicker than with just the Canonist in order not to die of his lack of library. As his Outlander was still hiding away in the bottom cards of his library, he continued delivering small blows of 2 damage per turn. At life totals 12-11 he finally found the Vedalken Outlander. It looked like it could be enough with about ten cards left in his library. The two little guys went all the way and did the job, Tezzeret was originally supposed to do.

Semifinals: Tobias Gräfensteiner vs. Sebastian Thaler

by Hanno Terbuyken

Tobias Gräfensteiner The two unique archetypes in this Top 8 met in this semifinal: Thaler with his Merfolk deck, and Tobias Gräfensteiner with the Time Sieve combo deck. Gräfensteiner picked his deck because it has a very good matchup against 5-color Control. According to common opinion here, though, the Time Sieve deck is terrible against Thaler’s Running Sushi (just as it is against Faeries).

Game 1:

Thaler was on the play, fielded some Merfolk for battle fueled by Gräfensteiner’s Howling Mine and brought Gräfensteiner to 10. Then Gräfensteiner took an extra turn with a Time Sieve, figured out he couldn’t go off and scooped.

“I might have had a chance if I had gone first. But now you have Meddling Mage, so I can’t win,” Gräfensteiner commented, adding: “I don’t even have a sideboard card against you.”

Tobias Gräfensteiner 0 – 1 Sebastian Thaler

Game 2:

Gräfensteiner decided to go first, and mulliganed to six. He had land and mana artifacts, and just a single Path to Exile for interaction with Thaler. Thaler, meanwhile, brought Stonybrook Banneret and Merrow Reejerey in contact with Gräfensteiner’s life total.

“Where is the Howling Mine?” Gräfensteiner asked while playing his third Elsewhere Flask to dig through his deck. Thaler played Merfolk Souvereign and attacked. Gräfensteiner fell to 12 and had still not used his Path to Exile, and when Thaler had Sygg, River Guide, Gräfensteiner picked up his cards.

Gräfensteiner: “Oh, the excitement!”

Tobias Gräfensteiner 0 – 2 Sebastian Thaler

Sebastian ThalerGame 3:

Gräfensteiner decided to go first and had Howling Mine and Time Warp in hand. In principle, that was a good hand. But, to quote Gräfensteiner: “The bad thing is that I’ll lose anyway.”

To describe Thaler’s plays would be redundant. He just played his Merfolk deck the way it wants to be played, only with a little more oomph: Gräfensteiner provided Howling Mine #2 and #3 on his fourth turn, giving Thaler all the options he’d need to goldfish Gräfensteiner to death.

The turn after, Thaler had all four Stonybrook Bannerets in play, Merrow Reejerey and Silvergill Adept. At 14 life, Gräfensteiner was dead on board. So Gräfensteiner had to go for something: Elsewhere Flask, Elsewhere Flask, discard, go. Thaler had a Sage’s Dousing for Gräfensteiner’s Path to Exile and advanced to the final match of German Nationals!

Tobias Gräfensteiner 0 – 3 Sebastian Thaler

“Magic is fun this way!” said Thaler. Gräfensteiner shrugged.

Gräfensteiner: - 1 Canonist, + 1 Cryptic Command
Thaler: + 4 Meddling Mage, + 2 Glen Elendra Archmage, - 4 Reveillark, - 1 Path, - 1 Sygg

Semifinals: Sebastian Kuchenbecker vs. Lino Burgold

by Florian Koch

Sebastian KuchenbeckerThis match features Lino Burgold with Kithkin and Sebastian Kuchenbecker with Fae, on their way to either the finals or the less illustrious 3rd/4th-play-off. Lino started off with a mulligan and Figure of Destiny. Apparently, Sebastian had kept a one-land hand and thus discarded in turn two and three before finally finding his second land. Although Lino’s Figure of Destiny stayed alone on the battlefield for quite some time, it didn’t stay exactly small, with the help of its own abilities as well as two Honor of the Pure.

Lino Burgold 1 – Sebastian Kuchenbecker 0

Whenever stakes are really high, shuffling tends to become more and more time-consuming. And this is precisely what happened here. Especially Sebastian shuffled his deck very thoroughly -- not too surprising considering how the first game went.

All this shuffling didn’t stop Lino from taking two mulligans, though. This time Sebastian was able to put lands into play and, reduced to five cards, the Kithkin should be in for a harder time. A turn-four Sower of Temptation tempting Lino’s lonely Wizened Cenn appeared to make this as much of a non-game as the first, when Lino had no play in his fourth round.

Sebastian proceeded to attack. Harm’s Way was countered by Cryptic Command prolonging Sebastian’s advantage on cards and dropping Lino to 14. And again Lino had no play on his turn, his life now ticking away. The next attack sent him to 9. While he was able to “counter” Sebastian’s Mistbind Clique with Mirrorweave targeting Wizened Cenn his life dropped to 4 on the next turn before a Stillmoon Cavalier threatened to put this game away for good. Indeed Lino could not present further answers.

Lino Burgold 1 – Sebastian Kuchenbecker 1

Lino BurgoldThis time Lino had a hand he deemed worthy of keeping, while Sebastian shuffled his initial seven back in. A much improved six disposed of Lino’s opening Goldmeadow Stalwart quickly, but Lino was able to follow up with Figure of Destiny. Sebastian was finally able to put the faerie’s marquee card Bitterblossom onto the battlefield. The Bitterblossom churned out chump-blockers for Lino’s Figure until Sebastian found the second black mana required to play Stillmoon Cavalier, one of his key cards in this match-up.

Lino could dodge Sebastian’s Cavalier for another turn with Mutavault. In his next upkeep Sebastian dropped to 11 thanks to Bitterblossom. On Lino’s next turn, Sebastian said the magic word: “Upkeep?” A Mistbind Clique entered play but left it just as quickly as Lino had the Path to Exile Sebastian was clearly asking for. However, Lino was completely out of gas now, having no further plays. Mutavault then traded for Agony Warp while his Figure held a standoff with Sebastian’s Cavalier.

A turn later Sebastian decided it was time to play offense with his Stillmoon Cavalier, while a Faerie token took over the job of holding Lino’s Figure at bay. Lino tried a desperate Cloudgoat Ranger but ran into Cryptic Command. The next attack including Mutavaults sent him to 5 and a post-combat Sower of Temptation snatching his only creature away signalled defeat... in big shiny letters. Lino scooped up his cards soon after.

Lino Burgold 1 – Sebastian Kuchenbecker 2

While shuffling Lino lamented that he could have played his Cloadgoat Ranger one turn ealier when Sebastian did not have the three blue mana required to play Cryptic Command, but chose not to. For the first time in this match both players started the game with seven cards. Lino’s first play was Wizened Cenn which had been scheduled to cease very quickly, but Sebastian drew Bitterblossom from the top and opted to rather develop his own team first before taking care of Lino’s.

Next up, Lino cast Spectral Procession which Sebastian attempted to counter with Spellstutter Sprite, failing badly... not due to Lino’s interference but due to the rules! Spectral Procession’s converted mana cost is six. The duo of Mistbind Clique and Vendilion Clique followed. This time the words uttered at the beginning of Lino’s turn were “end of draw step”. Lino revealed double Harm’s Way and double Path to Exile, though Sebastian went for the fifth card, Knight of Meadowgrain, the only lonely creature in the Kithkin player’s hand, instead. Lino figured it was time to sent his men (mainly spirits) in. With Harm’s Way in hand salvation lies in combat after all.

Lino targeted Sebastian with both of his Harm’s Ways deflecting three damage to that one’s head and saving two of his creatures, too. While Sebastian seemed to be surprised by the move he knew what to do anyway, killing the Wizened Cenn and thus keeping his Vendilion Clique alive. Also the play effectively prevented two damage to his head. Now in the position to attack of his own, Sebastian sent his air force in. The Mistbind Clique received a Path to Exile rather unsurprisingly but Lino dropped to 11 anyway. On Lino’s next turn he tried for Figure of Destiny but that plan was foiled by Cryptic Command.

More attacks. Vendilion Clique was taken by the other Path to Exile, but Lino dropped to five as a result of the attack that included both of Sebastian’s Mutavaults. Paying full five for Goldmeadow Stalwart, things were looking dim for Lino. The next attack dropped his life total to critical low and, when his deck did not deliver anything from the top, it was time to extend his hand.

Sebastian Kuchenbecker defeats Lino Burgold 3-1 and advances to the finals.

Finals: Sebastian Thaler vs. Sebastian Kuchenbecker

by Hanno Terbuyken

Fast and furious, that’s how the Top 8 went up to this point. Players and matchups were quick, but this would end in the finals. One more match, and the German National Champion 2009 would be decided, but it would be control on control. Meanwhile, on another table, Tobias Gräfensteiner and Lino Burgold fought for the last remaining slot for Rome in the third-place playoff.

Kuchenbecker and Thaler had met once before in the Swiss rounds, where Kuchenbecker defeated the Merfolk deck with his more traditional Faeries build. Still, Thaler was generally favored in this matchup. Before Nationals, Kuchenbecker had not played Constructed for a good three months. “I don’t like Constructed,” he said, “because I don’t like to test.”

Game 1:

Kuchenbecker won the die roll and started with a mulligan. His second-turn play was Bitterblossom. “From the top?” Thaler asked, as both players had heard the yells of the crowd in the TV room who were eager to see how this match would turn out.

For starters, it now would involve lots of little flying creatures. Thaler had two Stonybrook Bannerets and Silvergill Adept, but also had to fight an uphill battle against Kuchenbecker’s Vendilion Clique. Path to Exile, Path to Exile, Merrow Reejerey, Mutavault, Mutavault, Island – Kuchenbecker had an obvious choice in the little Merfolk lord. Nonetheless, Thaler felt the need to beat. Both Bannerets and a Mutavault ran into Vendilion Clique which blocked and killed Thaler’s man-land. Kuchenbecker went to 16.

(Meanwhile, Lino Burgold’s Kithkin had taken Game 1 from Gräfensteiner’s Time Sieve deck on the other table.)

A Merrow Reejerey from Thaler was a prompt for Kuchenbecker to do something if he could. And he did: He let Thaler attack into his board, blocked the Mutavault with his own and removed the Reejerey from the equation mid-combat with Doomblade. Thaler lost his Mutavault and was back to three lands to Kuchenbecker’s five.

Alas, Bitterblossom is a two-edged sword. With three Path to Exile in hand, Thaler was able to curb the Faerie storm. Kuchenbecker went to 9 and left two Faerie Rogues behind to block. The Paths were critical, so Thaler countered Kuchenbecker’s Vendilion Clique with Sage’s Dousing. Kuchenbecker knew he had to have more than just Bitterblossom, but he failed to find anything to combat the two Path to Exiles he knew about (and the one he didn’t). On 4 life, after most of his Faerie Rouge died on blocking duty, he showed Mistbind Clique. Thaler had Path to Exile ready, and Kuchenbecker was dead.

Sebastian Thaler 1 – 0 Sebastian Kuchenbecker

“I probably should have scooped much earlier,” said Kuchenbecker, who hadn’t found any counters for Thaler’s paths.
(Meanwhile, Tobias Gräfensteiner had Time Sieved Lino Burgold into oblivion, so the third-place playoff was tied at 1-1.)

Game 2:

Sebastian KuchenbeckerNo mulligans, and Kuchenbecker played first, this time without an early Bitterblossom. Thaler dealt the first damage with Stonybrook Banneret...

(Meanwhile, on the other table, Lino Burgold’s Kithkin had overrun Tobias Gräfensteiner in record time, so Burgold lead 2-1.)

...and added another one to the battlefield. Mutavault and two Bannerets on the attack were stumped by Kuchenbecker’s Agony Warp; one died, and the other one ate Doomblade to silently implode. Kuchenbecker followed with Bitterblossom and pointed Spellstutter Sprite at Thaler’s Merrow Reejerey. Thaler had Path to Exile for the other Sprite and got to keep his Reejerey, but was out of gas for the moment save for Cryptic Command in his hand.

Of course, Mutavault helps, and Thaler had just drawn a second one. Could the man-lands race an unhindered Bitterblossom at maximum production pace? Yes, with the help of Merrow Reejerey. The match turned into a straight-up race. One Vault plus Reejerey put Kuchenbecker at 13, who tried to slow Thaler with Cryptic Command on Thaler’s end of turn to bounce the Reejerey. Thaler had his own Command, though, and a second one to protect his Reejerey against a Doomblade from Kuchenbecker.

Scion of Oona gave Kuchenbecker a lord of his own. That opened the race a’plenty, as Kuchenbecker had the additional advantage of being able to block, while Thaler had no defense against the flying, fighting Fae. Lord #2, Merfolk Sovereign, enabled Thaler to deal 12 damage in one swing, potentially, which was more than Kuchenbeckers life total. Not dying in the process, though, that was the trick here.

(Meanwhile, Tobias Gräfensteiner had waltzed over Burgold’s aggro deck and evened out at two games each on the other table.)

Both Mutavaults aimed for a sizeable chunk of Kuchenbecker’s life total, and he had no choice but to trade two Fae for one Mutavault, and still went to 7. Thaler protected his aggressive offensive with Meddling Mage, naming Sower of Temptation. Kuchenbecker simply passed his turn, flicking his two cards in hand. Sygg, River Guide, was supposed to be the final nail in Kuchenbecker’s Game 2 coffin, but the savvy player had Cryptic Command to counter the Sygg and tap Thaler’s team. However, Kuchenbecker already was too low on life. Once again, Thaler managed to let a Faeries player choke on his own Bittterblossom.

Sebastian Thaler 2 – 0 Sebastian Kuchenbecker

(Meanwhile, Lino Burgold had been on the play in the deciding game of the third-place playoff, and that was enough for the Kithkin player to stomp Gräfensteiner’s Time Sieve deck into the dust of Lorwyn’s plains. Final score: Lino Burgold 3 – 2 Tobias Gräfensteiner.)

“I have a super bad matchup,” Kuchenbecker explained. But he was not too miffed about it. He had delivered an 11 round winning streak to get to the top table, and with the qualification for Rome in the bag, Kuchenbecker was happy. Also, he pointed out, both he and Thaler are from Bavaria, just like Tobias Gräfensteiner. Had Gräfensteiner beaten Burgold, “we could have been Team Bavaria at worlds!”

Sebastian ThalerGame 3:

“I’ll try playing first again this time, and you have to draw badly, ok?” Kuchenbecker asked of Thaler. The Bavarian complied and mulliganed.

A turn two Bitterblossom from Kuchenbecker made apparent why he had kept his hand so readily. Thaler followed up with Sygg, River Guide, and when Kuchenbecker attacked with Mutavault, he surprised his opponent by simply blocking.

Thaler: “Screw the Sygg!”

Kuchenbecker looked at the block. He had not made a land drop yet, and clearly hadn’t figured on Thaler killing the Mutavault. Both creatures went to the bin, and with just one land in play, Kuchenbecker said “go”.

Thaler put Wake Thrasher onto the battlefield. Kuchenbecker dropped Swamp from the top, Agony Warp, and that was it for the Thrasher. Thaler was left with nothing when Kuchenbecker played Vendilion Clique and saw Cryptic Command, Merrow Reejerey, and land.

Thaler drew well. Glen Elendra Archmage in play to block and kill Vendilion Clique, and Cryptic Command, Sage’s Dousing, Reejerey and Meddling Mage in hand. Kuchenbecker was stuck on three lands, though that didn’t stop him from casting another Vendilion Clique. Predictably, Thaler used his Sage’s Dousing to keep his hand secret and intact. Meddling Mage named Sower of Temptation.

Kuchenbecker found a fourth land and another Vendilion Clique. This time, Thaler had Cryptic Command for it. “Counter, draw?” Kuchenbecker asked. “Probably,” Thaler responded, and did so. Thaler played a clever game of Magic, trading his 2/2 Mutavaults for two Faeries at a time just to keep Kuchenbecker on the defense. Thaler didn’t want Bitterblossom to get out of hand.

But then Thaler had nothing left to handle Mistbind Clique. The 4/4 champion joined forces with two Fae to dial Thaler down to 8. All Thaler had was Merrow Reejerey in hand, Meddling Mage and Glen Elendra Archmage in play, and when Kuchenbecker flashed in Scion of Oona to embolden a Faerie Rogue enough to kill Meddling Mage, Thaler’s board was hopelessly outclassed.

Sebastian Thaler 2 – 1 Sebastian Kuchenbecker

Game 4:

Both players kept their hands, Thaler with a near-perfect mix on the play. Meddling Mage was Thaler’s first action, naming Bitterblossom. Kuchenbecker had no play: Thaler had indeed stranded Bitterblossom in Kuchenbecker’s hand. However, Doomblade took care of Meddling Mage and the Tribal enchantment – Faerie came down.

Thaler had already gotten Kuchenbecker to 15, then he played Wake Thrasher, soon attacking for five damage. Kuchenbecker had one Faerie Rogue that he chose to kill Silvergill Adept with instead of chump-blocking the Thrasher, going to 10 life.

As it always did all weekend, Wake Thrasher kept the Bitterblossom at bay and Thaler had the chance to develop his board almost at his leisure. Kuchenbecker struck back with Spellstutter Sprite, but it looked puny next to Wake Thrasher. Kuchenbecker found a solution in Infest, resetting the board but not the life totals that stood 18-8 in Thaler’s favor.

It is well worth mentioning at this time that Kuchenbecker was temporarily stuck on three lands. But Thaler was not, having Mutavault in play and attacking with the mighty man-land. Post combat, Thaler plunked down Sygg, River Guide. Kuchenbecker considered his hand, checked his four lands, looked at his cards again. Knowing that he had no way to come back from that position, Kuchenbecker extended his hand, and Sebastian Thaler was the German National Champion 2009!

Sebastian Kuchenbecker, Sebastian Thaler, Lino Burgold (L-R)

Sunday, 4:40 p.m. – A Very Special Draft Event

by Tobias Henke


Mirror of Fate
While German Nationals pulled to its close, today some lucky players joined a special event, celebrating the departure of Tenth Edition with a booster draft in which each player got one pack with commons only, one with uncommons, and one with fifteen rare cards.

Entry to this event was free, but limited to sixteen players. Invitations were awarded through one of two contests: First, there was a big online competition to find the maximum amount of damage that one can deal within the first four turns of a game, using only cards from Magic 2010. Who would have thought that it is actually possible to create an infinite loop, generating infinite mana? (A weird story involving Llanowar Elves, Elvish Visionarys, Elvish Piper, lots of Elvish Archdruids (eight of them, including Clone), and finally looping Act of Treason, Mind Spring, Garruk Wildspeaker, Nature’s Spiral, and Mirror of Fate.)

The other option to qualify for the event was a trivia contest, that was held yesterday evening and drew about 65 players.

Many, many players, among them lots of pros, took part in both of those contests. For example, two-time PT top 8 competitor Jan Ruess earned an invite, and the tournament itself was won by none other than Denis Sinner, another big achievement after his top 8 at Pro Tour Berlin last year.

To give you a brief glimpse of the madness going on in this insane draft, in which every player has 15 rares in his draft pile, here are some pictures:

Yes, this deck includes three Howling Mines, two Seismic Assault, Furnace of Rath, Manabarbs, Soulblast, and three Kamahl, Pit Fighter!

One Avatar of Might and two Molimo, Maro Sorcerer! When was the last time, your draft deck included so much fat?

Something you really don’t want to see on the opposing side of the table: two of each, Plague Wind, Mortivore, and Phage the Untouchable.

Standard Decklists - 6-2 and Better

by Event Coverage Staff

Jan-Philipp Budde (7-0-1)

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Florian Pils (7-0-1)

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Martin Malik (7-1)

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Thomas Steeger (6-1-1)

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