Congratulations to Lee Shi Tian, winner of 2008 Grand Prix–Birmingham!

He and his Kithkin deck first defeated Matthias Künzler’s Faeries 2-1 in the quarterfinals, then dispatched Raphael Levy’s elemental deck in three games, and in the finals against Remi Fortier’s Faeries the combination of Goldmeadow Stalwart and Wizened Cenn swept to a clean 2-0 triumph!

As far as the metagame of this relatively young format is concerned, we did get some very clear answers from this weekend’s results. Faeries and Kithkin are the two most succesful decks, with both placing three players in the final eight, and will be the decks to gun for in the upcoming qualifier season. In addition there are two distinct rogue strategies, which both employ all five colors of Magic, but then take off into completely different directions. Manuel Bucher’s Quick ‘n Toast update is arguably the most control-oriented deck in the format, while Raphael Levy’s elemental concoction is definitely a blast to play and akin to some sort of creature-combo deck, like Goblins or Madness in years past.

top 8 bracket


Raphael Levy

Jonathan Randle

Lee Shi Tian

Matthias Künzler

Jelger Wiegersma

Manuel Bucher

Antti Malin

Remi Fortier


Raphael Levy, 2-0

Lee Shi Tian, 2-1

Jelger Wiegersma, 2-0

Remi Fortier, 2-0


Lee Shi Tian, 2-1

Remi Fortier, 2-0


Lee Shi Tian, 2-0


  • Finals:
    Lee Shi Tian vs. Remi Fortier
    by Tobias Henke
  • Podcast: 7:37 p.m. -A Tale of Kith and Dithmith
    by Rich Hagon
  • Semifinals:
    Raphael Levy vs Lee Shi Tian
    by Frank Wareman
  • Quarterfinals:
    Raphael Levy vs. Jonathan Randle
    by Tobias Henke
  • Quarterfinals:
    Manuel Bucher vs. Jelger Wiegersma
    by Frank Wareman
  • Info: Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Top 8 Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog: 2:25 p.m. - A Look At the Side Events
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 14 - Win and In
    Manuel Bucher vs. Cormac Smith
    by Tobias Henke
  • Podcast: 2:09 p.m. - Full Time
    by Rich Hagon
  • Blog: 12:45 p.m. - Judge Stuff & Staff
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 12 - On the Way To the Top
    Marijn Lybaert vs. Jelger Wiegersma
    by Tobias Henke
  • Podcast: 10:45 a.m. - FaeKin It
    by Rich Hagon
  • Feature Match: Round 11 - Air Force vs. Army
    Antti Malin vs. Rasmus Sibast
    by Tobias Henke
  • Blog: 10:00 a.m. - Deck Tech: The Actually Only Eight Commandments
    by Tobias Henke
  • Blog: 9:50 a.m. - Deck Tech?
    by Tobias Henke
  • Blog: 9:48 - Meta Game Breakdown
    by Tobias Henke
  • Info: Day 2 Country Breakdown
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 2 Playerlist
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog: Day 1 Archive Featuring Podcasts, Planeswalkers and a Glimpse at Perfection
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Undefeated Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Playerlist
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff


1. Lee Shi Tian $3,500
2. Remi Fortier $2,300
3. Raphael Levy $1,500
4. Jelger Wiegersma $1,500
5. Antti Malin $1,000
6. Matthias Künzler $1,000
7. Manuel Bucher $1,000
8. Jonathan Randle $1,000

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

Blog: 9:48 - Meta Game Breakdown

by Tobias Henke

Metagame Breakdown, Day 1 + 2

In case you're interested in the raw numbers and percentages, we have got the whole Block Constructed metagame all lined up for you:


Day 1   Day 2
Faeries 107 18.50%   Faeries 24 37.50%
Kithkin 95 16.40%   Kithkin 18 28.10%
Command Deck 55 9.50%   Command Deck 7 10.90%
Elementals 54 9.30%   Mannequin 4 6.30%
Doran 53 9.20%   Elementals 3 4.70%
Elves 35 6.10%   Elves 2 3.10%
G/W Aggro 30 5.20%   W/B/R Control 2 3.10%
Rogues 23 4.00%   Doran 1 1.60%
Mono Red 17 2.90%   R/G Aggro 1 1.60%
Mannequin 16 2.80%   B/R Aggro 1 1.60%
R/G Aggro 16 2.80%   W/U Control 1 1.60%
B/R Aggro 16 2.80%        
W/B/R Control 14 2.40%        
Treefolk/Shaman 9 1.60%        
Merfolk 7 1.20%        
Goblins 5 0.90%        
Warriors 3 0.50%        
Others 23 4.00%        
Total 578 100.00%   Total 64 100.00

Blog: 9:50 a.m. - Deck Tech?

by Tobias Henke

When doing the metagame breakdown for day one, we stumbled upon one very interesting deck we couldn't really classify. If there was any doubt that this Block format is definitely on par with Ravnica in the mana-fixing department, take a look at Omar Rohner's list -- the Spanish player went 6-2 yesterday and only missed out on day two on tie breaks!

Would you have expected to find Firespout, Doran, the Siege Tower, Oona, Queen of the Fae, and Demigod of Revenge in one and the same deck? Well, we neither...

Diesel Revenge

Download Arena Decklist

Blog: 10:00 a.m. - Deck Tech: The Actually Only Eight Commandments

by Tobias Henke

Manuel BucherBoth Guillaume Wafo-Tapa and Manuel Bucher have been regular guests in the Feature Match area throughout this weekend so far (and are 3-1 in those matches). Currently the French Wafo-Tapa is 8-1, while Manuel Bucher is 7-1-1. We sat down with the young Swiss for an inside look on their concoction, a Block-restricted update on their impressive Standard deck, that had put a lot of people into day two there and only narrowly missed out on a top 8 berth.

"The most unusual card in the deck probably is the one Plumeveil", Bucher said. "It's in the place of a fourth Firespout, because one Spout and one Plumeveil is always better than two Firespouts."

But that's only one minor detail that sets this list apart from similar decks in the field. "All the other Command decks are running Fertile Ground and Garruk Wildspeaker, but the deck does have so many three-drops, that Fertile Ground often is just a waste of cardboard -- especially with Pestermite, Fulminator Mage, Primal Command, and Cryptic Command that tap, bounce, or even destroy the enchanted land."

When asked about Planeswalkers, the young Swiss stated, "Garruk isn't any good, really. Even in the mirror one just attacks with Shriekmaw or Mulldrifter and then it's gone. You can even get one of those into play at the end of their turn via Makeshift Mannequin. One simply doesn't lose against Garruk..." Then he added, "But we do have Jace Beleren in the sideboard."

"We are now 4-1 in matches against Faeries", Bucher said happily. "Seeing as that is the most played deck, this should be pretty good. The match-up against White Weenie is positive as well, and the mirror match too. They have dead cards like Garruk and Fertile Ground, while we got Broken Ambitions and Mind Spring. Mind Spring probably is the absolute best addition to the deck."

"A bad match-up, however, is the Elemental deck with Reveillark", added Bucher. "The Feature Match against Levy was testament to this weakness. If you kill the Lark, they return something like Mulldrifter and possibly Elemental Harbinger and just go get another one. It's really frustrating... and one of the reasons we have Primal Command in the sideboard. We're not particularly happy with the card, but in this match-up we desperately need to get rid of their graveyard, before applying any sort of mass removal."

"Another problem is that this list was build for 60-minutes rounds", the Swiss mused. "With only 50 minutes, one really should add a copy of Twilight Shepherd."

So, without further ado, here's the decklist:

8 Commandments

Download Arena Decklist

Feature Match: Round 11 - Air Force vs. Army

by Tobias Henke

It's the Scandinavian battle here between Danish Rasmus Sibast and Antti Malin of Finland. Also, it's the epic clash of Fae (Malin) against Kith (Sibast), a very frequent match-up today.

Antti Malin analyzes the sitiuation.Malin won the die roll and kept his opening seven, while Sibast took one... two... three mulligans! "I got 26 lands, but they refuse to appear", Sibast complained. "I think now I'm going to keep whatever I get."

He did and even had a passable draw with Windbrisk Heights on turn one, followed by Wizened Cenn on the next. The lord was countered by Malin's Broken Ambitions, however, as was the next Wizened Cenn -- curiously with the help of Broken Ambitions once again.

Sibast soon was out of cards and his deck could only muster one lowly Burrenton Forge-Tender, as multiple Cloudgoat Rangers accumulated in his hand without the mana to cast them. Meanwhile Malin was stuck without black mana and his offensive was seriously hampered by his inability to cast Bitterblossom. "Please, go on and kill me", a frustrated Sibast wailed.

Malin first had to stack up more lands before he could champion his own Mutavault with Mistbind Clique, but the Fae eventually got there.

Antti Malin 1 - 0 Rasmus Sibast

Rasmus Sibast makes his move.Sibast went first without any mulligans this time, and started with Goldmeadow Stalwart, Wizened Cenn, followed by Knight of Meadowgrain and Windbrisk Heights. When Malin lost his first point of life to his turn-two Bitterblossom, he was already on eleven. Lots of action so far!

He went for Nameless Inversion on Wizened Cenn in his main phase to avoid being hit by whatever was hiding away under Windbrisk Heights, but could only watch in frustration as Spectral Procession upped Sibast's creature count to five. To make matters worse Sibast added a second Windbrisk Heights to his side of the board.

Malin could only stall the inevitable with Mistbind Clique. Unfazed, Sibast charged into the red zone anyway, losing his Knight and two tokens, but putting Malin on precarious three life. He finished his turn with Plains and Goldmeadow Harrier. The Harrier soon died to Shriekmaw and now Sibast found himself without three attackers...!

He cast a second Goldmeadow Stalwart and passed the turn. No action from Malin meant, now he could finally attack and activate both of his lands. The first revealed to be hiding Oblivion Ring, which took out the Shriekmaw, and the other gave Sibast a game-ending Wizened Cenn.

Antti Malin 1 - 1 Rasmus Sibast

Malin took a looong, hard look at his opening hand, before deciding to keep. He had no play for the first two turns, while Sibast similarly surprising had his first on turn two with a Knight of Meadowgrain. On Sibast's third upkeep Pestermite tapped one of his lands and Sibast revealed to be seriously mana screwed when he did neither have a third land nor a play for the turn.

It never rains, it pours. Next up the Dane was hit by Mistbind Clique and then another Mistbind Clique (this one championing Mutavault), and at the end of his fifth turn, Sibast even had to discard an eigth card from his hand...

Two 4/4 fliers against one Knight of Meadowgrain is as unfair as it gets, but of course it didn't take long...

Antti Malin 2 - 1 Rasmus Sibast

Whether Faeries vs. Kithkin is a good match-up for one of the combatants, is still up for debate. "I'm 3-2 in matches against Faeries", Sibast stated, "and now I'd really like to play any other match-up."

June 1st, 10:45 a.m. - FaeKin It

by Rich Hagon

Today's the day for all those people who claimed their decks beat Faeries and Kithkin to put up or shut up. If they're wrong, they're going to get thoroughly butchered, as the top two Tier One decks make up two-thirds of the Day Two field. But if they're right, they have a Metagame field just waiting to be gobbled up. Poised to take advantage of the polarised shakedown are Manuel Bucher and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, hoping to port their Standard deck from Hollywood to Block success.


Feature Match: Round 12 - On the Way To the Top

by Tobias Henke

Fresh off his Top 8 in Hollywood, Belgian Marijn Lybaert is playing the consensus best deck Faeries. However, his version of the deck looks quite unusual with lots of Vivid Creeks and Vivid Marshs, complemented by Reflecting Pool. Apparently, he does indeed have a few tricks up his sleeve. Jelger Wiegersma of the Netherlands is with Kithkin. Both players have only one loss and one draw so far, and really don't want to change that.

Jelger Wiegersma looms over the battlefield.Wiegersma played first and resolved Wizened Cenn, before Lybaert took his Spectral Procession with Thoughtseize. That left the Dutch with a less than impressive Burrenton Forge-Tender as his only play on turn three. Subsequently he lost his Wizened Cenn and Thistledown Liege to a pair Nameless Inversions.

But then action came to the game in the form of Cloudgoat Ranger. That went uncontested and enabled Windbrisk Heights. The Heights spit out one Knight of Meadowgrain and a second one came in from Wiegersma hand. The board was densely populated with Kithkin.

Nevertheless, Lybaert recovered quicker than thought, with Mutavault, Spellstutter Sprite, and Scion of Oona. The Giant had brought him down to seven, however, and Wiegersma's Mirror Entity spelled trouble. Lybaert deployed a Mistbind Clique, championing Mutavault and went into attack mode. In came eight points of flying damage, Wiegersma went down to twelve, and as expected, Cryptic Command tapped the Kithkin army.

A second Command was already waiting in Lybaert's hand, but Wiegersma made a potentially flying and certainly potent blocker with a second Cloudgoat Ranger. Suddenly the Belgian's offense faltered... As was his defense in the face of Mirror Entity.

Marijn Lybaert 0 - 1 Jelger Wiegersma

Marijn Lybaert, commander of the air forces.Not far into the second game, Lybaert finally revealed why there were all those Vivid lands in his deck, as Firespout took out Thistledown Liege and Goldmeadow Harrier, after Incremental Blight had taken care of two Burrenton Forge-Tender and one Knight of Meadowgrain.

Apparently a transformational sideboard, chock-full of mass removal, was at work in the Belgian player's hand.

Only, the mixture of flying and non-flying creatures on the other side of the board put him in serious trouble, as he had only one source, of either green or red mana... First Wiegersma's spirit tokens (courtesy of Spectral Procession) survived one spouting of fire, and then a quick combination of Cloudgoat Ranger and Mirrorweave finished the game.

Marijn Lybaert 0 - 2 Jelger Wiegersma

Blog: 12:45 p.m. - Judge Stuff & Staff

by Tobias Henke

Traditionally Constructed GPs are less taxing on the judge staff than Limited events, because less cards are played and those are known better. Of course, that doesn't hold true as soon as we're reaching the deep-sea areas of the Comprehensive Rules, where not many players have gone before.


That surely is the case with the rules surrounding layers and copy effects. Quick question: Mirrorweave is played targeting Cloudthresher, while there is an activated Mutavault in play. What happens to the poor 'Vault?

Well, apparently it turns into a green 2/2 creature with all creature types. Why? Because first Mirrorweave's copy effect is applied and then all of the Mutavault's own effects, like the type changing and power and toughness setting.

How about this one: What will happen to the other creatures, when an animated Mutavault itself is targeted with Mirrorweave? Now, in that case, all of the other creatures stop being creatures entirely. Sure, they can be activated for one mana, but the copy effect as such does not only take into account the copied cards basic stats (the so-called "copiable values"), roughly speaking the card as it is printed without any other effects applying to it.

Of course, we got competent judges all over the place to figure out even the most tricky situations. Here they are, headlined by head judge Adam Cetnerowski. Say hello!

June 1st, 2:09 p.m. - Full Time

by Rich Hagon

The last three rounds are upon us here in Birmingham, and as surely as the Kithkin and Faeries tribes have hammered and flown their way to the top, a third tribe is also putting their stamp on this competition - the Pros. A large bunch of players have come here direct from PT: Hollywood, and on a diet of minimal sleep and minimal testing, these players are sitting on the verge of what could be yet another outstanding Top 8. Join us as the seconds tick away towards the final shootout.


Feature Match: Round 14 - Win and In

by Tobias Henke

It's the last round of the Swiss and both these players need a win in order to make it to the Top 8. Bucher is playing his very own version of the multicolored control deck, while Irishman Cormac Smith is with Faeries.

Manuel Bucher: " Upkeep? "Smith won the die roll, Bucher took a mulligan, and then it was time for the final battle. Bucher had the first play with Kitchen Finks, though it was met with Broken Ambitions. Bucher's evoked Mulldrifter on the following turn came through, but didn't find a land. Bucher had to discard at end of turn.

Meanwhile Smith's offense was coming along slowly. By the time he finally cast a serious threat in the form of Mistbind Clique, Bucher had found a fourth land, countering the Clique and bouncing another Faerie. At least after Austere Command cleared the board, Bucher was well back into the game.

Scion of Oona came in for Smith, but Shriekmaw took that down. On the following turn Mutavault traded with the Shriekmaw and nothing happened while Bucher amassed lands.

Then he cast Mulldrifter without Evoke and had the Broken Ambitions ready for Smith's Cryptic Command. A second 'Drifter appeared and Bucher was now ahead on cards and lands and -- after a few turns of Mulldrifter beatdown -- on life as well.

Manuel Bucher 1 - 0 Cormac Smith

Cormac Smith needs to win.This time around it was Smith's turn to mulligan. Nevertheless he got off to a good start with Ponder into Bitterblossom into Pestermite. No Broken Ambitions stopped him.

His Thoughtseize, however, revealed danger waiting in Bucher's hand -- two Cloudthresher and Makeshift Mannequin, which was quickly discarded. Before taking care of the air force pounding down on him, Bucher started his own clock by means of Kitchen Finks.

What followed was complete carnage. Every turn, Bucher paused in his upkeep, awaiting the obligatory Mistbind Clique... which never came. Instead his Kitchen Finks was happily eating a Bitterblossom token in every attack, while multiple evoked Cloudthreshers kept the sky clear. In the end, Smith lost to his own Blossom and just a few points of Finks-originated damage.

Manuel Bucher defeats Cormac Smith and proceeds to the quarterfinals.

Blog: 2:25 p.m. - A Look At the Side Events

by Tobias Henke

What do you do on Sunday, if you miss out on day two? Sightseeing around Birmingham? Possible, yes, but Grand Prix need not be over as soon as you're out of the main event. That's why there are side events, after all!

For example, head over to the gunslinging area and try your luck beating one of these players -- Andre Müller and Jan Ruess, second-place finishers at PT-Valencia and PT-Hollywood, respectively.

Or take your Battle of Wits deck and enter the Legacy tournament -- big event, big deck!

Meet Olivier Ruel and Morgane Kelterbaum at the Two-Headed Giant Sealed Deck tourney:

Or if you really like GPs, go and get yourself some byes for the next one, like these players who are battling in the Grand Prix Trial for GP-Madrid:


by Frank Wareman

In my mind Manuel Bucher will always be the small kid who won GP–Zürich in 2004, even if today he is among the world’s best players. Jelger Wiegersma certainly is, having been a pro player for years.

This game already went off to a thrilling start, before any cards were involved, when Jelger rolled twelve on two six-sided dice... and Manuel did the same! If the games looked anything like this, it was clear going to be an exciting match. The second roll Jelger won and chose to start.

Jelger got off to a quick start with Wizened Cenn and a Spectral Procession which was countered by Broken Ambitions. (What a suitable name for a card in this phase of the game.) But another Spectral Procession and a Thistledown Liege were still quite good enough to put Manuel on the defense. The Wizened Cenn and his team were joined by Mutavault, they attacked, and Mirrorweave on the Liege followed... And that was a very quick Game 1, not a bad start into the Top 8 for Jelger.

Manuel Bucher 0 - 1 Jelger Wiegersma

Manuel began the next game and this time he knew what to expect. Jelger started quick but rather weak with a team of Goldmeadow Stalwart and two Burrenton Forge-Tender. Manuel on the other side opened with Kitchen Things to hold off the attackers, followed by Shriekmaw and later Mulldrifter. The card advantage is certainly with the Swiss player here. Things looked dim for Jelger, when Firespout cleared the table, but at least he got back another Forge-Tender and Wizened Cenn, thanks to his sideboarded Reveillark.

Slowly and with the help of Mutavault, Jelger was getting back into this game. Mirrorweave broke down Manuel’s defenses, and while another Firespout got rid of all creatures once again, the lone Mutavault proved to be unstoppable.

Manuel Bucher 0 - 2 Jelger Wiegersma


by Tobias Henke

Jonathan Randle, the local hero.The two players started their match with some banter concerning football (or, for you Americans out there, “soccer”) and the apparent English incapability in that field. Jonathan Randle is here to prove that at least the opposite is true for Magic. He is with Kithkin, France’s Rahael Levy is playing a really weird five-color elemental deck.

Levy won the die roll and started with Flamekin Harbinger into Smokebraider, while Randle deployed Burrenton Forge-Tender, followed by Knight of Meadowgrain. On Levy’s turn three the latter died to Shriekmaw (put into play, thanks to Smokebraider), only to be replaced with Wizened Cenn. The now 2/2 Forge-Tender traded with the ‘Maw, and Levy cast Reveillark. Randle’s Militia’s Pride was not really a match.

The Frenchman further increased the elementals’ stranglehold on the game with Horde of Notions, and both the flying, vigilant, hasty 5/5 and the Reveillark came in for some serious beatdown.

The Englishman did not give up yet, though. Cloudgoat Ranger at least threatened to trade with any of the big attackers. Levy did the math.and eventually smashed into the red zone anyway. Randle blocked the Reveillark with the Ranger and both died, while the Horde took Randle down to five.

Randle attacked with his three tokens and the Wizened Cenn. Smokebraider and Flöamekin Harbinger each blocked one of the tokens, but Shriekmaw, reanimated via Horde of Notions turned the apparent chump block into a trade. However, Randle’s Windbrisk Heights got him a replacement Cloudgoat Ranger. For a moment Levy feared Mirrorweave, but when Shriekmaw went unblocked for two more attackes, it became clear Randle had none.

Raphael Levy 1 - 0 Jonathan Randle

Levy’s sideboarding:

– 4 Flamekin Harbinger
– 3 Cloudthresher
– 4 Incandescent Soulstoke
+ 1 Wispmare
+ 2 Sower of Temptation
+ 2 Festercreep
+ 2 Shriekmaw
+ 4 Firespout

Randle’s sideboarding:

– 1 Cloudgoat Ranger
– 1 Thistledown Liege
– 2 Militia’s Pride
+ 2 Crib Swap
+ 2 Oversoul of Dusk

Raphael Levy, pondering his next play.Both players kept their opening seven in the second game and Randle started with Windbrisk Heights and Knight of Meadowgrain. Levy had Smokebraider on turn two again and follwed that up with Horde of Notions for a hasty five damage delivered directly to the Englishman’s face. However, Crib Swap immediately got rid of the Horde, while the Knight recovered the lost life. Meanwhile Levy could only add a Mulldrifter to his side of the board and attack with the changeling token. Wizened Cenn increased the pressure, when Mutavault and Knight of Meadowgrain took Levy from sixteen to six in one swing.

Levy pondered his next play. His hand included a selection of the finest elementals, but no Shriekmaw. He went for yet another Mulldrifter to maybe draw into one and got a Nameless Inversion out of it to destroy the Wizened Cenn.

Randle’s Burrenton Forge-Tender, Mutavault and Knight of the Meadowgrain charged in, but only the Knight got through, whereas the Forge-Tender died to Mulldrifter and Mutavault took down the other. But pressing damage obviously was not the prime objective in this attack. Instead this enabled Windbrisk Heights to let Cloudgoat Ranger come out of the closet. Meanwhile Levy played his third Mulldrifter.

Cloudgoat Ranger traded with two Mulldrifters, but his entourage of tokens, combined with Spectral Procession was bearing down on Levy. Without any answer this would soon be over... But in fact, Levy had the answer waiting. There came Festercreep, clearing the table and leaving Randle without much of anything, while Levy recovered with Cloudthresher. The 7/7 started working on Randle’s lifetotal.

A couple of creatures bought more turns for Randle, but without any token producers nothing came out of it. Finally, he succumbed to the Thresher.

Raphael Levy bests Jonathan Randle 2-0 and advances to the semifinals.


by Frank Wareman

Semifinals: Raphael Levy vs Lee Shi Tian
by Frank Wareman

Lee started with a Goldmeadow Harrier and a Wizened Cenn, a start seen before in this format. However, Lee was unable to get more than two lands in play, but compensated that with more low cost creatures. Raphael on the other side of the table got two Incandescent Soulstokes into play.

As Lee kept missing land drops, his only response was another Wizened Cenn. Without mana his two Harriers could not stop Raphael’s elemental army, which he built from an evoked Mulldrifter and evoked Reveillark thereafter. With this, Raphael decided to attack and with the help of a timely Nameless Inversion Raphael broke Lee’s defense and quickly put him on six, after which Lee decided to try his luck in the second game.

Raphael Levy 1 - 0 Lee Shi Tian

Lee's looking happy... Lee started the second quickly with a Goldmeadow Stalwart and a Harrier, accompanied by a Burrenton Forge-Tender. Each next turn the players exchanged removal with more white guys and both were not able to get ahead of the other. The first breakthrough was a Spectral Procession for Lee, while his Harrier delayed Raphael’s Smokebraider. Raphael wound up at eleven life while the flying spirits were still attacking.

Raphael found himself in a difficult spot, when he was deprived of his much needed mana, while his hand filled up with good options and removal. A Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile made blocking difficult and Raphael found his third Shriekmaw, after the other two had visited the game twice with the a little help from Makeshift Mannequin. Meanwhile at one life, Raphael was faced with more choices: Even two Reveillarks were unable to prevent Lee from tapping Raphael’s last defenses and dealing the last damage.

Raphael Levy 1 - 1 Lee Shi Tian

Off to the all-deciding Game 3... Raphael started badly with a mulligan. He kept his six cards, but he knew he would be facing some mana issues. Lee started with Goldmeadow Stalwart, showing Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile. Appearently the Brigid was the first spell after the Stalwart, while Raphael failed to get the correct mana from his Wooded Bastion and two Reflecting Pools.

... But Levy... Not so much... Vivid Grove opened up Raphael’s options, but he was fighting an unfair fight, as Lee had found a Goldmeadow Harrier to deal with any incoming defenses. A Shriekmaw saved Raphael took down the Brigid and saved Levy from whatever was hidden in the Windbrisk Heights, although not preventing him from going to seven.

However, Raphael did get what he wanted when Firesprout killed the board. But Lee didn’t let go that easy and a Cloudgoat Ranger was deployed, ready to win the game on the very next turn. Raphael was once again faced with many choices, as he had five cards to find an answer.

Nameless Inversion and an evoked Shriekmaw deal with the Ranger and one of its tokens, but two remained -- at least still not enough to enable the Windbrisk Heights. Going to five next turn, Raphael found a Sower of Temptation to deal with the Kithkin tokens.

Still, Lee was able to keep up the pressure by casting Spectral Procession, which he had saved for exactly this moment. Lee didn’t give away anything, while he attacked next turn with two cards hidden under a pair of Windbrisk Heights. Those turned out to be Wizend Cenn and Thoughtweft Gambit, disabling all of Levy’s blockers and dealing eight damage to put Lee in the finals.

Raphael Levy 1 - 2 Lee Shi Tian

June 1st, 7:37 p.m. - A Tale of Kith and Dithmith

by Rich Hagon

All weekend, the same story. Kithkin or Faeries, Faeries or Kithkin, Cryptic Command or Windbrisk Heights? Join us for all the answers, as two 5-colour control decks look to spoil the dominance of the big two. A Pro Tour Champion and Hall of Famer highlight the remaining octet, but whoever wins you can be sure of a bloody battle across the red zone. Canny Control, Fragile Fae and Wicked White - who emerges? Listen to find out.



by Tobias Henke

So this is it: the final battle. Lee Shi Tian from Hongkong is living the dream. He went into this Top 8, probably being the least expected to end up in the finals, and now he’s here, one match away from his first title. Remi Fortier of France, sitting across from him, is the exact opposite. He already made a name for himself by winning Pro Tour–Valencia last year, and clearly is the favorite to win here.

Lee Shi Tian, putting on the pressure.Tian won the die roll and kept a hand with Surge of Thoughtweft, Goldmeadow Harrier, Wizened Cenn, and four Plains -- far from perfect, but potentially very powerful, if the more expensive spells like Cloudgoat Ranger come along. On the other side of the table Fortier mulliganed to six.

Tian had Knight of Meadowgrain for his turn two, Fortier Bitterblossom. The Wizened Cernn came down and Fortier went to fourteen, then thirteen due to Bitterblossom. A second Wizened Cenn was countered via Spellstutter Sprite, but still Tian’s attack brought Fortier down to six. Tian also added Goldmeadow Stalwart to the board.

When he attacked with Stalwart, Cenn, Knight, and Harrier on his next turn, Fortier could only block three of them and the Surge of Thoughtweft in combination with the impending lifeloss from Bitterblossom ended that game.

Lee Shi Tian 1 - 0 Remi Fortier

Fortier’s sideboarding:

– 1 Ponder
– 1 Scion of Oona
– 2 Mistbind Clique
– 2 Cryptic Command
+ 4 Shriekmaw
+ 2 Incremental Blight

Tian’s sideboarding:

– 3 Surge of Thoughtweft
– 2 Militia’s Pride
– 1 Cloudgoat Ranger
– 2 Mirrorweave
+1 Thistledown Liege
+2 Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
+2 Thoughtweft Gambit
+3 Kinsbaile Borderguard

Both players had again good draws for the second game, Tian with Goldmeadow Stalwart into Knight of Meadowgrain into Wizened Cenn -- Fortier with Bitterblossom into Scion of Oona.

Remi Fortier, the pressure bearing down on him.The Stalwart and Knight charged into the red zone, but before declaring any blocks he would regret later, Fortier decided to first take a look at Tian’s hand via Vendilion Clique. And indeed, in reponse Thistledown Liege came down to further strengthen the white attackers. When the smoke cleared the Clique had traded with Goldmeadow Stalwart and one Bitterblossom token chumped. Fortier went to nine.

Now things started getting interested in a match that had so far been rather lop-sided in favor of the white deck. Incremental Blight got rid of Wizened Cenn, and shrinked the Liege and Knight.

But still, the Liege was in play and Tian threatened to get some good mileage out of it, when he cast Spectral Procession. Definitely trhe Liege had to die -- Shriekmaw took care of that. Tian’s next attack got Fortier down to six anyway and Bitterblossom was constantly nibbling at his life total. Especially with two of his Mistbind Cliques neatly tugged away in his sideboard, the black enchantment turned into a real threat for his owner.

Another attack (this time with three spirit tokens and a Mutavault) got him down to four, then three.While Fortier did indeed have more and better creatures by now, racing would certainly not win him this game, with Tian sitting safely at 27 life due to the many attacks he got in earlier with Knight of Meadowgrain. Fortier tried anyway.

He also had Ponder to maybe try and find an answer to his bittersweet blossom. But even shuffling didn’t turn up the much-needed champion or Cryptic Command. When on one life he drew his card, the crowd drew its breath... then errupted into applause, as Fortier reached out in defat for the final handshake.

Congratulations to Lee Shi Tian, winner of GP–Birmingham 2008!