David Brucker, left, and champion Olivier Ruel.

Can Olivier Ruel be stopped?

The Frenchman has done it again. Grand Prix-Bologna saw the debut of Saviors of Kamigawa on the GP circuit. More than 650 players came to test their mettle with the new format at the Palamalaguti basketball stadium on the outskirts of Bologna. In the end, experience counted as the two most accomplished players in the Top 8, David Brucker and Olivier Ruel, faced off against each other in the finals.

Ruel had drafted a juicy almost mono-black deck and swept both Marco Castellano and Giulio Barra in the quarters and semifinals. Brucker had also drafted black-green but was also splicing white for Oyobi and Waxmane Baku. He also overcame his quarterfinal and semifinal opponents, Tomas Klimes and Leonard Barbou, in quick matches.

The match was all about overlaps. Ruel had more creatures in the first game while Brucker came back in the second with a mighty Strength of Cedars. In the decider, a ninjitsu'd Okiba-Gang Shinobi put Brucker on the back foot and he could never quite relieve the pressure to make his bomb Oyobi turn the game.

The Ruel Rampage Road Trip continues!

top 8 bracket


(1) Giulio Barra

(8) Quentin Martin

(4) Olivier Ruel

(5) Marco Castellano

(2) Leonard Barbou

(7) Bruno Panara

(3) Tomas Klimes

(6) David Brucker


Guilio Barra, 2-1

Olivier Ruel, 2-0

Leonard Barbou, 2-0

David Brucker, 2-0


Olivier Ruel, 2-0

David Brucker, 2-0


Olivier Ruel, 2-1


  • Blog - 11:59 pm: Final: David Brucker vs. Olivier Ruel
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 11:52 pm: Semifinal: Olivier Ruel vs. Giulio Barra
    by Stan van der Velden
  • Blog - 11:41 pm: Semifinal: David Brucker vs. Leonard Barbou
    by Frank Karsten
  • QUARTI DI FINALE: Leonard BARBOU vs. Bruno PANARA (Italiano)
    by Di Andrea "PK" Panebianco
  • Blog - 11:33 pm: Quarterfinal: Tomas Klimes vs. David Brucker
    by Frank Karsten
  • Blog - 10:40 pm: Quarterfinal: Marco Castellano vs. Olivier Ruel
    by Julien Nuijten
  • Blog - 10:10 pm: Quarterfinal: Quentin Martin vs. Giulio Barra
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 9:22 pm: Top 8 Decklists
    by Federico Calo
  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Vintage Renaissance, Feature Match Action, Top Pro Play, and Much More!
    by Craig Jones
  • Round 12: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Round 9: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Feature Match Action, Traffic Jams and Side Events, Draft Reports, and Much More!
    by Craig Jones
  • Round 3: Mauro Stivoli vs. Stefano Fiore (Italiano)
    by Di Andrea "PK" Panebianco
  • Round 2: Andrea Allegri vs. Stefano Simoncini (Italiano)
    by Di Andrea "PK" Panebianco
  • Info: Day 1 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff


1. Olivier Ruel $2,400
2. David Brucker $1,700
3. Giulio Barra $1,200
4. Leonard Barbou $1,000
5. Tomas Klimes $800
6. Quentin Martin $800
7. Bruno Panara $800
8. Marco Castellano $800

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


Sunday, June 12: 9:22 pm - The Top 8 Decklists

Barbou, Leonard

Download Arena Decklist

Marco Castellano

Download Arena Decklist

Quentin Martin

Download Arena Decklist

Giulio Barra

Download Arena Decklist

Tomas Klimes

Download Arena Decklist

Bruno Panara

Download Arena Decklist

Olivier Ruel

Download Arena Decklist

David Brucker

Download Arena Decklist

Sunday, June 12: 10:10 pm - Quarterfinal: Quentin Martin vs. Giulio Barra

Quentin Martin is a good English player who's come close a number of times but now finally gets his Top 8 appearance. Giulio Barra from Italy has an 11th place finish to his name back at PT San Diego a few years back.

Giulio Barra

Martin's draft could best be described as kamikaze. He likes the Dampen Thought/splice deck and tried to push it a little too hard. Most of the pro's watching felt it was a little premature to go all-in with a second pick Psychic Puppetry. In a Top 8, when it is straight knockout, sometimes you have to gamble. This time the packs didn't pay off and Martin ended up with half a red-blue splice engine and a bunch of mediocre creatures. Barra has a fairly solid black-white deck and Martin will be hard-pressed not to get flattened.

Martin won the coin flip and opted to go first.

"I need a miracle," Quentin said.

"I want you to have a miracle," Olivier Ruel said from the next table.

It looked like Martin might get a sniff as Barra mulliganed down to 5. The Italian's five cards seemed pretty good as he busted out a Sensei Golden-Tail on turn 2 and started swinging.

Martin had managed only a Blademane Baku. He followed it with an Initiate of Blood but was under pressure from Barra's Golden-Tail and Mothrider Samurai.

Hints of Martin's splice engine appeared as he used Toils of Night and Day to tap both of Barra's creatures and spliced on Evermind. Unfortunately he noticed when it got back to his turn that he'd forgotten to put a counter on the Blademane Baku. Barra had just made a Honden of Cleansing Fire and so every point might be crucial.

Murmurs from Beyond with the Evermind netted Martin another three cards. The game seemed destined for a snarl-up as a Kami of Old Stone clogged up the ground while an Oboro Envoy threatened to do the same for Martin. Barra took the opportunity of Martin being tapped out to rush in with Golden-Tail and Mothrider. Martin blocked with a freshly cast Battle-Mad Ronin and probably wasn't too displeased to see Barra use a Hundred-Talon Strike to save his legend.

Stalling the ground wouldn't be enough for Martin though. With a white Honden and Golden-Tail Barra was more than set up for a protracted game.

The game went on for a few more turns. Quentin tried to make out he had a Dampen Thought somewhere in his deck and summoned a Rushing-Tide Zubera. Barra had a whole lot of nothing.

Then Martin finally got to cast the big splice spell. He cast Eye of Nowhere bouncing a Kami of Old Stone. But that was not all, no. Not only did he bounce the Kami, he tapped Golden-Tail with Puppetry, killed Mothrider with a Glacial Rayand drew a card from Evermind. Barra's board looked like it had been hit with a wrecking ball.

Barra recast the Kami and added a Hired Muscle. The next turn Martin cast another big splice spell, this time leading off with a First Volley. For Barra it was like being pounded with a Howitzer and it wasn't long before Martin took an improbable first game.

I did promise Martin I wouldn't mention how many times he forgot to put a counter on the Baku. Or that he missed an opportunity to flip the Initiate. But hey, I lied.

Martin 1-0 Barra

Barra didn't have to mulligan this time and led off with a strong Kabuto Moth and then Mothrider Samurai. He then followed it with a strong ground-pounder in the form of Torii Watchward. Martin had a good draw for stalling up the ground as he had both a Minamo Scrollkeeper and Baku Altar, but he needed to do something about the fliers.

Barra summoned a Moonlit Strider for safety and then sent in the Watchward and Mothrider. A Dreamcatcher got in the way of the Watchward and cycled when Martin cast Murmurs from Beyond. Unfortunately for the Englishman the choice was easy for Barra as he gave Martin two islands and threw a Glacial Ray into the bin. A second Watchward appeared and Barra was content to leave the 3/3's on defense and batter through the air with his fliers. Martin was now down to 8 life.

Battle-Mad Ronin didn't help and Martin went down to 5. A Moonwing Moth put Martin within lethal damage. He cast a First Volley on the Moth and spliced on Psychic Puppetry to tap down the Mothrider. Barra pumped the Moth's toughness and let the Samurai get tapped. The attack left Martin at two and still no defence against Barra's fliers.

Martin counter-attacked with the Ronin and Baku, but was a long way behind the race as Barra was at 12. He tried to stay alive with an Ire and spliced Puppetry, but the Moonlit Strider prevented the flier from being tapped and that was enough to take the game to the decider.

Martin 1-1 Barra

At this point Martin asked me to give a big hi to his girlfriend Saimah and to make sure I spelt the name correctly otherwise he'd get killed. Hmm, tempting…

Quentin Martin

A first turn Psychic Spear from Barra revealed Martin had taken a chance on a two island opening hand. The Italian took a Murmurs from Beyond, leaving Martin with a First Volley and Ire of Kaminari. Martin looked in rough shape as he missed his third turn land drop. A mountain on turn four allowed him to dig for more land with a Counsel of the Soratami. That failed to find him a fourth land and Martin was in real trouble as Barra started whaling on him with a Razorjaw Oni and Raving Oni-Slave.

It got ugly after that. A Moonlit Strider prevented Martin from killing the Oni-Slave by finishing it off with a First Volley. Then Barra started going after Martin's graveyard with a Skullsnatcher. Martin was drawing land now but was too far behind on tempo. When Martin found a blocker, Barra ripped it out with Clutch of Kagemaro. Sensei Golden-Tail added to the pressure.

Martin tried to buy time with tricks like Puppetry but had never really been given a chance to get into this game.

Giulio Barra beats Quentin Martin 2-1.

Sunday, June 12: 10:40 pm - Quarterfinal: Marco Castellano vs. Olivier Ruel

Marco Castellano

Olivier has a black/green deck with a lot of quality cards, like Kiku, Throat Slitter, Hideous Laughter and Patron of the Nezumi. He was lucky enough to first-pick his Kiku and get the Laughter passed to him. His opponent, Marco, has a nice blue/white deck with a lot of fliers. Olivier's Hideous Laughter, Kiku and Throat Slitter should each be very good since Marco has no way of really removing them.

Game 1

Olivier wins the roll and starts with a Hand of Cruelty and Cruel Deceiver. Marco has a Lantern Kami, Split-Tail Miko and a Moonwing Moth. Olivier attacks with both his guys, Marco doesn't block and Okiba-Gang Shinobi comes out to get Shuko and Aruba Mothrider. Marco keeps playing aggressively though, as he plays Genju of the Fields and attacks with everything. Olivier replays his Cruel Deceiver and a Skull Collector. The life totals are now 9 for Olivier and 10 for Marco. Marco decides to take it a little bit slower this time, keeping his Genju and Miko on defense. Olivier pays the upkeep for his Skull Collector with a Cruel Deceiver, and attacks with his three guys. The Genju blocks the Ninja, but Olivier has Unchecked Growth to protect his guy and kill Marco's Plains. Olivier makes his Cruel Deceiver again, and Marco is now stuck with three plains in play; he had to discard his Island earlier to Oli's ninja. He just replays his Genju and attacks with the Moth, keeping his Miko and Lantern Kami on defense to double-block Okiba-Gang Shinobi the next turn. Oli has another ninja though: Throat Slitter. Okiba-Gang trades with Lantern Kami and Throat Slitter takes out the Miko. Olivier makes his Hand of Cruelty again, which Marco hasn't any answer to now. Marco is now down to two life, and has only three plains, the Genju and the Moonwing Moth. A knock on his deck doesn't give him any help, and he scoops up his cards.

Game 2

Olivier Ruel

Marco plays first this time and both players keep their openers again. Marco starts out great with Genju of the Fields and Aruba Mothrider, and decides to attack with his Genju on turn three rather than play his Moonbow Illusionist. Olivier has Cruel Deceiver and makes it bigger with Manriki-Gusari. Marco keeps attacking with his Genju and the Mothrider, while Oli makes Cursed Ronin with 4 swamps, keeping both his men back to block the Genju. Marco plays his Moonbow Illusionist, and Olivier asks jokingly if his Swamp becomes a Forest during his upkeep. He attacks with Cursed Ronin for one, which gets Reciprocated, and plays his fifth Swamp and a Moonring Mirror. Marco keeps attacking with his Genju and the Mothrider, and Olivier finds his Forest but just says go.

Marco plays Kiri-Onna to bounce Oli's Cruel Deceiver, and Oli plays a board-sweeping Hideous Laughter. He untaps and plays Patron of the Nezumi, which gets a Heart of Light. Olivier recasts his Cruel Deceiver, and Marco has Quillmane Baku. Olivier has some more gas though, with the help of Moonring Mirror. He plays Kuro's Taken and Matsu-Tribe Sniper, which should be very good against Marco's flier-deck. Meanwhile Olivier is at 7 and Marco at 21, with the help of his Genju of the Fields, but Marco doesn't really have any action going on, while Olivier draws some cards with the Mirror. He slowly starts building up his offence, and Marco has only a useless Soratami Savant and Kami of Ancient Law. He also plays Shuko, but Oli quickly responded by activating his Manriki-Gusari in a ninja kind of way. Unfortunately for him, his guy still had summoning sickness. It doesn't matter though, Olivier keeps playing more creatures and there's very little Marco can do about it. The game goes on for a couple of turns, but Marco's deck can't keep up with the Moonring Mirror.

Olivier Ruel beats Marco Castellano 2-0

Sunday, June 12: 11:33 pm - Quarterfinal: Tomas Klimes vs. David Brucker

Tomas Klimes

This match features David Brucker, former European Champion, facing off against Tomas Klimes, who is in his first GP Top 8 appearance. David managed to draft a nice three colour deck and Tomas has a sub-par white/red deck. If David can survive till the late game he has a great shot at winning the game because he has a lot of expensive game-breaking cards like Tatsumasa, the Dragon's Fang and Oyobi, who Split the Heavens. Tomas needs a fast start to stand a chance.

Game 1

Tomas won the die roll and chose to play first. His opening hand consisted of 2 Mountains, Thoughts of Ruin, Kami of Fire's Roar, Nagao, Shinen of Star's Light and Mending Hands. After some deliberation, he decided to keep it. Fortunately for him, he found a Plains in time to summon a turn 3 Shinen of Star's Light and a turn 4 Split-Tail Miko. David had played a Ashen-Skin Zubera in the meantime and used the channel ability of Shinen of Life's Roar to ensure that Split-Tail Miko had to block while it was still summoning sick.

Tomas couldn't find a fourth land though and had to spent a couple turns doing nothing. David on the other hand had no trouble getting up to enough lands and burst out another Shinen of Life' Roar and Moss Kami. He topped off his curve with a Vine Kami. When Tomas eventually found his fourth land, it was already too late. Sure, he cast some decent creatures: Nagao and Burning-Eye Zubera. But David started to use the "you can't block my huge monsters" ability of Shinen of Life's Roar to ensure that Tomas's life total went down quickly. Tomas did have Mending Hands to stay alive for a turn, but thanks to Death Denied David managed to use the Shinen ability for the third consecutive turn and Tomas had no answer to that.

David 1 - Tomas 0

Game 2

David Brucker

Tomas played first again and has lands of both colors in his opening hand this time. Turn 2 Split-Tail Miko and turn 3 Shinen of Star's Light looked like a great start…until he missed his fourth land drop. Same unfortunate scenario as game 1. David seemed to have mana troubles as well because his first 4 lands were 2 Plains and 2 Swamp. No Forests to be seen.

Miraculously, Both players drew the required lands next turn, enabling them to actually cast spells. Tomas made a Moonlit Strider and David cast a Burr Grafter. A double block by Burr Grafter and Ashen-Skin Zubera took down the Shinen of Star's Light next turn, while Tomas improved his board with Nagao. David cast Scuttling Death, ready to soulshift back Burr Grafter. On turn 7, David attacked with Scuttling Death and cast Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens. Tomas then played Kitsune Dawnblade and tapped Oyobi, which was the only untapped creature on David's side of the board. He sent all his creatures into the red zone and David had 8 life left after that attack.

It seemed to come down to how many Spirit/Arcane cards he could come up with. If he could make a couple 3/3 flyers with his Oyobi, he'd surely win the game. David still had a Scaled Hulk left in his hand and triggered Oyobi a couple more times on the verge of his soulshift chain. As if that wasn't enough, he also had Sosuke's Summons to make sure he could chumpblock Tomas's creatures. He had no trouble winning the game with 12 power worth of flyers. David Brucker advances to the semifinals.

David 2 - Thomas 0

Sunday, June 12: 11:41 pm - Semifinal: David Brucker vs. Leonard Barbou

Leonard Barbou

This green-on-green matchup features a total of 5 Shinen of Life's Roar between the two decks, while no player has a reliable way of stopping it. It is likely that every point of damage will count in these games, because Shinen of Life's Roar will force a lot of damage through before you know it. Leonard has a green/red deck, while David is with green/black/white.

Game 1

David wins the die roll and chooses to play first. He keeps his hand, while Leonard has to look at 6 lands and Blademane Baku: an easy mulligan. His 6 card hand holds more spells, so he keeps. The first Shinen of Life's Roar comes out on Leonard's side. David has Waxmane Baku and gains a counter on it with a Shinen of his own. The Shinen immediately takes down Shinen of Fury's Fire and Leonard casts Shinka Gatekeeper. David then passes with 5 mana open. Could he be mana flooded or does he have a trick up his sleeve? Leonard wants to see what's up, so he attacks with his Shinka Gatekeeper. David blocks with Waxmane Baku and saves it with Strength of Cedars, dealing 7 to Leonard through Shinka Gatekeeper.

David then improves his board with Honden of Night's Reach and Scaled Hulk. Leonard manages to play a Briarknit Kami and a Shinen of Life's Roar, but loses a Ronin Cavekeeper and a Frostwielder to the Honden in the meanwhile. Leonard's hand is now empty, so he is playing from the top of his deck. David wasn't out of gas though: Tatsumasa, the Dragon's Fang threatened to take over the game and he followed it up with Vine Kami, triggering a "wow" from Leonard. Because David was still at 18 life and had a Waxmane Baku, the Shinen of Life's Roar all-in plan wasn't going to work. The top of his deck didn't supply Leonard with a solution to this situation and a couple turns later he scoops up his cards.

David 1 - Leonard 0

Game 2

David Brucker

Leonard has a fast draw: turn 1 Frostling, turn 2 Blademane Baku, turn 3 Petalmane Baku. David tries to come up with a defense and casts Sakura-Tribe Elder, but Leonard goes for the beatdown play: Frostling shoots down the Elder right away, clearing the board for Blademane Baku, which hits for 3. David has some more cheap blockers left though: Ashen-Skin Zubera and Hand of Cruelty stop the beats. David then starts the huge monster onslaught with a 7/6 Okina Nightwatch. Leonard musters a Briarknit Kami in the meanwhile, but his creatures are outclassed by David's board. This is evident when David attacks with Okina Nightwatch and Hand of Cruelty. Leonard can't come up with a good block, so he lets both of them through.

Leonard taps out next turn for 2 more random creatures, but David has Shinen of Life's Roar to make sure his big creatures can't be blocked. He easily deals lethal damage and Leonard extends the hand.

David 2 - Leonard 0

Sunday, June 12: 11:52 pm - Semifinal: Olivier Ruel vs. Giulio Barra

Olivier Ruel

This is the matchup Olivier really didn't want to see. Not only would it mean his friend Quentin Martin would've lost the quarterfinals, it also meant he had to stave off an almost impossible matchup on his way to the finals. Giulio's deck is good by any standards but against Olivier it's even better as his Razorjaw Oni will basically make all his creatures unblockable.

"At least his Horobi's Whisper can only kill one of my creatures! But yeah, this matchup is terrible."

Game 1

Things didn't seem all that bad though as Olivier ninja'd out a Throat Slitter on turn three to kill Giulio's Moonwing Moth and followed it up with his first pick: Kiku, Night's Flower. Giulio figured the coast was pretty much clear to attack with his Hired Muscle next turn but that wasn't quite the case. Two lands plus Throat Slitter equals seven which just happens to be the casting cost of Patron of the Nezumi. The enormous rat smashed the Hired Muscle and to rub it in Olivier added Hand of Cruelty to his team of game winning bombs. Giulio couldn't deal with any of those three monsters and he scooped up his cards in disgust, mumbling in Italian all the way. At least Olivier had the decency to blush.

"This seems like a good matchup to get the best draw I've ever had in this format."

Game 2

Giulio Barra

The bad things didn't end there for the Italian as he mulliganed a six land, Indomitable Will hand into a one lander into a five hand that was fairly decent. Ruel matched Giulio's first mulligan but he kept his next six and led with a Kuro's Taken and Kiku, Night's Flower. Meanwhile Giulio was busy drawing all the spells in his deck as his hand filled up with Death Denied and Indomitable Will to go with his many lands. An Okiba-Gang Shinobi only compounded his problems and when he had to pass on turn five again the game seemed all but over. Fortunately, he had drawn Hail of Arrows to at least put a stop to the discarding and he even managed to kill Kiku with Kagemaro's Clutch. The Frenchman smelled blood though and followed up with Lifespinner and Moonring Mirror. Barra was thwarted at every step of the way. When his Hired Muscle tried to stop the rampaging Lifespinner with a little help from Indomitable Will Olivier had the Hideous Laughter. With three cards underneath the Mirror and a three to none creature advantage in the Frenchman's favor Giulio knew his cause was lost and he conceded. Olivier Ruel moves on to the finals where he will battle for the right to reach the mystical and as yet undisclosed Level 7, featuring naked women and free sushi.

2 Olivier Ruel - 0 Giulio Barra

Sunday, June 12: 11:59 pm - Final: David Brucker vs. Olivier Ruel

David Brucker

This is it, one more game to decide the title and it comes down to the two most experienced players in the Top 8. David Brucker, from Germany, was European Champion back in 2002, and has quietly managed a few consistent finishes since then. Not much needs to be said about Olivier Ruel other than that he is red red hot at the moment. He already has a GP win in Champions block limited and finished in the top 4 of PT Philadelphia.

Both players are playing black-green, although in Ruel's case the green is only a splash for three cards. Brucker's mana base is much more extravagant as he has somehow managed to squeeze in white for Oyobi and Waxmane Baku.

Olivier won the die roll and opted to start. He curved out nicely with a Hankyu, followed by Kuro's Taken (off the top) and then a Takenuma Bleeder. Brucker's only reply was a Shinen of Life's Roar. Ruel got a hit in with the Bleeder and then gave the Hankyu to the Kuro's Taken.

Brucker spent his fourth turn summoning a Burr Grafter and then swung with the Kuro's Taken. This gave Olivier the interesting choice about whether he wanted to trade the taken for the Burr Grafter. He tapped it to put a training counter on the Hankyu and took 1 damage instead. He struck back with the Bleeder and summoned a Kami of Ancient Graves.

The Kami had to block the Shinen and both went to the graveyard as the Burr Grafter pushed through. Ruel had a narrow lead in the damage race of 14 to 10 and had the better board position. Brucker left the Burr Grafter home on defensive duties. He blocked the Bleeder and pumped it to large proportions with a Strength of Cedars. The Hankyu kept it from resolving, although Brucker was able to soulshift back the Shinen. As bad as it looked it could have been worse as Ruel hardcast the Throat Slitter lurking in his hand.

Then the game got a little more interesting as Brucker hit his seventh land, a plains, and summoned Oyobi. The rare legend looked more than capable of turning the game around single-handedly unless Ruel had an answer. The Frenchman swung with all his men forcing a block on the Throat Slitter with Oyobi. Unchecked Growth made the rat ninja big enough to beat the big bird in a fair fight and that looked to be it for Brucker.

He made a Vine Kami, which took down the Throat Slitter, but Brucker still took 4 damage from the overlap to be left at a precarious two. Ruel went to turn the screw as he bolstered his forces with a Cruel Deceiver and Lifespinner.

Brucker wasn't quite dead. A Scaled Hulk and Shinen of Life's Roar meant Ruel could only overlap with the 1/1 Kuro's Taken. That was enough though as he was able to Ninjutsu the rat into a bigger rat, Okiba-Gang Shinobi.

Ruel 1-0 Brucker

Brucker fetched a second swamp with a Tribe Elder that enabled him to cast a Hand of Cruelty. Ruel also had the pro-white samurai as well as Kuro's Taken and a Hankyu. An Okina Nightwatch looked like it could possibly be scary, but a Waking Nightmare ensured Olivier kept the hand size advantage. The Frenchman was still waiting for his fourth land. Kagemaro's clutch shrunk Ruel's Hand of Cruelty, but didn't finish it off.

A Okiba-Gang Shinobi snuck through to finish off Brucker's hand and then the game got a little brutal as creatures traded in the red zone. The Nightwatch remained unscathed as creatures died around it. The board was a Moonring Mirror for Ruel and the Nightwatch for Brucker. The life totals were 16 to 10 in Brucker's favor.

The Mirror started accumulating cards as Ruel set himself up for the long game. He needed to deal with the immediate problem of Brucker's fatties. The German laid a seventh land and Ruel was pleased to see Vine Kami enter play and not Oyobi. A pair of Kuro's Taken took care of the Kami, although Ruel couldn't regenerate both. Another creature appeared for Brucker and with the overlap he was able to smash through for the game with a Strength of Cedars.

Ruel 1-1 Brucker

And now … the decider.

Brucker had to take a mulligan. Ruel looked the capitalize as he summoned a Hand of Cruelty and then equipped it with a Manriki-Gusari before charging in.

Brucker wasn't doing to badly for his mulligan. On turn three he had all three colors out and was able to follow a Shinen of Life's Roar with a Waxmane Baku. A fourth land gave him the mana to cast a Kagemaro's Clutch and deal with a Cursed Ronin before it got too out of hand.

Ruel was still getting the beats in with the Hand and then joined it with Kami of Empty Graves. Brucker started whittling down his hand with a Honden of Night's Reach. He summoned an Ashen Skin Zubera.

Olivier Ruel

Then came perhaps pivotal moment in the game. Ruel went into his attack step. The Waxmane Baku tapped the Kami of Empty Graves down before it could be declared as an attacker. The Hand came in and Brucker chose to let it through rather than chump with the Ashen Skin Zubera. An Okiba-Gang Shinobi leapt out of the unblocked samurai and ripped the remaining two cards out of Brucker's hand. They were a Scaled Hulk and Oyobi.

"Nice catch," Ruel said.

Brucker drew successive Death Denied to repair the damage, but Ruel's deck had him so far on the defensive he had to resort to fetching back Zuberas just to stay alive. A Waxmane Baku kept him alive long enough to cast Oyobi, but even that mighty legend couldn't save him as the Moonring Mirror kept finding Olivier enough creatures to maintain enough of an overlap to crash in for the win on the following turn.

Olivier Ruel beats David Brucker 2-1 and is champion of GP Bologna!

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