Posted in Event Coverage on August 28, 2016

By Tobi Henke

The tournament, like every Grand Prix, was full of memorable stories, of exciting matches, of interesting decks doing interesting stuff. The following are our Top 5 picks, the five moments that made Grand Prix Lille an event to remember.

5. Guillaume Wafo-Tapa Proved True Control to Be Viable

Maybe. At the very least, the French Hall of Fame member, known for his love of, his expertise on, and his success with control decks, proved that he himself could win with a deck unlike any other. His Esper Control featured a total of three nonland permanents, three Snapcaster Mages, instead relying on just Celestial Colonnades and a singleton Secure the Wastes to close games. He only lost one match on Day One and was 9-2 at one point before finally falling out of Top 8 contention.


4. Mike Boulinguiez Only Ever Lost Two Matches at the GP Level

Which is a little misleading, but true nevertheless. When I interviewed Mike Boulinguiez after his 9-0 run on Day One, I was surprised to learn that this was actually the very first Grand Prix the 23-year-old from nearby Paris ever played in. Running an interesting version of Scapeshift/Through the Breach, Boulinguiez made it all the way to the quarterfinals and could now add another first, his first Pro Tour, to his résumé. His story should be a lesson to everyone sitting at home thinking that a Grand Prix is only something for the experienced pro players. Next time it could be you!


3. Jund Dominated Day One

Well, securing an eighteen percent share of the Top 100 would hardly be considered "dominating" in any other format. But in Modern, where we have come to expect an unrivaled diversity of strategies, this really was a huge number. In the end, only one Jund pilot broke into the Top 8, but just a little further down in the standings sat two former Pro Tour champions: Remi Fortier finished tenth with his rather generic Jund deck, while Jérémy Dezani finished in eleventh place with his unique take on the archetype featuring four main-deck copies each of Swamp...and Blood Moon!


2. A Top 8 as Diverse as Ever

When the dust of the Swiss rounds had settled, eight players from seven different countries gathered in the feature match area, running the full gamut from seasoned pro to literal first-time Grand Prix player. And they were playing eight quite different decks too! There was one Jund, one Titan-Scapeshift, one Infect, one Affinity, one White-Blue Control, one Death's Shadow Aggro, one Bant Eldrazi, and one Green-White Hatebears here. And in ninth place? Amulet of Vigor/Sakura-Tribe Scout!


1. The Turn-Four Rule Was Thoroughly Broken in the Final

Which isn't to say that none of the Top 8 decks had a little something in common. In fact, Infect and Death's Shadow Aggro which clashed in the final, had an immense overlap in their general approach to the game, exemplified by Become Immense. Good sportsmanship was in evidence all throughout the weekend, but when it comes to Magic strategy, the goal always is to play unfair. Both of these decks did, and in Game 1 of the final, lethal damage was dealt on turn two!

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