Grand Prix Paris 2011

It was the biggest weekend in Magic history! First, the unfinished business of last year's Player of the Year race was finally finished, when Brad Nelson emerged victorious against Guillaume Matignon to take the title. Then there was the Pro Tour where after three days of fierce competition and in a star-studded Top 8 Ben Stark defeated Paul Rietzl to hoist the trophy.

And finally there was the Grand Prix … Grand Prix Paris 2011 was the largest Limited tournament of all time. 2,182 players started the tournament on Saturday morning and fought through nine grueling rounds of Sealed play. 279 made the cut, played the extra round on Saturday and returned on Sunday for Mirrodin Besieged / Scars of Mirrodin booster draft. And once again, the cream rose to the top, highlighted by German Juggernaut Kai Budde who made his fifteenth (!) GP Top 8. But that was all he made. This weekend belonged to the Americans. All three trophies went to the US.

In the GP it was first-time Top-8er David Sharfman from Florida who left his mark on Magic history. He drafted a strong blue-green deck with Thopter Assembly as his only bomb, but with two Volition Reins to grab his opponents' big cards. He also used three bounce spells, two Quicksilver Geyser and one Disperse , to take full advantage of his Viridian Corrupter . This strategy proved succesful in crushing his opposition: 2-0 followed 2-0 and only in the finals did he lose his first game, though he still came out on top.

Congratulations to David Sharfman who bested 2,181 players to become the champion of Grand Prix–Paris 2011!


top 8 bracket


(1) Dimitris Davios

(8) David Sharfman

(4) Gerald Leitzinger

(5) Sveinu Bjørnerud

(2) Christian Hüttenberger

(7) Lewis McLeod

(3) William Lowry

(6) Kai Budde


David Sharfman, 2-0

Gerald Leitzinger, 2-0

Christian Hüttenberger, 2-0

William Lowry, 2-1


David Sharfman, 2-0

William Lowry, 2-1


David Sharfman, 2-1


  • by David Sutcliffe
    William Lowry vs. David Sharfman
  • by Tobi Henke
    David Sharfman vs. Gerald Leitzinger
  • by David Sutcliffe
    Christian Huttenberger vs. William Lowry
  • by David Sutcliffe
    Kai Budde vs. William Lowry
  • by Tobi Henke
    Christian Hüttenberger vs. Lewis McLeod
  • by Nate Price
    Gerald Leitzinger vs. Svenvng Bjørnerud
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Dimitris Davios vs. David Sharfman
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8:
  • by David Sutcliffe
    Top 8 Feature:
    Kai Budde's Top 8 Draft
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Top 8:
    Player Profiles
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Day 2 Coverage
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Day 1 Coverage
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet


1. David Sharfman $3,500
2. William Lowry $2,300
3. Christian Hüttenberger $1,500
4. Gerald Leitzinger $1,500
5. Kai Budde $1,000
6. Sveinung Bjørnerud $1,000
7. Lewis Mcleod $1,000
8. Dimitris Davios $1,000

pairings, results, standings


16 15 14 13 12 11


16 15 14 13 12 11


16 15 14 13 12 11

Black Bracket


10 9 8 7 6 5 2 1


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Green Bracket


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Blue Bracket


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

Davios Dimitris

Name: Davios Dimitris

Age: 26

Hometown: Athens, Greece

Occupation: Electrician

What was your record? Day One/Day Two:

8-1 Day 1 / 5-0-1 Day 2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? How did you do?


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Nothing Special.

Valentine's Day tomorrow – if you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody – real of fictional, who would it be?

To my girlfriend. She came here with me. you know Paris, Valentine's Day… GPT!

OR What's the most Romantic thing you've ever done?

You're kidding me, right?

David Sharfman

Name: David Sharfman

Age: 21

Hometown: O-Town, Florida

Occupation: Medical Assisstant

What was your record? Day One/Day Two: 9-1 Day 1 / 5-1 Day 2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? How did you do?

Yes, Top 200 (158, I believe)

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Top 8 US Nationals, Multiple PT Top 50s and GP Top 16s.

Valentine's Day tomorrow – if you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody – real of fictional, who would it be?

One of those hot French girls I see walking through the city everyday.

Will Lowry

Name: Will Lowry

Age: 23

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Occupation: IT Support

What was your record? Day One/Day Two: 9-1 Day 1 / 4-1-1 Day 2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? How did you do?

Yes. Stormtide Leviathon

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

3 PTs?

Valentine's Day tomorrow – if you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody – real of fictional, who would it be?

I'm not telling.

Christian Hüttenberger

Name: Christian Hüttenberger

Age: 27

Hometown: Darmstadt, Germany

Occupation: Student

What was your record? Day One/Day Two:

10-0 Day 1 / 5-1 Day 2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? How did you do?

Yes, 11-4-1, Place 19

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Pro Tour – Prague Top 8

Valentine's Day tomorrow – if you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody – real of fictional, who would it be? OR What's the most Romantic thing you've ever done?

I don't like either question.

Gerald Leitzinger

Name: Gerald Leitzinger

Age: 27

Hometown: St. Poelten (Live in Vienna) Austria

Occupation: Teacher (History, Literature)

What was your record? Day One/Day Two:

10-0 Day 1 / 3-1-2 Day 2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? How did you do?

Poor! 3-5

Valentine's Day tomorrow – if you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody – real of fictional, who would it be?

Fiancée (getting married in May)

Lewis McLeod

Name: Lewis McLeod

Age: 22

Hometown: Exeter, Devon

Occupation: Student

What was your record by day?

Day 1: 8-0-1

Day 2: 5-2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? If so, how did you do?


Previous Magic accomplishments?

Day 2 GP Brussels. 82nd

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow. If you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody, real or fictional, who would it be?

My girlfriend (who I have to say because she's here)

Kai Budde

Name: Kai Budde

Age: 31

Hometown: Hamburg, Germany

Occupation: Trader

What was your record by day?

Day 1: 10-0

Day 2: 4-2

Did you play in the Pro Tour? If so, how did you do?

Yes, 3-5

Previous Magic accomplishments?


It's Valentine's Day tomorrow. If you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody, real or fictional, who would it be?

Massacre Wurm , if he shows up to celebrate with me.

Svenvng Bjørnerud

Name: Svenvng Bjørnerud

Age: 21

Hometown: Trondheim, Norway (sort of)

Occupation: Social anthropology major/Magic Online grinder

What was your record by day?

Day 1: 8-2

Day 2: 6-0

Did you play in the Pro Tour? If so, how did you do?

I have Protection from PTQ wins, so no.

Previous Magic accomplishments?

Zip. Really. Some GP Day2s and Nationals Top 8s, I guess…

It's Valentine's Day tomorrow. If you could send a Valentine's gift to anybody, real or fictional, who would it be?

Sunblast Angel *kisses*

Feature – Kai Budde Drafts for Top 8

by David Sutcliffe

Kai Budde has not shown many moments of vulnerability in, well, in his entire Magic career – but the first draft here in Grand Prix Paris was one of them. Having emerged on 10-0 from the first day's play Kai fell to an immediate 0-2 record and was a match away from being dumped out of the tournament. The best players thrive under pressure, and Kai turned it around to finish his first pod 1-2, then roared on to a 3-0 win his second draft pod.

As we entered the Top 8 draft there was no doubt that the eyes were on Kai, but the question was which Budde would turn up – the one who struggled through his first draft, or the one who went 3-0 in his second?

Pack One

Kai began with a statement of intent, taking the first card he saw...

Kuldotha Flamefiend , which he chose over Burn the Impure
Ogre Resister immediately reconfirmed his commitment to a red aggressive deck.
Melira's Keepers , chosen over a second Ogre Resister
Flayer Husk over Kuldotha Ringleader
Oculus was a strange 5th pick, a clear countrdraft when he has a Phyrexian Revoker available
Fangren Marauder

Kai's intention was clear – Green-Red, lots of muscle, lots of raw power. The German Juggernaut planned on bulldozing a path to the title.

Mirran Mettle
Glissa's Courier
Dross Ripper
Pistus Strike
Unnatural Predation
Concussive Bolt
Frantic Search
Kemba's Legion

Pack Two

Strata Scythe was a strong pick from a pack that had a Barrage Ogre , Rust Tick , and Arrest
Turn To Slag – better than Heavy Arbalest , Kai decided, but he got to have both...
Heavy Arbalest – but it was worth noting a Putrefax was one of three solid Infect creatures here
Alpha Tyrranax – not often a fourth pick, but the only playable in green or red.
Panic Spellbomb
Blade-Tribe Berserkers

More solid additions to Kai's Green-Red beatdown plan, although it was all pretty expensive stuff.

Liquimetal Coating
Wing Puncture
Barrage Ogre – that had been in Kai's opening booster and he can't have expected to see it table.
Screeching Silcaw
Corpse Cur – a Tel-Jilad Fallen and Corpse Cur tabled round from the pack that had the Putrefax , suggesting the table had only a single Infect deck
Blackcleave Goblin
Copperhorn Scout
Painful Quandary

This was shaping up, but in the first Scars of Mirrodin booster Kai had not seen a single Myr to help him accelerate to his expensive cards. Without them, his mana curve was looking top heavy.

Pack Three

Contagion Engine – the bomb removal rare that can make grown men cry. Slam!
Horizon Spellbomb – perhaps suprisingly preferred to a Darksteel Axe . For a second time there were three Infect creatures in a single booster.
Galvanic Blast
Molder Beast
Silver Myr – snatched up, the first Myr Kai had seen
Molder Beast #2
Blade-Tribe Berserkers
Ezuri's Archers – preferred to an Argentum Armor after much consideration
Ichorclaw Myr
Necrogen Censer
Myr Galvanizer
Kuldotha Rebirth
Turn Aside

And that was a wrap... as Kai built his deck the strengths and weaknesses became clear. The strength was, well... it was strength. Pure muscle power – bunching around four, five and six mana he had beatsticks aplenty. The weakness – what happened before turn four, which quite possibly wasn't much.

"I have plenty of quality cards, but my curve is terrible – it's not my fault though I just couldn't have done anything to fix it. There were no Myrs, nothing like that. It's actually not that bad I dont think. I have lots of random combinations that are quite powerful... a lot of synergies that could be pretty strong... Molder Beast and Firelord. If you look at all my draft decks they really clustered around 4 and 5 mana, but its not deliberate – I'm first-picking things that cost 3".

The good cards for me seemed bunched as well, like I got a first pick Contagion Engine from the third pack, then nothing, then a Galvanic Blast and Spikeshot Elder at the same time, so I kept having to pass good cards on. The first pack first pick was the same, I passed on something like 4 or 5 good cards to everyone else.

I just have to hope my opponents don't come out quickly – if we get into the late game my guys should be bigger."

Top 8 – Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Will Lowry

Gerold Leitziner

Davios Dimitris

Svenvng Bjørnerud

Christian Huttenberge

David Sharfman

Kai Budde

Lewis McLeod

Quarterfinals – Dimitris Davios vs. David Sharfman

by Marc Calderaro

Floridian David Sharfman has been around this block before. Though it's his first Grand Prix Top 8, he's finished in the Top 16 multiple times, and almost got there at US Nationals. He's drafted a fun, fun blue-green build with multiple Volition Reins , Bellowing Tanglewurm s, Quicksilver Geyser s and the pièce de résistance, a Thopter Assembly . His only problem? "I have no mana myr. At all." Looking at his deck, 2-drop acceleration was indeed a glaring omission. "I passed three Plague Stinger s pack three. I don't want to face that guy."

Dimitris Davios, hailing from Athens, Greece, may not have all three Plague Stinger s, but he's got one. He didn't want to go infect, but the cards just kept coming. And when a late second-pack Putrefax was gifted to him, he had little choice in the matter. It's Davios' second Grand Prix and his first time in the lights. He told me this is only his second time drafting infect, so it'll be different for him, but his cards certainly have the ability to punish Sharfman's lack of early plays.


Game 1

Davios led off with Fume Spitter , Ichorclaw Myr , and an Arrest on Sharfman's Perilous Myr . The American returned in kind with a Viridian Corrupter aimed right at the Ichorclaw's icky claws. When the Viridian Corrupterer was sent into the red zone the next turn, Davios blocked, then sacrificed the Fume Spitter and tried a Virulent Wound to finish off the twisted Elf. But Sharfman had a Disperse to not only prevent the poison counter, but also allow him to re-use the powerful green uncommon.

Sky-Eel School came down and attacked against Davios' empty board netting his first damage, then added insult to injury with his big ol' Thopter Assembly . Davios was already low on gas and merely added a Plague Myr to respond to the flying threats.

David Sharfman

After making his first five flyers, Sharfman simply recast the Assembly. Davios untapped and drew. He thought long and hard, and then he scooped into Game 2.

David Sharfman 1, Dimitris Davios 0

Sharfman thought it ok to strain his mana base for the Arc Trail he had originally cut, and asked the judge for a Mountain . The Trail is so good against infect, Sharfman knew it was worth it. And plus, he had the Horizon Spellbomb for additional virtual copies of the land.


Game 2

Davios thought it best to have the extra card, so he made Sharfman play first. However, it was the Grecian who cast the first two spells of the game – an Origin Spellbomb and Ichorclaw Myr . It seems Sharfman's Viridian Corrupter had something against that clawed Myr, as it pointed directly at the Myr again and sent it packing.

Dimitris Davios

Sharfman continued the infect route with a Tel-Jilad Fallen , and swung in to get Davios to 5 poison counters. The Corrupter traded with a new Corpse Cur in the process, but Sharfman replaced it with a Blight Mamba . This was hilarious only to Sharfman, because he had drawn every single infect creature in his deck. But Davios had no way of knowing that. More blockers were made for Davios and more blockers died with -1/-1 counters. The Origin Spellbomb token, and a Plague Myr binned; they were replaced by a Plague Stinger .

Sharfman threatened with another Thopter Assembly , but this time Davios was ready with a timely Revoke Existence . The board was looking to settle with Davios at 8 poison counters, but no way for Sharfman to get his 3/1 protection from artifacts through. That is, until he cast his Bellowing Tanglewurm . The Wurm roared loudly into the night, ending Davios' Top 8 run.

David Sharfman 2, Dimitris Davios 0

David Sharfman advances to the Semifinals!

Quarterfinals – Gerald Leitzinger vs. Svenvng Bjørnerud

by Nate Price

Gerald Leitzinger from Switzerland and Svenvng Bjørnerud from Norway both earned their right to be here. Leitzinger made his way in by virtue of a 10-0 run in Saturday's Sealed deck portion of the tournament. Bjørnerud had to come from behind, needing his 6-0 run through Draft to pull his way into Top 8.

Bjørnerud chose to play first. His first four turns gave him nothing but Mountain s. On the other side, Leitzinger had a Silver Myr and a Moriok Reaver . With no defenses to fight through, Leitzinger quickly put Bjørnerud down to fifteen. On the following turn, Bjørnerud showed why he hadn't committed anything to the board.

Slagstorm ripped Leitzinger's team to shreds, giving Bjørnerud the chance to play an Oxidda Daredevil onto an empty playing field. LEitzinger had a Rusted Slasher to defend himself, but nothing in play to regenerate. When Bjørnerud attacked in with his Daredevil on the following turn, Leitzinger just let it past his guard. Bjørnerud then filled his board with a Goblin Gaveleer and a Myr Galvanizer . On his following turn, the Gaveleer picked up a Darksteel Axe and started swinging. It wasn't his weapon of choice, but he made good use of it, posing enough of a threat that Leitzinger had to use a Quicksilver Geyser to return the Axe and the Myr Galvanizer to Bjørnerud's hand. When Bjørnerud went to replay them, Leitzinger was ready with a Steel Sabotage to stop the Axe.

Gerald Leitzinger

On his turn, with two cards left in hand, Leitzinger played a Moriok Replica . Bjørnerud attacked him with his Galvanizer and Daredevil. Leitzinger stuck his Reaver in front of the Galvanizer and the Slasher in front of the Daredevil. Before damage, Leitzinger got tricky. A Twisted Image pulled an Aquamoeba act, turning his Slasher into a 1/4. In addition, he sacrificed his Replica, drawing even more cards.

For his turn, Leitzinger built his team. A Sylvok Replica and Tangle Hulk joined his squad, eager to help out. When Bjørnerud simply passed the turn, Leitzinger gave them their chance. He sent his Tangle Hulk into attack, dropping Bjørnerud to ten. He then added a seemingly out of place Scourge Servant to his board.

Tangle Hulk

Bjørnerud was in some trouble. He hadn't really added anything to his board since he got blown out, and he was falling behind quickly. He did manage to find a Flameborn Hellion which he played after combat. On the following turn, Leitzinger simply played a Plated Seastrider and passed the turn. Now, Bjørnerud had to attack. He sent his Hellion over, simply obeying the card text because he had to. That gave Leitzinger the opportunity to double block it with his Seastrider and Scourge Servant . Bjørnerud chose to kill the Seastrider, leaving the infect creature alone.

The next couple of turns saw Bjørnerud recruit only a Spiraling Duelist to his team, while Leitzinger added a Mortarpod and more infect creatures, the entire time attacking with his Servant. At one point he countered a Trigon of Corruption and then used a Blue Sun's Zenith to fill up his hand. With his threats never seeming to stop and Bjørnerud running low on chump blockers, Leitzinger forced the concession just a couple of turns later.

Gerald Leitzinger 1 – Svenvng Bjørnerud 0

Bjørnerud chose to play first for the second game as well. This time around, he got off to a much better start. Darksteel Axe came down on turn one, followed by a Myr Galvanizer to pick it up on the third turn. Leitzinger made a Mortarpod and a Moriok Reaver in the meantime. The Galvanizer swung in unequipped on the following turn, dealing the first damage of the game. He followed that up with a Peace Strider , which Leitzinger matched with a Trigon of Corruption .

Peace Strider
Strider Harness
Strider Harness

On his turn, Bjørnerud played a Strider Harness , equipped it to his Peace Strider to make it a 4/4, and sent his team.

"I have to think a minute," Leitzinger informed him. After that minute of thinking, Leitzinger chose to put his Mortarpod in front of the Galvanizer and the Reaver in front of the Strider. The Mortarpod blew itself up before damage to make sure that the Moriok traded with the Strider. After combat, Bjørnerud simply moved the Harness over to his Myr and passed the turn. For his turn, Leitzinger found a Trigon of Corruption of his own to slowly deal with Bjørnerud's board. Slowly was a problem, though, as Bjørnerud moved his Axe over to his Myr and bashed in. Leitzinger bought himself a little time with a Moriok Replica , which jumped in front of the Myr for one turn and then drew him some cards. He also found himself a Plated Seastrider to pick up the Mortarpod .

Svenvng Bjørnerud

Bjørnerud found himself a Spin Engine to pick up the weapons on the next turn, and quickly set about sending it over. When he sent it in, Leitzinger used his Trigon and the Mortarpod to finish it off. All Bjørnerud could follow it with was a mere Iron Myr . Leitzinger filled the empty space on his board with a massive Quicksilver Gargantuan , which he chose not to copy.

"I don't want it to be an artifact," he explained when Bjørnerud looked a little confused.

After making himself another Plated Seastrider to pick up the Mortarpod , Leitzinger passed the turn. Bjørnerud decided to go for the throat. Not the card, just the action. He used a Concussive Bolt to dome Leitzinger for four and send his team over for another seven, knocking Leitzinger to five. A Slagstorm pushed him down to two. Over consecutive turns, Leitzinger used his Trigon to finish off the Iron Myr in play. Other than that, Leitzinger added nothing to his team. His opponent did not follow suit. Bjørnerud added an Oxidda Daredevil , which he equipped with the Harness, and a Kuldotha Ringleader to his team. When he tried to make a Snapsail Glider as well, Leitzinger stopped it with a Halt Order .

Ready to finish the game, Bjørnerud put all of his equipment on his Ringleader and sent his creatures in. Leitzinger smartly chose to block the Galvanizer with his Seastrider and the Ringleader with his Gargantuan. He then used his Trigon to shrink the Ringleader so the Gargantuan would survive. Before damage, the Seastrider shot down the Daredevil. That left the enormous Gargantuan as the only creature on the board. It proceeded to turn sideways three times to finish the game. Bjørnerud did have one last hurrah, as he drew and played a Spikeshot Elder , which was lethal with the amount of mana he had in reserve. Before the card left his hand, Leitzinger played a Stoic Rebuttal , ending Bjørnerud's chance to extend the match.

"Those cards just destroy my deck," Bjørnerud said, pointing to the Mortarpod and Trigon. "They kill like ten of my creatures."

Gerald Leitzinger 2 – Svenvng Bjørnerud 0

Quarterfinals – Christian Hüttenberger vs. Lewis McLeod

by Tobi Henke

Quarterfinal – Christian Hüttenberger vs. Lewis McLeod

by Tobi Henke

"Third time?", asked Christian Hüttenberger as he sat down across from his favorite opponent of the day.

"Let's hope not," Lewis McLeod said and laughed. The two had already played twice today with both matches going to Hüttenberger. Actually, Hüttenberger had been the only player to defeat him at all.


Game 1

The game started with Necropede from Hüttenberger which ran into Dispense Justice on turn three. Nothing much happened for a couple of turns and then it again was Hüttenberger who took the intitiative, casting one and then another Loxodon Partisan .

Christian Hüttenberger

In the meantime McLeod had cast a Pierce Strider and now summoned Kuldotha Ringleader , which tried to trade with one of the elephants. Instill Infection prevented that, but Arrest finally took one of the Partisans down.

Hüttenberger cast Sylvok Lifestaff and Clone Shell , while McLeod made Myrsmith . Hüttenberger equipped Clone Shell and attacked with his one remaining elephant. McLeod cast Oxidda Scrapmelter and destroyed the Clone Shell . That was hardly an improvement for McLeod, though, as it turned out that Indomitable Archangel had been hiding under the Shell. McLeod also cast Glint Hawk and returned Pierce Strider to his hand.

On his turn, Hüttenberger attached Sylvok Lifestaff to Loxodon Partisan and attacked with both creatures. Oxidda Scrapmelter chump-blocked the elephant, while the Indomitable Archangel got in for 5 to put McLeod at 4.

Pierce Strider returned, and with Glint Hawk on chump-blocking duties, McLeod tried to survive at least one more turn. Hüttenberger's Flesh Allergy , however, wanted to hear nothing of that.

Christian Hüttenberger 1-0 Lewis McLeod


Game 2

The second game began with Sylvok Lifestaff for Hüttenberger, Myrsmith for McLeod. Both players had a big blocker with Loxodon Wayfarer for McLeod and Priests of Norn for Hüttenberger. They also each had one champion to go on the offense, Kuldotha Ringleader for McLeod, Indomitable Archangel for Hüttenberger. And continuing the theme of symmetry, both had a removal to get rid of their opponent's attacker. Hüttenberger had Go for the Throat , McLeod had Turn to Slag .

Lewis McLeod

But Hüttenberger's vigilant Priests of Norn spread some poison among McLeod's creatures, especially after they had been equipped with Sylvok Lifestaff . So McLeod's Blade-Tribe Berserkers and Pierce Strider weren't on top of their game anymore, when Hüttenberger drew another round of attackers. Instead, McLeod dealt with Kuldotha Forgemaster with Arrest and shot a Nested Ghoul with Burn the Impure . But Hüttenberger still had more, and again cast two Loxodon Partisan s over the next couple of turns.

Together with the 2/2 token (from Nested Ghoul ) the two Loxodons got McLeod down to 3. Then, Hüttenberger cast a third artifact ( Necropede ) and Bleak Coven Vampires .

"Man, you really are my kryptonite," said McLeod, offering his hand in defeat.

Christian Hüttenberger 2-0 Lewis McLeod

Quarterfinals – Kai Budde vs. William Lowry

by David Sutcliffe

"You played in the PT?"

Kai Budde was into the mindgames early, scouting out his American opponent to learn whatever he could.

"Yeah, 8-8", Lowry replied – he had nothing to hide it seemed, and the two chatted about their Pro Tour exploits earlier in the week.

"I'm sure I punted like three matches just due to being exhausted through jet lag", explained Lowry, and Budde could feel his pain having spent so many years jetting the globe for Magic.

"Yeah it's so tough for Americans in Europe Flying east is what hurts because it's like you lose a night's sleep. Flying from Europe to the US, or the US to Japan is much easier, it's only like you stay up longer, so it's no problem."

Kai Budde

If Kai's biggest fear was an opponent's speed it seemed he had little to fear from Lowry's deck – a Palladium Myr was the first card from the American's hand, which Budde had a Galvanic Blast for, and then the next 'threat' came from a Rust Tick . This was giving Budde plenty of time to get up to the range where he could begin playing out his big guns, and he started that with a Dross Ripper . Unfortunately Budde then missed his next land drop, and could only follow the Dross Ripper with a Myr Galvaniser, while Lowry played out more cards that could help him keep control – an Embersmith and Barrage Ogre joined the Rust Tick .

A Molder Beast from Budde was a sizeable problem, though, and when Kai played a Flayer Husk , turned the Germ into an artifact with Liquimetal Coating and transferred the Flayer Husk onto it the Molder Beast was suddenly a hefty 8/4! Lowry had nothing that wanted to tangle with the Molder Beast on those terms, and dropped to 12 life, taking the first damage of the match on big chunk, before Budde moved the Flayer Husk over to his Galvaniser.

Lowry needed to answer the threat from the Molder Beast and did so with an artifact. What the artifact was didn't matter, what the artifact did didn't matter... just so long as it was grey, triggered the Embersmith , and could be flung around bynthe Barrage Ogre to kill the Molder Beast . The American then played a Strider harness, strapped it to his Embersmith , and sent it into the red zone, where it was met by Budde's Myr Galvaniser.

Budde played a Blight Mamba , and Lowry responded with a Rust ed Slaher, handing it the Strider Harness then attacking, sacrificing it to the to Barrage Ogre and finish the Blight Mamba off. The Blight Mamba was dead – but wasn't that an expensive way of doing that?

Budde hit back – a Fangren Marauder , although a follow-up Strata Scythe was countered. Neverthless, once the Flayer Husk had been applied Budde's Fangren Marauder was the biggest thing in town, and Lowry had no answer, dropping to 6 life. The next turn Lowry had enough defenses to muster a block and take the Marauder down, but Budde just followed that up with a Molder Beast , handing it the Flayer Husk again. Clinging to the ropes, Lowry had only his Rust Tick left to block with, but a Kuldotha Firelord destroyed the Tick and cleared the way for Budde's Molder Beast to smash home.

Kai Budde 1 – 0 William Lowry

William Lowry

If game one had been exactly what Budde needed, the second game began with a nightmare – Lowry took the first turn and deployed an Embersmith , Palladium Myr and Rusted Slasher before Kai could even get a creature to stick on board – his Blight Mamba falling prey to the Embersmith . Boom-Boom-Boom! Kai was down to 10 life and Lowry had 8 power of creatures in play.

Budde played a Barrage Ogre , Lowry struck again with his Rusted Slasher to drop the German legend to 6, then added a Rusted Relic . This seemed like it was going to be quick!

Budde slammed down a Fangren Marauder but Lowry seemed uncaring and simply slammed all four of his creatures – an Auriok Replica , Palladium Myr , Rusted Relic and Rusted Slasher - into the red zone. Budde threw his Marauder at the Rusted Relic and the Ogre at the Rusted Slasher , sacrificing a Spellbomb to keep his Slasher alive meant Lowry kept most of his creatures on board but the Fangren Marauder had put Budde back up to 12 life in that attack.

Molder Beast was the German's response, but the Beast didn't want to block the regenerating Slasher and the German dropped back to 8. A Dross Ripper from Budde, another attack from Lowry, and Kai was back down to 4. Cryptoplasm joined Lowry's forces, an Ogre Resistor joined Budde's, but it wasn't enough – the Crytoplasm copied the Molder Beast and with the help of it's Trample damage Lowry levelled the match.

Kai Budde 1 – 1 William Lowry

Determined not to fall behind in the early game, Kai found creatures to come easy in the form of Flayer Husk , and some Blade-Tribe Berzerkers. That was a good start, but Lowry was doing better – he played an Iron Myr , copied it with a Cryptoplasm , and threw down an Ogre Geargrabber on turn 4.

Budde replied with a Molder Beast , but Lowry switched his Cryptoplasm to a copy of the Geargrabber, handed it a Strider Harness , and sent the two newly-minted Ogres into the red zone. The Geargrabber wrenched the Flayer Husk from Budde's Germ token, killing it, and Budde was forced to block the equipment thief with his Molder Beast . That meant he took the Husk back, but left him with just the Blade-Tribe Berzerkers in play, and he was down to 9 life already.

Budde looked to be backed into the corner – he needed a defense fast and found it in the form of a Kuldotha Firelord, although sacrificing his Flayer Husk only managed to kill Lowry's Iron Myr as the Strider Harness had but Lowry's Geargrabber out of reach.

9 life to 20, it was Budde's Firelord and Blade-tride Berzerkers versus Lowry's Ogre Geargrabber (with Strider Harness ), but before the two players could become too embroiled in who would win that fight, Lowry dropped a bomb.

Kuldotha Phoenix - To The Air! Budde was suddenly down to 4 life and out of answers for the sudden appearance of a giant flying bird made of pure fire... he pulled a card, grimaced, then swept up his cards. William Lowry had disabled the German Juggernaut and was into the Semi Finals of Grand Prix Paris!!

Kai Budde 1 - 2 William Lowry

Semifinals – Christian Huttenberger vs. William Lowry

by David Sutcliffe

Sometimes a match sets itself up, and the coverage team don't really need to do much more. This is one of those times – just check out these two statistics:

Christian Huttenberger's record in the Grand Prix: 15-1

Christian Huttenberger's record against William Lowry: 0-1

The only loss in the entire Grand Prix had been to his semi-final opponent. Was this to be revenge, or was Huttenberger cursed to lose again?

William Lowry

Game 1

Huttenberger led his bid for revenge with a Painsmith , some infectious Priests of Norn , and a Sylvok Lifestaff , but Lowry had the answers early on, with Auriok Replica that kept the Painsmith home and a Shatter to stop the Sylvok Lifestaff from doubling the Priest's potency. The American swept onto the offensive with his Kuldotha Phoenix , adding a Barrage Ogre to his team on the next turn. Huttenberger's Priests of Norn nibbled back, dealing a few poison counters, but the flood of offense from Lowry seemed endless. An Instill Infection shrunk the Kuldotha Phoenix to a more manageable size, but Huttenberger's lifetotal was still only going one way. He was down to 8, and Lowry was only up to 4 poison – this was a race that the German was nowhere near winning.

Another attack from the Phoenix dropped Huttenberger to 5, then Lowry played a Firelord, putting the German to 1 and then flung an artifact across the table with Barrage Ogre to finish the game.

Christian Huttenberger 0 – 1 William Lowry

Game 2

The second game was a transformation from the first, Lowry starting with plenty of mana acceleration but no punchline – a Palladium Myr and Iron Myr were poor targets for his Cryptoplasm . Across the table, Huttenberger was in no mood to compromise. A Loxodon Partisan and Glimmerpoint Stag smashed Lowry down to 10 life in a couple of turns, and he followed up with a Neurok Replica .

Christian Huttenberger

For all Lowry's mana Myr he was actually starved of land – only three - and it was a weak point Huttenberger attacked, using a Mortarpod to kill Lowry's Palladium Myr .

A Lumengrid Drake was Lowry's response, putting the Loxodon Partisan back in hand to buy time. Bleak Coven Vampires from Huttenberger, and with Metalcraft they immediately dropped Lowry to 6 life. Huttenberger followed that up with his Mortarpod , which flung the dead body of a Leaden Myr at Lowry's Iron Myr , setting the American back to just three mana once again.

Finally beginning to pull lands, Lowry refused to quit. He armed his creatures with Bladed Pinions and a Strider Harness , dropping to three in Huttenberger's next attack but making it expensive for the German, killing both the Bleak Coven Vampires and Glimmerpoint Stag , but dropping to 3 life. Lowry found a Clone Shell , but 3 life was simply too few when your opponent has a Mortarpod .


That was the sound of Huttenberger's troops being turned (quite literally) into cannon fodder, as the German leveled the match.

Christian Huttenberger 1 – 1 William Lowry

Game 3

Lowry seized the decidig game with the iron grip of control – a Vedalken Anatomist , and a Cryptoplasm that duplicated it to make sure he could quickly whittle down anything Huttenberger dared to play. Huttenberger's only hope was to find creatures that ar least had some toughness to them – a Strandwalker , and Kuldotha Forgemaster would suffice.

Vedalken Anatomist

Unfortunately the Forgemaster just fed Lowry's offense – the Cryptoplasm copied it, and when the American played a Necrogen Censer is activated his Rusted Relic . Shatter removed Huttenberger's original Forgemaster and Lowry smashed home, putting the German to 9 life. Huttenberger desperately assembled a semblance of a defense, but Lowry had a Lumengrid Drake to send his opponent's creatures packing and wrap up a place in the final of Grand Prix Paris!

Christian Huttenberger 1 – 2 William Lowry

"You like your deck?"asked Huttenberger, as the dust had settled.

"I do now!" laughed Lowry, "Not when I made it – it looked fun but it's actually good. The Cryptoplasm is amazing!"

Semifinals – David Sharfman vs. Gerald Leitzinger

by Tobi Henke

David Sharfman from the US brought a sweet blue-green deck to the table, whereas Gerald Leitzinger of Austria had drafted blue and black.


Game 1

Contagious Nim

Leitzinger had a start you don't see often, with Plated Seastrider followed by Contagious Nim . Sharfman had Glissa's Courier as his first drop and blocked the Contagious Nim when it attacked. Leitzinger's Instill Infection saved his Nim.

Sharfman went without play on his next turn, while Leitzinger cast Silver Myr and got in for the first two poison counters of the match. Sharfman cast Viridian Corrupter and destroyed the Myr. Nim and Viridian Corrupter er traded in combat and Leitzinger made a new Gray Ogre : Moriok Replica .

Next Sharfman cast Sky-Eel School . Leitzinger fought back with Trigon of Corruption , but Sharfman took the Trigon for himself with Volition Reins .

Leitzinger made Tangle Hulk , but was still missing his splashed green mana. A damage race developed. Leitzinger tried to decide it in his favor when he cast Quicksilver Geyser on his Trigon of Corruption and his opponent's freshly-summoned Bellowing Tanglewurm , but Sharfman used Disperse to return Volition Reins to his hand in response, then replayed it to take control of the Tangle Hulk which he—unlike his owner—could actually regenerate.

Leitzinger replayed his Trigon, but that proved to be a little slow in dealing with Sharfman's creatures. Fortunately he found a Forest which allowed him to use Sylvok Replica to get rid of Volition Reins .

Mirran Mettle
Untamed Might

But just at this point a combination of Mirran Mettle and Untamed Might on Sharfman's Sky-Eel School ended the game.

David Sharfman 1-0 Gerald Leitzinger


Game 2

Both players didn't seem to run dedicated infect strategies in the first game. This time, however, we appeared to be in some alternative universe where everyone was playing the evil twin of their deck: Plague Stinger traded with Blight Mamba , Tel-Jilad Fallen died to Contagious Nim . Even Viridian Corrupter got involved to kill Mortarpod . Well at least he tried, but Leitzinger saved it with Steel Sabotage and replayed it.

Stoic Rebuttal

While Leitzinger was stuck on four mana and couldn't use any of his counters—he held Halt Order and Stoic Rebuttal as well as another Rebuttal he had boarded in for Plated Seastrider —the fat arrived on Sharfman's side. Sky-Eel School meant Leitzinger was in danger of falling behind even further and had to tap out again. This left an opening for Sharfman to cast Thopter Assembly , and that sealed the deal.

David Sharfman defeated Gerald Leitzinger 2-0 and advanced to the final of Grand Prix–Paris 2011.

Finals – William Lowry vs. David Sharfman

by David Sutcliffe

An All-American finish to Grand Prix Paris, after an All-American finish to Pro Tour Paris and an American winner of the Player of the Year showdown – this Magic Weekend was a resounding success for Team USA, whoever proved the victor in this showdown, and they would be returning with every piece of silverware available. All that was left to be decided was in whose hands the Grand Prix trophy would be flying back across the Atlantic

William Lowry took the first turn, but it began without much ceremony – a Flight Spellbomnb and Throne Gex were hardly killer plays. Sharfman had no responses to this so Lowry followed up with his Cryptoplasm , which Sharfman took the chance to read. Lowry could only hope that Sharfman didn't realise quite how power the 'Plasm had been so far in the Top 8 – it was only masquerading as a 2/2 Gray Ogre for the time being.

Glissa's Courier was the first outing from Sharfman's deck, which the Cryptoplasm duly copied, gaining a Strider Harness to attack to four, before Sharfman played his next creature – a Tel-Jilad Fallen . Lowry steadied his board with a Clone Shell , then when Sharfman played a Sky-Eel School Lowry simply upgraded his Cryptoplasm once again. The combination of Cryptoplasm and Strider Harness was a powerful one – whatever the best creature was in play, the Cryptoplasm was a copy of that creature but with +1/+1!

Just a second – was that a copy of a copy? No – William Lowry actually had two Cryptoplasm s – that was two Sky-Eel School s. This was just brutal – the harder Sharfman fought to defend himself, the better he made Lowry's deck... TIMES TWO! The duplicate Eels struck home, putting Lowry to 6 life, while Lowry still sat healthily on 14.

A Quicksilver Geyser offered Sharfman hope, returning both the Cryptoplasm s to hand – that cleared the way for his creatures to attack and he knocked Lowry down to 9, adding a Thopter Assembly . The Quicksilver Geyser has turned the tide of the match – Lowry couldn't rely on his Cryptoplasm s to copy the Thopter Assembly . He played a Palladium Myr and equipped it with the Strider Harness , but a turn later succumbed to the swarm of Thopters that headed across the table to him

William Lowry 0 – 1 David Sharfman

David Sharfman

A game down despite drawing both his Cryptoplasm s, Lowry raced onto the offensive in a hurry to get back into the match. An Embersmith was joined by an Iron Myr and Rusted Relic while across the table David Sharfman watched impassively behind a row of land and nothing else. A Flight Spellbomb was Lowry's third artifact and turned the Rusted Relic into a beatstick – Sharfman was down to 8 life in just a few turns and had yet to cast a spell!

Molder Beast was his offering, but Lowry retaliated with a Bladed Pinions to send his Relic into the skies – it soared over the Molder Beast and Lowry had fought his way back into the match in six turns.

William Lowry 1 – 1 David Sharfman

Sheer speed had won William Lowry the second game, and it was his go-to plan in the deciding game of Grand Prix. He began with an Iron Myr and Lumengrid Drake , then added a Barrage Ogre on the fourth turn. Crucially, this time Sharfman had the first turn, but he also had plays – a Viridian Corrupter destroyed Lowry's Iron Myr , and a Bellowing Tanglewurm arrived to dissuade Lowry's Barrage Ogre from attacking.

William Lowry

That set up a straight race between Lowry's Lumengrid Drake , dealing two normal damage each turn, and Sharfman's Viridan Corrupt er – the Corrupt er was unblockable thanks to the Tangle wurm, and was dealing 2 poison counters per turn.

13 life vs 2 Poison counters

11 life vs 4 Poison counters

9 life vs 6 poison counters

This was a race Lowry knew he was going to lose - he needed more damage from somewhere. His first attempt to find that was to play a Necrogen Censer but Sharfman had a Halt Order ready for it, then when Lowry played a Clone Shell on the next turn Sharfman was waiting once again. This time it was a Quicksilver Geyser – the very card which had won him the first game returned to spoil Lowry's plans, and the Lumengrid Drake and Barrage Ogre returned to his hand.

The race was more straight forward now, and the Viridian Corrupter completed Sharfman's inexorable march to victory – 8 Poison, 10 Poison. It was incredibly simple but incredibly hard to stop and David Sharfman sealed the Final of Grand Prix Paris to whoops and cheers from his supporters around the feature match area.

William Lowry 1 – 2 David Sharfman