Posted in GRAND PRIX STRASBOURG 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 29, 2014

By Wizards of the Coast

The dress rehearsal for the World Magic Cup had barely begun before these two team captains were paired up against each other. Dickmann is the captain of the German team and Hall of Famer Raphaël Lévy is both reigning champion and captain of this year's French Team. It would be a battle of captains, and, as it turned out a battle of Mardu Champions.

"So you never won a single match against Kai Budde?", Dickmann asked, when the topic of German captains was brought up, and Lévy's inability to beat them.

"I beat him once, the last one we played." Lévy calmly replied. As the two drew their opening hands.

Raphaël Lévy

Dickmann was on the play for the first game, but it was Lévy who took the first action, with a mulligan to six. Hoping that his new cards would be better.

Dickmann started things off with a Ainok Bond-Kin on turn two and outlasted it on his third, while developing his mana with Nomad Outpost and Mystic Monastery.

Lévy had a Mardu Hateblade, and took out the Bond-Kin with Kill Shot on his third turn.

Dickmann didn't mind though, as Mardu Hordechief came down, and created a 1/1 Warrior token in the process.

Lévy went to refill his hand with Bitter Revelation. He got a tough decision with the choice between his third color of land (Mountain) or Disowned Ancestor, Krumar Bond-Kin or another Swamp. He took his time before before settling for Mountain and the Ancestors.

Dickmann kept growing his board with another Ainok Bond-Kin, and attacked Lévy down to 17 with his Mardu army.

Picking the Mountain left Lévy somewhat restrained on black mana, since he also wanted to keep up mana for Deathtouch on Mardu Hateblade. This left him unable to summon both the Disowned Ancestor and a Blood Soaked Champion that was in his hand, along with a Rush of Battle.

Dickmann kept playing the game as if he only knew one hear – full speed ahead. As he once again sent his entire team into to attack.

Mardu Hateblade traded with his morph (Horde Ambusher) and the attack sent Lévy to 10 life, before Dickmann summoned a Timely Hordemate, getting back the Horde Ambusher.

Lévy finally summoned his Champion, along with a Chief of the Edge, trying to hold the fort against Dickmann's forces. But Dickmann wasted no time to keep his gear stick set to attack, and cast Suspension Field, taking out Disowned Ancestors and once again attacking with everything. Adding his own Bloodsoaked Champion after combat and Lévy quickly scooped up his cards and went to sideboarding.

"I'll play," a clearly more focused Lévy exclaimed for the second game.

"Have fun," Dickmann threw back at him.

Patrick Dickmann

This time Lévy kept his opener, although it was a risky one. It contained only two Swamps and a Mountain for mana, meaning he would need to draw more or some good cheap spells to be on top of things.

His first Swamp was met by Bloodfell Caves and his second with Flooded Strands, fetching a Plains and summoning Ainok Bond-Kin showcasing how Dickmann's deck seemed better equipped at getting all his colors of mana.

Lévy summoned a morph, but still had not drawn any more lands. Dickmann outlasted Ainok Bond-Kin, allowing Lévy to get in for two with the Morph and trigger Raid for Mardu Skullhunter discarding Flying Crane Technique from the German's hand.

Butcher of the Horde was Dickmann's comeback, and Lévy could only raise his eyebrows, baffled by the powerful flier.

Stuck on three lands, Lévy could only add another Morph to the table, hoping that he would squeak out of the precarious position before Butcher of the Horde would attack too many times.

Dickmann however, had more Mardu madness, and summoned Zurgo Helmsmasher, who joined the Butcher to battle.

"Declare attacks?," Dickmann asked.

"Yup," Lévy sighed, clearly annoyed both by the quality of his opponents deck and his owns unwilling to cooperate.

Mardu Skullhunter could stop Zurgo Helmsmasher for a turn, but when yet again didn't find a land, Lévy quickly extended his hand in defeat.

"Sorry," Dickmann said. As Lévy showed him his hand of Throttle, two Alabaster Kirin, Feat of Resistance and his own copy of Zurgo Helmsmasher.

"You really need to hit every land drop until turn 5 or you are so far behind it's hard to come back," Dickmann summed up the game. And the fast match left him with a full 25 minutes to convince Raphaël Lévy to play his Splinter Twin Deck in the Modern portion of the World Championships next week.