The tournament, like every Grand Prix, had been full of memorable stories, of exciting matches, of interesting decks doing interesting stuff. The following are our Top 5 picks, the five moments which made Grand Prix Warsaw an event to remember …
5. When We Realized Just How Many Pro Players Came to Warsaw
ChannelFireball invited pros like Martin Jůza, Frank Karsten, and (18) Andrea Mengucci to gunsling on Friday
26 out of 1,113 players at Grand Prix Warsaw had three byes, by virtue of either being in the Pro Tour Hall of Fame or having reached Gold or Platinum in the Pro Tour Players Club. Such a huge turnout was virtually unheard of, and we weren't the only ones surprised by it.
As Platinum pro Oliver Polak-Rottmann put it: "26 players with three byes? I don't think I've ever been to a European Grand Prix with this many pros. I don't think we had 26 players with three byes last week in Providence even, and that was a week after the Pro Tour."
4. When Thomas Hendriks Crashed the "Undefeated" Players Photo
Thomas Hendriks (second from the left) didn't go 9-0 but was undefeated on Day 1 as well
As is tradition, the final photo taken on Saturday shows the players who went 9-0 on Day 1. Two others had been undefeated at this point with eight wins and a draw, but it was Dutch Gold Level pro Thomas Hendriks who had, kind of, earned his spot in the photo by going an incredible 6-0-3.
Even Pro Tour champion Jérémy Dezani (second from the right) was impressed
Hendriks even continued his winning (and drawing) streak deep into the second day. He ended the tournament with eleven wins and four draws, still undefeated, the only undefeated player actually, and only failed to make the Top 8 on tiebreakers.
3. When Black-Green Delirium Dominated the Top 8
See that lone rider in the middle of the spooky Ulvenwald? That's what it must have felt like for the two non-delirium players in the Top 8
When the smoke had cleared at the end of the Swiss rounds, six of the eight spots in the playoffs were taken by Black-Green Delirium, four by the traditional control version plus two by a more aggressive variant.
This development wasn't entirely new but rather the logical continuation of what had come before. White-Blue Flash had still dominated Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur with six copies in the Top 8, then Grand Prix Providence had had four Black-Green Delirium decks in the Top 8, alongside just one white-blue deck, and now, at Grand Prix Warsaw, black-green's numbers had increased still. What's next? Well, with regards to Standard, Grand Prix Denver and Grand Prix Madrid are next, on December 2–4.
2. When Gabrielius Kaklauskas Made his First Grand Prix Day 2
"All I wanted was to make Day 2, maybe make a little money," said Gabrielius Kaklauskas
Gabrielius Kaklauskas had only played in about five GPs in his life. He had made it to the World Magic Cup twice as part of the Lithuanian team and played in one Pro Tour. But, so far, a Day 2 finish had always eluded him.
Not anymore. In Warsaw, his time had come, and in a big way too. Not only did he qualify for the second day, he also made it to the Top 8, to the finals, and didn't stop there. Kaklauskas couldn't believe it. "All I wanted was to make Day 2, maybe make a little money," he said in disbelief.
1. When Thalia, Heretic Cathar Kept Ishkanah, Grafwidow out of the Way
Thalia, Heretic Cathar was put to good use by Gabrielius Kaklauskas in the finals against Niels Molle. First, the legend made a few of Molle's lands come into play tapped, then it stopped both Ishkanah, Grafwidow and its Spider tokens from blocking the way.
As Simon Görtzen put it, "Kaklauskas knew what he had to do, and he executed it. The match wasn't particularly spectacular, but it was well played nevertheless."
Congratulations to Gabrielius Kaklauskas, champion of Grand Prix Warsaw 2016!