Day 1: Coverage of Grand Prix–Brighton 2009

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Day 1 of Grand Prix Brighton is at an end!

After 9 rounds of M10 sealed deck, we have 111 players in for drafting on Sunday. Riding high at the top of the standings is Kevin Grove, who only a few weeks ago conquered at the Dutch National Championships. Joining him with a perfect record are Robbert Menten and Dennis Stone of Belgium and Arnost Zidek of the Czech Republic.

Chasing in the pack are an impressive array of names including Olivier Ruel, Steve Sadin, Tomharu Saito, Martin Juza and Stuart Wright. Of the pros that travelled here, most are still in the running for money, with only Shuhei Nakamura, Christophe Gregoir and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa standing out as high profile names who couldn’t find the 7-2 record they needed to make day 2.

Tomorrow we will be keeping our eye on what has been called the greatest core set draft format ever, pick by pick, play by play, to bring you the stories that come as 111 vie to become Grand Prix Brighton champion. See you then, right here on!



  • Saturday, 10:53 a.m. - The Lord of the Manor
    by David Sutcliffe
  • Chris Eubank. Not quite as eccentric as Bjork.
    There are many prizes on offer at any Grand Prix - money and Pro Tour points for starters, not to mention honour, fame, trophies and glory to those who seal a place in the Top-8 spotlight – but in Brighton there is currently a greater prize on offer. Should you want to, you can become the ‘Lord of the Manor of the Brighton’.

    Some boxing aficionados among you may recognise the name of Chris Eubank – in the early 1990’s this British boxer was the WBO Middleweight Champion of the World. Despite his unfortunately un-macho lisp, Eubank made good his own claim of being “Thimply the betht” by defending his title 14 times against the likes of Nigel Benn, Lindell Holmes, and Michael Watson. Eubank eventually lost his title, and after a defeat to an up-and-coming Joe Calzaghe in 1995 the former champ hung up his gloves and made a concerted attempt to become the most eccentric celebrity on the planet by purchasing, in short order:

    • A bowler hat and monocle
    • A huge Peterbilt 379 truck
    • A prime building in Brighton, which he dubbed ‘Buckingham Palace’ before demolishing it to create flats for the homeless.
    • The title of ‘Lord of the Manor of Brighton’

    And then proceeded to drive around his new ‘manor’ in his big shiny truck wearing his bowler hat and monocle, waving at his subjects from the cab.

    Be afraid. Be very very afraid.
    His ploy for eccentricity almost worked, but unfortunately Chris was beaten into second place in a 2006 BBC eccentricity poll by Icelandic pop Imp, Bjork. Despite his lifetime earnings topping £35,000,000, Chris Eubank has now fallen on hard times. Shedding his assets, Eubank has had to put his title of ‘Lord of the Manor of Brighton’ up for sale at an estimated value of around £30,000, putting it right in the spending range of your average Pro Tour champion.

    So what would Kazuya Mitamura or Gabriel Nassif get if they chose to invest their Pro Tour gravy into becoming the Lord of the Manor of Brighton this weekend?

    Well, while it may sound like a bit of fun the title of ‘Lord of the Manor of Brighton’ is a very serious one which dates back nearly 1,000 years, to the Domesday Census of 1086, when Brighton was a small Saxon fishing village on an English coast that had been freshly conquered by the Normans in 1066. Despite being a Lord, the title doesn’t grant any +1/+1 bonuses but the Lord of the Manor of Brighton is entitled to tax his subjects for all the Herring caught in the Village - a tax that was actually collected for over 800 years.

    In Medieval times this title would also have entitled it’s bearer to mint their own money and establish their own systems of justice, and they would also have been required to recruit armies from the peasantry whenever there was a war. Should he want to emulate William The Conqueror in 1066, Gabriel Nassif would be able to ‘draft’ the rest of the Grand Prix competitors into his army, and continue the long tradition of Frenchmen declaring war on the English!

    Perhaps we’re safest if the Lordship stays in the eccentric, but British, hands of Chris Eubank after all...


  • Podcast - I've Got A Little List
    by Rich Hagon
  • Multi

    Well, actually I've got a pretty big list, since this is a hefty old Grand Prix, at least by British standards. M10 has brought the Pros out in force, and in our opening burst of audio pleasure, we mark your card for the weekend ahead. To close the show, we have a fantastic tale of Matt Light, a player determined to put the T firmly into "Trading Card Game". Start off with a One With Nothing, spend twenty minutes trading like a man possessed, what do you end up with? Tune in to find out.

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  • Feature Match - Round 3: Neil Rigby vs Peter Rodway
    by Tim Willoughby
  • There are many things that Great Britain is known for. At one time the British Empire was the largest on the globe, which was dominated by the colour pink, which presumably Queen Victoria chose because she quite liked that shade for all the nations under her control.

    Neil Rigby, AKA: The Pink Panther
    Since then, Britain’s dominance has been in other areas. One thing that Britain is known for, rightly or wrongly, is its wit. The subtle understated comedy that manifests itself quite naturally in the UK something of which the nation remains rightly proud. This is the comedy which doesn’t raise a laugh, or even necessarily even a smile. It is subtler than that. There have already been over a gross of quality jokes in this paragraph alone. Some of them will hit you days or even weeks later, at which time you’ll spontaneously find yourself incapable of carrying on with what you’re doing, and rather need a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

    Carrying on in the great tradition of Oscar Wilde and Noel Coward, there is English Magic’s own Neil Rigby. A gentleman, a scholar, and sometime acrobat, ‘Riggers’ came along this weekend to compete in both the National Championships and the Grand Prix. With a multitude of Pro Tours under his belt, and a couple of byes to get him started he was looking forward to getting cracking with M10 sealed this fine Saturday morning. Sporting a morning suit first worn at Pro Tour Honolulu, he cut an impressive figure as he shuffled up.

    “How many byes did you have Peter?”



    Neil lost the roll, and found himself drawing first, something that didn’t seem to phase him too much. He had the first play of the game in Llanowar Elves, and followed up with Borderland Ranger for a Plains to go with his Mountain and Forest, while all that Peter had on the board was a pair of Forests.

    An Awakener Druid was the first play for Peter, who seemed a little dejected when Neil showed an Entangling Vines for the Forest that was now a sizeable monster. Peter had a Soul Warden and started gaining back life in small increments while taking Borderland Ranger beats. The first life Peter gained was from a Silvercoat Lion entering the battlefield for Neil. The Lion was taken down in blocks by Soul Warden with Righteousness, and while Neil had an Elite Vanguard to follow up with, Peter had a second Soul Warden, which threatened to make any hope of racing an optimistic one at best.

    A little light on lands, Peter played Excommunicate on his own Awakener Druid, in order to effectively net another land due to Entangling Vines disappearing, and then some life and a 4/5 when it finally returned.

    Neil was in a tricky spot, and drawing many lands, but had just the trick to stay in the game. When that 4/5 Forest crashed in along with a Craw Wurm, Neil had Safe Passage to keep a host of blockers alive and kill off the monsters.

    Peter Rodway
    A Whispersilk Cloak and Centaur Courser provided Neil with a potential rout to victory, assuming that not too many creatures got cast on either side of the board. The life totals were 14 to 13 in Neil’s favour, but a Bramble Creeper proved an effective fighter, who forced a double block from Neil.

    A Wurm’s Tooth added to Peter’s lifegain plan, and gave Neil a target for an Acidic Slime. Ajani Goldmane then put Peter on the offensive, but possibly by too much, as he got his Soul Wardens killed in combat.

    What Peter did achieve though, was attacks that gradually ground Neil down to just 3. Ajani didn’t last long thanks to Whispersilk Cloak and Centaur Courser, but it didn’t matter, as Neil didn’t require much more killing. Rigby had a massive amount of lands in play, and had to start hitting spells to stay in the game. He had Giant Spider and Emerald Onyx, desperately looking for blockers to stay in the game. A Blinding Mage made Neil’s life harder, and he was forced to play Pacifism on Awakener Druid, just to protect his life total.

    A second Blinding Mage stopped any offence that Neil might have had, and when Peter found another attacker in Centaur Courser, it looked that the game must have been sealed for Rodway, who curiously was not attacking with his whole team, in spite of no cards in Rigby’s hand and a very small amount of damage needed to seal things.

    A Safe Passage kept Neil in the game briefly, but Master of the Wild Hunt made things look harder still, if that was indeed possible. Neil spent a little time pointing out to his opponent the best way of finishing him off from his clearly unwinnable position, before scooping up his cards.

    Peter Rodway 1 – 0 Neil Rigby

    “At least I have some card advantage by letting him go first” remarked Rigby, who was less than tickled pink by having to mulligan all the way down to four.

    “This will be a pretty masterful win if I pull this one out”

    “If I draw Forest, Island, Plains, Rafiq I might have a shot. Apart from the DQ.”

    A Deadly Recluse squared off against Runeclaw Bear from Rigby, who thought he might be in the race, until he saw a Soul Warden. This didn’t stop him from casting Elvish Piper though, and noting that he could use the ability on his rare to stop Wurm’s Tooth from Peter triggering.

    When Rodway played a fourth land, it met a boooo from Rigby, which only grew when he saw that it enabled a Master of the Wild Hunt. While Neil had found a Serra Angel, his powerful flyer would not help while the wolves were doing their thing, especially with Ajani Goldmane to help his team.

    Neil scooped his cards up, flashing the Fireball that he was drawing live to for the entire first game. He had put up more of a fight than expected in the second game, but couldn’t face down the two powerful mythic rares so down on cards.

    Peter Rodway wins 2 – 0.


  • Saturday, 2:40 p.m. - “So what happens if neither of us can lose?”
    by Tim Willoughby
  • During round 2 I was cruising around trying to get a feel for what colours are being played here at GP Brighton. Looking around on the tables, there were actually a fair number of basic lands of all types in play, with a lot of players electing to splash either for power concerns, or simply due to quite fragmented card pools.

    While Olivier Ruel, who is very happy with his deck today, has managed to stay in just 2 colours, favouring one heavily, for many others this just hasn’t been possible. Looking around, it seemed that for most players, red was the most commonly splashed colour, and typically for some of the powerful suite of removal spells that the colour offers. Lightning Bolt, Pyroclasm, Fireball and the occasional Earthquake are great reasons to think about having mountains in play, but it seems that most players, at least for sealed, are eschewing red permanents.

    In fact, having cruised from table to table, I found that before I saw more than one red permanent in play in any match, I had found something a little more interesting. On one side of the table, Platinum Angel got killed off. A Rise From the Grave put it back into play for its owner though, and he was ready with protection against further removal, with a Whispersilk Cloak.

    Where things got more complicated were when Platinum Angel joined the team on the other side too though. At this point neither player could win the game, nor could either lose it.

    Conveniently though, a Tendrils of Corruption stuck for enough damage to take down the Big Plats who had not thought to make sure she had something to wear before stepping onto the battlefield. It turns out that Earthquake isn’t the only legitimate way to get a draw in M10 sealed deck!


  • Podcast - Pro Show is Go!
    by Rich Hagon
  • Multi

    As we head through the opening rounds, more and more players get to join in the fun. That includes none other than The Pink Panther, a curiously-attired Brit Pro Neil Rigby, who has a tale of woe so fierce, we actually can't broadcast it in its entirety. Round four introduces the biggest names in the world to the Feature Match area, and we focus in on a terrific head to head between former Belgian Champion Pascal Vieren, and the American raider Gerry Thompson. Oh, and remember that One with Nothing story from earlier today? We give Matt Light a proper trading challenge. Trust me, this is something to behold.

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  • Feature Match - Round 4: Olivier Ruel (FRA) vs Antti Malin (FIN)
    by David Sutcliffe
  • Olivier Ruel
    Round four is when a Grand Prix gets truly serious as all the heavy hitters on three byes finally get to play their Sealed pools in anger. The pairing computer has thrown up several great ties here in Brighton, but the standout matchup is between Hall of Famer Oliver Ruel, and the reigning World Champion and Vintage specialist Antti Malin. Neither player could have been happy to have such a brisk introduction to the Grand Prix and they spent a little while trying to size each other up while they shuffled.

    “How’s your deck?” the Finn asked

    “Pretty good,” Ruel replied. I think this is the deck I’ve most enjoyed playing during M10. That’s how much I like my deck. How’s yours?”

    “It’s not the best deck I’ve had in this format, but it should make day two. Although I’ve only played M10 twice and the last time I had two Siege Gang Commanders.”

    “I’m glad this deck isn’t better than that, then.”

    Malin began the match on the front foot, immediately taking his offensive to the air with a Stormfront Pegasus and Griffin Sentinel. Olivier Ruel fought back with a Warparth Ghoul on the ground, and a Tendrils of Corruption to kill a Razorfoot Griffin as soon as Malin played it, but the Finn was undeterred and played a 3/3 Protean Hydra, then sent his men into the red zone on the following turn, with a Harm’s Way saving his from the Warpath Ghoul Hydra and killing a Merfolk that Looter Ruel had played, then adding a Silvercoat Lion after combat.

    Olivier Ruel was reeling from the tempo of Malin’s play. Under the sudden assault from Malin’s men he found himself down on life in short order. Trying to get a foothold in the game, Ruel’s Assassinate killed the Protean Hydra, but Malin hit again and added a Bramble Creeper.

    Ruel stared at his hand in disbelief “Have I really lost the game with this hand?”. But he had.

    “Was your hand really that good?” Malin asked, as they scooped up their permanents.

    Ruel grimaced, “Yeah”.

    Olivier Ruel (FRA) 0 - 1 Antti Malin (FIN)

    Game 2 began badly for the Frenchman as well, having to mulligan away his seven cards then losing one of the six he kept to Malin’s opening turn Duress. That took away a Ponder, leaving Olivier Ruel holding a Negate, Djinn of Wishes and land.

    Wasting little time in getting on the offensive while he knew Ruel’s defenses were down, Malin played a Warpath Ghoul and Razorfoot Griffin, but Ruel had found his Tendrils of Corruption and they hacked down the Warpath Ghoul. A turn later Ruel’s Djinn of Wishes hit the table and began punching back against Malin’s lone Griffin, and it seemed the tide of battle had turned.

    A Warpath Ghoul arrived on the French side of the table this time, and the Djinn of Wishes called a Gorgon Flail from the top of Ruel’s library to equip onto the Ghoul. Antti Malin found himself holding removal but unable to use it, as he knew that Ruel still had the Negate in hand. Finally the Finn was able to power through, with a Divine Verdict being Negated, but clearing the way for a Doom Blade to finish the Djinn off.

    That still left Olivier with a 4/3 Warpath Ghoul with Deathtouch, however, and the Hall of Famer wasn’t about to let that lead slip. A Diabolic Tutor ensured he saw quality cards, while Malin continued to draw deep into his lands, and as a second Tendrils of Corruption paved the way for his Ghoul to force home the advantage the Frenchman levelled the match.

    Olivier Ruel (FRA) 1 - 1 Antti Malin (FIN)

    “You want to play or draw?”



    “I can’t do both?”

    Antti Malin
    It was Antti Malin’s turn to mulligan in the third game, giving Ruel a chance to take the lead with a Merfolk Looter and Wind Drake, while Malin attempted to stablise through a Griffin Sentinel and Veteran Swordsmith... but the Finn missed a critical land drop and stalled with just three lands in play, while Olivier continued to loot his way towards the best cards in his deck!

    Better yet, Ruel could simply Diabolic Tutor for them, and a turn later an Air Elemental materialised to do the Hall of Famer’s bidding. Malin found land, and allies in the form of a Centaur Courser and Rhox Pikemaster, but Ruel immediately consigned the Pikemaster to the graveyard with his Tendrils of Corruption and sent his airforce soaring over the heads of Malin’s defences for the first damage of the game, setting the lifetotals at 23-16.

    Malin sent his ground forces back at Ruel, 17-16, and replaced the Pikemaster with it’s twin, but the Finn had two cards in hand to Ruel’s five cards and the battle still seemed an uphill one.

    The hill steepened further when Ruel found a second Tendrils of Corruption for the second Rhox Pikemaster before adding a Warpath Ghoul and Cemetary Reaper to his army. 20-16

    But in playing those creatures, Ruel’s hand had shrunk and given Malin fewer known unknowns to worry about, so the Finn felt brave enough to risk playing his trump card - a 5/5 Protean Hydra!

    But Ruel’s trump card trumped Malin’s trump. Mind Control persuaded the Hydra to embrace the French lifestyle, and with a resigned shake of the head Malin handed his prized mythic rare over to Ruel, before taking another hit from the Air Elemental. 20-12.

    The Protean Hydra wasted little time in eating away at it’s former master’s lifetotal... 20-7, 20-2, and with Olivier Ruel’s forces bloated further by Zombies created by Cemetary Reaper the result was beyond doubt, and Malin offered his hand in resignation.

    Olivier Ruel (FRA) 2 - 1 Antti Malin (FIN)

    “Yeah, your deck is better. What did you have in your hand on Game 1?” Malin asked, wondering what it was that Ruel had felt so aggrieved to have lost with.

    “Tendrils, Mind Control, but I drew the fifth land for Mind Control too late.”

    Ruel advances from this clash of the champions, while Malin must regroup for a second assault in the next round.


  • Feature Match - Round 5: Ponderland
    Nick Clark vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Saito Ponders...
    Tomoharu Saito and Shuhei Nakamura have each had a little bit of a rough ride of it in the last week. Following Grand Prix Boston, their complicated travel schedules found them having bags delayed on flights, and then not being able to catch up with them particularly fast due to still more flights for the pair of Japanese pros.

    For Saito, this means that he is not trading cards quite as much between rounds as usual, due to various of his stocks of cards still being in transit. For Nakamura it means that he is down to the suit he stands in for GP Brighton. Each feels that they have the worse part of the deal.

    Nick led off, with a Ponder to get his draws smoothed out, while Saito had just an Island off the hand he had mulliganed into. Deadly Recluse followed for Clark, while Saito again played land and passed. Saito had an Essence Scatter to stop Clark getting too far ahead with an Awakener Druid, but winced as he cast Sage Owl on his own turn, an passed without playing a land. Saito was under no illusions that his deck for this GP was as good as the one he had opened in Boston, and it would require him to work hard get through to the drafting stages even with his 3 byes.

    Nick kept the pressure up, playing a Llanowar Elves and Wall of Frost, before swinging in with his Deadly Recluse. The Englishman was quite aggressive with his spider, and attacked with it again the following turn into the Illusionary Servant that Saito cast upon finally hitting a third land.

    While Nick had a Wind Drake, Saito had a Ponder to get him up to 4 land, and a Kelinore Bat. Saito smiled as he saw a lone Swamp on the other side of the board, and cast a Bog Wraith with which to punish it.

    Clark played an Assassinate on Kelinore Bats, suggesting he had other plans for the Bog Wraith that would soon be attacking without potential to become blocked. Saito wasn’t about to worry too much about that though, and swung in while he could. A Doom Blade from Clark could only deal with Sage Owl, while Saito had an Assassinate of his own to take down Clark’s flyer.

    Hasty use of removal looked all the more concerning as Looming Shade and a Warpath Ghoul came down, with the potential to become large. Magebane Armor also allowed Bog Wraith to swing for even more.

    In a desperation play, Clark used Acidic Slime to blow up his own Swamp, and give him the ability to block Bog Wraith. With Wall of Frost as well, it looked that he might be able to draw the game out longer, though he was on a dangerously low 2 life. Even a Sign in Blood would be enough for Saito to end things.

    After a little thought, Saito ran in with his Bog Wraith and Warpath Ghoul. The Wraith traded with Acidic Slime, while the Ghoul got chilled a little by Wall of Frost.

    Saito was gradually building up for his final attacks, and drew a Merfolk Looter to keep him in gas should Clark find any answers to his desperate situation. In the end though, Looming Shade plus Magebane Armor was enough to finish things, as the amount of Swamps that Saito had were more than enough to allow the ghost to kill off anything that blocked it.

    Nick Clark 0 – 1 Tomoharu Saito

    Nick Clark
    For the second game in a row Clark led with a Ponder, but this time he shuffled his deck with the sorcery rather than just re-ordering the top three. Sage Owl played pseudo-Ponder for Saito, who had effectively stolen the initiative by Clark missing his second land drop.

    When Clark’s second land came on the third turn, he played a Merfolk Looter that looked to get him back in things, but even with its help he was stranded with only blue mana.

    Saito is not the sort of player to let slow starts go unpunished, and while he wasn’t a red deck, he managed to get his beat on just fine with Sage Owl and an Illusionary Servant. He had a Ponder of his own, and passed the turn with 3 mana up.

    The third Ponder of the game came from Clark, who hit a Forest off it, to enable a Birds of Paradise, the ultimate enabler. Saito bashed the Englishman down to 11 though, giving Clark a bit of an uphill struggle to get back in the game and the match. Air Elemental from Clark met a Cancel, meaning that Clark would again be taking 4 in the air the following turn.

    Saito eyed up his opponent. Given that he had kept a 1 land hand, it seemed likely that there would be some powerful cards in there, helped all the more by that Merfolk Looter, who kept doing his thing. He cast a Wind Drake leaving 3 mana up. One of these mana sources, a Swamp, got blown up by an Acidic Slime, but Saito didn’t seem worried.

    Saito attacked Nick down to one and cast a Consume Spirit for one to finish things. When Nick had the Cancel, there was a Negate waiting from Saito to ensure that his opponent would not get one more turn.

    Tomoharu Saito wins 2 – 0!

    While Saito’s deck for this GP is not as immediately exciting as the one that he opened in Boston, it is one that he has a lot of time for, as I has quite a lot of tricks, and with things like his Cancel and Negate, he can make various other decks in the room play fair by countering their bombs.

    He read the field as having a lot of green/white decks, and as such goes against the common perception that this is a format to draw first in. With quite a lot of sealed deck under his belt, Saito felt that M10 was something he has an edge in even with more straightforward cards – an edge that he was hoping to exploit more in draft day on Sunday.

    At 5-0, he still needs another pair of wins to ensure a chance to draft more, but if ever there’s a player who is going to get them, it’s Tomoharu Saito.


  • Feature Match - Round 6: Marijn Lybaert vs Arnost Zidek
    by Tim Willoughby
  • “Yes! Now I get to say hello to my girlfriend!”

    Marijn’s phone was all out of juice, and without a power converter he wasn’t able to charge it back up, meaning that the only method left to the young Belgian pro was to do well enough in the event to be able to periodically send messages to her through the internet.

    On the play, he led off with Elvish Visionary, and while he saw a White Knight from Zidek, he had the trump blocker in Horned Turtle with a triumphant “Ha ha!” on turn three.

    Zidek continued to build up a powerful white team in Stormfront Pegasus and Veteran Swordsmith, but Marijn continued to find the right blockers, with Giant Spider and a Runeclaw Bear.

    Zidek committed a Dragon Whelp to the board, and for the first time in the match had a really profitable attack, as Giant Spider couldn’t be expected to hold out for long against the baby dragon. Berserkers of Blood Ridge followed for Zidek, while Marijn played a Stampeding Rhino, highlighting the difference in creature quality that comes from being the green deck.

    While a lot of creatures had been played, not much of a dent had been made on either player’s life total. Stampeding Rhino traded with the Berserkers, and post combat, Marijn cast a Prized Unicorn – a creature designed to keep from games stalling out too much.

    Zidek’s answer to stalls was to keep getting in with his little dragon, taking Marijn to 11, and then he played a Palace Guard. Now even on a big swing from Prized Unicorn would not be able to end things, as the guard could just block everything.

    A Giant Growth on an already Giant Spider meant that Zidek’s dragon hit the grumper, and Marijn chose to drop the hammer and start attacking. With an Oakenform on Prized Unicorn, he was able to trade it with most of Zidek’s team, and Zidek took damage from the other attackers coming over from Marijn, as he presumably valued his Palace Guard too highly to block more with it.

    A Borderland Ranger found a Mountain for Marijn, for the very common red splash being seen around the room. When Zidek tried a Pacifism on Giant Spider, there was a Negate waiting for it, keeping Lybaert ahead.

    Marijn Lybaert
    Attacks from Lybaert took the life totals to 11 each, but he looked on with concern when Zidek passed the turn with 8 mana up.

    “I have this feeling that you have Bogardan Hellkite” he declared nervously as he attacked.

    In point of fact, only a Lightning Bolt lay waiting, and Marijn was happy to use a big Fireball to clear Zidek’s board, meaning that it only took a couple of attacks to seal things.

    “I would have like to have a Hellkite!” announced Zidek with a smile, scooping up his cards for game 2.

    Marijn Lybaert 1 – 0 Arnost Zidek

    For game 2, Marijn led with a Birds of Paradise, while Zidek had an Elite Vanguard. Lybaert muttered “10 turns” to himself as he cast a Phantom Warrior, and wasn’t even phased by a Stormfront Pegasus from his opponent, with a Fireball ready to kill both of Zidek’s creatures.

    Lightning Bolt from Zidek killed off Phanom Warrior, and White Knight plus Veteran Swordsmith was enough to rebuild quite nicely. Marijn used Prized Unicorn plus a Giant Growth to kill off the Swordsmith, and had a Merfolk Looter soon after, in a game played at brisk pace.

    A Serra Angel from Zidek looked likely to end the game in brisk fashion too. Merfolk Looter dug Lybaert further, but there wasn’t an immediate answer to the flyer. Lybaert was soon at 6, and looked to race by casting an Enormous Baloth. A Palace Guard from Zidek made that plan a rough one though, and it was not long before Marijn, even with the digging, was at rock bottom.

    Marijn Lybaert 1 – 1 Arnost Zidek

    The third game was necessarily quicker than the previous two, as time was ticking down on the round. This seemed to suit Zidek’s aggressive red/white deck more than Marijn’s blue/green splashing red. He led with a Veteran Swordsmith, and soon had a Lightning Elemental to join it, smashing into the red zone, and trading the Swordsmith for a Phantom Warrior.

    While Marijn had an Elvish Visionary to hold off Lightning Elemental, he was left cold by first a Dragon Whelp, then a Serra Angel from Zidek.

    “This is gonna be a hard one...”

    While a Cudgel Troll was there on the ground to make a pretence at there being a race on, it really didn’t look close when Zidek cast a second Dragon Whelp. Marijn nearly set up a big upset with a substantial swing and a pair of Giant Growths, but was ultimately left 2 points short and died to a flying army.

    Arnost Zidek wins 2 – 1, advancing to 6 – 0!


  • Podcast - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
    by Rich Hagon
  • Multi

    We begin our penultimate show here on Day One with a look back at GB Nationals in the company of Head Judge, Nick Sephton. Then it's on to today, where Arjan van Leeuwen is battling in the feature match area, and we intersperse another great match with a glimpse of tomorrow, where our intrepid trader will look to complete his mighty task! Join Rich later for the final round feature matches, starring a host of massive names in the game.

    Download MP3


  • Saturday, 18:10 p.m. - Bragging Rights
    by David Sutcliffe
  • “Jackass meets Facebook”

    That’s how new social networking site has been described. The whole premise of the site is that it’s members ‘dare’ each other to do things, and then when you complete the task and post up photo or video evidence of your deeds you’ll have your efforts voted ‘Cool’ or ‘Lame’ and move up or down the bragging leaderboards. So, what exactly is a dare, and what exactly has this got to do with Grand Prix Brighton?

    Well a dare could be anything at all - it can be specific like “I dare you to eat a puree’d Big Mac” or a bit more open to interpretation, like “I dare everyone to do something that takes REAL skill”.

    And what’s all this got to do with Magic? Well how about...

    That’s right, similar to the way Magic recently teamed up with RYZwear to bring you the ‘Design Magic Sneakers’ contest, now Magic: The Gathering has got together with Bragster to launch a bunch of dares with prizes at the end of them for the most successful brags. So what’s on offer? IPods, Laptops, an X-Box, and how about... A TRIP TO WORLDS!!! If you fancy scooping some of those prizes then there are five dares for you to attempt...

    • Learn to play Magic, or teach a friend
    • Design your own Magic card
    • Leave a stencil or sticker of a Magic symbol somewhere in public
    • Re-enact a Magic card

    Show us how YOU rule with Magic: The Gathering

    You can find all these dares, as well as the efforts that have already been uploaded, by clicking here...

    Some of the entries that have been uploaded already are really impressive, and here’s some of my personal favourites:

    Somewhere inside this dare is a Pro Tour Top-8er

    Is this how YOU rule with Magic?

    And if you want that trip to Worlds you’ll have to do better than this guy...

    This truck stands between you and Worlds

    The competition closes on August 17th, so you’ve got just over a week to get your brags in so that they can be included for the prizes. So what are you waiting for – get your creative hats on and do some bragging!!!


  • Featured Match - Round 7: Olivier Ruel (FRA) vs Shuuhei Nakamura (JPN)
    by David Sutcliffe
  • You cannot accuse Olivier Ruel of sneaking through to Day Two of this Grand Prix through the back door – he has faced tough opposition in almost every round, from World Champ Antti Malin, to Honolulu Top-8er Orsini-Jones, to Japanese legend Shuuhei Nakamura. Shuuhei, meanwhile, has defied his own pre-tournament opinion that his deck wasn’t very good by battling to a 6-0 record. As seasoned coverage writers we’ve learnt that Shuuhei NEVER thinks his deck is very good. And that he’s always wrong.

    By turn four of the first game there were no less than eight Swamps in play, as both players made monochromatic starts – Shuuhei’s Looming Shade was threatening to devour Ruel’s Child of the Night, but could do nothing about the Kelinore Bat that fluttered overhead for a few points of damage. Finally, Shuuhei pulled a Plains to play a Razorfoot Griffin, but that was immediately destroyed by a Tendrils of Corruption from Ruel, which the Frenchman followed up with a 5/5 Nightmare! Fighting for time, Shuuhei was forced to Excommunicate the Nightmare and set up his Blinding Mage for the future.

    The Mage would be able to control the Nightmare when it re-appeared, but Ruel didn’t waste any time in trapping the Blinding Mage in an Ice Cage, then throwing down a Bog Wraith and the Nightmare for a second time. Quite literally swamped by the Swamp-walking and Swamp-powered threats from across the table, Nakamura was quickly overwhelmed.

    Olivier Ruel (FRA) 1 - 0 Shuuhei Nakamura (JPN)

    Shuuhei Nakamura
    Ruel sideboarded a single card after that quick win – taking out that Ice Cage for a Duress. In response Nakamura transformed his deck, switching out over a dozen cards as he made wholesale changes in an attempt to halt that slide.

    Nakamura chose to draw and Ruel attempted to seize the tempo advantage with a Child of the Night as his turn two play ahead of a Merfolk Looter. This was a straight decision between an aggressive 2/1 play and a slower card-advantage option, and it was a call that he came to regret when Shuuhei played an Elvish Visionary on his second turn to fend off Ruel’s threat, then a Vampire Aristocrat of his own.

    Ruel played a Bog Wraith, threatening to punish Nakamura a second time for his use of lands, but Nakamura was prepared and had a Pacifism on hand. Undeterred, Ruel seemed prepared to test just how much removal his opponent had available by casting a Djinn of Wishes. Shuuhei answered with a Blinding Mage that would be able to tie the Djinn down, then played a Gorgon Flail which he attached to his Vampire Aristocrat. At then end of Shuuhei’s turn, Ruel activated his Djinn of Wishes looking for treasure, but only found a basic land, which he put into play.

    The game was now nicely poised as a race. Shuuhei had been able to tie up both Ruel’s Bog wraith and Djinn of Wishes, and was dealing steady damage with his 3/3 Vampire Aristocrat, but in return Ruel was able to dig through his deck for answers with the Merfolk Looter. Could Nakamura win before Ruel found his cards?

    Wait, just a second, back up there? A senior judge arrived in the feature match area having been told by a spectator that something had gone wrong..

    “Olivier, did you put a land into play on his opponent’s turn with the Djinn of Wishes?”

    “Yeah I did. I didn’t think it worked that way but I checked with a judge and they said it did, then I asked another judge and another judge, and they all told me that I could do it... so I did”

    “Ok, well... you can’t. Let me just hold you there guys, I’ll get the head judge”

    This would not bode well for Olivier – putting a land into play on his opponent’s turn would be a serious play infraction that should attract a Game Loss! Fortunately for Olivier, when Head Judge Kevin Desprez arrived at the table he listened to Olivier’s explanation that he’d checked repeatedly with judges before making the play, and downgraded the penalty to a Warning.

    “In the rules it’s clear – there’s nothing that will allow you to put a land into play on your opponent’s turn.”

    So there you go, readers... steer clear of that particular pitfall!

    Back to the game, with the win still carefully poised, Nakamura certainly made his best efforts defeat Olivier before he could find his cards, and played a Zombie Goliath to add to his threats. Tendrils of Corruption removed the Blinding Mage to the Frenchman’s Djinn of Wishes back into the game, but with the Vampire Autocrat having Deathtouch and the Zombie Goliath a 4/3, the Djinn was not going to be sufficient deterrent on it’s own and, for the first time in the match, Ruel began to look concerned. His answer was a second Tendrils of Corruption, killing the Vampire Aristocrat, before he sent the Djinn of Wishes over to hit Shuuhei, and after this the lifetotals were almost level at 13-12 in Olivier’s favour.

    KAPOW! Shuuhei hit back with Zombie Goliath, 9-12

    BAM! Consume Soul from Ruel, sucking the Zombie Goliath dry and levelling the scores at 12-12, but his Djinn of Wishes was struck down by a great Windstorm as it attacked.

    WHAM! Warpath Zombie and a Diabolic Tutor from Ruel

    Wailing Banshee, both players took three damage to make it 9-9.

    Olivier Ruel
    OOF! Ruel continued to draw the juice, with a Mind Control to steal Shuuhei’s Wailing Banshee followed by a Cemetary Reaper, the Frenchman attacked again, and it was 9-4 in Ruel’s favour.

    Drudge Skeletons began the Japanese fightback, and Shuuhei moved the Gorgon Flail onto his Skeletons before he Pacified the wailing Banshee. On the following turn Shuuhei’s new Drudge recruits took down Olivier’s Warpath Ghoul, and that gave Shuuhei the turn’s respite he needed to secure the board, as he played a Deadly Recluse and Royal Assassin. Once again Shuuhei was able to trade away Ruel’s attack, and with his Royal Assassin now active the possibilities for Olivier ever getting another attack through began to disappear.

    Turn after turn the Assassin swept in to remove one of Olivier’s creatures – first the Merfolk Looter, then the Cemetary Reaper fell under his blade, with Shuuhei always drawing another blocker to hold back the threats Olivier spewed forth as he powered towards the bottom of his library. A Craw Wurm arrived for Shuuhei in time to block another Warpath Ghoul, and with that it seemed Ruel had run out of time. His Nightmare appeared, but was rendered impotent by the Royal Assassin.

    It looked briefly as though Ruel’s Merfolk Looter would be final the cause of his demise, as he had only a few cards left in his deck, but Shuuhei found an Awakener Druid and his Treefolk friend was able to power home to win this epic game on damage just a couple of turns before Olivier’s inevitable decking.

    Olivier Ruel (FRA) 1 - 1 Shuuhei Nakamura (JPN)

    After a second game that had teetered and swung between both players to such an extent, there were only 10 minutes remaining for the decider, with both players determined to grab the full three points on offer. But did they have time?

    It was Shuuhei’s turn to take to the front foot in the final game, with an Elvish Visionary and Looming Shade joined once again by an Awakener Druid and his 4/5 forest companion, while Ruel had only a Cemetary Reaper to his name in the early turns. If Ruel appeared in trouble, though, it was only temporary. In his deck a Tendrils of Corruptions never seemed to be far away and the Frenchman was able to kill Shuuhei’s Awakener Druid and shut off the wandering basic land a turn later, then followed that play up with an Air Elemental.

    Keeping it simple, Shuuhei barely blinked at the big blue flyer, adding a Craw Wurm to his army, but Ruel was just as quick to re-raise his opponent with another 4/4 flyer – this one the Nightmare. The Air Elemental and Nightmare traded down with Shuuhei’s Craw Wurm and Looming Shade to clear the table somewhat, but while the Japanese player could muster only a Giant Spider as his second wave, Ruel hit back hard with a Bog Wraith and Djinn of Wishes! From Air Elemental and Nightmare into Bog Wraith and Djinn of Wishes - Ruel was clearly determined to ask searching questions of Shuuhei’s deck in his search for the win.

    Shuuhei’s Gravedigger exhumed the remains of his Awakener Druid, but Ruel punched back with a Wind Drake and a Cemetary Reaper, the two players matching each other blow for blow as their armies expanded across the table – Nakamura replying with a Deadly Recluse and Zombie Goliath. But the deciding card had already been played by Olivier Ruel – it was the Bog Wraith the sidled past Shuuhei’s defences time and again, and then with a final Unsummon to remove a blocker the Frenchman’s airforce joined the assault to seal this hard-fought win.

    Olivier Ruel (FRA) 2 - 1 Shuuhei Nakamura (JPN)


  • Featured Match - Round 8: Jace vs Chandra
    Steve Sadin vs Bernardo da Costa Cabral
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Steve Sadin, writer of Limited Information right here at is having a better time with M10 this weekend than he did in Boston. On a big trip with Gerry Thompson which has included the Kentucky derby, US Nationals and Boston, Steve took a break from playing to cover British nationals, and even after successive elf mirrors testing his stamina, has found himself on good form today.

    Bernardo da Costa Cabral
    His opponent, Belgian pro Bernardo da Costa Cabral had not travelled as far (few have) and sat confidently shuffling as Steve settled in for his feature match.

    Magebane Armor landed for Bernardo on turn three, while Steve had a Centaur Courser. The 3/3 was soon dwarfed when Llanowar Elves came along and suited up, and while Prized Unicorn came along for the American, it too looked ineffective compared with a Lightning Elemental that got to wear armor and swing for 6.

    The Rod of Ruin that came from Sadin just looked far too slow, with Bernardo continuing to drop substantial monsters on the board, this time having a Berserkers of Blood Ridge.

    Steve, with multiple blocks, managed to get Bernardo down to just one creature, but when that one creature was a Lightning Elemental with Magebane Armor, all his efforts didn’t seem nearly good enough. He swiftly scooped up his cards and went to the sideboard.

    Steve Sadin 0 – 1 Bernardo da Costa Cabral

    On the play in game 2, Steve elected to mulligan his opening seven, and seemed relieved to find that Berdardo had to do the same. Both players kept their six, and Steve led off with Jace Beleren, which he used to draw a card.

    A Centaur Courser was the first play from Bernardo. This wasn’t anything Jace was too scared by, dropping to just 1 loyalty to draw Steve another card. The reason soon became clear, as a Doom Blade killed off the 3/3. Bernardo resolved a Prodigal Pyromancer and passed.

    “Gimme a card!”

    “Thinking about it... nope, thought about it and I’m just going to have one for myself”

    “So greedy”

    Jace hit the bin, and Steve played a Giant Spider, which would prove quite the wall on the current board, which Bernardo only added to with a Rod of Ruin, for heightened pinging capabilities.

    Steve wasn’t too worried by pingers, playing first Borderland Ranger and then Centaur Courser. The following turn he got well stuck into the red zone. Prodigal Pyromancer blocked Centaur Courser, and Bernardo showed a Giant Growth. There was one from Steve too though, meaning that the 1/1 was (now 4/4) was a deader. Craw Wurm followed for Steve, who still had 16 damage left to deal, but was in good shape to do so.

    Bernardo cast a Berserkers of Blood Ridge and passed. Tapping out gave Sadin the opportunity to stick an Awakener Druid for a turn, and get stuck in with Forest, Craw Wurm, Centaur Courser and Giant Spider. The Berserkers traded with Craw Wurm, but Bernardo was still down to seven – an inconveniently low life total given his board position.

    Cudgel Troll was a great monster to fight back with, but it seemed too little too late. Just a turn later Bernardo scooped up his cards. It was on to game 3.

    Steve Sadin 1 – 1 Bernardo da Costa Cabral

    On the play for game 3, Bernardo led with Runeclaw Bear – a play matched by Steve. Sadin couldn’t match the Giant Growth that came the following turn though, and didn’t get the trade in combat. Sadin had a Llanowar Elves and a Merfolk Looter, and was far from happy to see a Rod of Ruin from his opponent.

    “That rod really is going to ruin me!” he cried to an impassionate da Costa Cabral.

    Steven meets Chandra
    Steve popped a Gargoyle Castle to find a blocker for Runeclaw Bears, and was visibly shaken when Bernardo bust out a Chandra Nalaar, who first finished off the gargoyle token, and then threatened to go all the way.

    Steve had a Gravedigger to get back Runeclaw Bears, but Bernardo did not seem phased. Chandra killed off the zombie, and thanks to a little pinging to the head was still live to do more naughtiness.

    When Steve played Jace Beleren, we got a chance to see how Jace vs Chandra actually goes.

    “As it turns out, it’s not much of a fight” remarked Steve as his Jace fell to a few turns of pinging.

    Bernardo da Costa Cabral
    While Sadin had a Mind Control to steal Centaur Courser equipped with the Armor, he was still going to have to deal with Chandra and the large life imbalance. He had a Doom Blade for Capricious Efreet to stop Bernardo getting back his equipment, and was able to follow up with Illusionary Servant. He did knock Bernardo to 7 and kill off Chandra though. Could Steve be back in the game?

    At this point Bernardo was knocking on his deck. He cast a Berserkers of Blood Ridge and got back his Magebane Armor, but was on just 4 to Steve’s 11, and had to attack.

    Steve’s turn was a quiet one, but he had big plans. When Prodigal Pyromancer came out and tried to get stuck in with Armor, Runeclaw Bear plus Giant Growth said no. Doom Blade then killed the Berserkers.

    If Bernardo drew any creature he would be golden. Steve had a Cancel for Llanowar Elves, and just desperately needed there to be no further creatures coming. Luckily for him there were not.

    In just a few short swings, Steve Sadin had advanced to 7 – 1, good enough to ensure his spot in day 2 of Grand Prix Brighton.

    Steve Sadin wins 2 – 1


  • Podcast - Taking It To The Edge
    by Rich Hagon
  • Multi

    Depending on how many points you've got, The Edge means different things to different players. For Kevin Grove, the Dutch National Champion, The Edge was all about taking on Guillaume Matignon of France for one of just four perfect records heading into Day Two. For the three other Feature Matches in the last round of the day, The Edge was all about not falling off the precipice. Helmut Summersberger faced Mateusz Kopec, Kenny Oberg had to get by David Jensen, and Gregorz Engiert had to take on Gabriel Nassif. Four great matches, and highlights right here on

    Download MP3


  • Saturday, 21:15p.m. - Card Evaluations in M10
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Having watched quite a bit of M10 sealed now, it turns out that there are a few nuances to the format and deck-building that are worth thinking about. There are some cards that I’ve been talking about with players this weekend that turn out to be a little better than I had first realised.

    Duress is one card that I hadn’t really given a great deal of mind to initially. While Mind Rot is a clear source of card advantage in a format that isn’t replete with two-for-ones, Duress felt like a card that could often miss, that might make the slot as the 23rd inclusion.

    As it turns out though, the way that M10 games tend to go is favourable towards Duress in a big way. This is a format with quite a few spells that qualify as legitimate bombs, but they all take a bit of setting up, and have a tendency to sit in hands as a consequence. Dealing with bombs is an important element of sealed deck, and Duress can often do just that, as well as giving you a feel as to how the next few turns might go. As opponents keep their Mind Control waiting for just the right target, or their Sleep waiting for just the right turn, you can throw Duress out there without dramatically slowing down your plays, and make opponents pay.

    By the same tenet, Negate is a perfectly fine card to have in your 40, to keep close games from being broken open by that one Fireball or Overrun. I don’t feel that counterspells are particularly a secret for M10 limited, but it definitely deserves repeating that the way that games tend to go is stalls of creatures, gradually building into one player’s bomb breaking things up. While it isn’t exciting to think about opening the card that stops opponents most powerful cards, having a few of these to go with your own powerful cards is a good way to get ahead.

    Oakenform is another card that I hadn’t initially rated that highly, which turns out to have serious potential to end games. While the fear of card disadvantage still looms, there really aren’t as many removal spells that punish you for it as in many formats, and making a 2/2 into a 5/5 leaves your opponent drawing thin to stop your freshly forged weapon of death.

    By a similar tenet, Enormous Baloth has gone up in my estimation. He looks like a big dumb monster, and that is because that is exactly what he is. If you’re looking for card advantage though, he will often be a source of it. Craw Wurm is a powerful monster, but trading with it isn’t necessarily so tough. The big baloth though almost always requires a few cards to stop, and demands action fast, as on his own he swings for as much as many teams of creatures. He isn’t a reason to move into green on his own, but in green Enormous Baloth is a card that would now make my pile of plays where previously it might not.

    In many respects, M10 sealed is about doing what the colour pie says you should. If you are playing the cards that do well what each colour is about, then you are likely headed in the right direction.

    For how this all works in draft, stay tuned for tomorrow’s coverage, as we scrutinise what is working for the Pros.


  • Featured Match - Round 9: Gabriel Nassif (FRA) vs Grzegorz Engiert (POL)
    by David Sutcliffe
  • While the spotlight has fallen on Olivier Ruel a couple of times already on the first day of this Grand Prix, fellow French superstar Gabriel Nassif has been quietly making his way through the field and went into the final round looking to secure a place in the second day. His opponent in the final round of the day was Grzegorz Engiert – a Polish player living in England who had already survived two days of the Great British national championships with a respectable finish, and was now at the tail end of his third consecutive night of top-level Magic. Would his concentration falter under a stern examination from Nassif?

    Gabriel Nassif
    The two players made steady, controlling starts from their white-based decks – each leading with a Blinding Mages apiece. Initially Engiert was on the ‘threat’ side of the ‘threat/response’ equation, playing with an Air Elemental and Serra Angel, but Nassif was fully prepared to play the ‘response’ side, quickly taking care of them both with a Doom Blade for the Serra, and a Mind Rot that forced Engiert to discard his Air Elemental.

    With his offense blunted, Engiert quickly ran out of gas, and when his Blinding Mage was destroyed by a Consume Spirit the way was open for Nassif to begin his own attack with a Siege Mastodon and Drudge Skeletons. Neither of these creatures were built for speed, but they would have to do, and they rolled sluggishly over Engiert’s defences, reducing him to 12, then to 8.

    Engiert had other ideas, however – he pulled a Fabricate from his library and used that to fashion a Platinum Angel, while Nassif responded with his own Mythic Angel – this one the much-feared Baneslayer! The Baneslayer soared past Engiert’s Platinum Angel, reducing the Englishman to 3 life and boosting Nassif to 27, and then a Serra Angel joined the Baneslayer... a turn later Engiert was on -2 life and being held alive only by the Platinum Angel’s ability, while Nassif’s lifetotal was racing away into the distance thanks to his Lifelinked Baneslayer Angel.

    It seemed now like only a matter of time before Nassif found an answer for the Platinum Angel and brought an abrupt end to Engiert’s articially-prolonged existence. Engiert’s Pacifism onto the Baneslayer held Nassif from gaining life beyond the 32 he already had, and then, incredibly, bit by bit and creature by creature, Grzegorz Engiert fought his way back into the match. For turn after turn, Nassif pulled everything but an answer to the Platinum Angel, while Engiert developed his own forces, but while Nassif no longer had any reason to attack, his Serra Angel and Blinding Mage held back Engiert’s Wind Drakes and Razorfoot Griffins.

    It was a a pure stalemate, and one in which the fact that Engiert was on -27 life was irrelevant. All that mattered now was keeping the Platinum Angel alive, and if necessary he would simply have to wait for Nassif to run out of cards – that certainly seemed more likely than actually dealing 32 damage to the French Hall of Famer.

    Finally, three cards from the bottom of Nassif’s library, he found a Doom Blade and Grzegorz Engiert’s unlikely trudge to victory was unceremoniously ended.

    Gabriel Nassif (FRA) 1 - 0 Grzegorz Engiert (POL)

    Grzegorz Engiert
    Engiert burst out of the blocks in the second game, determined to make good his defeat in the limited time remaining after that mammoth first game went long. A White Knight and Stormfront Pegasus began the assault, but a Doom Blade, Mind Rot, and Consume Spirit picked apart his offense before it could really begin, with Nassif following up his removal spells with a Serra Angel.

    Protector and avenger in one card, the Serra Angel stopped Engiert in his tracks and began the decimation of his lifetotal. A turn later a Baneslayer Angel arrived to join her sister on the battlefield, to an appreciative murmur from the crowd, and a resigned grin from Engiert It seemed he would be conceding the second game in a twentieth of the time it took to play the first!

    But no, the top of his library had other ideas and granted the Pole with a Platinum Angel and a second bout of eternal life... it just seemed unlikely that it would matter as Nassif’s lifetotal was out of reach and still increasing, and Engiert was already 1-0 down in the match.

    The Baneslayer Angel became protected by a Whispersilk Cloak, ensuring that Nassif’s lifetotal would continue to rise, then just as the spectators and players seemed resigned to another long drawn-out search for a card to kill the Platinum Angel, a second Doom Blade emerged from Nassif’s deck and put Engiert out of his misery.

    Gabriel Nassif (FRA) 2 - 0 Grzegorz Engiert (POL)

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