Grand Prix Ghent
Day 1 Coverage

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Saturday, 11:01 a.m. - From Atlanta to Ghent

by Tobi Henke

It's a great time to be playing Magic. The game is at an all-time high, and while high-level tournament play is only the tip of the iceberg, this most visible part of Magic is growing too. Take Grand Prix for example. There are more Grand Prix in 2012 than in any previous year, and a record number of three events were put on the schedule for this weekend, one in Columbus, Ohio, one in São Paulo, Brazil, and one over here in Belgium. This expanded GP line-up has a lot of advantages beyond the simple fact that it's bringing the Grand Prix experience to more people than ever before. For one thing, it allows for a greater variety of formats, for instance, more Legacy. In all of the years past there have been eight Legacy Grand Prix; this year alone has three, with the last one just three weeks ago in Atlanta. So for the first time we're actually able to see how this format's metagame evolves in a matter of weeks. What lessons could be learned from Atlanta? How do players adapt? Will the proven powerhouses prevail or is there a noticeable shift in deck choice? Answers to all of these questions throughout the weekend ... but first, for comparison, let's take a look back at the results of Grand Prix Atlanta.

Deck: Day 2: Top 32: Top 8:
RUG Delver 32 7 2
Maverick 19 3 1
Stoneblade 14 8 2
Reanimator 14 3 0
Elves 7 1 0
UW Miracles 5 1 0
Merfolk 4 0 0
Sneak and Show 4 0 0
Goblins 3 1 1
RU Delver 3 0 0
Mono Red 3 0 0
Belcher 2 2 1
Zoo 2 1 0
High Tide 2 0 0
BW Blade 2 0 0
Affinity 2 0 0
Mono Blue Control 2 0 0
RWB Zombie Bombardment 1 1 1
BUG Delver 1 1 0
Reanimator Tendrils 1 0 0
BGW Hymn to Tourach 1 0 0
Cloudpost 1 0 0
Forgemaster/Metalworker 1 0 0
RUW Aggro 1 0 0
ANT 1 0 0
Dredge 1 0 0

The four big ones in Atlanta obviously were RUG Delver, Stoneblade, Maverick, and Reanimator. The first three of those had been around for ages, while Reanimator was a rather recent addition, pushed to the forefront of the format by the arrival of Griselbrand. And while the deck put a respectable number of people into day 2, once there they apparently met some fierce resistance, that is players who prepared for the easy-to-hate reanimation strategy. As a consequence Reanimator only took three spots in the Top 32 (admittedly ninth and tenth place) and failed to make the Top 8. Green-White Maverick had similar trouble converting day 2 appearances into actual good finishes. Of 19 just three made the Top 32, but at least Ben Stark got into fifth place with it. Compare that to 14 Stoneblades in day 2 turned to eight Top 32s and two Top 8s for example. Meanwhile, RUG Delver may have simply been the most played deck, although it took down the tournament in the hands of Gaudenis Vidugiris.

However, this was just the top of the field. Legacy is as diverse a format as can be and the metagame breakdown clearly shows it. Where else could you possible find such a large number of different strategies on the second day of a Grand Prix? Going strictly by the numbers, special note should be made of the two Goblin Charbelcher decks. We can't say how many tried the deck on day 1 and failed, but it sure seemed a good choice on day 2. Goblins, too, seem like they may seriously be considering a comeback. And talking tribal here for the moment, Elves are moving up as well, and Merfolk at least got a new toy since GP Atlanta in the form of Master of the Pearl Trident. It's an interesting time for Legacy ...


Saturday, 11:11 a.m. - Trial Winning Decks

by Tobi Henke

A whopping number of 33 Grand Prix Trials took place yesterday, each awarding three byes for today's main event to the lucky/brave soul who went 5-0. Unfortunately, not all of the winners' deck lists made it to the coverage; fortunately, we still have twenty. And twenty is plenty to get a first impression of what's to be expected this weekend.

Five of the 20 chose Maverick, making the green-white toolbox/beatdown deck the most succesful archetype so far. RUG Delver variants provided four champions, no surprises yet. But on par with Delver's four were four blue-white miracle decks (half splashing red). It appears the miracle mechanic from Avacyn Restored may have finally caught on for real. Esper Stoneblade got two wins, and then we're down to the ones, a testament to the unparalleled diversity of the Legacy format: there was one Dredge deck, one Goblin deck, one Ad Nauseam-Tendrils, one Kuldotha Forgemaster deck, and even one very classic burn deck. Can't get more diverse than that.

Matteo Blasi
Grinder Trial Winner

Dennis Schönberger
Grinder Trial Winner

Jean-Christophe Kong
Grinder Trial Winner

Andrey Petukhov
Grinder Trial Winner


Saturday, 1:08 p.m. - Creature Feature: Tribes

by Tim Willoughby

With a huge card pool to work with, lands to support the greediest of mana bases, and any number of big, splashy plays, it is easy to see why Legacy is a popular format. For me though, one of the really cool things that Legacy does is to bring together the old and the new in Magic.

Lordy, Lordy

Never has that been more clearly realised than in some of the decks being played here in Ghent, sporting some of the new cards from M13. Merfolk has got a new weapon for its arsenal in Master of the Pearl Trident; a new and upgraded riff on Lord of Atlantis. While one may have been printed in 1993 and the other 19 years later, both are great choices for the long-standing power-player in Legacy. These days there is no reason to run both, effectively meaning that more or less all the merfolk played in the deck will be supporting all the others. With Æther Vial to help get them into play at a discount (and uncounterably), this aggro-control deck is here to stay.

Elves vs. Goblins - not just a duel deck

Goblins is another aggro-control deck using Æther Vial, though its control elements have historically been 'control the game by being so aggressive as to win the game before you can'... backed up by Wasteland and Rishadan Port. Since Atlanta, this tribal deck has seen quite a rise in interest, with Thalia as a potential disruption option (enabled by Æther Vial and sometimes Cavern of Souls), and Krenko, Mob Boss as a very powerful addition that can be searched up with Goblin Matron. Already today I've witnessed a Goblins player developing a commanding board presence from nowhere thanks to the new M13 legend, who does not take long to power out a legion of Goblin tokens.

There's a new boss in town

In terms of all things tribal, the other interesting deck for GP Ghent is, as far as I'm concerned, Elves. Of the classic Magic 'tribes', this is the one that didn't get a big leg up with M13, but that doesn't mean that it's badly placed for this tournament. In fact, the Elf deck, which can function as a combo deck generating terrifying amounts of mana very quickly indeed, and deploying its own green army, is quite a strong choice. The deck can be very fast indeed, and does not fall to the same disruption as many combo decks.

Right now, with the likes of Reanimator, Dredge, threshold strategies and the omnipresent Tarmogoyf, there is a lot of attention being paid to graveyards. One of the strengths of tribal strategies is that they are unperturbed by graveyard hate, and equally unflustered by the likes of Wasteland, thanks to straightforward mana bases well stocked with basic lands.

In a format where decks seem to be doing a lot of 'unfair' things, casting efficient creatures and leaning on the synergies between them is still a good plan, and this is just another reason why Legacy is awesome.


Saturday, 1:20 p.m. - Board Games

by Tobi Henke

Legacy encompasses nearly the whole of Magic's history, a wealth of different strategies and archetypes, and you can't really expect any 60 cards to beat all of them. Luckily, you don't have to. The sideboard may be more important in this format than in any other, both for the task it needs to accomplish and for the huge impact some sideboard cards can have in certain match-ups. Here, you can build your fab fifteen from an unrivalled number of hate cards, from the more specific to the more broadly useful. As always, the correct choice is key, but in Legacy choices are sheer infinite.

Just take graveyard removal for instance. Surgical Extraction seems to be the current top pick, closely followed by Faerie Macabre, while Extirpate and Leyline of the Void have mostly fallen out of favor. A recent addition to lots of sideboards is Grafdigger's Cage, and Tormod's Crypt's still going strong, while the numbers of Relic of Progenitus are dwindling. Decks which can access it via Knight of the Reliquary and/or Crop Rotation usually sideboard Bojuka Bog, whereas Scavenging Ooze for the most part is found in main decks, not sideboards.

With Reanimator continuing to be on everybody's mind, these cards routinely take up as much as a third of some sideboards. However, their usefulness extends to other match-ups, and likewise there are other cards which can come in handy against Reanimator, for example Gilded Drake, popping up in ever-increasing numbers and unexpected places like the sideboards of Goblin decks.

There are of course other things to consider. Maverick is a deck famous for running a great many possible sideboard cards in its main 60. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben may be the most important one of them as it places a heavy burden both on combo decks and on the Delver decks with their large number of usually cheap draw spells. It's sometimes supplemented with Aven Mindcensor and always protected by Mother of Runes, and this selection of cards is in turn vulnerable to a different slew sideboard cards. I've already seen a couple of Virtue's Ruins this weekend, but I was particular impressed by the blow-out a well-timed Dread of Night provided. I was also able to witness some sweet Sulfur Elemental action.

Now I obviously can't give you a full run-down of all the sweet sideboard options, but I do want to highlight a few of the more interesting ones I've seen today, some from way back in the day. For example, do you remember Mana Maze? I haven't seen that card in action for years! Apparently, there even exist enough decks which simply cannot beat a Peacekeeper to make that a worthwile sideboard card. Preacher, meanwhile, seems to be worth it simply because of people reading the old card text.

Finally, I assume Cursed Totem is back in sideboards partly because of the resurgence of Elves decks. I mean why would you pay four mana for Humility, if you can basically get the same effect (in this match-up at least) for two?


Saturday, 3:33 p.m. - The Magical Mystery Tour

by Tim Willoughby

With the Magic World Cup coming up, there is likely more thought to Magic as a national game than we would see at any other part of the year, but that doesn't mean to say that we don't have a truly worldwide community.

Mani Davoudi here today, probably another country tomorrow

For Mani Davoudi, a 20 year old student from Canada, the World Magic Cup was a near miss. Having travelled for 12 hours to a World Magic Cup qualifier, the Vancouver native lost in the finals to Marc Anderson, last year's National Champion. The year before he had lost in the Quarterfinals of Canadian Nationals, but he didn't seem bitter.

"Marc had been leading our Pro Points race in Canada all year, and when Alexander Hayne won in Barcelona, he found himself playing to be on the team again. I guess he won his rightful slot."

The Canadian was hugely proud of the achievement of Hayne in Barcelona, which he watched from his local games store on a big screen in the early hours of the morning. When it came to working out his summer plans, Davoudi was keen to see the world himself. Selling a lot of his Magic collection to finance it, Mani is currently on a five week tour of Europe, peppered with Magic moments.

"I had met Daniel Royde at Pro Tour Honolulu, along with a lot of the Norwegian players. Even though that was only a few months ago, Magic gave us enough of a connection that he was willing to open up his home to me, making London the first stop on my trip."

I was walking around Brussels, and happened upon a card game shop, which turned out to be Outpost, the biggest gaming store in Belgium. As soon as I walked in I saw Vincent Lemoine, and was invited to cube draft.

"I don't really have so many cards now, but when I approached my friends and asked to borrow a deck for my five week trip, the question from them wasn't if this would be ok, but simply which deck did I want?"

With a Maverick deck in tow, and a flight to Brussels, Davoudi soon found that Magic would mean that even when thousands of miles away from home, he was among friends.

"I was walking around Brussels, and happened upon a card game shop, which turned out to be Outpost, the biggest gaming store in Belgium. As soon as I walked in I saw Vincent Lemoine, and was invited to cube draft with him."

Davoudi has quite the docket of places to travel to while in Europe. From Belgium he plans to hit up France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands. Knowing that he has a way of connecting with people throughout his travels, it has turned into quite the World Magic Cup of its own.

Mani is one week in on his five, and while his tour is not quite a Pro tour, the Magic is certainly bringing it together in a special way. Having had various Pros stay with him during Grand Prix Vancouver, now he's getting the chance to visit all sorts of other people, taking in the world through the eyes of locals wherever he goes.


Saturday, 3:33 p.m. - Arms Dealers

by Tobi Henke

If you want to figure out the most popular weapons of choice, talk to the dealers who sell them. So what were the cards people got yesterday and today to complete their Legacy decks?

Ghent Dealers dealing their deals

"Master of the Pearl Trident went like crazy," everyone agreed, pointing to empty spots in binders that once held the new M13 Merfolk lord. Second on the bestseller list was rather more unexpected, however. "I don't know what it's used for, but for some reasons everybody wanted Rough // Tumble," one of the traders said.

As players often fill out their sideboard shortly before the tournament, Gilded Drake, Submerge, and Cursed Totem were also in high demand. Old favorites like Elvish Spirit Guide, Enlightened Tutor, Pyrokinesis, and Price of Progress were popular as always, but new ones like Cavern of Souls, Griselbrand, and even Omniscience were going strong as well.

As for duals, Savannah sold fastest and players also bought quite a few Scrublands. One of the traders remarked, "We hardly sold any Underground Seas, though, which usually is the most popular dual land." So lots of Maverick and just a few Reanimator decks? We'll see ...


Round 4 Feature Match - Andre Müller vs. Matt Light

by Tim Willoughby

Müller of Germany, who has a couple of Pro Tour top 8 finishes to his name, was happy to know that this feature writer knew to put the umlaut on the 'u' of his name.

"I wrote it Mueller when I signed up for the DCI because I thought it would make things easier, but now my name is never where I expect it to be in the pairings!"

Game 1

After three byes he seemed happy to play, and was up against Matt Light of England. Light was on the play, and started with Wooded Foothills for Forest, and cast Noble Hierarch. Müller had Mutavault and an Æther Vial.

"I guess you know what's up now, huh?"

Light smiled and cast Green Sun's Zenith for Scryb Ranger, which let him start to fix his mana. Light used the Scryb Ranger the following turn to get up to the mana he needed to cast Green Sun's Zenith for three, fetching Knight of the Reliquary.

Müller's plan was unlikely to be hurt too much by the 1/1 protection from blue flyer. He played a Cursecatcher at end of turn using Æther Vial, then untapped into another one, and a Master of the Pearl Trident from Æther Vial.

Matt had Swords to Plowshares to off the lord, and was soon casting another Green Sun's Zenith for 3. This time Müller fired back with Cursecatcher, looking on as Matt used Knight of the Reliquary in response in order to find a land. Müller may have thought he could avoid the Zenith by using a second Cursecatcher, but Light found a Gaea's Cradle with the Knight, pushing his mana production over the top.

Müller had plenty more lords. He cast a Master of the Pearl Trident, and swung with Mutavault. Knight of the Reliquary blocked, and a Lord of Atlantis joined the team thanks to Æther Vial to ensure the trade.

Light had some spicy tricks with his Knight of the Reliquary. First he fetched Dryad Arbor with Green Sun's Zenith, then used his Knight to turn that land into first a fetchland, and then a Savannah. Scryb Ranger then let him untap his Knight for more action at the end of Müller's turn, which saw only a Merrow Reejerey.

With Gaea's Cradle, Light had plenty of mana to work with, and spent that mana on using Scavenging Ooze where he could. Soon the Ooze was a 6/6, and joined by a friend. Knight of the Reliquary was also now substantial in size, able to attack and activate each turn thanks to Scryb Ranger.

Müller's turns were not greatly impressive, with just another Merrow Reejerey to add to the board. While Müller now had four lords in play, along with a Cursecatcher and two copies of Mutavault, his board was not able to compete with the Englishman's with the final swings coming through in short order.

Matt Light 1 – 0 Andre Müller

Game 2

On the play, Müller kept his opener, while Light was quick to send his back. Müller started with Silvergill Adept (revealing Merrow Reejerey), and had a Daze ready to stop Light's Sylvan Library. A Lord of Atlantis let Silvergill Adept hit for 3, before falling to Swords to Plowshares. Light's follow up play was a Fauna Shaman which resolved.

Merrow Reejerey from Müller meant that Light went to 14 on attacks, unwilling to trade off his creature. It soon became clear why, as Umezawa's Jitte came down, and threatened to dominate the board. A Submerge stopped that plan though, giving Müller a chance to go off.

"Reejerey, untap a land. Curscatcher, untap two lands. Lord of Atlantis, untap two lands."

Andre, not afraid of the Light.jpg

That was enough for Light, who scooped up his cards.

"Well... that was lame."

"Yeaaaah... combo kill!"

Matt Light 1 – 1 Andre Müller

Game 3

This time it was Müller's time to mulligan on the draw. For the German though, the mulligans would not stop at one.

"Maybe I should have kept... I had no lands, but I did have an Æther Vial."

Light started out with a Wooded Foothills for Savannah to allow a Green Sun's Zenith for Dryad Arbor. On the play, he was looking to capitalise on his opponent's lack of cards in decisive fashion. A Submerge came from Müller on Dryad Arbor, in an effort to buy the time he needed.

A turn two Fauna Shaman from Light met with Daze, but did mean Müller would be behind on lands for the near future. With a shrug, Müller let Noble Hierarch come in, before casting his first creature of the game in Lord of Atlantis. He could only look on as Green Sun's Zenith for 2 found Light a Scryb Ranger.

Light's board position looked dominant. He cast Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and even had a Wasteland ready to stop a Mutavault from Müller. All Light needed to finish off the team he was assembling was a heavy hitter. His Hulk of choice was Knight of the Reliquary. Mind Harness from Müller took the Knight away, meaning that attacks were back to the anaemic beatdown of Scryb Ranger, at least until Light found a second knight.

Matt, hoping to be a giant killer

Maze of Ith from Light presented some interesting lines of play for the Englishman. Using the rarely explored 'end of combat' step, Maze of Ith works well with Knight of the Reliquary to afford additional activations if it attacks. Müller didn't fancy that too much, using another Mind Harness to put the Knights on his side of the board (at least as long as he could maintain the upkeeps).

Light used Qasali Pridemage to get back one of his Knights, and cast a Mother of Runes. He was slowly but surely securing a strong board position, and careful to get safe hits in where he could. While it took a little longer this way, it meant that Light's victory was more or less assured. Just a few turns later, Müller was extending his hand.

Matt Light defeats Andre Müller 2-1!


Round 6 Feature Match - Simon Görtzen vs. Geoffrey Siron

by Tobi Henke

Both of these players have a Pro Tour title to their name, Belgium's Geoffrey Siron from London in 2005, Germany's Simon Görtzen from San Diego in 2010. Both chose fast combo decks for this tournament, Siron opting for Goblin Charbelcher, Görtzen for a more reliable but definitely slower Show and Tell/Omniscience concoction of his own design. Also both also started 5-0 into the tournament.

Game 1

Görtzen won the die-roll and fetched up an Island to cast Preordain on turn one. Siron started things off with Gitaxian Probe, seeing two Dazes, City of Traitors, Brainstorm, Misty Rainforest, and Show and Tell, but as of yet nothing to put onto the battlefield with it.

Simon Görtzen

Siron decided to go for it and cast Lotus Petal, then Chrome Mox, both of which Görtzen allowed. Rite of Flame was met by Daze, but resolved anyway when Siron paid up. Pyretic Ritual, Lion's Eye Diamond, Desperate Ritual, and Burning Wish followed. In response to the Wish, Siron cracked Lion's Eye Diamond, netting him enough mana to cast the wished-for Empty the Warrens.

Staring down 20 Goblin tokens, Görtzen took another peek at the top of his library and conceded.

Simon Görtzen 0 – 1 Geoffrey Siron

Game 2

Another Island/Preordain start from Görtzen, another fast start for Siron. He led with Land Grant to go get Taiga, cast Lotus Petal and Tinder Wall followed by two copies of Rite of Flame, another Land Grant, and once again Empty the Warrens, this time for 14 Goblin tokens. He was even able to keep his Lotus Petal as well as a Pyroblast in his hand, now public knowledge thanks to Land Grant.

Geoffrey Siron

Görtzen made a Volcanic Island and cast Burning Wish to get Show and Tell, then took 14 damage on Siron's attack. Next turn, he tried for the blue sorcery but could only shrug to the expected response of Pyroblast.

Simon Görtzen 0 – 2 Geoffrey Siron

After the match Görtzen revealed the Pyroclasm he had boarded. "I guess if that had been in my sideboard I would have won this game." Siron nodded in agreement, "Definitely."

"I figured wishing for Pyroclasm would probably be too slow, and I also have Personal Tutor in my deck," Görtzen explained. That plan didn't work out this time, but might have been the correct choice either way. In any case it was interesting to see that even in a match as fast as this one, against the much-maligned Belcher deck, in the end all came down to a player's choice.


Saturday, 5:44 p.m. - The Pro Metagame

by Tobi Henke

My colleague Rich Hagon knows everything. OK, not everything maybe, but more than anyone else knows about Magic's pro players. For one thing, he knows what everyone's playing. He made a list, checked it twice, and ... well, here's the breakdown of the decks the likes of Christophe Gregoir, Martin Jůza, Lukas Jaklovsky, Robert Jurkovic, Marijn Lybaert, Lukas Blohon, Samuele Estratti, Andreas Ganz, Vincent Lemoine, Raphaël Lévy, and a host of other famous names chose for this tournament. We don't want to spoil anyone's fun, especially not theirs, so we're not going to tell you who's playing what, but possibly some insight into the format can be gleamed from this data anyway:

RUG Delver 7
Maverick 5
UW Miracles 5
Stoneblade 5
Show and Tell 4
Reanimator 3
Dredge 1
White Weenie 1
Elves 1
Belcher 1
Bant 1
Merfolk 1

So this is the pros' choice: a particularly strong showing by Miracles and Show and Tell, much less Reanimator than at Grand Prix Atlanta three weeks ago, when the deck was the pros' number one pick, and most importantly a crazy variety of decks. Judging from this, Legacy does indeed appear to be wide open.


Round 7 Feature Match - Benjamin Leitner vs. Lukas Jaklovsky

by Tim Willoughby

Benjamin Leitner may be just 15 years old, but he is already a dab hand at this Magic game. Heading out to Indianapolis in a few weeks, he is representing Austria at the World Magic Cup.

Game 1

Lukas won the roll, but had to begin on a mulligan. He had a Savannah into Noble Hierarch, signalling a Maverick deck, while Leitner's opener was Island and Delver of Secrets, suggesting RUG Delver or perhaps Esper Stoneblade (all popular choices this weekend).

An Umezawa's Jitte from Jaklovsky seemed apt to break the matchup open given sufficient time, but when Delver of Secrets naturally flipped on turn two, it seemed that the total amount of time on the match may be short.

A Swords to Plowshares came from Jaklovsky, successfully removing Insectile Aberration from the game. Jaklovsky seemed happy to fight a war over mana, using Wasteland to take Leitner down to just an Island. Leitner cast Path to Exile on Noble Hierarch, to which Jaklovsky responded with Scryb Ranger, and enough floated mana to cast Scavenging Ooze. Leitner played a new Tundea and passed.

With two new creatures, Jaklovsky was all set to attack in the following turn, having equipped Umezawa's Jitte to Scavenging Ooze. The Ooze never got to connect though, being sent on a Path to Exile of its own. Leitner pondered, first figuratively then by casting Ponder. He was still short on lands though, not having any further plays for his turn.

Yet another Path to Exile came from Leitner, who took out Scryb Ranger, but had little answer to Gaddock Teeg. Jaklovsky was now well up on mana, though he found himself eying a nearly full hand for his opponent with concern.

Gaddock Teeg was the first creature to successfully pick up a Jitte, but even the legendary kithkin only got in a single hit before Leitner used Snapcaster Mage to flash back Path to Exile. Jaklovsky, now all out of basic lands to find, had to let this happen – something he didn't seem too sad about, as it allowed him to cast his own Green Sun's Zenith, finding Knight of the Reliquary.

A Stoneforge Mystic from Leitner found a Jitte, but could not sneak it in before dying to the counters that Jaklovsky had amassed with his.

Benjamin Leitner

Jaklovsky, now with an active Knight of the Reliquary, was happy to start searching out copies of Wasteland, putting a crimp on his opponent's mana development, while simultaneously increasing the size of his biggest creature.

Soon the knight started attacking – surely a bad sign for Leitner. While he was able to put Snapcaster Mage in the way once, soon Jaklovsky had a clear run, at which point it only took a couple of swings to end game one.

Lukas Jaklovsky 1 – 0 Benjamin Leitner

Game 2

Leitner was on the draw in game two, and had a Vapor Snag ready for Mother of Runes from Jaklovsky. He followed up with a quick Stoneforge Mystic, fetching Umezawa's Jitte. The Mother came down again, and met only a Brainstorm from Leitner. Jaklovsky had a Jitte of his own, along with a second copy of the 1/1.

It seemed unlikely that either Leitner or Jaklovsky would get their Jitte's going, with Leitner happy to use the legend rule to ensure that the powerful equipment would not dominate the board. Jotun Grunts from Leitner seemed apt to do that without any equipment; though Mother of Runes would prove a fine blocker.

Lukas Jaklovsky plus mascot

Jaklovsky had a second copy of Umezawa's Jitte, which met a dejected nod from Leitner. While Jaklovsky was a little short on lands, he had a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, who would be a fine choice to hold Jitte.

Jotun Grunts upkeep became too steep, but Leitner had a Geist of Saint Traft to replace them. It too would prove an impotent attacker in the face of Mother of Runes, and was unwilling to block Thalia, whose first strike was as decisive a factor as her other ability. Leitner drew for just a few more turns, and scooped up his cards.

Lukas Jaklovsky wins 2-0!


Saturday, 6:52 p.m. - A Snapshot at the Ghent Metagame

by Tim Willoughby

With 1,345 players here in Ghent, Belgium, going through all the day one decklists would be a Herculean task. However, even without the prowess of a Greek god, I've got a sample of about 10% of the decks here, to give you a taste of what is hot, and what is not in Belgium. These decklists have been carefully sampled by taking all of the decks played by people whose surname begins with an L or an M. While this would mean that if there was the Magic equivalent of the Baldwin family trying to dominate the tournament, they could skew my sampling, I'm fairly sure I'd notice an army of Baldwins if they were here (they're not).

Without further ado, here's how the archetypes break down on day one from my sampling (decks played by more than 1 person);

RUG Delver 18%
Maverick 15%
Esper Stoneblade 8%
Reanimator 6%
UW Miracle control 5%
Goblins 5%
Dredge 4%
Sneak and Show 4%
UR Burn 4%
Merfolk 4%
GB Veteran Explorer Rock 3%
Elves 3%
MUD 2%
Burn 2%
Mono-black Pox 1%
Tezzeret 1%
Charbelcher 1%
Affinity 1%
Bant 1%
Storm 1%

After that I had quite a few singleton decks in my pile including;

White stax
Black/red zombies
High Tide
Painter’s Grindstone
UW Land Tax Control

What do we have to learn from this? Well, Merfolk has seen a bit of a resurgeance since the printing of Master of the Pearl Trident. While Griselbrand was not a big player in the final stages of Atlanta, between Sneak and Show and Reanimator, he is still making his presence known here. Finally, it highlights that Legacy remains one of the formats where the long tail of 'other decks' is as important as those key players. Of all the formats in Magic, this is the one where there is the greatest potential to be blindsided by a deck that is a fringe player in the metagame.

Also, Omniscience is a deck.


Round 8 Feature Match - Ivan Floch vs. Florian Koch

by Tobi Henke

Ivan Floch was part of the Slovak team that won the 2010 team world championship. His opponent, Germany's Florian Koch, has not had much success on the Pro Tour yet, but he did win one Grand Prix and made Top 8 of another, so should be fine at this one. Koch was playing the same Show and Tell/Omniscience deck as Simon Görtzen, while Floch brought a nifty Sensei's Diving Top/Counterbalance deck with miracles.

Game 1

Floch won the die-roll, played an Island, and, unusual for the format, passed the turn. Koch went with the much more traditional opening of Island plus Preordain.

Ivan Floch

Floch cast Counterbalance on turn two, which Koch responded to with Force of Will. Floch had a Force of his own and the Counterbalance stuck. In retaliation, Koch tried for Show and Tell on his turn. Neither Floch's Counterbalance nor his hand were able to counter the sorcery, and so Omiscience made its way onto the battlefield. Koch proceeded to chain free Brainstorm into free Ponder, found a free Burning Wish, used that to get a free Living Wish, and wrapped things up with a free Emrakul, the Aeons Torn out of his sideboard.

Floch 0 – 1 Koch

Game 2

Floch opened on Island, Koch on Volcanic Island and Lotus Petal. The action started on Floch's second turn when he once again tried for Counterbalance but didn't fight over it when Koch had Red Elemental Blast.

Florian Koch

There was some Preordaining and Pondering for Koch while Floch simply dropped another land and passed the turn. He stopped one Show and Tell with Force of Will, but had no action of his own. He continued to played land after land, including one Karakas. Rather sooner than later Koch found another Show and Tell and this time it resolved. There was Omniscience followed by Burning Wish for Petals of Insight. Koch explained that he would use the Petals over and over again, finally finding another Burning Wish and shooting Floch with Grapeshot. Floch accepted that and conceded.

Floch 0 – 2 Koch


Saturday, 8:38 p.m. - Belgium's WMC Team

by Tobi Henke

The Belgian team for the World Magic Cup is one of the favorites this year with all four of them accomplished pro players. Marijn Lybaert has a whopping four Pro Tour Top 8s to his name as well as three Grand Prix Top 8s, Vincent Lemoine has one of each, Peter Vieren made the final eight once at a Grand Prix, and Christophe Gregoir did so at a Pro Tour. I talked to Christophe about his teammates, their testing, and assorted hopes and dreams.

"We've all been together on the gravy train," Christophe talked about their shared past. "And it's funny that the three players who fell of the gravy train all won a qualifier now."

Christophe Gregoir

"We haven't started our testing yet, because we had to prepare for this GP here," Christophe said, "but we're going to start next week." Play at the World Magic Cup is split between Limited and three different Constructed formats, with one of the four players eliminated before the start of the Constructed rounds. How do the Belgians deal with that? "We put two people on all of the formats, so it doesn't really matter who gets eliminated."

And who will that be? Who is the weakest link of this strong team? "I think we're fine either way. Some people have said Marijn," Christophe laughed. "But that's just to taunt him. In fact, Marijn is the motivator, he's the driving force behind the team. He also gave Peter his deck with which he won the qualifier. Marijn really wants us to to well at the World Magic Cup. He made the Top 8 so often but always came back home without a trophy ... Also we're all not qualified for Pro Tour Seattle yet."

So watch out, Magic world! The Belgians have set their sights on a Top 4 finish, at least, and possibly on first place.

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