Sunday, 10:31 a.m. – Undefeated
by Tobi Henke
Yesterday we took a look at the metagame of Grand Prix Atlanta (which happened just three weeks ago) to give us an idea what to expect this weekend. The top three decks back then were Stoneblade, Maverick, and RUG Delver, with the latter clearly leading the pack. And now look at the four decks that were piloted to perfect 9-0 records on day one: one each of Maverick and Stoneblade with two RUG Delvers. Surprised?
Elias Klocker, 9-0
Grand Prix Ghent 2012
Christoph Ohlrogge, 9-0
Grand Prix Ghent 2012
Andrey Petukhov, 9-0
Grand Prix Ghent 2012
Jonathan Alexander, 9-0
Grand Prix Ghent 2012
Round 10 Feature Match - Simon Görtzen vs. Tom Valkeneers
by Tim Willoughby
Everyone has their own Sunday rituals. When it comes to Simon Görtzen, winner of Pro Tour San Diego, if there is a Grand Prix going on, the smart money is that he will be up bright and early and playing. Görtzen had finished well enough on day one to start his Sunday the right way – playing to keep the top 8 plan alive. Against Tom Valkeneers of Belgium, he would be playing a new concoction debuted at this tournament; Omniscience.
Görtzen was down to six cards to lead the game off, and started on Polluted Delta. He saw a turn one Æther Vial from Valkeneers off an Island, which made things pretty clear – he would be up against Merfolk for his first match of the day.
A Ponder came from Görtzen, who seemed happy to find Valkeneers without a play other than Mutavault for turn two. That an Island had come first suggested that there might be a Daze in his opponent's hand; something to bear in mind and play around.
A Burning Wish was Görtzen's next play, and with one extra mana up, it resolved. Valkeneers looked a little confused, but nodded knowingly once he saw what Görtzen was fetching; a Show and Tell. Valkeneers would now be aware to fight over the powerful sorcery, and had a Wasteland in the hope of buying more time before that fight came.
Æther Vial ticked up to two counters. Thus far the artifact had been inactive, but it seemed likely that it would be deploying threats each turn for the rest of the game, putting an inexorable clock on Görtzen. Mutavault came in, knocking Görtzen down to 16.
Show and Tell was met first with a Silvergill Adept to draw a card, and then by a Force of Will. The Force of Will was stopped by Daze. What would each player get to play for free? Well, Görtzen had Griselbrand, who would prove problematic with 14 life remaining to use. Valkeneers had a Master of the Pearl Trident.
On Valkeneers' turn he swung with his squad. Most had islandwalk, but for the master, who Görtzen blocked. A Dismember on Griselbrand prompted him to draw seven cards, and cast Daze.
"I had to try it." Remarked a dejected Valkeneers.
Attacks from Griselbrand put Görtzen to 15 life, and he cast a second copy of Show and Tell. Valkeneers had an Island to put into play, while Görtzen had Omniscience. Close game. Omniscience allowed Görtzen to 'hard cast' Emrakul, the Aeons Torn.
"Ok, that'll do it" smiled Valkeneers, scooping up his cards.
"Good Dazes" remarked Görtzen with a small smile. "Once you played Force of Will I knew you didn't have Daze, which made mine all the better."
Simon Görtzen 1 – 0 Tom Valkeneers
Valkeneers is up to something fishy
A turn one Æther Vial on the play from Valkeneers was stopped by Force of Will from Görtzen, pitching a copy of Personal Tutor. He had a turn one Ancient Tomb, threatening a fast Show and Tell, but lost it to Wastland, and did not have a second land for a number of turns.
Fortunately for Görtzen, having stopped Æther Vial, it took Valkeneers some time to apply more pressure than a Mutavault. At least in principle, Görtzen had time to draw out of his mana woes. When he finally found an Island, he had a Ponder at the ready, almost certainly engineering things such that his second land would not be as long coming.
A lone Mutavault soon had Görtzen at single digits, but he eventually found a Polluted Delta to bring his land count up to two. Valkeneers' lack of plays was suspicious – if Görtzen was to resolve a Show and Tell it would likely be through quite a bit of resistance, and with such a strong land advantage, Valkeneers would be unafraid of Daze.
Brainstorm combined well with Polluted Delta to keep Görtzen's draws rosy. He just needed enough time to resolve that one big spell. A Defence Grid came from the German. A nice test spell, if this resolved, then getting other spells to work would be far far easier. It did.
Valkeneers seemed unimpressed by more lands, but did have a Cursecatcher to potentially make life tricky. One extra mana would not be enough to stop Görtzen from getting the necessary done though. He had a City of Traitors, to allow a Show and Tell, which plopped Griselbrand into play. He didn't have enough life to use the demon immediately, but it would pose quite the road block. Valkeneers seemed almost relieved to see the demon, holding the perfect answer in hand. He untapped and cast Phantasmal Image, using the legend rule to kill off Griselbrand. Without any blockers, Görtzen succumbed to Merfolk attacks, and it was on to game three.
Simon Görtzen 1 – 1 Tom Valkeneers
Gortzen has something to show you
Görtzen had the play for the deciding game, and started on a Ponder. With tempo in his favour from the start, he could potentially ignore most of what Valkeeners was doing, and focus on resolving his one big spell. A Lotus Petal came on turn two from Görtzen, but no further plays aside from Polluted Delta. Valkeneers was playing it cool too, with just Island for the first two turns of the game.
The game continued to be draw-go for a number of turns, until Valkeneers went for an Æther Vial. Görtzen had Brainstorm in response, but no counter. Görtzen was clearly still digging a little for his combo, using running copies of Ponder to get to the cards he needed. A Burning Wish was stopped by Spell Pierce but Görtzen seemed unperturbed. Mutavaults alone were not attacking him too fast, and he had a slew of card drawing to get to the point he needed. A second Burning Wish resolved, and found Show and Tell.
Görtzen wasn't quick to play that Show and Tell though. Even with Ancient Tomb, he wanted to wait another turn to get more mana up for the fight that was bound to happen in resolving it. Lord of Atlantis from Valkeneers shortened the clock a little. Would Görtzen choose to try to go off now? A Brainstorm came from Görtzen, followed by a Ponder and shuffle. Finally Görtzen went for Show and tell, with 3 mana up.
It resolved, and while Görtzen had Griselbrand, Valkeneers had Phyrexian Revoker, naming Griselbrand. The very next turn, Valkeneers used Phantasmal Image to off the legend, and attacked Görtzen to five. The German, out of gas, extended his hand to an attack the very next turn.
Tom Valkeneers defeats Simon Görtzen 2-1!
Sunday, 11:15 a.m. - Cuts to the Cup
by Tim Willoughby
Those talented few who will be playing in Indianapolis at the World Magic Cup are going to have to be used to the idea of elimination phases, as at the end of day one of that tournament, the worst performing member of each national team will be eliminated.
Here at Grand Prix Ghent, the requirements to make day 2 were more straightforward – you needed finish day one on a 7-2 or better record. Easy right? Well not all team members were able to achieve that.
Carrie Oliver, a member of Team England, snuck in with a 7-1-1 record, defeating RWU Delver in what was a three game match, where the power of Thalia plus Wasteland was enough to slow down her opponent, keeping such threats as Sulfur Elemental from ever being able to be effectively deployed. After
Benjamin Leitner snuck through to day two on a 7-2 record, earning many a high five from his teammates. Considering that this was more or less his first experience playing Legacy, this was a great performance from the Austrian team member, whose compatriot Thomas Holzinger is also playing on Sunday.
Raphael Levy, the French team captain, starts Sunday on 7-2, and the Hall of Fame member seemed as ready to battle as ever this morning, as does Samuele Estratti from the Italian team, and Mateusz Kopec of Poland.
Of all the team members playing today, it is Peter Vieren of Belgium who came into the day with the best record, but there is still plenty of room to play today to lock up a top 8 spot. For the likes of Robert Jurkovic of Slovakia, and Martin Juza of the Czech Republic though, Sunday will be spent relaxing and preparing for the next event. The team members, who have little rivalry in spite of being neighbouring nations, did not make day two this time, though each has clearly enjoyed their own time in the spotlight over the last few years.
Round 11 Feature Match - Christophe Gregoir vs. Pascal Vieren
by Tobi Henke
At the beginning of this round both players had scores of 8-2, still well in contention for Top 8. With a total of 16 rounds before the Top 8, the math wasn't easy to do, but the loser would probably be out. The match-up between the two Belgians was Stoneblade (Gregoir) versus Elves (Vieren).
Gregoir won the die-roll but lost a card to a mulligan. Trying to spread the misery, he made his opponent lose a card as well with Inquisition of Kozilek. He saw Quirion Ranger, two Wirewood Symbiotes, Llanowar Elves, Bayou, Gaea's Cradle, and Priest of Titania, which he took.
Vieren made Llanowar Elves, while Gregoir dropped a land and passed the turn. Vieren resolved Wirewood Symbiote, Gaea's Cradle netted him two more mana, and he cast Green Sun's Zenith for 2. In response Gregoir exiled Wirewood Symbiote with Swords to Plowshares. Vieren got an Elvish Visionary off the Zenith, drew a card and passed the turn.
Once again, Gregoir simply played a land and passed right back to Vieren, who was suspicious. "Draw step?" he asked expecting Vendilion Clique. Gregoir didn't have it. He also didn't have any responses when Vieren cast Glimpse of Nature and started chaninging Elves. First was Quirion Ranger, then Wirewood Symbiote ... soon he had assembled the combo of Nettle Sentinel, Heritage Druid, Wirewood Symbiote, and Mirror Entity.
Now Vieren could turn all of his creatures into Elves via the Entity (minus one mana), use Wirewood Symbiote to return itself to his hand, untapping Heritage Druid, recast Wirewood Symbiote (minus a second mana) to untap Nettle Sentinel, and use Heritage Druid again (plus three mana). Every iteration of this loop generates one extra mana (and one extra card thanks to Glimpse of Nature), allowing Vieren to draw his deck, create a large amount of mana, and then kill Gregoir with the help of the Entity. Gregoir picked up his cards.
Christophe Gregoir 0 – 1 Pascal Vieren
This time it was Vieren's turn to mulligan, and he didn't stop at one. His five cards had Pendelhaven and Llanowar Elves for turn one, and after Gregoir had cast Stoneforge Mystic off a Tundra and an Underground Sea, Vieren dropped a very scary-looking Choke on turn two!
Gregoir raised an eyebrow, played Polluted Delta and passed the turn. Vieren summoned Mirror Entity threatening to end this game before Gregoir could recover from the Choke. But this was easier than Vieren may had expected. Gregoir searched up the immune Scrubland and played a basic Plains. His mana base was well on track again. He brought down Umezawa's Jitte via Stoneforge Mystic and equipped it, but held back, as Mirror Entity would simply kill his only creature. Vieren added Nettle Sentinel to his team and attacked with Mirror Entity. Gregoir let that through and, on his turn, cast Perish killing every one of Vieren's creatures except for the Entity. The way was clear for his Umezawa's Jitte-bearing Stoneforge Mystic who started accumulating counters, while Vieren's Mirror Entity met Swords to Plowshares
Shortly before this game was over, Vieren resolved a Cabal Therapy, seeing another Perish, Engineered Explosives, another Swords to Plowshares, and Snapcaster Mage. Gregoir's deck could apparently sideboard very well for this match-up. Vieren attempted to go off with Glimpse of Nature, Nettle Sentinel, two Wirewood Symbiotes, Birchlore Rangers, and Fyndhorn Elves, but three counters from Umezawa's Jitte (which had six at the time) stopped that. A couple of attacks with the equipped Stoneforge Mystic later, and the players were off to game three.
Christophe Gregoir 1 – 1 Pascal Vieren
Vieren opened on Green Sun's Zenith for Dryad Arbor and had Cabal Therapy on turn two, to which Gregoir responded with Brainstorm. The Cabal Therapy missed, but revealed a hand with lots of lands, and Wrath of God plus Vendilion Clique as the only spells.
Turn three, Vieren went to draw some cards with Glimpse of Nature which resolved unopposed. He cast a Nettle Sentinel, then a Wirewood Symbiote which untapped his Dryad Arbor and returned his Nettle Sentinel to his hand to be replayed immediately, then another Wirewood Symbiote which did the same.
On his turn, Gregoir cast Perish, wiping the board. Vieren searched up Elvish Visionary with Green Sun's Zenith and fed that to his Cabal Therapy, taking Vendilion Clique out of Gregoir's hand.
Gregoir passed without a play, except for land number four. Vieren went for another Glimpse of Nature, but ran out of mana after Nettle Sentinel, Heritage Druid, and Wirewood Symbiote. Now Gregoir was pondering his options. He didn't go with the Wrath of God in his hand, but chose to cast Engineered Explosives for one instead, prefering the instant-speed protection.
However, he didn't respond when Vieren cast Elvish Visionary, the third Elf along with Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid, generating an extra three mana. He did respond to the following Harmonic Sliver though. In response to Engineered Explosives' activation, Vieren bounced Nettle Sentinel and untapped Elvish Visionary which allowed him to replay the Sentinel and cast another Heritage Druid.
At about this time, the round ended, and the players entered extra turns.
In the face of Wirewood Symbiote shenanigans, Gregoir once again chose to not cast the Wrath of God in his hand but to let the Elves live for now. Instead he paid the full five mana for Force of Will to counter Elvish Visionary. Vieren had another Visionary however, drew into Glimpse of Nature, and suddenly he was back in full combo mode, chaining Elf into Elf, generating mana with the team of Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel, and for a moment there things really were looking great for Vieren. Sadly, midway through the rest of his library he fell short on creatures. He cast Green Sun's Zenith looking for another Wirewood Symbiote to let him continue his combo, but there was no Symbiote left in his deck.
Gregoir untapped with Wrath of God waiting in hand and cleared the board once again. Within the remaining two extra turns, neither player could win the game and the match ended in a draw, with both players still in contention for Top 8.
Christophe Gregoir 1 – 1 Pascal Vieren
Sunday, 12:30 p.m. - How Maverick Rolls
by Tim Willoughby
"I've spoken to a lot of people, who seem to think that Maverick is all about making small creatures and attacking with them. Let there be no mistake... Maverick is a control deck."
It was unlikely that English player was going to give up all the secrets of his Maverick build, which was a bit of a let down, but there is plenty of Maverick running around the top tables here at GP Ghent. Thanks to a little investigation, I've been able to pick up quite a few tips on how to get the most out of the green white deck is serving many of the combo decks in the format their just desserts.
The shell of Maverick is straightforward enough. Green/white, with acceleration in the form of Noble Hierarch (and occasionally Green Sun's Zenith for Dryad Arbor) and a whole slew of disruptive creatures. Depending on the exact flavour of your metagame this mix of creatures could include any of the following;
Mother of Runes
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Kataki, War's Wage
Linvala, Keeper of Silence
All of these cards have the things in common – they make your opponent's life that little bit harder. On their own, they likely won't end the game, but they buy time to make your midrange deck able to profitably hit that 'mid-game' that is the sweet spot for a lot of its plays. From there, there are some value creatures being played quite a bit to strong effect;
Knight of the Reliquary
These four all do fairly nifty things for the deck. Stoneforge Mystic is fairly straightforward, typically fetching the Swiss Army Knife that is Umezawa's Jitte. Fauna Shaman doesn't really work by the Swiss Army Knife principle, with it comes a whole toolbox of options fetching other creatures. Knight of the Reliquary we'll get to in a moment, working as both enforcer and land searcher. The most interesting to me is Scryb Ranger, who lets the Maverick deck pull off all sorts of nifty tricks. With a great many creatures in the deck having useful tap abilities, being able to use them twice a turn can be a very big game. Likewise, being able to 'reset' a land, by bouncing and replaying it affords the Maverick deck with an effective way to manage its mana. My favourite tricks around Scryb Ranger involve Dryad Arbor though. As a Forest creature, it can be used to block and then bounced with Scryb Ranger to manage things like opposing Umezawa's Jitte, lifelinkers or massive attackers.
Knight of the Reliquary seems a little unfair in Maverick, by virtue of the fact that the deck can leverage a lot of powerful lands. Karakas has been many players go to answer (after a fashion) for Griselbrand and Emrakul. It is so good in this role, that many Maverick decks have taken to running Crop Rotation to more quickly find it. There are plenty of other exciting lands to fetch though. Maze of Ith is a good answer to big attackers, and even lets you do tricks with the likes of Knight of the Reliquary by activating it to untap the knight after combat damage in the rarely explored 'end of combat' step. Gaea's Cradle provides Scavenging Ooze with enough mana to satisfy its hunger at lightning speed, or simply to power out threats at a rate that can compete with even the most aggressive of decks. Horizon Canopy is an extra card when you really need to draw, and Cavern of Souls works well with a deck replete with humans. Then there's good old Wasteland, the answer of choice to opponents trying to get too clever with their lands.
One way or another Maverick is able to suppress the best draws of many decks in the format, thanks to a redundant amount of searchers, and powerful disruptive options. Some versions even go big out of the sideboard with Natural Order for Progenitus. It may not be big, it may not be clever, but you'd best be prepared, because Maverick definitely could roll you.
Sunday, 1:01 p.m. – Day 2 Metagame Breakdown
by Tobi Henke
We waded through all the deck lists of all the players who managed to make it into day 2, and here's what decks they chose:
||Number of Players:
|Sneak and Show
|Show and Tell/Omniscience
|Death and Taxes
|Show and Tell/Dream Halls
|Show and Tell
|BGW Hymn to Tourach
RUG leading the field is no surprise, neither that it's followed by Maverick and Stoneblade. Blue-White Miracles claiming fourth place, however, is news. The deck is clearly on the rise, and has been all weekend, winning four Grand Prix Trials on Friday. Also on the rise is Merfolk thanks to Master of the Pearl Trident. Basically all the tribal decks did well with Elves and Goblins only a little bit further down. Slightly better yet did Ad Nauseam/Tendrils. What can we say, Europeans like their storm combo.
But the biggest surprise of all may well be the demise of Reanimator. The results of Grand Prix Atlanta apparently discouraged most players ... or maybe the sideboard cards stopped all of the Reanimators yesterday? Still, two decks in all of day 2? That's on one level with Death and Taxes, Affinity, or Hive Mind. O, how the mighty have fallen. And obviously no one is mightier (or more fallen) than Griselbrand.
Sunday, 2:17 p.m. – The Big Show
by Tim Willoughby
There are quite a few Show and Tell decks here at Grand Prix Ghent. Some are looking to put powerful enchantments like Hive Mind, Dream Halls or Omniscience into play. Still more are going for the big creature plan involving some mix of Progenitus, Griselbrand and Emrakul, often aided by Sneak Attack. My favourite of the day though might have to be this one, piloted by Pietro Cavalletti, simply because it chooses to go bigger and faster than the other Show and Tell decks in the room, with explosive results, pairing the Show and Tell plan up with Hypergenesis.
With Violent Outburst and Shardless Agent to cascade into Hypergenesis, along with the four copies of Show and Tell, this deck has more ways of putting fatties into play fast than just about any other deck in the format. Throw in eight spirit guides to speed things up, and this deck can create some truly spectacular board positions from nowhere.
At the time of writing, Cavalletti is still well in the race to make top eight, and suffice to say, if he makes it, I will be the one racing to cover his matches. Given the option of going big or going home, Cavalletti is unabashed in having chosen to go big.
Pietro Cavalletti - Hypergenesis
Grand Prix Ghent 2012 - Legacy
Round 13 Feature Match - Timo Schünemann vs. Felix Munch
by Tim Willoughby
Felix Munch is the last undefeated player in the tournament, just two draws off a perfect record now. He's been toying with making coverage for some time now with his lands deck, finishing 7-0-2 in the last big European Legacy GP (just outside getting his list featured), then 8-0-1 yesterday. Finally, he makes it to the feature match area, and seemed pretty happy to get the spotlight with what is an unusual deck choice for the weekend.
Schünemann started off with a Gitaxian Probe, seeing Rishadan Port, Zuran Orb, Crucible of Worlds, Mox Diamond, Tropical Island, Tranquil Thicket and Intuition. The jig was very much up in terms of what Munch was playing, and he pointed out the synergy in his hand with a smile. Schünemann had a second Gitaxian Probe, but no other play than a Polluted Delta.
Felix Munch supported by some impressive facial topiary.
Munch, with Mox, Zuran Orb and Rishadan Port, was in good shape to lock down his opponent's lands, but could only look on as an Infernal Tutor found Dark Ritual for his opponent. Combo was likely not his best matchup, but if Tendrils of Agony was Schünemann's win condition, then at least Zuran Orb would force his opponent to build a higher storm count.
Schünemann wasn't about to wait and watch as Munch got in the game, casting a pair of copies of Dark Ritual, followed by fetching a Volcanic Island with Polluted Delta to afford him enough cards in the graveyard to cast Cabal Ritual with threshold. He had three copies of Cabal Ritual in total, followed by Past in Flames. That would get him to the storm he needed to get past Zuran Orb, and Munch scooped up his cards.
Timo Schünemann 1 – 0 Felix Munch
"I'm only playing Lands because 'nobody' is playing your deck. If you decided to change decks in the next 5 minutes, I'd be totally cool with that" quipped Munch.
"I think I'm ok" smile back Schünemann after his lightning fast game one.
Munch had a mulligan on the play, but still had Exploration into Mishra's Factory on turn one. Schünemann's first turn was not particularly explosive, but did see an Inquisition of Kozilek, revealing Chalice of the Void, Exploration and Smokestack. The Chalice was quickly consigned to the grumper. Schünemann, a regular Vintage player, had a smile about the Smokestack, and to have taken away the Chalice of the Void.
This was Schünemann's first big tournament with storm, a reaction to having had a rough time lately playing Dredge. It seemed a timely switch. Munch's second turn only saw a Creeping Tar Pit, while Schünemann had a Brainstorm into a fairly ridiculous turn. Two copies of Lion's Eye Diamond were followed by Lotus Petal, Cabal Ritual, and Infernal Tutor for Burning Wish. The Burning Wish found Empty the Warrens, to make 16 goblin tokens.
Timo Schünemann stops Munch's run at perfection
Munch had no play for his turn, and went to 4 on attacks. He did have an Intuition at the end of turn, but could not find a combination of cards to fetch to keep him in the game, having sideboarded out Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. With a smile, he extended his hand.
Timo Schünemann wins 2-0!
Sunday, 2:53 p.m. - Achieving Omniscience
by Tobi Henke
The funnest of all the decks in this tournament must be the Show and Tell/Omniscience brew created by the German think tank of PT champion Simon Görtzen and GP champion Florian Koch. Take a look!
Simon Görtzen & Florian Koch
Grand Prix Ghent 2012 - Legacy
"Lots of people were intrigued by the sheer power of Omniscience and soon decks sprang up on various sites. So were we, but we build our own version which does a couple of things differently," said Simon.
Let's get to the basics first though. "The most important thing about this deck is its extreme redundancy. With Show and Tell, Burning Wish, and Personal Tutor we effectively have eight copies of Show and Tell. And four each of Brainstorm, Preordain, and Ponder make sure we always find one," Simon explained. "Then there's Griselbrand, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn and Omniscience, also eight cards to put onto the battlefield with Show and Tell. Omniscience obviously needs another spell, but between Burning Wish and the four creatures we again have eight cards that do the trick."
"There are two options to actually kill opponents once you have Omniscience," said Simon. "We can either Burning Wish for Petals of Insight, cast that for free over and over again and sort our library in the process—if the number of cards in it is not divisble by three—then wish for Grapeshot. Or we can simply cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. We also can Burning Wish for Living Wish and get Emrakul out of the sideboard. It's important to have this option because Petals of Insight really doesn't work against Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Gaddock Teeg. If needs be, Burning Wish for Living Wish for Emrakul even works without Omniscience, simply putting the Eldrazi into play with Show and Tell."
Simon Görtzen on the left, Florian Koch on the right
"Mana is very important, especially permanent mana sources, because having extra mana available negates so many of the format's counterspells," Simon said about their mana base which has less Lotus Petals than many other Show and Tell decks. "That's also why we don't run any counterspells of our own which cost mana. Having stuff like Flusterstorm or Spell Pierce really doesn't help at all. Daze is much better."
"The other thing differentiating our version from most is the inclusion of Jace, the Mind Sculptor. That's a card all control decks absolutely have to counter," said Simon. At that point Florian Koch came back from his match and chimed in: "I just won a game with turn-two Jace off Ancient Tomb and Lotus Petal."
"He's a threat on its own, he's another blue card for Force of Will, and when you have Omniscience but no creature or Wish, he's another Brainstorm," Simon added. "And sometimes Omniscience and one attack with Emrakul is not enough. Then you can use Jace to bounce and recast Emrakul. Against Humility or Ensnaring BridgeEmrakul's not a win either, but we can wish for Karakas and at least take infinite extra turns, then win with Jace later."
The most unusual card in the sideboard probably is Defense Grid, about which Simon had the following to say: "Defense Grid is better in theory than in practice, but it is a trump card in that it can completely blank a lot of cards if an opponent really overloads on counterspells."
Finishing things off with a sweet story: "Funniest win I got so far was against an opponent who knew I had Emrakul and Show and Tell in hand. He had six lands including Karakas and held Force of Will. I topdecked Omniscience and cast Show. He smiled, looked at his Karakas, and let it resolve. Let's just say, he was pretty upset when I dropped the Omniscience."
Sunday, 3:41 p.m. - Firefly
by Tim Willoughby
We all know that Delver of Secrets (well, its dark side, Insectile Aberration) is a fine choice of aggressive threat in Legacy. In many cases, it is played in a fairly controlling shell, on the understanding that a protected Delver does not take too terribly many turns to end the game. However, that doesn't mean to say that this is the only way to deploy the Brundlefly. One option being played by a few players here in Ghent is Delver of Secrets backed up by card drawing in what amounts to a burn deck.
Burn as a strategy is one that is potentially quite powerful in Legacy, as it does present a consistent clock for opponents to race. However, it can run out of steam a little, and is in many matchups cold to opponents who can either deal with your plan, or win the race. By having access to things like Brainstorm and Ponder, not only can the burn deck ensure that it draws the best of its burn spells (like Fireblast and Price of Progress), but it can set up interactions with Thunderous Wrath, to really put the hurt on fast. Being able to put up token resistance to other fast start with the likes of Daze is really just the icing on a rather burnt cake.
Below is a list from just one of these decks playing here in Ghent on Sunday.
Stijn de Clercq
Grand Prix Ghent 2012 - Legacy
Are you concerned with your opponents activating Griselbrand? It may not be the best answer, but making sure your opponent is on low life fast enough is one fairly good option for keeping the big scary monster in check.
Round 15 Feature Match
by Tobi Henke
Denmark's Thomas Enevoldsen has never made the Top 8 of a premier event so far, but he did have a couple of Top 64 finishes at the Pro Tour, and he's obviously looking to finally add a Top 8 to his résumé this weekend. With a score of 12-2 he was now facing possible elimination should he lose against Germany's Lukas Maurer. The match-up here was Enevoldsen's "Death and Taxes" against Maurer's Elf deck.
Enevoldsen started on Plains, Æther Vial to his opponent's opening of Forest, Fyndhorn Elves. The Danish player followed it up with Stoneforge Mystic getting Umezwawa's Jitte while Maurer recruited Ezuri, Renegade Leader. On turn three, Enevoldsen just made another Æther Vial and passed with two mana up, looking to use Stoneforge Mystic.
Lukas Maurer quickly takes game one with his elves
On his turn three, however, Maurer cast Glimpse of Nature, proceeded to summon about twenty Elves with a couple of Wirewood Symbiotes thrown in for good measure, and prompted a concession from Enevoldsen.
Thomas Enevoldsen 0 – 1 Lukas Maurer
Enevoldsen thought long and hard about his opening seven, but kept with a frown on his face. He had Rishadan Port and Æther Vial for turn one, while Maurer made Forest and Scattershot Archer. Neither player had a land on turn two, revealing the cause of Enevoldsen's frown.
Maurer summoned Heritage Druid, Enevoldsen vialed in a Mother of Runes. Again no land on turn three for neither player. Maurer cast Wirewood Symbiote, Enevoldsen got Stoneforge Mystic via Æther Vial.
Maurer finally found a second Forest and cast Umezawa's Jitte, but Mother of Runes meant the equipment wasn't really a problem for Enevoldsen. At end of turn Æther Vial gave him a Phyrexian Revoker which revoked Wirewood Symbiote's ability. A turn later, with Enevoldsen still stuck on one land, Maurer cast Glimpse of Nature. Enevoldsen responded by smoothly activating his Æther Vial to bring in Ethersworn Canonist. That was that.
He also found a second land and things started to look dim for Maurer. Even more so when Æther Vial went to three counters and spat out Mangara of Corondor. Next turn, Enevoldsen attacked with Phyrexian Revoker which was blocked by the now useless Wirewood Symbiote. Enevoldsen used Mother of Runes to protect his creature, but that meant he had to use Mangara to take care of Maurer's Umezawa's Jitte, something Enevoldsen had intended to do anyway. On his next turn he cast his own copy of the legendary equipment, and another turn later the Jitte began its dirty work. Reduced to casting one spell per turn thanks to Ethersworn Canonist, and staring down Mother of Runes as well as Jitte, there was not much Maurer could do. One after the other his elves died and, when none where left, he did.
Thomas Enevoldsen 1 – 1 Lukas Maurer
Enevoldsen had to mulligan twice to achieve this, but for the third time in this match he started with Æther Vial on turn one. He had another one on turn two but again no land. Meanwhile, Maurer had summoned a Heritage Druid and a Quirion Ranger, and on turn three he cast Glimpse of Nature followed by Fyndhorn Elves, Birchlore Rangers, Elvish Visonary, and Umezawa's Jitte. A despondent-looking Enevoldsen brought in Mother of Runes via Vial at end of turn, put counters on both of his Vials, played a land and passed the turn back to Maurer.
Maurer made a lot more Elves including Ezuri, Renegade Leader. When a couple of Elves boosted by Ezuri, one holding Jitte, attacked, Enevoldsen just shook his head and offered his hand in concession.
Thomas Enevoldsen 1 – 2 Lukas Maurer
Sundar, 4:22 p.m. - Giant Monsters in Legacy
by Tobi Henke
Sometimes Magic is about painstakingly eking out lots of small advantages over the course of a long and hard-fought battle. Sometimes, however, it's simply about making big stuff happen very fast. Whether you prefer the first or the second kind of Magic, Legacy provides both, with matches between RUG Delver, Maverick, or Stoneblade decks responsible for the former. To be honest, though, the latter clearly makes for better stories. Here are some that happened this weekend.
You may have already heard about this one, so I'll make it quick. A player dropped five Leylines onto the battlefield before turn one, then, on turn one, played Serra's Sanctum and cast Opalescence, turning all of his Leylines into 4/4 creatures. As they had been on the battlefield since the beginning of the first turn, they were able to immediately attack for 20. Done.
Meanwhile Pro Tour champion Simon Görtzen has been tearing up the field with his Omniscience deck, winning as early as turn one with Lotus Petal, Ancient Tomb, Show and Tell for Omniscience, summoning Griselbrand, drawing a bunch of cards, casting Burning Wish for Living Wish for Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, and casting that as well. Sweet, eh?
Hypergenesis creates some truly crazy board states. Ever seen Progenitus and Griselbrand and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on the battlefield on turn two? With Urabrask the Hidden for good measure? Well, I did and it's every bit as awesome as it sounds. Admittedly, only for a very short amount of time ...
However it's not just combo decks that smash in with giant monsters. Admitted, Merfolk takes a little more time to get there but these fishes get huge too. One Lord of Atlantis, one Master of the Pearl Trident, one Merrow Reejerey, one Phantasmal Image, and one Coralhelm Commander—that's five 6/6 creatures fair and square, which is not to be sneezed at.