Coverage of Grand Prix
Gothenburg Day 2

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  • Sunday, 8:50 a.m. – Undefeated Sealed Decks

    by Tobi Henke

  • The letter T!he Booster Draft portion of the tournament is already well underway, but there's a little bit of information still left over from yesterday. That is, last thing last night we showed you the three pools that Jan van der Vegt, Thoralf Severin, and Fredrik Persson turned into 9-0 decks. Did you take a look at those? Build your own decks? If not, I highly recommend you do that first.

    Got your decks ready? Then it's now time to reveal what the three players actually build:

    Fredrik Persson, 9-0
    Grand Prix Gothenburg 2013 – Sealed Deck

    Main Deck

    40 cards

    Blood Crypt
    Gruul Guildgate
    Rakdos Guildgate

    17 lands

    Cloudfin Raptor
    Daggerdrome Imp
    Diluvian Primordial
    Drakewing Krasis
    Drudge Beetle
    Elusive Krasis
    Gruul Ragebeast
    Hypersonic Dragon
    Maze Abomination
    Pontiff of Blight
    Sewer Shambler
    Stonefare Crocodile
    Thrill-Kill Assassin
    Zameck Guildmage

    15 creatures

    Down // Dirty
    Far // Away
    Golgari Cluestone
    Hands of Binding
    Rakdos Cluestone
    Seek the Horizon

    8 other spells

    Act of Treason
    Ascended Lawmage
    Awe for the Guilds
    Azorius Cluestone
    Azorius Keyrune
    Battering Krasis
    Boros Cluestone
    Clinging Anemones
    Contaminated Ground
    Court Street Denizen
    Crypt Incursion
    Deputy of Acquittals
    Executioner's Swing
    Explosive Impact
    Hidden Strings
    Hired Torturer
    Horncaller's Chant
    Hussar Patrol
    Knight of Obligation
    Knight Watch
    Last Thoughts
    Lobber Crew
    Mark for Death
    Massive Raid
    Mending Touch
    Millennial Gargoyle
    Orzhov Cluestone
    Pilfered Plans
    Predator's Rapport
    Psychic Strike
    Pursuit of Flight
    Pyrewild Shaman
    Rakdos Drake
    Rogue's Passage
    Saruli Gatekeepers
    Selesnya Cluestone
    Selesnya Guildgate
    Shattering Blow
    Skinbrand Goblin
    Skymark Roc
    Smog Elemental
    Sphere of Safety
    Sundering Growth
    Tithe Drinker
    Uncovered Clues
    Unflinching Courage
    Vassal Soul
    Viashino Racketeer

    58 sideboard cards

    Thoralf Severin, 9-0
    Grand Prix Gothenburg 2013 – Sealed Deck

    Main Deck

    40 cards

    Boros Guildgate
    Gruul Guildgate
    Simic Guildgate

    17 lands

    Boros Reckoner
    Cloudfin Raptor
    Ember Beast
    Frostburn Weird
    Ghor-Clan Rampager
    Goblin Electromancer
    Isperia's Skywatch
    Lavinia of the Tenth
    Lobber Crew
    Maze Glider
    Maze Rusher
    Nivix Cyclops
    Rubblebelt Maaka
    Species Gorger
    Tower Drake
    Viashino Shanktail

    16 creatures

    Azorius Cluestone
    Izzet Charm
    Selesnya Cluestone
    Simic Charm
    Trostani's Judgment
    Turn // Burn

    7 other spells

    Abrupt Decay
    Balustrade Spy
    Beckon Apparition
    Boros Mastiff
    Centaur's Herald
    Chorus of Might
    Clear a Path
    Concordia Pegasus
    Corpse Blockade
    Dead Reveler
    Death's Approach
    Debt to the Deathless
    Destroy the Evidence
    Disciple of the Old Ways
    Down // Dirty
    Drown in Filth
    Dutiful Thrull
    Foundry Street Denizen
    Furious Resistance
    Golgari Cluestone
    Golgari Decoy
    Golgari Guildgate
    Gruul Cluestone
    Guildscorn Ward
    Gutter Skulk
    Gyre Sage
    Hired Torturer
    Izzet Cluestone
    Jarad's Orders
    Korozda Guildmage
    Maze Sentinel
    Mending Touch
    Merfolk of the Depths
    Paralyzing Grasp
    Pilfered Plans
    Pontiff of Blight
    Rakdos Cluestone
    Sin Collector
    Sinister Possession
    Skyknight Legionnaire
    Skyline Predator
    Slate Street Ruffian
    Spawn of Rix Maadi
    Stonefare Crocodile
    Sundering Growth
    Sunspire Gatekeepers
    Swift Justice
    Tavern Swindler
    Terrus Wurm
    Tin Street Market
    Tower Defense
    Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage
    Warped Physique
    Way of the Thief
    Wildwood Rebirth

    60 sideboard cards

    Jan van der Vegt, 9-0
    Grand Prix Gothenburg 2013 – Sealed Deck

    Main Deck

    40 cards

    Boros Guildgate
    Gruul Guildgate
    Izzet Guildgate

    17 lands

    Armored Wolf-Rider
    Axebane Guardian
    Balustrade Spy
    Dinrova Horror
    Gatecreeper Vine
    Greenside Watcher
    Ivy Lane Denizen
    Kraul Warrior
    Sewer Shambler
    Sire of Insanity
    Trestle Troll
    Trostani's Summoner

    13 creatures

    Chromatic Lantern
    Devour Flesh
    Down // Dirty
    Explosive Impact
    Far // Away
    Killing Glare
    Krasis Incubation
    Pilfered Plans
    Verdant Haven

    9 other spells

    Domri Rade

    1 planeswalker

    Aerial Predation
    Ascended Lawmage
    Azorius Arrester
    Azorius Charm
    Azorius Justiciar
    Boros Charm
    Boros Cluestone
    Burning-Tree Emissary
    Chronic Flooding
    Clear a Path
    Common Bond
    Daggerdrome Imp
    Disciple of the Old Ways
    Fencing Ace
    Frostburn Weird
    Goblin Electromancer
    Gore-House Chainwalker
    Gutter Skulk
    Hands of Binding
    Heroes' Reunion
    Horror of the Dim
    Izzet Cluestone
    Keening Apparition
    Kingpin's Pet
    Lyev Decree
    Madcap Skills
    Maw of the Obzedat
    Maze Glider
    Maze Sentinel
    Mind Rot
    Mortus Strider
    Nav Squad Commandos
    Ooze Flux
    Paralyzing Grasp
    Phantom General
    Pit Fight
    Rakdos Drake
    Righteous Charge
    Riot Piker
    Risen Sanctuary
    Rubblebelt Maaka
    Runner's Bane
    Scatter Arc
    Selesnya Cluestone
    Serene Remembrance
    Sinister Possession
    Skyblinder Staff
    Smelt-Ward Gatekeepers
    Steeple Roc
    Structural Collapse
    Towering Thunderfist
    Viashino Racketeer
    Zhur-Taa Druid

    60 sideboard cards


  • Round 10 Feature Match #1 – Martin Zimmermann vs. Helmut Summersberger

    by Tobi Henke

  • "It just doesn't work without blue mana," Austrian Helmut Summersberger said after his 1-2 loss against Germany's Martin Zimmermann. "Or green," he added, shaking his head in resignation. "I have eight sources of each of my three colors and no double casting cost either. During the draft, I was even first-picking Guildgates!"

    The two players, who both have multiple Grand Prix Top 8s to their names, had had an interesting first game, followed by what Zimmermann called "two non-games."

    Helmut Summersberger

    In the first, Summersberger's green-white-blue deck was working properly and his Centaur Healer easily stopped Zimmermann's early offense, his Syncopate stopped Thrashing Mossdog, and his Simic Fluxmage finally took full control. Zimmermann had tried to Drown in Filth the Fluxmage but had missed on a second land, and he also lost a 3/3 Centaur token to Voidwielder. Summersberger seemed to have the perfect answer at every turn and soon took the lead.

    Zimmermann started quickly into the second game, however, with Shadow Alley Denizen, Drudge Beetle, and Undercity Informer, followed by Far & Away to kill Summersberger's Centaur Healer. Summersberger was missing blue mana, and only cast one more spell during the whole game, a Slaughterhorn. Neither the Slaughterhorn nor the game lasted for very long.

    Martin Zimmermann

    Then, for the final game of the match, Summersberger's mana troubles increased even further. Even after sacrificing his Azorius Cluestone, which had been his only spell so far, he still had no source of green mana. When he finally topdecked a Forest, Zimmermann already had four creatures on the battlefield, and added Necropolis Regent. Summersberger extended his hand in concession.


  • Round 10 Feature Match #2 – Max Schultze vs. Andre Müller

    by Tobi Henke

  • The letter I!n this all-German feature match, one duel was decided by color screw and another by mulligans. In the third game, Andre Müller's five-color deck malfunctioned, with a double mulligan leading to a chumpblocker by turn five as his only spell, while Max Schultze's green-white-red deck couldn't come up with a source of red mana in the second game, leaving Ruination Wurm and Foundry Champion stranded in his hand and leaving Schultze helpless as Müller's Ripscale Predator and Tenement Crasher finished the job in short order.

    Andre Müller

    So let's focus on the first game instead. There were two key situations here. Rather early in this long drawn-out affair, Schultze was ahead on the board and Müller tried to block Ruination Wurm with Wrecking Ogre, walking right into Schultze's Swift Justice. The Ruination Wurm traded with Ripscale Predator next turn, but the swift 8-point lifegain would prove crucial later on, as it prevented Müller from entering a damage race.

    Forced to take the defensive role, Müller had to hold back with his Dark Revenant, despite having the only flier on the battlefield, to prevent Schultze from attacking with Boros Mastiff. Lots of other creatures traded, but then Schultze had Foundry Champion, "targeting your draw step," i.e. targeting Dark Revenant.

    Next, Holy Mantle on Foundry Champion forced Müller to cast Cyclonic Rift (without overload) on the Champion. "Yes, really happy about that." The Champion was summoned again and killed Dark Revenant again, costing Müller yet another draw step.

    Max Schultze

    By now, a great many lands had accumulated on both sides of the table, making it impossible for Müller to kill Foundry Champion in combat, even without Holy Mantle. He produced an astonishing number of chumpblockers, but no removal, and finally succumbed to the champion.


  • Round 11 Feature Match – Samuele Estratti vs. Jonathan Bergström

    by Frank Karsten

  • "Gruul War Chant was the best card in this match, as it always is," Jonathan Bergström summarized. "I only have one Keening Apparition as an answer, but I never drew it."

    Showcasing the power of Gruul War Chant, Samuele Estratti (the Pro Tour Philadelphia champion) defeated Jonathan Bergström (a member of the Grand Prix Utrecht winning team) in three games. Although Bergström won a game in which Estratti flooded out on lands, the other two games were decided by the devastating enchantment from the Gruul clan. As a result, Estratti moves to 9-2, in a good position to aim for another Grand Prix Top 8. Bergström falls to 8-3.

    The first game that Estratti won was a very quick affair. At first, Bergström was able to block Towering Thunderfist with Murmuring Phantasm, but when Gruul War Chant came down, the equation changed and Bergström couldn't come up with good blocks anymore.

    The second game that Estratti won was much longer, and more complicated. Especially after Gruul War Chant came down, players were thinking long and hard. Two attack phases stood out as particularly interesting ones. The first one is pictured below.

    A complicated attack step. Not pictured: Estratti's freshly cast and untapped Crowned Ceratok.

    As you see, Estratti (at 6 life) attacked with a 3/3 Centaur token, a 6/5 Ripscale Predator, a 4/6 Crocanura, and a 5/1 Armored Transport, all getting a +1/+0 boost from Gruul War Chant. He also had a Crowned Ceratok with summoning sickness on the battlefield.

    Bergström (at 9 life) decided to block the Ripscale Predator with his 7/7 Lavinia of the Tenth (courtesy of a Knightly Valor and a +1/+1 counter) and his 1/2 Simic Fluxmage. He also blocked the Armored Transport with the 4/4 Sapphire Drake and the 2/2 Knight token.

    Accordingly, Crocanura and the Centaur token were left unblocked. Downsize from Bergstöm ensured that he would survive for another turn, though he lost three of his creatures in the process. Crucially, he lost his Sapphire Drake. "I shouldn't have blocked with my 4/4 flyer; I should have blocked with Wind Drake instead," Bergström said after the match. "I felt it was the safest play to block with my biggest guy because Lavinia of the Tenth would be lethal on the next turn anyway. But then it lost flying because I lost my Sapphire Drake." Indeed, Estratti was able to chumpblock Lavina of the Tenth with Crowned Ceratok on the subsequent attack.

    But Bergstöm shrugged off his mistake and fought back with the Azorius part of Beck & Call. As a result, he managed to stay into the match, but he still had no permanent answer to Gruul War Chant. A few turns later, we had the second interesting attack phase of the game.

    Estratti (on the right) decides to go for the safe play in fear of removal from Bergström (on the left).

    In this attack phase, Estratti (at 6 life) had to decide between going all-out or going for the safe route. He had three lethal creatures on the board, while Bergström (at 1 life) only had four blockers. So if Bergström had no removal spell in hand, he would be dead. But if he had, and Estratti would attack all-out, then Lavinia of the Tenth would win the game on the backswing. "If you had the Profit & Loss that I saw in an earlier game, I would be dead," Estratti explained to his opponent afterwards. Eventually, Estratti decided to attack with his Armored Transport only. He did the same on the next turn, slowly mauling through Bergstöm's creatures one-by-one.

    In the end, Bergstöm didn't have the removal, and Estratti took the match several turns later.


  • Sunday, 12:35 p.m. – Meet the Swedish World Magic Cup Team

    by Frank Karsten

  • The letter W!hat tournament Magic player doesn't dream of representing his or her country at the World Magic Cup (WMC)? For each country, the WMC team consists of the winner of the three WMC Qualifiers and the top player based on Professional Points in the 2012-2013 Season.

    For Sweden, this year's WMC team consists of Joel Larsson, Elias Watsfeldt, Olle Rade, and Joakim Aberg. Hastags #ggrestoftheworld and #theworldtrembles have already been used to describe this team on Twitter.

    Joel Larsson is a Gold level pro who made the finals of Pro Tour Gatecrash. Elias Watsfeldt is a Silver level pro with multiple Grand Prix Top 8s to his name. Olle Rade has five Pro Tour Top 8s, a Hall of Fame ring, and a Pro Tour trophy going back to the earliest days of the Pro Tour. Finally, Joakim Aberg, a 33-year old teacher, is the least accomplished player from the team, but he is a strong player nevertheless: he holds a Nationals Top 8 and is a self-described Endboss at the local FNM. "But I have never been to Pro Tour, so this is great", Joakim said.

    From left to right: Olle Rade, Elias Watsfeldt, Joel Larsson, and Joakim Aberg.

    I sat down with the team and asked them how they qualified, how they liked their chances, and how they are planning to prepare.

    Q: For the WMCQ winners: What Standard deck did you use to qualify?

    Joakim: "I won with Jund."

    Olle: "I played with Gruul aggro. Elias played the same deck."

    Elias: "Same deck, same sleeves, same playmat. Except for one small change: I swapped out Rancor for Volcanic Strength."

    Q: How do you like your chances as a team?

    Elias: "It's 50-50."

    Joel, laughing: "He always says that."

    Olle: "People say we have the best team."

    Joel: "I like the team part. I think we're pretty good at teams," referring to him and Elias making the finals of the Team Grand Prix in Utrecht earlier this year.

    Joakim: "Yeah, it should be fun!"

    Olle: "I haven't played in Team worlds since the 90s, so it's kind of a new and old experience."

    Q: Do you think your team is well-balanced; does everyone bring in different qualities?

    Olle: "Well, I have all the cards in Standard; that's what I bring in."

    Elias: "Everyone likes different decks. Joel like the white decks, Olle likes the aggro decks, I likes the blue decks, and Joakim likes Jund decks."

    Q: Have you already talked about how you will prepare for the World Magic Cup?

    Joel: "We're just starting because the last qualifier was just last weekend."

    Joakim: "I made a Facebook account; that's a start."

    Elias: "I guess we'll just prepare online. Basically, we're living in 4 different cities, so we'll do online testing and speak on Facebook."

    Olle: "We also need to practice opening boosters, to make sure we're prepared for the Sealed portion."

    Q: What countries stand out as the teams to beat?

    Olle: "Denmark, always Denmark! Whoever is on the Danish team, we always want to beat Denmark."

    Elias: "The Scandinavian teams are all strong in general."

    Joel: "We must watch out for Tzu-Ching Kuo when he's playing three matches at once."

    Q: Last year at the WMC, players started out with individual performances and then teams cut down to three-person teams after several rounds. This year, players will elect which three of the four players play in each format. Have you already started thinking about who gets to play what?

    Elias: "I think a die roll will decide that question."

    Joel: "It should depend on how much experience everyone has with the different formats. But we haven't thought everything through yet."

    The Swedish WMC team still has almost 2 months to get ready for the World Magic Cup, which will be held on August 2-4 in Amsterdam. For all other people watching at home or competing in the event, you can use that time to prepare for the Swedish menace. Get ready!


  • Sunday, 12:45 p.m. – Drafting with Jan van der Vegt

    by Frank Karsten

  • The letter Y!esterday, Jan van der Vegt went 9-0 in the Sealed portion. Now, it was time for Booster Draft. Jan, a competitor at this year's Magic Online Championships Series, had done a ton of Dragon's Maze-Gatecrash-Return to Ravnica drafts in preparation. Many of those drafts were streamed live on his Twitch channel dzyl.

    Jan hails from the Netherlands. Two out of the previous Grands Prix in Gothenburg were won by Dutch players: Jos Schreurs in 2001 and Jelger Wiegersma in 2003. If Jan would be able to 3-0 this draft, then he would be in prime position to make it into the Top 8, and keep the dream alive of becoming the third Dutch Grand Prix Gothenburg champion. Let's get to his draft!

    Pack 1

    Pick Jan's choice Other relevant options
    1 Ruric Thar, the Unbowed Kraal Warrior, Jelenn Sphinx, Alive & Well, Watery Grave
    2 Korozda Gorgon Armored Wolf-Rider, Profit & Loss, Selesnya Guildgate
    3 Haunter of Nightveil Rubblebelt Maaka, Viashino Firstblade, Selesnya Guildgate
    4 Deadbridge Chant Rakdos Guildgate, Pilfered Plans
    5 Izzet Guildgate Zhur-Taa Ancient, Rakdos Drake, Maze Glider
    6 Kraal Warrior Wind Drake, Korozda Gorgon, Orzhov Guildgate
    7 Hired Torturer Weapon Surge, Nivix Cyclops
    8 Pilfered Plans Rot Farm Skeleton, Gruul Cluestone
    9 Dimir Cluestone Gruul Cluestone, Simic Cluestone
    10 Rakdos Cluestone Nivix Cyclops
    11 Morgue Burst  
    12 Pilfered Plans  
    13 Mending Touch  
    14 Mindstatic  

    "I had to decide between Jelenn Sphinx and Ruric Thar, the Unbowed in the first booster," Jan told me after the draft. "I really like Azorius in this format, but the power level of Ruric Thar is just so much higher that I decided to take it anyway."

    At the end of the first pack, Jan had a collection of cards in all colors except white. The player to the left of Jan was drafting Green-Black-Red, while the player to the right of Jan was drafting White-Black-Green. Jan could reasonably have figured out that his neighbors weren't in blue because he didn't pass many relevant blue cards to his left and received late Dimir cards from his right. So, he would be well-positioned for either Simic or Dimir in the Gatecrash booster.

    "I got a third pick Haunter of Nightveil, which seemed like a pretty big signal, so I wanted to cut Dimir," Jan mentioned. "Or perhaps Simic splash black if I would see good Simic cards." He also explained that he basically gave up on the red after the first booster because he hadn't seen many good red cards and because the red cards in Return to Ravnica usually don't fit very well in a control deck.

    Pack 2

    Pick Jan's choice Other relevant options
    1 Sepulchral Primordial Simic Guildgate, Crowned Ceratok, Zamek Guildmage
    2 Metropolis Sprite Deathcult Rogue, Urban Evolution, Godless Shrine
    3 Agoraphobia Greenside Watcher, Alms Beast, Hands of Binding
    4 Basilica Screecher Orzhov Charm, Millennial Gargoyle, Ruination Wurm
    5 Leyline Phantom Luminate Primordial, Totally Lost, Assault Griffin
    6 Thrull Parasite Ruination Wurm, Angelic Edict
    7 Way of the Thief Wildwood Rebirth, Zarichi Tiger
    8 Sage's Row Denizen Leyline Phantom
    9 Simic Guildgate Spell Rupture
    10 Last Thoughts  
    11 Crackling Perimeter  
    12 Clinging Anemones  
    13 Shadow Alley Denizen  
    14 Hydroform  

    The Gatecrash booster was not very kind to Jan; the boosters were relatively empty. "Orzhov was wide open," Jan said. "I was actually considering switching to white when Luminate Primordial came, but I decided to stick to my guns, hoping that Golgari would be open in the third pack."

    Pack 3

    Pick Jan's choice Other relevant options
    1 Voidwielder Golgari Longlegs, Izzet Charm, Carnival Hellsteed
    2 Voidwielder Underworld Connections, Golgari Longlegs, Paralyzing Grasp
    3 Dreg Mangler Sluiceway Scorpion, Faerie Imposter, Izzet Guildgate
    4 Drudge Beetle Rakdos Keyrune, Hussar Patrol
    5 Trestle Troll Dryad Militant, Augur Spree, Stealer of Secrets, Korozda Monitor
    6 Paralyzing Grasp Drudge Beetle, Doorkeeper
    7 Slum Reaper Abrupt Decay, Rix Maadi Guildmage
    8 Cancel Horncaller's Chant
    9 Inspiration Lobber Crew
    10 Treasured Find  
    11 Sluiceway Scorpion  
    12 Nivmagus Elemental  
    13 Crosstown Courier  
    14 Aquus Steed  

    "I think Golgari was open, but the cards were just not there," Jan said. "I decided to pass up on an 8th pick Abrupt Decay because my mana base was so bad. "

    When asked how he liked his chances, Jan answered: "Not so happy with my deck. My mana base is mostly horrendous. I'm playing 3 colors and I have 18 lands with only one Guildgate and one Cluestone. I hope I can go 2-1, but I'm afraid it's not going to work."

    Decklist and Final Result

    As it turned out, Jan did manage to win 2 matches with his deck, which surprised him. "I'm playing very badly today because I didn't get to sleep many hours," he said. "But I just drank some water, ate some food, and I'm feeling better again. I have often been so close to the Top 8; I already lost 5 win-and-in matches before. I really hope I can make it today."

    Moving into the second draft with an 11-1 record, Jan is still in an excellent position for that.


  • Sunday, 3:20 p.m. – Combos in Return to Ravnica Block Limited

    by Frank Karsten

  • The letter W!e get to play with cards from Return to Ravnica, Gatecrash, and Dragon's Maze this weekend. There are plenty of interesting card interactions to be found across those sets. As the draft strategies evolve and players get a better grasp of the format, many competitors are trying to take advantage of combos. Throughout this weekend, I saw, overheard, and learned about many of them. Here are some of my favorite ones.

    Ramp into a 7-drop on turn 4!

    If a Rhino, a Centaur, and a Knight is not good enough, then three additional +1/+1 counters should seal the deal.

    Though Crowned Ceratok was mainly made to work with evolve creatures, it also works perfectly well with scavenge counters.

    Turn your pinger into a Visara the Dreadful.

    This one is just completely unfair.

    Build your own double Martial Law!

    You might feel safe at 16 life against a Black-White deck, but this combo can take the game out of nowhere.

    If everything else fails, you can try to steal some games by combining horrendous cards.

    Suddenly your unleashed creature can block after all!

    Double the Swine, double the fun. Double strike plus bloodrush leads to a ton of damage


  • Sunday, 3:33 p.m. – Drafting with Thoralf Severin

    by Tobi Henke

  • The letter G!oing into the second draft of the day, with a score of 11-1 so far, Thoralf Severin potentially only needed one more win to clinch a Top 8 berth. Would he be able to draft a deck able to do that?

    Well, at least things went off to a good start with a first pick of Unflinching Courage over Armed & Dangerous and not much else. For his second pick, however, there was no Selesnya, green, or white option except for Steeple Roc. Grudgingly, Severin settled for Zhur-Taa Druid, passing among others Carnage Gladiator and Azorius Guildgate. Next, he passed Selesnya Cluestone, Boros Mastiff, and Gruul Guildgate to pick up Give & Take, followed by Battering Krasis as his fourth pick.

    Thoralf Severin

    Pick five was particular interesting, offering the choice between Trostani's Summoner and Scab-Clan Giant. The Summoner may be the better card, but at this point the Giant seemed a more likely main-deck inclusion, and Severin took it. Sixth was a Thrashing Mossdog with no real competition and seventh was Wind Drake over Viashino Firstblade. Apparently, Severin had already discounted white, at least as a main color, and wanted to keep the option to combine Gruul with Simic.

    However, the rest of the Dragon's Maze booster did provide a Boros Mastiff and a Selesnya Cluestone, along with Weapon Surge, Mending Touch, and three copies of Maze Rusher.

    Now Gatecrash had a real surprise in store: Severin opened Angelic Skirmisher, and though he was reluctant to add a double-white card to his draft at this point, the next best options were Prophetic Prism and Zameck Guildmage, so he took the Angel after all. Then he proved just how unhappy he really was with that first pick when he shunned Aurelia, the Warleader in favor of Zhur-Taa Swine. In next came Crocanura, Verdant Haven, Ruination Wurm, and a Boros Charm, again mostly for lack of alternatives.

    His seventh pick was Frilled Oculus out of an equally empty pack, but afterwards Gruul picked up again, delivering Warmind Infantry and Ivy Lane Denizen. Orzhov Guildgate, Furious Resistance, Psychic Strike, a late Smite, and Mortus Strider rounded out the Gatecrash pack.

    Return to Ravnica started with an unfortunate first pick of Rubbleback Rhino, with Batterhorn and Slitherhead being the only other red or green cards. Next, Gore-House Chainwalker provided a much-needed two-drop and two Explosive Impacts added removal and reach. His fifth pick was Splatter Thug, passing both Selesnya Guildgate and Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, then came Brushstrider. The rest of Return to Ravnica went rather uneventful, with Severin picking up Phantom General, Coursers' Accord, Cobblebrute, Common Bond, Dynacharge, Armory Guard, and Rootborn Defenses.

    Overall, he ended up with enough playables in red and green so as to keep white to a minimum, splashing for three cards with five sources, leaving out Angelic Skirmisher. Take a look at the finished product:


  • Sunday, 4:04 p.m. – Naming the 4-Color Decks

    by Frank Karsten

  • The letter T!he number of different color combinations that is seeing play today is mind-blowing. It didn't use to be that way: In triple Return to Ravnica and triple Gatecrash draft, we only had five Guilds to choose from, and the fast nature of those formats often pushed players towards streamlined 2-color beatdown decks. However, now that Dragon's Maze has entered to format, Limited decks are looking differently. There's just so much depth, and many players have drafted a 4-color deck today.

    While the multicolored nature of this block is a lot of fun, it also raises a problem: How to name the 4-color decks? We have apt names available for the 2-color decks and some of the 3-color decks: Golgari, Azorius, Jund, etcetera. But how about the 4-color decks?

    One way to come up with names is via a cycle of cards from Guildpact: the Nephilims. There are five Nephilim, one for each combination of four colors:

    • Dune-Brood Nephilim
    • Glint-Eye Nephilim
    • Ink-Treader Nephilim
    • Witch-Maw Nephilim
    • Yore-Tiller Nephilim

    So, if you drafted all colors except green, then you drafted Yore-Tiller. If you drafted all colors except blue, then that would be a Glint-Eye deck. Not quite as catchy as Azorius or Jund, but it's certainly shorter than saying Green-Black-White-Red.

    To be fair, I doubt the Nephilim naming convention will catch on because many people will have no clue what you're talking about when you say that you are in, e.g., the Ink-Treader colors. Still, it's an idea that I wanted to share while the Swiss rounds are drawing to a close.


  • Round 14 Feature Match – Fredrik Persson vs. Joel Larsson

    by Tobi Henke

  • Lavinia of the Tenth clinched victory for Fredrik Persson in his match against fellow Swede Joel Larsson, eliminating the latter from Top 8 contention. "That sure was a very good top deck," said Larsson after the match.

    Game 1

    Here, the early game was all about Larsson's Stealer of Secrets and Persson's Shambleshark. The Stealer was blocked by Shambleshark, pumped by Slaughterhorn, reduced in size by Protect & Serve, then Shambleshark was destroyed by Putrefy but raised from the dead via Wildwood Rebirth. Finally, after all they'd been through, the two creatures traded.

    Joel Larsson

    Larsson was left with just Rubbleback Rhino and lots of lands, while Persson cast one Maze Glider, then another, and yet another. "Detention Sphere?" he joked. Larsson had no Detention Sphere, actually no removal at all, no fliers of his own, and soon no life.

    Game 2

    Larsson opened on New Prahv Guildmage and Kingpin's Pet and got in several hits, while Persson had his first play on turn four in Fathom Mage. His next play, Armory Guard, met Cancel, and Larsson was pulling further and further ahead.

    Maze Glider and Lavinia of the Tenth for Persson stopped Larsson's offense; however, by then Persson was already down to 6 life. It took a while, but Larsson's Kingpin's Pet finished the job via extort.

    Game 3

    This time Larsson had no early offense, and neither his Ascended Lawmage nor Kingpin's Pet provided good blockers for Persson's creatures. At one point, Larsson blocked Armory Guard with Ascended Lawmage, tried to Smite, and was stopped via Scatter Arc! He managed to keep his Lawmage around with the white half of Profit & Loss, but that clearly could have gone better.

    Fredrik Persson

    Persson's Shambleshark and Maze Glider put the pressure on Larsson and, just when the latter appeared to get back into the game, Persson had Lavinia of the Tenth, eliminating literally all of Larsson's blockers—only for one turn, still one turn was well enough for Persson to turn all of his creatures sideways and win the match.

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