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Day 2 Coverage of Grand Prix Paris 2014

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The letter P!lay on Day Two of Grand Prix Paris 2014 has commenced. Yesterday, we saw 1,587 hopefuls enter the tournament with dreams of fame and glory, however all but 186 of them were eliminated in the carnage of the first nine rounds. 186 managed to go 7-2 or better and return today for another six rounds of Legacy.

Among them, Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Kasper Euser, Maxime Gilles, Philipp Schönegger, and Gregorio Soriente led the field overnight with unblemished records of 9-0. Close behind in the standings, however, placed players like Andreas Ganz, Elias Klocker, and Carlos Moral, all on 8-1, and 7-2s like Joel Larsson, Alexandre Darras, Pierre Dagen, (25) Christian Calcano, Marijn Lybaert, and Jan van der Vegt certainly can't be discounted either.

It's going to be an interesting second day here at Grand Prix Paris. Players race to the finish line; the Top 8 is decided; and, finally, a new champion will be crowned. Join us, both on text and video, as we bring you all the action, all the excitement, and all the tech straight from the battlefield!











 

  • Day 1 Undefeated Decklists

    by Tobi Henke

  • While the first nine rounds of the tournament really showcased the immense variety of the Legacy format, there wasn't much of it at the very top. Among the five players to achieve such a feat, three did so playing Blue-White Miracles, including Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.

    Complementing those three was one BUG Delver and, what may just be the big story of the tournament so far, Kasper Euser's rogue build, beautifully titled "Farmville." The deck features some regular control elements like Supreme Verdict and Force of Will as well as pretty basic card selection in Brainstorm, Ponder, and Intuition, but really runs on a lands engine of Exploration, Crop Rotation, Living Wish, and Life from the Loam to quickly assemble the combination of Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage. Copying the former with the latter creates an indestructible 20/20 token (because the copy lacks all ice counters) and usually wins the game shortly after. Check it out!


    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, 9-0
    Grand Prix Paris 2014 – Legacy



    Philipp Schönegger, 9-0
    Grand Prix Paris 2014 – Legacy


    Gregorio Soriente, 9-0
    Grand Prix Paris 2014 – Legacy




     

  • Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – The Evolution of Delver of Secrets

    by Olle Rade

  • After nine grueling rounds of swiss yesterday, the 1,587-player field is down to 186. Most of the fringe decks have been eliminated and the meta game has become a little more predictable. I took a look at what the players at the first 10 tables were playing to get a view of what decks did best yesterday and how field looks for the people very much in contention for the top 8.

    The first thing that struck me was the rise in popularity of BUG Delver. Six months ago the most successful deck with Delver of Secrets was Red, Blue and Green with Tarmogoyf and Nimble Mongoose in addition to the Innistrad namesake. And the last Legacy Grand Prix in Washington in November saw the rise of the Blue, White and Red version with Stoneforge Mystic and True-Name Nemesis, which also ended up winning the event.


    Although the Blue, White and Red Delver deck was a popular choice yesterday, the top ten tables this morning saw no pilots of it. Three Delver players however, opted for Blue, Green and Black version, and one player was with the good ol' Red, Blue and Green.

    The reason for the rise in popularity in Black and Green over White and Red is a response to the increased amount of True-Name Nemesis currently in the format. Cards like Liliana of the Veil and Golgari Charm out of the sideboard are good against it, and some players chose to play answers to True-Name Nemesis in additions to their own True-Name Nemesis. Having access to Abrupt Decay is also a good choice, both against other Delver decks, and against the Miracles deck with Counterbalance that have been doing well this weekend. Spaniard Ruben Delgado won a trial Friday night with this list.


    Although still a bit early in the day to list the decks from the people playing today, I'm sure we will see quite a few Blue, Black and Green Delver decks in the top portion of the standings as the days draws closer to the top 8.




     

  • Deck Tech: Merfolk, with Omar Rohner

    by Olle Rade

  • While he may not be a well known name on the Grand Prix circuit, 30-years old Spaniard Omar Rohner has some impressive finishes at the yearly Bazaar of Moxen in Annecy, France. He has won both the Legacy and the Vintage portionm and last year once again made the top 8. The secret behind his success? Playing Merfolks, just like here in Paris. "I don't play as much Magic right now as I used to, so I play the same deck as I always do," he explains his choice of deck for the weekend.


    Omar Rohner is once again battling with his beloved Lord of Atlantis

    And he is doing well with it. After defeating Kasper Eusen's interesting Dark Depths deck in round 11, he stands at 10-1 with half a foot in the top 8. He strongly believes that Merfolk is one of the top decks in the format right now and that the key is how True-Name Nemesis has made some bad matchups winnable.

    "Jund used to be a bad matchup, but with 4 True-Name Nemesis it has become a lot better. I played against three Jund decks yesterday, and I beat all of them," he says.

    The latest changes he has done to his list are opting not to play Daze or Wasteland, opting instead of 8 man lands in the form of 4 Mutavault and 4 Mishra's Factory.

    "The deck is a little softer to combo now, but I dedicate a lot of sideboard cards against it," says Rohner, who is currently living in Malta.


    Omar Rohner ponders his decisions against Kaspar Eusen's Dark Depths combo deck.

    Being the eternal format aficionado he is, his deck is naturally sporting Beta Islands and original AntiquitiesMishra's Factory, a beauty both for the eye and to play. At least in the hands of one of the best Merfolk pilots in the room.




     

  • Round 11 Feature Match – Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Maxime Gilles

    by Tobi Henke

  • Meeting in the feature match area this round were two of the tournament's last three players with perfect records of 10-0. Of course, only one of them would be able to continue his winning streak, so who would it be? Simply going by pedigree, Pro Tour champion and Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa was clearly the favorite in this match against little-known Frenchman Maxime Gilles, but what about the decks?

    As it so happens, all three 10-0 players, the two here as well as Philipp Schönegger on the next table, were basically piloting the same deck. Miracles apparently was a good choice this weekend. However, Gilles's version was featuring a small red splash for one each of Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast in the main deck, which was certain to give him some edge in the almost-mirror.

    Game 1

    The action started early here, as Damo da Rosa's turn-one Sensei's Divining Top was met with Force of Will, then the game entered a lull where both players went "land, go" for about six turns with the occasional Brainstorm or Ponder thrown in.


    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

    The action resumed when Gilles tried to resolve Sensei's Divining Top. Damo da Rosa had five lands but only two sources of blue mana which he tapped for Counterspell, Gilles responded with Red Elemental Blast, and succesfully resolved his Top. Damo da Rosa untapped and tried Jace, the Mind Scultor. Gilles had Snapcaster Mage to flashback Red Elemental Blast, already deciding the third exchange for himself.

    The next fight, a couple of turns later, concerned Gilles's Jace, the Mind Sculptor, which he forced through Damo da Rosa's Snapcaster Mage/Counterspell combination with Force of Will. Up a Top as well as a Jace, Gilles was looking to be in a good spot. After all the trade-offs, though, Damo da Rosa was now able to resolve his own Top and Jace. Gilles, in turn, miracled Entreat the Angels on his turn for four 4/4s. The game was really picking up speed.

    On his turn, Damo da Rosa cleared the way with Vendilion Clique and set up to miracle-cast Terminus during Gilles's upkeep. However, Gilles responded to the miracle trigger with his own topdecked Vendilion Clique, removing Terminus from Damo da Rosa's hand before it could be cast. Damo da Rosa had responded with Brainstorm but in the end couldn't do anything about it, and subsequently lost his planeswalker and a good chunk of life to Gilles's Angel beatdown.

    On his turn, he recast Sensei's Divining Top and set up yet another Terminus. This time, it resolved, and Gilles was left with just Jace, the Mind Sculptor. That proved quite the threat though, as ist continued accumulating counters. Soon it had nine, then 11, then 13. At this point, in the nick of time, Damo da Rosa had his own miracle in Entreat the Angels.

    Gilles had Force of Will, Damo da Rosa had Force of Will too, but Gilles won the counterwar with Pyroblast.

    Game 2

    The action started during Damo da Rosa's fourth turn, after he had missed a land drop, when Gilles cast Vendilion Clique and had it countered by Counterspell. On his turn then, Gilles went for Counterbalance which met Damo da Rosa's Pyroblast which itself met Gilles's Flusterstorm.

    Counterbalance resolved and so did Gilles's Jace, the Mind Sculptor a turn later. The game was slipping away from Damo da Rosa—and not slowly but actually quite fast. He had to do something soon, and he did, pushing his own Jace, the Mind Sculptor past Gilles's Red Elemental Blast with Force of Will. On the backswing, however, Gilles, after Ponder, completed his Counterbalance/Sensei's Divining Top soft lock with the missing artifact.


    Maxime Gilles

    Damo da Rosa was not done yet, though. When Gilles cracked a fetchland, Damo da Rosa cast Pyroblast on Jace, the Mind Sculptor; Gilles tried to save it with Counterbalance by putting Sensei's Divining Top on top of his library but Damo da Rosa responded with another Pyroblast. So Gilles lost his planeswalker as well as his Top, since he still needed to shuffle his library for the fetchland activation. In return, however, Damo da Rosa lost his own Jace, the Mind Sculptor to a fresh Vendilion Clique.

    Gilles replaced the planeswalker with another, and a couple of turns later, Gilles had also drawn another Sensei's Divining Top. Damo da Rosa was out of gas and out of options, and soon offered his hand in concession.

    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa 0-2 Maxime Gilles

    "The red Blasts in the main deck completely changed the dynamic in the first game," Damo da Rosa explained after the match. "He basically started with a sideboarded deck." That and a few mana issues on Damo da Rosa's side clinched the match for Gilles.

    Meanwhile, one table further down, Philipp Schönegger had also won his match, so Maxime Gilles would be facing another Miracles mirror match next round for the showdown between the only two 11-0 players.




     

  • Round 12 Feature Match - Omar Rohner vs. Maciej Fidzinski

    by Olle Rade

  • Omar Rohner is a 30-year old Spanish poker player, residing on Malta. He might not be known to the general public, but eternal experts know his name from the top of several Bazaar of Moxen events. Both players entered the round with 10-1 records, meaning a win this round would put them in excellent shape for making the top 8.

    Omar Rohner was running Merfolks, a deck on steroids since the printing of True-Name Nemesis. Maciej Fidzinski was playing RUG Delver, with main deck Grim Lavamancer, which could be crucial against the Merfolk army. Even though there was a lot at stake, the atmosphere was friendly, and players even allowed a few takebacks, which you don't often see at this level of competition.


    Omar Rohner vs. Maciej Fidzinski

    The matchup usually plays out in a race situation, where the key for the Delver deck is to get ahead before the merfolk lords grant islandwalk and make each other gigantic. Cards like Lavamancer and Lightning Bolt would be key, where Rohner would be hoping to get an early Æther Vial to be able to swarm his opponent with Merfolks.

    The first game was all about True-Name Nemesis. Even though Fidzinski was first on the board with a Lavamancer and a Delver Rohner was able to get one into play with Cavern of Souls making it uncounterable. A second Nemesis prompted a "Yeeeeeah, nice," from Fidzinski. Bearing witness of how vulnerable his deck was to the new merfolk.

    A beta Lord of Atlantis powered up the pair, and the race was over in Rohner's favor.

    "True-Name Nemesis is pretty stupid sometimes," exclaimed Rohner after the game.

    The second game, once again came down to Nemeses. With an opener of only reactive cards Fidzinski was able to deal with Æther Vials on the first two turns, but once again a Cavern of Souls allowed True-Name Nemesis to resolve. This time on an empty board. "Boooring," Fidzinski exclaimed without irony.

    He tried his best, by summoning Grim Lavamancer and a Tarmogoyf, but wasn't pleased when the Nemesis went on the offense. "Not blocking, obviously," said the Polish player, having had just about enough of the card for the weekend.

    When a Phantasmal Image showed up, cloning the Nemesis, Fidzinski slumped even more in his chair. The race was once again over in the favor of two Nemeses.


    Double Nemesis

    "I don't enjoy playing against Merfolks, but it's always fun to play against Rohner. He's really on a level above everyone else, " Maciej Fidzinski summed up the match.

    Result: Omar Rohner wins 2-0




     

  • Sunday, 2:22 p.m. – Day Two Metagame

    by Tobi Henke

  • Here's what the field on the second day of Grand Prix Paris 2014 looked like. Below you will find listed the decks of 180 players, six others chose to run rogue builds of which only a single copy made the cut.

    Deck: Number:
    BUG Delver 25
    Miracles 15
    Storm 13
    Elves 12
    Sneak & Show 12
    WUBG Deathblade 12
    UWR Stoneblade/Delver 10
    Merfolk 10
    Death and Taxes 9
    Jund 8
    Stoneblade 8
    Omni-Tell 7
    Shardless BUG 5
    RUG Delver 5
    Dredge 4
    Imperial Painter 4
    Junk 3
    Reanimator 3
    Belcher 3
    "Farmville" 2
    BUG Control 2
    Lands 2
    Maverick 2
    Nic Fit 2
    UR Delver 2

    BUG Delver leads the way, and that's not the only Delver deck out there. Including the Blue-White-Red Stoneblade/Delver hybrid as well as RUG Delver and Blue-Red Delver, they account for almost a quarter of the field. Similarly, the various versions of Stoneblade make up more than 16% of the metagame. Miracles, though in second place in the above table, can claim only half of that.




     

  • Deck Tech: Farmville with Kasper Eusen

    by Olle Rade

  • One of the most exciting decks this weekend has been Dutchman Kasper Eusen's brew built around the interaction between Dark Depths and Thespian's Stage. The deck runs a control shell in the form of Supreme Verdict and Force of Will. But it wins by putting a 20/20 token into play with Dark Depths. The beauty of the combo is that Thespian's Stage an become a copy of Dark Depths, but without the counters, allowing it to instantly make an indestructible 20/20 flyer to win the game. Throw in some Crop Rotations and it can be done at the end of your opponents turn, and Exploration allows it to happen as early as turn two. "The dream opening hand is Exploration, Crop Rotation and four lands, one of them being either a Thespian's Stage or a Dark Depths,", says Kasper Eusen.

    He actually assembled just that hand against an unaware opponent who tapped out for Stoneforge Mystic on turn two, only to find himself staring down on a 20/20 flier at the end of his turn. Eusen managed to go undefeated with a 9-0 record on the first day with the deck he named "Farmville", but his luck seemed to have run out on day two, as he picked up three losses quite early, destroying his chances to make the top 8. "I am really happy with how I did the first day, but of course I am disappointed about how I've done on day two. But overall it's been a great weekend," he says.


    The deck also has a lot of utilities with 4 Intuition and 4 Living Wish. Intuition allows him to fetch Dark Depths, Thespian's Stage and Life from the Loam, acting as a tutor for the entire combo, and Living Wish can fetch both lands and creatures from the sideboard. Ranging from various hate bears against combo decks to underrated invitational cards like the Sylvan Safekeeper to protect his combo.

    When asked about the decks worst and best matchups, the 26-year-old didn't have to think long.

    "Anything with Wasteland, Swords to Plowshares and Deathrite Shaman can be though if they draw them all. And Miracles is a bad matchup since they have both Swords to Plowshares and Terminus to kill your token, or Karakas to bounce it. Everything else, the deck can handle pretty easily."

    Most of his opponents this weekend would probably agree.




     

  • Sunday, 2:55 p.m. – A Legacy of Interesting Ideas

    by Tobi Henke

  • While browsing the day-two deck lists for the metagame breakdown, I came across several rather interesting designs. Some of them may not be good enough to ever make it to a Top 8, some may well have been but simply missed due to unlucky pairings or draws, and some decklists may be able to be improved upon. All of the following, however, were definitely good enough to make it to the second day here at Grand Prix Paris 2014 and maybe deserve your attention. Want to take a look?






     

  • Sunday, 3:22 p.m. – Overheard at the Grand Prix

    by Tobi Henke

  • "Want to counter my Show and Tell?"
    "I think I should, but I can't. So ... What have you got?"
    "Well, I had hopes of you countering. I don't actually have anything at all to put on the battlefield."




    "Want to counter my Show and Tell?"
    "Know what? I think I'd rather let that resolve."
    "Well ... then I put Emrakul, the Aeons Torn onto the battlefield."
    "What a coincidence! I have an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn as well."
    "So, what now?"
    "I untap, attack with my Emrakul, and you sacrifice six permanents, which probably includes your Emrakul. Tough luck."




    "End of turn, I copy my Dark Depths with Thespian's Stage and create an indestructible 20/20 token?"
    "Sure."
    "Untap? Draw?"
    "Sure."
    "Attack you for 20?"
    "Nah, you forgot to pay for The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale you got lying around there, so you actually need to sacrifice your indestructible 20/20."




    "Tobi, that story about the indestructible 20/20 token and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale doesn't actually work that way." "It doesn't?"
    "The Tabernacle doesn't force players to sacrifice their creatures but destroys them, so it won't ever touch any indestructible creature."
    "Oh. That's bad. I never realized—and neither did the players in that story!"
    "How unlucky!"




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