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Coverage of Grand Prix Lyon Day 2

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  • Sunday, 9:52 a.m. – Waiting for the Egg to Boil
    by Frank Karsten

  • Second Breakfast was responsible for a lot of overtime yesterday. In tournaments like Grands Prix, the players get 5 additional turns to finish their match after time is called on a round. Typically, those 5 turns are over quickly. But if one of those turns is a huge Second Breakfast combo turn, it can take a while. It has happened on multiple occasions this weekend that 1000+ players were waiting for a single Second Breakfast player to break all of his Eggs and loop Pyrite Spellbomb before the next round could start.

    "A large part of the delays have been caused by Eggs," Head Judge Gijsbert Hoogendijk mentioned. "And some of the worst delays were caused by Eggs mirror matches, with one player trying to go off in response to the other."

    Gijsbert was referring to how an Egg player could piggyback off the Second Sunrise of his opponent. While Faith's Reward only refers to "your graveyard", Second Sunrise affects both players equally. So if you have a bunch of Eggs in play and your opponent recklessly casts Second Sunrise, you can sacrifice all of your artifacts and hope to draw more Faith's Reward than your opponent.

    This gives me headaches even thinking about it. You know, it would all become much easier if a Silence gets resolved at some point in the game. But then your opponent might try to go off in response to that Silence ... Maybe you should try to time the Silence in response to an opposing Faith's Reward when the opponent doesn't have mana available? Argh, this is getting horribly complicated.

    I just want to give one piece of advice to any player considering Eggs for a Modern tournament at some point in the future: Test the mirror match. The rest of the tournament will thank you for not having to figure out the interactions on the fly in the extra turns. And a player who knows what's going on in this particular mirror matchup will have a huge egg -- I mean edge.




     

  • Sunday, 10:10 a.m. – Yesterday's Undefeated
    by Tobi Henke

  • Four players escaped yesterday's carnage with unblemished records. Nine wins, zero losses—considering the considerable competition, that's quite an accomplishment.

    Kevin Chiche and Peter Dun both used Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker to create arbitrary numbers of hasty copies of Pestermite, Deceiver Exarch, or Restoration Angel, but their decks almost couldn't be more different. Chiche ran the combo as the killer in his red-green-white(-blue) Birthing Pod deck, whereas Dun had it more traditional in blue and red (and a tiny splash of black) with Splinter Twin. Meanwhile, Arnaud Duval and Mario Zuñiga both used aggressive beatdown strategies with an almost combo-like component for their respective 9-0s, Robots for Duval, Infect for Zuñiga. That's four different archetypes and no Jund ...



    Peter Dun, 9-0
    Lyon Grand Prix - Modern






     

  • Sunday, 10:24 a.m. – Day 2 Metagame Overview
    by Frank Karsten

  • Day 2 of Grand Prix Lyon has begun, and we've got a metagame breakdown of what the field looks like here today. What made it into Day 2? Take a look!


    Jund 37
    Robots 29
    Infect 21
    UW Mid-range 16
    Birthing Pod 14
    GR Tron 9
    Splinter Twin 7
    Storm 4
    RUG Delver 4
    UWR Delver 3
    Soul Sisters 3
    Doran 3
    BW Tokens 3
    Mid-range Naya 3
    Mono Red Burn 2
    Merfolk 2
    GWB Jank 2
    DredgeVine 2
    White Weenie 1
    UR Control 1
    Second Breakfast 1
    Scapeshift 1
    Melira combo 1
    Living End 1
    GW Maverick 1
    GW Mangara-Flickerwisp 1
    Gifts Rock 1
    BUG 1

    So that's 21% Jund, 17% Robots, and 12% Infect together making up over half of the field, but there's a whole slew of other archetypes that are being played today in this diverse format.




     

  • Round 10 Feature Match - Daniel Royde (Jund) vs. Timothée Simonot (Robots)
    by Tobi Henke

  • Englishman Daniel Royde already has one Grand Prix win under his belt and, sitting here at 8-1, was clearly looking for more Grand Prix glory. In his way, however, stood Frenchman Timothée Simonot, who wasn't willing to give up his own shot at glory easily.

    Game 1

    Simonot, on the play, kept Darksteel Citadel, Island, Blinkmoth Nexus, Arcbound Ravager, Galvanic Blast, Steel Overseer, and Thoughtcast, played the Citadel and lost the Thoughtcast to Thoughtseize. Turn two he made Welding Jar and Steel Overseer, while Royde only had a Treetop Village.


    Simonot played a second Blinkmoth Nexus and cast Arcbound Ravager. Royde responded with Lightning Bolt on Steel Overseer. In response, Simonot activated the other Blinkmoth Nexus, used Steel Overseer on his team, then Welding Jar on his Overseer.

    Another Bolt and Abrupt Decay cleared the board anyway, except for the two Blinkmoth Nexus that nibbled away at Royde's life total. When those died later, Vault Skirge and Signal Pest took over. Meanwhile, Royde couldn't for the life of him draw a creature of his own (and his life really did depend on it). He tried to make do with two Treetop Villages, but the constant drain on his mana meant he couldn't both race and remove Simonot's creatures. He had to take care of some additional ones, quickly abandoned his racing ambitions, and in the end couldn't deal with all of them.

    Daniel Royde 0-1 Timothée Simonot

    Game 2

    This time, Simonot kept two Darksteel Citadels, Inkmoth Nexus, Vault Skirge, and Signal Pest—a five-card hand thanks to double mulligan. Royde's Inquisition of Kozilek made that four, getting rid of Signal Pest.


    A second Inquisition missed, while Simonot played a second Inkmoth Nexus, and now Royde had a creature himself, a sizeable 4/5 Tarmogoyf, that grew to 5/6 when Abrupt Decay killed Vault Skirge. The race was on: Tarmogoyf brought Simonot to 15, the two Inkmoth Nexus gave Royde two poison counters; Simonot 10, Royde at four poison. At this rate, Simonot was clearly going to lose this game. Something had to be done.

    That something was Cranial Plating, but Simonot fumbled with his mana (which by now involved a Blinkmoth Nexus as well as a Springleaf Drum) and ended up not being able to use it. That didn't really matter, though, because Royde had Ancient Grudge anyway, destroying Cranial Plating and a Nexus. On his turn, he brought Simonot to 5 and tapped out for Batterskull.

    Simonot had one topdeck and it needed to be a good one. It was. Another Cranial Plating. And this time Simonot managed his mana flawlessly, activated and equipped his one remaining Inkmoth Nexus, and delivered the final points of poison.

    Daniel Royde 0-2 Timothée Simonot




     

  • Round 12 Feature Match - Marijn Lybaert (Infect) vs. Mathieu Deloly (Infect)
    by Frank Karsten

  • With 10-2 records, both Marijn Lybaert from Belgium and Mathieu Deloly from France still have their sights set on the Top 8, but in order to make the cut they're (likely) going to need to go undefeated from this point forward. Marijn is an accomplished player with several Pro Tour Top 8s to his name. Mathieu Deloly is less experienced -- in fact, he had just started playing again after a three-year hiatus. (See, no one ever quits!) Both players came to battle with an Infect deck.

    Game 1

    Marijn won the die roll, drew his opening hand, and tanked for a minute before finally saying "keep".

    His 7 cards were Breeding Pool, 2 Rancor, Glistener Elf, Noble Hierarch, Mutagenic Growth, and Vines of Vastwood.

    Now, this is a perfectly fine hand, except possibly when playing against Jund. Marijn wasn't only thinking about whether or not he would keep the hand, but rather which card he would play on turn 1: Glistener Elf or Noble Hierarch. He could, of course, have said "keep" right away and then think for a minute on which card he would want to lead off with, but that would've given away a lot of information on his hand. Specifically, it would've given away that he had a choice between multiple one drops. By deciding on his turn 1 play before saying "keep", he left his opponent in the dark about what he was actually thinking about.

    Marijn eventually decided to go for the turn 1 Noble Hierarch, and Rancored up his Glistener Elf on his second turn.

    Mathieu, in the meantime, played Noble Hierarch, Glistener Elf, and Blighted Agent over the course of his first two turns.

    Marijn, on his third turn, played his second Rancor and attacked with his 6/2 Trampling Glistener Elf (+4/+0 from double Rancor, +1/+1 due to Noble Hierarch). Mathieu blocked it with his own Glistener Elf. At first glance, it might seem awkward to block a 6/2 trampler with a 1/1 creature. But Glistener Elf deals damage to creatures in the form of -1/-1 counters, so Marijn's Glistener Elf would immediately die once the Exalted bonus would wear off. But before his Infect creature died, Marijn cast Groundswell and Mutagenic Growth to put his opponent at 9 poison counters. Trample on the Rancor was being really pivotal here.

    After that exchange, a second Glistener Elf came down for Marijn. A Rancor and some pump spells later, the players were shuffling up for the next game.

    Marijn Lybaert 1 - Mathieu Deloly 0

    Game 2

    Mathieu got to play first and started with Overgrown Tomb, Noble Hierarch. Marijn, on a mulligan to 6, started with a turn 1 Thoughtseize. Deloly revealed the following hand:

    Glistener Elf, Spellskite, Misty Rainforest, Giant Growth, and Dismember.


    Lybaert, at this point, had Glistener Elf, Rancor, Dismember, Thoughtseize, and Misty Rainforest in hand. Which card would you take here if you were Marijn?

    The Belgian eventually chose Spellskite, one of the more fearsome cards against Infect as it can swallow up all those pump spells.

    Next turn, it was time for a another Thoughtseize. Deloly revealed that he had drawn Might of Old Krosa. After some calculations, Marijn picked Dismember.

    A few turns later, Deloly cast a topdecked Vines of Vastwood on his Glistener Elf in response to Lybaert's Dismember to take the game.

    Marijn Lybaert 1 - Mathieu Deloly 1

    Game 3

    Lybaert: "I mulligan."

    Deloly: "Me too."

    Lybaert: "Let's keep it fair this time."

    Deloly: "The first two games were just about drawing the right cards at the right time."


    Lybaert got close to winning on Noble Hierarch damage (not poison counters) this game, as Deloly had dealt a ton of damage to himself with Dismember and lands, but eventually fell 1 damage short.

    A well-timed Vines of Vastwood again allowed Deloly to take a game, and the match.

    Marijn Lybaert 1 - Mathieu Deloly 2




     

  • Sunday, 10:10 a.m. – Frank's Five to Follow
    by Frank Karsten

  • As I went through the Day 2 decklists earlier today, there were several decks that looked particularly interesting to me. They might not be perfectly tuned yet and none of their pilots appear to be in contention for the Top 8, but they are certainly something different, and they seem like a lot of fun to play. Let's get to the lists!



    With Loxodon Smiter and Wilt-Leaf Liege to profitably discard to Liliana of the Veil, this deck is prepared for the Jund matchup. Combo decks will not be looking forward to play against Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Gaddock Teeg, and Aven Mindcensor.


    This deck aims to go for the mana denial route. Blood Moon can shut down entire decks. Another dream is Bloodbraid Elf flipping Boom/Bust. Yes, casting the Bust side would be allowed in that case.

    Daniel Spano, UR Control
    Lyon Grand Prix - Modern


    Hey, an actual control deck! This deck features lots of cheap removal and countermagic to stall until a Vedalken Shackles or Batterskull can take over the game.


    This deck aims to assemble the combo of Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Viscera Seer, and Kitchen Finks for infinite life, and then infinite damage with Muderous Redcap on the subsequent time. Several new Return to Ravnica additions may have made the deck stronger than before; Deathrite Shaman in particular makes an appearance as a useful mana accelerant.

    Serafin Wellinger, GW Mangara-Flickerwisp
    Lyon Grand Prix - Modern


    This white-green concoction aims to flicker out Mangara of Corondor with Restoration Angel while the "ExileMangara of Corondor and target permanent" still on the stack. Flickerwisp and Blade Splicer provide some redundancy. Finally, Leonin Arbiter has nice synergy with both Path to Exile and Ghost Quarter. Those are certainly some funky interactions.

    So that's my selection of five decks to follow. If you've been looking for a fun and powerful deck to play on Magic Online or the upcoming Modern PTQs, give one of these deck a spin!




     

  • Sunday, 1:45 a.m. – Quick Question
    by Tobi Henke

  • What Modern Deck Should People Absolutely NOT Play at the Moment?


    Shahar Shenhar: Eggs. I hate it. For one thing, I wouldn't be able to play it. And it takes so long. Can't play it on Magic Online, and even here every round's in overtime because of it.
    Kenny Öberg: Scapeshift.
    Frank Karsten: Soul Sisters.
    Vincent Lemoine: Tron.



     

  • Sunday, 2:27 a.m. – And a Vengeful Vine It Is
    by Tobi Henke

  • Earlier today, I saw Shahar Shenhar facing Pack Rat. Wait, what? This isn't Return to Ravnica Limited, after all, but Modern, two formats that, regarding power level, are separated by several magnitudes. Turns out, Pack Rat is a fine sideboard card for grind-y match-ups, at least when the deck it's in needs ways to discard Vengevine (and is happy to discard Bloodghast or Gravecrawler). The deck we're talking about here was played to a 7-2 finish yesterday by Alan Meaney. Take a look!


    This really is one sweet build. I especially like the fact that it fits the explosiveness of Vengevine into such an aggressive shell and seamlessly integrates this much disruption in the form of discard and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Meanwhile, the team-up of discard-outlets Lotleth Troll and Oona's Prowler provide extra consistency, and Deathrite Shaman speeds things up nicely.

    But surely one can do even crazier stuff with Vengevine, no? Well, Raphaël Lévy did. He missed out on day two by one match, but he must have had a blast playing the following deck:


    Basically a dredge deck, this one really showcases the move of the looting ability from blue to red. Faithless Looting may be pretty standard fare by now, but who would have expected Burning Inquiry or Goblin Lore? With those, Lévy fills the graveyard, then he dredges to bin even more stuff, unearths Dregscape Zombie to allow him to cast two Gravecrawlers, which in turn reanimate all Vengevines, with some +1/+1 counters via Slitherhead thrown in for good measure. And the sideboard adds yet more fun stuff: Dredging into lots of Ancient Grudges? Or Vengeful Pharaoh? Discarding Big Game Hunter? Amazing.

    Does it get crazier still? Why indeed it does! Andre Luff played the following construct:


    Hedron Crab, Fauna Shaman, Phantasmal Image, Stinkweed Imp, Bloodbraid Elf, Dark Confidant, Skaab Ruinator, Gnaw to the Bone, and Scourge Devil? I have to admit I didn't exactly expect to see these cards all on one deck list, much less in day two of a Grand Prix. Half of them I didn't expect to see at all!

    But apparently most of everything is possible in Modern and the final word regarding Vengevine has not yet been spoken. The brewing continues. As always.




     

  • Sunday, 3:40 a.m. – Quick Question
    by Tobi Henke

  • What Was the Most Surprising Card (or Deck) You Played Against?


    Shahar Shenhar: Batterskull. Though I probably should have been prepared for that.
    Kenny Öberg: Not a surprising card as such, but I was once ambushed by Vendilion Clique mid-combo when I really didn't expect it. Terrifying!
    Lino Burgold: Sorin, Lord of Innistrad.
    Vincent Lemoine: I didn't expect mono-red. That deck looked nice.



     

  • Sunday, 3:33 a.m. – Interesting Sideboard Cards Seeing Play Today
    by Tobi Henke

  • While watching some of the games at the Grand Prix and while going through the decklists earlier today, my eye caught several interesting sideboard cards that might be excellent choices for the current metagame or just downright baffling. Let me highlight a couple of them.



    Seen in the sideboard of several Jund and Robots decks. It's nice against Eggs and Scapeshift, and one mana less than Slaughter Games. Another draw is that Bitter Ordeal can remove Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, whereas Slaughter Games can only take nonland cards.



    It shuts down Conjurer's Bauble, preventing a Second Breakfast deck from looping Pyrite Spellbomb.



    Seen in the sideboard of many decks today. It's good against both Infect and Affinity.



    Seen in the sideboard of a Mono Red Burn deck alongside a Sacred Foundry. Why is it there? Maybe against Infect? Or against the Kiki-Jiki / Restoration Angel combo? Who knows...



    Frequently played as a one-of in the sideboards of Infect decks. I'm guessing it is there so you can fetch it with Verdant Catacombs when playing against Liliana of the Veil?



    It's pretty good in the Jund mirror match!



    Some GR Tron decks have it in their sideboards today. It looks pretty good against Infect and Robots.

    Hopefully this list has provided you with some additional ideas!




     

  • Round 14 Feature Match: Kenny Öberg vs. Timothée Simonot
    by Tobi Henke

  • Earlier today, Timothée Simonot and his Robots dispatched former GP champ Daniel Royde, now he was up against former GP champ Kenny Öberg and his Storm deck.

    Game 1

    After mulligans for both players, Öberg started on Serum Visions and Goblin Electromancer, while Simonot had Blinkmoth Nexus, Memnite, Ornithopter, Mox Opal, and Vault Skirge on turn one, followed by Steel Overseer on turn two.

    Timothée Simonot

    Turn three, Öberg went off: Seething Song was followed by Manamorphose and another Seething Song, leaving him with a total of nine mana thanks to Goblin Electromancer. Desperate Ravings restocked Öberg's hand, Seething Song number three increased his mana pool by another three, and then it was time for Past in Flames. With every card in his graveyard ready to be flashed back, winning was mostly a formality now. When Öberg flashed back Serum Visions and left both cards on top, Simonot knew he was in trouble.

    A flurry of rituals ended in Grapeshot and that was that.

    Kenny Öberg 1-0 Timothée Simonot

    Game 2

    Things went at a much more sedate pace this time around. Simonot spent his first turn taking a peek at (and a Serum Visions from) Öberg's one-land hand via Thoughtseize. Öberg risked a glance as well with Gitaxian Probe.

    Turn two, Simonot had Darksteel Citadel, Arcbound Ravager (which ate Mox Opal), and another Mox Opal that allowed him to cast Thoughtcast. Meanwhile Öberg was stuck on Steam Vents as his only land, but made the most out of it with Lightning Bolt directed at Arcbound Ravager. Simonot sacrificed his Mox and Citadel to save it.

    Two turns later, Simonot had rebuild his board and had Öberg down to 6, when Öberg finally found a second land. He cast Desperate Ritual, Seething Song, and Shatterstorm, leaving Simonot with one Island on the battlefield and one card in hand.

    Kenny Öberg

    Simonot went back on offense with Vault Skirge, then Memnite, and Öberg was back on the clock, even if it wasn't the fastest clock. He spent two turns on Desperate Ravings and Desperate Ravings flashback, then he had accumulated enough to attempt to go off.

    A number of rituals and Gitaxian Probe for a little additional card drawing ended in Past in Flames, yet more of the same (that is, a number of rituals and Gitaxian Probe for a little additional card drawing), and finally: Grapeshot. Or rather: Grapeshot, Past in Flames flashback, and Grapeshot again.

    Kenny Öberg 2-0 Timothée Simonot

     

  • Sunday, 3:50 a.m. – Quick Question
    by Tobi Henke

  • What Was Your Most Valuable Sideboard Card?


    Shahar Shenhar: Terminate.
    Kenny Öberg: Lightning Bolt.
    Lino Burgold: Vendilion Clique.
    Vincent Lemoine: Suppression Field.



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