Day 1 Coverage

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Day one of Grand Prix Copenhagen is at an end!

610 players rocked up to Grand Prix Copenhagen, and now our field has been cut to the ten percenters - the top 64 of that number, who will come back to compete for the title of Champion on Sunday.

In great shape for that are the three players who finished top of the standings undefeated after 9 rounds. Tomoharu Saito, Player of the Year was unstoppable in the feature match area with his mono-red deck, in spite of being paired with many incredible opponents. Saito, Gabriel Nassif and Shuhei Nakamura all had very tough opponents all day, so it is even more of a testament to their mastery of the game that none of them finished worse than 8-1. The other two undefeated players, Christophe Gregoir of Belgium, and David Larsson of Sweden also find themselves in great shape against a tight field.

So far, the biggest tech for the field seems to be staying at Rasmus Sibast's house. It is really close to the venue, and currently 3 of the top 8 players in the standings are staying with him. This didn't quite work for Rasmus himself, as he will be a spectator for day 2.

If you want to be a spectator for the final day of Grand Prix Copenhagen, you have no further to go than to stay right here. Tomorrow we'll be talking deck tech, more artist moments, and of course our top 8!



EVENT COVERAGE




 
  • Playing the Clock
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Some formats are faster than others. Tempest block, between shadow and a variety of aggressive threats, was very quick. With Saga in the mix, games got down to a very few turns, but potentially longer games as people took time to go off in any manner of obnoxious ways.

    Talking about the format with our head judge Adam Cetnerowski, he was enthusiastic about the format from a timekeeping perspective. With the red deck in the format stopping people from being too ponderous in their control options, we had results running in within 10 minutes of kickoff, and coming in swiftly all round.

    There is a rumour of a powerful Martyr of Sands deck in the field, but for the sake of finishing the 9 rounds today nice and quickly, Cetnerowski is hoping for no big Martyr mirrors.



     
  • Podcast: The Prince of Denmark
    by Rich Hagon


  • Finding the royalty to rise above the common herd is going to be tough here at the latest Summer Series event. Standard is the format of choice, and more than 600 players have convened here in the Danish capital to try to bring home the bacon. In our opening show, we discuss the shape of the 2009 Pro Tour season, the Standard Metagame, the Player of the Year race, get some trading insight, and embark upon a vile journey of 'humor' predicated on the surname 'Hagon'. Oh dear.


     
  • Feature Match - Round 4: Deep In Pact
    Tomoharu Saito vs Olivier Ruel
    by Tim Willoughby
  • "How many byes do you have?"

    "Three."

    "Rating or trial?"

    "Both... better safe than sorry!"

    Kenny Oberg was pretty happy about his position. While the Swede has not yet achieved a GP top 8 (he missed out on tie-breaks in Stuttgart), he sat down to the feature match area confident in himself and his deck.

    Kenny rolled a pair of dice, and got aces, not too difficult for Big Oots to beat. With a mulligan as well, Kenny’s day hadn’t started quite as he might have hoped. Rasmus’ day had started by wandering out of his door, and pretty much hitting the tournament site. Living about 1 minute away, he had a leisurely start time, though he did have 12 or so other players staying with him to lead to breakfast.

    Oberg’s first play was a suspended Ancestral Visions, while Sibast had an Aven Riftwatcher, which was shortly followed by a second.

    "At least if I go 0-3 I can just go home and watch TV" remarked a deadpan Sibast as he ran in with his creatures, and suspended a Riftwing Cloudskate. He had a Venser, Shaper Savant when Ancestral Visions lost it’s last suspend counter, but there was a Rune Snag to ensure than Kenny got his cards, and another Ancestral to suspend.

    Rasmus wasn’t too afraid of all that card advantage. He was busy beating down in the air, and evoked a Mulldrifter leaving 4 mana up to get some of his own. The first ‘threat’ of sorts from Oberg was an Urza’s Factory, which was soon followed by a Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, which threatened to hold off Riftwing Cloudskates on Rasmus’ side of the board. A brief counter war followed, in which Pact of Negation and Rune Snag from Kenny beat Rune Snag and Cryptic Command from Rasmus.

    Once the legend was on the table, with Kenny about to draw 3 more off his second Ancestral, Rasmus scooped up his cards, he could no longer effectively race.

    Rasmus Sibast 0 – 1 Kenny Oberg

    Rasmus hous of fun is where the smart pundits have predicted a winner for this Grand Prix to be found, but Sibast himself now had to fight back to be in a good spot for this first match. In between rounds Kenny mentioned how excited he was about the changes to the Pro Tour for the following year. With both limited and constructed, for those with the time and inclination to test, he felt there was more advantage to be gained.

    Rasmus was the one with a turn one Ancestral Visions for Game 2, and followed up with an evoked Mulldrifter soon after. The very next turn he evoked yet another, ensuring he’d have great plays for the following turns. Meanwhile, Oberg was in a tougher spot. Missing a fourth land drop he discarded a Mystical Teachings on his fourth turn, and could only watch on as Ancestral Visions went off and found a pair of Riftwing Cloudskate to suspend.

    When Oberg found a fourth land, he went for an end of turn Mystical Teachings. Sibast had Cryptic Command to counter and bounce a Vivid Meadow. On Kenny’s upkeep, there was a Venser to bounce a land, that got stopped by Pact of Negation. This looked very risky given two Riftwing Cloudskates on suspend, but there was Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir to ensure that neither was to resolve.

    Rasmus flashed a Cryptic Command to bounce a land. This would leave Kenny unable to pay for his pact, tying up the match.

    Rasmus Sibast 1 – 1 Kenny Oberg

    For the third game, each player had a suspended Ancestral Visions. The difference though, was that Rasmus had a second, while Kenny was busy putting counters on a Dreadship Reef. Sibast tried to evoke a Mulldrifter, only to see Rune Snag from his opponent.

    At the end of turn, Oberg played Mystical Teachings, to which Sibast responded with Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce Vivid Creek on the other side of the board. Mystical Teachings found Pull from Eternity, and then Oberg got to resolve his Ancestral Visions in upkeep. With his Pull putting Ancestral Visions into Rasmus’ graveyard, it suddenly looked that the Swede might get Visions advantage in spite of having drawn one less.

    Rasmus’ second Ancestral Visions saw a Cryptic Command from Oberg. Sibast played Momentary Blink to allow Venser to stop the powerful spell. Next up he cast a Mulldrifter. who didn’t quite make it thanks to a Remove Soul from Oberg.

    Sibast was the only player with a threat on board, but the two points a turn from Venser were hardly a clock that Oberg seemed concerned with. He cast a Mystical Teachings at the end of turn, fetching Pact of Negation. For a few turns, Sibast swung in for two, while Oberg charged up a battery of Dreadship Reefs.

    When he finally hit enough mana, Oberg flashed back Mystical Teachings, fetching Cryptic Command. Rasmus played Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir, before Oberg could untap. All those chargelands just gave him enough mana to counter though, and he had a Pact of Negation to stop Momentary Blink‘s flashback on Venser.

    Sibast struck back with his Venser on attacks, taking Oberg to 8. He tried an Archon of Justice, only to have it hit by Cryptic Command. Each player had a Pact of Negation, and ultimately the 4/4 flier did not hit play. In upkeep, Teferi from Oberg stopped Ancestral Visions from Rasmus. For the first time in the game, Oberg was on the attack. It turned out that Teferi was ultimately the big threat in the entire matchup. Once the legend was on the board, it was not long before Sibast was extending his hand

    Kenny Oberg wins 2 – 1!



     
  • Magical Artistry
    by Tim Willoughby
  • For the past few events, I’ve been looking to pimp my laptop. Having as much access to Magic artists at events as I do, it’s been a little frustrating how long it’s taken to actually get it done. It turns out though, that as busy as us coverage guys are at Grand Prixs and Pro Tours, the artists are at least as busy, doing signings and sketches for allcomers, as well as showing off the originals of many of their creations.

    Jesper Ejsing did not have particularly far to travel to get to today’s Grand Prix. Living in Copenhagen, it was no problem for him to get here, and he was blown away by the level of interest in his work, even early in his Magic career. Having started at just Lorwyn, Jesper has already impressed with his strong use of colour and distinctive style in the 24 cards that he has illustrated thus far.

    “Working with a limited palette is hard, and requires discipline, but is very rewarding. On something like Inkfathom Infiltrator, it was really tempting to add a little bit of some other colour, but that would have spoiled the balance of the picture entirely.”

    Jesper, who has experience in comic-book colouring as well as his Magic portfolio, is still getting used to working on pieces that are shrunk to the scale of a single card. He now focuses on composition to make sure that any card he illustrates really pops off page with clear layout being as much a priority as fine detail.

    Having seen the final results like Ballynock Cohort and Glamer Spinners, it is clear that he is a quick study. Glamer Spinners in particular looks particularly impressive at large scale. Believe it or not the pink Faerie in the artwork is modelled off Keira Knightly.

    “The sketch I did for the piece looked a little like Keira, so for the final piece I decided to try to bring that out a little more.”

    The latest thing that I will be bringing out at future events is my newly done up laptop, with a Jesper Ejsing original on it. Stage one got done today, and stage two will likely be finished tomorrow. Tune in then to see the finished work, along with some words from the other artist here this weekend, Jim Nelson.



     
  • Podcast: Big Byes
    by Rich Hagon


  • We're used to seeing enormous fields of 1500 players requiring many rounds of Swiss to sort them out for Day Two. Here in Copenhagen Day One will still need nine full rounds to generate a fair and equitable Top 64 for Sunday play. That's because a very high proportion of this classy field have early-round Byes. Indeed, I've never seen such an empty building for the start of Round One. But as things progress, and the byes run out, battle will be joined, and we take the story of the tournament to the end of Round 4, including an interview with Gabriel Nassif and a lot more.



     
  • Feature Match: Round 5 - Quick and Toasted
    Tomoharu Saito vs Olivier Ruel
    by Daniel Ullenius
  • The feature match in the fifth round of GP Copenhagen was played by perhaps-soon-to-be Hall of Famer Olivier Ruel and Tomoharu Saito, who manages to make a name for himself, being Player of the Year and all, even if he may not yet be in the voting this year. Ruel's chosen deck was Quick "n" Toast, while Saito, as has been his custom of late, relied on the raw power of Red Deck Wins.

    Ruel won the roll and opted to kick off this all-star feature match.

    The first couple of rounds was pretty standard for this matchup, with land from both players followed by a turn two Blood Knight from Saito.

    Saito-san dropped Magus of the Moon, which was left un-countered by Ruel, who instead Firespouted the table. A second Magus of the Moon from Tomoharu the following turn however gave no response from the French player, even on his own turn. When an Ashenmoor Gouger, followed by a Demigod of Revenge, who was very hasty to finish the game, came in on Saitos side of the table, it spelled game over for Olivier Ruel.

    Olivier Ruel 0 - 1 Tomoharu Saito

    Both players appearently had a sideboard plan for this particular matchup as they sideboarded quite a bit, briskly preparing for game 2.

    Ruel began the game by going to Paris ahead of the Grand Prix, but kept his next six.

    The first three turns of the game offered only lands from the two players, but Tomoharu decided to get some action in with a 2/2 Figure of Destiny, which was matched by a Coalition Relic from Olivier.

    Saito charged in with a 2/2 which he tried to make into a 4/4 before combat damage step, but Ruel Condemned the Figure to the bottom of Saitos library.

    Olivier missed a land drop, and Tomoharu thought to make the situation worse by adding a Magus of the Moon to his team, only to get the plan Dismissed by a Cryptic Command.

    Ashenmoor Gouger hit the table for Tomoharu Saito, and so did a Wall of Roots from Olivier Ruel. Afterwards followed a couple of turns of no plays from both player, until Ruel let his mainphase Careful Consideration draw him four cards, after which he made away with a Fungal Reaches and a Reflecting Pool. At the end of the Frenchmans turn, the Japanese player fired off a Flame Javelin to his opponents head.

    Saito charged with his team of two Blood Knights and made no play. Ruel however was getting busy, and added a Mulldrifter together with not one but two attack-stopping (and fun-killing) Wall of Roots.

    The player from Japan attacked with the team, which forced a block with three Wall of Roots from the French player, who had to read Saito's Everlastning Torment, only to find that all damage would be dealt in the form of -1/-1 counters.

    The next couple of turns offered a variety of exitement; Ruel attacked with Mulldrifter and proceeded to Condemn his opponents Ashenmoor Gouger. Ruel's Wall of Roots got the task of blocking the ever-attacking Blood Knights, which only made them wither away slowly. Tomoharu cast a Mulldrifter-killing Murderous Redcap who, together with the rest of the table exept for a lone Wall of Roots, went to the Graveyard the following turn, when a storm of -1/-1 counters swept the table in form of Ruel's Pyroclasm.

    Saito decided to get serious with a Demigod of Revenge, who in turn got serious with the bottom of it's owners library thanks to yet another Condemn. Ruel really did not like the Demigods and countered the next one played from Saito, who still managed to force trough Magus of the Moon and the Scroll, which spelled double-trouble for Ruel.

    The life totals were after all the action 16 to 20 in favor of the Japanse player, whose early offense had not really been offensive enough.

    Olivier played Firespout onto the table, and in response Tomoharu activated his Magus of the Scroll, only to reveal double Flame Javelin. Kerpow!

    Both played passed for a couple of turns, until Saito aimed a successful Flame Javelin at the Hall of Famers head. After that brief bit of action, the game got into another state of draw-go.

    The Player of the Year tried to go for a potentially dangerous Magus of the Scroll, but Ruel thought it best to Pact of Negation it.

    The game was slowly turning in Tomoharu Saito's favor as he had buisness-spells in Figure of Destiny, which forced Olivier Ruel to throw away two Rune Snags to counter it. The Frenchman was not completely out of it though, as he made himself a flashy Teferi at the end of Saito's turn.

    Ruel attacked with his 3/4 wizard, and proceeded by playing a Runed Halo, naming Demigod of Revenge.

    Saito tried to go for a Ashenmoor Gouger which got countered by Ruel, but double Incinerate from the player of the year made the red deck win again.

    Tomoharu Saito wins 2 - 0!



     
  • Podcast: 6 / 8
    by Rich Hagon


  • Finding the royalty to rise above the common herd is going to be tough here at the latest Summer Series event. Standard is the format of choice, and more than 600 players have convened here in the Danish capital to try to bring home the bacon. In our opening show, we discuss the shape of the 2009 Pro Tour season, the Standard Metagame, the Player of the Year race, get some trading insight, and embark upon a vile journey of 'humor' predicated on the surname 'Hagon'. Oh dear.




     
  • Day 1 Metagame Breakdown
    by Tim Willoughby
  • With 600 or so decklists in the field, we have another read on the metagame, but crucially, it is a metagame where there are a greater than average amount of Pro Players in the mix, so potentially this is one worth checking out. In total we have the following;

    Red Deck Wins 120
    Faeries 67
    GB Elves 43
    Quick 'N' Toast 41
    Reveillark (splash red) 38
    Black/Red 30
    Seismic Swans 22
    Reveillark 22
    Kithkin 21
    Mono-red Storm 21
    Green/Black Rock 18
    Blue/White Merfolk 14
    Doran 13
    Mono Green 13
    Red/Green Mana Ramp 12
    Red/Green Aggro 9
    Blue/Green Merfolk 9
    TarmoRack 8
    Red/Blue Swans Control 8
    Blue/White Control 8
    Mono Black Control 7
    Old School Teachings 7
    Blue White Wizards 6
    Elementals 5
    White Weenie 5
    Goblins 4
    Boros 3
    Mono white life 3
    Zur 2
    Miscellaneous 25



     
  • Feature Match: Round 7 - You travel all that way and then...
    Tomoharu Saito vs Shuhei Nakamura
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Round 7 saw two of the 3 Japanese players in the tournament playing each other on the top table. Neither requires much introduction, save to say that each is playing a deck that has served them well in recent events. Shuhei is very much the Elf Master, while Saito is quickly making a name for himself as the latest in a long string of great Red Deck Wins players.

    Nakamura - Master of Elves
    Shuhei had a mulligan but led off with a Llanowar Elves off Pendelhaven regardless. Saito killed off the mana elf with a Skred, and had a Magus of the Scroll to follow up with. While Shuhei played out Wren's Run Vanquisher, it was out-sized by Ashenmoor Gouger from Saito.

    It was clear that this matchup was going to end up a race, and in a race, Shuhei looked happy to have drawn his Kitchen Finks, which gave him both a threat and a little more life to play with. A Figure of Destiny, followed by Incinerate on Wren's Run Vanquisher from Saito seemed a helpful start, but Nakamura's draw was chock full of threats. Chameleon Colossus came next. This prompted a Flame Javelin from Saito.

    Ashenmoor Gorger eventually got double blocked by Kitchen Finks and Civic Wayfinder from Nakamura, trading with each, after a fashion. A Magus of the Scroll and Blood Knight replaced the monster. With Saito getting low on cards in hand, those magi looked all the better, as did a Keldon Megaliths from the Player of the Year. That last card was a Demigod of Revenge. Suddenly the race looked in the red deck's favour. While a Chameleon Colossus was forthcoming from Nakamura's deck, Saito had plenty of blockers, and didn't hesitate to throw Blood Knight in the way when it rumbled in.

    When Saito tried his attacks he found his Figure of Destiny double-blocked and his Demigod finished by Eyeblight's Ending. The double block was stymied by an Incinerate and a pump from Saito, which left just Chameleon Colossus on Nakamura's side of the board.

    The game had come down to a topdeck battle, and Saito was ahead both on life and potentially threats on the board. He got in with Figure of Destiny unopposed, and had yet more copies of Magus of the Scroll with which to keep blocking that Chameleon Colossus.

    Nakamura got stuck in, and then cast Tarmogoyf. Things suddenly looked close.

    Just as suddenly though, Game 1 was all over. A Demigod of Revenge off the top took the first.

    Tomoharu Saito 1 - 0 Shuhei Nakamura

    Saito - The Burninator
    Nakamura had his Llanowar Elves start, but again couldn't capitalise on it as much as might have been his want, with a quick Skred coming from Saito. A pair of Magus of the Scroll came from the Player of the Year, while the current leader in the race for this year (Nakamura) had a Tarmogoyf as a 2/3 to fight back with. It was killed by Flame Javelin, but soon replaced with a second.

    Saito went aggro with his two Magus of the Scroll, and killed off the second Tarmogoyf with Incinerate while he still could. Nakamura was stuck on 3 land, and looked in danger of getting 'Red Decked Out'. His fourth was a Treetop Village, but this seemed painfully slow, as Saito played a Figure of Destiny, who soon levelled up. Murderous Redcap to the dome followed, putting Nakamura to 10.

    Nakamura played a Chameleon Colossus, but in Spitebellows, Saito had an answer, which allowed him to continue to bring the beats. Nakamura was now on the ropes. He played Primal Command, quickly declaring the first mode to be lifegain. The second was creature search, fetching a desparately needed Kitchen Finks, in an attempt to stem the bleeding.

    A Slaugther Pact also helped the Nakamura cause. Could Shuhei fight back? An end of turn Flame Javelin and Incinerate from Saito made it fearfully close. Shuhei closed his eyes, crossed his fingers and drew his top card. It wasn't what he needed, and he quickly extended his hand.

    Tomoharu Saito wins 2 - 0!



     
  • Quick Questions
    by Tim Willoughby
  • How do you feel about the new Pro Tour announcements?

    Shuhei Nakamura
    Kyoto!!! Just 30 minutes from my house! Now you get to see what I'm like when I have slept!

    Tomoharu Saito
    Honolulu again! Segoy! I hope no storms though this time. Maldives next?

    Frank Karsten
    Honolulu?!? I need to make sure I lock up level 5!



     
  • Podcast: Will You Still Need Me?
    by Rich Hagon


  • When I'm 65? Well, no, we won't, because for Sunday play only the Top 64 will be back to do battle. That means a ton of players coming down the stretch knowing that 21 points, a 7-2 record, may not be good enough to see them home. The last three rounds of Day One, between the ears, on magicthegathering.com. See you tomorrow!




     
  • Feature Match: Round 7 - Magic. It's all a bit of a Lark, eh?
    Raphael Levy vs Gabriel Nassif
    by Daniel Ullenius
  • Raphael Levy and his Red Deck Wins was facing off against Gabriel Nassif, who sported a white/blue Reveillark deck, tweaked to become something of a Nassif special, including such elements as Archon of Justice in the sideboard, and a great deal more than the typical amount of counterspells and bounce. Nassif is rather pleased with this deck for the format. When Nassif is happy with his deck, everyone has to worry.

    Raph is ready
    The first game started off with pure action, as Levy tried Ashenmoor Gouger twice with both being hit by Rune Snag. Nassif spent his first couple of turns suspending Ancestal Vision and playing Prismatic Lens together with a Mulldrifter, who stood aginst Levy's 1/1 Figure of Destiny.

    Nassif hard cast a Riftwing Cloudskate which bounced Levy's Figure of Destiny. Levy did not approve of Nassif bouncing his creatures, and Incinerated the Cloudskate at the end of his opponents turn. Levy followed up with Demigod of Revenge, who came along and took a healthy chunk of his opponents life total.

    Nassifs Ancestral Vision kept ticking down while Nassif added a Reveillark to his team and smashed in for two with his Mulldrifter.

    Raph deeply pondered his next move and replayed the Figure of Destiny. He charged in with his Demigod, who brawled with Reveillark, bringing Riftwing Cloudskate back into the action. A Flame Javelin from Raph killed off the Mulldrifter while Nassif on his turn played Reveillark number two.

    Levy decided to try to match Nassif's high broken flying creature-count with a second Demigod of Revenge, who got accepted by Nassif. At first, Levy hesitated to attack, but after a while in the think tank he decieded to do so, and he barged into the red zone with two Demigod of Revenge and a 1/1 Figure of Destiny. Nassif played Boomerang on one of the enormous fliers and blocked the Kithkin with his Reveillark. When the dust had cleared, Nassif was down on 10 life.

    Nassif is steady
    Nassif attacked Levy down to 8 and gained two life for himself with a Aven Riftwatcher. Levy tried a Demigod of Revenge again, but when Nassif Cryptic Commanded it, Levy scooped up the cards.

    Gabriel Nassif 1 - Raphael Levy 0

    Both players kept their opening sevens, and Levy played Mountain - go, Mountain - go the first couple of rounds. Unfortunately, that was the only lands he played this game. Nassif however, started off with Ancestral Vision, Aven Riftwatcher and a Venser, Shaper Savant (who brought a Mountain back to Levy's hand).

    Levy tried to fight Nassifs 187-creatures with an Incinerate and a Skred, but when Nassif played Reveillark then Cryptic Command (bouncing a very lonely Mountain), followed by Mulldrifter, Cryptic Command, Levy learned that the Red Deck doesn't always win.

    Gabriel Nassif 2 - Raphael Levy 0



     
  • Feature Match: Round 9 - Meet the Undefeated
    Stan van der Velden vs Tomoharu Saito
    by Tim Willoughby
  • I really didn't want to cover Saito again this round, but I definitely did want to cover Stan. In round 3, he had proudly predicted that he was going to win the entire event. With a Tarmo/Rack deck that is only being played by a few people in the field, he has a niche deck choice, but one that has served him well thus far, sitting undefeated. In Saito though, he faced a tough challenge - one of the best players with one of the best decks in the format...

    Thoughtseize on turn one from Stan saw Blood Knight, Skred and Flame Javelin in an otherwise land heavy hand. He took the Knight and passed.

    A turn two Figure of Destiny from Saito met a "So good..." from Stan, clearly non-plussed by the Player of the Year's good fortune. The 1/1 quickly became a 2/2 and then a 4/4 while a second Thoughtseize from Stan took Flame Javelin, but did some of its damage anyway.

    That one Figure of Destiny looked dangerously likely to go the whole way, taking Stan to 8 in short order. Sudden Death finished it off, but when a second came along there was a low growl from the Belgian. This was not the sort of threat that he wanted to see.

    Attacks from Stan's Mutavault took Saito to 18, and rather flummoxed the Japanese player. He swung back with a 4/4 Figure of Destiny, taking Stan to 4. It seemed that he might have been looking for his Mutavault to die the previous turn, when Tarmogoyf came down as a 1/2. Skred easily dealt with the most expensive card in Standard, and Figure of Destiny just as easily killed off Stan in Game 1.

    Stan van der Velden 0 - 1 Tomoharu Saito

    Stan V - Can he win it all?
    On the play in game 2, Stan had a little smirk as he surveyed his opener. He kept it, and after a little thought led with a Thoughtseize. Skred, Magus of the Scroll and Figure of Destiny were his options, and Stan seemed happy to take the Kithkin that had done him wrong in Game 1.

    The Magus came down from Saito on his turn, but wasn't long for the game, as a Smallpox came from Stan. He lost a land, and discarded a Raven's Crim, while Saito was left entirely without permanents, and forced to discard a Skred

    For what might have been the first time in the tournament, Saito unleashed one of the Saito Slaps. A quick slap to his own face woke him up and focused him in the face of this new threat. He seemed visibly relieved that Stan didn't have more problematic cards to follow up with immediately, but equally, Saito was unable to provide much in the way of pressure himself.

    Stan was the first to break the deadlock with a 4/5 Tarmogoyf and an Augur of Skulls. The Augur was quickly offed by Murderous Redcap, but there was less that could be done about that Goyf.

    Stan played a Thoughtseize, and wasn't too happy with what he saw. Mountain, Demigod of Revenge and Incinerate threatened a Demigod one way or another, and Stan decided to force Saito to draw another in order to get any fliers, rather than taking anything on the chin.

    Attacks from Stan took Saito to 15, while Stan was on 14 between Thoughtseizes and incidental Murderous Redcap damage.

    When Figure of Destiny again came down, Stan let out a little chuckle. That little guy was going to mess with his perfect record it seemed. The Kithkin soon grew to being a 4/4, but before it could get up to 8/8, a Sudden Death from Stan killed it off.

    Attacks from Stan took Saito to 8, while he himself was on 13. 8 soon became 4, and an Augur of Skulls joined Stan's team. Would Tarmogoyf get there? Saito drew and scooped up his cards. The battle to be undefeated would go to game 3.

    Stan van der Velden 1 - 1 Tomoharu Saito

    Saito can read your mind
    On the play, Saito was a quick keeper, and played Figure of Destiny with a small smile. The battle was on. He made it a 2/2 on turn two, and attacked, playing a Magus of the Scroll, who if nothing else would prove insurance against Smallpox for his other beater. Stan's first play of the game was Augur of Skulls, which declined to block Figure of Destiny given the opportunity.

    After a little thought, Saito played Magus of the Moon, looking to get threats on the board. This left him with 3 cards; an amount deemed unworthy of an Augur activation from Stan. What it was worthy of was a Stupor. It hit Skred at random, and then Saito chose to ditch an Incinerate.

    With one card left, Saito was able to Magus of the Scroll away Augur of Skulls, and attack in to take Stan to 12. An evoked Spitebellows took out the replacement Augur that came along, and further attacks put Stan to 8. Magus of the Moon was applying quite the hurt on Stan's mana base, which included a pair of Mutavaults. Without access to his usual mana, dealing with Saito's attack force was tough.

    Finally Stan found a second Swamp, played it and passed. Saito played a second Magus of the Scroll and attacked with Magus of the Moon and his 2/2 Figure of Destiny, with sufficient mana up to make it a 4/4. A Sudden Death from Stan killed off the Magus of the Moon, but he could still not block with his Mutavault, afraid of Magus of the Scroll and the lone card in Saito's hand. He took two, and sighed as he saw another Magus of the Moon from Saito.

    Another Sudden Death killed off this Magus, and Saito was happy for his Figure of Destiny to become a 4/4 and kill it. Stan played another Augur of Skulls and passed. By this point quite a crowd had formed around the feature match area, keen to see which of these great players would emerge undefeated from day 1 of Grand Prix Copenhagen. While Saito did spend a long time on his decisions in these late turns, it seemed unlikely that it could not be him. There was just 6 damage left to do, and after much thought Magus of the Scroll #1 and Figure of Destiny ran in. Saito used Magus of the Scroll #2 to kill of a Mutavault before it could block,

    The Augur blocked Figure of Destiny and regenerated. Stan was now on just five, and waved away priority on his turn like a man already defeated. He had a Sudden Death to stop Figure of Destiny, but looked to be drawing thin against 3 Magus of the Scroll when Saito was on one card in hand.

    After much thought on his turn, Stan extended his hand. He would not be undefeated for the first day.

    Tomoharu Saito wins 2 - 1 advancing to 9-0 for day 2!

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