Wednesday, November 29: 12:17 pm - Worlds Scene Bursting at the Seams
by Ted Knutson
Greetings and welcome to Worlds 2006. Here are the headlines you'll want to know at the start. 357 competitors from all over the world. 64 different countries represented, with 55 full 3-man teams. We're in the Louvre, in the dead center of Paris. An entire new Hall of Fame class was inducted this morning and every single one of them is playing in the main event. Side Events are positively overwhelming and the event manager is looking into renting extra space to host the crush of bodies. Buzz from the players says that all three formats this weekend look fantastic.
However, for those of you who find such dense text disconcerting to start your day, I give you an image of one of Bob Maher's beautiful baby daughters, who watched their papa's induction ceremony this morning:
Wednesday, November 29: 2:43 pm - A Hall of Fame 2007 Preview
by Ted Knutson
All five 2006 Hall of Fame inductees were present in the feature match area for Round 1, but perhaps the most intriguing match was between two likely Hall of Fame inductees from 2007 - Nicolai Herzog and "The Juggernaut" Kai Budde. Kai even noted that this match was "fair," since both players have been semi-retired for the last year, and therefore would not be at as great a disadvantage as they might have been facing other, more active competitors.
A fair fight
Nicolai quickly went up 1-0, despite the fact that Kai had a turn-three kill in hand on turn two. What he was not prepared for was to have Castigate wipe the engine right out of his hand, allowing Herzog's white and black weenies to kill Kai before he could recover. Game 2 went the other way, with Herzog stalling on three land for the entirety of the game. A lack of Castigate this time opened the door for multiple Seething Songs to dump out four Bogardan Hellkites and a Hunted Dragon, letting Budde attack for the win a turn later despite heavy interference from multiple Martyrs of Sands. If Nicolai had drawn Persecute anywhere along the way, he might have gone on to an easy sweep.
The final game of this set was a bit embarrassing, as Herzog double-mulliganed and slowly peeled chunks from Kai's life total but was hardly what one would consider threatening. Unfortunately for the German Juggernaut, his deck only delivered fatties into his hand, preventing him from ever going off despite drawing any number of extra cards. In the end, Herzog's plinking managed to kill Kai just before the Norwegian would have died from his own Dark Confidant.
Wednesday, November 29: 3:26 pm - Perfect Plays, Part 1
by Ted Knutson
The Standard format here at Worlds is nothing short of amazing. Brian David-Marshall will have a full metagame breakdown later today, but crazy decks are everywhere, and the format - though it does sport a lot of Tron and Zoo decks - is diverse and very competitive. Perhaps the best part about it is that the decks seeing action here in Paris are making for some awesome plays from the World's best players. Here are a few we ran across in the early rounds.
Josh Ravitz was battling Shuuhei Nakamura in the feature match area, and the two were locked into a massive control battle. Ravitz patiently took his time, playing out lands and sculpting the perfect Demonfire ending… only to find the spell Commandeered and sent right back at him.
The Great One (Bob Maher Jr.) was also in the feature match area that round and left his opponent with 0 lands in play on turn 4… and still lost. This was the result of a suspended Lotus Bloom on turn 1 and then Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Dragonstorm. Afterwards, Bob pulled Randy Buehler aside and gave him his opinion about the silliness of such plays for the podcast.
You can expect to get a bit more detail about Andre Mueller's deck later this weekend, but for now just know that he's playing a very cool Life deck. 2004 World Champ Julien Nuijten played Mueller this past round, and Mueller put himself up to 300+ life, well beyond the range of Julien's aggressive cards… or so you would think. The reality is that at that point Nuijten finally drew his win condition and cast Biorhythm, dropping Mueller from 300 to 0 in an instant.
Wednesday, November 29: 4:15 pm - Quotable Quotes
by Ted Knutson
"You know how to tell which players are your Hall of Famers? All five of them were smart enough to take the inside seats away from the crowd in the feature match area." - Randy Buehler
Rich Hoaen: "Yeah… I cast Grozoth."
BDM: "You're playing Grozoth?!?"
Hoaen: "Meh, Muse Vesseled his ass right out there."
"I mean, he is French. If he plays a white one-drop, and a green two-drop, you know he probably has a double-black card in hand." - Kai Budde
"I hate it when Kai sits next to me and watches my match." - Raphael Levy
"Yeah, he can read you even from over here." - Nicolai Herzog
Wednesday, November 29: 5:28 pm - Olle Ignites a Storm
by Ted Knutson
Olle Råde hasn't been seen in the Magic world since his induction into the Hall of Fame back in Yokohama, but he's here in Paris and is once again part of the field. I kept hearing stories about weird kills he'd been pulling off with his Standard deck, so I tracked him down and asked him what's up.
As to where he's been, Olle has been knee deep in work at Journalism school. He's recently transitioned to an internship as well, and his schedule has kept him away from competitive Magic. Since he was clearly playing an original deck, I asked him where it came from, especially if he hasn't played much lately. He said that he found it "somewhere on the internet" and thought it looked fun, so he tested it a bit and brought it with him to Paris. In theory, it looks somewhat like normal Dragonstorm decks in that it has a red mana engine and Lotus Bloom to kick up an early storm count, but Olle's deck also has Ancestral Visions, Clockspinning, Grapeshot, and Ignite Memories. He said that he chose this version because it's a little bit faster than the Dragonstorm decks, and it's a bit more fun as well. Judging by his record it's not only fun but is also competitive, since Råde is currently 3-2 with his last loss coming to Gabriel Nassif in the feature match area.
Råde said that he got a third-turn kill earlier today via Lotus Bloom, some Rites of Flame, Grapeshot for six copies, Infernal Tutor, and then Ignite Memories for seven copies, but the play that first turned me on to Råde's clever deck came from Josh Ravitz. Ravitz was playing control against Råde and thought himself plenty safe at 21 life. He was wrong. Lotus Bloom, Clockspinning with buyback on two more Lotuses, another Clockspinning on Ancestral Memories, Rite of Flame, Rite of Flame, Grapeshot and a final Grapeshot killed Ravitz and left him grumbling about the loss rounds later.
Wednesday, November 29: 8:22 pm - News and Notes
by Ted Knutson
I'm running a little late here because of a Max Bracht judge ruling during the last round, so I'll wrap up with an avalanche of end-of-day notes and start Thursday with pretty pictures. Ready… here we go!
Olle Råde and his crazy storm deck finished the day at 4-2. That makes him tied for overall record with the top member of the 2006 HoF class, Raphael Levy. Rob Dougherty and Gary Wise both finished at a respectable 3-3, while Bob Maher and Dave Humpherys were somewhat worse than that on the day. (Okay fine, Da Hump was one of four players to post a big, fat bagel on Day 1, but don't tell him I told you. I love Da Hump.)
We told you earlier that there were a crush of bodies in Side Events, but I didn't have numbers yet to tell you quite how many people showed up. It turns out that 450 people arrived this morning and endured a two-hour opening ceremony interrupted wait before finding out that today's PTQ was capped at 256 players due to lack of space. The other 198 players were asked to come back on Saturday for their own, unscheduled PTQ, which will be run when we have more room. In addition to that, 8-player events started around noon and had run 60 events by 6:25 p.m. local time. Prizes to be given out this weekend include several uncut Urza's Saga sheets, multiple snowboards (presumably to be used at Pro Tour - Geneva in February), various and sundry iPods and digital cameras and countless numbers of booster packs. Special events will also include a $2000 Amateur Challenge and the European Junior Super Series Finals. Oh, and many of the pros are hoping that tomorrow's Extended PTQ will give them deck ideas before the main event Extended day on Friday.
Today's boneheaded play goes to Roel van Heeswijk courtesy of Julien Nuijten. In a round earlier today, Roel put out the classic turn 0 Gemstone Caverns. Then for his turn 1 land, he played a second Gemstone Caverns, forgetting about the whole "Legendary" drawback. As Roel put it, "I was living the dream… and then I woke up."
Both Amiel Tenenbaum and Max Bracht were disqualified from the tournament on Day 1. Check the main page for a full write-up on these incidents from Scott Johns.
And finally, I leave you with today's moment of zen: