Week In Review: May 8 - 16, 2002
Friday, May 17, 2002
The first Standard Grand Prix beat all attendance records to become the largest Grand Prix held in the United States. It clocked in at over 650 competitors. Psychatog was by far the most commonly played deck on Day 2, followed at some distance by Liquid Tempo and Trenches. It was the Trenches deck that ruled supreme, as Eric Taylor took down Patrick Chapin's Squirrel/Opposition deck in the finals.
EDT and Chapin share the spotlight.
It was a very unexpected final match, yet the one spectators could really get behind. Both finalists were from the Midwest, defeating the Pros who'd traveled from all over United States, Canada, and even Mexico. Patrick Chapin could easily be one of the best players on the Tour if he only showed up more than about half the time of when he qualified. Eric Taylor is an outspoken internet columnist and strategist who is far from orthodox. At Pro Tour-San Diego, Taylor literally ate his hat - after losing a bet where he claimed Kai would never be able to win PT-New Orleans. Taylor never before won a major tournament, unless you could the Type 1.5 Championship at Gen Con in 1998. Taylor's victory may have been a long time coming, but few doubted that he was capable of posting such a finish.
It was an impressive Top 8 overall, with Mike Turian (Opposition), Brian Kibler (Psychatog) and Neil Reeves (Psychatog) present. But it was William "Huey" Jensen that surprised and amazed everyone by placing in the Top 8 with a Battle of Wits deck! Jensen has long believed in his 244 card deck being tournament viable. He played it at the San Diego Masters Gateway event, and brought back an updated version for this tournament. He was the only player to bring Battle of Wits to the table this weekend. Interestingly, Klaus Huebert - the only player to use a Nefarious Lich combo deck also made Day 2 - but finished just out of the money, in 37th place.
Perhaps the most successful archetype at Regionals - red-green beatdown - was annihilated at Milwaukee. Brian Kowal was the only player to make Day 2 with a copy of that deck, and he did well, finishing 16th.
Team Grand Prix-Nagoya
While Americans played Standard and Germans competed for the National Championship title, the one-slot qualifier for the next year's Team Masters was being held in Japan. An average size event for Japan, GP-Nagoya gathered about 200 teams.
It was a well-deserving team that ended up with the title. Poor Shark 2 is the new incarnation of Poor Shark, a team that finished 2nd at GP-Yokohama. With Rookie of the Year Katsuhiro Mori replacing Tomomi Otsuka on the team, they were slated for greatness. Masahiko Morita was a three-time GP finalist, and Kuroda also enjoyed a number of Top 8 finishes - the team finally earned a coveted championship for each of these successful players.
The only team of international pros to show was "Breaking The Ruels," featuring Ruel brothers and yours truly. Widely expected to win the event or at least do really well, we managed to lose our first two rounds in a row instead, getting knocked out of contention for Day 2. We did not even win out the rest, finishing at an embarrassing 2-3. One of us (I am not naming names) managed to go 0-2 with a deck featuring two Overruns and a Narcissism. That is a bad weekend for you.
GermanyRecapTop 8 decks
The unstoppable Kai Budde added a National Champion title to page 37 of his resume. He beat Mark Ziegner's monored Ensnaring Bridge/burn deck in the finals. Felix Schneiders joins the national team thanks to yet another Psychatog deck. As of this weekend, Kai has officially locked the Player of the Year title - even if he does not bother to show up for Worlds!
Uri Peleg became National Champion for the second time, playing Psychatog. He defeated Evitar Olpiner's r-g deck in the finals.
Ivan Cortes is National Champion, thanks to his b-g Braids deck. He defeated Juan Chavez Licona's r-g deck in the finals.
Top 8 decks
This country boasts the strongest team to date to qualify for Worlds - and with most countries' nationals behind us, it is not a small thing. Current World Champion Thomas Van de Logt spearheads the team. Pro Tour powerhouses Kamiel Cornelissen and Noah Boeken join him.
Kuniyoshi Ishii defeated Helder Coelho in the finals of the Portuguese Nationals, his Psychatog deck defeating a Liquid Tempo build. Both are solid players - Coelho has a Grand Prix win and a number of other impressive finishes on his resume - giving Portugal a shot at a solid finish at the Worlds team competition.
A solid team at Worlds will represent Sweden. Anton Jonsson continued his hot streak by becoming national champion, defeating another well-known competitor, Mattias Kettil in a Psychatog mirror match.
Top 8 decks
Isidor Nikolic won the tournament with Psychatog (Zev variant), Stevan Krkelic came second with u-g-r madness. Dusan Kamenov was third with b-g Braids and Andrej Krimer came in fourth with Squirrel Opposition.
Please continue to submit the National coverage links to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coming Up: Judgment Prerelease
No professional events this weekend, but players around the world will get their first chance to play with cards from the latest Magic expansion. Tired of black dominating the Odyssey Block Limited play? Show up this weekend, and give white-green a whirl, and to try and get your hands on the new, leaner and meaner, Erhnam Djinn.
Magic at the Movies
Magic is really getting popular these days - even the superheroes are playing it.
I finally got to see Spiderman this week. In the scene where Peter Parker, freshly bitten by the radioactive spider, goes up to his room for the first time, you can clearly see an Invasion poster on his wall! That's just cool.
Do you know of any other instances of Magic mentioned in movies, TV shows, or books? I would like to compile a list for this column or, if there are enough such sightings, perhaps a separate article. Drop me a note at email@example.com if you can think of anything.
Last week's question:
What Odyssey block card was referred to as "Sneaky Elephant" in development and playtesting?
It was Elephant Ambush. That was an easy one!
What ex-Magic R&D member competed at Grand Prix-Milwaukee?
Please do not email answers to me. The correct answer will be posted in the next column.
I made a mistake in the previous installment of Magic Trivia. Here is a very comprehensive correction from Andrew Levine:
In your Trivia of the Week from two weeks ago, you asked, "What was the first card ever banned by the DCI?" The answer you gave was Dingus Egg. This is incorrect, for two reasons.
1. Dingus Egg was never on any DCI (or DC) banned list. It was on the official Restricted list from 1/25/94 to 5/1/94.
2. Several other cards, including Black Lotus, the Moxes, and Ancestral Recall, were also placed on the Restricted list at the same time as the Egg. (Orcish Oriflamme and Rukh Egg were also on this initial Restricted list!)
The actual answer to the question of which card was the first banned by the Duelist's Convocation (now the DCI) is Shahrazad, which was placed on the Banned list on 1/25/94. (The ante cards were not officially banned until 5/2/94.)
Quote of the Week
"Have all of you drafted before?" - M. K., level 3 judge. He asked this of the 8 people about to draft. At the Pro Tour. Right before the second draft of that day.
Play of the Week
Courtesy of Alexander Petrov:
"This play is from the semifinal of German Nationals (coverage in German is at: http://www.planetmtg.de/strategy/artikel.html?id=322). Dirk Roth was playing Psychatog, his opponent - Mark Ziegner - monored burn. In the 3rd game, Roth tried to pull the usual Upheaval-Psychatog combo, but in response to Roth playing the Atog (without any mana left) Ziegner cast Sudden Impact which dealt the lethal 10 damage to Roth."
Bad Play of the Week
Courtesy of Justus Ronnau:
"Last weekend we had German Nationals in Heidelberg. Of course there were some funny stories... Here are two of them.
The first took place in an Asian Invasion Block Draft and features Rene Kraft (Top 8 GP-London). He played a Probe with Kicker. His opponent: "What target?" Rene: "Huh? Well, me!"
The next one is way better and features Christoph Lippert and Roman Radke. It took place on Day 2 (Standard), main event.
Christoph had managed to get all of Roman's Atogs to his graveyard. After that Roman began the beatdown with his other critters, mainly Finkels. At one point, he just had one card left in his library, but would attack for the win next turn (mistake one: you don't have to draw cards off Finkel). So Christoph played his last card: Haunting Echoes. Having no counters left, Roman looks through his graveyard and comes to the conclusion that the last card in his library must be a Memory Lapse, which would be removed by the Echoes, causing him to get decked. So he devised a devious plan: He'd play Fact or Fiction to get the Lapse, then let Echoes resolve. Then he'd play Repulse on one of his critters and Lapse the Repulse, so he would have a card to draw in his next draw step. But then he realized he was one mana short. Mistake 2: he could do the Repulse/Lapse trick in his next upkeep, when he'd have enough mana. Not realizing that, he played the FoF anyway for show.
And flipped over an island, since he had boarded one Memory Lapse out. The island wouldn't have been removed by the Echoes, of course.
It was really hard to lose that game for Roman, but through a series of mistakes he managed to do it with style."
Got an interesting news story, comment, quote, play of the week, or Magic trivia to report? Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.