Week in Review: 8/30/02-9/5/02
Friday, September 6, 2002
Held during Gen-Con UK, Grand Prix-London gathered a satisfying 700 players from around the world, culminating in a diverse Top 8 with rookies, new stars, and true veterans.
Czech Republic's Jakub Slemr is best-known for winning World Championships in 1997. He has a string of other solid tournament finishes, but has been completely out of touch for over a year now. Slemr returned with a bang, winning this very large tournament with a u-g aggro deck. Bram Snepvangers is certainly the second most experienced player in this Top 8; he continued a steady success rate on the Grand Prix scene earning his 5th Top 8. In the up and coming category, you have Cristophe Haim who went from being a rookie at Pro Tour-Osaka to becoming one of the top European players in a period of six months. Another player I believe deserves a note is Dario Minieri. He has been doing better and better at events since he began traveling on the GP and PT circuit. This is the first Top 8 for the young Italian player, but I expect it is not the last. Gary Wise, Gabriel Nassif and John Larkin were among players to miss the Top 8 narrowly.
The most surprising tournament result was that if Kai Budde, who (far as I can think of) failed to advance to Day 2 for the first time in over a season! A number of other pros missed the cut to Top 64 as well, which is not surprising considering a huge tournament turnout. Four players journeyed to the event from North America, but failed to achieve impressive results. Mike Pustilnik and Bob Maher finished in the money, ending up in Top 32. Rob Dougherty finished in the lower end of Top 64 and Jeff Cunningham missed the cut to Day 2.
Monoblack and blue-green continue to dominate the OBC metagame. U-w Punisher and various Braids builds are around and moderately successful, but it is the two former archetypes that define the format. This upcoming weekend it is North America's turn to try their hand at the format. Will any new decks spring up? Probably not, but we shall see.
Banned and Restricted List
September 1 has come and gone quietly. The quarterly Banned and Restricted announcement offered no changes at all to any of the formats.
"5-Color Magic" or "250", while not an officially sanctioned format, has a banned and restricted list of its own. The newly appointed 9-man voting committee has been working hard on that format and came up with quite a few changes. The Judgment Wishes were restricted, Divining Witch, Quiet Speculation and Restock unrestricted, Intuition and Recoup banned.
Pro Tour regular Dan Clegg has been suspended by the DCI for a period of one year. The reason listed was "Excessive accumulated warnings for procedural errors, misrepresentation and slow play". Clegg is legendary on the Tour for his extremely "cautious" pace of play. This was compounded by Dan accumulated two game losses in Sydney - one during the Worlds itself and one during the Australian Open. In the first case, he failed to keep a record of his life total accurately, in the second, he played two lands on the same turn. Players are still debating as to whether foul play at all was involved, but DCI apparently felt the they had enough reason to hand down a harsh verdict.
One of the two game mechanics in Onslaught has been announced. It is called Morph and it was inspired by Illusionary Mask! Check out the low-down on how it works here.
Magic in Media
Popular Sideboard and MagicTheGathering.com columnist Brian David-Marshall writes a lot more than Magic articles. Be sure to check out his brand-new comic book published by Marvel. It is called The Craptacular B-Sides with character design by Evan Dorkin and art by Brett Weldele. You might even mise some familiar Magic lingo in the comic.
Last week's question:
What creature's special ability became obsolete because of the Oracle updates over the last two years?
Answer: Soraya the Falconer. All Falcons' creature type has been changed to Birds, thus its ability is no longer relevant.
Besides winning the 1997 Worlds, what are some of GP-London winner Jakub Slemr's top tournament accomplishments?
Please do not email me the answer. It will be posted in next week's column.
Play of the Week
Courtesy of Micah Bleich:
"I was playing in a 16 person Od-To-Ju booster draft, and ended up with a suboptimal u-g deck, sporting the likes of Touch of Invisibility. Despite having subpar cards, I managed to make it to the semifinals.
In game 3 of the semifinals, my opponent and I were at a creature stall , I was down to 1 card in my library and I was at 6 life. It was the start of my turn when I drew the one card that could keep me in the game: Battlefield Scrounger. I was well over threshold so I would be able to put 3 cards from my graveyard into my library whenever I was going to run out.
This wasn't the end of my troubles however since my opponent had a Cephalid Inkshrouder which would peck away at me until I died.
That's when I realized it, that card that I so hated playing (Touch of Invisibility), would be part of the play that would lead me to victory.
I passed the turn, he attacked me down to 4 with the Inkshrouder, I thought about casting Moment's Peace from my graveyard, but I realized that was just a temporary solution. Instead I took the 2 on the chin, and during my next upkeep, I used the Battlefield Scroungers ability, putting Moment's Peace, Sudden Strength, and Touch of Invisibility back in my deck (in that order). The during my draw phase I drew the Touch, cast it on my Scrounger (6/6 unblockable now), drew into the Sudden Strength, cast it on the Scrounger (9/9 unblockable), and drew into Moment's Peace. I then attacked for 9 brining my opponent to 10.
On my opponent's turn, I was able to cast Moment's Peace to prevent the damage, and then repeat the process above on my turn. Twice more and the game was over.
I was so happy that I didn't just scoop like I was considering, and this is probably the best play I have ever made."
Bad Play of the Week
Courtesy of Albert Alshamn:
"This took place on Day 2 of Swedish Nationals 2001. My friend Kenneth Mossberg was playing a Machinehead deck with Rituals, Scuta, Skizzik, etc. He was tied at one game a piece against Dromar-Go. His opponent did not play with Millstones and so would have to rely on Dromar and Nether Spirit to win the match. Realizing this, Kenneth sideboarded in four Ensnaring Bridges (which were in his board against red-green). This way he could guarantee himself a draw if things were going badly as his opponent did not have artifact removal in the deck for game 3.
Kenneth started out the game with a best draw he could have possibly hoped for. He cast double Ritual, Duress and Phyrexian Scuta with kicker. His opponent just shook his head and played a land. Kenneth attacked and played a land. Opponent played land #2 and cast Tsabo's Web, hoping to top-deck a Wrath of God. Seeing as his opponent is tapped out, Kenneth played land #3 and triumphantly dropped an Ensnaring Bridge he was holding in hand... The game ended in a draw."
Got a great play of the week, Magic trivia or a bit of news to share? Drop me an email at NOSPAMashv@kingsgames.com. Remove the NOSPAM part, it was added there to thwart the mass mailers.