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Dominguez Dominates Grand Prix Paris

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The letter I!t's been a splendid weekend here in Paris, France. It started out on Valentine's Day where 1,587 love hungry players went head to head for a spot in the second day of competition. Nine rounds later 186 of them could celebrate succeeding. Among the undefeated players Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa stood out as the hottest contender for the title. The Brazilian made it to the Top 8, but once there it was a 26-year-old Magic Online grinder who took the title home to Spain. Javier "Thalai" Dominguez made an excellent deck choice with his Blue-Black-Green Delver deck, opting to go without True-Name Nemesis, instead gunning to beat it.

With an 8-1 record after Day One he wrapped up the Swiss with 5-1 on Day Two before heading into the Top 8. There he took down fellow countryman Jóse Manuel Fernández Castelló before unleashing his discard spells and mana efficient creatures against Frenchmen Loïc Le Briand and Maxime Gilles.

With a Grand Prix in Spain in two weeks we might not have to wait long before seeing Javier Dominguez back in the spotlight. Even though he prefers Legacy it would be no surprise to see him experimenting with Born of the Gods in limited. That is, if he can find the time between playing Legacy on Magic Online against coverage reporters and Legacy experts alike.

Until next time, we say good bye and ... Congratulations to Javier Dominguez, champion of Grand Prix Paris 2013!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Loïc Le Briand   Loïc Le Briand, 2-1        
8 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa   Javier Dominguez, 2-1
       
4 Jóse Manuel Fernández Castelló   Javier Dominguez, 2-1   Javier Dominguez, 2-1
5 Javier Dominguez    
       
2 Maxime Gilles   Maxime Gilles, 2-0
7 Stefan Böttcher   Maxime Gilles, 2-0
       
3 Jean-Mary Accart   Philipp Schönegger, 2-0
6 Philipp Schönegger    







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  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Paris provided by Matej Zatlkaj, Pro Tour Hall of Famer Raphael Levy, Simon Görtzen, Rich Hagon, and Steven Leeming.


EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  Javier Dominguez $4,000
 2.  Maxime Gilles $2,700
 3.  Loïc Le Briand $1,500
 4.  Philipp Schönegger $1,500
 5.  Jean-Mary Accart $1,000
 6.  Jóse Manuel Fernández $1,000
 7.  Stefan Böttcher $1,000
 8.  Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 16 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff



  • Maciej Fidzinski (11th) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy


    Hakim Mezhoud (12th) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy


    Steve Hatto (13th) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy



    Goncalo Pinto (15th) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy





     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff



  • José Manuel Fernández Castelló (Top 8) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy


    Loic Le Briand (Top 8) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy




    Philipp Schönegger (Top 8) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy


    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (Top 8) Grand Prix Paris 2014
    Legacy




     

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Jean-Mary "Lejay" Accart

    Age: 31
    Hometown: Paris, France
    Occupation: Professional Legacy player


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Various Legacy wins, Top 8s of small and big tournaments. I have been the main administrator for Legacy-France for six years. I innovated Omni-Tell with a friend and designed Counter-Grizzly. I'm also known as the best Doomsday player in the world.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    Imperial Painter for metagaming purposes. I had high expectations and still wanted to have an edge against very good players on Day 2. Painter is good versus what I expected and the predators thereof.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    Nothing. If I wanted to change something I would talk to Jack Kitchen first. Thanks goes to him for the decklist and tips.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Altopiano, buy them while they are cheap!




    Stefan Böttcher

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Wolfsburg, Germany
    Occupation: Production worker


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 8 at the Magic "Keller" in Hanover.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    Deathblade. My friend didn't want to lend me his Sneak & Show and I had experience with Stoneblade.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    Nothing.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Entreat the Angels and Dark Confidant.




    Loïc Le Briand

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Nancy, France
    Occupation: Business


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 8 at Grand Prix Lille 2005, some Top 64s, played several Pro Tours, and won an FNM!

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    Reanimator. Great against a field of combo, and it's really exciting to play with Griselbrand on turn one.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    Maybe the Empyrial Archangel in the sideboard. I just couldn't find any better creature.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Griselbrand.




    Jóse Manuel Fernández Castelló

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Onda, Spain
    Occupation: Software designer


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Grand Prix Madrid Day 2, Top 8 at some PTQs, and won some Legacy tournaments in Spain.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    Team America [BUG Delver] with "Good Game Nemesis" [True-Name Nemesis]. A friend of mine designed this decklist, and I think it's very good.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    One more Dismember, one less Disfigure in the sideboard because Dismember can kill Tarmogoyf and Tombstalker.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Brainstorm.




    Javier Dominguez

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Palau-Solita i Plegamans, Spain
    Occupation: Grinder


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Made Cephalid Breakfast, won Spanish Nationals.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    BUG Delver because I didn't want to choose between Delver of Secrets and Deathrite Shaman.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    Would add more Dark Confidants, they overperformed.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Probably Tarmogoyf/Brainstorm.




    Philipp Schönegger

    Age: 20
    Hometown: Deutschlandsberg, Austria
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 64 at Grand Prix Strasbourg.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    Miracles, simply because I've been playing it for about two years and it's great.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    If people catch up on Miracles, I might have to make adjustments for the mirror, otherwise nothing.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Sensei's Divining Top and Brainstorm.




    Maxime Gilles

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Lyon, France
    Occupation: Computer engineer


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Multiple Top 8s in France.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    UWr Miracles because it's my favorite deck and very well adapted to the metagame.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    Nothing. It's the best deck.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Entreat the Angels.




    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Porto Alegre, Brazil
    Occupation: Magic player


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Nine Pro Tour Top 8s, Hall of Fame.

    What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
    UWr Miracles. I really like blue in Legacy but I don't like the Delver decks and didn't want to play combo.

    What changes would you make to your deck and why would you make them?
    Probably add another Tundra-there were three games where I wanted to fetch for a third and couldn't.

    What is the most important card in your deck?
    Sensei's Divining Top makes your deck better in the late game, sets up miracles, and lets you beat heavy discard decks.




     

  • Quarterfinal Roundup

    by Olle Rade

  • José Manuel Fernández Castelló (BUG Delver) vs. Javier Dominguez (BUG Delver)


    The battle of the two Spaniards with the most aggressive decks in the top 8 were also the first match to finish. Their decks differed only a few cards from each other, the big difference being Fernández Castelló playing True-Name Nemesis, and Dominguez opting not to. Things were looking like that might be the deciding factor when Fernández Castelló took game one with a Nemesis. But Javier Dominquez clawed his way back into the match and won the next two games. With answers for True-Name Nemesis ranging from Diabolic Edict to Golgari Charm and Liliana of the Veil.

    Javier Dominguez 2-1 José Manuel Fernández Castelló

    José Manuel Fernández Castelló vs. Javier Dominguez

    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa (UW Miracles) vs. Loic Le Briand (Reanimator)

    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa sat down for his quarterfinals facing the same opponent as in the last round of swiss. "I hope the game lasts longer than three turns this time," he commented, as Le Briand did indeed beat him in three turns in their last battle.
    He got what he wished for. And except for the first game, where a turn two Show and Tell put Griselbrand into play the games were surprisingly long and interactive for a match between pure combo and pure control.
    Unfortunately for the Brazilian the outcome was the same as in the swiss. Even though he had both Force of Will for a turn two Reanimate for Le Briand and a Pyroblast for the Frenchman's Force of Will. A Show and Tell a few turns later once put another copy of the gigantic lifelinker into play.

    Loic Le Briand 2-1 Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

    Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Loic Le Briand

    Maxime Gilles (UWR Miracles) vs. Stefan Böttcher (4-color Stoneblade)

    When the king of the swiss continued his road to success in the quarterfinals he didn't really care what was on the other side of the table. A quick Sensei's Divining Top and Counterbalance locked up the first game, and 30 minutes later an Entreat the Angels sealed the deal. And in the second game Stefan Böttcher could only watch as numerous activations of Sensei's Divining Top sculpted both the top of Gilles library and his hand into an unbeatable trump. Entreat the Angels once again dealing the final blow.

    Maxime Gilles 2-0 Stefan Böttcher

    Maxime Gilles vs. Stefan Böttcher

    Philipp Schönegger (UW Miracles) vs. Jean-Mary Accart (Imperial Painter)


    In a just as lopsided match on another table Philipp Schönegger had no problems assembling a Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top lock of his own. Jean-Mary Accart's combo deck based on Blood Moon and winning with Painter's Servant and Grindstone didn't live up to it's potential when he lost in two games that were only drawn out by the fact that both players were activating Sensei's Divining Top, and thinking through each turn very carefully.
    "The matchup isn't so bad, but the matches tend to be very lopsided," he commented after the match.
    "If I can get Counterbalance in play it is very difficult to lose," Schönegger agreed.

    Philipp Schönegger 2-0 Jean-Mary Accart

    Philipp Schönegger vs. Jean-Mary Accart



     

  • Sunday, 7:40 p.m. – Top 8 Disqualification

    by Tobi Henke

  • There was quite a bit of excitement surrounding the announcement of the Top 8 at this Grand Prix when Gerardo Jurado Gibert, wo was poised to enter the playoffs with a score of 13-2, was instead disqualified from the tournament. Jurado Gibert first caught the attention of judges in round 13 when he committed what appeared to be, at the time, a simple game play error.

    "The situation in round 13 involved a couple of play mistakes to his advantage, which could have been an honest mistake or a malicious attempt to gain an unfair advantage. At that time, though the situation looked suspicious, I didn't feel I had enough evidence to determine that the mistake was malicious," head judge Riccardo Tessitori explained. "After discussing it further with my colleagues, I realized that I had underestimated some details of the conversation at the table and I determined that the most appropriate solution was to exclude the player from the tournament."

    Since the investigation was only concluded after the end of the Swiss rounds, Jurado Gibert was removed from the final standings. As is the usual procedure in such cases, the player who had been in ninth place before the disqualification was allowed to enter the Top 8 in his stead.




     

  • Semifinal – Philipp Schönegger vs. Maxime Gilles

    by Tobi Henke

  • "The mirror is pretty much the only match-up I've lost all weekend. To you and to Paulo," said Philipp Schönegger of Germany when the two players sat down for some Miracles versus Miracles business. France's Maxime Gilles certainly could feel happy about his chances here, as he had also won against Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa earlier in the day, in no small part thanks to his main-deck Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast.

    Philipp Schönegger vs. Maxime Gilles

    Game 1

    The action started with Sensei's Divining Top for Schönegger, forced past Gilles's Counterspell, Red Elemental Blast, and Snapcaster Mage with Counterspell, Spell Pierce, and Spell Pierce. That exchange, however, left the way clear for Gilles to resolve Jace, the Mind Sculptor whereas, subsequently, Schönegger's Jace, the Mind Sculptor was stopped via Counterspell.

    A while later, Schönegger managed to resolve Counterbalance, but the opposing Jace, the Mind Sculptor had already amassed 11 counters. Two turns later, facing certain doom, Schönegger picked up his cards.

    Philipp Schönegger

    In this rather friendly match—Miracles players apparently stick together—the two players spent their time shuffling by making a game out of looking at each other's decklist and guessing what the other had sideboarded.

    Game 2

    Both players began with Sensei's Divining Top on turn one, but Gilles had the fearsome follow-up of Counterbalance on turn two whereas Schönegger, well, didn't.

    Maxime Gilles

    Unable to even develop his mana without the help of Brainstorm and Ponder, Schönegger was falling further and further behind. The game continued for another couple of ages, but it could just as well have ended right there on the second turn. Schönegger never made a comeback.

    Philipp Schönegger 0-2 Maxime Gilles




     

  • Semifinal - Loïc Le Briand vs. Javier Dominguez

    by Tobi Henke

  • Meeting in this semifinal were France's own Loïc Le Briand, playing Reanimator, and Spaniard Javier Dominguez, running BUG Delver.

    Loïc Le Briand vs. Javier Dominguez

    Game 1

    Le Briand opened on land, Lotus Petal, Careful Stufy, and discarded a spare Reanimate plus Ashen Rider. Fearing Daze, he waited for turn two to cast Reanimate, though. A good choice, as Dominguez actually did have Daze in hand.

    On turn three, Le Briand then forced the Daze with Entomb followed by Exhume. Dominguez was caught between a rock and a hard place. He needed to stop Griselbrand with Daze but returning a land was a problem too. He never could catch up to Le Briand's early lead.

    Loïc Le Briand

    Game 2

    In a complete reversal of the previous blow-out, Dominguez started with Grafdigger's Cage, Dark Confidant, and Liliana of the Veil, while Le Briand, after a mulligan to five, started slow. His Show and Tell met Force of Will, and even though he had Pithing Needle for Liliana, Dominguez's Jace, the Mind Sculptor eventually sealed the deal.

    Game 3

    Another mulligan meant no fast action for Le Briand, while Dominguez had Deathrite Shaman and Delver of Secrets. Le Briand cast Duress and Brainstorm to set up a turn-four Show and Tell for Griselbrand, but Dominguez threw a wrench in the form of Hymn to Tourach.

    Javier Dominguez

    A second Hymn to Tourach left Le Briand with exactly Griselbrand as his only, lonely card, but it wasn't as if Dominguez needed such luck: he finished the game with two copies of Force of Will and three more blue cards in hand, in total control.

    Loïc Le Briand 1-2 Javier Dominguez




     

  • Finals – Maxime Gilles (FRA) vs. Javier Dominguez (SPA)

    by Olle Rade

  • After a 15 rounds of swiss and both exciting quarter- and semifinals it was finally time for two players to get down to the deciding match for all the glory and the Grand Prix title. This weekend marked the first Grand Prix top 8 for both players at the table, where Javier Dominguez started the small talk by claiming he would be happy even with a loss. Looking at his opponents deck list prior to the match he raised an eyebrow.
    "Three Entreat the Angels, huh, so you haven't gotten a lot of draws I guess?"

    Maxime Gilles could only smile and nod his head


    Gilles only loss this weekend was a concession to a fellow Frenchman in the last round of swiss, so technically he was still undefeated. But would his Blue White and Red Miracles deck be able to defeat the Spanish online grinder Javier "Thalai" Dominguez, piloting Blue Green Black Delver. In front of a crowd as passionate about Legacy as the rest of the French and Spanish Magic communities the finals started in a blazing fashion.

    Game One


    Gilles had the perfect opener in game one, with both Divining Top and Counterbalance, a combo he has been assembling all weekend. But Dominguez had other plans, discarding the Counterbalance with a Thoughtseize and followed it up with Hymn to Tourach, netting a Force of Will for his efforts.

    Counterbalance from the top assembled Gilles semi lock, but Dominguez deck wasn't without answers. Counterbalance countered a Deathrite Shaman before Dominguez went for his trump – Liliana of the Veil. But Gilles looked at the top of his deck with the top and found ...

    Javier Dominguez


    ... Entreat the Angels. Countering the planeswalker.

    Abrupt Decay eventually took out the Counterbalance, but Gilles had started his offense with a Vendilion Clique and never needed to cast the Entreat the Angels waiting on the top of his deck.

    Game Two

    A Null Rod was the first permanent to hit the board in the second game, making clear Dominguez had a plan for how to defeat Gilles – by keeping him away from Sensei's Divining Top.

    He continued his initiative with a pair of Deathrite Shaman, who did their best Squire impersonations and attacked for a few turns. A Delver joined the fun before Gilles dispatched a Shaman with Swords to Plowshares and the Delver with a Pyroblast. Shaman number three entered and a hard cast Terminus met Force of Will. Hymn to Tourach took out the remains of the French hand before the Deathrite damage brought the action to a decider.

    Game Three


    Exhaustion started getting to the players shuffling for the final game as they shaked hands before dealing them their final seven cards.

    Maxime Gilles

    No Sensei's Diving Top on turn one made Javier Dominguez let out a sigh of relief before he cast his best turn one play, Delver of Secrets who met a miracled Terminus. Hymn to Tourach followed, netting a Brainstorm in response before discarding a Rest in Peace and a land. A Sensei's Divining Top was the card Gilles had hidden, but a second Hymn emptied his hand. Wasteland added to the injury and the Spaniard went on the offense, casting Liliana of the Veil followed by a Sylvan Library, a card almost as old as the game itself, originally printed in Legends in 1994. The library fueled Dominguez hand with gas and Tarmogoyf and Deathrite Shaman followed.

    Slowly, but surely, Maxime Gilles chances were looking slimmer and slimmer. He found a Swords for the Tarmogoyf, but Liliana kept ticking up, and with an empty hand and only 4 lands in play would he be able to live for long?

    Liliana's ultimate took out half of his lands and Dark Confidant joined for additional card drawing, proving to be the nail in the coffin for Gilles as Javier Dominguez claimed the match to the sounds of a loud cheer from his Spanish countrymen.




     

  • Grand Prix Paris 2014 - Top 5 Cards

    by Tobi Henke

  • These were the cards that shaped the tournament, that sparked discussions and were the most debated, the cards that won games and turned Grand Prix Paris into an event to remember ...



    5. Thespian's Stage

    The land, in tandem with Dark Depths, found its way into many decks of the format, some new, some old. The first big story of the weekend, for example, was Kasper Euser's 9-0 run with an innovative deck, dubbed "Farmville," which could assemble the combination quite quickly. It also made an appearance in various Lands decks or, thanks to Knight of the Reliquary, in Maverick.









    4. True-Name Nemesis

    Players have certainly adapted to the breakout card of the previous Legacy Grand Prix. Golgari Charms, Diabolic Edicts, Engineered Plagues, and even Marsh Casualities were everywhere, and the resurgence of Miracles as a deck may also be blamed to some extent on the fact that Terminus simply doesn't care about the 3/1's protection. As a result, no Nemeses made it to the Top 4. However, the need for players to run specific answers for True-Name Nemesis still warrants an inclusion in our Top 5 cards.









    3. Sensei's Divining Top

    None other than Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa called it the most important card in Miracles. Not only does it enable the discount on the deck's key spells Terminus and Entreat the Angels, combined with fetchlands, over time, it makes for a massive increase in card quality. Furthermore, it allows players to beat decks heavy on discard and forms the second half of the feared Counterbalance/Top combination.









    2. Deathrite Shaman

    There was some debate among players which card was the best one-drop in the format. Deathrite Shaman doesn't yet have the numbers of the other big contender, but the Shaman has a lot going for it. Mana acceleration, graveyard removal, and a reasonable threat to the opponent's lieftotal make for an awesome package. It's not for nothing that the card has just been banned in Modern!









    1. Delver of Secrets

    Delver, however, is still king of the format. Between Black-Blue-Green Delver, Red-Blue-Green Delver, and Blue-White-Red Delver, the card appeared in a fifth to a fourth of all day-two decklists. The BUG version with its ability to run Delver as well as Deathrite Shaman even went all the way. Eventual champion Javier Dominguez said he didn't want to choose between the two one-drops, and, fortunately, he didn't have to.






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