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Cornelissen Claims Victory in Brussels

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Kamiel Cornelissen fought his way through a Top 8 full of Magic celebrities, first beating Alexandre Peset in the quarterfinals, then Raphael Levy in the semis, and finally besting Gabriel Nassif in an epic three-game match.

Whereas today most players had opted for aggressive strategies in the brand new Shadowmoor Booster Draft format, the two finalists were prepared to take the fight to the lategame. There, Cornelissen's blue-black construction, featuring Isleback Spawn and Ghastlord of Fugue, triumphed over Nassif's red-green ramp-style deck.

Congratulations to Kamiel Cornelissen, the champion of Grand Prix Brussels 2008!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Lange, Holger (DEU)   Levy, Raphael 2-1        
8 Levy, Raphael (FRA)   Cornelissen, Kamiel 2-1
       
4 Cornelissen, Kamiel (NLD)   Cornelissen, Kamiel 2-0   Cornelissen, Kamiel 2-1
5 Peset, Alexandre (FRA)    
       
2 Nassif, Gabriel (FRA)   Nassif, Gabriel 2-1
7 Lefebvre, Gaetan (FRA)   Nassif, Gabriel 2-1
       
3 Ruel, Antoine (FRA)   Ruel, Antoine 2-0
6 Kleij, Rogier (NLD)    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • Finals – Gabriel Nassif vs. Kamiel Cornelissen
    by Tobias Henke
  • Semifinals – Kamiel Cornelissen vs. Raphael Levy
    By André Coimbra
  • Semifinals - Antoine Ruel vs. Gabriel Nassif
    by Mathias Passin
  • Quarterfinals - Gabriel Nassif vs. Gaetan Lefebvre
    By André Coimbra
  • Podcast: 10:39 p.m. – Are You Kidding Me?
    by Rich Hagon
  • Top 8: Player Decklist
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Quarterfinals - Raphael Levy vs. Holger Lange
    by Tobias Henke
  • Quarterfinals - Kamiel Cornelissen vs. Alexandre Peset
    by Huy Dinh
  • Top 8: – Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Podcast: 4:41 p.m. – Twenty Four Boosterss
    by Rich Hagon
  • Feature Match: Round 14 - Fabio Reinhardt vs. Rogier Kleij
    by Gottlieb Yeh
  • Feature Match: Round 14 - Guillaume Wafo-Tapa vs. Simon Ritzka
    by Huy Dinh
  • Feature Match: Round 13 - Raphael Levy vs. Alexandre Peset
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 11 - Antoine Ruel vs. Raphael Levy
    by André Coimbra
  • Blog: 1:00 p.m. - Drafting with Nassif
    by André Coimbra
  • Podcast: 12:52 p.m. – The 39 Steps
    by Rich Hagon
  • Blog: 12:30 p.m. - 'Moor Combos!
    by Tobias Henke
  • Feature Match: Round 10 - Olivier Ruel vs. Jan Doise
    by Tobias Henke
  • Blog: 9:00 a.m. - Drafting with Antoine
    by André Coimbra
  • Info: Day 2 Country Breakdown
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 2 Playerlist
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Info: Day 1 Blog Archive - Featured match coverage, photo post cards, and how not to play Isleback Spawn 2nd turn.
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Undefeated Decklist
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown (Green)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown (Blue)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Playerlist (Green)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Playerlist (Blue)
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Cornelissen, Kamiel $3,500
 2.  Nassif, Gabriel $2,300
 3.  Levy, Raphael $1,500
 4.  Ruel, Antoine $1,500
 5.  Lefebvre, Gaetan $1,000
 6.  Kleij, Rogier $1,000
 7.  Lange, Holger $1,000
 8.  Peset, Alexandre $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final
Day 2
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Blue Bracket
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Green Bracket
9
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  • 9:00 a.m. - Drafting with Antoine
    by André Coimbra
  • From time to time the argument comes up that Sealed Deck is a format where only luck plays a major roll and that even the good players can't do anything with a bad card pool. However, at the end of nine rounds of Sealed Deck play, there were four French top players ready to draft at the first table of the Grand Prix: Antoine Ruel, Amiel Tenenbaum, Gabriel Nassif, and Raphael Levy. So... is it all about luck?

    Antoine Ruel is one of the most popular players on Magic: the Gathering's competitive scene, having under his belt wins at every kind of major tournaments, so following his draft is always a path for learning and improving.

    Yesterday we asked some quick questions about the pros' choice for the top rare, uncommon and common in the set. Antoine's pick for top uncommon was Incremental Blight and he was quite happy when his first booster offered exactly that. After picking this great black card, Antoine decided to to stay on the "dark side", taking as much black as possible. When later asked why, his answer was: "Black is the worst color." Most players just consider their cards and boosters to make their decisions while drafting, but here Antoine was thinking one level ahead and he was aware that the other pros at the table would probably stay out of black, because in their opinion it's the worst color.

    Out of the rest of the first booster, he took some hybrid cards that could be played in a black and red deck, as well as some artifacts, but the picks were not very interesting overall.

    In the second booster, however, Antoine got a second pick Burn Trail, which is his favorite common in the set and he kept to his plan of going deep into black. He chose red as his second color and tried to get as much color synergy as possible with cards like: Emberstrike Duo, Sootwalkers and Sootstoke Kindler.

    The third booster started quite bad for him, as he was really unhappy to take Emberstrike Duo as his first pick. He continued with Spiteflame Witch and a mid-pack Power of Fire. At this point the knew that something had gone wrong, as after a few picks the boosters were already "dry".

    After deck construction he was feeling that the deck was okay and that he liked his chances in the draft. Keep following the coverage to see how that turned out!


  • Feature Match: Round 10 - Olivier Ruel vs. Jan Doise
    by Tobias Henke
  • Both players are currently at 7-2, with one more loss equalling certain elimination from Top 8 contention.

    Game 1

    Olivier won the die-roll, chose to play first and kept his opening seven. Jan kept as well and both players were off to completely mirrored first two turns: Both had Swamps and Inkfathom Witch. But while Ruel had to pass his third turn without any play at all, Doise had Scuttlemutt. Next up, Ruel played Wanderbrine Rootcutters, while Doise enchanted his Witch with Helm of the Ghastlord and attacked for some cardadvantage.

    Ruel returned the favor and played Gloomlance on the ghastly Witch, but Doise was not out of tricks yet. He placed a -1/-1 counter on his Scuttlemutt via Scarscale Ritual and then had Fate Transfer to finish off his opponent's witch.

    Jan followed it up with Gravelgill Axeshark and yet another Helm of the Ghastlord, while Olivier was totally out of gas. He could do nothing but shake his head in disgust and - a few turns later - concede.

    Olivier Ruel 0 - 1 Jan Doise

    Olivier had to do some massive sideboarding. (After the match he explained, that he really likes his deck - but not in the mirror match-up.)

    Game 2

    Ruel elected to play first again and had Spiteflame Witch for turn two. Jan meanwhile had Chainbreaker, a lowly 1/1 at first, but Fate Transfer quickly changed that at the expense of the Witch.

    Things began looking interesting when Puca's Mischief came into play on the French side, but in fact, for the rest of the game it did nothing but lock down the Chainbreaker, that changed sides every upkeep without ever being around in any player's untap step.

    In the end the game was decided by mana problems. While Olivier first had seven, then eight lands, Jan stopped exactly at five and drew spell after spell. Two of his Gloomlances later this game and match was over...

    Jan Doise defeats Olivier Ruel 2- 0.


  • 12:30 p.m. - 'Moor Combos!
    by Tobias Henke
  • Evil things abound on the nightmarish plane of Shadowmoor...

    Take, for example, Wort, the Raidmother followed by Din of the Fireherd and - thanks to Conspire - a copy of Din of the Fireherd as well. Yes, that's right, two 5/5 monsters enter play on one side, while nine (!) lands and three creatures have to be sacrificed on the other, as witnessed in round five.

    Right now the crowd had to watch Tomoharu Saito's downfall in the Feature Match area, brought on by Steel of the Godhead, which his opponent, Simon Görtzen, had expertly placed on his Augury Adept. The attack went uncontested and the Augury's ability revealed... Armored Ascension! 8/7 fliers with lifelink, card-drawing capability and even more life-gain are pretty good, after all.

    But there's not only the big splashy ones. Pili-Pala enchanted with Power of Fire has been running rampage today, both cards being common and so easily splashed. Multiple player are commiserating and stories of this two-card Masticore (a better one at that) can be heard all throughout the hall.


  • May 4th, 12:52 p.m. – The 39 Steps
    by Rich Hagon
  • When it comes to adventure, a Grand Prix Day Two can certainly get the pulse racing. In this action-packed start to our Magical Sunday, Rich and Ben bring you the first Draft of the day, and three rounds featuring at least one Hall of Famer, one guaranteed future Hall of Famer, and a decidedly large contingent of awesome Frenchman threatening to utterly take over the top of the standings. And by the end of the show, only 39 players will be left in contention for the 8 slots at the final table. Good times.

  • Click here to download!

  • 1:00 p.m. - Drafting with Nassif
    by André Coimbra
  • Gabriel Nassif from France is one of the most consistent European players on the professional circuit, from Player of the Year to Pro Tour champion, he has mastered both constructed and limited formats. Currently he is in need of one more win and one draw out of the three rounds of today's second draft.

    When Nassif opened his first booster and saw Plumeveil in it, he considered every option available, as well as possible paths that he could take from that point and when the judge told the players to pick a card, it was Plumeveil that got into his card pool.

    In the first and second booster there was always a good red or/and green card in it, providing the French player with an alternative path in case blue and white were beginning to dry up. He chose to stay true to his colors, however, and ended up with a heavy blue deck, containing some white cards, and a lot of blue/white and blue/black hybrids. Was that the right option? Probably yes, as on the third booster there were a lot of cards available for the archetype, while red/green trickled away.

    Sometimes it is important to take some calculated risks on the draft table and Gabriel Nassif knows which ones to take, getting a lot of value from them later.


  • Feature Match: Round 11 - Antoine Ruel vs. Raphael Levy
    by André Coimbra
  • Antoine Ruel, from France, kept a perfect score for ten rounds, but in round 11, he found in his way fellow-countryman Raphael Levy, who himself had just one loss so far. Could Antoine defeat Raphael and keep a perfect score? Keep reading to find out!

    Game 1

    Levy won the coin flip and started to put some pressure on his opponent with an early Somnomancer. Antoine was nice enough to give Fear to his opponent's creature at the end of the turn with Aphotic Wisps and drew a card. He was preparing for some unfair turns when he played Oona's Gatewarden, enchanting it with Power of Fire, as he could start firing -1/-1 counters every turn, but Raphael had a different agenda and Last Breath removed the Defender creature.

    A 3/3 for 4 mana that couldn't be blocked by the other player joined each side of the duel and when the game seemed even... Raphael Levy played Armored Ascension on his Raven's Run Dragoon and the 9/9 Flying creature that couldn't be blocked by black creatures dealt lethal damage - simple as that!

    Antoine Ruel 0 Raphael Levy 1

    Game 2

    This time Antoine Ruel played Pili-Pala and had it kill Levy's Medicine Runner, as it got some extra fire power from Power of Fire. At this point Antoine could deal with most of the creatures in the set, as he could untap his "pinger" and deal one damage, as many times as his mana allowed him to.

    However, Antoine was short on mana and when he tapped his mana during his own turn Levy found an opening and jumped to it: He played Armored Ascension on a Barrenton Medic, getting a 6/10 flyer. This was quite the threat, but Antoine only conceded when Oversoul of Dusk joined Levy's army as well, getting both players to a 10-1 score.

    Antoine Ruel 0 Raphael Levy 2


  • Feature Match: Round 13 - Raphael Levy vs. Alexandre Peset
    by Tobias Henke
  • The standings after round 12 mark the ultimate pinnacle of French triumph - six of the current top seven are French, among them Raphael Levy and Alexandre Peset, both needing one more win and a draw to ensure a top 8 berth.

    Game 1

    Peset won the coin toss and had Spectral Procession on turn three - lucky to have drawn three plains or is he really playing mono-white? Meanwhile Levy had Silkbind Faerie and followed it up with Steel of the Godhead. Peset had yet another Plains and Thistledown Duo for turn four and Scuttlemutt on turn five, when his fifth Plains revealed that, yes, he was very likely playing mono-colored.

    Levy had a fifth Land (a Forest) of his own, attacked with the steeled Faerie and laid yet another Silkbind Faerie. Offense as well as defense looked good for the Hall-of-Famer, as Peset had to pass the turn right back to Levy (who tapped Scuttlemutt with his Fae) without any attack, play, or - seemingly - hope...

    Then Levy summoned Wilt-Leaf Liege, further increasing his pressure. Peset was not out of tricks, though. When Levy's 4/6 Silkbind Faerie attacked, Peset used Thoughtweft Gambit to untap his Scuttlemutt, which in turn changed the color of the attacking Faerie which suddenly found itself rather small and highly blockable. Peset's three spirit token took down the flier in a community effort.

    The tide was turning. First came down Biting Tether (cast with the help of the busy small artifact that is Scuttlemutt) on Levy's Wilt-Leaf Liege. That's already pretty impressive with a board consisting of two spirit token and Thistledown Duo, but Armored Ascension on the Liege put Peset ahead... Quite a bit at that: Levy looked at his next card, shrugged and conceded.

    Raphael Levy 0 - 1 Alexandre Peset

    Game 2

    Levy started quick with a turn-one Seedcradle Witch, followed by Devoted Druid on turn two, and Scuttlemutt on the next. Peset only had lands for his first two turns and a Medicine Runner on turn three was not exactly going to stop the beatdown.

    Rather than attacking, Levy used his mana-producing creatures to power out Crabapple Cohort, while Peset could only install Blight Sickle on the Medicine Runner, who in turn got tapped by Levy's Somnomancer. The attack brought Peset down to twelve, but only because Levy opted to use his Scuttlemutt to pay for Silkbind Faerie instead of attacking. Last Breath from Peset took care of the Faerie, but his Medicine Runner was still outnumbered one to five creatures. And when Levy finally drew the lands to comfortably use Seedcracle Witch's ability the game ended rather abruptly.

    Rahael Levy 1 - 1 Alexandre Peset

    Game 3

    Peset chose to play first, but had to take two mullians. While Levy had Seedcradle Witch, Last Breath on Peset's two-drop, and Silkbind Faerie, his opponent missed land drops on turn three, four, five, six, seven... and that was the anticlimactic end of the game and match.

    Raphael Levy beats Alexandre Peset 2 - 1.


  • Feature Match: Round 14 - Guillaume Wafo-Tapa vs. Simon Ritzka
    by Huy Dinh
  • Being a well-known constructed genius, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa does not need to be introduced. His German opponent, Simon Ritzka, however, was one of the undefeated players yesterday and his two losses today were both against Antoine Ruel. Both Guillaume and Simon need one more win in order to play in the elimination rounds.

    Simon Ritzka, the King of Scarecrows
    The German player won the die-roll and played first. Guillaume started with a mulligan to six cards.

    Simon kicked off with a Pili-Pala and a Scuttlemutt. After Guillaume fetched an Island via Farhaven Elf to go with his Mountains and Forest, both players seemed to have splashy mana bases. Especially Simon, who had some Forests, one Mountain and one Swamp in play as well as Merrow Wavebreakers, apparently played more than the usual two-and-a-half colors. All those colors turned out to be supporting Reaper King that made his board look scary.

    In the meantime, Guillaume was building his mana base with another Farhaven Elf and putting some pressure on his opponent with a Wicker Warcrawler. After the Reaper King had showed up, he had to stay home, though, as his lifetotal was on a precarious 10.

    Simon's Beseech the Queen found a Chainbreaker that, with the help of Reaper King, got rid of Guillaume's Wicker Warcrawler. During an all-in attack, the Frenchman scooped after some pondering.

    Simon Ritzka 1 - Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 0

    Wafo-tapa, looking unhappy.
    In the second game, Guillaume made his opponent play first, but had a long mulligan decision after Simon had instantly kept his hand. He deemed his second and third hand unplayable, too. The four cards he then held did not seem to be that good, either, for he had taken some time deliberating. But eventually, the game started with Guillaume having four mulligans in this match.

    Simon started the action with a Tatterkite in his third turn and a Scuttlemutt in the following one. Guillaume failed to find a third land, even after having played a Manamorphose. He lost two points of life to the resulting mana burn.

    His next draw step found a land that in turn brought Farhaven Elf into play, bringing along another land. That let him take a stand with his Murderous Redcap, but Simon again casted Reaper King. But this time Guillaume had an answer to the King of Scarecrows: Gleeful Sabotage.

    Still, he faced some problems, for his opponent forced him to chump block with his Crabapple Cohort and the Murderous Redcap, leaving him on an empty board while Simon threatened to take away his last seven points of life with a Morselhoarder, a Pili-Pala and an Old Ghastbark. He succumbed to the inevitable.

    Simon Ritzka defeated Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 2 - 0.

    With one round left, the German amateur now is one point away from his very first Grand Prix Top 8. For all interested, here is his Tribal Scarecrow deck:


  • Feature Match: Round 14 - Fabio Reinhardt vs. Rogier Kleij
    by Gottlieb Yeh
  • Both players have a 12-2 record, so they still are in contention for Top 8. Rogier won the die-roll and chose to go first. After taking a mulligan down to six he starts out with a turn-two Trip Noose. Fabio answers with a Tattermunge Witch. Turn three sees a Wasp Lancer on Rogier's side. Fabio's witch attacked and dealt three damage with the help of Viridiscent Wisps, bringing Rogier down to 17.

    A Rustrazor Butcher joined Fabio's side. Rogier kept attaking with his flier while tapping Fabio's witch, which got enchanted with Shield of the Oversoul, to leave the life totals at 14 (Fabio) - 16 (Rogier). Rogier then tapped out to cast Ghastlord of Fugue.

    Fabio attacked with both his creatures, getting no block from Rogier's Ghastlord, bringing him down to 12, and then played Deus of Calamity. Rogier himself attacked with both his creatures, getting Fabio down to seven and letting him discard Crabapple Cohort. Rogier's flier died to a Puncture Bolt and Fabio attacked for four (Deus getting tapped by Trip Noose), bringing Rogier down to eight.

    Rogier again attacked with the Ghastlord, bringing Fabio down to three and discarding a Forest, and added a Kulrath Knight to his team. Fabio didn't draw a solution for any of Rogier's creatures and we are off to game 2.

    Fabio, playing first, starts out with a turn-three Tattermunge Witch, Rogier again with the Wasp Lancer. Cycling Viridiscent Wisps in the same round, Fabio attacks with his witch on turn four and casts a Gloomwidow. Rogier, on his own fourth turn, enchanted his flier with Helm of the Ghastlord, thus creating a 5/4 flying "Card advantage anyone?" monster!

    So Fabio was forced to chump block with the Gloomwidow. After attacking again with his witch and bringing Rogier down to 16, the 6/6 Deus again joined his side of the board. This time, Rogiers flier is unblocked, getting Fabio down to 15 and letting him discard a Safehold Duo while drawing an extra card and casting Gravegill Duo, which trades with Fabio's witch on his attack.

    The unblocked Deus deals six damage to Rogier, bringing him down to ten and destroying a Swamp. Fabio then added a Crabapple Cohort to his army. Rogier's flier attacked again, letting Fabio discard an Emberwilde Duo, and summoned a Wingrattle Scarecrow. Lifetotals were ten and ten now.

    On his next turn, Fabio attacked with both his creatures, the scarecrow chumped the Cohort, but came back thanks to persist, and Rogier went down to four, getting another Swamp destroyed by the Deus. Mudbrawler Raiders were added to Fabio's army and on Rogier's turn, the third attack from his Helm of the Ghastlord pimped flier brought Fabio down to five.

    Discarded is Jaws of Stone with - ouch! - five lands in play, four of them being Mountains. A Trip Noose is played by Rogier, before passing the turn back to Fabio. Declaring attackers, the Deus was tapped and the Cohort was chumped again by the persisted scarecrow, so only three damage from the Mudbrawler Raiders came through, bringing Rogier down to one.

    Having drawn a land, if Fabio had not cast the raiders last turn and instead discarded it he would have been able to deal the last four damage with Jaws of Stone. This way Fabio Reinhardt lost to Rogier Kleij 0 - 2.


  • May 4th, 4:41 p.m. – Twenty Four Boosterss
    by Rich Hagon
  • It's a serious examination of Magic skill, and over the course of twenty-four boosters, 120 players will find their skills, mixed with some luck, don't quite measure up to the highest standards this time around. Instead they, like us, will watch as the remaining eight go toe to toe. The story of the closing rounds is here.

  • Click here to download!

  • Quarterfinals - Kamiel Cornelissen vs. Alexandre Peset
    by Huy Dinh
  • Among the five Frenchmen in this top 8, Alexandre Peset from the city of Lille faces Kamiel Cornelissen, one of the Netherlands' finest. Kamiel even has an own Pro Player Card, which can be found in tournament packs... He has to be good!

    Kamiel won the die-roll and kept his initial hand, Alexandre on the other side opted for the trip to Paris.

    The Dutch rode his mana curve nicely by consecutively playing Inkfathom Witch, Cinderbones and Sootwalkers. His opponent went along with Safehold Sentry, Ballynock Cohort and Watchwing Scarecrow. A Loch Korrigan on Kamiel's fifth turn was followed by Alexandre's Kithkin Shielddare and when Loch Korrigan attacked with six mana available to Kamiel, Alexandre took a long time on figuring out how to block. He decided it was best to put Watchwing Scarecrow, Safehold Sentry and Kithkin Shielddare in front of the lone attacker. After Kamiel had assigned combat damage, an Inquisitor's Snare turned out to be a one-sided fog, so Loch Korrigan went down without any further casualties on Alexandre's side.

    Another big one came down on Kamiel's side, when he put Isleback Spawn into play. By activating his Scrapbasket, his opponent pushed through another two damage with his Watchwing Scarecrow, bringing Kamiel down to ten. Not impressed at all, Kamiel cast Scar on Kithkin Shielddare and his Isleback Spawn went in unblocked. At the end of his turn, though, Alexandre had a play: Plumeveil. Half a turn later, he sent the whole team into the red-zone, making Kamiel fall to five and lose his Inkfathom Witch in the process. A Lurebound Scarecrow then joined his team.

    He lost most of his pressure, however, when his Watchwing Scarecrow was enchanted by Torture, eventually torturing it to death. That was the beginning of a creature standoff and resulted in a draw-go period.

    When Kamiel's library got to twenty cards, his Isleback Spawn once again entered the red-zone, but was blocked by a persisting Safehold Elite twice. Meanwhile, Alexandre's Last Breath took care of Silkbind Faerie when it was trying to put on a Helm of the Ghastlord. A Cemetery Puca meant more trouble for Alexandre, for even if he were able to destroy Isleback Spawn, he would face another one. Another Loch Korrigan on Kamiel's side made matters even worse. Alexandre could not get out of it - Kamiel Cornelissen took the lead in this hard-fought match.

    After some sideboarding, Alexandre announced to play first and both players wished each other good luck. Kamiel had some, for he was going to keep his initial seven, while his opponent had to take mulligans twice. While he was resolving his mulligans, both Raphael Levy and Antoine Ruel proceeded to the semifinals.

    Kamiel's Leech Bonder did not apply any early pressure to benefit from his opponent's draw-go play and his Loch Korrigan met Inquisitor's Snare once again. Lockjaw Snapper and Gravelgill Axeshark were added to the board while Alexandre was playing land after land. By the time he made his first nonland permanent, a Kithkin Shielddare, he had nine lands in play. It never got to wield Steel of the Godhead, for Kamiel had not forgotten his Leech Bonder. A French-only top 4 was not to be.

    Kamiel Cornelissen won 2 - 0 after a long match and now faces Raphael Levy from France. If he wins that match, he will face another Frenchman: Either Gabriel Nassif or Antoine Ruel.


  • Quarterfinals - Raphael Levy vs. Holger Lange
    by Tobias Henke
  • The French Hall-of-Famer Raphael Levy doesn’t get much of an introduction because he doesn’t need to, his opponent, the German Holger Lange, doesn’t get much of one either because – he says himself – his biggest achievement thus far is winning amateur money at five GPs.

    Game 1

    Levy won the die-roll, but had to mulligan twice, before starting with turn-three Ballnock Cohort, turn-four Somnomancer, while Lange had Watchwing Scarecrow as his first play. Levy added Barrenton Cragtreads to his team, mirrored by Lange’s Raven’s Run Dragoon.

    Both of Levy’s 3/3 dared to enter the red-zone, but not without the safety line, that is Inquisitor’s Snare. That got rid of Lange’s Dragoon, leaving Levy’s own Cragtreads unharmed. Temporarily, the game entered a calm period and Lange tried to capitalize on that by casting and subsequently using Illuminated Folio on every turn from now on.

    Levy, though he had to fight without any sort of card-advantage engine and even with some natural disadvantage for all the mulligans he took, was not giving up yet. He summoned Thistledown Duo and, on the next turn, Safehold Sentry to attack with all of three 3/3 creatures. Holger might be ahead on cards, but Levy certainly was far ahead in the damage race.

    Lange tried to stabilize with Rune-Cervin Rider and Safehold Elite, but only his Wicker Warcrawler finally managed to put Levy’s offense on halt. Niveous Wisps allowed Levy to get in one more attack, bringing Lange down to precariously low six life.

    However, all was to be reversed, when Lange finally got his Windbrisk Raptor out of the Illuminated Folio and had his 6/6 Warcrawler charging into the red-zone for a nice double-up on his lifetotal. End of turn Lange revealed Mirrorweave and another white card, threatening a possibly game-ending attack with four Windbrisk Raptors (a really nice trick, considering that the Raptors lifelink-granting ability only works on attacking creatures and is cumulative).

    Lange opted for the less impressive road to victory. Instead he chose to enchant his 1/1 returned-from-the-grave Safehold Elite with Shield of the Oversoul and simply attacked with all but the Watchwing Scarecrow, costing Levy his Ballnock Cohort as well as the best part of his lifetotal with thirteen life thrown in for good measure... Levy shook his head.

    Raphael Levy 0 – 1 Holger Lange

    Game 2

    Levy went first, but had no play for his first two turns, while Lange brought on the beats with his first-turn Seedcradle Witch. Ballynock Cohort again came down for the French and Safehold Sentry entered play on the German’s side. Levy had Spectral Procession up next and hit for three with the Cohort. Lange’s Sentry came in for two damage and he played Safehold Duo to render any further attacking of Levy’s Ballnock Cohort pointless.

    Levy, however, took to the air with Briarberry Cohort and Thistledown Duo. Lange had yet another Duo himself, but Levy added another Briarberry Cohort and attacked with three spirit tokens, his own Duo, and Briarberry Cohort for a total of seven unblockable damage. Seeing as the next attack certainly wouldn’t result in any less damage and with no answer to the army of fliers, Lange conceded.

    Raphael Levy 1 – 1 Holger Lange

    Game 3

    Lange opened yet again with Seedcradle Witch, but had no play for the all-important turn two. On the other side of the board Levy had Briarberry Cohort on his second turn and Mistmeadow Witch on his third. Next up on the German side of the table was Safehold Duo, but by then Levy had already cast Glen Elendra Liege and was now attacking with a 3/3 Briarberry Cohort.

    Lange tried to race, although his Safehold Duo and Seedcradle Witch didn’t look to impressive and came in for some equally unimpressive three points of damage. His Wicker Warcrawler, though, seemed rather good indeed, until Spectral Procession gave Levy a number of possible chumpblockers for the ever-shrinking artifact monster, while Glen Elendra Lige and Briarberry Cohort went about their dirty business, getting in for five and leaving Lange at ten.

    Lange attacked with all three of his creatures, Levy unsurprisingly blocked Wicker Warcrawlerr with one of the tokens and Seedcradle Witch with another one. Lange chose not to use the Witch’s ability, but let it go, in favor of casting a Rune-Cervin Riders. The rider blocked Mistmeadow Witch on Levy’s next attack and, to Lange’s surprise, died after Levy pointed out the +1/+1 bonus granted to all blue creatures by Glen Elendra Liege.

    Lange could neither race nor stop the flying five damage and offered his hand in concession.

    Raphael Levy defeats Holger Lange 2 – 1 and advances to the semifinals.


  • May 4th, 10:39 p.m. – Are You Kidding Me?
    by Rich Hagon
  • An absolutely monumental quartet came to the party for an incredible Top 8 here in Brussels, and random pairings kept them apart. Could they keep the young blood in line and further their already-legendary reputations? Four killer quarters, two scintillating semis and a final of twists and turns await as we bring you the climax of a Limited GP to die for.

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  • Quarterfinals - Gabriel Nassif vs. Gaetan Lefebvre
    By André Coimbra
  • After about 15 hours of Swiss rounds, it was time for single elimination mode in order determine who would become the champion of GP Brussels 2008. On this first round of single elimination, two players from France got to play to find out who would play for the championship. Most readers probably know who is Gabriel Nassif, his opponent on the other hand, Gaetan Lefebvre had as his best score a Top 32 at Pro Tour Valencia, but a win at this GP would change everything.

    Game 1

    Gabriel Nassif won the die-roll and Farhaven Elf was the first creature to come into play, accelerating Nassif's mana. Gaetan played Leech Bonder and Nassif had Rosheen Meanderer after attacking with the 1/1 elf. Rosheen Meanderer got into the red-zone, dealing four damage in a single attack.

    Farhaven Elf got killed on the next turn by Murderous Redcap. Nassif played Kulrath Knight, which made Leech Bonder useless while it was in play. Nassif attacked with both creatures, but Consign to Dream slowed his offense for two turns. Now that Kulrath Knight was not nullifying Leech Bonder, it was the time for Gaetan to attack and transform his opponent's 4/4 into a 3/3 - this way it was not a good attacker anymore, as a double block from Gaetan would just trade one for one.

    To finish the turn he played Watchwing Scarecrow. Nassif replayed Kulrath Knight and also played his second Farhaven Elf, reducing the chances of drawing lands in the next turns. Gaetan Lefebvre had unfinished businesses with Kulrath Knight and with Gloomlance he was able to not only kill it, but also to get his opponent to discard a card in the process. Gaetan attacked with Watching Scarecrow a few times and when he got Ashenmoor Gouger to join it, Nassif put all his hope into an alpha strike, but it left his opponent at four life... With no creatures left for defense he got killed on the next turn.

    Gabriel Nassif 0 Gaetan Lefebvre 1

    Game 2

    Once again, Nassif chose to start the game, but the first creature to come into play was on the other side of the table: Gaetan put Manaforge Cinder into play. Nassif played Boggart Ram-Gang and it was sent into the Red Zone right away. Haste can do such things. Gaetan played Faerie Macabre and attacked with both the Faerie Rogue and the Manaforge Cinder, which got an Aphotic Wisps.

    In an attempt to not miss a land drop, Gaetan drew two cards off of a Scarscale Ritual, which killed his Manaforge Cinder, but there were no lands to be found. Nassif kept attacking and played Kulrath Knight. A Puncture Bolt on Gaetan's Watchwing Scarecrow one turn later was enough to make him concede.

    Gabriel Nassif 1 Gaetan Lefebvre 1

    Game 3

    Nassif didn't like his first seven cards and got to mulligan, but the next six cards were good enough to keep. This game was a good example of how to win a war of attrition, for both players used their resources to deal with opposing threats. But in the end, Gabriel Nassif prevailed because of Illuminated Folio, which let him draw more resources until he was ready for a lethal attack.

    Gabriel Nassif 2 Gaetan Lefebvre 1


  • Semifinals - Antoine Ruel vs. Gabriel Nassif
    by Mathias Passin
  • It’s seven p.m. local time and while most players still in the building compete in an eight-round Legacy side event, four pros are left in the main event. Apparently, three of them are French.

    Gabriel had drafted a straight green-red deck featuring two Kulrath Knight, while Antoine’s deck is a blue-red build with two (!) splashed Incremental Growth. Fixing is plenty: Two Elsewhere Flask, two Manamorphose and a Morselhoarder can easily provide enough black mana for the gamebreaking sorcery.

    After some smalltalk, Antoine won the die-roll and decided to play first.

    Neither player had a play for the first turns, besides Antoine cycling through his deck with an Elsewhere Flask. Gabriel didn’t even have a third land and could only keep himself from discarding by destroying the Flask with Gleeful Sabotage.

    While Antoine started playing threatening creatures after that, Gabriel could only find a Devoted Druid – which was Puncture Bolted right away. Finally, a Firespout cleared the board and gave Gabriel (now on precarious two life) the opportunity to slowly draw himself out of the screw. However, Antoine was able to sneak in two more damage by simply being able to cast more creatures in less turns.

    Antoine Ruel 1 – 0 Gabriel Nassif

    Both players sideboarded some cards. (Antoine revealed the two Gloomwidow’s Feast he’s boarding out, as they’re just useless against a red-green deck like Gabriel’s.)

    Both players kept their opening seven for the second game. Gabriel went first, but Antoine could play a Puresight Merrow on turn two with the help of Manamorphose, while Gab had nothing.

    However, this time Gabriel had found lands and two Farhaven Elfs got him even more. Quite surprisingly, he couldn’t play any creature the following turn, despite his seven lands. Apparently, he’s flooded this time.

    Antoine took to the air with two Briarberry Cohorts, that the Elfs couldn’t block. They brought Nassif down to 16, then 12. Firespout cleared the board and Nassif’s Mudbrawler Raiders entered play and – subsequently – the red-zone. Those kept on ripping lifepoints out of Antoine until he, at nine life, found Burn Trail (that attempt at the Raiders’ life was thwarted by Barkshell Blessing) and Morselhoarder.

    Gabriel played Kulrath Knight. Now it was time for Incremental Blight and Cultbrand Cinder to take care of the two victims on Gabriel’s side of the table. But this was not the end: With the help of Illuminated Folio, Nassif could draw enough cards to keep himself alive at one life. Antoine was even forced to trade his Morselhoarder against Foxfire Oak and eventually, Gnarled Effigy took down the last blockers to turn this exciting game to Gabriel’s favor.

    Antoine Ruel 1 – 1 Gabriel Nassif

    Antoine went first, but with Boggart Ram-Gang, Gabriel had the first play on turn three. He lost his first creature to Torpor Dust, so his Mudbrawler Raiders was to replace it. Antoine still hadn’t played a creature spell yet, but as soon as he had found a sixth land, Morselhoarder came down on his side. That very same Morselhoarder had to block the Mudbrawler Raiders, but with another Raiders and the Ram-Gang in play, Gabriel could save the attacking Raiders with a conspired Barkshell Blessing.

    Antoine’s Wanderbrine Rootcutters wanted to do better than the Morselhoarder, but they failed doing so, because – as Gabriel had to remind him – the Raiders could not be blocked by blue creatures. Apart from chumping with Rustrazor Butcher, Antoine could not do anything else and eventually succumbed to the unblockable Raiders.

    Antoine Ruel 1 – 2 Gabriel Nassif


  • Semifinals – Kamiel Cornelissen vs. Raphael Levy
    By André Coimbra
  • There are some Grand Prix top 8s where the combined profiles of all the players are less impressive than Kamiel Cornelissen or Raphael Levy profile alone. Luckily we got those two Magic super stars to compete against each other for the chance to play for the title in the final.

    They wished good luck to each other, Raphael Levy won the die-roll and, as usually, showed a very aggressive approach to the game, playing Zealous Guardian at the end of his opponent’s first turn and Somnomancer on his own second. Kamiel Cornelissen played Silkbind Faerie. Raphael Levy attacked with both creatures and, as Kamiel chose to not block any of them, he played Raven’s Run Dragoon.

    Kamiel played Sootwalkers and Levy played Steel of the Godhead on Somnomancer, attacking with it and the 3/3 creature. At this point, things seemed quite good for the French pro, but Kamiel retaliated with Torture on Raven’s Run Dragoon and after a few attack steps where Levy tried to trade some resources on the table for damage, things didn’t look that good for the French anymore, as Kamiel was now in control.

    Some turns later the Dutch pro played Isleback Spawn and Gravelgill Axeshark. After a couple of turns where Levy was losing creatures just to survive, he ran out of resources and his deck didn’t show any “reach” when needed.

    Kamiel Cornelissen 1 Raphael Levy 0

    Levy chose to start, but it was Kamiel to play the first creature on his second turn. Raphael Levy, knowing his opponent’s deck, realized: “Your one 2 drop... nice."

    Raphael played Ballynock Cohort and Spectral Procession over his first turns, allowing him to have a fast clock with his army of weenies. Kamiel played Cemetery Puca and Levy played his second Ballynock Cohort.

    The Dutch pro had Ghastlord of Fugue to try to get back into the game, but an Inquisitor’s Snare destroyed it when Levy attacked with all his creatures.

    At this point Raphael Levy that couldn’t see a way to lose the game said: “I’m wondering what I will do if I lose this game..." Kamiel played Gravelgill Axeshark, but in the last turn of the game, the French player had Niveous Wisps to tap his opponents creature and Steel of the Goodhead to allow a successful alpha strike.

    Kamiel Cornelissen 1 Raphael Levy 1

    The third game was all about Raphael Levy’s Whimwader that got killed by Kamiel Cornelissen and copied by Cemetery Puca. Levy could only kill it after a lot of turns getting damage from it and losing creatures simply to save some of that.

    But by then it was already too late and Levy was out of creatures, so he conceded as he couldn’t put up a fight anymore.

    Kamiel Cornelissen 2 Raphael Levy 1


  • Finals - Gabriel Nassif vs. Kamiel Cornelissen
    by Tobias Henke
  • Mostly we've seen aggressive decks throughout the whole weekend, especially today in the draft rounds, but on the third turn of the first game of the finals neither Frenchman Gabriel Nassif nor Kamiel Cornelissen of the Netherlands had any creatures on the board.

    But first things first: Nassif had won the die-roll and - more importantly - had taken two mulligans.

    On turn five his only nonland permanent was Illuminated Folio, while Cornelissen had Lockjaw Snapper and just now a freshly cast Ghastlord of Fugue. Mercy Killing got rid of that, but not without leaving four tokens in its wake.

    However, these and the Snapper were removed by Gabriel's Firespout, who had all the while drawn two cards per turn with the help of the Illuminated Folio. It seemed that Nassif took control of the game. He deployed Kulrath Knight and saved it in a fight with Kamiel's Gravelgill Axeshark via Barkshell Blessing.

    Kamiel recovered with Sootwalkers, Silkbind Faerie, and Scuttlemutt, when Gab stumbled upon a serious clump of land on the top of his deck. Hungry Spriggan and Crabapple Cohort came to his aid, but the board position certainly was approaching a serious stand-off. A stand-off that favored Nassif (with him activating the Folio first thing each turn).

    Well ... if it weren't for Kamiel's topdecked Isleback Spawn!

    Kamiel was feeling safe with the monstrous (and shrouded) blocker, but when he attacked with all of his other creatures, had to learn that, in fact, Nassif had only been waiting for such an opening. Boggart Ram-Gang came down and yet another Barkshell Blessing forced the last two points of damage.

    Gabriel Nassif 1 - 0 Kamiel Cornelissen

    Game 2

    Both players started slow again, but this time Nassif did have Farhaven Elf to speed things up. For example, Kamiel's first play, Sootwalkers, was instantly out-classed by an early Rosheen Meanderer. The 4/4 was taken care of by Torture, but not without getting in at least a little damage. When Nassif attacked with the giant (2/2 by now thanks to some -1/-1 torture marks) and the elf, the Sootwalkers didn't dare to block for fear of Barkshell Blessing.

    Up next, Nurturer Intiate came down for Nassif, while Helm of the Ghastlord turned Sootwalkers into a respectably sized 4/4. However, now that the Initiate was around, it still traded with the 1/1, when Gab played Barkshell Blessing.

    Some very happy draw steps for the Dutch followed: First he got Isleback Spawn, then Loch Korrigan. In this slow match-up both of them were at a premium and went about their business of taking big chunks out of Gabriel Nassif's lifetotal. When he tapped out for some more chump blockers, Cornelissen revealed Aphotic Wisps, and Nassif dutifully conceded.

    Gabriel Nassif 1 - 1 Kamiel Cornelissen

    Game 3

    Nassif opened with Nurturer Initiate, which immediately got tortured to death... Faerie Macabre was played on the Dutch side, Mudbrawler Raiders on the French, followed by Crabapple Cohort. Kamiel put a stop to that one with his Cinderbones, while Faerie Macabre was happily beating down for two.

    Scuttlemutt joined Levy's team but Kamiel easily trumped that with Gravelgill Axeshark, Silkbind Faerie, and Cemetery Puca. While he finally lost his Cinderbones, which had to chump at one point without mana up for regeneration, Silkbind Faerie took over the job of keeping Gabriel's best fatty at bay. All the while the little fliers relentlessly worked on Nassif's lifetotal. In the end they succeded.

    Kamiel Cornelissen defeats Gabriel Nassif 2 - 1 in the finals of GP Brussels 2008 and now both players advance to the award ceremony!

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