By Randy Buehler
Sturla Bingen predicts that a Swede will win the championship. "They're almost Norwegian ... it's only been 95 years since the split." With only two names in the top 8 that are familiar to regular Pro Tour watchers, lots of people have lots of theories about who's going to win.
Judging by the Top 8, mono-blue appeared to be the best deck to play on Saturday. However, "Red Deck Wins" actually had quite a good showing with Sigurd Eskeland and Dan Paskins both posting 5-1 records with it. (Paskins' final elf slaughter count was a disappointing 19 while Eskeland didn't actually play any green decks, by the way.) If either of them had drafted well, RDW2K could easily have made the finals.
Noah Boeken was the last undefeated player (getting to 9-0 with a 90% duel win percentage) before dropping a match and he wound up as the #1 seed in the Swiss, but in between he get quite a scare. After winning 9 matches Boeken knew he only needed one more point to make the Top 8, but he got rounded down twice and while everyone around him was taking intentional draws to clinch the finals, Boeken lost two in a row and still had to play for it in the last round. Boeken avoided collapse, beat down Nicolas Olivieri's Replenish deck, and is ready for Sunday.
Boeken has a tough quarter-final matchup against Trinity Green, but his three Lumbering Satyrs and two Treetop Bracers should help. Loic Dobrigna's Accelerated Blue deck isn't great against Rebel decks, but Wolfgang Eder's Rebel deck is more controllish than the usual white weenie and Dobrigna may actually have the edge. Accelerated Blue is much better than Magpie Blue in the mirror matchup so Richard Österberg is expected to advance to the semi's where he is expected to face Raphael Levy.
If Boeken can survive the quarters, many expect him to win the whole tournament. Raphael Levy is the other popular pick and a Stompy versus Replenish finals could actually be quite exciting.