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By: Pyrosin, Matt Rossi
Mar 27 2008 3:14pm
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Grand Prix Vienna


Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Once the home of a Powerful, Influencial Member of Viennen Culture.  Today, an art musuem.

Welcome Magic Fans to this week's Edition of The Highlight Reel, where we take a look at the second major event from two weeks ago at GP Vienna.  Like GP Philly, Vienna was an Extended event.

We saw that the last two North American GPs were dominated by  Control decks.  With all attention focused on the various Level Blue decks, the last couple weeks, the question as been is this the week that Dredge returns itself from the metagame graveyard to a seat of prominence?  Dredge had been hated to near extinction for most of the season, but were players still willing to commit half their sideboards to a deck that no one my be playing anymore?  Most players were saying "No."  As Luis Scott-Vargas said at Philly, "Only two Dredge decks made Day Two (at Vancouver). If we play it this weekend we are going to lose to it."  Fortunately for Luis, hardly anyone played Dredge at Philly, and he made Top 8.  But what about Vienna?

So, with that little foreshadowing out of the way, let's see what faired best in the massive field of 1150, featuring Pros from across Europe and even a couple big names from Japan.


Dredge just keeps coming back

Rich Hagon and his crew were in Vienna to provide coverage for the weekend, with a total of seven very informative podcasts.  You can download all of them here.  The podcasts provide the normal, solid coverage with interviews, deck discussions, and match recaps, but the really nice thing about Wizards having a big staff at this event was that we got to see all 128 decks that went at least 7-2 and made Day Two.  And as you can see from the breakdown below, the big winners on Day One were the Combo decks.

Colors Deck Name Inside the Numbers Percentage






Burn, Aggro 


Level Blue







Death Cloud




Aggro Loam






Domain Zoo










 - Made Top 8  - Made Day Two

And unlike GP Philly, where hardly anyone played, and no one did well with Dredge, we had a whooping twenty two Dredge decks make Day Two, with four of them making it all the way to the Top eight.  Ideal and TEPS decks both had strong showing, meaning a full third of the Day Two field was sporting a Combo deck.  The best control decks in the format are still the various incarnations of "Level Blue" decks and  Tron decks that play a Mindslaver lock.  We see a strong contingent of  Burn/Aggro decks.  Some have more burn, some have more  weenies, and some splash  for Tarmogoyf.  Domain Zoo wasn't nearly as prevalent here as it was in Philly.  Goblin Bidding and Affinity are still around in small numbers, and a new edition to the aggro ranks is a  Faeries deck that Guillaume Wafo-Tapa piloted to a 23rd place finish.  The other big deck archetype include the various decks that either go the classical Rock route with Pernicious Deed, add a Death Cloud, or bring the beats with Doran, the Siege Tower.

The only other deck to have more than one representative in Day Two was a deck I haven't seen before in the breakdowns this season, Aggro Loam.  Of the 6 that made Day Two, the highest finisher was Liking Saiyasely who finished in 38th.  Here's the decklist:

The deck revolves around getting lands in the graveyard, your lands and your opponent's lands.  With Life from the Loam, you get to recover from your Devastating Dreams, Seismic Assaults, and Countryside Crushers that put all your lands in the yard.  Then maybe you play everyone's second favorite Lhurgoyf in Terravore and smash in for the win.  This deck looks like it would probably be fun to play, but that's not why I showed it to you.  I showed it to you as an example of how thoroughly unprepared for the Dredge deck this field was.  A Leyline of the Void or Tormod's Crypt totally shuts down the Aggro Loam deck, but here it is.

Top 8

So when the dust settled after 15 rounds of Magic we had a Top eight headlined by the reigning Player of the Year, Tomoharu Saito and the GP Vienna 2004 champion - hometown hero Nikolaus Eigner, who were both playing Dredge.  Also making the Top eight playing Dredge were Horst Winkelmann of Austria and Wojciech Zuber of Poland.  Rounding out the Top eight, we had Matija Vlahovic of Croatia playing  Tron, Gianluca Bevere of Italy playing Enduring Ideal, Andras Nagy of Hungary playing Doran, and Mateusz Kopec of Poland with his version of the Level Blue deck.  You can check out the Top eight decks here.  And if you take a look at those decks, you'll find a total of twenty Leyline of the Void and eight Tormod's Crypt among them.  The only player not to have any Dredge Hate in his deck was Winkelmann, who was playing Dredge himself.  In case you've forgotten what a typical Dredge deck looks like, I've included Eigner's list below.

 I assume most of you are aware of the silliness that occurs once the Dredge player starts drawing and dumping cards with something like Cephalid Coliseum, Careful Study, or Breakthrough.  The card drawing turns into dredging the majority of the library with Stinkweed Imp and Golgari Grave-Troll,  the Bridge from Belows go into the graveyard, the Narcomoeba go from the graveyard to play, they get sacked to a flashbacked Dread Return returning Flame-Kin Zealot to play giving all the fresh zombies +1/+1 and haste... and we move on to the next game.  It was obvious that to be successful this weekend, you better have kept the hate in to fight Dredge.

Quarterfinals: Tomoharu Saito ( Dredge ) vs. Gianluca Bevere ( Ideal ). Saito was able to quickly get his Grave-Trolls in the yard and comboed out on Turn three before Bevere got his pair Lotus Blooms to resolve.  Bevere was able to start Game two with a much needed Turn zero Leyline.  The Leyline stalled Saito long enough for Bevere to cast a Solitary Confinement followed by a Enduring Ideal to even the match at one game a piece.  In the decider, Bevere mulliganed to five,couldn't find a Leyline or a Crypt, Saito did the Dredge thing on Turn three to advance 2-1.

Wojciech Zuber ( Dredge ) vs. Matija Vlahovic ( Tron ).  Vlahovic was lucky enough to find his lone maindeck Tormod's Crypt in his opening hand, which prevented Zuber from going off on Turn three.  Upon completing the UrzaTron, Vlahovic had a Turn six Platinum Angel.  With no outs in his deck, Zuber conceded.  In Game two, Vlahovic had a Turn two Crypt to stop Zuber who had dumped all but one card in his hand on the previous turn.  Gifts Ungiven to UrzaTron to Platinum Angel ended the game.  Vlahovic advance 2-0. 

Nikolaus Eigner ( Dredge ) vs Horst Winkelmann ( Dredge ).  In this Dredge mirror, Winkelmann never sees a Dredge card in Game one.  And in Game two, Eigner had a Leyline of the Void to easily advance 2-0.

Mateusz Kopec ( Level Blue ) vs Andras Nagy ( Doran ).  Game one, Nagy got several beats in with a Treetop Village, equipped with a Umezawa's Jitte.  Kopec has a Tarmogoyf to block and then a Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce the Treetop once a Jitte counter got wasted before damage was stacked.  Eventually, Kopec trades his Goyf for the equipped Village, but is able to gain a significant amount of life by sacrficing the Goyf to a Miren, the Moaning Well.  Between Counterbalance and Counterspells, Kopec is able to keep all of Nagy's further threats off the table, and Nagy conceded Game one.  For Game two, the combination of Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top were just too much for Nagy to handle, and a single Tarmogoyf is enough for Kopec to advance 2-0.

Semifinals: Nikolaus Eigner vs Tomoharu Saitou. This match, if you can really call it a match, featured the Dredge mirror. In Game one, Saitou mulliganed to two. That’s right, TWO! Have you ever won a game you’ve mulliganed to two in? Yeah, me neither… Game two started with Saitou mulliganing to five (stupid, broken shuffler). Eigner kept his seven, and had a Turn zero Leyline of the Void. When Eigner got a Bridge from Below into the yard, followed by a second Leyline in play, Saitou conceded. Eigner advances 2-0.

Mateusz Kopec vs Matija Vlahovic.  Game one, Vlahovic completes the Tron and makes a Platinum Angel.  Kopec has a Vedalken Shacklesto steal the Angel.  Vlahovic casts a Mindslaver, but doesn't have the mana to activate it following a counter war.  On his next turn, Kopec casts Rude Awakening, then has a Spell Snare to counter Vlahovic's Moment's Peace, and takes Game one.  For Game two, Kopec was playing from behind for almost the entire game as Vlahovic was able to complete an early UrzaTron, cast several Gifts Ungiven to find multiple Mindslavers and set up the lock with Academy Ruins.  On to the decider, where Kopec gets out two Tarmogoyfs and throws them into the Red Zone.  With Vlahovic at four life, he uses a Moment's Peace to buy himself two turns, then casts a Sundering Titan.  He tries to cast a Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce a Goyf, but a Cryptic Command from Kopec counters that and taps the Titan to clear the way for the Goyfs.  Kopec advances 2-1.

Congratulations to Mateusz Kopec, 
GP Vienna 2008 Winner

Finals: Mateusz Kopec vs. Nikolaus Eigner.  Game one, Kopec was stuck on two lands for the entire game, and Eigner was able to repeatedly attack with a pair of Narcomoeba FTW.  After Game one was over, Kopec would have access to the Leyline of the Voids in his sideboard.  Kopec mulliganed to six, and was able to start Game two with a preemptive Leyline.  Eigner drew into a Chain of Vapor, which is really the only card the Dredge deck plays to deal with permanents, to bounce the Leyline.  Kopec cast a pair of Tarmogoyfs and had an Engineered Explosives set to zero to deal with any zombie tokens for the lone Bridge in the graveyard.  A Miren, the Moaning Well from Kopec effectively nuetralized Eigner's deck, and Goyf beats finished Game two. 

In the decider, Kopec mulliganed once to find himself a Leyline, which meant the early game consisted of Eigner going beatdown with the lowly Narcomoeba.  It looked like that Nacromoeba and a Stinkweed Imp might have been enough for Eigner, as Kopec had to sacrifice a Tarmogoyf to a Miren, the Moaning Well just to stay alive.  But a second Goyf and a Vedalken Shackles that let Kopec steal and then sac Eigner's creatures, tipped the scales in Kopec's favor.  Mateusz Kopec defeats Nikolaus Eigner 2-1 to win GP Vienna 2008.


Top 20 in the 2008 Player of the Year Standings 
Following GP Philly & GP Vienna

Ranking Player Points
1 Jon Finkel* 25
2 Mario Pascoli 20
3 Joel Calafell 17
4 Marcio Carvalho 16
4 Ming Xu 16
6 Shuuhei Nakamura* 15
6 Paul Cheon* 15
6 Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 15
9 Olivier Ruel 14
10 Yuuta Takahashi* 13
11 Mike Hron 12
11 Nicolai Herzog 12
13 Robert van Medevoort 11
14 Brandon Scheel 10
14 Steven Sadin 10
14 Tomoharu Saitou 10
17 Martin Juza 9
17 Shuu Komuro 9
17 Kazuya Mitamura 9
17 Raphael Levy 9

* 2008 Event Winner

Player of the Year Race

Joel Calafell had a 52nd place finish to break the three way tie for third, and Guillaume Wafo-Tapa earned himself two Pro Points to move into a tie for sixth.  The reigning Player of the Year, Tomoharu Saito, moved up into a tie for 14th on the back of his fourth place finish at GP Vienna.

So that concludes the Extended season for this year.  There won't be any big sanctioned events in April due to the paper release of Shadowmoor.  The next GP will be held the weekend of May 3 with a limited event in Brussels.  Then after that, it's on to Pro Tour Hollywood.






by elrogos at Sat, 03/29/2008 - 07:37
elrogos's picture

Wow, i've never seen an aggro loam deck built in such a casual way I mean, if that guy had 3 terravore, werebears, the right number of seismic assaults, dark confidants and enchantment removal as the best lists have, he should have topped 8!