Life is a Marathon Not a Sprint (Card Decks Book 1)
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Grand Prix-Florence Day 2 Coverage
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Falsches Spiel: Roman (German Edition)
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Pascoli replayed his Glider and attacked. Pascoli attacked and attacked, and that was it. Lino Burgold probably can't wait for to end - the young German had a smashmouth and was crowned the Rookie of the Year following two Grand Prix Top8s, including a win at Grand Prix Hanover. His sophomore year on the Pro Tour had been less kind and Burgold had only accrued 10 Pro Points over the course of the season. The final Grand Prix was offering Burgold an opportunity to end on a high note, however, as he was still very much in contention for a Top8 berth here in Florence.
His opponent, the Spanish player Victor Rubio, was in no mood to offer his opponent an easy route though, curving out a Vector Asp and Plague Spitter , then adding a Painsmith to the battlefield and following it with a Corpse Cur Burgold summoned a Perilous Myr to his defense but again had to pass the turn without laying a third land. Rubio sent his forces into the red zone, and a Tel-Jilad Defiance kept his Plague Spitter alive in the face of Burgold's attempt to swat it with his dying Myr.
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That left Burgold in serious trouble - he now had nothing but two land in play, while Rubio had a Plague Spitter and Corpse Cur on board and followed up his attack with a second Plague Spitter! Burgold finally found his third land but it was all too late - Rubio flashed his opponent an Untamed Might to take the first game. Poison decks often thrive on making quick starts, so it seemed unlikely that Rubio was on a path to victory when he played four lands without casting a single spell.
Playing a Cystbearer and leaving two swamps untapped to threaten a Grasp of Darkness did enough for Rubio to persuade Burgold to step off the gas for a turn. From there the two players traded creatures and removal spells - Necropede and Twisted Image for a Cystbearer , Grasp of Darkness for the Berzerkers, and the board was clear. Rubio was the first to recover - his second wave began with a Corpse Cur that returned his Cystbearer to his hand, and then to play.
Burgold hit back with an Oxidda Scrambler - that destroyed the Corpse Cur but the German wasn't happy to see Rubio play a second Corpse Cur and the return the first from the graveyard immediately. Burgold found a Neurok Replica and Ichorclaw Myr to aid his defenses, and even managed to sneak a couple of attacks in. He had Rubio to 8 life while being on only 2 poison counter, but critically the German was down to 1 card in hand while the Corpse Cur s had traded well for Rubio and he had plenty of ammunition left with 5 cards in hand.
From that position the Spaniard could afford to play an attritional game - he bumped his creatures into Burgold's but in the same way that a Hydra's head is replaced by two, his Corpse Cur 's demise only announced the arrival of a Contagious Nim and Cystbearer! Burgold was working hard to fashion a defense from the few resources he had left, but the Flight Spellbomb he drew seemed unlikely to help much.
It meant he could block Rubio's Plague Stinger but what about the other three Infect creatures? Rubio attacked with his whole team and then threw down an Untamed Might that would deal lethal poison. Sure enough, the Spaniard handed his creature Protection From Artifacts to prevent it being returned to hand and completed his victory! Mirrodin is a world of artifice. Wherever you look you see intricate machinery, little cogwheels turning, moving in mysterious ways, cyborgs fighting at cross purposes and so on and on.
Obviously, on a plane like this there are more tricky combinations than usual. Knowing the ins and outs of your cards and the rules that govern their interaction is more difficult than ever and, likewise, more rewarding too. Yesterday, player A had Snapsail Glider , Rusted Relic , and two Spellbombs on the battlefield, with his opponent on 4, himself on 3.
He attacked with the flying Glider to put player B on 2, then passed the turn, threatening lethal damage on the next. With no other outs, he attacked. A blocked with the Rusted Relic , then proceeded to sacrifice his two Spellbombs. The Relic stopped being a creature, so it would neither kill the Lifestaff-equipped attacker nor receive lifelinked damage from it.
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Meanwhile, B wanted to use his Liquimetal Coating to turn the Relic back into a creature. Unfortunately, he couldn't actually respond to A sacrificing his Spellbombs. The sacrifice is part of the cost, not part of the ability. Responding to the ability doesn't change the fact that in between there was a point when A didn't control three artifacts.
What B would have needed to do instead was to use Liquimetal Coating before blockers. This way, A cast another artifact on his next turn and flew in for the win with Snapsail Glider. Another game came down to unusual use of Mimic Vat by player C. His Oxidda Scrapmelter and the opponent's Vulshok Replica traded in combat. Player C proceeded to put the Mimic Vat 's triggered abilities on the stack in such a way that he first imprinted Oxidda Scrapmelter. Then, with the other imprint ability still waiting to resolve, he used his Mimic Vat to make a copy of Oxidda Scrapmelter and destroyed the only troublesome artifact his opponent was left with.
Finally, the other trigger resolved and he imprinted Vulshok Replica which, with his opponent at 6 life, provided a much better route to victory than the Scrap melter. And more fun with Rusted Relic! He responded to Turn to Slag by sacrificing his Replica to return one Myr to his hand. Now, he was down to three artifacts.
The way Magic works, however, is that creatures with lethal damage are only put into graveyards after a spell's resolution, whereas the destruction of the equipment is carried out during the spell's resolution. The end result: Rusted Relic had five damage but was not a creature and consequently didn't die. While only the hardest of the hardcore players want to be in the building at midnight at the end of a day one that starts at 9am, the absence of a tenth round on day one certainly makes for drama down the stretch on day two.
With just two rounds to go, a veritable smorgasbord of talent could yet be sitting down for the top 8 draft.
Will any of the four feature matches in round fourteen cement a place, or will it go right to the wire? Click to find out. Rarely do we get a Grand Prix final round with so much left to play for.
All I cared about was setting goals and achieving them.
It's common to see the top tables take Intentional Draws to ensure their berths in the Top8 and leave just a couple of spots open for players to scrap for. At this point it seemed like the magic number to be guaranteed a place in the Top8 was qualification was going to be 38 points - so many players could make it to 37 points that it would be down to the lottery of tiebreaks for anybody daring to ID from 36 points.
The standings at the beginning of the round looked like this, but how would they change as the results came in? We expected this result, and the two players who could afford to ID do so - both advance to 38 points and should be guaranteed of a Top8 slot. A little more surprising. This is fine for Jorg Unfried, who moves up to 38 points but there's an element of risk for Victor Rubio - his 37 points only puts him into the tiebreaks mixup.
His tiebreaks were very good going into the round, however, so if any player on 37 points made it into the Top8 it was likely to be Rubio. This was the first result to come in from a live round, with Vistarini keeping his slim hopes of a Top8 berth alive with a quick win. The Italian made it up to 37 points, but shooting from 19th place he was still likely to miss out on tiebreaks. This was the second result to come in from a live round, with Malin taking less than half an hour to despatch the Slovakian, Pehjovsky.
With this result Malin leapfrogged the IDs to 39 points and first place, while Pehjovsky missed out on the Top8. The Pascoli train keeps on running in top gear, and the Italian pro locks up his Top8 slot with a victory over the Slovenian, Dolar. Pascoli moving to 39 points is good news for Rubio and Pehjovsky as well - the fewer players who win from 34 points will mean players already on 37 have to worry a little less about their tiebreaks. Lindgren joined Pascoli and Malin on 39 points while Giovanetti remained on 34 points.
This was another piece of good news for those on tiebreaks. The Rookie of the Year forced his way into the tiebreaks mix with a win over Reale. Reale had been out of Top8 contention but was still playing for position in the Grand Prix and had put up stiff opposition. Burgold's tiebreaks before the round had been good, and his win seemed like particularly bad news for Gabriele Vistarini.
There’s a reason for the saying that your career is a marathon, not a sprint.
This had been a tight matchup between two players on 36 points - the winner would take Top8, the loser would go home. Matches like this can really test players unused to the Feature Match splotlight, but Landoni had seemed unmoved and another Italian moved into the Top8 to join his countrymen Pascoli and Citino. That result had seismic implications for the Top8, and those players whose hopes were pinned on tiebreaks.
There were now seven players on 38 points or more, with two players on 36 points playing each other - Rivello and Aceto. If that match ended in a winner then the Top8 would be sealed up with a clean break at 38 points. Only if the Rivello-Aceto match ended in a draw could one of the players on 37 points scrape into the final Top8 berth. Dressed for businees, Pierluigi Aceto had a businesslike air around him as he disposed of his countryman and locked up the Top8 - both for himself and for everyone else on 38 points or more!
We have our Top8, and it's been produced by a clean break at 38 points. Despite their best efforts both Gabriele Vistarini and Lino Burgold fell short in their last gasp charge, but spare a thought for poor Victor Rubio. He had obviously felt secure when he accepted the ID with Jorg Unfried at the start of the round, but it turned out that he had IDed himself out of the Top8 entirely!
That has to be a bitterly cruel lesson to learn.