Worlds 2007: The Top 8 decided

After a Lorwyn draft and five rounds of Legacy play, this year’s Magic Worlds top 8 is set. Here’s the list (and what they’re running in the Sunday playoffs, which, as always, is Standard):

  • 1. Christoph Huber, Switzerland – B/G Rock
  • 2. Gabriel Nassif, France – Spinerock Storm
  • 3. Yoshitaka Nakano, Japan – B/G Elves Rock
  • 4. Katsuhiro Mori, Japan – B/G Elves Rock
  • 5. Uri Peleg, Israel – w/B/G Siege Rock
  • 6. Pat Chapin, USA – Spinerock Storm
  • 7. Roel van Heeswijk, Netherlands – B/G Rock
  • 8. Koutarou Ootsuka, Japan – U/B Mannequin

This does not bode well for Nassif’s and Chapin’s chances. Chapin said in an interview with Rich Hagon that their deck would be in trouble if there were more than a few Rock decks in the top eight, due to the persistent disruption and hard-to-deal-with midrange threats of Rock. Except for Ootsuka’s Mannequin deck, the top eight is Chapin, Nassif, and a bunch of Rock decks. Ouch.
This is Mori’s third consecutive appearance in the top eight at Worlds, which is pretty cool. Hopefully, he’ll remain unsuspended this year (and act rather less like Olivier Ruel, who seems to be perpetually on the edge of getting himself yanked again for some stupid reason).
This year also sees the first Israeli (Uri Peleg) in the top eight at worlds.
I’ll be rooting for (in order), Pat Chapin (USA!), Mori (repeat?), and Nakano (for coming the closest to maintaining a perfect score throughout).
Other notable finishers include Raphael Levy (15th), last year’s world champion Makihito Mihara (18th), Guillame Wafo-tapa (22nd), Luis Scott-Vargas (25th), and Hall of Fame inductee Zvi Mowshowitz (27th). With Zvi finishing at 27th and Amiel Tenenbaum coming in at 95th, Brian David-Marshall has won a bet with Pierre Canali over who would finish higher. Good job to Zvi, coming back to competitive play after some time away. Tomoharu Saitou’s 37th place finish was good enough to win him Player of the Year, so congrats to him as well.
You can see the final Swiss standings by clicking here. The player profiles are here, and the decklists going into the Sunday playoffs are here. Expect an even bigger run on Thoughtseize and Garruk for the next few months.
Tomorrow is the team day, with two-headed giant play all day. Then Sunday, at 9am PST, we’ll see the top eight set up for quarterfinals and go from there.

Worlds 2007, Day One – Infinite Delve

Day one of Worlds 2007 is done (well, probably it’s been done for a while now). Here are the top ten in the standings after five rounds of Standard and three of Lorwyn draft:

  • Yoshitaka Nakano (the only perfect score left)
  • Katsuhiro Mori (maybe he can repeat — it’d be a good way to kick off a new year of post-suspension play)
  • Cristoph Huber
  • Sam Stein (nice to see him doing well after getting such a poor quarterfinal matchup at Valencia)
  • Gabe Walls
  • Pat Chapin
  • Sebastian Thaler
  • Kazuya Mitamura
  • Panaiotis Zacharias
  • Armin Birner

Rounding out the day, here’s a cool play note from the day one coverage blog:
Finally Riccardo [Standard head judge Riccardo Tessitori] pointed out an interesting rules interaction he thought might benefit those reading from home. During one of the Standard rounds a player was facing a horde of Tarmogoyfs that he desperately wanted to reduce in size. Fortunately for him he had a Tombstalker in hand; the 5/5s delve cost reduction would definitely go a long way towards cutting the ‘Goyfs down to size by removing cards in his graveyard. The question he posed to the judges: was it possible to delve for more than the six generic mana in the Tombstalker’s casting cost? Judge Tessitori revealed a surprising answer: yes, you can remove more than six cards for the cost reduction. Of course you won’t actually be able to pay less than six generic mana or somehow generate mana by “going negative,” but in a pinch, staring down a horde of Tarmogoyfs, Tombstalker can go a long ways toward cutting the two-drops down to a manageable force for a dwindling life total.

Rounding out the first wave of Standard

The first five rounds of Standard are done at Worlds. You can see the round five standings by clicking here, and you can check out the undefeated decklists by clicking here. The “big news” deck of the event so far is a mono-red Dragonstorm/Swathe variant that uses Spinerock Knoll as a Storm enabler (consider — “Rift Bolt, Shock, Incinerate, play Hideaway card…Dragonstorm for 4”). Apparently, Gab Nassif and friends were selling the deck design off to other players (including Finkel and WPT player Dave Williams) for 10% of their eventual winnings. They did a Deck Tech segment for it:

Apparently, they saw someone playing this in a car qualifier tournament at GP Daytona and decided to go with it.
Notably, none of the storm players went undefeated. Here are the undefeated players after the Standard rounds, and their decks:

  • Jan Doise – U/B Mannequin
  • Simon Englund – R/u/g “Red Deck Wins” (splashing green for Tarmogoyf and blue for Psionic Blast)
  • Hong Fei Yung – U/G Faeries
  • Gerardo Godinez Estrada – R/G Snow Big Mana
  • Christoph Huber – B/G Rock
  • Chris Lachmann (PT San Diego winner) – R/G Snow Big Mana
  • Katsuhiro Mori (yes, 2005 World Champion and recently off his suspension) – B/G Elves Rock
  • Yoshitaka Nakano – B/G Elves Rock

  • Mikko Nurmi – R/G Big Mana
  • Sam Stein (PT Valencia quarterfinalist) – B/G Rock

There’s a lot of Snow on the board for the Americans, with many running the R/G Snow Big Mana deck. Paul Cheon is 4-1 with this deck, and Luis Scott-Vargas is 3-2 with it. Humorously, Billy Moreno, aware of this trend toward Snow, said he’s sideboarding two copies of Freyalise’s Radiance (go ahead, click the link) in his Dryad deck. Perhaps it’s not helping enough, as he’s 2-3 following Standard.
One interesting feature of this year’s Worlds is how prior winners are doing. Mori is 5-0 through the Standard, and last year’s winner, Makihito Mihara, came out 4-1 (and as Brian David-Marshall reminds us, Mihara’s median PT finish is top eight this year…).

Worlds 2007

The 2007 Magic world championship began last night with the opening ceremonies and the hall of fame induction. This year’s hall of fame is cool because it includes long-time Wizards employee (and CMU alum!) Randy Buehler, as well as possibly-the-best-player-ever Kai Budde.
I enjoy Worlds because it ends in Standard, and I like watching Standard games — especially since it’s always a fairly recent Standard, without a lot of work done to figure it out. This year, the individual event features sixteen rounds of play split across three days. The format is described here, and goes as follows:
Day 1: 5 rounds of Standard, 1 Lorywn draft (3 rounds)
Day 2: 1 Lorwyn draft (3 rounds), 5 rounds of Legacy
Followed by a Standard top eight. Last year, it was Extended instead of Legacy. I’d be happy with either, as both are interesting and a little foreign to me (although with PTQs for Hollywood coming up it might be more interesting to see how Lorwyn factors into Extended).
Day 3 is the team day, which this year is 2-headed-giant draft (thus the four-person teams instead of the three of prior years).
Day 4 has the Standard top eight I just mentioned.
If you’re curious, here’s the invite list for this year’s Worlds. Coverage will appear here, on the coverage page.
I may or may not watch the top eight live for this one — it’s kind of at a bad time (which is a funny thing to say, given what a terrible time PT Valencia’s top eight came in at). It’ll still be fun to watch after the fact, even if I don’t do the live thing this time around.
Fun note from the invite page — Luxembourg’s national champion? Yin Zhang.

Fear the little guys

The basic concept behind a “Zoo” deck is to run a bunch of efficient little creatures as well as burn or other enablers to clear a path for them. Classic Zoo differs from Red Deck Wins / Boros Deck Wins by dipping into three colors for efficient creatures and burn. In the last round of Standard, a Zoo deck would have Lightning Helix, Watchwolf, and all the nice Ravnica lands to support it.
These days, there’s some talk of a new take on Zoo that relies on the tribal “reveal” creatures like Goldmeadow Stalwart, Flamekin Bladewhirl, and Wren’s Run Vanquisher. This build stays in White-Red-Green, like classic Zoo. I have a take I’d like to try that eschews Green for Black, since Black has a key Changeling card to support the concept.
Decklist in the extended.

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Much quicker out of the starting gates

The December 2007 DCI Banned and Restricted List announcement is up. It’s mostly irrelevant to me, featuring a bunch of bannings in online formats (e.g. every transmute card is banned in Prismatic, where tutors are inherently overpowered). The interesting bit for Magic in general is the shift in when cards become legal for Constructed play. Previously, the policy was that sets became legal on the next 20th of the month (whenever that happened) following the release.
This year, that led to the super-quirk that Future Sight became Constructed legal on the second day of GP Strasbourg (which, of course, meant it wasn’t legal, since you don’t get to switch out decks if you make day two). This new policy doesn’t inherently reduce the chances of that happening again, but it does mean that there won’t be this annoying situation of knowing that the format is about to change, possibly dramatically, but having to go with the old one anyway.
That said, it’s going to lead to quite a few more disqualifications if any event comes right on the heels of a set release that rolls a block out of legality. This year’s Amateur National Championship came a week after Tenth Edition became Constructed legal (and thus a couple weeks after it was released!) and I still ended up game lossing my second round opponent because he had cards in his deck that rolled out when Ninth went away. The prospect of, say, a GP that starts on the Saturday following the introduction of a new block is pretty daunting, organizationally (although it would be great to see what people took into such a completely unknown environment — even GP Krakow benefited from the results from this years’ stock of States/Champs events).