Final Feature Match: Michel Grüner (Dragon Rulers) vs. Chris Bountaloudis (Spellbooks)

1142 Players heeded the call and showed up to turn this weekend’s tournament into the largest European Championship of all time!

We’ve seen Greek Duelists put up a strong showing before on an international stage and therefore, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that Chris Bountaloudis advanced with his very own take on the Spellbook Deck to the Finals. All that’s been past him will dwindle in comparison to what’s ahead of him: Europe’s most successful Duelist of all time, Michel Grüner!

A former National Champion, the first European YCS Winner, a Nintendo DS World Champion and the list goes on… he took a break from Dueling, but it certainly seems like he returned on the top of his game. He’s running the other Deck that made huge waves this weekend: The Dragon Rulers. They have already taken the Japanese World Championship Qualifier a few hours earlier, could they do the same in Europe?

In just a few minutes we’ll know; ladies and gentlemen, it’s TIME TO DUEL!
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Chris Bountaloudis represented Greece in the Finals of this year's European Championship!
Chris Bountaloudis represented Greece in the Finals of this year's European Championship!

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Bountaloudis won the die roll and Grüner immediately asked for [sb jud]. Bountaloudis didn’t disappoint; he followed it up with [upstart], [kycoo], he Set a Spell or Trap, activated [sb fate] to return the Set card to his hand, [sb eternity] was next and he then Set 2 back row cards again. He searched for [sb secrets], [sb fate] and [tgst] and added [jowgen] before ending his turn.
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A great opening for the Spellbooks!
A great opening for the Spellbooks!

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Grüner drew and Bountaloudis immediately activated another [sb jud]. [sarco] allowed the German to banish [redox] and he added another copy to his hand. He considered his follow-up play for a brief moment and decided on [tdrag], discarding it with a second copy. This allowed him to add [reactan] to his hand, which he [ns]ed, he entered the Battle Phase and attacked [jowgen] successfully, taking the Spellcaster down.
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Bountaloudis added an Effect Veiler from his Deck!
Bountaloudis added an Effect Veiler from his Deck!

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Bountaloudis searched his Deck for [sb power] and he added [veiler] to his side of the field. A third [sb jud] marked the start of his second turn. Bountaloudis asked “hand?” and Grüner replied “I got 2”, but the Greek Duelist wanted to know the number of cards. That was 3. [sb mag] came down, but [veiler] made sure Bountaloudis wouldn’t get to search. He had to try a little harder, but since he had [sb secrets], it didn’t make too much of a difference. [ssh], [sb master], copying [sb secrets]; the Spellbook Deck was starting to run wild.[br]
Bountaloudis added a second copy of [ssh] to his hand, he activated it, [sb power] followed, targeting [kycoo] and Bountaloudis also activated [tgst]. All of this was fine with Grüner.
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Kycoo was leading Bountaloudis' offensive efforts!
Kycoo was leading Bountaloudis' offensive efforts!

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Grüner dropped to 7400 Life Points when his [reactan] got destroyed in Battle. 6300 after the attack of [sb mag]. Bountaloudis advanced to the End Phase after Setting 2, searching his Deck for a brand new hand! He also added a second [kycoo] for good measure.
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The Spellbook Deck wouldn't run out of steam anytime soon!
The Spellbook Deck wouldn't run out of steam anytime soon!

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So far, the Spellbook Deck seemed far, far ahead in this match. Grüner discarded [blaster] and another Dragon to destroy the [ns]ed [kycoo]. [reborn] followed, trying to return [kycoo] to Grüner’s side of the field. This was fine with the Greek finalist. An attack on [sb mag] followed, destroying it in Battle and banishing [jowgen] from Bountaloudis’ Graveyard. [br]
Grüner then considered his follow-up, but he just announced: “Nah, it’s OK” and he went for his Side Deck.
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Chris Bountaloudis is only 1 win away from becoming your European Champion!

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Things went pretty much just as you usually expect in game 1; the Spellbooks had a great start and never lost control of the game. Even though Michel Grüner knows about most of the tricks of the Deck, he couldn’t find a way to stop Chris Bountaloudis Spellcasters from applying enough pressure to win the game in just a few turns.

Now it was time for some great tech from the player’s Side Decks to find its way into their Main Decks. We will expect to see an [eev] from Grüner while Bountaloudis will also have a few interesting tricks up his sleeve.
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Michel Grüner now had to master a big comeback!
Michel Grüner now had to master a big comeback!

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“Game 1 is always like this…”, Grüner admitted while shuffling his opponent’s Deck. “I know. Game 2 tends to be a lot harder for me”, Bountaloudis replied. It almost didn’t seem like he was overly confident that he could wrap things up in this game already.

Grüner kicked things off this time, using [lightning], discarding [tidal] to [ss] [tdrag]. [sarco] followed, banishing [blaster] to find [burner]. [burner] was then used to [ss] [blaster] to Grüner’s side of the field. Just as expected, he used both his Dragon Rulers to [xyz] [draco] to the field. He detached 1 material to add 2 Tokens before using the effects of [tdrag] and [tidal] to [ss] the latter and add [tdrag] to his hand. The Tokens left and [tdrag] hit the field.
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Grüner was sitting in the driver's seat this time!
Grüner was sitting in the driver's seat this time!

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So far, so good. “What can I do now?”, Grüner asked out loud. Bountaloudis ushered him to make a decision, waiting for another [draco]. Grüner followed suit; adding a second copy of the powerful Rank 7 Xyz Monster and he also added 2 fresh Tokens to his side of the field. That finally concluded the turn.

Bountaloudis had [upstart], but his facial expression gave away that he didn’t draw into what he needed. Grüner, a veteran of the game who knows how to watch for these signals, certainly took notice. “You are leading 1 – 0, so you can relax…”, Grüner told his opponent, trying to put him in a very dangerous “comfort zone”. When Bountaloudis thought for a longer time what to do, Grüner asked whether he wanted to advance to game 3.[br]
[jowgen] hit the field. Bountaloudis Set 3 and he activated the effect of [jowgen]!
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Jowgen performed a gigantic dream crush!
Jowgen performed a gigantic dream crush!

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Grüner lost his field and suddenly, the momentum shifted dramatically. [jowgen] attacked directly and Bountaloudis passed play.
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Heavy Storm caused a great shift of momentum!
Heavy Storm caused a great shift of momentum!

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Grüner activated [storm] and Bountaloudis lost his entire back row! [tsuku] got [ns]ed and Bountaloudis shuffled up. Wow!
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Michel Grüner ties the score!

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The crowd went wild when Grüner activated [storm] and they didn’t even realize Bountaloudis was perfectly ready to shuffle up when [tsuku] hit the field. Once they did, they went into a wild rage, happy to see another game between these elite Duelists!

Bountaloudis [ns]ed [kycoo] and he Set 4. [mind drain] got activated in Grüner’s Draw Phase. “Storm, Storm, Storm!”, the German members among the bystanders were shouting. Grüner had to disappoint them or he played a very interesting mind game, not performing an action for a minute and considering his options.
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Mirror Force caused the Greek bystanders to go wild!
Mirror Force caused the Greek bystanders to go wild!

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He [ns]ed [reactan] and declared an attack. [mf] destroyed it.

Bountaloudis found [upstart], but still no Spellbook. He attacked with [kycoo], banishing [reactan] and he then found [sb jud]. He followed it up with [tgst], he added [sb secrets] during the End Phase and that was it already.

“Storm, Storm, Storm!”, the crowd was cheering for the second time. “Where is my [storm]?”, Grüner asked out loud. He passed without performing any actions.

Bountaloudis used [tgst] and he had another [sb jud]. He then activated [sb secrets], finding [sb mag], he followed with [sb master], flashing [sb power] and he searched for yet another Spellbook. Attacks followed, leaving Grüner with 3900 Life Points. Bountaloudis added 2 more back row cards and he added [sb secrets], [sb power], [sb eternity] and [jowgen].
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Déjà vu, much?!
Déjà vu, much?!

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Suddenly, things looked a lot more grim für Grüner. [hole] wiped the field, giving him some more hope. “Storm, Storm, Storm!” could be heard again. Gründer [ns]ed [burner] and he attacked with it. He Set a Spell or Trap and passed play and a somewhat shaky Bountaloudis used [pwwb] to return the face-down Spell or Trap to Grüner’s Deck.

The Greek Duelist then drew, he used [tgst], [sb secrets] was next and this got him [sb mag]. He [ns]ed it, added [sb power] to his hand and he then activated [sb master] to also add [sb jud].
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Spellbook of Power provided a welcome source of energy for Spellbook Magician of Prophecy!
Spellbook of Power provided a welcome source of energy for Spellbook Magician of Prophecy!

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[sb jud] got activated, [sb power] followed, the [sb mag] then took down Grüner’s lonely monster and this allowed Bountaloudis to search his Deck for [ssh]. He activated it, [sb fate] followed suit, banishing [sb jud] and [sb secrets] and a chained [bom] on [sb mag] flip-flopped the Spellcaster. Bountaloudis added 2 back row cards and he went on and searched 4 Spell Cards, [ss]ing [kycoo].

Grüner Set 2 Spells or Traps and Bountaloudis used [sb fate] to banish [bom].
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THIS DUEL WAS OVER!!!
THIS DUEL WAS OVER!!!

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In his following turn, he used [tgst], he then returned [sb jud] to his hand with [sb ete] and when he started to activate his Spell Cards, Grüner simply asked: “Do you have game?”[br]
Bountaloudis [ns]ed [kycoo] to answer the question.
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Chris Bountaloudis is your European Champion 2013!

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[mind drain] proved to be a game-deciding card in the last match of the day. Michel Grüner had no out to fight back when Bountaloudis flipped the Trap and he checked quickly when he would have drawn into one of his 2 [mst][s], [storm] or [card destruction]. They were in the other half of his Deck, but that didn’t bring him down. He was happy he made it this far again.

But let’s not forget our new champion. Congratulations to Chris Bountaloudis, the winner of the largest European Championship of all time!

Join us again for the award ceremony that will be underway shortly and be sure to take a look at our Coverage Overview to make sure you didn’t miss one of the many articles we published over the course of this marathon-like weekend!
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