Necrotrophic plant pathogens have received an increasing amount of attention over the past decade. Initially considered to invade their hosts in a rather unsophisticated manner, necrotrophs are now known to use subtle mechanisms to subdue host plants. The gray mould pathogen Botrytis cinerea is one of the most comprehensively studied necrotrophic fungal plant pathogens. The genome sequences of two strains have been determined. Targeted mutagenesis studies are unraveling the roles played in the infection process by a variety of B. cinerea genes that are required for penetration, host cell killing, plant tissue decomposition or signaling. Our increasing understanding of the tools used by a necrotrophic fungal pathogen to invade plants will be instrumental to designing rational strategies for disease control.