gpcal13

Hayne Reigns Supreme in Calgary

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The letter T!omorrow might be Alexander Hayne's birthday, but today he's going to celebrate his first Grand Prix victory.

With a Pro Tour victory already under his belt and a runner up finish at Grand Prix Montreal in 2011, Hayne has piled up an impressive resume just short of his nearly-here 25th birthday. Hayne may not be representing Team Canada at this year's World Magic Cup, but he's quickly becoming Canada's great Stetson-wearing hope.

Surrounded by a field of Jund Midrange, Gruul Aggro, and Bant Hexproof, Hayne and and his UWR Flash deck—not to mention that Calgary-approved hat—proved to be more than up to the challenge of countering his way through the largely Canadian field. After narrowly dispatching Jacob Wilson—who has three Grand Prix Top 8s himself—in the quarterfinals, Hayne soundly defeated two Jund deck on his way to the trophy. After splitting the first two games, Hayne managed to silence Stephane Gerard with a complete victory punctuated by Thundermaw Hellkite and a bevy of Sphinx's Revelations.

And while Jund paced the field, the Top 8 showed us just how many things were possible. Gerard rode Lifebane Zombie all the way to the finals—in his first Grand Prix no less—while Adam Lafrost (Mono Red Burning Earth) and Trent Douglas (Nearly Mono Black Control) put entirely new archetypes on the map.

But the trophy, the white hat, and Canada's love belong to Alexander Hayne, Champion of Grand Prix Calgary and newly-minted 25-year-old. A very Happy Birthday, Alex!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Brady Boychuk   Brady Boychuk, 2-1        
8 Trent Douglas   Stephane Gerard, 2-0
       
4 Adam Laforest   Stephane Gerard, 2-1   Alexander Hayne, 2-1
5 Stephane Gerard    
       
2 Ryan Zawalsky   Ryan Zawalsky, 2-0
7 Gavin Bennett   Alexander Hayne, 2-0
       
3 Jacob Wilson   Alexander Hayne, 2-1
6 Alexander Hayne    










EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Top 5 Cards
    The Top 5 Cards of GP Calgary 2013

  • by Josh Bennett
    Finals
    Alexander Hayne vs. Stephane Gerard

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Semifinals
    Alexander Hayne vs. Ryan Zawalsky

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Semifinals
    Brady Boychuk vs. Stephane Gerard

  • by Josh Bennett
    Quarterfinal Roundup
    Overview of Quarterfinals

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Quarterfinals
    Adam Laforest vs. Stephane Gerard

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Top 8 Profiles

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Top 8
    Top 8 Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet
 1.  Alexander Hayne $3,500
 2.  Stephane Gerard $2,300
 3.  Brady Boychuk $1,500
 4.  Ryan Zawalsky $1,500
 5.  Adam Laforest $1,000
 6.  Jacob Wilson $1,000
 7.  Gavin Bennett $1,000
 8.  Trent Douglas $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Brady Boychuk
    GP Calgary 2013 - Top 8 Decklist







    Jacob Wilson
    GP Calgary 2013 - Top 8 Decklist


    Adam Laforest
    GP Calgary 2013 - Top 8 Decklist





     

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Blake Rasmussen


  • Brady Eric Boychuk

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Red Deer, AB
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:
    FNM

    GPs:
    2-2 Drop

    PTs:
    Missed Day 2 at Paris

    What deck did you play?
    R/G Midrange

    Day 1 record:
    7-1

    Day 2 record:
    5-0-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Scavenging Ooze

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?
    Best – UWR, Jund, EsperWorst – Bant Hexproof

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    Barter in Blood out of Jund
    Trent's (almost) MBC




    Jacob Wilson

    Age: 18
    Hometown: San Francisco
    Occupation: Student

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    3 (Chicago, Strasbourg, here)

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?
    UW Control, built with help by Matt Nass (9th)

    Day 1 record:
    7-1

    Day 2 record:
    5-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Celestial Flare

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?
    Best – Aggro, JundWorst – Cavern of Souls and Fatties

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    Nothing, predicted the metagame fortunately




    Adam Laforest

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Calgary, AB
    Occupation: Reinforceing Ironworker

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:

    PTs:

    What deck did you play?
    Mono Red Control

    Day 1 record:
    6-2

    Day 2 record:
    6-0

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    BURNING EARTH MAIN

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?

    Best:
    Any three color deck

    Worst:
    Bant Hexproof, R/G

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    BURNING EARTH




    Alexander Hayne

    Age: 24, 25 tomorrow
    Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Occupation: Pro Magic Player

    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    1st at PT Barcelona, 2nd GP Montreal, 3rd GP Strasbourg, Rookie of the Year 2011-12

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    3

    PTs:
    1

    What deck did you play?
    UWR Flash

    Day 1 record:
    7-1

    Day 2 record:
    4-1-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Mutavault, Ratchet Bomb. Both were awesome.

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?
    I like all my matchups, except fast decks with Burning Earth

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    Tyler Blum playing Demonic Rising dot deck. I raced Bant Hexproof by giving my team lifelink with Azorius Charms 3 times in a row.




    Trent Douglas

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Grande Prairie
    Occupation: Grocery Clerk

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:
    0

    GPs:
    0

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?
    MBC – Mostly Black Control

    Day 1 record:
    7-1

    Day 2 record:
    4-1-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Primeval Bounty, Lifebane Zombie

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?
    Worst is Sphinx's Revelation.deck. Everything else seems to be decent (Bant Hexproof is best)

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    Rogues Passage with a 6/6 beast made with BountyAbrupt Decay my Liliana to make it 9/9 and lethal versus UW. Primeval Bounty I think surprised a lot of people.




    Gavin Bennett

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
    Occupation: Swamp King


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Carhaus Games Player of the Year

    Top 8s:
    Won a PTQ for Dragon's Maze

    GPs:
    10-5 at GP Vancouver

    PTs:

    What deck did you play?
    Bant Hexproof

    Day 1 record:
    7-1

    Day 2 record:
    4-1-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Fiendslayer Paladin, Gladecover Scout

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?

    Best:
    Red Green Aggro, White Aggro decks, RWU ControlWorst Matchup - Jund

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    I only got my enchantments Ray of Revelationed Once all day.




    Ryan Zawalsky

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Langley, BC
    Occupation: Costco Morning Merch

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:
    Regionals BC

    GPs:

    PTs:

    What deck did you play?
    Jund Midrange

    Day 1 record:
    8-0

    Day 2 record:
    4-1-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Scavenging Ooze

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?
    Best – American FlashWorst - Gruul

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    Demonic Risings
    BONFIRE!!!! Yeaaaaaaaahhhhhh




    Stephane Gerard

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Saskatoon, Saskatchowan
    Occupation: Level 37 archmage


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Winner
    Saskatchewan Provincial Championship, PTQ Theros

    Top 8s:
    0

    GPs:
    0

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?
    Legend-killer Jund

    Day 1 record:
    8-0

    Day 2 record:
    3-2-1

    What M14 cards did you play this weekend?
    Doom Blade, Lifebane Zombie, Ratchet Bomb, Scavenging Ooze

    What are your best matchups?
    Worst?

    Best:
    Jund Mirror (4-1 on the weekend)

    Worst:
    Mono-Red Burning Earth

    What cards/decks/plays surprised you this weekend?
    -Quicken/Burn at the Stake-UG Biomancer
    -Bonfire my scalp for three after attacking with Thragtusk to leave a blocker for a 7/7.




     

  • Quarterfinals - Adam Laforest vs. Stephane Gerard

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • When filling out his Top 8 questionnaire, Stephane Gerard wrote that his worst matchup was Mono Red Burning Earth. Cue the matchup against the one deck in the tournament with 4 maindeck Burning Earth.

    But there's a reason we play the games.

    Gerard lost the game where Burning Earth showed up on time, but took the match when it mattered most, taking down Adam Laforest's Mono Red Burning Earth deck.

    Helped by a bit of mana trouble from Laforest and a constant narration from Gerard himself, the Saskatchewan native talked his way to the semifinals.

    His play may have had something to do with it as well.


    Stephane Gerard

    The first game was all about Burning Earth. Laforest had it in his opener, flashing it on turn three to Gerard's Lifebane Zombie (which did actually nab Boros Reckoner). Chandra's Phoenix and Mutavault put on enough pressure to keep Gerard under the gun the whole game.

    Still Gerard nearly raced with Lifebane Zombie and a Thragtusk, as Laforest chose to throw a Pillar of Flames at Gerard rather than the Lifebane Zombie. That left Laforest needing to actually topdeck two points of burn to win.

    He drew Hellrider.

    That and Chandra's Phoenix were enough to get the final four points in.

    All told, Burning Earth did 13 damage that game.

    The second game was all about Golgari Charm, but not the way you think.

    Burning Earth didn't make an appearance in Game 2, instead, Golgari Charm kept two wolves and a Ravager of the Fells from dying to a Miracled Bonfire of the Damned. The resulting attack was enough to put Laforest too far under the gun to come back. Even a Blasphemous Act that cleared the board wasn't enough to keep him alive.


    Adam Laforest

    Laforest made an interesting sequence of plays that might have doomed him, however, as he neglected to cast either Boros Reckoner or Thundermaw Hellkite into an open board with no real instant speed plays in order to, theoretically, set up Blasphemous Act. But the move ended up backfiring when he ended the game with those same Hellkites still sitting uselessly in his hand. He did cast one, but Gerard had a healthy life total and an Olivia Voldaren, giving the boisterous Gerard a chance to have a little fun to end the game.

    "You're at 4 and you're tapped out? I am going to attack you with your Thundermaw Hellkite."

    In between games Gerard talked to himself about whether to bring in certain cards...even right to Laforest. It was hard to tell if he was playing games or just being friendly. Laforest couldn't tell, but Gerard was telling the truth about all of his sideboard moves.

    "I left Rakdos's Return in on the play, but I took them out on the draw. Seems right," Gerard offered in between narrating the procedures of cutting, shuffling and presenting.

    The third game, after two incredibly compelling games, was a bit anticlimactic. Laforest kept a strong hand with a few three-drops and didn't find his third land till much too late, even as Gerard mused about what Laforest could possibly have.

    In the end, what he didn't have was land, and Gerard was onto the semifinals.

    "I just survived a harrowing quarterfinals," Gerard. "I hope I've done everyone a favor by knocking out the Mono Red Burning Earth deck."




     

  • Quarterfinal Roundup

    by Josh Bennett

  • It was a flurry of action to kick off the quarterfinals.

    While the other matches were still shuffling up, Trent Douglas (playing Black-Green) and Brady Boychuk (Gruul Aggro) were getting down to business, despite both mulliganing to six. On the play, Douglas played Domri Rade on turn three, but got no creature frmo his activation. Douglas had the Abrupt Decay to get rid of the Planeswalker, then untapped and played Lifebane Zombie. Boychuk turned over a hand of lands, Domri Rade, and Hellrider. Again he tried Domri Rade but still couldn't score a creature. Douglas got mean with Desecration Demon, and it was looking dire for Boychuk.

    Across from them, Alexander Hayne (playing Blue-White-Red Control) and Jacob Wilson (straight Blue-White Control) were in a revenge match from the Top 8 of Grand Prix Strassbourg. They had moved smoothly into the midgame, both resolving draw spells and playing out their lands.

    Gavin Bennett (playing Bant Hexproof, or "Bantalones" if you can stomach puns) did not celebrate Ryan Zawalsky (Jund) going down to six cards, and a good thing too. He'd have looked foolish when Zawalsky rolled of turn one Arbor Elf, turn two Farseek, turn three Garruk, Primal Hunter. Worse, Bennett had failed to draw any enchantments, so his anemic beaters couldn't get through the beast token. Zawalsky all but put it away with a follow-up Thragtusk and draw five off Garruk. It was over shortly thereafter, Douglas/Boychuk, with the big Demon ending things in a hurry.


    Gavin Bennett

    Zawalsky 1 - Bennett 0

    Douglas 1 - Boychuk 0

    Hayne/Wilson: No score, but a knife-edge of tension.

    Boychuk's started the second game with a late turn-three Strangleroot Geist. Douglas had the turn-three Lifebane Zombie, but again he missed, seeing two Domri Rade, a Hellrider and a Thundermaw Hellkite. Boychuk was free to play Domri, fight the zombie with his Strangleroot Geist and hit for three. Douglas drew but found no fourth land. He had to settle for Liliana of the Veil, forcing Boychuk to sacrifice his Geist. Boychuk dropped Hellrider, pinging Liliana to send her packing and hitting for three. Douglas was in a pinch.


    Trent Douglas

    Meanwhile it was Bennett's turn to go down to six cards, but his deck refused to make them good. Just a single land and nothign to do with it. He kept and hoped for good things. They did not come right away. Zawalsky's draw was a little slow, however, so he managed to find a pair of lands eventually and get out Invisible Stalker and then Geist of Saint Traft. Then he watched in disgust as Zawalsky miracled Bonfire of the Damned. That about did it.

    Ryan Zawalsky defeats Gavin Bennett 2-0


    Ryan Zawalsky

    Douglas's deck refused to cooperate, leaving him stalled on three lands, and forcing a game three.

    Douglas 1 - Boychuk 1

    Hayne/Wilson: Still no score, but now Hayne has managed to keep an Angel on the board and is attacking! For damage!

    Apparently Douglas's deck was so despondent that it gave up entirely. For game three it only gave him a pair of lands, and Boychuk's beaters gave it no time to change its mind.


    Brady Boychuk

    Brady Boychuk defeats Trent Douglas 2-1

    And somehow, Hayne managed to hold on to his board advantage, slowly wearing Wilson down to take the first game.

    Hayne 1 - Wilson 0

    Now all eyes were or Hayne vs Wilson. They jockeyed with Think Twice and Augur of Bolas in the early turns, but Hayne was unable to stop a turn-four Jace, Architect of Thought, who grew to five loyalty. Hayne played a mainphase Restoration Angel, flickering his Augur for a Think Twice, but Wilson had Supreme Verdict to reset the board. Jace went up to six.


    Alexander Hayne

    Hayne played another mainphase Angel. Wilson upped Jace to seven and passed. Hayne tried to hit Jace for two with his Angel, but Wilson's Azorius Charm sent it packing. Hayne played Think Twice and replayed his Angel. Wilson played an anemic Sphinx's Revelation for one, but the reason was soon clear: He was spending his next turn on Ætherling with mana open, one of the matchup's trumps. Jace went up to 8 loyalty. Hayne knocked him down to six, played land and passed.

    The position was simply too strong for Wilson. Hayne made a game of it with a Thundermaw Hellkite, trying to race and letting Jace run free, but it just wasn't happening. Augur of Bolas got Dispel for Wilson and Hayne was down to seven. On Wilson's next attack, Hayne went for Turn on Ætherling. That drew Dispel. Hayne tried Snapcaster Mage with four mana open. Syncopate for three meant he couldn't make much use of it, and Wilson took the game.

    Hayne 1 - Wilson 1

    Hayne thought briefly before keeping his opening hand. The problem was that it was all comes-into-play tapped lands with no way to turn them on. Wilson got ahead early with an Augur of Bolas for Think Twice. He plinked away while they both played lands. At the end of Hayne's fifth turn Wilson played Restoration Angel, and it was allowed. His flickered Augur served up an Azorius Charm, but the Angel fell to Hayne's Warleader's Helix.

    Wilson took the opportunity to play his Jace, Memory Adept and upped it to five loyalty. Hayne played Thundermaw Hellkite and hit it for four. He had no sixth land. Wilson played Supreme Verdict to keep Jace around with two loyalty and passed. Hayne finished it off on his turn with Burn, then played Think Twice and a sixth land. They each spent a turn playing out lands.


    Jacob Wilson

    Wilson flashed back his Think Twice at the end of Hayne's turn, then cycled Azorius Charm, leaving him with just two mana open. Hayne responded by tapping six for Sphinx's Revelation for three, one mana open to protect against Syncopate. It was a bold move that left Wilson with a window to try a Revelation of his own (ideal for Hayne, who held Dispel) or worse, Ætherling. Luckily for Hayne, Wilson ahd neither.

    From there, the game was a real grind. Wilson played a Cavern of Souls on Angel, and forced Hayne to answer a series of uncounterable Restoration Angels. Both players spent their resources, until it came down to the one decisive turn. Both players had a ton of lands in play, and Hayne went for and end of turn Sphinx's Revelation for six, leaving six mana open. Wilson responded with one of his own, also for six. Hayne Counterfluxed it. Wilson tried to Dispel Hayne's Revelation, but Hayne had a second Counterflux. From there, his full grip versus Wilson's one card made victory academic.

    Alexander Hayne defeats Jacob Wilson 2-1




     

  • Semifinals - Brady Boychuk vs. Stephane Gerard

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • To watch Stephane Gerard play Magic is to hear Stephane Gerard narrate Magic.

    And now Gerard has talked and played himself into the finals of Grand Prix Calgary.

    Facing down Brady Boychuk's ultra-aggressive Gruul deck, Gerard certainly had his work cut out for him, but a tricky series of plays and a bout of the mulligans were enough to push him past another deck bent on attacking his life total.

    Gerard has no problem talking relevant strategy before a match, even as Boychuk stoically lets him do so, even announcing his intention to stay, well, happy.

    "I will endeavor to stay jocular, because I enjoy Magic and having fun."


    Stephane Gerard

    The first game was a back and forth affair, punctuated by Gerard's narration every stop of the way, starting with mulligans.

    "Five lands, Huntmaster, Vraska. That hand's so good I'm going to take a mulligan," Gerard offered. Boychuk nodded.

    When the game got underway, Boychuk's blazing fast Gruul deck got off to an uncharacteristically slow start, with no play until a third turn Domri Rade.

    By that time, a Scavenging Ooze and a Lifebane Zombie—nabbing an Arbor Elf—threated to take down Domri without much of a fight, until a Flinthoof Board literally fought the Scavenging Ooze.

    All the while, Gerard was happy to talk out loud at every juncture, including revealing when he drew Bonfire of the Damned but refused to cast it.

    During all of the talking, Boychuk was throwing haymakers left and right, Hellriders, Thundermaw Hellkite, and even an overloaded Mizzium Mortars.


    Brady Boychuk

    But a series of trades and a non-miracle Bonfire of the Damned let Gerard get back into the game while Boychuk drew blanks. Eventually, Gerard drew a Thragtusk to put him out of danger and, the very next turn, take the first game.

    The second game was a comparative letdown, one even Gerard couldn't find any joy in. Boychuk mulled to a weak five-card hand and saw his first several plays hit with removal. With no way to get any pressure, he easily succumbed to the two Thragtusks who quickly tracked down Boychuk's life total.

    After the match, Gerard—who was already qualified for Pro Tour Theros by winning a PTQ—thanked his opponent for the games, as he did after every match.

    "Thank you for the games and congratulations on your performance this weekend," Gerard said.

    One more match and he'd have no one left to thank but himself.




     

  • Semifinals - Alexander Hayne vs. Ryan Zawalsky

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Alexander Hayne might not be representing the Canadian National Team at the World Magic Cup this year, but he certainly is writing a script for himself as the king of Calgary.

    Donning a white Stetson hat all weekend, Hayne's 2-0 win over Ryan Zawalsky's Jund list put him one step closer to another crown and another Canadian Grand Prix finals berth.

    Hayne, the 2011-12 Rookie of the Year who took second at Grand Prix Montreal in 2011, has deftly piloted his UWR Flash deck all weekend, carving through the field like a knife through warm maple syrup.


    Alexander Hayne

    Ok, so there aren't many Canadian things that lend themselves to carving analogies, but you get the idea. Just pretend I said something clever about Tim Horton's, and let's move on.

    Things didn't look good for Hayne in the first game (one point for the near rhyme), and he very well could have found himself in an early hold.

    Zawalksy was way, way ahead in the first game before Hayne turned things around. The Jund player curved Arbor Elf into Scavenging Ooze into Huntmaster of the Fells, all on the play. Hayne, meanwhile, looked a little meek trying to sit behind an Augur of Bolas.

    But after his blistering start, Zawalsky was sitting on air, and his creatures were, after all, just creatures.

    Enter Supreme Verdict.


    After that course reversal, Hayne was firmly in control the rest of the way. More Augurs, a series of Restoration Angels, and Sphinx's Revelation gave Hayne enough counterspells to keep Zawalsky off the few relevant spells he did draw. Eventually, Hayne ended the game with a flurry of burn.

    Long story short, Hayne had perfect control over the board.

    In the second, he simply rand Zawalsky over.

    Zawalsky's start was slower, but more robust. Scavenging Ooze gave way to Olivia Voldaren, a card that isn't typically very scary in the early turns for UWR Flash. But, at the very least, it was an attacker that could pressure Hayne's life total.

    Hayne made an interesting play early in the second game. Facing both Olivia and Scavenging Ooze, he elected to attack with Augur of Bolas. With both Restoration Angel and Azorius Charm in hand, it was a free attack to try and bait an Olivia block. Zawalsky didn't take the bait, but in the end it wouldn't matter.


    Ryan Zawalsky

    After that sequence, Hayne got aggressive with Thundermaw Hellkite, crashing in as Zawalsky was constrained on mana and lacking removal.

    Underworld Connections started drawing cards for Zawalsky, but not, it would seem, lands. Instead he settled for casting Farseek and, despite his earlier advantages, was falling incrementally behind Hayne's suddenly robust board presence.

    But he could still block with Olivia Voldaren and, given enough time, could even take the match over if the legendary vampire lived.

    Hayne, so methodical in the first game, had no intention of giving him that time.

    A second Thundermaw Hellkite turned the heat up to 11 (well, 10) and dropped Zawasky all the way to 3 life. Even the Thragtusk that came next wasn't enough to keep Zawalsky alive.

    The win guaranteed Hayne at least his second Grand Prix finals berth and, if things went his way, his first Grand Prix win.

    "I already have the small trophy," Hayne said. "Now I want the big one."




     

  • Finals - Alexander Hayne vs. Stephane Gerard

    by Josh Bennett

  • Before the match began, the two contenders studied each others' decklists. As I sat down Stephane Gerard answered a question from Alexander Hayne.

    "It's true, I have sacrificed a bit in this matchup in order to have such a good matchup against Jund. Oh, a mutavault! How has that been for you?"

    Hayne smiled. "It's been great. It's won me some games. It often trades for a spell, which is great."


    Alexander Hayne

    Then they talked briefly about Gerard's choosing to play fewer than the maximum Farseeks, and Hayne confirmed that Gerard would be on the play. He tried to tempted him to choose to draw.

    "That could be another Bonfire!"

    "I don't think Bonfire's that good. Do you? You do! You and your silence!"

    "I will say it's my least favourite miracle." This drew laughs from the crowd."

    Gerard's excitement at being in the finals was palpable. He spoke at length and with great animation. Hayne seemed like a mime by comparison.

    Gerard played out two lands, and watched as Hayne played Augur of Bolas into Warleader's Helix. Gerard took two to play Lifebane Zombie, but was dismayed at a lack of Restoration Angel in Hayne's hand.

    "No value for me."

    Hayne showed two land, Counterflux, Sphinx's Revelation, Snapcaster Mage, Augur of Bolas, Warleader's Helix. He untapped and swung in with his Augur.

    "Offer the trade?" he said with a smile.

    "See... your trade is QUITE tempting, but I think I will take one."


    Stephane Gerard

    Hayne played a third land and passed. Gerard hit back for three and played another Lifebane Zombie, drawing out the Counterflux. He noted that he had no fourth land, and passed the turn back to Hayne. Hayne played an untapped Steam Vents, falling to fifteen, then went back up to nineteen with the Helix on the zombie. Still no land for Gerard, and he spent Dreadbore on the Augur of Bolas. Hayne played his fifth land and passed.

    Finally, Gerard found a fourth land and tried Huntmaster of the Fells. He called for Snapcaster Mage on Counterflux, and Hayne was happy to oblige. He untapped, played Clifftop Retreat, and passed back. Gerard mused with theatrical flair.

    "Sphinx's Revelation for three is a possibility..."

    "You're so good at reading my plays!"

    "I AM pretty awesome."

    Gerard tried Thragtusk and Hayne let it happen, only to play the predicted Revelation for three. Then Hayne untapped, Augured up a Think Twice, then tapped out to play Turn & Burn on the Thragtusk. Gerard played his sixth land and murmurred, considering his plays.

    "I could... no, no. I like THIS a lot."

    He nodded as he announced Huntmaster of the Fells, adding its wolf token to the board. Hayne was quick to dispatch it with Pillar of Flame. He swung with both his creatures. Gerard traded off his wolf token and took one, happily pointing out that he was back to his starting life total. Hayne passed it back. Gerard went for Vraska the Unseen and was allowed. He ticked her up to six loyalty. Hayne played a Sphinx's Revelation for four. He untapped and drew but had to discard Think Twice as he had failed to draw a land.

    Gerard put Vraska to seven loyalty and tried Huntmaster of the Fells. Hayne played Rewind, then yet another Sphinx's Revelation, this time for five. Now he had lands, and spent Pillar of Flame and Burn knocking Vraska down a few pegs, then passed and discarded yet another Think Twice. He was fully stocked now. Olivia Voldaren from Gerarde met a Snapcastered Rewind, which led to Warleader's Helix to finish off Vraska.

    "And I have you at... thirty-three?"

    Hayne hit Gerard down to eleven and played another Augur of Bolas, this time getting Counterflux.

    "This augurs poorly for me," said Gerard, and somewhere LSV smiled.

    It wasn't long before Hayne's small army backed by a grip of counterspells had taken the first game.

    Hayne 1 - Gerard 0

    Gerard began to shuffle his cards. "As I was saying, in our first discussion..."

    Hayne slumped forward on the table

    , "Oh god, not this again." The crowd seemed to agree.

    Gerard kept his monologue going throughout sideboarding and shuffling. At one point he asked, seemingly out of the blue "What is your favourite song?"

    Hayne didn't miss a beat. "How about The Sound of Silence?"

    Gerard was first on the board with Lifebane Zombie, revealing a hand of four land, Turn & Burn, Warleader's Helix and Counterflux for Hayne. The Zombie fell to Burn immediately. Hayne played a tapped land and passed.

    Gerard went for Huntmaster of the Fells. Hayne was happy to stop it with Counterflux. Another land and pass from Hayne. Gerard's second Lifebane Zombie was allowed, and saw that Hayne had drawn Syncopate. Gerard took two for an untapped Overgrown Tomb and played Scavenging Ooze. Hayne Helixed it away before untapping. Another land and pass. Gerard hit for three with his zombie and tried a Rakdos's Return for three, naturally Syncopated.

    After Hayne played his Moorland Haunt and passed, it looked like Gerard might have a window to resolve something saucy. He chose Liliana of the Veil, and seemed shocked that Hayne hadn't drawn an answer. He forced discards, pitching Dreadbore while Hayne gave up Steam Vents. Hayne passed another blank turn, and things began to look dire. Gerard forced more discards, his Lifebane Zombie for Hayne's Clifftop Retreat, then played Scavenging Ooze, starting to clear out Hayne's graveyard. All the while, his Zombie hitting for three.

    Still nothing for Hayne, and now the writing was on the wall. He stuck it out to the bitter end, through a too-late Thundermaw Hellkite as Gerard trampled over for the win with Kessig Wolf Run.

    Hayne 1 - Gerard 1

    The deciding game started slow. Four lands and no play on either side of the board. Despite this, Gerard entertained the crowd with a seemingly endless monologue, delivered in his best thespian voice. Hayne broke first with an end-of-turn Think Twice. He untapped, paid two life to get his Steam Vents untapped, and passed the turn. Gerard played his fifth land and went for Thragtusk. Syncopate for one left Hayne enough mana to flash back his Think Twice.

    His next Steam Vents came into played, and he met another Thragtusk with a Snapcaster Mage, flashing back Syncopate for two. Hayne hit for two and passed. Gerard's draw had failed to develop. In the face of seven mana from Hayne, all he could muster was Dreadbore on the Snapcaster Mage. Sphinx's Revelation for four put Hayne way ahead. He untapped and summoned Thundermaw Hellkite, leaving three mana up. Gerard had Putrefy, and Hayne was happy to let it go at that.

    Again, Gerard had nothing to add to his board but a land. Hayne played an Augur of Bolas, and missed, but still had seven in the grip. Gerard got a look at them with Lifebane Zombie, and it was all bad news: Two Supreme Verdict, Counterflux, Turn & Burn, Oblivion Ring, Negate, and another Sphinx's Revelation. Burn took care of the Lifebane Zombie, and a turn later Hayne was casting a Revelation for six, and turning to those cheering for Gerard in the crowd.

    "Sorry, fans of his."

    The game went on a handful of turns, but it was already over. Gerard drew nothing but lands, adding injury to injury. His last hurrah came when he played his final card, another Lifebane Zombie.

    "And you have no cards in hand?" Hayne asked. Gerard nodded. "Okay, well, I have a Restoration Angel, and I'm going to let you take it." Gerard let out a triumphant "YES!!!!" and then the two players shared what some would describe as an epic high-five across the battlefield. Gerard even did Hayne the favor of using his Kessig Wolf Run on one of Hayne's Moorland Haunt tokens (featuring ManaDeprived's own KYT) and allowing it to take the match singlehandedly.

    Congratulations to Alexander Hayne, Grand Prix Calgary Champion!




     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Blake Rasmussen



  • 5. Sphinx's Revelation

    Remember this spell? It's still a viable card, guys. Will all of the talk about Scavenging Ooze and Jund and Burning Earth, people seem to be overlooking what has long held the title as the best spell in Standard. It may not still hold that lofty perch, but a number of players showed it was still one of, if not the, most important, enabling control cards in the format. Not only did Alexander Hayne's UWR deck lean heavily on the card (at least pre-board), but Jacob Wilson and Matt Nass (who finished 9th on tiebreakers) took straight UW control decks to the top of the standings largely on the promise that Sphinx's Revelation could save them all.





    4. Lifebane Zombie

    A key component of Stephane Gerard's Jund deck and Douglas Trent's Nearly Mono Black list, more than a few players were willing to play the anti-Green/White beater in their main decks. With Jund, Gruul Aggro, and UWx control decks sitting at the top of the standings all weekend, there was always something to target. Gerard even managed to nab Boros Reckoner against his Mono Red quarterfinals opponent, and the Zombies single-handedly won a key match against Melissa DeTora for Trent. Expect to see more of this M14 Standout for quite some time.





    3. Xathrid Necromancer

    Speaking of Black cards from M14, Xathrid Necromancer is the single reason the BW Humans deck even exists. DeTora actually said the deck was virtually unbeatable with Necromancer on the board (though, to be fair, she thought the deck was pretty bad without it), and Trent Towns proved that for most of the weekend before falling off just short of the finish line. In one memorable game, Towns beat Top 8er Brady Boychuk by spamming the battlefield with 1/1 Gather the Townsfolk tokens...only to turn them into a veritable Army of the Damned to attack for the win. How powerful the Necromancer will be once Innistrad takes Doomed Traveler and its fellow Humans with it remains to be seen, but until that time, you better be ready for zombies.





    2. Scavenging Ooze

    While quizzing players on the most impactful M14 cards all weekend, I kept getting the same response: "I want to say Scavenging Ooze, but I be everyone is saying that." And they were, but with good reason. The card has already had its mettle tested in Legacy and proved itself time and time again. Now transplanted to Standard, the hungriest of oozes hasn't seen any noticeable drop off in power. It almost single-handedly put the damper on previously powerful Junk Reanimator, virtually shutting it out of this tournament. The life gain and size increase made Jund even more powerful, and the card was so good Douglas Trent deemed it worth splashing in his Nearly Mono Black deck.





    1. Thundermaw Hellkite

    Now on its final lap through the format, Thundermaw Hellkite is making its presence known even more than before. With Gruul Aggro topping their curve with the monstrous dragon and UWR using them in both the main and the sideboard, depending on player preference, the Lingering Souls-killer has come to define the format. Alexander Hayne employed them to great effect all weekend, not least of all in the semifinals. One after the other turned the board around for Hayne against Ryan Zawalsky, ending the game in a flurry of Lava Axes rumbling across the red zone. It's big, it's bad, and it might just be Red's biggest loss in the rotation. The Hasty Hellkite will be sorely missed by many, but in the meantime, it was probably the most important card at Grand Prix Calgary.






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