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Grand Prix–Houston: Day 2 Coverage

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EVENT COVERAGE
 


  • Deck Lists – Day 1 Undefeated Decks
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • "Hypergenesis" (Updated) Shuhei Nakamura - 9-0 Day One
    Grand Prix Houston 2010


    "Brozek Deck Wins" Pete Picard - 9-0 Day One
    Grand Prix Houston 2010

     


  • Feature Match Round 10 – Shuuhei Nakamura vs. Pete Picard
    by Steve Sadin
  • Shuuhei Nakamura and Pete Picard both went to bed last night with flawless records, but only one of these players will be able to leave the first round unscathed.

    Shuuhei is playing a Hypergenesis update designed by Tomoharu Saito. Earlier versions of the deck have been piloted by Tomoharu to a Top 8 in Grand Prix: Oakland, and Masashiro Kuroda to the finals of Grand Prix: Yokohama.

    Pete, an American player who is well on his way to a breakout finish, is playing a modified version of Petr Brozek's red-white burn deck from Grand Prix: Oakland. While Brozek style red-white has not fared particularly well for most of its pilots this weekend, Pete has certainly been having his share of success with the deck.

    Will Pete be able to continue burning his way to the top? Will Shuuhei add yet another trophy to his mantle?

    Shuuhei Nakamura

    Game 1
    Shuuhei won the roll but had to mulligan all the way down to 5 cards. Pete's Plated Geopede attacked for five on turn three before he Ghost Quartered Shuuhei's Gemstone Mine. While Shuuhei was able to fetch a Forest, he was left in a somewhat awkward situation with only a Forest and two green producing Reflecting Pools for mana.

    A Fungal Reaches was similarly Ghost Quartered leaving Shuuhei to fall to Pete's consistently large Plated Geopede and flurry of burn spells just two turns later.

    Pete 1 – Shuuhei 0

    Game 2
    Shuuhei chose to play first and again had to mulligan before reluctantly keeping his six card hand. Pete got things started with a Lightning Bolt and a Zektar Shrine Expedition before Shuuhei was able to cast an Ardent Plea into a Hypergenesis. Two Angel of Despairs for Shuuhei were met by nothing but lands from Pete. The Angel of Despairs then destroyed Pete's Zektar Shrine Expedition and a 1/1 token created by Forbidden Orchard.

    Pete then made an interesting decision when he sent two Lightning Helixes at Shuuhei's face instead of destroying one of Shuuhei's Angel of Despairs. Pete's gamble didn't pay off as he failed to draw enough burn spells in time to finish Shuuhei off before falling to Shuuhei's Angel of Despairs.

    Pete 1 – Shuuhei 1

    Pete Picard

    Game 3
    Peter's first play was a turn two Goblin Guide, which he followed up with another Goblin Guide on turn three.

    While Goblin Guide's ability is normally a drawback, this time it wound up working very much in Pete's favor as Shuuhei drew his Forest allowing Pete to use Ghost Quarter as a Strip Mine. Unfortunately for Pete, his Ghost Quarter only bought him a single turn before Shuuhei was able to Hypergenesis into a Progenitus and an Angel of Despair.

    A Lightning Helix put Pete up to 22, but he only had enough burn to knock Shuuhei down to 4 before Progenitus and Angel of Despair were able to crush their way to victory.

    Final Result
    Shuuhei Nakamura wins two games to one to become the only 10-0 player in the tournament.

     


  • Saturday, 12:10 p.m. – Deck Tech: Conley Woods plays "Guess Who?"
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Conley Woods

    "Gavin is 8-2 with it also and we are the only two players playing it," said Conley of his Guess Who? deck at the end of the first round of Day Two. The deck is an evolution of the bally-hooed Worlds deck that Conley audibled away from at the last minute in Rome. You may recall promises of a deck tech for a crazy looking deck as Conley only needed three wins in Extended to lock up a Top 8 berth. The deck he had been planning to play all weekend was blue-white-black and features Tidehollow Sculler, Meddling Mage, Dark Confidant, Gatekeeper of Malakir, Spellstutter Sprite, and Ninja of the Deep Hours. In the end he decided to go with a Zoo list that was deemed to be the safer bet and went 1-4-1 to miss the Top 8.

    Conley -- who keeps scraps and notes of decks on his computer desktop -- did not completely abandon the deck idea and was toying with an updated version of it for Grand Prix Oakland but could not pull the trigger. That worked out fine for him as he made the Top 8 with his Bantwagon brew, a deck that has gained popularity in the wake of that event. Conley is not someone who enjoys having people know what he is playing -- and how to best play against him -- so he went back to the virtual drawing board to see if he could finally get to play Ninja of the Deep Hours in an Extended match. He dropped the white and added in Abyssal Persecutor -- which is a nifty combo with a Ninja of the Deep Hours. Conley explained that you could wait until the end of combat after damage has resolved to sneak in the Ninja. Apparently you can even return multiple Persecutors with one Ninja -- something that came up in testing for Conley on multiple occasions -- if you have enough mana to pay for them and they are all unblocked.

    "I actually showed up with blue-red Jace-kinda-prison deck that I had been working on," explained Conley. "It was really good and I was working on the sideboard. I was looking through my Extended decks and was scrolling through and saw Abyssal Persecutor and thought he would be kinda good right now. We had Bitterblossom in the deck for awhile but it was not good against anything. We ended up cutting it and that helped with the life loss from Dark Confidant. We only have two watery Graves so we don't really take damage from our lands -- which is huge. We just wanted to play a lot of really good creatures and not let games go long. The longer you let a game go, the more chances people have to draw out of stuff. Even if you disrupt the Thopter Combo, if you give them five more turns they are just going to get it set back up again. That's where the Persecutors came in. Vendilion Clique is really good at racing too."

    Conley has been writing about Fish-style decks for some time now but had not really played one yet this season -- although he said that Bantwagon was kind of fishy.

    "I just think a Fish deck is trying to get a perfect balance of aggression and control elements. You would ideally like your control elements to come as abilities on aggressive creatures. Some counters are okay but you really want bears with abilities -- Gaddock Teeg and Meddling Mage are perfect examples of Fish creatures to me," said Conley giving his take on the Fish archetype. "You just want things that attack and disrupt the opponent."

    Gatekeeper of Malakir has been a perfect example of that philosophy as he has frustrated many a Dark Depths player by kicking his vampire while they have the combo on the board. They can either sacrifice their Hexmage, get a Marit Lage token, and sacrifice that, or just sac the Hexmage. They usually choose the latter, but Conley said he has caught a few people who did not realize the implications of making a token in that scenario.
    Conley said that if he could go back and rebuild the deck he would cut one of the four-drops -- either the Sower or one of the Persecutors -- in favor of a 24th mana source.

    "I would play either a Chrome Mox or a basic land," said Conley. "The curve just stops at four so."

     


  • Saturday, 12:25 p.m. – Dech Tech: Jace to the Face with Brandon Scheel
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Brandon Scheel

    Brandon Scheel is a well respected player from Iowa who had back-to-back Top 16 finishes at Pro Tour level play two seasons ago and also has a Grand Prix Top 8 on his resume. He was hoping to add another one this weekend behind the wheel of a funky looking blue-red control deck that had more than one onlooker wrinkling their nose at the first whiff of it.

    "What is that deck?" asked one incredulous onlooker. "It looks like a ham sandwich."
    The evaluation of the deck changed as soon as the spectator recognized the well-respected Scheel.
    "I did not realize who that was," he admitted. "Maybe that deck is really good. Like a spicy ham sandwich!"
    Brandon navigated Day One with a 8-1 record -- and only two byes -- and split his first two rounds of day two action. I asked him about the deck and its origins.
    "I actually got the list from a friend who saw that blue-red Jacerator had won a PTQ in Little Rock, Arkansas," said Scheel. "I changed the list slightly, adding a few more basics, added four Spell Snare main, turned Sowers into Vedalken Shackles -- just some minor upgrades here and there. We made some minor changes to the sideboard. We added Basilisk Collar which gives you some more game against Blood Moon Zoo allowing your Trinket Mages and Vendilion Cliques to trade effectively against their Tarmogoyfs and Knight of the Reliquary."

    "The deck runs really good mass removal with Firespout and Trinket Mage into Engineered Explosives," he continued. "We are also playing Jace which is the best control card printed in a long time. You usually don't win by racing with Trinket Mage and Clique -- it is usually by Jace's ultimate. I am x-2 at this point which is 7 wins and I have won with Jace close to a dozen games."

    One of the reasons that Brandon decided to play the deck was an overwhelmingly favored matchup against the most dominant archetype throughout this Extended season.
    "Thopter - Depths is actually my best matchup but I have not played against it yet," said Brandon. "You have Blood Moon in the main deck, Spell Snare, Pithing Needle, Explosives, Shackles, Vendilion Clique, and Cryptic Command. You can win through both their combos if they have gone off on either end of their deck. You can beat Thopter Sword with Explosives or Needle and following it up with a Pithing Needle. Once they make a 20/20 you can steal it with Sower or Threads after board. You can also just block it and bounce it with Cryptic Command -- you have really good game against that deck."

     


  • Feature Match Round 11 – Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa vs. Gavin Verhey
    by Steve Sadin
  • Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa and Gavin Verhey came into this match with 8-2 records, needing to win at least their next four matches to be able to advance to the elimination rounds.

    Paulo, a level 8 Brazilian pro who has been racking up tons of Pro Points and frequent flier miles over the past couple of seasons, has gotten off to a bit of a slower start than he might have hoped this year. Paulo came to the tournament hoping to turn his luck around this season with a blue-green-red Scapeshift deck of his own design.

    Gavin on the other hand, is just looking to get to Puerto Rico. Gavin, who writes a weekly column for StarCityGames, is the only other player in the tournament piloting Conley Woods' Guess Who deck. So far the deck has served him well and he is hoping that he will be able to lock up at least a Top 16 finish in order to secure a qualification.

    Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa

    Game 1
    Gavin won the roll and got things started with a Dark Confidant while Paulo began preparing to build up his mana with Search for Tomorrow and Sakura-Tribe Elder. Gavin thought for a bit before deciding to attack his Dark Confidant into his opponent's Sakura Tribe Elder, a trade that Paulo agreed to make. After combat, Gavin laid another Dark Confidant and passed the turn.

    A Repeal got Bob off the table. Rather than recast the Dark Confidant, Gavin's decided to go with a mainphase Vendilion Clique taking Scapeshift and leaving Paulo with a hand of Cryptic Command, Wood Elves, Muddle the Mixture and Valakut the Molten Pinnacle.

    Paulo cast a mainphase Peer Through Depths, which found a replacement Scapeshift and forced Gavin to play a second Vendilion Clique (causing both of his 3/1 fliers to die due to the legend rule) to take the would be lethal Scapeshift.

    Not one to be set back, Paulo drew another Peer Through Depths, which found another Scapeshift, which fetched six Mountains and put Gavin down to just a single life point.

    A Cryptic Command bouncing a Steam Vents was all that Paulo needed to go get off to a quick one game lead.

    Paulo 1 – Gavin 0

    Gavin Verhey

    Game 2
    Gavin's turn two Vendilion Clique took Peer Through Depths from a hand that also contained Muddle the Mixture, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Ponder and three lands. A Ninja of the Deep Hours for Gavin gave him a free card and offered the young American player a chance to get another use out of his Vendilion Clique.

    When Gavin went to attack with his Ninja of the Deep Hours and a Mutavault, Paulo had to slow him down a bit in order to cast Peer Through Depths in response to the Mutavault activation (no doubt looking to play around a Spellstutter Sprite from his relatively mana-light opponent).

    Gavin had a Second Ninja of the Deep Hours, but that left him tapped out giving Paulo a chance to resolve Oona, Queen of the Fae.

    The faerie queen wasn't long for the world as it quickly fell to a Gatekeeper of Malakir before Gavin cast a Dark Confidant. Paulo transmuted his Muddle the Mixture for Peer Through Depths, hoping both to be able to dig into a Scapeshift

    Gavin revealed Extirpate for Dark Confidant and, without passing priority, Extirpated Paulo's Peer Through Depths (giving Paulo no chance to outpace Gavin's split second spell).

    Paulo stuck around for another draw step before falling to Gavin's army of two power creatures.

    Paulo 1 – Gavin 1

    Game 3
    Paulo got his mana going quickly with a Search for Tomorrow, a Sakura-Tribe Elder and a Wood Elves, while Gavin failed to make a play during his first couple of turns.

    Paulo's fast mana draw meant that Gavin couldn't afford to tap low on his mainphases and had to sit idly by while Paulo attacked him with a Sakura-Tribe Elder and a Wood Elves.

    On his fifth turn, Gavin cast a mainphase Extirpate on Search for Tomorrow purely to gain information about Paulo's hand. Seeing a mitt full of Lightning Bolt and Peer Through Depths gave Gavin enough of an opening to cast Glen Elendra Archmage.

    Paulo's Peer Through Depths found Remand, which allowed Paulo to keep the Glen Elendra Archmage off the board long enough to draw into the Scapeshift that he needed to win before Gavin could lock him out of the game.

    Final result Paulo 2 – Gavin 1

     


  • Feature Match Round 12 - Two Matches in Two Sentences
    by Steve Sadin
  • Owen Turtenwald
    Matt Costa

    Matt Costa's Thepths deck offered him a suitable amount of disruption to take down Owen Turtenwald and his Hypergenesis deck in two quick games in the abridged feature match.


    Travis Woo
    Patrick Chapin

    Over in the GGSLive feature match, Patrick Chapin's Cruel Control deck was able to counter enough of Travis Woo's Living Ends to advance to 10-2.

     


  • Deck Tech – Going to the Congregation Zoo with Gerry Thompson
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Gerry Thompson

    Gerry Thompson is responsible for the most pervasive deck this PTQ season when he qualified for San Juan in a MTGO PTQ with his ThopterDepths hybrid deck. The deck has continued to morph -- the addition of Jace, the Mind Sculptor as a third win condition for example -- as it has devoured blue envelopes seemingly ever week. Pro Tour San Diego finalist Kyle Boggemes also has made his mark on this format with a PTQ winning deck. Prior to his breakout finish at PT San Diego, Kyle won a PTQ with Boom//Bust Zoo, a deck that took advantage of Bloodbraid Elf to cascade into Blood Moon and Boom//Bust to disrupt the mana of opposing decks.

    "I have been able to tune Dark Depths to beat every Zoo deck except for that one," said Gerry who has a lot of respect for Kyle's deckbuilding skills and spoke to the dominance of the Boom//Bust Zoo build in the latter half of the PTQ season. "The Boom//Bust is pretty annoying, the Blood Moon is pretty annoying too, and they have a lot of ways to gain card advantage and stuff. Now Kenji Tsumura has added an equipment package which several people have adopted in daily MTGO events too. It is really difficult to beat that deck."

    The two players have teamed up for this event to come up with the latest iteration of Zoo -- an aggro deck that can combo with Congregation at Dawn for a Bloodbraid Elf, a hate card like Magus of the Moon, and an Eternal Witness to make it all happen again a couple turns later.

    "I have been brewing a bunch of different blue-black decks," said Gerry of how he came to play the Zoo variant. "I liked some of them but I wanted to play something different. I was walking around the room (on Friday) talking to my friends and seeing what was going on. Kyle Boggemes was sitting there with Congregation at Dawn and I was like, "I have to get in on this!"

    "It is pretty much Kyle and DJ Kastner. They had been testing since Pro Tour Austin when Bloodbraid Ef came out. DJ kinda came up with the idea and they have been tuning it ever since. Now it seems like the right time for it. It seems kinda fun for the last GP of the season," said Gerry. "The wheels just started turning in my head. If you have four lands and cast Congregation you just never run out of gas, which is insane. When I play the blue-back decks I am boarding into a control deck with Deathmarks and Damnations and I am never going to be able to beat this. The way I saw it was this would always beat the blue-black decks and always have stuff for the mirror match by Bloodbraiding and Witnessing cards."

    Of course, Gerry made some alterations to the version he played -- the only one that made it through to Day Two.
    "You really need to have four lands when you cast Congregation at Dawn so I added some lands to the deck -- something I do anyway. I added two Selesnya Sanctuary which have been insane for me. Whenever I draw them they are awesome. I think they were a little light on land. You don't do anything too fancy. You just set up a really long chain like Food Chain Goblins where you would just Recruiter and Ringleader all the stuff to the top of your deck and always have gas."

    Gerry did not have any practical experience with the deck before he sat down to play his first opponent otherwise he might have made some additional changes.

    I was kind of sold on the deck and didn't want anyone to know what I was playing," explained Gerry. "I could have grabbed DJ or Kyle's version and played it in a Trial but I didn't want anyone to see the deck before the tournament. They played the deck a ton against Dark Depths and said the matchup was really good and had everything they wanted but I would have a Samurai of the Pale Curtain or Yixlid Jailer in my deck. If I did that I probably would not have lost to Josh Utter-Leyton in round four and my opponent in the first round of Day Two. You need one card you can get that just shuts down Academy Ruin and Thopter Foundry. Jailer would also be additional Dredge hate. I would have one of those."

     


  • Feature Match Round 13 – Brandon Scheel vs. Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa
    by Steve Sadin
  • Brandon Scheel, who had an excellent season in 2008 before stepping away from the game a bit last year, is looking to make a comeback on the Pro Tour. Brandon has always been known for performing well with unconventional strategies, and this tournament is no exception. His Jace to the Face deck has been making a lot of noise at this tournament. While players were scoffing at his deck early on Saturday, the room soon realized that Brandon had once again brought a powerful concoction to the table.

    While Brandon might have had an underwhelming season last year, Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa had an outstanding season, amassing 56 Pro Points and securing himself a level 8 status in the Pro Players Club for the rest of 2010. Paulo's blue-green-red Scapeshift deck has been treating him well this weekend as both players find themselves going into round thirteen two matches short of securing a Top 8 berth.

    Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa

    Game 1
    Brandon won the roll, and used a Trinket Mage to fetch Relic of Progenitus, and followed that up a turn later with a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Paulo, meanwhile, used three Sakura-Tribe Elders to accelerate himself into a lethal turn four Scapeshift.

    Paulo 1 – Brandon 0

    Game 2
    Barndon got off to a better start in Game 2 with a turn two Vendilion Clique which took a Remand leaving Paulo with Scapeshift, Scapeshift, Repeal, Sakura, Remand, Boseiju, Who Shelters All and a Stomping Ground. Paulo offered up a Sakura-Tribe Elder while Brandon deployed a Jace, the Mind Sculptor (which he used to Brainstorm) after attacking Paulo down to 15.

    Paulo played a Ponder and passed the turn to Brandon who, after looking at a hand full of counterspells, felt content to attack Paulo down to 12 and pass the turn.

    Paulo used Boseiju, Who Shelters All to force through a Search For Tomorrow and then Remanded Brandon's end of turn Cryptic Command that was aimed at one of his lands.

    Another turn, another attack, another Jace activation, a Trinket Mage and a resolved Blood Moon later and Paulo was suddenly under some serious pressure.

    Brandon attacked Paulo down to 2 and passed. At the end of Brandon's turn, Paulo attempted to Repeal the Blood Moon with Muddle the Mixture backup, but Brandon was more than ready with a Cryptic Command and a Spell Snare to send the players on to a deciding third game.

    Paulo 1 – Brandon 1

    Brandon Scheel

    Game 3
    Paulo had to start off the deciding game with a mulligan, and another mulligan before settling on his five card hand. While mulligans are never fun, they are particularly brutal for Scapeshift, a deck that needs to get to assemble seven lands, a Scapeshift, and against Brandon's deck a piece of permission such as a Muddle the Mixture in order to be able to win the game.

    Fortunately, Paulo had a very good hand to overcome his mulligans and Brandon's deck didn't offer up a fast enough draw to allow him to punish his opponent's slow draw. Paulo managed to make his way to five lands on turn four, while Brandon's made his first play of the game on Paulo's next draw step with a Vendilion Clique taking a Scapeshift and leaving the Brazilian pro with just a Remand and two lands.

    When Brandon tried for a Blood Moon on his next turn it got Remanded, the American tried to force it through with a Spell Snare but that got countered by Muddle the Mixture.

    Paulo now had one turn to try to draw into a Scapeshift, or at least a counterspell or a bounce spell of some sort before the Blood Moon came back down and made his life incredibly difficult.

    A Ponder was followed by a Peer Through Depths, which, while it didn't find a Scapeshift to win him the game outright fetched Paulo a Repeal with which he could use to keep Blood Moon off the board for another turn.

    A couple of spell free turns and a couple of attacks later and Paulo was on 5 and in desperate need of an action spell. Brandon, however, was stuck on a mere three lands and a Chrome Mox. When Paulo attempted to Repeal Brandon's Chrome Mox at the end of his turn, Brandon felt that he had to tap out to Cryptic Command it.

    This gave Paulo just the window that he needed to Ponder into the Scapeshift that gave him the game and the match, putting him one step closer to yet another Top 8 finish.

    Final result: Paulo 2 – Brandon 1

    "Scapeshift Blue" Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa - Day 2
    Grand Prix Houston 2010

    See Brandon Scheel's Deck Above in "Deck Tech: Jace to the Face with Brandon Scheel"  


  • Deck Tech - Craig Wescoe Bant Hardly Wait
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Craig Wescoe

    Craig Wescoe is coming off the best finish of his long professional career when he made the Top 4 of Pro Tour San Diego. He was looking to pad his Pro Points total this weekend but was going to play a safe known deck until he had a conversation with a certain Grand Prix Philadelphia winner.

    "I was going to play Zoo but the night before the tournament I was talking to Gerard Fabiano and he said I should play this deck," said Craig who explained that his deck was a Fabiano-tweaked version of a deck that had won a PTQ at a recent Grand Prix.

    The conversation Craig had with Gerard went something like this:
    Craig: "But I haven't played with it at all..."
    Gerard: "Doesnt matter. It is the best deck to play for this tournament."
    Craig: "Well how does it do against Zoo and Dark Depths?"
    Gerard: "It beats them!'
    Craig: "What about Dredge?"
    Gerard: "It beats everything. Just play it."
    Craig: "Clearly you are not serious."
    Gerard: "Serious. It beats everything. You should just play it. It lets you outplay your opponent."
    "I have found it to be correct," said Craig of Gerard's assessment of the deck. "Both my losses and my draw are because I screwed up."
    "It has a bunch of little soft-lock packages that it can do," he explained of the version of the deck Gerard sent to him. "Its hard to really disrupt everything. There is usually still a good plan. You try to go Thopter Combo against a lot of decks and if they disrupt that -- like with Extirpate or whatever -- you still have 'Goyfs and War Monks and all that. If they deal with that I still have Thirst for Knowledge to draw more cards, Jace to draw more cards -- I even ultimated Jace in at least one game. It some matches the Stoneforge Mystic can just get Jitte. Against my red-white opponent in this last round I got it online on turn three thanks to a Chrome Mox and he couldn't deal with it."

    Craig needed to win his last round in order to make the Top 8 and I wished him luck.

    "I feel like we have had this conversation before," laughed Craig referring to his deck tech at PT San Diego before he knew if we would be in the Top 8 or not.

     


  • Feature Match Round 14 – Craig Wescoe vs. Pete Picard
    by Steve Sadin
  • Craig Wescoe has been around the Pro Tour for years and years, but he never quite had that breakout finish until Pro Tour: San Diego. Craig got the Pro Points that he needed in San Diego to assure himself at least Level 4 membership in the Pro Players club for 2010 and 2011, and the invitations to the next 7 Pro Tours (including two World Championships) that comes with it. Craig went into this match at 10-2-1 and needed to win his last two matches to be able to advance to the Top 8.

    Pete Picard may be new to the pro scene, but he is well on his way to a breakout finish of his own this weekend. Pete went into this match with an 11-2 record, needing to win one of his last two matches to make his first premier event Top 8.

    "A lot of my matches have been going to time this weekend, so whenever we get a chance to take a shortcut would you mind..." said Craig
    "I'm happy to take any and all shortcuts, but none of my matches have gone even close to time so I don't think we have anything to worry about," said Pete.

    Pete Picard

    Game 1
    Pete won the die roll, mulliganed and used a Magma Jet to burn away a Noble Heirarch. Thanks to all the early action, Craig's turn two Tarmogoyf came down as a healthy 3/4.

    Pete's turn three Plated Geopede fell to a Path to Exile before a Chalice of the Void on one threatened to make life very difficult for Pete.

    Pete cast a Zektar Shrine Expedition, played a land and passed the turn to Craig who played and equipped an Umezawa's Jitte to his Tarmogoyf. Pete drew for his turn and then simply began shaking his head.

    "Well that was pretty brutal," said Pete as he conceded looking at a hand full of Path to Exiles and bolts which he couldn't cast thanks to Craig's Chalice of the Void.

    Wescoe 1 – Picard 0

    Game 2
    Pete started off Game 2 with a Goblin Guide while Craig cracked a fetch land and fell down to 15 in order to cast a Stoneforge Mystic which he used to fetch Sword of the Meek. Pete had no play on turn two and merely passed the turn cycle while Craig stole Goblin Guide with a Threads of Disloyalty.

    Craig Wescoe

    Pete made a Zektar Shrine Expedition followed by a land, while Umezawa's Jitte made its way onto the stolen Goblin Guide before being Smash to Smitheerens a turn later. A fetch land powered up a Zektar Shrine Expedition and Pete was able to attack Craig down to 8.

    A freshly cast Plated Geopede threatened to become quite large in Pete's deck full of fetch lands. Craig untapped and cast Thirst for Knowledge putting Sword of the Meek into his graveyard for use later before running out a 5/6 Tarmogoyf.

    When Pete had a Path to Exile for Tarmogoyf, Craig was forced to chump block a 3/3 Plated Geopede with his stolen Goblin Guide.

    Craig, however, was ready to take over the game with a Thopter Foundry.

    Pete's deck failed to offer him another Smash to Smithereens and he wound up losing to Craig's army of 1/1 flying Thopter tokens a couple of turns later.

    Final result: Wescoe 2 – Picard 0

     

  • Feature Match: Round 15 – Craig Wescoe versus Adam Yurchick
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Game 1

    “That’s pretty sweet,” Craig said to his fellow Ohio native. “One of the Ohio guys will get in.”

    “How many features matches have you been in this weekend?” asked Wescoe.

    “This is my second,” said Adam.

    Wescoe replied, “This is my third this weekend. I played against Brian Kibler in an earlier feature match.”

    Neither player did anything on turn one, but Adam played arguably the best two-drop creature of all time in Dark Confidant, and Craig played the other arguable best when he played a Tarmogoyf.

    Dark Confidant immediately started generating card advantage for Yurchick when he showed a Compulsive research, and Yurchick played the potent combo of Dark Depths and Vampire Hexmage.

    “Must be nice,” Wescoe said, surveying Yurchick’s board.

    Craig Wescoe

    “It is,” Adam said quietly. Yurchick did not opt to make a 20/20 with the Dark Depths/Vampire Hexmage combo at the end of Wescoe’s turn, and when Dark Confidant revealed a Smother, he gave Yurchick what he needed to get rid of Wescoe’s Tarmogoyf, paving the way for an attack with Hexmage and Dark Confidant. Wescoe took the damage and played Thirst for Knowledge, setting up his hand to craft a plan to get back into the game. A harmless Swamp was revealed off Confidant, and Yurchick attacked Wescoe down to 9, then followed up with another Vampire Hexmage and a Thopter Foundry. Wescoe once again played Thirst for Knowledge at the end of his turn, discarding a Chrome Mox. A Path to Exile sent Dark Confidant away.

    Wescoe played a Tarmogoyf, and Yurchick decided that it was time to make a 20/20 token, but Wescoe had the Bant Charm to deal with it. Yurchick played another Dark Depths, and the Vampire Hexmage already on the table threatened to make another 20/20.

    Wescoe now had a 5/6 Tarmogoyf, and was able to apply pressure on Yurchick. When Wescoe used a Bant Charm to counter a Thirst for Knowledge that Yurchick played on his own turn, it was clear that Wescoe had some other answer to the potential 20/20 on the table. A Tarmogoyf on Wescoe’s side (now wearing an Umezawa’s Jitte) had Yurchick make a 20/20 after blocking, but Wescoe played a postcombat Jace, the Mind Sculptor and the Worldwake mythic bounced the 20/20 token.

    Yurchick now had to deal with Jace, Tarmogoyf, and the Jitte. He spent two Chrome Moxes and a Thopter Foundry to make three 1/1s, then played Engineered Explosives for two, blowing up the Tarmogoyf and Jitte.

    But Wescoe still had Jace in play, and that let him find a Trinket Mage, which fetched an Engineered Explosives that was played with zero sunburst counters. The Explosives destroyed all of Yurchick’s tokens, and used Jace’s “fateseal” ability to make sure Yurchick didn’t draw another relevant card, as Yurchick was helplessly attacked to death by a Trinket Mage.

    Game 2

    Wescoe’s first two plays of Noble Hierarch and Tarmogoyf were met with a Deathmark and Smother by Yurchick. But Yurchick was stuck on two lands – an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth and a Dark Depths. Yurchick played a potent Vampire Hexmage, threatening a lethal 20/20. Wescoe thought and thought, then played Path to Exile on the Hexmage during the end of Yurchick’s turn. Yurchick decided that it was better to get a land off the Path to Exile rather than making a very vulnerable 20/20.

    Wescoe played Stoneforge Mystic, getting Umezawa’s Jitte. But Yurchick had a plan. After spending a turn casting Compulsive Research, Adam Thoughtseized Wescoe the following turn, showing a Threads of Disloyalty and a Negate. Yurchick made Wescoe discard the Negate, content to be hit by a Stoneforge Mystic with a Jitte attached to it.

    But Wescoe topdecked a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and when Jace’s brainstorm ability gave Wescoe two Bant Charms, it looked like Yurchick’s path to victory was all but gone.

    But Yurchick played Vampire Hexmage, sacrificed it to Dark Depths, and then immediately played Rite of Consumption.

    Wescoe picked up the card, read it, realized that nothing in his hand could stop that, and the game came to a sudden and very surprising end, and they headed to Game 3.

    Game 3

    “I don’t know if pathing the Hexmage was right,” Wescoe wondered. “Giving you a land was pretty big.”

    Adam Yurchick

    Both players liked their opening seven, and Wescoe started off with turn one Noble Hierarch, which promptly got Deathmarked, just like in Game 2. Wescoe had no turn two play, and Yurchick Thoughtseized Wescoe, but Wescoe didn’t like that idea, so he Negated it.

    Yurchick played Thirst for Knowledge during Wescoe’s upkeep, discarding Sword of the Meek, and while Wescoe was doing nothing, Adam played Jace, the Mind Sculptor and took the opportunity to ensure that Wescoe would continue to do nothing, fatesealing Wescoe and left a harmless land on top.

    Yurchick played a Gatekeeper of Malakir and Dark Confidant, but Wescoe did have a Threads of Loyalty to steal Dark Confidant. When Yurchick tried to return the Confidant to its owners hand with Jace’s ability, Wescoe Path to Exiled it. But while all that was going on, Wescoe was doing nothing to advance his own plans to victory, and Yurchick played a Thopter Foundry (with a Sword of the Meek in the graveyard). This Thopter Foundry met its demise by Bant Charm, but Yurchick played a second.

    Wescoe transmuted a Muddle of Mixture for his own Thopter Foundry, but he did not have a Sword of the Meek anywhere to go with it. Yurchick attacked Wescoe down to one with Thopter tokens and a Gatekeeper of Malakir, and used Jace’s fateseal ability, seeing a Tolaria West. Yurchick thought, thought, and thought some more, then put it on the bottom.

    “Really?” Wescoe asked. “Was it Sword of the Meek?”
    “Maybe,” Yurchick said.

    Wescoe drew his card, saw it wasn’t the Sword he needed, and extended the hand.

    Adam Yurchick wins 2-1 and is headed to Top 8!

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