gpind13

Grand Prix Indianapolis Coverage Day 2

  • Print







EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

 

  • Sunday, 10:40 a.m. – The Super Sunday Series

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • For 128 players here this weekend, Sunday consists of six rounds of Return to Ravnica Booster Draft action. The rest, however, will get a chance to play in a unique and exciting event series that will be making its premiere this weekend.

    The Super Sunday Series is a new event that will take place on Sundays at various Grand Prix weekends in North America, starting with today here at Grand Prix Indianapolis. It gives players a chance to compete in an event that offers some great prizes, including one that is among one of the most unique offered.

    Players can compete in one of two events: a Sealed tournament in the morning, or a Standard event at noon. The Top 4 from these two events will compete later in the day in a Booster Draft to determine the Super Sunday event winner. The Top 4 finishers at each Super Sunday Series event will win a special messenger bag. The winner will qualify for a final event in Seattle next year with $20,000 in cash and prizes on the line.

    The messenger bag isn't the only prize given out to the top finishers of the Super Sunday Series. In fact, the winner will be getting a whole lot more.

    Oh, and the prize for winning a Super Sunday Series event also includes flight and airfare to Seattle so that the winners of the Super Sunday event can visit Wizards of the Coast HQ, play against R&D and have dinner with the staff.

    "This is one of the most unique tournament series that we've ever run," said Alan Hochman of Pastimes. "You don't often get a chance to play and have dinner with Wizards of the Coast R&D. And I think that this event, for who it's for – those who aren't the usual pro players – makes it extra special. This is for your everyday Magic fan."

    As for the championship event in Seattle, details are still being finalized. "The format for the championship event has yet to be announced," Alan noted. "But it's sure to be fun and interesting."

    The Super Sunday Series offers a unique prize and a nice incentive for players who missed out on Day 2 of the Grand Prix to compete for something special. And it's going to be seen at a lot of Grand Prix events next year. Take a look below for the tentative schedule of where else this event series will be taking place:

    • Grand Prix Denver - January 6, 2013
    • Grand Prix Atlantic - City January 13, 2013
    • Grand Prix Quebec - City February 24, 2013
    • Grand Prix San Diego - March 17, 2013
    • Grand Prix Pittsburgh - March 24, 2013
    • Grand Prix Portland - May 12, 2013
    • Grand Prix Providence - June 9, 2013
    • Grand Prix Houston - June 16, 2013
    • Grand Prix Las Vegas - June 23, 2013
    • Grand Prix Kansas City - July 7, 2013
    • Grand Prix Calgary - July 28, 2013
    • Grand Prix Oakland - August 25, 2013
    • Grand Prix Detroit - September 15, 2013
    • Grand Prix Oklahoma City - October 6, 2013
    • Grand Prix Louisville - October 20, 2013
    • Grand Prix Washington D.C. - November 17, 2013
    • Grand Prix Albuquerque - November 24, 2013
    • Grand Prix Toronto - December 1, 2013

    The schedule for now is tentative, as it's possible more locations will be added. "We are working to bring this to as many people as possible," Alan said, so more updates will be on their way soon!




     

  • Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – Drafting Izzet with Adam Yurchick

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Adam Yurchick's Sealed pool yesterday served him well, despite being fairly straight-forward and lacking any sort of powerful rares and mythics. In fact, his undefeated record was earned by a Rakdos deck splashing blue that contained zero rares or mythics in his main deck.

    As he sat down for the first Booster Draft of the day, he remained quiet. His preference for Return to Ravnica Booster Draft was to remain open, but it wouldn't be too surprising to see him favoring yesterday's guild affiliation over the others.

    Yurchick started off the draft by opening a pack that featured Teleportal and Slum Reaper along with Courser's Accord and Axebane Guardian. Yurchick showed respect to the powerful Izzet uncommon and took it for his first pick. He followed with Dead Reveler, passing on Rakdos Cackler and Centaur's Herald, preferring the powerful unleash creature, as Yurchick kept yesterday's Rakdos preference in mind. A third pick Syncopate showed an interest in Izzet, and was followed by another copy of the blue counter as a fourth pick. Splatter Thug further solidified Yurchick's guild affiliation, as he cemented himself firmly into Izzet throughout the rest of the first pack, scoring big hits such as Street Spasm, Pursuit of Flight, Izzet Guildgate, and Inspiration. It would take some pretty powerful cards to move Yurchick to Rakdos at this point.

    The second pack, however, opened up some options for Yurchick, and kept a splash of Rakdos alive for him, as a Stab Wound was staring back at him in his first pick. He took the powerful removal enchantment, and was promptly rewarded for his respect for black with Carnival Hellsteed, making the Rakdos splash with Izzet a reality. The rest of the pack filled out his creature curve, with multiple Goblin Electromancers, another Splatter Thug, and a few other creatures that can fly high with a Pursuit of Flight.

    The third and final pack earned a shocked reaction from Yurchick, as a second Stab Wound made its way into his pile of cards. This was followed with big rare #2: Chaos Imps. Yurchick took the powerful flying creature, along with a Pursuit of Flight in the next pick. Rakdos Guildgate and Transguild Promenade made splashing a breeze, and an eighth pick Chromatic Lantern made mana requirements an afterthought.

    Adam Yurchick debates over the final version of his Izzet-fueled draft deck.

    "That went pretty well," Yurchick said, after he finished building. "My preference is to be open. I prefer green or black, and then will often take whatever guild is open with those." He admitted that Axebane Guardian, which was in his first pact along with Teleportal, was an option. "If I had taken that Axebane Guardian, I'd of picked up Courser's Accords and gone white," he said. "But I took Teleportal, so I saw myself being Rakdos splashing for it once I took Dead Reveler, but it also let me go Izzet."

    What resulted from the draft was a solid Izzet deck that had access to multiple Stab Wounds and the Carnival Hellsteed, which ended up being the only black mana cards to make his final deck. "I'm a little creature light," he noted, but given the power level of his removal and the creatures he did have, it was hard to argue with Yurchick's chances. The final deck had a ton of ways to stop what an opponent was planning to do, and what creatures Yurchick did have were capable of a lot.

    With a deck like this, it's possible that Yurchick would continue his winning streak for the weekend. As he headed over to his round 10 feature match against Bobby Bruggeman, one of the other remaining undefeated players, Yurchick could certainly not be happier with his deck and his chances for this first draft.




     

  • Round 10 Feature Match – Adam Yurchick vs. Bobby Bruggeman

    by Brian David-Marshall

  • Both of these Ohio-born players were perfect on Day One. Cincinnati native Bobby Bruggeman rode to victory on the wings of his Angel of Serenity with some help from Collective Blessing. This was the first time he had broken the Day Two ceiling at a Grand Prix and his friends -- who were all relegated to side events on Sunday -- were doing their best to avoid nailbiting on the sidelines.

    Sitting across from him was Cleveland-born Adam Yurchick who has five Grand Prix Top 8s including his win in Houston. He has had a quiet year Magic-wise but does have a Grand Prix Top 8 in this very same hall earlier this year playing Legacy. Yurchick, who has gotten as high as 9th at a PT is widely considered to be among the best players without that Sunday appearance in the game.

    Yurchick, who has been healing from a broken leg and hopping around in crutches this weekend, has had plenty of time to dedicate to Magic Online lately and came into this event with a lot of confidence in his ability to navigate this Limited format. His 9-0 finish on Saturday came without the benefit of playing any of his rares.

    Game 1

    Bruggeman led off and Yurchick debated before keeping a slow hand. It did allow him to Syncopate a Centaur Healer on turn three and then turtle up behind a Hover Barrier.

    Bruggeman Soul Tithed the wall and played Concordia Pegasus. Adam paid the Tithe and played a Mountain. Bobby passed on turn four only to play Eyes in the Skies at the end of Adam's turn. Adam continued to pay for his wall and took four when Bobby played Common Bond on his two unblocked tokens.

    Bobby Bruggeman

    Adam snuck in two points with Rakdos Shred Freak and took three on the crack back from Bruggeman who added Selesnya Keyrune to his board. Adam continued to pay for the flying wall but was on six mana and had a little room to maneuver -- maybe more thanks to Goblin Electromancer.

    Courser's Accord gave Bruggeman a burgeoning army to go with his air forces. Yurchick played Pursuit of Flight on the Goblin with an Island up and looked for a way back into the game. He ate one of the Centaurs with the Goblin and chump blocked another with the Shred-Freak but took 5 from the fliers. Bruggeman liked the way that played out and cast another Courser's Accord but considered his populate and eventually added a bird instead of a Centaur.

    Adam nodded and they moved onto game two.

    Adam Yurchick - 0 Bobby Bruggeman - 1

    Game 2

    Adam kept and Bobby sent his hand back and both players opened on Guildgates. There was no third land for Yurchick who ended up discarding Rakdos Shred-Freak which he could not cast off of Rakdos Guildgate and Island. A turn later he found a Mountain and was able to unleash a Splatter Thug. Bruggeman made two fliers at the end of that turn.

    Bruggeman detained the Human Warrior with Inaction Injunction and flew over for two. Yurchick was still light on lands and tapped out for Hover Barrier while Bruggeman played land six. Inaction Injunction kept the Thug at bay for a second turn and Soul Tithe taxed the wall. This time Yurchick let it go -- Bruggeman also played a Pegasus.

    Chromantic Lantern and land for Yurchick left him with two mana and just out of range of being able to Syncopate a Rubbleback Rhino from Bruggeman who was on seven lands. Carnival Hellstead came into play tapped and attacking for Yurchick -- although it was not unleashed. Bruggeman attacked back to drop Yurchick to 8 and then played Courser's Accord.

    Yurchick played Rakdos Shred-Freak and enchanted his Splatter Thug with Pursuit of Flight. He crashed in for 5 and Bruggeman did not block. The score was 10 to 8 in Bruggeman's favor. Bruggeman attacked with everyone and Yurchick took six when he blocked a token with his Hellstead and threw a Shred-Freak under the paws of the Rhino.

    Yurchick untapped and gave his his Thug flying and then showed Bruggeman the Teleportal -- underloaded -- and still had mana left over for a Syncopate should Bruggeman have a Trostani's Judgment.

    "Did you have enough to overload last turn?" asked Bruggeman perhaps plumbing for information.

    "That was a game," exhaled Yurchick showing the first sign of any emotion during the match.

    Adam Yurchick - 1 Bobby Bruggeman - 1

    Game 3

    Both players mulliganed and kept their six card hands. Bruggeman led off with Concordia Pegasus while Yurchick played Goblin Electromancer. Bruggeman flew in for one and played Vassal Soul. Yurchick attacked into it -- no blocks -- and unleashed Splatter Thug.

    Bruggeman flew over for three and cast Soul Tithe enchanting the Thug. He also played Keening Apparition.

    "How many cards do you have?" asked Yurchick as he considered paying for the Thug and potentially racing. Bruggeman only had one card left. Yurchick thought for awhile before ultimately letting his Thug go. He rummaged away a Stab Wound he could not cast with his Viashino Racketeer and passed the turn with an Island up.

    Common Bond meant that Bruggeman was now flying in for five -- he had four mana so he was able to dodge the Electromantically powered Suncopate.

    Adam Yurchick

    Adam frowned at the board and calculated how many possessions he had left in this game. His Tower Drake hit the board but was not going to be able to deal with either of the counter-enchanced fliers. Yurchick fell to 6 from Bruggeman's -- who was at 14 -- next attack. Yurchick just sent in his Electromancer. Then played his sixth land and tapped out for a leashed Chaos Imps. Bruggeman sent the turn back with no play and no attack.

    Carnival Hellsteed was up next and it was unleashed. Bruggeman threw his Apparition in the way. Courser's Accord yielded two centaur's for the Hellsteed to slaughter over the next two turns. Yurchick played pursuit of Flight on his Goblin. He was content to play this game and continued to just send in his four legged Abyss each turn while Bruggeman's team was whittled down to just his two fliers.

    Bruggeman tried Collective Blessing but Yurchick finally was able to Syncopate something and one all out attack later and Bruggeman was extending his hand to congratulate Yurchick on the 10-0 start to his tournament.

    Final Result: Adam Yurchick - 2 Bobby Bruggeman - 1


     

  • Round 11 Feature Match – Chris Fennell vs. Adam Yurchick

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • The two remaining undefeated players of Grand Prix Indianapolis, Chris Fennell and Adam Yurchick, quickly got ready for their match to see who will continue on without a single loss. Yurchick's Izzet deck splashing black, as seen from the round 10 feature match, can pack a punch, but Chris Fennell was more than happy with the results of this draft, as he sat down with a deck featuring an assortment of powerful Selesnya cards... along with a splash for the powerful Pack Rat.

    Game 1

    Fennell won the die roll and snap-kept his seven cards, while Yurchick sent his opening hand back for six new cards. "So bad..." Yurchick said, as he sent his less than optimal six card hand back for five... and those five were immediately sent back to four.

    "This is pretty anticlimactic, Adam," Fennell said, as Yurchick kept his four. Fennell's turns started off with guildgates into Centaur Healer, while Yurchick had a third-turn Lobber Crew. Fennell played Stonefare Crocodile, intent on pushing some damage through on the next turn, while Yurchick ensured that he'd have no mana troubles with Chromatic Lantern.

    Adam Yurchick fights back after a mulligan to four.

    Both of Fennell's creatures were sent in, dropping Yurchick to 17, as Selesnya Keyrune ramped him up. Yurchick played another land and a Stab Wound on Centaur's Healer. Fennell sent in his creatures and followed with Courser's Accord. When Yurchick's Chaos Imps met Trostani's Judgment, and as the centaur army grew in size, Yurchick quickly scooped up his cards for the second game.

    Fennell 1 - Yurchick 0

    Game 2

    Yurchick was content with his seven card hand this time around, but that content turned to desperation as he lacked an answer for Fennell's second turn Pack Rat. Yurchick unleashed a Splatter Thug, resigned to racing the Pack Rat army. Fennell's Pack Rat did its thing, attacking for 2 on the next turn after Fennell made a copy. Yurchick unleashed another Splatter Thug, while Fennell made another Pack Rat token and sent in his other rats, bringing Yurchick to 12.

    Fennell's Pack Rats quickly multiply, as Pack Rats typically do.

    Yurchick unloaded more cards, this time with Viashino Racketeer (discarding Stab Wound) and Goblin Electromancer, as the Splatter Thugs attacked for 6. A fourth Pack Rat token joined the others on Fennell's turn, as Yurchick traded his Electromancer and Racketeer for one of the rats. Yurchick drew and, staring down a very major rat problem, offered the handshake.

    Fennell 2 - Yurchick 0


     

  • Sunday, 2:00 p.m. – Day One Undefeated Decklists

    by Brian David-Marshall

  • Bobby Bruggeman
    Grand Prix Indianapolis – Return to Ravnica Sealed

    Main Deck

    40 cards

    Forest
    Grove of the Guardian
    Island
    Plains
    Selesnya Guildgate

    17 lands

    Angel of Serenity
    Centaur Healer
    Concordia Pegasus
    Gatecreeper Vine
    Keening Apparition
    New Prahv Guildmage
    Selesnya Sentry
    Stealer of Secrets
    Towering Indrik
    Vassal Soul
    Voidwielder

    11 creatures

    Avenging Arrow
    Collective Blessing
    Coursers' Accord
    Eyes in the Skies
    Inaction Injunction
    Knightly Valor
    Rootborn Defenses
    Security Blockade
    Selesnya Keyrune
    Slime Molding

    12 other spells

    Sideboard
    Aerial Predation
    Aquus Steed
    Assassin's Strike
    Auger Spree
    Axebane Guardian
    Azor's Elocutors
    Blistercoil Weird
    Chorus of Might
    Chronic Flooding
    Cobblebrute
    Codex Shredder
    Cremate
    Crosstown Courier
    Dead Reveler
    Destroy the Evidence
    Deviant Glee
    Downsize
    Drainpipe Vermin
    Dreg Mangler
    Dynacharge
    Essence Backlash
    Frostburn Weird
    Gobbling Ooze
    Golgari Charm
    Golgari Guildgate
    Gore-House Chainwalker
    Grim Roustabout
    Hellhole Flailer
    Izzet Guildgate
    Mizzium Skin
    Necropolis Regent
    Oak Street Innkeeper
    Phantom General
    Pyroconvergence
    Rakdos Shred-Freak
    Slitherhead
    Slum Reaper
    Spawn of Rix Maadi
    Sphere of Safety
    Sphinx of the Chimes
    Splatter Thug
    Stab Wound
    Stonefare Crocodile
    Tablet of the Guilds
    Terrus Wurm
    Traitorous Instinct
    Trestle Troll
    Urban Burgeoning
    Viashino Racketeer

    56 sideboard cards



    Ryan Carpenter
    Grand Prix Indianapolis – Return to Ravnica Sealed


    Chris Fennell
    Grand Prix Indianapolis – Return to Ravnica Sealed

    Main Deck

    40 cards

    Azorius Guildgate
    Forest
    Island
    Plains
    Transguild Promenade

    17 lands

    Angel of Serenity
    Axebane Guardian
    Azorius Arrester
    Azor's Elocutors
    Centaur Healer
    Deadbridge Goliath
    Drudge Beetle
    Fencing Ace
    Gatecreeper Vine
    Isperia's Skywatch
    Keening Apparition
    Korozda Monitor
    Seller of Songbirds
    Soulsworn Spirit
    Sunspire Griffin

    16 creatures

    Arrest
    Azorius Charm
    Common Bond
    Coursers' Accord
    Eyes in the Skies
    Paralyzing Grasp
    Selesnya Keyrune

    7 other spells

    Sideboard
    Axebane Stag
    Batterhorn
    Carnival Hellsteed
    Catacomb Slug
    Cobblebrute
    Concordia Pegasus
    Cremate
    Crosstown Courier
    Dead Reveler
    Destroy the Evidence
    Downsize
    Drainpipe Vermin
    Druid's Deliverance
    Electrickery
    Essence Backlash
    Ethereal Armor
    Explosive Impact
    Frostburn Weird
    Gobbling Ooze
    Gore-House Chainwalker
    Grisly Salvage
    Inaction Injunction
    Inspiration
    Launch Party
    Lobber Crew
    Mind Rot
    Minotaur Aggressor
    Pithing Needle
    Pursuit of Flight
    Pyroconvergence
    Racecourse Fury
    Rakdos Keyrune
    Rakdos Shred-Freak
    Rix Maadi Guildmage
    Rootborn Defenses
    Rubbleback Rhino
    Sewer Shambler
    Skull Rend
    Slaughter Games
    Slum Reaper
    Spawn of Rix Maadi
    Sphere of Safety
    Stab Wound
    Stonefare Crocodile
    Street Sweeper
    Survey the Wreckage
    Tablet of the Guilds
    Thoughtflare
    Tower Drake
    Towering Indrik
    Traitorous Instinct
    Treasured Find

    58 sideboard cards


    Adam Yurchick
    Grand Prix Indianapolis – Return to Ravnica Sealed

    Main Deck

    40 cards

    Island
    Izzet Guildgate
    Mountain
    Swamp
    Transguild Promenade

    18 lands

    Cobblebrute
    Daggerdrome Imp
    Dead Reveler
    Frostburn Weird
    Gore-House Chainwalker
    Rakdos Ragemutt
    Rix Maadi Guildmage
    Sewer Shambler
    Spawn of Rix Maadi
    Splatter Thug
    Viashino Racketeer
    Voidwielder

    13 creatures

    Auger Spree
    Electrickery
    Explosive Impact
    Goblin Rally
    Pursuit of Flight
    Thoughtflare
    Traitorous Instinct

    9 other spells

    Sideboard
    Abrupt Decay
    Aquus Steed
    Archon of the Triumvirate
    Axebane Stag
    Azorius Keyrune
    Cancel
    Catacomb Slug
    Centaur Healer
    Centaur's Herald
    Chemister's Trick
    Chronic Flooding
    Conjured Currency
    Cremate
    Dark Revenant
    Doorkeeper
    Downsize
    Druid's Deliverance
    Essence Backlash
    Eyes in the Skies
    Fencing Ace
    Gatecreeper Vine
    Giant Growth
    Grove of the Guardian
    Heroes' Reunion
    Horncaller's Chant
    Inaction Injunction
    Inspiration
    Isperia's Skywatch
    Izzet Staticaster
    Keening Apparition
    Launch Party
    Lyev Skyknight
    Ogre Jailbreaker
    Overgrown Tomb
    Pyroconvergence
    Rest in Peace
    Risen Sanctuary
    Rites of Reaping
    Rootborn Defenses
    Rubbleback Rhino
    Security Blockade
    Selesnya Guildgate
    Selesnya Sentry
    Seller of Songbirds
    Soul Tithe
    Stealer of Secrets
    Stonefare Crocodile
    Street Sweeper
    Survey the Wreckage
    Tower Drake
    Trained Caracal
    Trestle Troll
    Trostani's Judgment
    Urban Burgeoning

    60 sideboard cards





     

  • Sunday, 3:10 p.m. – Paying the Price of Progress

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • When a Grand Prix takes place in your hometown, it's hard to resist the call to play. For Nate Price, coverage reporter and writer for DailyMTG.com's aptly named 'Price of Progress' column, Grand Prix Indianapolis represented one of his first times to play in a major event since... well, a long time.

    "The last Grand Prix I played in was about three years ago," Nate said. Between then and now, Nate has gone to lots of Grand Prixs and Pro Tour events... but his role was reserved to behind-the-scenes, as the man looking over a laptop as players battle it out in the feature match area.

    Nate Price, author of DailyMTG.com's 'Price of Progress' column, has proven that he knows how to build a Limited deck or two this weekend.

    Nate is no stranger to the Limited format for Return to Ravnica. As a coverage reporter, he has learned a lot by talking to some of the greatest of the game. Watching them draft, play, and discuss can be a great way to learn what to do, and what to avoid.

    That, and the hotel lobby Booster Drafts that are commonly seen at Pro Tour stops certainly don't hurt. I've got a couple memories of Nate promptly destroying me in coverage drafts from this year.

    His experience with the fundamentals of Sealed Pack and his experience with the game itself for over seven years has also served him well this weekend. After all, as the author to a Sealed Pack column on DailyMTG.com, Nate knows more than a few things about what to do with the 84 cards you are given in a Sealed Pack event.

    Nate tackled Day 1 by piloting an Izzet deck splashing white for Trostani's Judgment, Dramatic Rescue, and Skymark Roc. "My Sealed pool was fairly average," he said, noting that Mercurial Chemister was his only solid bomb. "I splashed white because I needed to be able to race, and these cards all helped me do that."

    Nate navigated his Izzet deck through nine rounds during Day 1, earning himself a 7-2 record by the end, which was good enough to get him into Sunday's drafts.

    For the first draft of the day, Nate went in with a preference for the Golgari archetype. He sat down intent on the green-black guild as his goal. The result was a solid green-black deck that featured multiple Giant Growth effects, a couple of solid scavenge creatures, and a whopping four Daggerdrome Imps to be targets for these cards.

    The Golgari guild served him well in the first draft, but fell a tad short in the final game of his third match, where his deck ultimately sputtered out, unable to provide him with a spell to fight back against Corey Hennings in the twelfth round. He headed into the second Booster Draft at 9-3, and will need to win out for a shot at the Top 16.

    While the dream of a Top 8 at a local Grand Prix might be over for the veteran coverage reporter, he isn't ready to give up yet. With three rounds left to play at Grand Prix Indianapolis, Nate Price continues to progress through the tournament, undaunted by his one loss for the day and ready to tackle the second Booster Draft.




     

  • Sunday, 3:50 p.m. – Drafting with Ben Stark

    by Brian David-Marshall

  • Pod one of the penultimate draft of GP Indy was pretty impressive with Sam Kuprewicz being the only relative unknown sitting around a table with the likes Luis Scott-Vargas, Josh Utter-Leyton, Ben Stark, Adam Yurchick, Chris Fennell, Caleb Durward, and Brian Demars -- all of whom have found success to varying degrees at the Grand Prix level.

    It was also tough to pick who to sit behind for draft coverage. LSV is always a crowd pleaser; Josh Utter-Leyton simply deserves more attention for his impeccable play; and Chris Fennell was the only undefeated player riding a 14 match winning streak between the Trial he won and rounds played in this tournament. I could have picked anyone at this table but in the end decided upon Ben Stark. We had been talking about draft earlier and I wanted to see him action and get a sense of what he values in this format.

    The pod was seated as follows:

    1. Sam Kuprewicz
    2. Caleb Durward
    3. Ben Stark
    4. Brian Demars
    5. Chris Fennell
    6. Josh Utter-Leyton
    7. Adam Yurchick
    8. Luis Scott-Vargas

    "Super easy," said Stark of his first pick of Soulsworn Spirit over a handful of less-likely first picks that included Lobber Crew, Launch Party, Sluiceway Scorpion, Stonefare Crocodile, Isperia Skywatch, and Nivmagus Elemental. "The rest of the cards in that pack were just replacement level cards while Soulsworn Spirit is a difference maker."

    His second pick offered up a choice between Street Spasm, Auger Spree, and Splatter Thug and possibly an Ogre Jailbreaker but Stark was only looking at the instants. He chose the monocolored removal spell to keep himself open.

    "You don't want to take a red-black card that is about equal in power to a red card when you have just first picked a blue card. I don't know what I am going to end up playing yet -- if I was red-black aggro I would take the Auger Spree but if I am red-blue I would much rather have a Street Spasm."

    Ben Stark

    His third pick -- one he considers pivotal to the success or failure of a draft -- ended up having major repercussions for Stark even though the Lyev Skyknight did not make it into his final deck.

    "I am just king the best card in the pack at that point," said Stark who could have taken Nivix Guildmage or Skyline Predator. "Once you get to a third or fourth pick that is where drafts are really decided. You should always be willing to throw away your first two picks and not even play them. Pick three, pick four, and pack five is where you are really trying to read what you are really seeing and where you are going to go. Skyknight was so much better than the other cards. I was definitely going to take that out of that pack."

    His next two picks were back to back layups with Annihilating Fires. When looking back at those picks it just made the Pro Tour Paris Champion sigh. He took a Cobblebrute out of a weak looking pack with his next pick but there was the potential for something better lurking further back.

    "This is where I messed up," he explained. Not a typical reaction to a draft walkthrough which just saw you get two mid-pack removal spells. At this point he was locked into red and could play red-blue splashing black or white or red-black splashing blue. "Because I already had the Skyknight I did not really see the Rakdos Guildgate in that pack and took Cobblebrute. He is so meh -- although he does get better if you have two Annihilating Fire. It was a tough pack but considering that I had already seen an Auger Spree -- and the black stuff is so splashable -- that pick was wrong. That is not just being results oriented either. If I had the draft to do over again with random packs after that point I would take the Guildgate. I am committed to red at that point but everything else should be completely open. That was just a bad pick."

    His Isperia Skywatch from the opening pack tabled around to him and when pack one came to a close he had a handful of good instant speed removal but not the rank and file creatures you might want for a game of Limited Magic -- or so I thought anyway.

    "If you are not playing a green deck with pump spells and creature enchantments you don't need you creature count to be that high," Stark explained. "People overrate that. You need to have like 15 or 16 creatures if you are playing Giant Growth but if you are playing a bunch of board sweepers and Annihilating Fires you would always want to have Annihilating Fire over a creature. It is still one for one. That was not a really big concern. I would be happy with a deck with 8 creatures and good removal."

    He continued on that theme and took Izzet Charm out of his opening pack over Izzet Staticaster and Ash Zealot.

    "Izzet Charm is just so much better than Ash Zealot. You counter cards like Trostani's Judgment and Courser's Accord -- Collective Blessing. You can get them in combat when they use their trick like Common Bond. You can do two to a Guildmage. It is not a bomb but it is nice flexible removal. It just does everything you want at all times."

    To this point he was still base red and open to playing his deck in any number of color configurations. Even his second pick Frostburn Weird still only committed him to red cards. When did he commit to playing blue as well?

    "When I get the Mercurial Chemister third," laughed Stark. "It is one of the best cards in the set. It is a very good card, a first pick quality card. On the scale of 1-10 it is a 9."

    He followed that up with another Street Spasm and then a Voidwielder -- a pretty good indication that he had positioned himself perfectly for the Izzet goodies to flow in pack two.

    Bloodfray Giant over Voidwielder led off his third set of packs and that was a no-brainer in Stark's book hardly worthy of comment. It was clear that he was still able to get red but the packs were a little dry for his colors. He shook his head as had to take Explosive Impact with one of his early picks and he did get a third Annihilating Fire. But he could only mourn for the deck that could have been.

    "Clearly I know my read is right when I get passed a fourth pick Annihilating Fire. I just would have liked to get something like a Frostburn Weird over an Explosive Impact," said Stark giving his deck a rating of 7. He felt it could have been a 9 if he had been more open to drafting black and taken the Rakdos Guildgates. Possibly being able to splash Auger Spree and a Rakdos Ragematt that went by late in the last two sets of packs. "I would have had perfect mana..."

    His deck still looked pretty good to me. You can judge for yourself.

    Ben Stark
    Grand Prix Indianapolis – Draft Two




     

  • Round 13 Feature Match – Caleb Durward vs. Ben Stark

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • "Good draft, huh," said Ben Stark to Caleb Durward, as the two discussed how their second Booster Draft went. "Yeah," Durward said. "I typically do better in Booster Drafts with a weaker card pool," he said, "But in drafts like this, it's harder to say," Durward said. "I'm not too good at this format," he followed.

    Durward, who drafted a solid Golgari deck, was facing off against Stark's Izzet deck, featuring plenty of powerful removal spells and a solid line-up of great commons and uncommons.

    Game 1

    Durward debated on his opening seven, but opted for a mulligan, while Stark was content with his first hand. Stark was first on the board with Frostburn Weird, which halted Durward's third-turn Dreg Mangler. Stark kept his curve going with Tower Drake, and on the fourth turn, matched Durward's Sluiceway Scorpion with an unleashed Bloodfray Giant, sending in the Tower Drake for 2.

    Durard sent the Dreg Mangler in on the fifth turn after playing Kurozda Guildmage, which Stark did not block, instead going to 17. Stark continued his curve with Voidwielder to bounce Durward's Sluiceway Scorpion, allowing the Bloodfray Giant to start brawling.

    Ben Stark's Izzet deck had loads of great blue-red goodies.

    Durward attacked with the Dreg Mangler, which took out Stark's Voidwielder after Kurozda Guildmage pumped it up, and Stonefare Crocodile soon followed. However, Stark had the powerful Mercurial Chemister on the next turn, as the Bloodfray Giant continued to crash in with the Tower Drake, sending Durward to 4.

    Durward played Golgari Keyrune and passed with mana open for Kurozda Guildmage's effects, but with Stark's Chemister active, things were going to be tough. Stark sent the Tower Drake and Bloodfray Giant in, and Durward threw the Stonefare Crocodile and Dreg Mangler in the Giant's path, going to 2. Durward had Launch Party, sacrificing the guildmage, to take out Stark's air forces, but when Durward's only follow-up was Sluiceway Scorpion once more, the Mercurial Chemister drew some cards, and Isperia's Skywatch earned the concession from Durward.

    Durward 0 - Stark 1

    Game 2

    Durward drew his opening hand, let out a simple "Nope," and shuffled up for a new hand. Stark looked at his seven and quickly chose to keep. Durward led off with Drudge Beetle, while Stark deployed a Doorkeeper to put any sort of aggression at a standstill. Durward followed with a leashed Dead Reveler. "Good choice," Stark said, as he played Stealer of Secrets.

    Durward promptly invited Stark's fourth turn Bloodfray Giant to a Launch Party, costing Durward his Drudge Beetle. Another Launch Party was used in response to an Annihilating Fire from Stark, taking out his Stealer of Secrets. Durward finished up with his last card in hand, a Sluiceway Scorpion, as Stark deployed another Doorkeeper and Stealer of Secrets. "If at first you don't succeed," Stark said, aiming a second Annihilating Fire at the Sluiceway Scorpion, as the Stealer of Secrets began to draw Stark cards.

    Durward found a Kurozda Guildmage waiting on top, giving him a blocker for Stealer of Secrets. Stark, not content with losing his card drawing creature, passed back after playing Tower Drake. Trestle Troll gave Durward a blocker, as Stark drew and passed.

    Durward found and played Golgari Keyrune, and then activated Kurozda Guildmage, earning an Explosive Impact from Stark on the guildmage. When Stark drew Street Spasm, he shrugged, playing it on the Trestle Troll while Durward didn't have the mana to regenerate it, clearing the path for the stealer of Secrets once again.

    Isperia's Skywatch from Stark locked down Durward's freshly played Perilous Shadows. With Stark's airforce now a sizable threat, and Durward working off the top of his deck, the game was all but over, as the flying forces attacked each turn. Two turns later, Durward offered the handshake.

    Durward 0 - Stark 2


     

  • Round 14 Feature Match – Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Adam Yurchick

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Both Josh Utter-Leyon and Adam Yurchick needed a win in order to secure a spot in the Top 8. While Utter-Leyton was battling alongside his teammate Luis Scott-Vargas, Yurchick was battling back after a rough 1-2

    Game 1

    Utter-Leyon's first play of the game was Keening Appariation, while Yurchick started off a little more aggressively with a second-turn attack from Ash Zealot. However, Utter-Leyton had a double-whammy on the third turn with Centaur Healer, gaining back some of the lost life while giving him a creature that was bigger than the Zealot.

    This didn't stop Yurchick from attacking in though, and as Utter-Leyton debated, he eventually let the attack go through, going back to 19. Yurchick followed the attack with Nivix Guildmage before passing action back to Utter-Leyton.

    An attack with Keening Apparition met no resistance from Yurchick, who fell to 16, as Utter-Leyton passed with four open. Yurchick dropped a large Cobblebrute into play, while Utter-Leyton continued to play lands, showing no signs of other spells. Inaction Injunction locked down Centaur Healer, as Yurchick sent his creatures into combat. Utter-Leyton debated on blocks, ultimately putting Keening Apparition in front of the Cobblebrute, and falling to 15.

    The game started to slow down, as Utter-Leyton added yet another land to his table, while Yurchick dug with Viashino Racketeer, discarding another copy of the creature to draw into a second blue source.

    Utter-Leyton found a Centaur's Herald and passed back. When Yurchick sent Ash Zealot in, Utter-Leyton blocked with the Centaur Healer. Yurchick had a Dynacharge for the Ash Zealot. In response, Utter-Leyton popped his Centaur's Herald, and then used Rootborn Defenses to save his centaur while getting a 3/3 token. Voidwielder allowed Yurchick to get one of the new centaur tokens off of the table.

    On the next turn, Yurchick unloaded with Hypersonic Dragon, giving him a fast clock if Utter-Leyton didn't find anything soon. Utter-Leyton cast a new Centaur's Herald and then sent his two 3/3 creatures in. Yurchick blocked with Racketeer and Voidwielder, but Utter-Leyton had Chorus of Might to take out both creatures, as Yurchick fell to 12.

    Adam Yurchick attempts to navigate his Izzet deck past his Selesnya opponent's defenses.

    The Hypersonic Dragon continued to attack in, bringing Utter-Leyton to 7. Cobblebrute gave Yurchick a blocker for one of Utter-Leyton's two 3/3s, which was soon joined by a third when he sacrificed Centaur's Herald. Utter-Leyton sent the centaurs in. Cobblebrute jumped in front of one of the tokens, as Yurchick fell to 6. Yurchick drew and discard Teleportal at the end of Utter-Leyton's turn...wait. What?

    Yurchick reeled when he realized what he just did. "I'm so bad," he said, knowing that he just denied himself an out if Utter-Leyton had Eyes in the Skies. He drew a card, and sent in his two creatures.

    When Utter-Leyton went for Eyes in the Skies, Yurchick revealed his draw for the turn: Dispel.

    The top-decked Dispel shut down Utter-Leyton's efforts to survive the turn. It wasn't pretty, but Yurchick locked up the first game nonetheless.

    Utter-Leyton 0 - Yurchick 1

    Game 2

    Utter-Leyton led off with Centaur's Herald into Call of the Conclave, giving him an incredibly fast start, as Yurchick's first two turns consisted of two Mountains. Lobber Crew gave Yurchick a way to slow down the damage, as Utter-Leyton turned the Herald into a centaur token.

    Utter-Leyton's attacks dropped Yurchick to 14, and Centaur healer brought Utter-leyton to 23. Yurhick played a fourth Mountain, missing any blue, as Cobblebrute came down to jump in front of a centaur. Instead, it was exiled by Utter-Leyton's Selesnya Charm, as attacks brought to 8. Concordia Pegasus came down next, while Yurchick, still short of blue mana and now a fifth land, cast a leashed Bloodfray Giant. It blocked a centaur token, as Eyes in the Skies populated a centaur before damage.

    Yurchick, overwhelmed by a heavily populated start, picked up his cards for a third game.

    Utter-Leyton 1 - Yurchick 1

    Game 3

    Yurchick debated over his opening hand, but ultimately decided to keep, while Utter-Leyton quickly tossed his first seven back. His next six were acceptable, and Utter-Leyton led off the game with Centaur's Herald.

    Neither player had any turn two plays, as Yurchick cast an Izzet Keyrune, giving him blue mana that he needed. Utter-Leyton passed the third turn with three open, as Yurchick played Goblin Electromancer and passed. When Utter-Leyton popped Centaur's Herald, Yurchick was ready with Annihilating Fire, casting it for two mana instead of three despite missing a land drop.

    Utter-Leyton got a token online with Security Blockade, but Yurchick found a land on the fifth turn to let him cast Hypersonic Dragon. Both it and the Goblin Electromancer were sent into combat, as Utter-Leyton took 5 damage (thanks to the Security Blockade).

    Josh Utter-Leyton plays a game of draw-go, his deck content to interact with his opponent during their turn.

    The vigilant soldier token attacked, bringing Yurchick to 18, and Utter-Leyton passed with all mana open. Yurchick drew and went to combat, attacking with both the Hypersonic Dragon and Goblin Electromancer once again. Utter-leyton took 5, and when Yurchick played Viashino Racketeer, he aimed an Avenging Arrow at the dragon. Yurchick had the Dispel, and then resolved his Racketeer for a card.

    Utter-Leyton thought for a few minutes, and then played a sixth land before passing with all mana open, representing plenty of instant tricks.

    Yurchick sent his team in, and when Utter-Leyton went for Rootborn Defenses, Explosive Impact left the Selesnya player stranded, as Utter-Leyton fell to 3.

    Utter-Leyton untapped, played a land, and passed again. Eyes in the Skies and Swift Justice allowed Utter-Leyton to take out both of Yurchick's 2 power attackers on the next turn, falling to 2 after the lifegain from Swift Justice and Security Blockade protection. Cobblebrute from Yurchick followed, and on the next turn, the remaining bird token flew in front of the dragon while Selesnya Charm exiled the 5/2.

    Utter-Leyton bought another turn with another Eyes in the Skies, and Coursers' Accord gave him a way to fight back against Yurchick's replacement Cobblebrute, but eventually, the Hypersonic Dragon did its job, as Utter-Leyton offered the handshake.

    Utter-Leyton 1 - Yurchick 2


     

  • Round 15 Feature Match – Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Brian Demars

    by Brian David-Marshall

  • Josh Utter-Leyton has been one of the quietest most consistent performers on the Pro Tour for several years now but he found himself on the wrong side of the math to make the Top 8 this weekend. Rather than play against his good friend and teammate Luis Scott-Vargas in the 13th round, when Utter-Leyton had one loss and LSV two, he conceded. He lost his next round and now was hoping to salvage a Top 16 finish with a win against Brian Demars.

    That was potentially bad news for Demars who was third in the standings coming into the round but was paired all the way down against Utter-Leyton in 14th. He had been hoping he would be able to draw into the Top 8 but now the GP Boston winner found himself having to fight his way in through one of the toughest competitors in the game.

    Game One

    To make matters a little harder on Demars Josh led off with Call of the Conclave on the play -- one of the fastest ways a Selesnya deck can come online with an assortment of populate spells they can play for two to four mana.

    Demars was putting on an unleash display with Dead Revelers -- which was stopped in its tracks by a Towering Indrik -- and then a Bloodfray Giant. Demars quickly fell to 11 from the centaur token -- none of his creatures could block -- and Josh left the Indrik back to tussle. It blocked the Revelers and Selesnya Chram exiled the 5 power giant.

    Brian Demars

    "Three cards?" asked Demars who was trying to decide if he wanted to Skull Rend or use his mana to play removal. He passed the turn with no play. Josh had Avenging Arrow for the Revelers. Demars took that window of opportunity to play Auger Spree on the token.

    Utter-Leyton cracked in for two with his Indrik and summoned Golgari Longlegs. Skull Rend to get last two cards in hand -- Trostani's Judgment and Courser's Accord -- but Common Bond off the top dealt the last 9 damage in one precise strike across the red zone.

    Josh Utter-Leyton - 1 Brian Demars - 0

    Game Two

    Demars led off with a Tavern Swindler and Frostburn Weird sandwiched around Utter-Leyton's Concordia Pegasus. Security Blockade made a token for Utter-Leyton and once again Demars had the turn four Bloodfray Giant. Utter-Leyton made no play on turn four and Demars untapped to swing with everyone. Utter-Leyton blocked the Swindler with Pegasus and again had Selesnya Charm for the the Giant. Demars double pumped the Weird and Utter-Leyton smacked himself in the head when he forgot to use his Security Blockade -- see it happens to the best of them folks.

    Eyes in the Skies made another 2/2 and one flier during his own main phase when Demars couldn't punish Utter-Leyton with untapped mana and a myriad of potential removal spells.

    Demars had no play and Utter-Leyton began to attack for two in the air. Demars drew a Stab Wound for the Pegasus and played a second copy of Tavern Swindler. Utter-Leyton had another Eyes in the Skies at the end of the turn to make a third Knight and a second bird.

    Josh swung in with all three knights and his two fliers. Demars -- who was tapped out -- lined up his three creatures hoping to trade two Swindlers for two knights and have the Frostburn Weird bounce with one of them. Common Bond made things much worse for him.

    He played Auger Spree on one of the enhanced tokens and passed the turn back to Utter-Leyton who used Keening Apparition as a disenchant and attacked with his Pegasus, two fliers and just his 3/3 token. Demars traded his Frostborn Weird for it. Utter-Leyton added Selesnya Sentry to his team.

    Josh Utter-Leyton

    Zanikev Locust could only look on in lonely futility as Utter-Leyton attacked for three with his Sentry with the requisite six mana available for regeneration. Utter-Leyton added Centar's Herald to the board. Demars mustered a leashed Dead Revelers but as soon as Utter-Leyton began preparing for an all-out attack he picked up his cards and asked for a draw or concession from Utter-Leyton.

    Demars was pretty confidant he would be ninth with the loss -- his second such finish this season and the despair on his face seemed to waver Utter-Leyton briefly but with Pro Points being so precious in terms of the Player's Championship, World Magic Cup and the newly re-announced Player of the Year chase he could not afford to let a Top 16 finish slip from his grasp.

    Final Result: Josh Utter-Leyton - 2 Brian Demars - 0


    • Planeswalker Points
    • Facebook Twitter
    • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
    • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
    • Magic Locator