gpokc13

Mondon Devoted to Victory in OKC

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Pierre-Christophe Mondon's devotion to green and black paid off, as the powerful Abhorrent Overlord led the way for him to claim the title of Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2013 Champion!

Mondon's devotion-filled green-black draft deck was filled to the brim with powerful cards, ranging from enablers like Karametra's Acolyte to incredible finishers such as Boon Satyr, Nyala, God of the Hunt, and Abhorrent Overlord. Sip of the Hemlock has also proven itself to be worth the mana cost, as the six cost removal spell served Mondon well throughout this Top 8. Paying six to destroy a creature might be expensive, but if it gets an otherwise unanswerable creature off of the table, the mana is still well worth the investment.

Oklahoma City's first Grand Prix was a rousing success, surpassing 1000 players and giving Magic fans worldwide a first-hand preview of the Theros Limited environment. What sorts of strategies will evolve from this introductory look at what bestow, monstrosity, and devotion have to offer at Pro Tour Theros next weekend?

We'll find out soon, but for now, we offer our congratulations to Mondon for his victory here this weekend, and we look forward to seeing what he will bring to the Pro Tour next year!





Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
5 Pierre-Christophe Mondon Pierre-Christophe Mondon, 2-0
7 James Fulgium Pierre-Christophe Mondon, 2-1
3 Ty Thomason Ty Thomason, 2-0 Pierre-Christophe Mondon, 2-1
2 Zach Dorsett
8 Tyler Brandstetter Tyler Brandstetter, 2-1
4 Rick Stout John Penick, 2-0
1 William Lowry John Penick, 2-0
6 John Penick









  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Oklahom City provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, Jacob van Lunen, and Rusty Kubis. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.


EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.   Mondon, Pierre-Christophe $3,500
 2.  Penick, John A $2,300
 3.   Thomason, Timothy "Ty" $1,500
 4.  Brandstetter, Tyler $1,500
 5.  Lowry, William W $1,000
 6.  Dorsett, Zach $1,000
 7.  Stout, James r $1,000
 8.   Fulgium, James $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • John Penick

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    He's a doctor.

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    8-1 Sealed Deck; BR Control5-1 Booster Draft; 2-1 with BR Control, 3-0 with RG Aggro

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    I didn't have anything in particular that stood out.




    Timothy Thomason

    Age: 29 (for 11 more days)
    Hometown: Houston, TX
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    State Champion in three different states! Played poorly in several Pro Tours. Finished Top 64 in several Grand Prix.

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    8-1 Sealed Deck; BW with Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Agent of the Fates, Hundred-Handed Ones5-1 Booster Draft; 3-0 with WB Cavalry Pegasus, 2-1 with UR with Stormbreath Dragon and Shipbreaker Kraken

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Agent of the Fates / Scholar of Athreos




    Tyler Brandstetter

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Mansfield, TX
    Occupation: Inventory Manager


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    None

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    7-2 Sealed Deck; BW with Fabled Hero6-0 Booster Draft; My friend Brett Cash told me to draft red decks so I did.

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Fabled Hero. That guy is insane.




    Rick Stout

    Age: 33
    Hometown: Springfield, MO
    Occupation: Pro Gamer / Card Dealer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    3rd place GP Minneapolis, Top 32 GP Chicago, qualified for many PTs and Worlds

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    8-1 Sealed Deck; RG Aggro

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Mountain, and it isn't close.




    Will Lowry

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Houston, TX
    Occupation: IT Support


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    5 Pro Tours, Grand Prix Top 8, Houston 2v2 Team Drafting Champion

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    9-0 Sealed Deck; BG Fatties with Erebos's Whip5-1 Booster Draft; 3-0 with WB Unicorns, 2-1 with BR Minotaurs

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Bow of Nylea




    Zachariah Dorsett

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Houston, TX
    Occupation: Marketing Professional


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Pro Tour Dragon's Maze Day 2

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    9-0 Sealed Deck; UG with lots of fliers and bounce and green for combat tricks.4-2 Booster Draft; 1-2 with an awful RB Aggro deck with NO TRICKS, 3-0 with an insane UB fliers deck

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Vaporkin. Between the three in my Sealed pool and the two I drafted in Pod 2, they probably netted me like a million damage.




    James Fulgium

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Enid, OK
    Occupation:Magic grinder


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    PT London, PT Prague, two-time US Nationals qualifier

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    12-2-1 Sealed Deck with a GW deck with Elspeth, Sun's Herald. I drafted UR Scry both drafts.

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Nessian Asp, Aqueous Form




    Pierre-Christophe Mondon

    Age: 29
    Hometown: I live in Kansas City, Kansas, but I'm from Columbus, OH originally
    Occupation: Dietary Manager at a nursing Home


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Beating all those dudes who now work at Wizards on the reg... LaPille, Stod, Aten, Globus, etc.

    What was our record in Sealed/Draft this weekend, and what did you play in Sealed/Draft?
    13-2; UB; UW

    What card has been the best for you this weekend?
    Kraken was Krackin’ Skulls 4x




     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff










  •  

  • Quarterfinals – Zach Dorsett vs. Ty Thomason

    by Nate Price

  • In fights between Gods and Monsters, it's inevitable that two titanic cards will clash in an epic showdown. I'd waited all weekend for it to happen in front of me, and this quarterfinals gave me my front-row seats to the spectacle.

    Unfortunately for Zach Dorsett and Ty Thomason, they had to meet in the quarterfinals of the Grand Prix. On a positive note, that meant that they made it to the quarterfinals of a Grand Prix. Good friends from Houston, Texas, Thomason and Dorsett were clearly a little dejected to have to face each other so early into the elimination rounds, but they were clearly in the mood to have a good time with each other, joking back and forth even in the face of dire circumstances.

    Dorsett's deck looked to have more power on paper, with a green/white deck set to do exactly as Sam Stoddard described in his most recent article: putting +1/+1 counters on things. Between his heroic triggers and monstrous creatures, he was able to present both a fast front and a massive back end that is the ideal of aggressive decks in this Theros Limited format. Led by the all-star Fleecemane Lion, Dorsett's deck was going to have a tense time dealing with Thomason's own bomb: Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Considered by many top-level players to be as close to unbeatable as a card can get in this format, it was going to be tough for Dorsett's monsters to deal with her if she ever hit play. Rounding out Thomason's deck were a nice cadre of black removal spells and delaying tactics, looking to hit the late game, where Elspeth will truly shine.

    Zach Dorsett

    Dorsett blasted out of the gates in the first game of the match, curving Fleecemane Lion and a couple of other creatures into play very early. He even had the Last Breath for Thomason's defensive Baleful Eidolon, clearing the path for his creatures to attack. All Thomason had for defense were a Heliod's Chosen-enchanted Scholar of Athreos and a Disciple of Phenax. Dorsett's Fleecemane Lion, Phalanx Leader, and Burnished Hart blasted in at Thomason's defensive front. Thomason lined his crew up to be able to survive the assault, but a Savage Surge on the Leader enhanced Dorsett's whole team, leading to Thomason losing one of his creatures.


    Despite facing down a very aggressive open from Dorsett and being fairly blown out during that previous attack, Thomason looked unexpectedly calm. When he played his sixth land and dropped an Elspeth, Sun's Herald, to save the day, it became very clear why.

    "How do you do it, Ty," Dorsett wondered aloud as Thomason reached for three Soldiers. With one more iteration on the following turn, Dorsett reached for his sideboard.

    "That card is so broken," he sighed as he thumbed through his board, looking for a way to deal with it. "I had a chance at a Glare of Heresy, but I don't remember if I took it."

    Dorsett tried to avoid being in a situation where he would need it in the next game, once again coming out of the gates with a Fleecemane Lion. It was temporarily halted by a Baleful Eidolon, but as soon as it went monstrous, there was no stopping it. Thomason made it a race by adding an Observant Alseid to his Eidolon, but a Feral Invocation pushed things even further in Dorsett's favor.

    With the life totals sitting at 14-11 in favor or Dorsett, the magical sixth turn rolled around. Dorsett grimaced as Thomason played his sixth land and began to tap them all. Once again, Elspeth returned to ruin the massive advantage Dorsett held. She began her work by creating a trio of blockers to hold down the fort before passing the turn.

    "I wish I had a question about the cool interactions in my deck," Dorsett joked.

    He began by using Heliod's Emissary to enchant Dorsett's Setessan Griffin, which would be able to dispatch Elspeth soon. He then took advantage of its newly enhanced power to allow Elspeth to clear away all of Dorsett's creatures except the Fleecemane Lion. That returned the Emissary to his side as a creature, demonstrating an elegant use of the bestow mechanic. The utter backbreaking play completely removed any hope Dorsett had of winning, and any fight he had left in him.

    Ty Thomason

    "Good games, man," Dorsett said, shaking his friend's hand.

    "You too," Thomason offered back. "Sorry we had to play in the first round."

    "Me too," Dorsett shrugged with a smile. "Good luck in the rest."




     

  • Quarterfinals – Tyler Brandstetter vs. Rick Stout

    by Corbin Hosler

  • The Top 8 quarterfinal was a meeting of two decks as different as the personalities of their pilots.

    On one side was Rick Stout, a loud card shop employee who didn't miss a chance to make conversation with anyone around him, from his opponent Tyler Brandstetter to the judge staff. His effusive disposition made his matches more lively than most and his carefree attitude extended to his deck, which he brought to the table unsleeved.

    On the other side of the table was Brandstetter, whose quiet demeanor matched his quiet but incredible run to the Top 8. Brandstetter was competing in just the second Grand Prix of his life and nearly dropped on Saturday when he found himself at 2-2 headed into Round 5.

    Eleven rounds later, Brandstetter was 12-2-1 and playing for a trip to the semifinals.

    The Decks

    Stout's deck was as rousing as he was. Playing the red-white deck that takes advantage of cheap creatures with the Heroic mechanic like Akroan Crusader and Favored Hoplite, Stout was capable of ferocious starts that could flood the board with creatures early and often to keep the pressure on his opponents. He backed up that early onslaught with a number of combat tricks and the explosive Dragon Mantle.

    Brandstetter, on the other hand, was playing a slower red-black deck that aimed to control the board early and take over late with big monsters like Keepsake Gorgon and the powerful mythic Hythonia the Cruel.

    The Games

    Stout won the roll and chose to play, demonstrating just how explosive his deck could be. A first-turn Akroan Crusader was suited up with a Dragon Mantle, pumped with Battlewise Valor and protected with Gods Willing. which quickly created an army of Solider tokens that kept Brandstetter on the back foot. Things went from bad to worse when Stout's Hoplite was given an Ordeal of Heliod and the army came crashing in.

    Rick Stout

    Already down to 12 life and facing down five creatures as he untapped to start his fourth turn, Brandstetter tried to stabilize with an Insatiable Harpy. The lifelinking flier looked like it might slow Stout's army of 1/1s, but a Portent of Betrayal changed all that, stealing the flier and sending Brandstetter down to just one life, compared with Stout's 31.

    But one life was all Branstetter needed.

    He calmly played a Keepsake Gorgon, and when Stout found a land waiting for him on top of his deck he was forced to pass the turn. A second Insatiable Harpy allowed Brandstetter begin crawling back, and a turn later he began to chip away at Stout's life total while restoring his own.

    Stout's draw step yielded him nothing but land for several turns, and by the time he had finally drawn something to play in his second Portent of Betrayal Brandstetter was back up to 15 life. A few more turns of attacking Harpies and the two were off to Game 2.

    "I just want to win this game," Stout said while the players shuffled up and kept the mood light by discussing the day's football games. "I don't even care if I win the next one, I just want to make it as ridiculous as possible."

    Again choosing to play, Stout got his chance. He led off with a Turn 1 Favored Hoplite and began to eat away at Brandstetter's life total before adding a Two-Headed Cerberus to the board and enchanting it with a Dragon's Mantle.

    Tyler Brandstetter

    "Mountain has been my best card all weekend," Stout said several turns later as he added a fourth one to the board and used it to pump the double-striking Cerberus' power and take Brandstetter's creatures off the board.

    Brandstetter tried to keep his life total high by blocking aggressively, but he was unable to find an answer to the Hound or play enough land to activate Monstrosity on his Keepsake Gorgon. A few more attacks and it was time for Game 3.

    Still enjoying the moment despite the pressure of the Top 8, Brandstetter was clear when Stout asked him if he wanted to play or draw first.

    "I think I'm like a thousand percent sure I want to play," he joked as he drew his opening seven.

    When his opening hand didn't contain enough aggression, Stout mulliganed to six to try and find a better one. He did, and was off to the races again with three creatures on the board by the end of Turn 2.

    But unlike the previous game, he was unable to keep the pressure on. Ahead on mana thanks to playing first, Brandstetter was able to match Stout's every play, trading creatures early and pulling ahead a few turns later with a Keepsake Gorgon.

    That was just the beginning. Next came the scariest Gorgon of the set in Hythonia the Cruel, eliciting a surprised exclamation from Stout.


    "That's the first Mythic I've had played on me all weekend, hold on and let me read it," he laughed as he faced the card toward him. "It's okay filler, I guess. Was it your 23rd card?"

    Playing along, Brandstetter agreed.

    "It's not like I first-picked it in the second pack or anything," he replied.

    Facing down such an imposing board, Stout drew his card and passed the turn back, urging Brandstetter to draw a land so he could activate Hythonia's Monstrosity ability.

    Brandstetter obliged, and before he could finish announcing the ability Stout had extended his hand to congratulate Brandstetter for moving on to the semifinals.

    Brandstetter 2 – Stout 1




     

  • Quarterfinals – James Fulgium vs. Pierre-Christophe Mondon

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • James Fulgium has made an appearance at two Pro Tours so far, and he's looking to secure his third invitation with a win here in the Quarterfinals of Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2013. His draft deck features an aggressive blue-red strategy, with some powerful plays involving Ordeal of Purphoros and Flamespeaker Adept, something he has been beating opponents with throughout Day Two.

    His opponent, Pierre-Christophe Mondon, has a Grand Prix Top 8 to his name already thanks to his finish at Grand Prix St. Louis in 2006. However, he prefers his claim to fame to instead be the regular beatdowns he'd throw down in local games against Magic R&D member Sam Stoddard, who was his former roommate years ago. His green-black deck sports some powerful monstrosity effects, including Keepsake Gorgon, one of the few truly powerful removal effects in the format.

    The Games

    Mondon was the one to earn first blood with an attack for 2 with a Satyr Hedonist, but Fulgium pushed ahead with a third-turn Minotaur Skullcleaver for 4. Ordeal of Purphoros followed on the fourth turn to give the Skullcleaver some added bite, attacking through a Disciple of Phalanx that only robbed Fulgium of a land on the previous turn.

    Rage of Purphoros let Fulgium take out Mondon's fifth-turn Kerametra's Acolyte, and another copy of the sorcery plus a fully-charged Ordeal of Purphoros let Fulgium dispose of Mondon's Nemesis of Mortals as well.

    James Fulgium

    However, things quickly turned around when Mondon aimed Sip of Hemlock at the now 5/5 Minotaur, as Fulgium was running out of gas. Keepsake Gorgon on the next turn threatened to make any comeback irrelevant, and Fulgium's only follow-up creatures became dwarfed by Mondon's board when it grew thanks to Escape from the Underworld to get back Nemesis of Mortals.

    The Abhorrent Overlord that followed this up earned a prompt concession from Fulgium.

    The second game featured a much more blistering start from Fulgium, who suited up his third-turn Flamespeaker Adept with both Ordeal of Purphoros and Aqueous Form on the fourth, punching in for 5 unblockable damage and a devastating three-turn clock.

    Pierre-Christophe Mondon

    Mondon, however, had a way to stop that clock before it got out of hand thanks to his Voyaging Satyr accelerating him into a Sip of Hemlock, giving Mondon some much needed breathing room. As Mondon attempted to build an offensive force, Fulgium worked his way for the final points of damage, eventually knocking Mondon from 7, to 3, and then to 1.

    However, 1 was no 0, and Mondon had amassed enough creatures with Nessian Asp and Nyleas, God of the Hunt pumping up an enchanted Discple of Phalanx for a lethal attack. Though the Nessian Asp was returned to Mondon's hand via Voyage's End on the turn Felgium pushed his opponent to 1, Nylea and the Disciple were able to finish things up.

    The card on top of Felgium's deck the turn he was finished off?

    Spark Jolt, a card he left on top thanks to the scry on his Voyage's End from the previous turn.

    Fulgium 0 – Mondon 2




     

  • Quarterfinals – William Lowry vs. John Penick

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • William Lowry made an excellent run throughout this weekend, going undefeated through yesterday's nine Sealed Pack rounds and coasting in at the top seed through two Theros Booster Drafts. Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2013 makes this his second Grand Prix Top 8, with his first taking place in Paris in 2011. His blue-white

    His opponent, John Penick from Springfield MO, is a Pro Tour Qualifier regular who has seen some success in outside tournament circuits in the last few years, had an impressive collection of blue-green creatures, including some powerful heroic effects like Triton Fortune Hunter and the downright brutal Centaur Battlemaster.

    The Games

    Penick opened with Omenspeaker into Triton Fortune Hunter, setting himself up for some card drawing in the later turns. Lowry's first play of the game was Lagonna-Band Elder, gaining zero life, on turn three. Lifegain for Penick game in the form of Nylea's Disciple, gaining him 2 life, while Lowry took to the skies with Wingsteed Rider. Penick sent the Fortune Hunter and Disciple in for an attack on the next turn, prompting Lowry to trade his 3 power Elder with Penick's 3/3 creature.

    John Penick

    Penick then followed up with a turn five Centaur Battlemaster, giving him some potentially deadly targets for any bestow effects on the next turn. Lowry, however, was stalled on three lands and struggled to fight back. Ordeal of Thassa pushed Penick ahead, enchanting the Battlemaster and growing it to a 7/7 after it attacked. Penick drew two cards from the sacrificed Ordeal, and then another card on the next turn when Nylea's Emissary was bestowed upon the Triton Fortune Hunter.

    Lowry, who found his fouth land a turn too late to mount any comeback, quickly succumbed to Penick's overwhelming board and card draw in the first game.

    The second game was much closer, as Lowry had a turn four Akroan Horse following his second-turn Traveling Philosopher and third-turn Battlewise Hoplite that started generating him soldier tokens. His Hoplite died to a block from Pennick before the Horse came down, as Penick quickly traded his Agent of Horizons for the dangerous 2/2 creature. Lowry also lost the first soldier token from the Horse to a surprise Breaching Hippocamp on the next turn. The Calvary Pegasus and Artisan of Forms that followed alongside Lowry's growing army gave him a way to start attacking in the air.

    William Lowry

    Penick, who had no fliers, had to keep Lowry on his toes, as he fired back with Nemesis of Forms. He sent in that and the Breaching Hippocamp on the next turn for 8, which went unblocked as Lowry amassed an army of humans to go with his Calvary Pegasus. However, another surprise blocker during this face in the form of Horizon Chimera left Lowry without an Artisan of Forms, putting Pennick in a commanding position.

    While Lowry had enough tokens to take out Hippocamp on another attack, he had to begin chump-blocking the Nemesis of Forms with the soldiers generated from the Akroan Horse he "gifted" Pennick with earlier in the game. On the deciding turn, Lowry went for the kill, giving one of his creatures Ordeal of Heliod for a potentially lethal swing if Penick had no trick.

    Penick, however, had Griptide to stay alive, going to 1, and then 2 thanks to Horizon Chimera. An attack back on the next turn represented lethal, and Lowry had nothing for it except a handshake.

    "That turn where I lost the 1/1 soldier token ended up costing me," Lowry said after the game, referring to the turn where Breaching Hippocamp gave Penick a surprise blocker. Had the token stuck around, he'd of had an extra human soldier to send into the skies with his attacking Calvary Pegasus each turn after that. The damage would have ended up winning Lowry the game in the long run. However, Penick's flash creature ensured that would not happen.

    Lowry 0 – Pennick 2




     

  • Semifinals - Ty Thomason vs. Pierre-Christophe Mondon

    by Nate Price

  • Fighting against the unfathomable power of Elspeth, Sun's Herald, is never easy, but Pierre-Christophe Mondon gave it his best shot in his semifinal match against Ty Thomason.

    Thomason had won his quarterfinal match against his friend Zach Dorsett on the back of the nigh-unbeatable Planeswalker making two turn-six appearances. As soon as she hit play, Dorsett's immense lead sublimed away, leaving him heading for the spectator's gallery. Mondon's GB deck with a heavy focus on devotion to green lacked the sheer speed available to Dorsett, which is one of the best ways to try and deal with Elspeth. Instead, his deck came stacked with a bunch of incredibly powerful devotion tricks that have the potential to dominate late games. The only problem: Elspeth lives in the late game. This was going to be a seriously uphill climb.

    The Games

    Already up against the wall thanks to Elspeth, things got worse as Mondon stalled on two lands despite a pair of Nylea's Presences. He had a Voyaging Satyr to help him out some, but he still fell behind early. Upon hitting his third land, he added yet more mana to his side in the form of a Karametra's Acolyte, looking to make up for lost time.

    It was all for naught, though, as Thomason once again blasted a turn-six Elspeth onto the board. She only stuck around two turns, making six Soldiers, before Mondon packed it in. Three times in three games Thomason had managed a turn-six Elspeth, and three times in three games he had come away with a victory. Some might call that a trend.

    "She was in my opening hand," Thomason said as I commented on her frequent turn-six appearances. "She did it again."

    "Elspeth is no joke," Mondon sighed. "I was feeling pretty good until that hit, too. I had a lot of stuff to do over the next turns."

    The second game showed a totally different side of Thomason's deck: the one that didn't have Elspeth. In her place, he drew the very aggressive side of his deck, featuring an armada of 2/2 creatures for two, including a Fleshmad Steed and a pair of Traveling Philosophers. He had some good disruption to aid his aggressive start, using a Disciple of Phenax to strip Mondon of a Keepsake Gorgon. Thomason got to see two of the three cards in Mondon's hand and chose to deny him the brick wall that was going to hit the table on the following turn.

    Unfortunately for Thomason, that was exactly what Mondon wanted. After getting in a few attacks with a Boon Satyr bestowed with a Leafcrown Dryad, Mondon found himself a chance to make a major play. Thomason aimed a Lash of the Whip at the Boon Satyr, but Mondon cut him off with a Rescue from the Underworld, sacrificing his Boon Satyr to get back his Gorgon. When the stack had cleared, Mondon was now the proud owner of three creatures where he had previously had one, and Thomason was down a card.

    Pierre Mondon

    Thomason's early aggression began to pay off as he drew a Mogis's Marauder to punch through for seven damage, dropping Mondon to 8 life. But by this point, Mondon's mana was starting to hit overtime. Karametra's Disciple enabled him to fill his board with creatures, leading to a massive board stall for a few turns. Thomason tried to force through enough damage to drop Mondon to 2, which would make his Sip of Hemlock lethal, but he was unable to get the damage done. Out of cards and out of luck, Thomason watched as the massive mana Mondon could generate made the Gorgon monstrous, clearing out the last of Thomason's blockers and clearing the way for a victorious attack.

    Without Elspeth's presence, Thomason's deck fell just short of the task, giving Mondon enough time for his late-game deck to truly shine. The final game of the match brought more of the same. Mondon's deck showed an impressive way to make devotion to green work, as well as the reason why he did. Early Nylea's Presences not only bolstered Mondon's devotion count, but they also helped him fly through his deck. Thomason's start was a little on the slower side, so Mondon wasn't really punished for devoting his turns to playing the enchantments. When he landed a Karanetra's Acolyte, he had access to lots of mana. Adding a Satyr Piper gave him something to do with that mana, and adding a Keepsake Gorgon and Sedge Scorpion gave him things that he wanted to be blocked. It was a very elegant combination, and he used it to great effect, clearing away Thomason's board.

    Ty Thomason

    Just when it looked like things couldn't get any worse for Thomason, Mondon drew and played his Nylea, God of the Hunt. Thanks to all of his Presences, he had enough green permanents to turn Nylea on, leaving him with a massive 6/6 indestructible creature. It was likely that his board would have been enough to take care of business without her, but the added threat of using that massive mana advantage to pump Mondon's troops sealed the deal. Two games in a row, Thomason had been unable to find his Elspeth, and two games in a row he had fallen. That is also what some might call a trend.

    "That's about the only way I have to beat Elspeth," Mondon said after the match.




     

  • Semifinals - John Penick vs. Tyler Brandstetter

    by Nate Price

  • Theros Limited is defined by the presence of large monsters. There are many ways to deal with them, and this match showcased some of the best options out there.

    John Penick came into the semis off of a decisive 2-0 victory in the quarterfinals. His deck UG deck is the perfect example of how a UG tempo deck is supposed to look: monsters, fliers, and lots of bounce. He was up against a deck that had the potential to be even more aggressive and beastly than his own. Tyler Brandstetter had taken the full three games to dispatch his quarterfinals opponent. Though his BR deck had been forced to really grind out his two wins, his deck contains a very large number of fast, large creatures. Like many BR decks, his beaters tended to be naturally big instead of relying on monstrous to get there. That gave him a much better way to match up against Penick's immense amount of bounce.

    The Games

    The first game of this match saw the two players fighting on different planes. Brandstetter took to the ground with a rumbling army of Borderland Minotaurs. Penick, meanwhile, put his troops in the air to try and race, relying primarily on a Horizon Chimera to do his dirty work.

    Brandstetter jumped out to the early lead, as his creatures were both faster and bigger than Penick's. Penick was able to slow the bleeding with a Breaching Hippocamp that flashed in to effectively act as a Doom Blade, taking out Brandstetter's Borderland Minotaur. A 4/4 Mistcutter Hydra and a Nylea's Disciple were the next beefy ground fighters to volunteer their defense. After trading away with most of Brandstetter's larger creatures, Penick found himself in a slightly less dangerous spot than he was before, though he was still not out of the woods.

    Tyler Brandstetter

    Brandstetter was stripped of his biggest creatures, but he was still able to get through for damage with his Minotaur Skullcleaver and Spearpoint Oread. Those attacks dried up completely when Penick found himself a Horizon Scholar, presenting a nigh-impassible 4/4 body.

    "That's a good one," Brandstetter remarked, knowing that the tides had just changed. The whole time Penick had been playing defense on the ground, his Horizon Chimera had been eating three-point chunks out of Brandstetter's life total, all while slowly padding his own life. It had done such a good job of keeping Penick in the game that it gave him the turns he needed to send his two fliers over the defenseless Brandstetter for a final attack, taking the first game in the sky.

    "I like that Chimera a lot," Brandstetter said after the game. "It gained you six life over the course of that game."

    John Penick

    In the second game, Penick didn't even need the life, as he decided to just straight up beat Brandstetter at his own game. He started small, adding an Ordeal of Thassa to his Omenspeaker. It eventually ran afoul of a Baleful Eidolon, exactly as Penick had hoped. With the deathtouch stopper out of the way, Penick was able to let his Centaur Battlemaster roam free. And by run free, I mean pick up a Nylea's Emissary and attack Brandstetter for a whopping 9 damage. Needless to say, it only took two of these attacks for Penick to put an exclamation point on his victory. The game was short and sweet, giving Penick plenty of time to rest before his upcoming shot at the title.




     

  • Finals - Pierre-Christophe Mondon vs. John Penick

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Pierre-Christophe Mondon and John Penick both quickly settled in for the final match of Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2013, the two players representing brutally efficient green-based decks in their own way. While Mondon has been powering out one massive threat after enough with his devotion-heavy green-black draft deck, Penick has been pummeling players with green and blue spells, notably with Centaur Battlemaster, a powerful target for enchantments like Ordeal of Thassa, as it would turn out.

    "I was kinda worried I was gonna have to play against an Elspeth." Penick said with a sigh of relief before the two players began.

    The Games

    Both players opened with mulligans. Mondon's second hand earned a head shake, as he went to five. Penick however was content trying a six-card hand that featured two Forests, Nemesis of Mortals, and some blue spells.

    Pierre-Christophe Mondon

    Mondon led with a second-turn Leafcrown Dryad. It attacked in, while Mondon had a third land. Penick, however, could not find blue mana, as the Leafcrown Dryad attacked in turn after turn. Mondon was stalled on three lands, forced to suffice with a late-to-the-party Voyaging Satyr. The Satyr and a fourth land off the top let Mondon play Nessian Asp.

    Penick finally found a card he could play with his Forests; a 4/4 Mistcutter Hydra. Sip of Hemlock immediately disposed of it, and a turn later, Pennick picked up his cards for the second game, with a hand full of blue cards stranded.

    "Wrong lands!" Penick said.

    The second game started off with dueling 3/3 creatures; Nessian Courser for Mondon, and Nylea's Disciple for Penick. Mondon's centaur, however, was joined by Nylea, God of the Hunt, on the fourth turn. Penick fired back with Centaur Battlemaster, giving him a great target for his in-hand Ordeal of Thassa on the next turn after Mondon's only play was Nessian Asp.

    The Battlemaster attacked in, growing to a 7/7 and drawing Penick two cards with his Ordeal. When Mondon went for the double block, he had Nessian Centaur returned to his hand with Voyage's End and lost the Asp to the 7/7 creature. Nemesis of Mortals took his creatures' place on the next turn.

    John Penick

    Things got downright nutty however when Nylea's Emissary was bestowed onto the Battlemaster, giving Penick a 13/13 trampler that would even make Krosan Cloudscraper nod its head with respect. It was enough to earn a concession on the next turn, as the two players shuffled up for the final game of the tournament.

    The third game had Mondon almost immediately announce a keep with his hand, while Penick tossed his seven back for another go.

    Nessian Courser was the first play of the final game from Mondon. Pennick matched it with Agent of Horizons. Mondon kept his Courser back and tapped out for Kerametra's Acolyte. Pennick, wary of something going on in Mondon's hand, sent Agent of Horizons in to test the waters. Mondon declined to block, going to 17, while Penick followed with Nylea's Disciple, gaining 3 life.

    Mondon calmly untapped, played Sedge Scorpion, then tapped his Acolyte and his remaining lands to cast Abhorrent Overlord. Penick promptly blocked the attacking Centaur Courser with his Disciple, and Mondon passed back with a commanding lead. Penick landed Nemesis of Mortals but was staring down a huge flier as he passed back.

    Mondon sacrificed one of his two harpy tokens, then bestowed Leafcrown Dryad onto the remaining harpy, attacking for 9 with his two fliers before playing Satyr Piper and passing the turn.

    Penick drew and cast Ordeal of Thassa on his Agent of Horizons. He sent in both of his creatures, and Mondon blocking the Nemesis with his Sedge Scorpion. Penick followed up attacks with a second Agent of Horizons. Mondon untapped, then sent in his entire team. When Agent of Horizons blocked Satyr Piper, Mondon retaliated with a bestowed Boon Satyr on the Leafcrown Dryad, going for 4 more points of damage and dropping Penick to 1.

    Penick untapped, drew, and looked for ways to survive. His final relevant card in hand, Griptide, gave him an option if Mondon didn't sacrifice the correct card. He passed, and on upkeep, sacrificed Leafcrown Dryad to free up his Boon Satyr as an attack. He then sent in his team, earning the handshake from Penick, who no longer had a way to prevent the last point of damage from being dealt.

    Congratulations to Pierre-Christophe Mondon, Grand Prix Oklahoma City 2013 Champion!




     

  • Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Oklahoma City

    by Event Coverage Staff



  • 5. Nessian Asp

    Coming into this event, it was clear that most of the top players in the world considered Nessian Asp one of the best commons in the set, and it isn't hard to see why. With an already impressive 4/5 body with reach of all things, it doesn't even really need monstrosity to be a devastating card. That said, it does have monstrosity, pushing it even further into the danger zone.

    Monstrosity is one of the defining characteristics of Theros Limited, giving players plenty of things to do with their excess mana in the later stages of the game. It also produces, well, monstrous creatures that absolutely must be dealt with, or they end games quickly. Nessian Asp and his monstrous kin did work all weekend long, particularly in Sealed Deck, where they ensured that players were not punished for flooding out and helped to make the format a more consistent one. If Nessian Asp is the face of the monstrosity, the synthol-injected biceps of monstrosity has to be Arbor Colossus, bringing laughable size for an unreasonably efficient cost. Every time the Colossus hit the table this weekend, it changed games, often resulting in a two-for-one, in addition to inevitably dealing a ridiculous amount of damage.








    4. Sea God's Revenge

    There was no card more universally sought after in Sealed Deck than Sea God's Revenge. Virtually every player that we asked listed it as the uncommon they most wanted to see in their Sealed Decks. Every undefeated Sealed Deck that had a copy played it, even going out of their way to make sure to splash it.

    In this format, built on large creatures and building monsters, bounce spells are at a premium. Sea God's Revenge, though a bit slow, completely erases multiple turns of work that an opponent does. It's like a one-sided Upheaval, putting opponents incredibly far behind and placing the reins firmly in the caster's hands. Time and again this weekend we saw players up against the ropes cast Sea God's Revenge from a seemingly unwinnable position and, all of a sudden, find themselves competing again. Oh, and it's got scry, too.

    The lesson: don't mess with Thassa.







    3. Keepsake Gorgon

    This could easily be Baleful Eidolon or Sedge Scorpion (yes, that Sedge Scorpion), but Keepsake Gorgon has a few extra things going for it, so it gets this spot in the Top 5. In a format so centered around monsters, deathtouch is king. In addition, thanks to the scarcity of unconditional removal in Theros, the dangerous five-drop made a name for itself in Oklahoma City. Already able to trade with anything it fights thanks to deathtouch or just outclass it in combat, what really set Keepsake Gorgon apart was its Monstrosity ability. Seven mana was attainable even in Draft, and the ability to kill nearly any creature at instant speed was instrumental in turning around board states, as Tyler Brandstetter demonstrated in his quarterfinal match against Rick Stout.

    Ben Stark may have put it best when describing the Sedge Scorpion and its impact on Sealed Deck.

    "That's why you want cards that are both good whenever you draw them and good in the late game," he said. "Sedge Scorpion is the perfect example of that kind of card. If you draw it early, you get in for a few points and then trade with their four drop. If you draw it on turn eight, you play it and you trade with their eight drop. It does everything you want a card to do in Sealed Deck: it interacts with opponents at every stage of the game."

    Add some more stats, monstrosity, and a sweet ability to that, and it's easy to see why the Gorgon is so good in this Limited format.

    Though I do recommend keeping your gaze averted...








    2. Elspeth, Sun's Champion

    Many players throughout the weekend, when asked which rare or mythic was the best card to open in Theros Limited, simply responded with one card.

    Elspeth.

    Players have used terms such as "unbeatable" to describe Elspeth's impact on a Limited game, and it has proven time and time again during matches this weekend that is truly is unbeatable. Semifinalist Ty Thomason proved this both in his Sealed on Day One and in his Top 8 Booster Draft, never losing a game once Elspeth entered the battlefield. Whenever Elspeth hit the table, Thomoson basically stopped playing Magic. He just changed some numbers on some dice, and waited while his opponent inevitably conceded.







    5. Abhorrent Overlord

    Only the most devoted players this weekend have not immediately conceded to an opponent's Abhorrent Overlord being put on the stack. This happened multiple times in the feature match area over the weekend, where the massive seven mana creature immediately ended the game when it hit play. Try Van Cleave used the powerful harpy-maker alongside Whip of Erebos earlier in the swiss to pull himself back in the game in his match against Greg Ogreenc, matching Ogreenc's Evangel of Heliod effect creature for creature.

    However, it was in the hands of Pierre-Christophe Mondon where Abhorrent Overlord did its best work, earning an immediate concession from James Fulgium in the Quarterfinal the moment it went on the stack. The devotion creature also allowed Mondon to race an evasion-heavy hand from John Penick in the third game of the final match. The Overlord's impact on a game is one that can rival even Elspeth, Sun's Champion, a monumental feat in a Magic Limited format.







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