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Hometown Hero Seizes the Initiative!

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Ottawa's own Jon Smithers is the Grand Prix–Toronto champion!

Heading in to the Top 8, all eyes were on Brad Nelson. His performance to that point this weekend had gone a long way to locking up the Player of the Year title, and the man just doesn't do a lot of losing. Even if you bucked convention and rooted for someone else, you had a lot of talent to choose from. Pro Tour veterans Eric Froehlich and Ben Stark, and two Magic Online ringers, David Howard and Dustin Faeder. The story on Smithers was that he was the guy who 10-0'd Day 1 with a pool full of rares. Just another guy who got a lucky pool and wouldn't last in draft.

Except he didn't crash and burn come Day 2. He posted a respectable 2-1 in the first draft, and won his next round to lock up a berth in the Top 8. In the Top 8 draft he brewed a controlling black-white deck with powerful equipment, and defeated first Howard and then Faeder. That meant that he would face the FFfreak himself in the finals. Brad Nelson was already mentally polishing the trophy after he took game 1. But Smithers dug in and managed to beat the best when it counted most.

Congratulations to Jon Smithers, Grand Prix–Toronto champion!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 David Howard   Jonathan Smithers, 2-0        
8 Jonathan Smithers   Jonathan Smithers, 2-1
       
4 Dustin Feigerle   Dustin Feigerle, 2-0   Jonathan Smithers, 2-1
5 Stephen Zhang    
       
2 Eric Froehlich   Ben Stark, 2-1
7 Ben Stark   Brad Nelson, 2-1
       
3 Patrick Cox   Brad Nelson, 2-1
6 Brad Nelson    


Follow live streaming video coverage of Grand Prix–Toronto at ggslive.com with Rashad Miller and Brandon Scheel.
EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

  • by Josh Bennett
    Finals
    Jonathan Smithers vs Brad Nelson

  • by Josh Bennett
    Semifinals Feature Match
    Ben Stark vs Brad Nelson

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Quarterfinal Feature Match:
    Brad Nelson vs. Pat Cox

  • by Brian David-Marshall
    Sunday, 8:34 p.m.
    Top 8 Drafting with Brad Nelson

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8:
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8:
    Player Profiles


  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2: Complete Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1: Complete Coverage

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  Smithers, Jonathan $3,500
 2.  Nelson, Brad J $2,300
 3.  Feigerle, Dustin M $1,500
 4.  Stark, Ben S $1,500
 5.  Froehlich, Eric $1,000
 6.  Howard, David C $1,000
 7.  Cox, Patrick B $1,000
 8.  Zhang, Stephen Y $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

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  • Top 8 - Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Pat Cox

    Name: Pat Cox

    Age: 26

    Occupation: Mechanical Engineer

    Hometown: Melbourne, Florida

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: Top 8 at GP Oakland.

    Byes This Weekend: 2

    How did you prepare for this event: Did a bunch of drafts at the Hollands' when the set came out.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Contagion Engine

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Wall of Tanglecord

    What was your record Day 1: 8-1-1

    What were your results for your two drafts: 2-1, 3-0

    What was your plan for draft: Anything but poison, because I don't know how to draft it.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Engulfing Slagwurm vs Volition Reins, and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon vs Volition Reins. Both in this Top 8. Rough life.



    Stephen Zhang

    Name: Stephen Zhang

    Age: 23

    Occupation: Corporate Finance

    Hometown: Wilbraham, Massachusettes

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: Day 2 at the Two-Headed-Giant GP. A few PTQ Top 8's.

    Byes This Weekend: 0

    How did you prepare for this event: A few practice sealeds with friends.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Sunblast Angel, Koth of the Hammer.

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Tumble Magnet

    What was your record Day 1: 8-2

    What were your results for your two drafts: 3-0, 2-0-1

    What was your plan for draft: I have almost no experience with the draft format, just a few team drafts with friends and an 8-man. I took the best cards for my colors and moved on.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Shatter vs Spikeshot Elder



    Ben Stark

    Name: Ben Stark

    Age: 27

    Occupation: Poker Player

    Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: GP Boston 2007 Finalist. 4 GP Top 8s, 2 PT Top 8s.

    Byes This Weekend: 3

    How did you prepare for this event: Drafted a little in Florida and talked about the format with The ChannelFireball guys.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Myr Battlesphere

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Moriok Replica

    What was your record Day 1: 9-1

    What were your results for your two drafts: 2-1, 2-1

    What was your plan for draft: Either poison or Metalcraft

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Chrome Steed or Plague Stinger



    Brad Nelson

    Name: Brad Nelson

    Age: 24

    Occupation: Professional Mage

    Hometown: Fargo, North Dakota

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: (again, Brad shows his modesty and abstains)

    Byes This Weekend: 3

    How did you prepare for this event: Magic Online.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Glint Hawk and Tumble Magnet

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Panic Spellbomb

    What was your record Day 1: 9-1

    What were your results for your two drafts: 2-1, 2-0-1

    What was your plan for draft: Win it.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Necropede or Oxidda Scrapmelter pick one, pack one. Twice I took Scrapmelter, and twice I think I was wrong.



    David Howard

    Name: David Howard

    Age: 25

    Occupation: Student

    Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: 11th GP Boston, 7th GP DC teams, 9th or 11th GP Pittsburgh Teams. 2000 limited on Magic Online three times.

    Byes This Weekend: 2

    How did you prepare for this event: Played the sealed 5K in Boston.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Indomitable Archangel, Ezuri's Brigade, Engulfing Slagwurm, True Conviction, Contagion Engine.

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Soul Parry

    What was your record Day 1: 8-2

    What were your results for your two drafts: 3-0, 2-0-1

    What was your plan for draft: I prefer Red/x but draft what comes.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Pick one, Pack one, Kemba vs Contagion Clasp. I took Kemba.



    Dustin Faeder

    Name: Dustin Faeder

    Age: 27

    Occupation: Law Student / Philosophy Teacher

    Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: None

    Byes This Weekend: 1

    How did you prepare for this event: 2 drafts at my local store, Prerelease and Release weekends, 2 Magic Online Release Sealeds, and three grinders.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Elspeth Tirel, Razor Hippogriff, Spikeshot Elder, Strata Scythe, Precursor Golem... and Sunspear Shikari!

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Sylvok Lifestaff

    What was your record Day 1: 9-1

    What were your results for your two drafts: 3-0, 1-1-1

    What was your plan for draft: Find the stream.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Took Accorder's Shield over Ezuri. Also Painsmith vs. mana Myr.



    Eric Froehlich

    Name: Eric Froehlich

    Age: 26

    Occupation: Poker Player

    Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: PT San Diego Top 8, US Nationals 2010 Top 8. This is my 6th GP Top 8.

    Byes This Weekend: 3

    How did you prepare for this event: Panorama drafts featuring David Williams, Brock Parker and Scott Seirer.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Hoard-Smelter Dragon and Arrest

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Everything was expected.

    What was your record Day 1: 9-1

    What were your results for your two drafts: 3-0, 1-0-2

    What was your plan for draft: Go infect if it was there.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: The packs were so bad for me that most of my picks were easy. The third pick of each draft when choosing to stay metalcraft or to go infect is the toughest.



    Jon Smithers

    Name: Jon Smithers

    Age: 23

    Occupation: Student

    Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario

    Previous Magic Accomplishments: Meh.

    Byes This Weekend: 1

    How did you prepare for this event: Too many Limited PTQ Top 4 exits (3) in the past few months.

    What were your Sealed Deck all-stars: Molten-Tail Masticore, Tempered Steel, Steel Hellkite, Kuldotha Phoenix... just to name a few.

    What card performed better than expected in Sealed: Ferrovore and Origin Spellbomb.

    What was your record Day 1: 10-0

    What were your results for your two drafts: 2-1 with Black-White, 1-0-2 with Red-Blue.

    What was your plan for draft: Stay open, always. Do not force Infect.

    What was your most difficult draft pick this weekend: Not sure. It was hard to read the signals when trying to decide on a second color.



     
  • Top 8: Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Ben Stark
    Grand Prix Toronto 2010: Top 8




    Eric Froehlich
    Grand Prix Toronto 2010: Top 8


    David Howard
    Grand Prix Toronto 2010: Top 8




     
  • Sunday, 8:34 p.m. – Top 8 Drafting with Brad Nelson

    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Brad Nelson needs little introduction to anyone who finds their way to the coverage page to read these words. As he was sitting down to draft for the Top 8 of GP Toronto it was quite possible that he could all but lock up the Player of the Year title if he could select the right 42 cards from the three booster packs in front of him.

    Brad opened the first pack and agonized between taking Oxidda Scrapmelter and Necropede -- a pick that had vexed him earlier in the day as well. He ultimately took the red card all the players refer to as the new Flametongue. He followed that with a second pick Leaden Myr over a couple of viable infect cards and then took Golem Artisan with his third pick. Chrome Steed joined Team Nelson before Brad made a pick that might be considered to be at odds with traditional pick orders. He took Sunspear Shikari -- a card that was very good for him in his Sealed Deck pool on Day One.

    Brad Nelson's First Pack

    "I think that card is like Squadron Hawk in M10 Limited," explained Brad after the draft. "I think if you pick them early they get better because you can build your deck around them."

    A late Trigon of Corruption was mildly surprising but not as much as when the Necropede came all the way back around the table.

    "This card can go in all seven of the other decks at this table and there were not seven better cards in that opening pack," said a grateful Nelson.

    The second set or packs led off with Arc Trail -- a slam dunk pick for him -- and he followed it up with an even more aggressively drafted Sunspear Shikari. For his third pick he flicked back and forth between a Gold Myr and Barrage Ogre before finally taking the artifact.

    "I would rather have a Gold Myr and no Barrage Ogre than the other way around," reasoned Nelson.

    It didn't actually matter since he was rewarded with a fourth pick Barrage Ogre in the very next pack. Brad had shipped a couple of packs deep in infect cards early in the draft and got paid off for putting multiple players to his left into green-black with seventh and ninth pick Glint Hawks.

    Brad kicked off pack three with Contagion Clasp and followed it up with Razor Hippogrif. He could have taken a third Glint Hawk but felt that 3/3 flier was better and that he might get the Glint Hawk to come back around to him -- it would not. Silver Myr was his third pick -- over Snapsail Glider -- and then he got some more late white cards in Myrsmith and Glimmerpoint Stag. One pick that stood out late in the draft was when he passed Rachet Bomb 7th. I have been in many drafts where people have taken that card first and I was surprised to see it going around so late -- and to see Brad pass on it for something like a Spellbomb.

    Brad Nelson's Third Pack

    "My deck does not have any trouble with the decks that have one or two drops. It has trouble with bomb rares and against expensive bombs that card is not going to help at all."

    Brad thought his deck was fine but did not like that he had no way to deal with deck that had any of the premier cards of the format. He had no idea if it called for a happy face or a nervous frown and posed for both shots after deck construction.

    Brad Nelson


     
  • Quarterfinal Feature Match – Brad Nelson vs. Pat Cox

    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Brad looked happy to be sitting in the Top 8 Feature Match area for Grand Prix Toronto. And why not? He was further solidifying his lead in the Player of the Year race, had a clear grasp of the Scars of Mirrodin Limited format, and he did not have the same feelings of anxiety he experienced at his last event.

    "In GP Portland I felt so alone and scared," said Brad as he sat down to play.

    "What happened there?" asked his opponent.

    "I didn't Top 8," said Brad with a sly grin.

    "Was that like the first in ten events?"

    "In six," said Brad who had made the Top 8 of multiple Grand Prix, a Pro Tour, Nationals, and the Magic Online Championship Series before missing the cut in Portland. "When they were getting everything together for the Top 8 I went to the judge and asked where they wanted me, if they needed me to fill anything out. I did not know what to do."

    Pat Cox has been having a nice season himself although not on the scale that Brad is enjoying. He previously made the Top 8 of GP Oakland this season and is guaranteed to reach Level 3 which will qualify him to play in Worlds in Chiba. It will also let him string multiple events together since he will be qualified for Paris as a result of his Top 16 finish.

    Game one

    Patrick led off with two Mountains into Silver Myr and Brad mirrored him card for card. Patrick missed his third land but played an Iron Myr. Brad did not miss his land drop and played Gold and Leaden Myr. Patrick had to wait a turn to make his third mana creature. Brad used his extra mana to play Golem Artisan and Sunspear Shikari only to have Patrick Galvanic Blast the Golem at the end of the turn.

    Pat Cox

    Patrick was still working with only two lands but was able to play Spikeshot Elder and kill a Silver Myr. Brad just untapped and attacked with his dwinding squad. Pat metalcrafted out Blade-tribe Berserkers and took a chunk out of Brad's life total. Brad managed to play Barrage Ogre but Pat flashed out Darksteel Sentinel and untapped to Volition Reins the Ogre. That was enough for Brad to reach for the sideboard.

    Game two

    Pat mulliganed to start things out but played Perilous Myr after Brad's leadoff Silver Myr. They traded in combat and Brad took two before playing a Gold Myr. Pat had no play on turn three and Brad was able to parlay his Myr into a fourth turn Golem Artisan with no fear of metalcrafted fire from the sky.

    Pat played a Lumengrid Drake with no artifacts in sight. Brad attacked for three and played Razor Hippogriff to get back his Silver Myr and gain two. Barrage Ogre landed on Pat's side of the board a turn later. Brad attacked with both his three power guys. When Pat double blocked Brad was more than happy to pump the Artisan and trade two cards for his one. Pat was not doing anything with the lands he played and Brad was able to Glimmerpoint Stag his Hippogriff to get back the Artisan. Pat was able to kill the Myr to keep Brad off of five mana for the time being but he had no answers to what was already on the table.

    Game three

    Pat mulliganed again to start the rubber game and Brad was still agonizing over his seven while Pat had his cards shuffling into piles. He finally decided to keep and they were off. Brad kicked off the action in the bottom of the second turn with Myrsmith. He followed up with Sunspear Shikari but no artifacts to be found. Pat played Blade-Tribe Berserkers and said go with his Hill Giant on guard duty. Brad played a fourth turn Trigon of Corruption.

    Barrage Ogre drew a look of disgust from Brad who calmly attacked his Shikari into the Ogre. Pat was willing to accept the trade but Brad had something bigger in mind. He used Trigon to shrink the tapped Blade-Tribe and then finished off both red creatures with a well-placed Arc Trail.

    Brad Nelson

    Necropede gave Brad a token creature and Pat flashed the Sentinel into play at the end of the turn. He untapped to play Grand Architect and passed the turn. Brad used the Trigon EOT to shrink the indestructible creature. Auriok Replica gave him another Myr token but he did not have an attack.

    Pat reluctantly traded his Sentinel with the pesky Necropede -- although he kept it alive by making it blue to cast another one. Brad used his last Trigon counter at the end of the turn -- or did he? Glint Hawk let him reset the Trigon and add to his Myr army. Pat was able to sneak in for three damage, while Brad was tapped out, by making the Sentinel blue. The score was 14 to 18 in Pat's favor and he added Saberclaw Golem to the board.

    Brad's Glint Hawk attacked and Razor Hippogriff brought back the Necropede. Brad was firing on all cylinders now. Pat slumped over his side of the board and nudged his Sentinel into the red zone to peck away while it could. Pat also used Turn to Slag on the Hippogrif but the Gliint Hawk kept nibbling away, the Sentinel was eroded down to sand, and the Necropede came back from beyond. Brad put a Corruption counter on the Golem, played Glimmerpoint Stag to restock the Trigon and finished it off at the end of his own turn.

    Brad sent everyone sideways -- metaphorically speaking anyway since the Glimmerpoint Stag is vigilant -- and Pat looked for a block that would let the top of his deck get him back in the game. He had only the Grand Architect and Perilous Myr to work with. He ended up taking 8 while killing the Myrsmith and Glint Hawk. Pat was able to Volition Reins the Glimmerpoint Stag but it did nothing to stem the tide.

    Final result: Brad Nelson won two games to one over Pat Cox and would advance to play Ben Stark in the semifinals.



     
  • Semifinals Feature Match - Ben Stark vs Brad Nelson

    by Josh Bennett
  • Here's an all-too-familiar situation: A pair of ChannelFireball shirts battling out in the Top 8 of an event. And always on one side of the equation, Brad Nelson. Already leading the Player of the Year race at the start of the weekend, he's pulling even farther ahead of his nearest competitors (and teammates) Luis Scott-Vargas, Tomoharu Saito and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.

    Standing in his way, also in the orange and black, is Ben Stark, a Pro Tour fixture with a pair of PT Top 8's to his name. While they shuffled he tried to argue that Nelson didn't need another trophy and hardly had the space for it, but Nelson would have none of it.

    Things started off with both players going down to six cards.

    "Luis probably keeps both hands," joked Stark.

    "Oh, definitely!" agreed Nelson.

    They kept their sixes and were off. They each played lands until Stark dropped Sylvok replica. Nelson made no play on two plains and a mountain, and Stark added Corpse Cur to his board. Oxidda Scrapmelter took care of the Replica. Stark laid his fifth land and passed, shuffling the cards in his hand compulsively.

    Nelson untapped and played Contagion Clasp, shrinking the Cur. He added a Myrsmith and Stark wasted no time dispatching it with Instill Infection. He untapped, swung in with the Cur. Nelson blocked, his Scrapmelter stealing the -1/-1 counter.

    Stark decided it was time to go big, and summoned Alpha Tyrannax. Nelson picked up his Clasp with Glint Hawk and played Strider Harness. Stark swung in for six with his Tyrannax and got back Corpse Cur with another Cur. Nelson was undaunted. He played a fifth land, then Sunspear Shikari and gave it the Harness. He swung in with it and Glint Hawk. Stark grimaced and chumped with his Cur. Nelson gained some much-needed life. He replayed his Clasp, tagging the Tyrannax, and passed the turn.

    Stark hit back, this time for five, dropping Nelson to eleven. He looped Corpse Cur again and tapped out to add Blistergrub to the mix. Nelson brought with the Hawk and Shikari again, gaining some more life, forcing the Corpse Cur off the table, and dinging Stark for two. He moved his Harness over to the Scrapmelter and passed with four mana open.

    Stark didn't like his options. He swung with Tyrannax and Nelson blocked with Scrapmelter. After he played Corpse Cur and Blight Mamba, Nelson proliferated and gestured at the Tyrannax. Stark made no move to put it in the bin. After a short discussion, Stark realised he was mistaken in thinking that the Scrapmelter had had two -1/-1 counters on it.

    "Well... that was bad."

    Ben Stark

    Things quickly got worse as Nelson attacked again, and again the Cur went to the graveyard, then Nelson wiped the rest of his board with Arc Trail. Stark tried to hold on with Sylvok Replica, saving some damage and blowing up the Harness. Nelson calmly picked it back up with Razor Hippogriff. Corpse Cur and Blight Mamba came next, but the Hawk was flying over for three, and soon it was over.

    Nelson 1 - Stark 0

    Stark chose to play again for game two. Nelson quickly went down to six cards. Stark got on the board first with Sylvok Replica, and after Nelson played Barbed Battlegear, added Corpse Cur to the table. With Stark tapped out, Nelson was free to get out Glint Hawk, picking up the Battlegear. He also played Myrsmith.

    Stark sent his Corpse Cur and Nelson wasted no time putting his Glint Hawk in the way. Instill Infection took care of the Myrsmith before it could make any creatures. Stark played Horizon Spellbomb and passed.

    Nelson got back on the board with Golem Artisan, who was quickly overshadowed by Alpha Tyrannax. Stark let the Golem through when Nelson attacked. Nelson played Trigon of Corruption.

    Stark swung back for seven, cracked his Spellbomb for a forest, and played Plague Stinger.

    Nelson untapped and paused. He looked at his board. Five plains and a mountain. Trigon of Corruption and Golem Artisan. He wore a frown of concentration. With a small shake of his head, he simply scooped up his cards.

    Nelson 1 - Stark 1

    Nelson go to be on the play for the deciding game and he made the most of it, starting with Myrsmith. Stark summoned Blight Mamba, giving Nelson a chance to get a free 1/1 with Leaden Myr. Stark shook his head as he untapped, then played Contagion Clasp, killing the Myrsmith.

    "I don't even know why I didn't do that before. That's just awful."

    He passed the turn. Nelson swung in for two and played Chrome Steed. Stark made no play. Nelson happily charged in with his three creatures. The Mamba ate Leaden Myr and regenerated, and Stark took five. Razor Hippogriff got back the Myr, threatening the return of metalcraft.

    Stark devoured the Hippogriff with Skinrender and passed back. Nelson added Leaden Myr and Vulshok Replica to his board (still all plains in play) and hit again with his 4/4 Steed. Stark was already down to nine. Stark untapped, played a sixth land, and passed the turn back, leaving all his mana open. Nelson surveyed the situation.

    "You have a lot of cards, don't you?"

    "Yep."

    Nelson went deep in the tank. When he emerged, he tapped four for Glimmerpoint Stag, getting the Blight Mamba out of the equation. Two Myr, Replica and Chrome Steed charged in. Now it was Stark's turn to run the numbers. He confirmed Nelson held two cards. After a moment he said "Well, I finally figured out what I NEED to think about. Now I just need to think about it."

    Finally, he came to a decision. Skinrender stood in front of Chrome Steed and Untamed Might switched the result. He took five and fell to four. Nelson played plains and Sunspear Shikari. Stark gave a grim nod.

    He untapped and quickly put down Sylvok Replica, leaving four mana open. Nelson peeled his next card slow, and immediately took a thinking pose. The crowd held their breath.

    "I just need to move some cards around, I'm still in my main phase," said Nelson.

    "Just tell me when you're ready. I took a year with my last turn, I'm not about to rush you."

    Nelson checked the potential blocks, then snapped down the mountain he'd drawn and charged with all his creatures. Stark looked the situation over.

    "I'm dead, aren't I?"

    "If you don't have anything."

    He didn't, and extended the hand.

    Brad Nelson defeats Ben Stark 2-1



     
  • Finals - Jonathan Smithers vs. Brad Nelson

    by Brian David-Marshall
  • "I am a Pro Point rookie," said Canadian Jonathan Smithers as he and Brad Nelson settled in for their Finals match-up. When he goes to Paris to compete it will be the opening salvo in his Rookie of the Year campaign. Meanwhile the person he was facing in these finals was in the midst of taking the final territory in his Player of the Year assault this season -- Brad Nelson.

    Game one

    Jon won the roll and elected to play first but could not keep his opening hand. While he was shuffling Brad wrote a note on a piece of paper and held it up to the camera to wish his dad a Happy Birthday.

    "Last week was my Dad's birthday and I told him I would bring home a trophy for his birthday since I couldn't be there," explained Brad. Jon nodded but made a note of his own apologizing for spoiling Brad's gift.

    Auriok Edgewright led off turn two for Jon with a Silver Myr for Brad. Jon attacked for two and played Nim Deathmantle. Brad took that window to kill the Edgewright with Arc Trail -- doing bonus damage to Jon -- and played Sunspear Shikari.

    "You were the guy taking those," said Jon who had been drafting similar white creatures on the other side of the table. He played Perilous Myr and passed the turn. Brad attacked into knowing that Jon would want to save his Perilous Myr for when he had Deathmantle mana. Brad followed up with Necropede and Shikari number two.

    "You were taking all my Shikaris!"

    Brad had slow rolled Oxidda Scrapmelter for the Deathmantle and even let Jon equip the Myr. He drew it out a little longer playing the Barrage Ogre instead. Jon did manage to get at least one Sunspear Shikari and moved the Deathmantle over.

    Brad leaped into action and threw the Necropede at the equipped Shikari and used the ability from the artifact creature to put a -1/-1 counter on the Perilous Myr. Jon sent them Myr damage at Brad's Silver Myr and he tapped it for mana and used it to play Scrapmelter to destroy the Deathmantle and wipe Jon's board clear.

    They played a couple of additional cards but Brad was able to mop up from that point.

    Game two

    Brad reached for his sideboard and pulled out two Mountains and swapped them for two other Mountains in his deck while Jon was doing a little sideboarding of his own. Jon kept his hand this game while Brad thought about his Myr-light hand but opted to keep and manage to play a Silver Myr on turn two after Jon's Sunspear Shikari.

    Brad Nelson

    Accorder's Shield came down and swung the life totals in opposite directions when the equipped creature got in for two. Brad played Chrome Steed but would have to play catch up this game.

    "Your start is good."

    Jon played Nim Deathmantle and Perilous Myr. Brad played Trigon of Corruption and Panic Spellbomb and now had a big Steed. Jon had Flesh Allergy and was able to wipe Brad's creatures off the board by sacrificing the Perilous Myr. Brad played Barrage Ogre but was getting ready to take four a turn when the Sunspear picked up the Deathmantle.

    Jonathan Smithers

    Brad cycled his spellbomb and played Vulshok Replica leaving mana up for the Trigon. Brad did not let Jon gain any life. He blocked the Sunspear and threw the Replica at him. Jon went to work post-combat and was able to play two Glint Hawks and pick up and replay his Accorder's Shield for free each time. Finally he reequiped it to the Sunspear. Brad began whittling it down to size with his Trigon and played Razor Hippogriff returning Steed.

    Brad replayed the Steed and was able to block the Sunspear with his Chrome Steed and only give Jon one life per turn. The score was 31 to 9 in Jon's favor. Jon played Kemba's Skyguard and passed the turn. Brad shot down a Glint Hawk at end of turn with Barrage Ogre and his empty Trigon while Jon was tapped below Deathmantle mana.

    Brad added a Leaden Myr whose sole job was to get flung by Barrage Ogre at the first opportunity, like when Jon tried to move the Shield over to Glint Hawk. Jon had four mana up but instead chose to move the Deathmantle over to his Skyguard. He was tapped out.

    Brad glared at the board before finally sending his Chrome Steed and flyer into battle. After combat he used Arc Trail on the Skyguard and finished it off with a tossed Chrome Steed. Painsmith and Perilous Myr were enough for Brad to finally say, "You got it"

    Game three

    Brad chose to play and kept his opening hand. Jon deliberated and finally -- and grudgingly -- mulliganed.

    "I need to learn not to peek."

    "I always peek, it is still right to mulligan," said Brad while Jon relayed the story of the missing color of mana waiting on top of his deck.

    "Would you have mulliganed this hand -- " began Jon before Brad cut him off.

    "Tell me about it after the game."

    "I can tell you now," shrugged Jon.

    "I don't want to think about it now," said Brad as he kicked things off with Myrsmith.

    "Yeah that's a good one," shrugged Jon as he played Leaden Myr.

    Brad played Panic Spellbomb, made a guy, and cycled the spellbomb to get in for two past the Leaden Myr that was barred from blocking. Jon played Glint Hawk and replayed Leaden Myr.

    Brad tapped four for Trigon and Jon sighed in relief, "I thought you were gonna Arc Trail me."

    "That would have been sick," Brad said wistfully.

    Little did Brad know the sickness that was lurking on the other side of the table. Jon untapped and played Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon.

    "Are you for real?" slumped Brad.

    "Yeah, that was passed to me in pack two. I am not even joking."

    Brad soldiered on with a Necropede making another Myr. He asked the judge for a token.

    "I will just give you some and you can use them at your leisure," offered the judge.

    "I don't know how long I am gonna be using them," frowned Brad. He used the Trigon to make the dragon a 3/3 and took that many poison counters. Jon played Revoke Existence to make sure there was no additional dragon shrinkage. Brad passed the turn back to a wide-eyed Jon.

    "Wow, I just drew it!" he declared as he played Livewire Lash, equipped the dragon, and attacked. He had exactly one white mana left for Seize the Initiative to get poison overkilll. The ability on the Lash let him do two infect damage when it was targeted by the white instant, it got a +2/+0 bonus from the Lash in the first place, and then an additional +1/+1 for good measure from the spell.

    Just like that the hometown player who had never earned a Pro Point before this weekend had defeated the player well on the way to being the fastest player to amass 100 career Pro Points.

    Congratulations to Jonathan Smithers the 2010 Grand Prix Toronto champion!

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