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Marc Lalague is the Grand Prix Anaheim Champion!

Ignoring the temptation to add a color to his Red-Green midrange deck, Lalague ran through a Top 8 full of Boros and various three and four color decks. His Kessig Wolf Runs and Devil's Plays gave him more reach than any other deck in the format and earned the respect of his finals opponent Paul Rietzl, who said Lalague had the best deck in the tournament.

Speaking of Rietzl, we'd be remiss not to note his nearly undefeated run through the tournament. After going 14-0-1 through the Swiss and tearing through the quarter and semifinals, Rietzl still considered his updated Boros list an underdog to the Red-Green machine sitting across from him. He fell just short in the finals, but put up a nearly historic run to that point.

And while this was the last hurrah for the Innistrad Block format, this tournament may serve as the template for Standard's future as block formats often do. It could be that months from now we're watching Wolfir Silverhearts face off against Hellriders and Champions of the Parish every week.

Until then, congratulations to Grand Prix Champion Marc Lalague!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Paul Rietzl   Paul Rietzl, 2-0        
8 Jason Rosellini   Paul Rietzl, 2-0
       
4 Eric Froehlich   Eric Froehlich, 2-1   Mark Lalague, 2-0
5 Brian Kibler    
       
2 Noah Koessel   Noah Koessel, 2-0
7 John Sittner   Mark Lalague, 2-1
       
3 Michael Hopkins   Mark Lalague, 2-0
6 Mark Lalague    










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  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Anaheim provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, Nate Price, and Rusty Kubis. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.

EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Marc Lalague $3,500
 2.  Paul Rietzl $2,300
 3.  Noah Koessel $1,500
 4.  Eric Froehlich $1,500
 5.  Michael Hopkins $1,000
 6.  Brian Kibler $1,000
 7.  John Sittner $1,000
 8.  Jason Rosellini $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Eric Froehlich
    Grand Prix Anaheim 2012 Top 8 - Block Constructed

    Brian Kibler
    Grand Prix Anaheim 2012 Top 8 - Block Constructed

    John Sittner
    Grand Prix Anaheim 2012 Top 8 - Block Constructed

    Noeh Koessel
    Grand Prix Anaheim 2012 Top 8 - Block Constructed




     

  • Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Marc Lalague

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Huntington Beach, CA
    Occupation: Entrepreneur


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Made Day 2 of about 5 Grands Prix, played in PT
    Avacyn Restored

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    First!

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?
    RG Midrange

    How did the results from Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    I had to adjust my deck to beat Bant Spirits, so we added some Hellriders.

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    RG Aggro is pretty bad in Standard right now but definitely after Vapor Snag rotates out.

    What's the best card in your deck?

    Devil's Play. Why is no one using that card?



    John "Alex" Sittner

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
    Occupation: Card store owner

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    0

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?
    Spirits

    How did the results from Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    Playing the best deck...

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Not really.

    What's the best card in your deck?
    Island, obviously



    Paul Rietzl

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Boston
    Occupation:Headhunter

    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    6

    PTs:
    3

    What deck did you play?
    Boros

    How did the results form Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    Figured out how to sideboard, cut my bad cards added broken ones

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Sure, Champion into Gather is universally good

    What's the best card in your deck?
    Rally the Peons [Rally the Peasants]



    Brian Kibler

    Age: 31
    Hometown: Oceanside, CA
    Occupation: Game designer


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Magic Hall of Fame Class of 2010

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    12 – 3 wins

    PTs:
    5 – 2 wins

    What deck did you play?
    Jund Aristocrat

    How did the results form Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    Played the deck I wish I'd played there by halfway through the tournament

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Unlikely – Vapor Snag and Lingering Souls make Aristocrat tons worse

    What's the best card in your deck?
    Falkenrath Aristocrat – Not close



    Jason Rosellini

    Age: 22
    Hometown: Yuba City, CA
    Occupation: Walmart


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    2nd place JSS Champs/won a few PTQs

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    0

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?
    Jund. I went 9-0 Day 1 with no byes

    How did the results form Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    No

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Sure

    What's the best card in your deck?
    Falkenrath Aristocrat or Bonfire of the Damned



    Michael Hopkins

    Age: 22
    Hometown: Cedar Grove, NJ
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 32 Baltimore

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    0

    PTs:
    0

    What deck did you play?

    Angel of Glory's Rise

    How did the results form Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    I initially liked the Spirits deck, but the manabase was frustrating. So I played 4 color reanimator. The manabase is surprisingly good.

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Not currently. Nihil Spellbomb and Surgical Extraction are really hard to overcome.

    What's the best card in your deck?

    Angel of Glory's Rise



    Eric Froehlich

    Age: 28
    Hometown: Las Vegas
    Occupation: Professional Poker Player


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 8 PTSD '02, Top 8 Worlds '10

    Top 8s:
    7

    GPs:
    2

    PTs:

    What deck did you play?
    USA Miracles

    How did the results form Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    Gave me a shell for a fun deck that I could make competitive

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Yes, you need all the Miracles in Standard anyway

    What's the best card in your deck?
    Feeling of Dread, every deck is a creature deck and it's a better Moment's Peace



    Noah T. Koessel

    Age: 19
    Hometown:Eureka, CA
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 8 Nats '11, Cashed PT Honolulu, Played in PT Philly

    Top 8s:
    0

    GPs:
    0

    PTs:

    What deck did you play?
    RW Humans

    How did the results form Pro Tour Avacyn Restored affect your deck choice?
    Ricky Sidher and I decided that Humans beats most of the better decks from the PT, except for Naya, which isn't really played anymore because Jund is better. So he told me to play it and I audibled in the morning of the GP from Jund

    Do you think your deck could translate to Standard?
    Why or why not?
    Yes, the deck is very good/fast, but some cards would change based on the format. Also, Lightning Mauler and Hero of Bladehold seems pretty sweet.

    What's the best card in your deck?




     

  • Quarterfinals - Paul Rietzl vs. Jason Rosellini
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • After the weekend Paul Rietzl has had, seeing him across the table in Anaheim has to be a bit of a heartbreaker. He has yet to lose a match and was a draw in the last round with Brian Kibler away from going 15-0. His Boros list seems particularly unstoppable this weekend.

    The man trying to stop him is Jason Rosellini who is playing largely Brian Kibler's Jund list that took the tournament by storm.

    Game one

    As he has all weekend, Rietzl got off to a quick start with a Stromkirk Noble and a Devil's Play killing Avacyn's Pilgrim. Rosellini had been counting on the Pilgrim, and missed a land drop before finally getting a Scorned Villager.

    Paul Rietzl blows throw his opponent with his blistering fast Boros deck

    But Rietzl simply played a Midnight Haunting and followed it up by flashing back Devil's Play on the Scorned Villager. Still with no mana, Rosellini scooped up his cards and moved on.

    Rietzl 1 – Rosellini 0

    Game two

    Second game, same as the first?

    Rietzl started fast, as usual, while Rosellini was stuck on lands, again, this time a Mountain and a Swamp. He wasn't without defenses, as a Human Frailty killed Champion of the Parish, but when Unholy Fiend joined up with a Silverblade Paladin, things looked grim.

    Rosellini found his Forest for Borderland Ranger, but with two doublestrikers on the field, it might have been too late. Rietzl even added to his board with a Stromkirk Noble and Gather the Townsfolk, unafraid of any mass removal.

    Jason Rosellini tries hard to come back in this game.

    Indeed, Rosellini had none. He did cast a Huntmaster of the Fells and went up to 12 while making a few blockers, but Rietzl took out the Wolf with a Fiend Hunter and attacked Rosellini down to five life. He had to sweat a potential miracled Bonfire of the Damned the next turn, but when none was forthcoming, the buzzsaw that is Paul Rietzl this weekend kept on churning to the Semifinals.

    Rietzl 2 – Rosellini 0




     

  • Quarterfinals - Noah Koessel vs. John Sittner
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Koessel came out of the gates quickly, with Stromkirk Noble and Cloistered Youth to Sittner's Invisible Stalker. The Stalker picked up Spectral Flight the next turn, letting it trade with the flipped Cloistered Youth.

    Koessel, however, just kept coming. Another Stromkirk Noble and a Champion of the Parish kept up the pressure, even through a Silent Departure on the larger Noble.

    John Sittner finally got his Grand Prix Top 8 this weekend. Would the breakout performance continue?

    Gather the Townsfolk made the Champion of the Parish into a 3/3 and kept the pressure up. Koessel tried to fight back with Dungeon Geist and Avacyn's Pilgrim, but fell to 2 on the subsequent attack. His draw step didn't yield any help and just like that we were on to a second game.

    As fast as that was, I was sitting between this match and the Paul Rietzl vs. Jason Rosellini match and somehow that one finished game one long before this one was over. Clearly, Boros was the real deal in this Top 8.

    Koessel 1 – Sittner 0

    Game two

    Koessel's draw was even faster for game two, if that was possible. Stromkirk Noble and Champion of the Parish into Silverblade Paladin followed by a Hellrider paired with Silverblade Paladin made short work of a Geist of Saint Traft draw from Sittner.

    Quite frankly, it was over so fast there really wasn't much more to talk about, except the fact that we now had two Boros decks in the final four.

    Could Noah Koessel be on his way to Disneyland?

    After winning the match Koessel pumped his fists, "No more PTQs! I hate PTQs!"

    That's when his girlfriend stepped in.

    "You said if you won you'd take me to Disneyland."

    "Oh, if I win, we're going to Disneyland."

    Koessel 2 – Sittner 0




     

  • Quarterfinals – Marc Lalague vs. Michael Hopkins
    by Frank Lepore

  • As the two players shuffled up, they discussed such friendly topics as where they lived, where they were originally from, and their past accomplishments.

    Michael Hopkins mentioned that he had a Top 32 at GP Baltimore while Marc Lalague tells us he helped create the deck that finished in 9th place at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored. He also sang the praises of Hellrider.

    While both players are new to Top 8 play at a premier level event, they were both ecstatic to be here. With one final shuffle from Lalague, they were off.

    Game 1

    Hopkins won the die roll, but needed a new six to play the game. Lalague was good with his keep and both players bantered about the upcoming Pro Tour. Hopkins started on an Avacyn's Pilgrim who was content with simply attacking on turn two. A Strangleroot Geist from Lalague entered the battlefield tapped and attacking while an Abundant Growth would fix his triple Forest draw. This allowed him to Devil's Play Hopkins' Pilgrim for one.

    A Disciple of Griselbrand came down, but Lalague was still in command with his ghostly friend who now had a twin brother. Two Geists brought Hopkins down to a dwindling 12 life. Hopkins was content to stay in the game, however, and summoned a Huntmaster of the Fells who was rich in both life and friends.

    Michael Hopkins

    A Wolfir Silverheart from Lalague turned a Geist into a 6/5 and both spirits entered the red zone. Hopkins blocked the 6/5 with a wolf then sacked it to the Disciple for two more life, essentially fogging combat.

    With no plays from Hopkins, his Huntmaster would flip and get rid of at least half of a Strangleroot Geist, but the pressure was still on: Lalague casually dropped a Kessig Wolf Run and sent in the team. With an 8/8, a 6/5, and a 3/2 coming in, Hopkins had to block. The attack put him at seven with Lalague sitting at a pretty 16.

    A Dawntreader Elk joined Lalague's team, but with an active Wolf Run and a board of massive monsters, this game was nearly in the books. The only thing needed was a second Wolfir Silverheart which Lalague put into play without hesitation.

    Lalague 1, Hopkins 0

    Game 2

    Both players perused each others decklist between the games in order to optimally sideboard before shuffling once more.

    "Are we allowed to look at the lists during the games?" Lalague asked. A prompt "no" was the response from on looking judge Brian Glenn.

    Hopkins and Lalague both kept their openers and Hopkins led off with a Faithless Looting. A Strangleroot Geist from Lalague applied a little more pressure than Hopkins' play, however. Digging into his deck once more, Hopkins played a mulch hitting a Cavern of Souls and a Forest, which he followed with an Avacyn's Pilgrim.

    The second verse was the same as the first for Lalague, as two Geists entered the red zone once again. A Cavern of Souls naming human assisted Hopkins in dropping a Huntmaster of the Fells. Lalague drew for the turn and windmill slammed a Bonfire of the Damned for two which demolished Hopkins' field and he attacked for another four damage. A Fiend Hunter from Hopkins managed to capture a Geist, but would that do the trick?

    Two Abundant Growths later and Lalague had to pass the turn. Hopkins was quickly approaching Angel of Glory's Rise mana and the recently played Borderland Ranger didn't hurt. A Blasphemous Act from Lalague cleared the field, freed his Geist, and pumped the other, but the Fiend Hunter also had a companion which avenged its brother.

    A Hellrider came down from Lalague and Hopkins was once more on the backfoot. His life was at a dangerous 5 points while Lalague sat at a healthy 20. This forced Hopkins to double block the Hellrider, but would bring him to two life. It would also free Lalague's second Geist, and with a Kessig Wolf Run on board, that was a dangerous proposition.

    Marc Lalague advances to the semifinals!

    A Faithless looting from Hopkins came down as a last ditch effort for an answer. When none was found, Hopkins extended the hand and Marc Lalague advances to the semifinals!

    Lalague 2, Hopkins 0




     

  • Semifinals – Marc Lalague vs. Noah Koessel
    by Frank Lepore

  • With both players now qualified for the next Pro Tour they were in great spirits. While they shuffled up they chatted about their past PTQ experiences as well as their runs throughout the events. The competitors were playing two of the more dominant aggro decks in the format. While Lalague was playing RG Aggro, Koessel was playing the white and red archetype known as Boros

    As the first Grand Prix Top 8 for both players, this was set to be an exciting match, but it would not be the last for one competitor.

    Game 1

    Koessel was on the play and both players kept their opens. A turn one Champion of the Parish from Koessel became a 3/3 with prompt help from Gather the Townsfolk. Lalague dropped a Dawntreader Elk to block for a bit, but the Champion would easily walk over it; especially with the addition of a Cloistered Youth. Koessel added a Stromkirk Noble and passed, while Lalague took the opportunity to Devil's Play the Cloistered Youth.

    Noah Hoessel

    Koessel took his time contemplating his attacks. With seven power on the board and Lalague at 13 life, every point mattered. The problem was that most of Koessel's creatures were 1/1's and Lalague had a very capable 2/2. Koessel Gathered even more Townsfolk, pumping the Champion to a 6/6, and attacked with all able bodies. The Elk jumped under the 6/6 bus and Lalague took the opportunity to find a Mountain before dropping to ten life.

    With plenty of decisions, Lalague was mostly interested in staying alive. He cast a Borderland Ranger to ensure his land drop, played his Mountain, then cast a second Elk.

    Koessel felt it was best to attack with the team again and Lalague needed to really think about his blocks. With Koessel able to Brimstone Volley out of nowhere, every point was precious. Lalague dropped to six, and Koessel added a 3/3 Mikaeus, the Lunarch to the mix. Lalague wasn't done yet though: he cast a Huntmaster of the Fells and a third Elk, going up to 8 life and adding three bodies to the board.

    "Three Elks?!" Koessel lamented, but he was certainly in no position to complain this game.

    Another alpha from Koessel would leave Lalague at a mere two life after Mikaeus pumped the team. Lalague was once again left with a lowly Ravager of the Fells, but the humans were angry and out for blood. There would be no werewolves left in Innistrad this day. Lalague did some quick math by thumping his finger on the table. He added a Hellrider to the board, attacked for five, then followed it up with a Strangleroot Geist.

    Koessel cast a Midnight Haunting at the end of the turn and that was enough for a concession from Lalague; while his two spells would flip the Huntmaster back, the life gain and blockers simply wouldn't be enough.

    Koessel 1, Lalague 0

    Game 2

    "You know what the best part of this game is," Lalague asked rhetorically. "The travelling."

    "Oh, definitely," Koessel agreed, "But there's one thing better."

    "What's that?" Lalague enquired.

    "The friends."

    "Well, you got me there," Lalague agreed.

    With a friendly rapport the two players began their second game with Lalague on the play. While Lalague went immediately to six cards, Koessel deliberated on his choice for a couple minutes. During a game with so much on the line, this could be a make or break decision. Ultimately, Koessel also went to six, and then to five.

    "Good hand," Koessel exclaimed about his five cards, and they were off.

    A 2/2 Elk was the first card to penetrate the board, followed by a Stromkirk Noble from Koessel. Lalague wasted no time in using a Devil's Play on the vampire then attacking Koessel down to 18. Then, lo, a second Noble appeared.

    Marc Lalague advances to the Finals!

    Lalague cracked in for two again with the Elk and Stromkirk returned the favor. A Champion, followed by a Gather the Townsfolk for Koessel put him in a favorable position, but it wasn't long before a Blasphemous Act reset the world. Lalague followed up the purging with a Huntmaster of the Fells, but the hunter met a Pillar of Flame. Wolfir Silverheart made the 2/2 wolf a massive 6/6, putting Koessel to ten life and dwarfing his lone Cloistered youth.

    A Devil's Play for one from Lalague dealt with the Youth allowing him to get in there for the full 14 damage: more than enough to finish the job.

    Koessel 1, Lalague 1

    Game 3

    This was it. After a blazingly fast game two, this was the game that determined who would advance to the finals of GP Anaheim. Both players kept and Koessel led off with the double Champion of the parish draw, dropping Lalague to 18. He followed with a Stromkirk Noble and things were already looking up for Koessel.

    Lalague played a Strangleroot Geist and declined to attack, but Koessel had the Pillar of Flame for the blocker, dropping Lalague to 14 life. Marc played a Borderland Ranger to find a Mountain. Koessel considered his options carefully – after all, he had to watch out for a cheap Blasphemous Act. He decided to play a Cloistered Youth, pumping both of his Champions. Lalague took all seven damage, indicating that he did indeed have the Blasphemous Act.

    "Should have attacked first," Lalague lamented to himself, just before he realized that would have left him unable to cast the Act.

    "I wish you did," Noah cracked back jokingly.

    A lightning Mauler came down for Koessel, but Lalague cast a second Borderland Ranger and used a Pillar of Flame on the would-be soulbonded haster. Silverblade Paladin looked to do some damage for Koessel, but Lalague trumped his soulbond creature with a Wolfir Silverheart to attack for six. Koessel's deck has an amazing early game, but if Lalague survived until the mid or late game, his odds to take over increase dramatically.

    Lalague was still at a very low seven life however, and Koessel could definitely sneak in a few points. A Pillar of Flame would put Lalague to five life and Koessel would finish his turn with a third Champion of the Parish.

    Lalague attacked for the full fourteen, forcing Koessel to block the 8/8. He followed the attack with a Huntmaster of the Fells and a Dawntreader Elk. With nothing left to do, Koessel extended the hand and Marc Lalague would advance to the finals!

    Lalague 2, Koessel 1




     

  • Finals – Marc Lalague vs. Paul Rietzl
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Fifteen rounds, 938 players, a quarterfinals and a semifinals and still Paul Rietzl has yet to lose. Though the perfect Grand Prix was already breached this year when Richard Parker went undefeated at Grand Prix Lille, it's still something quite special to watch unfold over the course of two days.

    There was the mulligan to four that he somehow pulled through to stay unbeaten, there was the clash with Eric Froehlich in Round 12 that nearly ended his streak and the rematch in the semifinals that was rarely in doubt. And, of course, there was the decision to draw with Brian Kibler in Round 15 that kept him from chasing true perfect. But ask him if he'll take 17-0-1 and he'll probably say yes every time.

    Rietzl's track record was already stellar – six GP Top 8s and three PT Top 8s – but an undefeated Grand Prix win might just shoot it into the stratosphere.

    But standing in his way is the relatively unknown Marc Lalague. But don't let the fact that you haven't heard his name before fool you. Lalague has touched the Pro Tour and made a slew of Grand Prix Day 2s. His choice of RG Midrange was just as inspired as Rietzl's decision to run Boros. Even though Lalague has access to Borderland Ranger, Dawntreader Elk and Evolving Wilds, he chose to stick with just two colors, giving him consistency in his mana base that carried him all the way to the finals.

    Game one

    A one-lander stared back at Rietzl as he shuffled up for what, one way or the other, would be the final match of his tournament. His six was slow, especially for his explosive deck, but it was good enough to keep.

    No one drop, no two drop and Lalague was first on the board with a Strangleroot Geist. When Rietzl didn't even have a turn three play, Lalague looked a bit perplexed. Somehow he was the aggressor as he cast and attacked with a second Strangleroot Giest.

    Rietzl had been invincible so far, but he saw himself as the underdog to Marc Lalague's RG deck.

    Rietzl finally got on the board with a turn four Hellrider, hoping the large drop and any followup was enough to catch back up.

    Brimstone Volley Shut down that option, and a second Hellrider looked positively pale next to the Wolfir Silverheart Lalague threw down the following turn. The attack left the Boros player at just two life.

    Rietzl tried to make some blockers to buy a turn and maybe make some actual trades, but Lalague flashed him the lethal Kessig Wolf Run.

    "That was the one I was supposed to win. Now it gets harder," Rietzl said.

    Lalague 1 – Rietzl 0

    Game two

    Between games Rietzl talked about considering a mulligan from his six card hand that had no play before Hellrider. He thought the hand wasn't good, but he said he didn't think even a Champion of the Parish into Gather the Townsfolk would have beaten what Lalague had.

    Yet another slow hand greeting Rietzl in game two. This time he could make plays by turn three, but knew he had to come out faster against Lalague in the post board games, where he thought things only got worse for his Boros deck.

    His six was better, and he began gathering some townsfolk on turns two and three.

    Lalague threw a wall in the way with Borderland Ranger, but Rietzl attacked in anyway, adding a third pair of Human tokens to the board after combat. All that ended up doing was making Blasphemous Act that much cheaper.

    Marc Lalague resisted the temptation to splash in his RG deck, and it has put him on the cusp of a Grand Prix championship.

    Rietzl had no follow-up and used his spare mana to Brimstone Volley a Huntmaster of the Fells. Rietzl tried to play a Cloistered Youth, but Pillar of Flames extinguished that hope before Lalague played his big, bad wolf, Wolfir Silverheart. Rietz's tried to stay alive through the massive, Wolfir-fueled attack with a Divine Deflection, but a postcombat Devil's Play was more than enough to end Rietzl's streak and crown Marc Lalague the Grand Prix Anaheim Champion.

    Marc Lalague is the 2012 Grand Prix Anaheim Champion!



     

  • Top 5 Cards
    by Event Coverage Staff



  • 5. Falkenrath Aristocrat

    We can safely blame Kibler for this one. Brian Kibler touted his Jund deck on his online stream the week prior to Grand Prix Anaheim, and the deck prominently featured Falkenrath Aristocrats as a way to fly over much of the ground game that defined the format. The ability to become indestructible made it immune to most of the format's removal and haste meant it was eating Garruks, Lilianas, Tamiyos and life totals all weekend. Just as useful, the Aristocrat was part of a combo in the Angel of Glory's Rise deck that we'll get to in a few paragraphs.









    4. Cavern of Souls

    This multi-color land was on the tip of everyone's mind coming into Grand Prix Anaheim, but not because of its power level. A new ruling changed how Cavern of Souls played, allowing players to use its second ability as the default. But once judges announced that change to how the rules would be enforced, the land proved just as good and just as ubiquitous as advertised. It made the Bant Spirits deck possible and fixed mana in Naya, some versions of Jund, Angel of Glory's Rise reanimator and any other deck that needed a little help casting its creatures.











    3. Angel of Glory's Rise

    Speaking of Angel of Glory's Rise, reanimator decks were a known quantity coming into the weekend, but Griselbrand was at the top of many lists for monster you'd most want to reanimate. But Angel of Glory's Rise proved to be a stronger target for Unburial Rites, especially since it usually brought back a bevy of humans with it. There was even a game-ending combo with Fiend Hunter and Falkenrath Aristocrat. It went like this: get Fiend Hunter, Falkenrath Aristocrat, and Angel of Glory's Rise somewhere in your graveyard, hand and in play. Use Fiend Hunter to hide the Angel and then sacrifice the Fiend Hunter to Aristocrat. The Angel comes back into play, returning the Fiend Hunter to play. Rinse and repeat. If there are other humans around, like Cathedral Sanctifiers or a Huntmaster of the Fells, you can loop those as much as you'd like as well. From there, an arbitrarily large Falkenrath Aristocrat usually got there.





    2. Gather the Townsfolk

    Whether it was being used to pump a Champion of the Parish or add incremental damage in conjunction with Rally the Peasants, Gather the Townsfolk has been an aggressive staple all weekend. With two Boros decks ending up in the Top 8, and a full four copies in each deck, it should come as no surprise that the two mana sorcery is as highly praised in Innistrad Block Constructed as it is in Standard. It seemed that the only card that could stop the angry mobs was the next card on the list, and the one used to defeat the Boros lists in both the semis and the finals.









    1. Wolfir Silverheart

    Once again our wolven friend is at the top of the world. He was responsible for countless wins in the swiss rounds, and things were no different in the Top 8. He was largely responsible for Marc Lalague's win in the semifinals over Noah Koessel, and it also helped him steamroll Paul Rietzl in the finals. Largely paired with mere 2/2's, Wolfir Silverheart would present a massive 14 power over two bodies that are very hard to deal with efficiently. Not having an answer would often mean the end earning this guy the reputation as the finisher of choice for any deck running green.








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