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Shiels Stands Alone in Dallas

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Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth has come and gone! The largest event EVER held in Texas is in the books but the story of its victor took two days, 18 rounds, and nearly 1,200 players to tell. The big news after the first day of competition was the continued Day 1 dominance of Owen Turtenwald at the Grand Prix level. He put up an astonishing FIFTH undefeated Day 1, joined by Alex Bertoncini, Timothy Thomason, and Korey McDuffie. Of the four, Thomason was the only native Texan but unfortunately for the Lone Star state he was also the only member of the group to miss the Top 8.

The big news for decks this weekend was whether or not Caw-Blade would dominate the tournament as it had in many other places since Grand Prix Barcelona. A number of deckbuilders stepped up to the challenge of innovating. From Justin Corbett of Texas came Aggro Valakut, from the Minnesota team that won Grand Prix Atlanta came a Fauna Shaman build with a 100% win ratio against the Squadron Hawk decks, and the ChannelFireball crew came with a team build of Boros.

Ultimately, however, the Top 8 was a two deck show: half its members played Caw-Blade variants while the other half were battling with RUG variants. The single elimination rounds featured big names like Josh Utter-Leyton, Michael Jacob, and Owen Turtenwald but the professionals found themselves mostly eliminated in the Quarterfinals. It would be two relative unknowns, Orrin Beasley and David Shiels, battling for the title of champion in the final round of the day. Orrin brought RUG to the table while David brought the dreaded Caw-Blade and ultimately David proved victorious.

Congratulations to David Shiels, your 2011 Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth champion!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Alex Bertoncini   Orrin Beasley, 2-1        
8 Orrin Beasley   Orrin Beasley, 2-1
       
4 Austin Bursavich   Austin Bursavich, 2-0   David Shiels, 2-0
5 Michael Jacob    
       
2 Owen Turtenwald   Owen Turtenwald, 2-0
7 Korey McDuffie   David Shiels, 2-1
       
3 Josh Utter-Leyton   David Shiels, 2-0
6 David Shiels    


Follow live streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth at ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Ray Punzalan, and Brian Kowal.
EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Bill Stark
    Analysis:
    The 5 Cards that Defined Dallas/Fort Worth

  • by Frank Lepore
    Finals: A Quintessential Finale
    Orrin Beasley vs. David Shiels

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Semifinals: Slaying Titans with Swords
    Owen Turtenwald vs. David Shiels

  • by Bill Stark
    Semifinals
    Orrin Beasley vs. Austin Bursavich

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Quarterfinals: "I always win the die roll and have Cobra"
    Owen Turtenwald vs. Korey McDuffie

  • by Frank Lepore
    Quarterfinals: Hawk on Hawk Action
    Josh Utter-Leyton vs. David Shiels

  • by Bill Stark
    Quarterfinals
    Michael Jacob versus Austin Bursavich

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Player Profiles

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Coverage: Feature Matches, Decks, and Blogs from day 2!

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Coverage: Feature Matches, Decks, and Blogs from day 1!

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
 1.  David Shiels $3,500
 2.  Orrin A Beasley $2,300
 3.  Owen Turtenwald $1,500
 4.  Austin Bursavich $1,500
 5.  Alex S Bertoncini $1,000
 6.  Josh W Utter-Leyton $1,000
 7.  Michael A Jacob $1,000
 8.  Korey McDuffie $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

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  • Top 8 – Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Korey McDuffie - Top 8
    Grand Prix-Dallas Standard Constructed

    Owen Turtenwald - Top 8
    Grand Prix-Dallas Standard Constructed

    Josh Utter-Leyton - Top 8
    Grand Prix-Dallas Standard Constructed

    Michael Jacob - Top 8
    Grand Prix-Dallas Standard Constructed

    Orrin Beasley - Top 8
    Grand Prix-Dallas Standard Constructed

    Alex Bertoncini - Top 8
    Grand Prix-Dallas Standard Constructed

     

  • Top 8 – Player Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Alex Bertoncini

    Name: Alex Bertoncini
    Age: 20
    Occupation: Semi-semi pro Magic player

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: 1st GP Top 8 :)

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    RUG. Big risk, big reward!

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    About 60-40 vs. Caw-Blade
    Unfavored 40-60 vs. Valakut
    Elves is good, RDW is bad.
    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Prepared by testing on the Starcitygames.com Open Series. Go play!

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Orin Beasley

    Name: Orin Beasley
    Age: 25
    Occupation: Analytical Chemist

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: This one!

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    RUG because I'd get draws if I played Caw-Blade

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    Favored: Caw-Blade/Eldrazi - Lotus Cobra
    Unfavored: RDW/Valakut – Too Fast/Traps

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Played LSV's RUG in SCG Open Atlanta

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Austin Bursavich

    Name: Austin Bursavich
    Age: 18
    Occupation: Manager at GFabs Mental Institution for Mulliganers

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s:

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    UW Caw-Blade; It's the only deck I could afford.

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    Most favored against durdles, mtgmom.com and the mirror (I'm pro)
    Least favored against 3thingstoknow.com and RUG (excuse in case I lose to MJ in the quarterfinals)

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Just watched GGsLive, beat bol0v0 in a bunch of sealed DE's and read 3thingstoknow.com constantly.

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Owen Turtenwald

    Name: Owen Turtenwald
    Age: 21
    Occupation: Writer at www.ChannelFireball.com

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: 6th GP Top 8

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    RUG because it has 4 Jaces and never loses.

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    60% of the field unless I draw well or they play bad.

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Magic Online and compared RUG list with Michael Jacob and Alex Bertoncini

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Korey McDuffie

    Name: Korey McDuffie
    Age: 18
    Occupation: The Glub Club

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: Just this one

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    I played UW Caw-Blade in Paris and have been jamming it on MTGO and I did well in SCG Atlanta with it.

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    My good match-up is Valakut. Spell Pierce, Flashfreeze, and tectonic Edge are key cards. I don't like Inferno Titans, so I would say RUG is a marginal match-up at best.

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Kitchen table Yu-Gi-Oh! With my BFFL Brian Eason

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Michael Jacob

    Name: Michael Jacob
    Age: 27
    Occupation: MTG Pro, Writer

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: 1 PT Top 8 (Amsterdam), 2 US Nationals Teams, Team World Champion, 4 GP Top 8s

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    RUG. I invented it in block. Played it ever since.

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    60% against the field, except Valakut which is 50%. Turn 3 or 4 Titan beats durdle aggro. Jace wars are easy with Bolts

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Did not prepare. Asked Owen for what he was battling with. He had RUG.

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Dave Shiels

    Name: Dave Shiels
    Age: 22
    Occupation: Student

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: 2

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    UW Caw-Blade. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    Best: the mirror. Worst: Turn 2 Lotus Cobra.

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Won a trial and tested on MTGO. Worked on list with Brian Siu and other locals

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won


    Josh Utter-Leyton

    Name: Josh Utter-Leyton
    Age: 25
    Occupation: Software Engineer

    Number of Grand Prix/Pro Tour Top 8s: 2 GP and 1 PT

    What deck did you play and why? (We'll as you about your matchups in the next question)
    Caw-Blade. Best deck and the most interactive.

    Which matchups are you most favored against, and which are you unfavored against and why??
    Every match-up is very close and has lots of play.

    How and with whom did you prepare for Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth?
    Tested exclusively online, talked extensively to Web, LSV, and Brad.

    How do you feel about the Phyrexians winning the war??
    (Pick one):

    • Happy
    • I wish the Mirrans had won

     

  • Quarterfinals – Michael Jacob vs. Austin Bursavich

    by Bill Stark
  • When asked how many Grand Prix Top 8s he had made before Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth, veteran Magic pro Michael Jacob couldn't remember. "I think…four or five?" He questioned, staring off into the distance blankly. When you've played at the heights of competition Jacob has, it becomes easy to take for granted ANOTHER Top 8 at a premier level event, but his opponent in the Quarterfinals, the young Austin Bursavich, wasn't taking anything for granted. He wanted to make the most out of his first Top 8!

    Stoneforge Mystic led the way for Austin, promptly fetching up a Sword of Feast and Famine. The interaction was a key element of his Caw-Blade deck's game plan, but his opponent also had a key play: Lotus Cobra on the second turn. For the explosive red-blue-green deck, the 2/1 could lead to powerful starts with the help of the fetch-lands, landing Titans much earlier than almost any other deck in the format.

    Austin Bursavich

    Bursavich wasted no time in equipping his Mystic with Sword and bashing in to Jacob. The play forced the pro to discard an Oracle of Mul Daya, and a post-combat Mortarpod took out Mike's Lotus Cobra. That put the blue-white player well ahead in the game, and a Mana Leak to stop Jace, the Mind Sculptor from Jacob put Austin even further ahead.

    A second attack with Stoneforge Mystic wearing Sword of Feast and Famine was too much for the veteran Mike Jacob. Too far behind he considered his options, but rather than try to grind the game out against his opponent's superior board position he decided to concede instead.

    Austin Bursavich 1, Michael Jacob 0

    Squadron Hawk finally showed up for the match in the second game as Austin Bursavich attempted to cast one on his second turn, but his opponent valued the 1/1 so highly he used a Mana Leak to counter it. That cleared the way for Austin to successfully resolve a Stoneforge Mystic a turn later, hunting up Sword of Feast and Famine. Across the table Michael Jacob worked on building up his mana, making a land drop each turn but not playing any spells.

    On five mana, Jacob finally got into the game with a Precursor Golem. The artifact creature spawned a set of twins, but Austin had managed to resolve a Jace, the Mind Sculptor first. The Caw-Blade player used the planeswalker to find himself an Oust, then used the removal spell to deal with all of the Golems at once. He followed that up with a twin set of Tectonic Edge activations, locking Jacob at three mana and unable to recast his five drop when he drew it.

    Michael Jacob

    Michael managed to get to four lands, but when he attempted to cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor he had it countered by a Mana Leak from his opponent. The planeswalker became the focal point of the match with Austin resolving one after countering his opponent's, only to lose it as Mike resolved a second, then to get back ahead by resolving a THIRD. A Gideon Jura added insult to injury giving Bursavich a firm lead on planeswalkers while his opponent struggled to get back into things by finally getting to enough mana to recast his Precursor Golem.

    Gideon Jura tied up the Golems while Austin artfully maneuvered the equipment in his hand tutored up by Stoneforge Mystics to the battlefield. When he managed to equip a Sword of Feast and Famine to Stoneforge Mystic, he put the game away. Jacob simply couldn't keep up with the double planeswalker, equipped Mystic start from his opponent.

    "Yeah, you got it," said the seasoned vet with a sigh.

    Austin Bursavich 2, Michael Jacob 0

     

  • Quarterfinals – Hawk on Hawk Action: Josh Utter-Leyton vs. David Shiels

    by Frank Lepore
  • Josh won the roll and lead with a mulligan to six. David kept his seven and Josh kept his six. Josh landed a second turn Squadron Hawk to de-mulligan and net three additional Hawks before passing the turn. David had a two drop of his own in the form of Stoneforge Mystic searching out the infamous Sword of Feast and Famine.

    Josh played his third land and attacked with his Hawk before playing a Sword of his own. On his next turn he Preordained, bottoming both cards before attempting to play a Tumble Magnet. David had the Spell Pierce for the Magnet though, and snuck his sword into play at the end of Josh's turn on the cheap. On his own turn he cast Mortarpod, equipped the Sword to his Mystic, killed Josh's Hawk with the Mortarpod, and attacked, allowing him to untap his lands and cast two freshly found Squadron Hawks. Nice. Turn.

    Josh missed his fifth land and cast two Hawks of his own which David took down with his own Hawks via his Mortarpod. David entered the red zone for three more damage leaving Josh at 13 life. David cast his last two Hawks before passing the turn.

    Josh Utter-Leyton

    Josh untapped, played a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, then brainstormed. Josh had to go into the tank as he decided what two cards would be placed back on top. He played his land for the turn and passed it back. David activated his Colonnade to kill Josh's Jace, while the remainder of his army (er, squadron?) brought Josh to eight life. David then played his own Jace, the Mind Sculptor and decided to fateseal Josh, choosing to leave the card on top. David ended his turn by using his Tectonic Edge on one of Josh's dual lands and depriving him of a second blue mana. With no play, Josh had no choice but to pass the turn back to David. When David activated his Colonnade threatening lethal damage Josh had no choice but to pack it up.

    Shiels – 1, Utter-Leyton – 0

    Game 2

    Josh would once more go to six, unfortunately, while David was content with his seven. Josh had a turn two Squadron hawk to one again negate his mulligan, while David had the same turn two Stoneforge Mystic as the first game. He found a Sword of Feast and Famine and passed it back. This time Josh had a Stoneforge Mystic of his own and searched out his own Sword from his deck.

    David Preordained, played his land for the turn and passed. During his turn, Josh activated the Stoneforge to get the discount on his Sword before equipping it to his Hawk. Once the hawk was in the red zone, David cast a divine Offering, forcing Josh to bin his weapon of choice. David untapped, cast a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and brainstormed. Josh took Jace down a peg with his Hawk, before inviting two more Hawks to the party. (One good Hawk deserves another, they say.) David continued to brainstorm before playing a second Stoneforge Mystic and finding the clutch Mortarpod.

    Josh took his turn and was able to resolve a Sun Titan which managed to get back another mythic in the form of his divinely offered Sword. He then proceeded to attack David's Jace from the air, bringing him to zero counters.

    All was not lost, however. David untapped and cast a timely Volition Reins on Josh's newly summoned Sun Titan. All Josh could do was Preordain, sending both cards once more to the bottom. He equipped his Sword to a Hawk, played his last Hawk, then swung with his previous three Hawks and his Inkmoth Nexus. This was first blood and brought David down to 15 life and 1 poison counter.

    David Shiels

    On his turn, David used Tectonic Edge on Josh's Colonnade, once more limiting him to one blue mana. He then attacked with a Mystic and a Sun Titan, which returned his Tectonic Edge to play. Josh blocked the Mystic and took six from the Sun Titan dropping to 14 life. Before finishing his turn, David sacrificed his germ token to finish off Josh's Stoneforge Mystic.

    Josh played a second Stoneforge Mystic and sought out a second Sword of Feast and Famine. He swung with his equipped Hawk which was blocked by David's Hawk. The turn was passed and David was quick to get into the red zone with the Titan and both Mystics this time returning a Glacial Fortress he had discarded earlier to a Sword hit. David finished his turn with a Gideon Jura who would provoke Josh's team.

    Josh sent all his men in after Gideon leaving Josh defenseless against the imminent crack back. David untapped and thought carefully. He made Gideon a creature, and before he could even resolve his Sun Titan trigger, Josh had extended the hand.

    David Shiels moves on to the semi-finals!

    Shiels – 2, Utter-Leyton - 0

     

  • Quarterfinals – "I always win the die roll and have Cobra": Owen Turtenwald vs. Korey McDuffie

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • Experience against the first-timer. Caw Blade versus RUG. The quarterfinals was a microcosm of this Top 8 as Owen Turtenwald was fighting through his sixth Grand Prix Top 8 with the explosive red-blue-green deck that is challenging for the top spot in the format.

    His opponent, Korey McDuffie, was in his first GP Top 8 but was far from an unknown quantity. And he brought Caw Blade, standard's defining deck to the table.

    Game 1

    Turtenwald won the die roll and elected to play as both players wished each other good luck. Turtenwald's luck was a little better as he kept his starting seven while McDuffie was forced to start on six.

    The veteran made the first move of the game, playing a turn two Lotus Cobra off Copperline Gorge and Forest, threatening an explosive early game. The sight of the snake gave McDuffie pause, but he eventually opted to cast Stoneforge Mystic for Mortarpod to hopefully slow down the mythic 2/1.

    "All the games we have played you have always beaten the [stuff] out of me," Korey McDuffie said.

    The Mortarpod was going to be a turn late, however, as the Cobra plus an Explore enabled Jace, the Mind Sculptor followed by an activation to Brainstorm. Knowing his Cobra was likely to die anyway, Owen attacked for two and connected.

    Looking to keep his position from slipping, McDuffie played a Squadron Hawk for two more and then Preordained, bottoming both before sending the Mystic in to drop Jace to two loyalty.

    But Turtenwald wasn't worried, as Cobra made enough mana to play Inferno Titan, the creature proving to be king of the weekend. The Titan killed the Mystic and the Hawk and left Turtenwald in a dominating position. All McDuffie could manage was a Mortarpod, which certainly wasn't standing in the way of the Titan.

    Another Brainstorm furthered Turtenwald's advantage even more, revealing an Oracle of Mul Daya. When the Oracle started flipping over lands and adding red to his mana pool, McDuffie was quick to pack it in.

    Turtenwald 1 – McDuffie 0

    Game 2

    "All the games we've played you've always beaten the [stuff] out of me," McDuffie said while he kept his first seven.

    "Yeah, because I always win the die roll and I always have Cobra," Turtenwald offered back.

    This time McDuffie would be on the play, and Turtenwald mulliganed to six, possibly looking for that very Cobra.

    "Yeah, because I always win the die roll and I always have Cobra," Owen Turtenwald said.

    A Preordain on turn one helped search, and on turn two, lo and behold, he had the Cobra. But this time, now on the play, McDuffie had the Mana Leak to keep Turtenwald's draw at a more manageable pace.

    McDuffie made his first move on turn four with a Sword of Feast and Famine, leaving up Spell Pierce. Turtenwald was content to Explore and pass with three lands untapped.

    McDuffie used the opportunity to play Jace, the Mind Sculptor on his turn, still with the Pierce to defend it. Owen allowed it into play, which sent McDuffie into the tank before Brainstorming.

    "I really didn't think it was going to resolve," he said.

    The reason it resolved soon became clear as Owen tapped out to cast Inferno Titan to clear out the planeswalker and threaten a ton of damage on an otherwise empty board.

    But it wasn't empty for long. McDuffie had his own 6/6, playing a Sun Titan to regrow a Scalding Tarn, again leaving up Spell Pierce.

    Turtenwald then played a precombat Jace, the Mind Sculptor with two mana open and paid for McDuffie's attempted Spell Pierce. Jace bounced the Sun Titan and the Inferno Titan connected for nine damage, cutting McDuffie's life total in half and forcing him to block with Celestial Colonnade on the next turn. It didn't end up mattering as Turtenwald dealt exactly nine with a Titan trigger and two Lightning Bolts.

    Turtenwald 2 – McDuffie 0

     

  • Semifinals – Orrin Beasley vs. Austin Bursavich

    by Bill Stark
  • Austin Bursavich entered the Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth Top 8 as a rookie, in his very first premier event Top 8. He had dispatched the far more seasoned Michael Jacob in the Quarterfinals of the event and found himself against fellow rookie Orrin Beasley. Beasley in turn had dispatched Alex Bertoncini in the first round of the Top 8, and had previous success on the StarCityGames.com Open Series circuit.

    Orrin, the red-blue-green player, won the die roll and opened on Explore. His opponent followed suit with a two-drop, Stoneforge Mystic, but Orrin had Lightning Bolt ready to blow up the 1/2. He then cast a second Explore but could only find one land for the turn. He was still up one over his opponent, and Bursavich cast a second copy of Stoneforge Mystic, only to have it countered with a Mana Leak.

    Orrin Beasley

    An Oracle of Mul Daya allowed Beasley to slowly begin accruing an on-board advantage, but when he tried for a Precursor Golem it was countered by Mana Leak. Unfortunately for the Caw-Blade player, he was then unable to stop a Jace, the Mind Sculptor from his opponent which hit the battlefield and promptly brainstormed for Orrin. Austin managed to resolve two equipment, Mortarpod followed by Sword of Feast and Famine, but he was falling behind to his opponent's planeswalker and Oracle.

    Jace continued brainstorming for Beasley, allowing him to sculpt the top of his deck. That in turn allowed him to abuse additional land drops from Oracle of Mul Daya, further digging into his deck. As Austin struggled to put together an offense, Beasley moved further and further ahead. Tired of treading water, Bursavich finally decided to give in and try a rebuy in the second game.

    Orrin Beasley 1, Austin Bursavich 0

    On the play for the second game Austin Bursavich led the way with a Mortarpod. His first attempt at a creature, Squadron Hawk, was stymied by Mana Leak but he did manage to resolve a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He used a Mana Leak in an attempt to counter an Oracle of Mul Daya from his opponent, but his opponent cracked three fetch-lands to pay and the 2/2 hit the battlefield.

    Austin's Jace allowed him to dig to a second planeswalker, Gideon Jura, and he cast it and forced his opponent to attack it. That opened the possibility of using Gideon to blow up Oracle of Mul Daya, but Orrin forced through an attack with Raging Ravine that dropped the planeswalker to just two loyalty. Bursavich cast Squadron Hawk to start building up an army and seemed well ahead of his opponent on board.

    Raging Ravine from Orrin died to Tectonic Edge from his opponent, and he fell further behind to Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Gideon was finally able to kill the Oracle of Mul Daya, and the combination of Squadron Hawk and Mortarpod prevented Orrin from putting up any sort of offense. In the background, Jace continued to tick Austin's lead in the card count upwards.

    Hoping to catch his opponent without his defenses, Orrin attempted to cast a Jace of his own. He revealed the four-casting-cost version tentatively, almost expecting the counter to come. When it didn't, he seemed momentarily excited. The excitement didn't last long, however, as his opponent quickly reloaded with a replacement and continued drawing extra cards.

    With a Stoneforge Mystic and Squadron Hawk providing the "beatdown," Austin Bursavich decided he had had enough drawing extra cards with Jace. He turned the powerful card's attentions to the top of his opponent's library and began locking down Orrin's draw step. The RUG player managed to stick an Avenger of Zendikar, but only because his opponent was willing to allow it to land; he had both Flashfreeze and Day of Judgment in his hand to answer. He used the Day to wipe the table, only two turns away from going ultimate with Jace.

    It wasn't the Jace ultimate that got Beasley, however, but two attacks from an activated Gideon Jura and Celestial Colonnade and the players moved to the rubber game with the match tied up.

    Orrin Beasley 1, Austin Bursavich 1

    With their tournament lives on the line, Austin Bursavich and Orrin Beasley spent the early turns of the third game battling over card draw spells. First was Orrin who countered a Preordain from his opponent, then Austin countered an Oracle of Mul Daya. That allowed both players to resolve bigger spells, Beasley's RUG deck dropping Jace, the Mind Sculptor while his opponent netted a Stoneforge Mystic.

    Austin Bursavich

    Austin began getting into the red zone by equipping a Mortarpod Germ token with a Sword of Feast and Famine, protection from green allowing him to sneak past a Lotus Cobra on his opponent's side of the battlefield. He wasn't prepared for an Inferno Titan out of his opponent which wiped Austin's board of creatures. Initiative in the final game of the match seemed to swing from player to player each turn!

    Oust momentarily answered the Titan, and Austin used a Tectonic Edge to mana screw his opponent in an effort to prevent the 6/6 from returning to the battlefield. Beasley ripped the second source of red he needed to re-cast his Inferno Titan and did exactly that. When it resolved successfully, it began to look like his Caw-Blade opponent was running low on gas. He had failed to cast anything significant for a few turns, but after the Titan returned he dropped Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The planeswalker let him look at the top three cards of his library, but when he didn't find anything there he was forced to concede, his lonely equipment void the creatures they needed to dominate the battlefield.

    Orrin Beasley 2, Austin Bursavich 1

     

  • Semifinals – Slaying Titans with Swords: Owen Turtenwald vs. David Shiels

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • When a certain coverage reporter, who had just covered Owen Turtenwald's dismantling of Korey McDuffie in the quarterfinals, asked aloud what new he could possibly write about the budding Grand Prix master, it was Turtenwald's opponent who had the answer.

    "That he crushes every Grand Prix he plays in?" said David Shiels.

    "Hey, I like this guy already," said Turtenwald.

    While they looked through each other's deck lists they started asking questions about how many cards the other had. How many Titans? How many Precursors?

    "How many Jaces?" Shiels asked, and they both laughed as the Top 8 was full of players with full playsets of the powerful planeswalker.

    Shiels might be a newcomer, but he had already proved his mettle, defeating Josh Utter-Leyton in the quarters to set up yet another battle between RUG (Turtenwald) and Caw Blade (Shiels).

    Game 1

    For the second round in a row Turtenwald was on the play and started with a mulligan. Shiels kept and had no response to the Exploring that happened across the table.

    Instead, he played Stoneforge Mystic and Spell Pierced an attempted Jace, the Mind Sculptor from Turtenwald, then followed that up with a Tectonic Edge on Raging Ravine, the RUG player's only green source.

    When Turtenwald tried a second Jace, Shiels had the Mana Leak. Turtenwald was forced to pass back with only two Mountains and two Islands in play. Meanwhile, a Sword of Feast and Famine was flashed into play.

    But Shiels, showing now fear, equipped the Stoneforge Mystic in the face of a possible Lightning Bolt. When none came, he attacked and untapped, searching up a Squadron of Hawks and playing a Mortarpod with his suddenly plentiful mana.

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor + Owen Turtenwald = Win?

    Still, the guy who crushes every Grand Prix he plays in wasn't done yet. Even without access to green mana, he could still make an Inferno Titan that killed the Germ and a Hawk. The Titan was Condemned on its next attack, but Turtenwald, still making due without a third color, was able to summon a Precursor Golem and keep going big. He got even bigger next turn with an Inferno Titan that, thanks to a block on a Golem token, cleared Shiels' entire board.

    Shiels fought back, though, using one copy of Gideon Jura to soak up some damage and then a second to assassinate Inferno Titan.

    Turtenwald, though in the lead, looked to be losing it as his Precursors attacked into Gideon, but failed to kill it. Shiels used his Sword on a Colonnade to get an untap, then followed up with a Stoneforge Mystic and two equips. The Golems were able to kill Gideon, but at the cost of the nontoken's life. A few Preordains later and Turtenwald, still without green mana, was conceding in the fact of lethal damage.

    David Shiels 1 – Owen Turtenwald 0

    Game 2

    Turtenwald elected to play for what he hoped would not be his last game of the weekend. The game started out well for him as he had an opening seven he liked while Shiels mulliganed once, but found some help with a Preordain.

    Now with some of his Magic (and green mana) back, Turtenwald was able to make a turn two Lotus Cobra, turn three fetchland into Acidic Slime, setting Shiels back to one land.

    With a second land Shiels made a Stoneforge Mystic for a Mortarpod, but Owen looked to be in complete control as he played Jace, the Mind Scupltor and attacked with the Acidic Slime, while Shiels simply played a land and said go.

    Explore into Inferno Titan plus an attack from the Slime and Cobra left Shiels with just three lands and an empty Mortarpod, and Turtenwald furthered his advantage by bouncing the Slime with Jace. On his turn, Shiels used his own copy to bin the Planeswalkers, but tapped out to do so.

    Turtenwald had a second Jace and attacked Shiels down to four with Titan. A Jace activation, an Explore and a turn of playing around Condemn left Shiels with no outs to Turtenwald's sizeable advantage.

    David Shiels 1 – Owen Turtenwald 1

    Game 3

    Shiels kept his seven, but was looking at a hand with only white mana, albeit plenty of cards to cast with his Plains, including Squadron Hawk, Stoneforge Mystic and Mortarpod. Turtenwald kept at six on the draw.

    David Shiels with more lands than he saw in all of game three.

    Shiels used his second turn to play Stoneforge Mystic and search up Sword of Feast and Famine, while Turtenwald used his to simply lay a land. Shiels couldn't even do that as he missed on this third land but connected with an equipped Mystic after flashing it into play, causing Turtenwald to discard Mana Leak. Shiel used his two mana bonus mana to search out more Squadron Hawks.

    Turtenwald played out Jace, the Mind Sculpto on turn four and used it to Fateseal himself, putting it out of range of an attack from the Mystic and Hawk, even with help from the Sword.

    Unknown to Turtenwald, Shiels had a Mortarpod in his hand and could have put together five damage to strip all five loyalty from Jace. Instead, Shiels chose a different line of play and got aggressive, chosing to ignore Jace for the time being and attack Turtenwald to 11. He was still stuck on only two land, but Sword of Feast and Famine was effectively doubling his mana every turn.

    The RUG used his very alive Jace to Brainstorm and shuffle the cards away. He then cast Precursor Golem to help protect Jace.

    Shiels peeled a Seachrome Coast, allowing him to Preordain before equipping a Hawk with the Sword and attacking for four in the air. Despite his lack of mana, he had taken Turtenwald all the way down to six life and then searched up another Squadron Hawk, now with three in play. Ignoring Jace, against most convention, seemed to be working.

    Turtenwald, trying to find an answer to the flying squad Brainstormed and Preordained twice before attacking with everything. The Germ blocked and sacrificed, putting Turtenwald on only five life. Journey to Nowhere cleared out the one blocking Golem, allowing the first-time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor to secure his spot in the finals.

    Shiels 2 – Turtenwald 1

     

  • Finals – A Quintessential Finale: Orrin Beasley vs. David Shiels

    by Frank Lepore
  • "In the quarters I rolled a two, in the semis I rolled a three," Shiels quipped before the game. I jokingly mentioned he was about due to roll a four, it seemed. Sure enough, he rolled the die and what turned up? A four…

    Game 1

    Orrin was on the play this game and he would lead off with a mulligan. David would keep his seven while Orrin shuffled back up. Orrin kept on six and dropped a Halimar Depths. He followed it up on turn two with a Copperline Gorge into an Explore. David played his second land and cast a Stoneforge Mystic who fetched up a Sword of Feast and Famine.

    Orrin Beasley

    Orrin Explored for a second time and was now up to five lands in play to David's two. David drew, played a tectonic Edge, and passed the turn. Orrin would play yet another Explore, followed by a Preordain. He shipped both cards to the bottom before playing a single land for the turn. David chose to sneak in a Sword of Feast and Famine at the end of Orrin's turn.

    David played his fourth land and chose to equip his Stoneforge Mystic. David attacked, dropping Orrin to 17 life, and untapped his lands. He played a second Stoneforge post combat and sought out a Mortarpod before passing the turn.

    Orrin untapped and attempted to cast an Inferno Titan, which was met with a Mana Leak from David. David took back the turn and tapped out to play a Gideon Jura. He attacked, untapped his lands, then used his two Tectonic Edges to take out a Halimar Depths and a Raging Ravine. Both players then passed their turns in succession.

    David added a Hawk to the board and then searched out its avian brethren. David sent in the team and reduced Orrin to three life. He played the Mortarpod and shot Orrin for one, then equipped it to his Squadron Hawk. With Orrin at an effective one life it was on to game two.

    Shiels – 1, Beasley – 0

    Game 2

    Orrin once again goes to Paris while David once again remains on seven. Orrin kept on six and lead off with a turn two Explore into no third land. David drops the prototypical Stoneforge Mystic and gets the much expected Sword of Feast and Famine. Orrin played a Cobra on his turn, followed by an Island, followed by an Explore with no fourth land.

    David played his land and passed. Orrin played a land a cast a Tumble Magnet with two mana left up. David activated Stoneforge at the end of the turn, slipping in a Sword, and then played a second Stoneforge Mystic during his main phase. David activated his Stoneforge again adding his newly tutored Mortarpod to the board and killed the Lotus Cobra before passing the turn. Orrin played a land and passed the turn.

    David Shiels

    David equiped one of his Mystics with the Sword and Orrin tapped it. Orrin then untapped and played a second Tumble Magnet before passing the turn. Orrin continued to tap down the Sword wielding Mystic while the other Mystic got in there along with a Celestial Colonnade, dropping Orrin to 14 life. Once more, Orrin simply played a land and passed the turn.

    David meticulously tapped four lands and played a Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Once resolved he decided to fateseal Orrin leaving the card on top. Before the end of his turn he used a Tectonic Edge on Orrin's second red source, preventing him from casting an Inferno Titan. David fatesealed again and chose to ship a Jace to the bottom of Orrin's deck. Orrin activated his Colonnade once more and bashed for five, taking Orrin to eight life.

    Orrin drew and cast Preordain. Afterward an Oracle or Mul Daya hit the board which revealed a Lotus Cobra on top. David bounced the Oracle with Jace on his turn and entered the red zone with only a Mystic. He added a Gideon Jura and a second Stoneforge Mystic to the board before passing the turn. Orrin, still missing a second red, was confined to simply replaying his Oracle. This time it revealed a Scalding Tarn which Orrin hastily put into play. After shuffling the Oracle revealed a Raging Ravine - which also hit play - leaving a Misty Rainforest on top.

    David untapped, bounced the Oracle once more, and activated both Gideon and his Colonnade. Everything that wasn't tapped down entered the red zone, and…

    David Shiels is your Grand Prix Dallas Fort Worth champion!

    Shiels – 2, Beasley – 0

     

  • The Five Cards that Defined Dallas/Fort Worth

    by Bill Stark
  • 5. Goblin Guide
    Though many of their peers opted to bring Jace-based control decks into battle, the deck builders from the formidable Team Channel Fireball.com crew had a different plan: playing beatdown. Many of the team's biggest names, like Luis Scott-Vargas, brought a Boros build that featured the uber-aggressive Goblin Guide. The hasty 2/2 allowed them to trade potential free cards from their opponent for more damage, faster.

    4. Stoneforge Mystic
    A staple in Caw-Blade and aggressive white-based decks, Stoneforge Mystic allowed players to fetch up the right equipment exactly when they needed it and to sneak the thing onto the battlefield through counters if necessary. The fact that that package came with a 1/2 body that could pick up whatever equipment it called to the battlefield was just gravy.

    3. Sword of Feast and Famine
    Speaking of equipment, the most popular equipment to be searched up by entry number 4 was far and away Sword of Feast and Famine. Increasing the size of a player's clock while grinding their opponent's hand down and allowing them to untap their lands to cast more spells and/or re-equip the Sword puts SoFaF high up on the list of important cards in the Standard format that was Grand Prix Dallas/Fort Worth. That it also protects its carrier from green and black blockers and spells helped push its popularity over the top.


    2. Preordain
    If you played Islands in Dallas/Fort Worth, you played Preordain. Like any number of cantrips for a single blue mana before it, Preordain allowed players to fix their early mana draws and filter their late game draws into the juiciest spells. Considering it only costs a single mana, that's a bargain few can argue with.

    1. Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    Few can argue the defining card of the Grand Prix was Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Though the Day 2 field was relatively varied, the Top 8 was a two-deck show with half of the players in it playing Caw-Blade and the other half playing RUG. Each had a full playset of the powerful planeswalker, as did seven of the other eight players in the Top 16. Was Jace's dominance of the event a fluke, or was it really the top card in Standard? That would be up to the rest of the Standard season to determine.

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