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Day 2 Blog Archive

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  • Blog - 5:32 p.m.: Round Fifteen: Steven Wolansky vs. Jeremy Shapiro
    by Andre Coimbra
  • Blog - 5:27 p.m.: Round Fifteen: Adam Chambers vs. Tannon Grace
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 4:27 p.m.: Round Fourteen Feature Match Recap
    by Andre Coimbra
  • Blog - 3:17 p.m.: Round Thirteen: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Gabriel Nassif
    by Andre Coimbra
  • Blog - 3:07 p.m.: Drafting with Gabriel Nassif
    by Andre Coimbra
  • Blog - 2:47 p.m.: Rebuilding With Shingou
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 2:27 p.m.: Round Twelve: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Chris McDaniel
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 2:17 p.m.: Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 2:07 p.m.: Round Ten: Gabriel Nassif vs. Benjamin Lundquist
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 12:07 p.m.: Day One Undefeated Decklists
    by Brian David-Marshall
BLOG

 

  • Sunday, November 18: 12:07 p.m. – Day One Undefeated Decklists
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • There were three players with perfect records yesterday, including one of the greatest players to ever play the game. Gabriel Nassif has seven pro Tour Top 8s on his resume – more than anyone other than Hall of Famers Jon Finkel and Kai Budde – but rarely travels for Grand Prix. In fact he only has three Grand Prix Top 8s on his resume. Since Gab is staying with Herberholz in preparation for Worlds there was no reason for him not to try his hand at the Grand Prix scene.

    Joining him with perfect records were -- what we euphemistically refer to as 'relative unknowns' in the coverage game -- Kyle Miller and Seth Mansfield. Seth's name did recently appear in Mark Young's column as a name to watch apparently winning PTQs before he could see R rated movies and if you regularly look through PTQ Top 8 deck pages you will have no doubt seen both Kyle and Seth's names before.

    Looking over the three decks there was one thing that leapt out at me immediately. Each of the players were using Islands, Plains, and Swamps with nary a Mountain or Forest to be found. Take a look at these three decks and card pools and see if you could have resisted building with Wren's Run Packmaster like Nassif or left Chandra and Lash Out on the bench like Kyle.



     

  • Sunday, November 18: 2:07 p.m. – Round Ten: Gabriel Nassif vs. Benjamin Lundquist
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • As I walked over to cover the first match of the day Gabriel Nassif was lamenting his deck, which was apparently all over the place. According to Gabe Walls, Nassif went into the draft as a black hole for good cards and took everything that passed his way. His picks included Wort, Boggart Auntie, Brion Stoutarm, Syggg River Guide, and Changeling Titan – call it five-color Merfolk.

    Ben, a member of last year's U.S. National team liked his deck, which also featured Brion Stoutarm, but did not want to get overconfident against this opponent. "You can still outplay me..."

    "I will be lucky to win a match...I don't know."

    Game 1

    Gab came out with Springleaf Drum, Tidewater Mystic, and Deeptread Merrow over the first two turns. Onlookers seemed impressed by his fast start until Ben parlayed Smokebraider into an attacking Changeling Berserker on turn three. Nassif attacked back with Deeptread Merrow and deployed Syggg River Guide. Thanks to the Drum he had the mana to activate it and block the Berserker.

    Ben stayed back and played his own Springleaf Drum into Brion Stoutarm.

    "Two cards left?" asked Nassif who played Avian Changeling. He thought about and then finally went ahead and got in for two with Syggg. Ben passed with Sentinel mana open and although Nassif wanted to get his Changeling across in the air he respected the flash flier and only got in for two with his legendary islandwalker. Ben did flash out the flier and also flung the Beserker EOT bringing Nassif to 10.

    Warren Pilferers got the Beserker back but Lundquist chose not to get his haste on sitting back on the inevitability of his Stoutarm – and the futility of attacking into Nassif's open mana and Sygg. Judge of Currents allowed Nassif to creep up to 11 when he swung with Sygg but Ben was at 17 thanks to his giant's lifelink ability. Ben cracked back with the Sentinels and Warren Pilferers and Nassif put his Tidewater Mystic and Changeling in the path of the goblin. He tapped his Mytic to tap his Drum and saved both creatures with Sygg's ablity. Ben threw the goblin and when the dust settled the score was 20 to 7 in Ben's favor. Nassif was also tapped out and it allowed Ben to Crush Underfoot the legendary Merfolk and gain four more life. He replayed the Beserker.

    Things looked grim for Nassif who calmly asked, "Cards?" and began counting his mana. Ben had only one card left in hand. Nassif attacked – gaining two – and then played Changeling Titan. Ben could only attack for two in the air and Nassif dipped to 8. Silvergill Douser joined Ben's team.

    Nassif played Oblivion Ring and pointed at Brion. Ben had to decide if he was willing to throw anyone in response. He flung the Beserker and briefly dropped Nassif to 3 who gained two back when he attacked with the Deeptread and the Avian. After Ben attacked for two in the air – one really as Gab used the Drum to tap his Judge for blue and give his Deeptread islandwalk – he played Streambed Aquitects.

    Nassif sent in his Deeptread, Avian, and Titan this time and actually managed to make a dent in Ben's life total now that the Stoutarm was gone.

    Wellgrabber Apothecary, Axegrinder Giant, and Streambed Aquitects gummed up the ground on both sides until Nassif played Benthicore. Suddenly he had a way to keep tapping his Merfolk. He then gave his Titan islandwalk and got in for five after adjusting for the +1/+1 and the effect of the Douser.

    That was enough for Ben who could only lament, "I should have killed the Judge."

    "I know I was praying that you wouldn't...then I would have a decent shot."

    "I just thought I could attack through it until you played the 7/7."

    Game 2

    Springleaf Drum for Ben followed by Smokebraider gave him plenty of mana. Gab had Sygg but had to use counter from his Vivid Creek to find the white. Ben made a turn thee Lowland Oaf. Gab found the Plains a turn later and conjured up Judge of Currents and Goldmeadow Harrier.

    Dread came down on turn four for Ben and an onlooker whistled, "That seemed fast."

    "I would have no outs if I didn't have this," said Nassif as he tucked the Elemental Incarnation under his Oblivion Ring. Ben's Lash Out took care of Sygg while Nassif was tapped out and the young American player added Silvergill Douser to his board. When he was willing to trade in combat with Nassif's Judge of Currents it was a dead giveaway that he was holding Pilferer.

    Kinsbaile Balloonist from Nassif was followed by Ben's Pilferer and then a Titan from Nassif. The game slowed down at this point as Ben played Silvergill Douser and Stonybrook Angler.

    Nassif attacked for nine in the air thanks to a Titan airlift from the Kithkin. Ben used the Lowland Oaf to make the Pilferer fly and blocked the Balloonist – essentially a trade. Ben cracked back with everyone but the Angler. Nassif had Pollen Lullaby and won the clash on his Tidewater Mystic. The Angler tapped the Titan and Nassif got in for one with his Douser.

    Ben's guys were stuck sideways for a turn although he did play Fallowsage. Nassif looked at the card he just drew and played it – Merrow Rejeery. He attacked with Titan and Douser and Ben had no choice but to block the Titan. He used the Fallowsage/Drum tandem to draw a card and burned for one when he had no outlet for the blue mana he floated.

    He was at one life but the card he drew with his Fallowsage was Inkbottom Divers, which got him deep enough to find Giant Harbinger into Brion Stoutarm. Nassif played Benthicore but the Stoutarm was going to allow Nassif to inch away from the precipice.

    Wellgrabber Apothecary allowed Nassif to tap the Giant Harbinger and swing with his Benthicore – Ben had tapped the Titan. Benthicore munched on a Lowland Oaf. Ben could only attack with Inkbottom Divers which Nassif nullified with his Douser.

    Time was called as Nassif began his turn. "Attack step," announced Nassif and Ben shrugged and said okay as he preferred to use the tapper on Nassif's Douser. Nassif examined the board and tried to figure out some way to foil Brion with his Douser but sighed, "Doesn't matter." He passed the turn and Ben flung the Harbinger at Nassif to climb to four life and drop Nassif to nine. Ben also tapped the Douser at the end of turn allowing the Inkbottom Divers to get in and drop the future Hall of Famer to six.

    Now Nassif had to attack and sent his Titan, Benthicore and two tokens into the red zone. Ben chumped with his Douser and Smokebraider and made one of the tokens smaller. Ben got another attack step and was able to finish Gab off with the Divers.

    Now it was Nassif's turn to wonder if he could have done things differently: "If I attack with everything can I kill him maybe? I guess I should have tried."

    Final result: Gabriel Nassif and Ben Lundquist drew with one win apiece.


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 2:17 p.m. – Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Round Ten: Seth Manfield vs. Kyle Miller

    Neither of these players had picked up a loss to this point but Kyle Miller lost in two games to young Seth Manfield.

    Round Ten: Tomoharu Saito vs. Luis Scott-Vargas

    After being knocked off this round by Luis Scott-Vargas it was starting to look like Tomoharu Saito was going to have to settle for another two point performance at a GP.


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 2:27 p.m. – Round Twelve: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Chris McDaniel
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • This round was something of a rematch from the Pro Tour Charleston semifinals although these players did not actually play each other in that team event. In the wake of that event there had been some animosity between the two teams, particularly between Gadiel Szleifer and Willy Edel, but these two Pros seemed perfectly comfortable playing each other.

    Game 1

    Chris, who led things off with Elvish HarbingerEyeblight's Ending, sounded horrible and raspy as he has been slowly succumbing to a bad cold that will no doubt have swept through the Magic community by the time Worlds rolls around. Paulo, who had mulliganed, had no play until a turn three Streambed Aquitects. Lys Alana Huntmaster came down for Chris. A turn later he tutored for Nameless Inversion with Treefolk Harbinger.

    Paulo passed the turn with five mana and no play. Chris punished the merfolk for its lack of elfiness and made a token. Elvish Branchbender made another on his turn. Paulo played Silvergill Douser and Merrow Harbinger for another Aquitect. Paulo could not fight off an 8/8 Forest and they were quickly on to Game 2.

    Game 2

    Paulo mulliganed again and made turn three Streambed Aquitects followed by Chris' Elvish Harbinger. This time Chris tutured for the Huntmaster. Paulo passed turn four with no play but Chris wasn't biting. He just played the Huntmaster and left his Harbinger back and let Paulo play his Sentinels EOT without any bonus of eating a creature.

    Inkfathom Divers allowed Paulo to arrange the top of his deck. Chris used Eyeblight's Ending on the Aquitects and played Elvish Branchbender. Paulo played a fresh Streambed Aquitects and Silvergill Douser. Chris had Weed Strangle for the Aquitects, made a Forest into a 5/5 and swung with everyone. Paulo fell to 10. He was able to attack back and bring Chris to 6 with his Sentinels and Divers and fortified his defenses with Fire-Belly Changeling and Inner-Flame Igniter.

    Moonglove Extract killed the Douser before Chris made a 5/5 Forest which he sent into battle alone. Paulo threw the changeling under its wheels. Chris had Bog-Strider Ash. Paulo got in for three with his flier, using the Inner-Flame to boost its power, and assigned a Tidewater Mystic to put Chris on a one turn clock. Chris sent in three guys and hoped that Paulo would block with both the Igniter and the Mystic but he didn't block with either and fell to 7. Chris could not avoid taking the last three points between the islandwalker and the flier/Igniter.

    Game 3

    Treefolk Harbinger for Timber Protector opened the game for Chris while Paulo had his traditional turn three Streambed Aquitects opening. He was able to Faerie Trickery a Bog-Strider Ash on turn four and had Shriekmaw at the ready for the Timber Protector

    Chris's Lys Alana Huntmaster yielded an elf token when Paulo attacked for three and forced Chris to use his Nameless Inversion. He made Chris' lone Swamp an Island during combat. He then played Consuming to kill the Huntmaster. Lowland Oaf was next for Paulo but it was quickly exchanged for a token and Moonglove Extract.

    Paulo seemed to have all gas while Chris was glowering at the top of his own deck. Sentinels of Glen Elendra and Inner-Flame Igniter joined the Brazillian team. When Paulo attacked with everyone Chris had Gilt-Leaf Ambush. Chris revealed Harninger on his clash while Paulo showed off his Chandra Nalaar.

    "Geeeeeez!" moaned Chris. "C'mon!"

    The tokens ate the Igniter but with Chandra coming down Chris needed more than the Eyeblight's Ending he could tutor up with his Harbinger.

    Final result: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa came back from a Game 1 loss to win the match in three games.


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 2:47 p.m. – Rebuilding With Shingou
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Yesterday we presented you Shingou Kurihara’s card pool for this tournament and walked you through his indecision about which colors to play. While you weren’t explicitly assigned any homework overnight I am sure many of you built the deck for yourselves. This is what Shingou did…although he did not make it through to Day Two, leaving him plenty of time to practice Legacy with the other Japanese players.


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 3:07 p.m. – Drafting with Gabriel Nassif
    by Andre Coimbra
  • Drafting on the first table of a Grand Prix might be scary for some players, but not for Gabriel Nassif. He may be known as a Constructed master but it was in Limited where he earned both his first Pro Tour Top8 and his Pro Tour win, proving to be a real master of the game.

    In the first draft of this event Nassif decided to take the best card in the booster with each pick. He ended up with some sort of 5-color deck with a super high average card quality, but not happy with a 1-1-1 score. It's common knowledge that at a poker table the best strategy to use is the opposite of the one other players are using. As a poker player himself, Nassif realized that his opponent's at this draft table would not play much green and in a pokerwise approach to the draft, he chose to pick green from the beginning to the end.

    His first booster gave him lots of blue and black quality choices, but he chose to pick Briarhorn, starting him down the green path. He followed with a Leaf Gilder on the next pack and a Woodland Changeling in the next booster, which paid off when he saw a 4th pick Incremental Growth going directly to his card pool. The first booster got colder, just giving to the French player some decent commons. In the second booster he opened Timber Protector and decided after some picks to get white as his second color, adding some spot removal to his deck. In his third booster his early bets proved to be right when he got a second pick Incremental Growth, third pick Changeling Titan and a fourth pick Dauntless Dourbark! Wow!!!

    Nassif ended up with a very fast tempo green deck, deciding to not splash white for two Neck Snap and one Oblivion Ring. While his deck seems quite solid and he looked to be happy with it he took a bad beat from the other side of the table. Gabe Walls drafted monogreen deck too, featuring two Imperious Perfect and Garruk Wildspeaker.

    Gabriel Nassif
    Grand Prix Daytona -- Draft Two


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 3:17 p.m. – Round Thirteen: Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa vs. Gabriel Nassif
    by Andre Coimbra
  • With Top 8 on the line, we get to watch a great match featuring Gabriel Nassif, from France, a former Player of the Year, against the level 6 mage from Brazil, Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.

    If you are following the coverage, you already know that Nassif drafted a Monogreen deck, featuring a very fast curve. PV, on the other side of the table, got the Blue-Black control deck that most of the pros look to get on those drafts.

    In the first game Nassif got PV down to 10 life with an Elvish Handservant, Leaf Gilder and Seedguide Ash with some help of Incremental Growth. PV was able to stabilize after getting some time thanks to a Pestermite, double Mulldrifter and a Glimmerdust Nap on the Treefolk. Nassif tried to force his beatdown with Changeling Titan, championing the enchanted creature and a second Incremental Growth. However, this second offensive wave was stopped by another Glimmerdust Nap, Stonybrook Angler, Aethersnipe and some well timed double blocks. To seal the deal, PV played Cryptic Command, as an expensive boomerang to remove Nassif's last defense from his way and deal lethal damage to the French player.

    In this second game the French player started with a mulligan and got stuck on two lands, conceding when his opponent started playing multiples Nath's Buffoon.

    Paulo Victor Damo da Rosa 2 Gabriel Nassif 0


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 4:27 p.m. – Round Fourteen Feature Match Recap
    by Andre Coimbra
  • On one side of the Feature Match area, Tillman Bragg, playing his White/Red Kithkin/Giant deck defeated Alex Lieberman, playing Blue/Black, 2-1 with a pair of blistering Kithkin starts. On the other side of the Feature Match area, Adam Chambers, playing Black-Red Goblins, won 2-1 against Zac Hill who was playing White/Green Kithkins. This time the Kithkins lost due to the massive card advantage that the Goblins engine provided.


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 5:27 p.m. – Round Fifteen: Adam Chambers vs. Tannon Grace
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Andre Coimbra came up to me after covering a Feature Match and said, "That Adam Chambers is pretty good." Andre was impressed by how crisply the Pro Tour Atlanta semifinalist played while still having the ability to slow things down and think about the correct play when he needed to figure something out.

    What has always impressed me about him is his composure. Adam always maintains the same level while playing Magic. He never groans about his losses and never gloats over his victories. He just takes each match in stride and goes about his business. Despite his apparently emotionless response to wins and losses he still manages to have while fun playing the game and has often has pet cards and strategies.

    His opponent was Tannon Grace, an LSU student who was hoping to qualify and see a lot more of the Pro Tour next year. I talked to Tannon after the draft and he was feeling down about his deck but when he showed it to me it looked like plenty of hits -- Chandra Nalaar, double Douser, Cryptic Command, and Sower of Temptation – mingled with some slower Giant themed cards.

    Both players were in a win-and-in scenario.

    Game 1

    Adder-Staff Boggart won a clash to lead things off for Adam and it pounded in for three before trading with a Lowland Oaf a turn later. Adam was fine with that as he had Wort, Boggart Auntie to get it back. Or so he thought...

    Tannon dropped Chandra Nalaar and put three loyalty counters on her as Adam binned his boggart. Adam took two cards from Tannon's hand with Mournwhelk but he was still able to play Silvergill Douser and tick the Nalaar up to four.

    "I hadn't played with a Planeswalker until today," beamed Tannon.

    Adam played Boggart Birthrite to get back the Adder-Staff and make it a 3/2 on the clash. Sower of Temptation stepped up for Tannons., who attacked for one and brought his loyalty up to five. When Adam attempted to Eyeblight's Ending the Sower Tannon had Cryptic Command and drew a card.

    "You win," said Adam as he reached for his sideboard.

    Game 2

    "Judge!" called Adam as he realized he would need to make a change in his deck. He pointed to a card and asked for some lands of the appropriate color. He was bringing in a package of blue cards.

    "How many?" asked the table judge.

    "Five?" said Adam although he only put four in his deck.

    Tannon mulled his first hand but kept number two and led off with Runed Stalactite and Silvergill Douser. He tapped one of Adam's lands with Pestermite on turn three but when he attempted to equip it Adam had the Peppersmoke.

    Adam smiled as his deck delivered him a Mountain.

    "No fair," cried Tannon jokingly. "Really no fair," he said less jokingly when Adam played Wort. Tannon grinned sheepishly as his deck delivered him his fourth land – and his first Mountain which let him play a Lowland Oaf.

    "Chandra is really fair," teased one of his friends from the sidelines, "and Cryptic Command is fair too."

    Adam used Perstermite to tap the Oaf after it was equipped and had another Pestermite for the Oaf on upkeep. Tannon played Silvergill Douser. "Equip?" Adam had another Peppersmoke and then Glarewielder for the win.

    Game 3

    "It's been a couple of blowouts...let's play some Magic this game," suggested Tannon before wishing Adam luck in the final game.

    There was a mulligan for Adam and the same Stalactite/Douser open for Tannon who then followed up with a clash-losing Paperfin Rascal after Adam's Boggart Sprite Chaser. Pestermite joined Tannon's team and he began attacking for three with an equipped Rascal until Faerie Harbinger supersized his goblin and found Peppersmoke. Tannon saved the Pestermite with his Douser, which was soon to be maced by the Faerie instant. Tannon added Lowland Oaf.

    Adam's Weed Strangle killed the Oaf and he won the clash on another Peppersmoke – Tannon slumped. Tannon managed to find time to move the Stalacitite over onto the Pestermite giving him a pair of two-toughness creatures. When he attacked however they were ambushed by a Pestermite untapping Adam's Sprite Chaser. The Chaser ate the merfolk and the two faeries traded. There was still another Lowland Oaf for Tannon.

    Adam played Glarewielder and attacked around the giant. He attempted to stave off the assault with Hamletback Giant but Adam was ready with Eyeblight's Ending took Tannon down to two.

    Adam was at nine and Tannon rubbed his hands together for one good top deck. He picked up the card and slowly looked at it. It was a land...

    ...which he played and used to summon the Hearthcage Giant that had been languishing in his hand. He attacked with the 4/4 Lowland Oaf and sacrificed the tokens to make the Oaf lethal.

    Adam leaned over to double check the math, nodded, and shook his opponent's hand while Tannon's friends whooped on the sidelines over the timely land.

    "Dude just made the Top 8 of a GP!"

    Final result: Tannon Grace wins two games to one over Adam Chambers.


     

  • Sunday, November 18: 5:32 p.m. – Round Fifteen: Steven Wolansky vs. Jeremy Shapiro
    by André Coimbra
  • The winner of this match gets a seat in the Top8 Draft. While the other player might still earn an invite to Kuala Lumpur, adding a Grand Prix Top 8 to one of those young players resume is something that they are both really aiming for. Jeremy was from Madison, Wisconsin and was playing a Blue/Red Faeries deck, featuring multiple copies of Boggart Sprite-Chaser. His opponent was Wolansky, a local player representing the Blue/Black Faeries archtype. Steven was also looking to make up some ground in the Rookie of the Year race and vowed that if he won this event he would actually playtest Constructed for the first time in his career for the next two weeks until Worlds.

    The first game was mostly an attrition war, with lots of removal and some counterspells from both sides. Jeremy got stuck on three lands for some turns and the game ended when Steven got his opponent down to 5 damage and Fodder Launched for the win.

    The second game was more interesting, as Jeremy, on his fourth turn had in play two copies of Boggart Sprite Chaser and one Fire-Belly Changelling, while Steven had just lands. However a Final Revels reset the game and it was the time for Steven Wolansky to create an army of flyers, featuring two Dreamspoiler Witches and Sentinels of Glen Elendra. He got massive card advantadge from the Witches and once again the kill spell was Fodder Launch.

    Final result: Steven Wolansky wins two games to zero and advances to the Top 8.

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