Saturday, June 23: 12:22 p.m. - Artist Interview with Rob Alexander
by Noah Weil
Artist Rob Alexander
What is your name and where do you currently live?
My name is Rob Alexander and I'm living just outside Eugene, Oregon.
How long have you been an artist and what got you started?
I suppose I would consider myself a profession artist since 1989, 1990. But from a very early age I've loved to draw. When I went camping with my family I'd make sure to bring a sketch book. In school, any assigned project was an excuse to do a drawing. I'd spend more time on the cover page art than the book report!
Coming out of high school, I couldn't think of any other job I'd still be interested in doing 40 years from now.
What was the first card you drew for Wizards of the Coast?
Underground Sea in Alpha.
Promotional Exalted Angel
What Magic illustration are you most proud of and why?
It's tough to pick just one. Most recently, I would say the alternate art Exalted Angel and Temple Garden. I'm extremely happy with the way those two turned out. I tried to do something interesting and complex, and was really pleased with the final version.
Any other projects you're working on right now?
A number of things right now, some I can't go into details about. I'm currently doing some book jackets for a German publisher for stories about Merlin. Just before I came out here I was asked to do a Lord of the Rings box cover.
Ravnica's Temple Garden
Have you been to Montreal before? What have you seen on your trip so far?
This is my first time in Montreal. I spent most of yesterday in the downtown area, which I really enjoyed It's an old district that reminded me of Europe.
Thanks for your time Rob! Enjoy the rest of your trip.
Saturday, June 23: 2:43 p.m. - Round 4: Gadiel Szleifer vs. Mark Herberholz
by Noah Weil
Could this match finally determine who is more brooding? Both players, hailing from the US, were probably looking for a softer match for this fourth round (their first). Both came to the tournament packing U/B control decks, the same kind Mark Herberholz used to make the top 8 at the last block event, Pro Tour Yokohama. That tournament was before Future Sight of course. As everyone discovered this round, that kind of experience makes all the difference.
Game 1: Gadiel started out with a subtle bluff, using Urza's Factory as his second land drop to cast Prismatic Lens. Most people have Urza's Factory as their last land, rather than their beginning. Gadiel pushed it further, slow ripping his next card off the top, shuffling his hand, and laying a land (one of many). Gadiel's actions didn't seem to be affecting Mark, as he was content to up-ramp his mana with Prismatic Lens, Coalition Relic, and Calciform Pools. In this game conversation was a resource neither player wanted to spend. Card presentation and finger flicks were enough to get the point across to the other player. Gadiel made the first actual move, forgoing his mana-light pretense and searching out Haunting Hymn with Mystical Teachings and Pact of Negation with Tolaria West. A potent combination if Mark had one or zero permission spells, but two lost untap steps if he had more (Pact of Negation resolves against the first counter after which Herberholz counters Hymn again).
Gadiel didn't push it, allowing his Haunting Hymn to get hit with a Delay. Mark resolved a morph, which flipped into the almighty Brine Elemental. A second morph threatened the lock. Gadiel used his Pact, but only managed to negate the under-threatening Fathom Seer. Herberholz used his window to resolve Teferi, keeping Hymn out of the game forever and putting Mark in a commanding position. One Brine Elemental took a Temporal Isolation, but the second one came down and immediately unmorphed, again thanks Mark's extra mana production. At this point Gadiel was seriously on the ropes, and while he managed to resolve Damnation, a second Teferi plus Urza's Factory was enough for Mark to take Game 1.
Game 2: Both players remained silent as they sideboarded and shuffled for Game 2. No one thought there was animosity between the two; far from it. Small talk just wasn't part of the plan. Mark's first move was a good one, a suspended Ancestral Visions. Yet he missed a land drop, and that allowed Gadiel resolve an absolutely vicious Imp's Mischief when the Visions tried to resolve. The best part? Gadiel didn't even have to lose any life.
Herberholz: "Miser's Mischief"
Gadiel continued the card advantage with Korlash, grandeuring out two more lands. Herberholz tried to stay afloat, but Careful Consideration and a hitting Shadowmage Infiltrators put Gadiel in an almost unassailable position. Slaughter Pact took down one of Herberholz's morphs and a fetched Slaughter Pact was ready to take down another. At this point it looked like there was only one way Mark could win the game.
Unfortunately for Gadiel, Gadiel found it. Gadiel's second Slaughter Pact killed another morph and Shadowmage Infiltrator hit. Mark just drew a card and said go; an exciting chance to strike with Finkel again. Gadiel raced his untap and draw, to which Mark gently told his opponent he had just lost the game. It was true, Slaughter Pact had not been paid for. Gadiel looked utterly shocked, picking up his graveyard and rifling through it before placing his cards on the table and offering the hand. Mark shook it almost apologetically. Gadiel and he spoke on the match afterwards, showing more poise than I think I could have in the same situation. A savage mistake but Gadiel and his opponent remained interested in discourse and improving their chances on the weekend. A pair of professionals.
Saturday, June 23: 3:09 p.m. - Quick Questions vol. 1!
What is constructed's strongest card in Future Sight?
Saturday, June 23: 6:28 p.m. - Round 7: Gerry Thompson vs. Olivier Ruel
by Noah Weil
Gerry Thompson looks pleased
Round seven saw two of the very few undefeateds matched up, Gerry Thompson from Indianapolis and Olivier Ruel of Lille, France. Gerry had a rather stock U/B control deck, or U/B/w (what's the difference?) but Monsieur Ruel was piloting something a little more homegrown. Base black, with some blue for card draw, red for Bogardan Hellkite, and green for the oft-mentioned Tarmogoyf. Quite the collection, and as evidenced by Ruel's current 7-0 status, a winning strategy. The mood was friendly as the two competitors bantered with each other and the onlookers. With a sincere exchange of good luck, the match got underway.
Game 1: Both started well, Olivier with his lynchpin Prismatic Lens and Coalition Relic, Gerry with Shadowmage Infiltrator. Gerry made particular note of what colors his Rivers of Tears tapped for, avoiding reality discrepancies down the road. Olivier made his move at seven mana with a Take Possession on the Finkel. Gerry let it resolve of course, and had to give some card advantage back by throwing Tendrils at his turncoat wizard. Olivier could do nothing but strip mine Urborg and watch his opponent casts triple Careful Consideration. Yet for all that Olivier never missed a land drop, including his own Urza's Factory. Eventually the Frenchman found his copies, and threw out his own pair of Careful Consideration. Olivier's next move was spent trying to earn more card advantage, with a Teachings sought-and-cast Haunting Hymn. Gerry threw a Pact of Negation against the instant, then Teachings for a copy of his own. Gerry's discard spell landed, with Extirpate finishing off Ruel's remaining Mystical Teachings.
Olivier was out of cards at this point but was still in fine position with an active Urza's Factory, even against Gerry's own. A Foresee off the top helped restore Ruel, but he was mostly interested in making tokens. Gerry was set with the same plan, until another Take Possession from Ruel stole Gerry's Urza's Factory. At this point, the game was fast slipping away for the American. While Factory disadvantage was relevant, it seemed Olivier's Coaltion Relics and storage lands were the real champions. Charge counters for the win? Regardless, Olivier's ability to play spells while still making tokens was too much of an uphill battle for Gerry to try to tackle. Citing the shrinking match clock, Gerry conceded Game 1.
Thompson: "I could still win that. You should know I could have."
Ruel: "Eh, probably not."
Olivier Ruel, intense
Game 2: Gerry started rough in this game, with a pair of mulligans on the play. Yet he still came out blazing, tapping out for Shadowmage Infiltrator, Shadowmage Infiltrator, and Urborg-powered Korlash. Certainly Damnation from Olivier creates an impossible situation, but if Gerry portions out his creatures, can he win anyway? Gerry didn't think so and went double or nothing on the board. Damnation is spectacular if it hits, but if it doesn't…
And it was the right play. Olivier didn't have the Wrath, and spent a pair of turns digging with card draw spells. One Foresee saw Olivier putting all four scryed cards on the bottom. An expensive Counsel of the Soratami, but still closer to Wrath. Gerry was drawing plenty of cards himself, and one had to assume he was crafting the perfect counter hand. A late Tendrils got a Venser, Shaper Savant back to Ruel's hand, and the finally-found Damnation of course took the counter. In a remarkably quick exchange, the players moved onto game 3.
Game 3: Both players kept and led with Prismatic Lens for this final game. Both players spent turns chiseling their hands into something pretty, with Consideration and Teachings flying back and forth. Gerry's Shadowmage Infiltrator again hit play and drew for his owner. Despite all the searching, Olivier seemed unable to contain the 1/3 creature. Factory tokens attempted to stand in the way, only to get Vensered or Tendrils. Finally a token stuck and blocked a Finkel. After combat, Gerry went for a Careful Consideration. Olivier had an Imp's Mischief for it, to which Gerry shrugged and let resolve. After Ruel's lost four life, Gerry aimed his own Mischief back at the confused Consideration, drawing a chuckle from the spectators. Olivier went for more cards with Foresee, and Gerry did the same with another Finkel. Again the wizards came in, dealing more damage to Olivier's rapidly shrinking life total. Gerry had another card advantage spell in Haunting Hymn, but Olivier had the ultimate answer in Dodecapod!
"Is that…is that really out there?"-me
Jon Finkel versus Urza and the Coalition
It was, but not for long. A Disenchant from Gerry destroyed the 5/5, and for probably the first time on the weekend, Extirpate took out the rest. Ruel revealed a hand of Boom//Bust, Damnation, a dry Tendrils, and Foresee. Gerry finished by tapping out for another Finkel. As Olivier drew and pondered his options, time was called. At this point Thomspon was in the driver's seat, presumably in a position to either win or draw against Olivier. And yet…
Ruel pondered and led with Damnation. Would Gerry Pact it, hope Olivier had nothing worse and go for the win, or would Gerry let it resolve and secure himself the draw? The American decided to go for it and cast Pact on the Wrath. Olivier looked taken aback, as if he couldn't believe his luck. Sure enough, Ruel's final spell was Bust, destroying every land in play. Gerry simply nodded his head, made it to his upkeep, and expired, to a gasp from the crowd. The players shook hands, wished each other luck, and went their separate ways.
I asked Gerry after the match if he saw the Armageddon v Pact situation. He told me he didn't, but had he it would been the exact same play. Gerry explained he had no interest in the draw, and would rather aim for the win, even if the risk was a loss. This was the same thought process that prompted the first game concession. Olivier, I'm certain, appreciated the effort.
Saturday, June 23: 8:51 p.m. - Round 8: Shouta Yasooka vs. Osyp Lebedowicz
by Eric Reasoner
Japan's Shouta Yasooka
Yasooka was running U/B control with all the usual suspects. Lebedowicz's deck of choice was G/W featuring the man of the hour-Tarmogoyf.
Game 1: Shouta choose to play first and both players kept. We're off!
The first play was a Riftsweeper from Osyp, followed by a Hedge Troll. No plains equal bad times. Yasooka was content to build his mana base. Osyp swung in with both men and Shouta flashed Teferi to block the Sweeper. Osyp made another troll and passed. Shouta held tight, while the trolls came over to fight for Osyp. On Shouta's turn he played Strangling Soot on a troll and passed. Timbermare tapped all the other creatures and got in for 5. The game was moving along at a quick clip. Both players knew what they wanted to do and took no time doing it.
Osyp chose not to echo the Timbermare to attempt another, which fell to Cancel. Careful Consideration on Shouta's turn gave him more tools to work with. Osyp launched everything and made a Call of the Herd token and another Riftsweeper. Damnation cleared the board. Osyp went for a Mystic Enforcer, which was Canceled. Flashback call? No problem. At the end of Osyp's turn Shouta made a Teferi and Osyp made a Scryb Ranger. Still at the end of turn, a Tombstalker made an appearance, eliciting a whistle from Osyp. Tombstalker did what it does best-smash. But it didn't matter; Scryb Ranger enjoyed a Stonewood Invocation, came in, and won the game for Lebedowicz.
Game 2: Both players were mum between games, but Osyp was having some difficulty deciding how to get the better of his opponent and sideboarded three different times.
This game, Osyp led with a Tarmogoyf which got bigger after Call of the Herd. Griffin Guide on the elephant token got the OK, only to see it get Vensered into oblivion. Tarmogoyf hit and Osyp passed the turn. Shouta played Careful Consideration to find answers to the now 4/5 beast. Osyp was content to keep making men and hitting, playing a Hedge Troll while being stuck on 3 land. Shouta put a morph into play and passed. Unfazed, Osyp swung in with his bigger men. Both Venser and the morph block the Tarmogoyf, with the morph revealing itself to be Vesuvan Shapeshifter, er, Tarmogoyf. Osyp's 'goyf trades with Shouta's Venser and he makes a Scryb Ranger. Shouta finished out the turn by playing Slaughter Pact on the Scryb Ranger.
Osyp's next turn sees a quickly attacking Timbermare. Shouta considered and played a Teferi to chump.
Osyp Lebedowicz studies the board
Osyp then yelled "Slaughter Pact!" at Yasooka, two turns after the "You'll-Lose-The-Game!" trigger resolved, trying to shake Yasooka. No way. That man's a rock. Not even a glance.
Take Possession gave Shouta a Saffi Ericksdottir. Shouta had taken some early beats but seemed to have stabilized. A Mystic Enforcer came down for Osyp and he passed the turn. The Vesuvan turned face down for Shouta, no doubt looking for a better man to copy. No loyalty from these blue cards. Another Take Possession gave Yasooka the Mystic Enforcer. Osyp could only shrug and sigh. He drew, shook his head, played with his land and played a Hedge Troll and Scryb Ranger. Shouta played another morph and passed. Timbermare from Osyp got Delayed. Still in no position to attack, he could only give the turn back. At last, Shouta felt safe enough to start attacking with his stolen Mystic Enforcer. Scryb Ranger managed to sneak in a point for Joe Black. Shouta sent in with Enforcer then flipped up the Vesuvan to make another 6/6 flyer. The board looked bad for Osyp with his 2 Trolls and Scryb Ranger facing down Saffi, 2 Enforcers and a Brine Elemental. Osyp tried for a Griffin Guide on Hedge Troll only for Shouta to Mystical Teachings up a Slaughter Pact in response. Osyp could only groan when Yasooka failed to forget to pay for Slaughter Pact and swung in for the win.
Game 3: Again Osyp monkeyed with his sideboard. Shouta was happy with his configuration and didn't even pick up his up.
Osyp elected to play, but was forced to mulligan with a 'why me' sigh. Shouta kept both his hand and his stone face. Both player lead with Terramorphic Expanse, popping them together to save precious time on the clock. Another Expanse from Osyp kept him off of a turn-2 play. Turn 3 saw him make an elephant token with no resistance. Next turn it choked to death on some Strangling Soot. Call was flashed back and Osyp went for Griffin Guide on the elephant token, only for it to meet a Slaughter Pact. Timbermare, 5 you. Damnation. Mystic Enforcer, go. Shouta stole the Mystic Enforcer, but Osyp simply played Disenchant at the end of turn to end the thievery. Another call token and a hit from the 3/3 enforcer. Damnation cleared the team again. Osyp played yet another Mystic Enforcer. A morph from Yasooka. Vesuvan Shapeshifter? You bet. Flip, block Mystic, but Osyp's survived the fight with some help from a Stonewood Invocation. Shouta untapped, drew, and extended the hand as he had no answer to the gigantic Mystic.
Saturday, June 23: 9:34 p.m. - Table One Evolution
by Noah Weil
"No matter where in the world I go, I always end up in the same place"-Table One Players' Mantra
For a change of pace, we decided to show the evolution of decks featured at table #1. These are the players that, according to DCI Reporter, are the best in the room. Enjoy!
Saturday, June 23: 10:03 p.m. - Day 1 Undefeated Decklists
GP Montreal 9-0 Time Spiral Block
Francisco Leon V.
GP Montreal 9-0 Time Spiral Block
GP Montreal 9-0 Time Spiral Block
GP Montreal 9-0 Time Spiral Block
Saturday, June 23: 10:37 p.m. - Round 9: Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa vs. Willy Edel
We've reached the end of day one. Unfortunately for these teammates and countrymen, one of the players would not be attending. As one would expect, two close friends and Pro Tour finalists would bring the exact same deck to a major event. In this case, that deck is Green/White aggro, featuring Griffin Guide, Temporal Isolation, and everyone's favorite 'Goyf.
Game 1: Both players kept their openers, with Paulo Vitor leading with Llanowar Reborn. His second turn Riftweeper came in as a 3/3. Edel's opening was less violent but still impressive; a turn one Flasgstones of Trokair sacrificed to cycle Edge of Autumn. Horizon Canopy implied a shortage of lands, but it was enough to case a 2/3 Tarmogoyf. Call of the Herd came for PV, giving him a 3/3 and Edel a 3/4. Edel's Saffi Eriksdotter further increased the Tamogoyf's potential. PV didn't care, attacking with his pair of 3/3s. Edel considered and blocked each with Saffi and the Goyf. Pre-damage, Saffi took on a mirror-breaking Thrill of the Hunt. Paulo Vitor had his own Thrill to outsize the Saffi, and a Temporal Isolation to neuter Edel's Tarmogoyf. All told, a good exchange for PV.
Willy countered with a Call of the Herd of his own, but he was behind in creatures and life. Those Horizon Canopies, much beloved in the earlier rounds, were taking a toll on their owner in the mirror. All else being equal, and in this match it was, those life-draining lands were costing Willy turns. A flashbacked Call from PV kept the pressure on, even when the large Riftsweeper was hit by an Isolation. An unthreshed Mystic Enforcer threatened lethal. Dueling Flagstones brought it even closer, and again Willy seemed on the backpedal. Griffin Guide on an elephant from PV earned a disgusted shrug from Edel, and after giving back each other's auras, the Brazilians shuffled up for Game 2.
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa
Damo Da Rosa-1
Game 2: Paulo Vitor started with a mulligan, but recovered well with a graft land and a Canopy into Saffi. Though smaller than the elephants Edel was making, that didn't stop brave Saffi from attacking through, dealing two. Both players were taking extra damage off their pair of Horizon Canopy. A 4/4 grafted Elephant from PV took on an Isolation, but Damo Da Rosa followed up strong with Tarmogoyf and Serra Avenger. Edel had an Avenger of his own, as well as a mutually destructive Saffi Eriksdotter. Major advantage continued to go to Paulo Victor, whom always seemed to be able to attack with his mana open, versus an opponent who blocked with his mana tapped.
PV dealt more damage and post-combat, played a second Avenger and Stripped each player's Flagstones (not as inhibiting as you might think). Edel could only look frustrated at an opponent with double the life total and double the creatures in play.
Saffi Eriksdotter and her giant elephant
One Avenger took a Bound in Silence (food for the Goyfs!), but Edel seemed fresh out of gas. With PV's Tarmogoyf taking on a Griffin Guide, and Thrill of the Hunt for the final points, Edel had to pack it in.
Damo Da Rosa-2
Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa proceeds to Day Two. Paulo Vitor explained his victory through two words: Llanowar Reborn. The graft lands had been gold for the Pro Tour veteran all day; testing had shown four was the right number. PV explained that his graft lands, and his opponent's pain lands, were the key to winning this match. We'll continue to watch the deck in the top 64.