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Live Coverage of 2007 Grand Prix Montreal!

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Grand Prix Montreal is over! Fighting through a whopping 18 rounds of play over two grueling days, Celso Zampere Jr. emerged as the Montreal champion. Facing off against Celso was American National Champion Paul Cheon, who was piloting a blue-black control deck and amazingly undefeated on the weekend. Celso met his opponent with his Brazilian green-white aggro deck, and barely managed to take the match in three. Paul was doing well with Korlash, Aven Riftwatcher, Venser, and Momentary Blink, but he just couldn't overcome his opponent's tag team of Tarmogoyf and Serra Avenger. Congratulations to Celso Zampere Jr., Grand Prix-Montreal 2007 champion!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Guillaume Wafo-Tapa   Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, 2-0        
8 Shouta Yasooka   Paul Cheon, 2-1
       
4 Paul Cheon   Paul Cheon, 2-0   Celso Zampere Jr., 2-1
5 Jason Imperiale    
       
2 Gabriel Schwartz   Kenji Tsumura, 2-1
7 Kenji Tsumura   Celso Zampere Jr., 2-1
       
3 Koutarou Ootsuka   Celso Zampere Jr., 2-1
6 Celso Zampere Jr.    


EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION

  • Blog - 9:35 p.m. - Finals: Celso Zampere vs. Paul Cheon
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 9:24 p.m. - Semifinals: Celso Zampere vs. Kenji Tsumura
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 9:17 p.m. - Semifinals: Paul Cheon vs. Guillame Wafo-Tapa
    by Kyle Sanchez
  • Blog - 9:08 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Paul Cheon vs. Jason Imperiale
    by Craig Jones
  • Blog - 9:03 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Kenji Tsumura vs. Gabriel Schwartz
    by Eric Reasoner
  • Blog - 9:00 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Celso Zampere vs. Koutarou Ootsuka
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 8:48 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Guillaume Wafo-Tapa vs. Shouta Yasooka
    by Kyle Sanchez
  • Blog - 8:34 p.m. - The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Staff
  • Blog - 8:18 p.m. - Decklists: The Top 8 Decks + Bonus!
    by Staff



  • Day 2 Blog Archive: More Quick Questions, Another Artist Interviewed, Feature Match Meltdown, and more!
    by Noah Weil & Staff



  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Undefeated Decklists, Feature Match Madness, Artist Interview, and more!
    by Noah Weil
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Celso Zampere Jr. $3,000
 2.  Paul Cheon $2,000
 3.  Guillaume Wafo-Tapa $1,400
 4.  Kenji Tsumura $1,300
 5.  Gabriel Schwartz $900
 6.  Koutarou Ootsuka $900
 7.  Jason Imperiale $900
 8.  Shouta Yasooka $900
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BLOG


 
  • Sunday, June 24: 8:18 p.m. - Decklists: The Top 8 Decks + Bonus!
    by Staff


  • Our diligent staff of reporters are proud to give you the Top 15 decklists here at Grand Prix Montreal for your viewing pleasure.




    Kenji Tsumura
    GP Montreal 07 Top 8


    Celso Zampere Junior
    GP Montreal 07 Top 8


    Koutarou Ootsuka
    GP Montreal 07 Top 8




    Osyp Lebedowicz
    GP Montreal 07 - Time Spiral Block


    Antonino de Rosa
    GP Montreal 07 - Time Spiral Block

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    Forest
    Gemstone Mine
    Island
    Llanowar Reborn
    Pendelhaven
    Terramorphic Expanse

    22 lands

    Looter il-Kor
    Riftsweeper
    Riftwing Cloudskate
    Tarmogoyf
    Vesuvan Shapeshifter

    19 creatures

    Call of the Herd
    Chromatic Star
    Delay
    Psionic Blast
    Snapback

    19 other spells

    Sideboard
    Cancel
    Mystic Snake
    Pongify
    Serrated Arrows
    Wall of Roots

    15 sideboard cards




    Ben Lundquist
    GP Montreal 07 - Time Spiral Block

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    Forest
    Gemstone Mine
    Island
    Llanowar Reborn
    Pendelhaven
    Terramorphic Expanse

    22 lands

    Looter il-Kor
    Riftsweeper
    Riftwing Cloudskate
    Tarmogoyf
    Vesuvan Shapeshifter

    19 creatures

    Call of the Herd
    Chromatic Star
    Delay
    Psionic Blast
    Snapback

    19 other spells

    Sideboard
    Cancel
    Mystic Snake
    Pongify
    Serrated Arrows
    Wall of Roots

    15 sideboard cards



    Joshua Murphy
    GP Montreal 07 - Time Spiral Block






     
  • Sunday, June 24: 8:34 p.m. - The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Staff


  • Koutarou Ootsuka

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Japan and Student

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Eight years.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    GP Yokohama top 4, GP Singapore top 8, 2003 Japan National Champion

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    Dodecapod

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Foresee = Fact or Fiction

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    So-so




    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    I'm from Nantes, France. I'm a professional Magic player.

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Ten years.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    Two Grand Prix top 8, two PT top 8, and a PT win.

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    There were some in my sideboard, but none I can think of right now.

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Wild Pair obviously.

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    Not too good I think, but I'm not sure. I know I would preferred any other matchup in the top 8.




    Kenji Tsumura

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Japan, hunting for pro points.

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Eight years.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    2005 Player of the Year

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    I wish a maindeck Fathom Seer had changed to a fourth Brine Elemental.

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Vesuvan Shapeshifter and Brine Elemental

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    Difficult for me. 9




    Jason Imperiale

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Long Island, I manage a Fudge Shop

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Since Mercadian Masques.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    Top 4 of Grand Prix New Jersey

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    Nope.

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Edge of Autumn.

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    Very good. The deck punishes mediocre draws.




    Paul Cheon

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Los Angeles and just Magic for now.

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Since Torment.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    2006 US National Champion, 2nd at GP Dallas

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    Coalition Relic, it's a pretty sweet card.

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Triskelavus and Psychotic Episode

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    Pretty good. Don't want to play Wafo-Tapa because of his sheer mastery.




    Celso Zampere Jr.

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Brazil and being a student.

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Long time.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    GP Minneapolis top 8, PT Charleston finalist.

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    None.

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Thrill of the Hunt. Thanks Willy and Paulo!

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    Don't know.




    Gabe Schwartz

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Rhode Island, USA. Mechanical Engineer

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Five years.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    Two-Headed Giant State Champion

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    Stonecloaker

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    4x Dodecapod

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    The matchup is good….but it is Kenji.




    Shouta Yasooka

    Where are you from and what do you do?

    Japan, MTG pro player.

    How long have you been playing Magic?

    Long time.

    Previous Magic accomplishments?

    Any card you regret not having in your deck or sideboard?

    Nothing.

    What was your MVP card on the weekend?

    Damnation.

    How do you feel about your matchups in the top 8?

    50/50



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 8:48 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Guillaume Wafo-Tapa vs. Shouta Yasooka
    by Kyle Sanchez


  • This match had the newly crowned Resident Genius, Guillaume Wafo-Tapa, opposite last years Player of the Year, Shouta Yasooka.

    Wafo-Tapa was playing an insanely brilliant Wild Pair combo deck featuring Whitemane Lion and a host of naughty slivers including Dormant, Gemhide, Telekinetic, Frenetic; and Reflex to give them all haste. He used a lot of mana accelerants like Coalition Relic and Prismatic Lens to speed up to Wild Pair mana and Whitemane Lion to chain through his entire deck putting literally all of his slivers in play.

    Shouta on the other hand was playing a standard UB list featuring the tried and true Mystical Teachings engine along with Teferi and friends. How. Droll.

    I haven't actually seen Mr. Wafo-Tapa in action so I'm not too sure what to expect. The deck looks like a mediocre draft deck without any of the powerhouse slivers. The real advantage to playing such a bizzare deck is that no one knows how to fight against it.

    Game 1

    Wafo-Tapa started out with a Gemhide Sliver which powered out a Foresee setting up his next few turns. Yasooka began with a pair of Terramorphic Expanse along with some charge action on his Dreadship Reef. When Wafo-Tapa played a Frenetic Sliver and Wall of Roots on his next turn Yasooka took the opportunity to Damnation the pesky slivers away. Frenetic stayed around thanks to an obviously rigged die and a Dormant Sliver came down for Guillaume.

    Wafo-Tapa tried a Wall of Roots followed up by a Gemhide next turn, when Yasooka responded with a Slaughter Pact on Dormant Sliver. Wafo-Tapa saved it via the die roll with Frenetic Sliver's ability which also replenished his hand. Another Damnation from Yasooka saw Guillaume saving all three of his slivers, and filling Wafo-Tapa hand up with even more cards.

    Guillaume tapped out to play Wild Pair and things were looking bad for the POY. Shouta stole Wild Pair via a Take Possession on the following turn, but Wafo-Tapa still had a hand full of slivery goodies and the luck of the dice on his side. Wafo-Tapa took the opportunity to land a Telekinetic Sliver which started to form a chokehold on Yasooka's mana.

    The next few turns saw Wafo-Tapa tripling the number of Slivers under his control and a final Frenetic Sliver activation on Dormant Sliver enabled him to attack in for victory with the sliver nation.

    Wafo-Tapa: 1
    Yasooka: 0

    Game 2:

    The first few turns saw both players advancing their mana, Yaso with Dreadship Reef, and Wafo-Tapa with Coalition Relic. The game was moving at a snails pace at this point with both players literally doing nothing but playing draw-go. I'm sure it would go faster if I didn't have to wee so bad.

    Guillaume finally initiated some "action" by taking Yasooka's Dreadship Reef with a Take Possession.

    Shouta couldn't contain the legion

    ...

    ...

    ...

    Yup, still nothing happening. I swear I could have gone to a restroom in Japan, came back, and they would still be on Wafo-Tapa's turn with no relevant permanents in play.

    Flash forward a million turns and two Gemhide Slivers along with a Wild Pair are in play for Guillaume and Yasooka ain't lookin' too hot, however he did manage to get another exciting Prismatic Lens into play before shipping it back to Guillaume.

    Guillaume had landed a Dormant Sliver and started a Whitemane Lion loop, which Yasooka tried to Strangling Soot. Unfortunately Wafo-Tapa had the Mystic Snake and Whitemane finally returned to Guillaume's hand after fetching a Reflex Sliver. Wafo-Tapa has the game nearly wrapped up at this point since he could use instant speed Whitemane Lion's to fetch Mystic Snake to stop whatever disruption Yasooka could have.

    Yasooka tried a pair of Damnation, one countered, but the other one sticked as it appeared Guillaume was out of Mystic Snake's. Instead he saved 4 of his 7 slivers and used Whitemane to fetch another Frenetic.

    DAMNATION RESOLVED!!

    Wafo-Tapa ponders how he wants to win.

    When all the slivers came back into play Guillame drew 9 cards, resolved a Telekinetic Sliver, and suspended a Detritivore for three before passing the turn.

    During Yasooka's upkeep Wafo-Tapa tapped him down before Yasooka flashed back Strangling Soot on Telekinetic Sliver, which was saved via Mr. Frenetic. Also during Yasooka's draw phase Guillaume used Extirpate to strip Yasooka of all of his Damnations.

    To finish things off Teneb showed up for Wafo-Tapa getting back a Reflex Sliver, which drew two cards via Dormant, which tapped down lands during Shouta's upkeep, which forced Shouta to offer his hand to the resident genius.

    Guillaume Wafo-Tapa 2-0 over Shouta Yasooka.



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 9:00 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Celso Zampere vs. Koutarou Ootsuka
    by Noah Weil


  • Game 1

    A tough spot.

    Celso started off poorly in his first game of the top 8 with a triple mulligan. Yet for four cards it wasn't too bad. All of his colors were available and a Call of the Herd was cast to bring the beats. Ootsuka's draw was fine, including an early Wall of Roots. Celso tried to break out with elephants, but a Venser from the Japanese player took out one of the 3/3s, granting Ootsuka even more time to get his deck online. Triple Horizon Canopy gave Zampere some refuel options, but it also took away plenty of life, a wedge Ootsuka was happy to squeeze through. A remaining elephant held off two morphs and Venser, but with only lands and Griffin Guide to work with, Celso's clock was winding down. Another Call of the Herd allowed a token to actually attack, but the defending 3/3 vanished into the aether off Riftwing Cloudskate. Riftsweeper from Celso, allowed and forced him to shuffle in an RFGed Call of the Herd into his library, mattering not at all as the remaining token was bounced by another Cloudskate. When Ootsuka flashed the third Riftwing, Zampere packed it in.

    Zampere-0
    Ootsuka-1

    Celso shuffled furiously after this game, but what had that done for him for the first?

    Game 2

    It worked out this time; both players kept their original seven. Celso came out first with a graft land and Saffi, but Koutarou had the mirror champion in Penumbra Spider. Barring Temporal Isolation, that Spider was a real problem for a G/W deck to get through, never mind twice. Celso decided to hedge his bets against bounce, with a 3/3 Avenger and 3/3 grafted Riftsweeper, rather than a potential breakthrough 4/4 Serra. His caution was rewarded when Venser bounced the angel and ganged up with the Spider to block the Riftsweeper. A Thrill of the Hunt saved the enhanced Riftsweeper, and took down the first incarnation of the 2/4.

    Celso considered and attacked with an Avenger and a 3/3, with Thrill in the grave. Avenger + Thrill took down the blocking spider token, while the Armodon-esque struck Koutarou. Another Avenger hit play for Celso and now it was multiple Angels against a spiderless opponent. Not even a Brine Elemental lock would stop the vigilant 3/3s. Both Avengers came in and dealt a punishing 6. Unafraid of the G/U wrath, Mystic Enforcer was played post-combat to further shore up any remaining defenses. At the end of the turn, one morph became a Thelonite Hermit, packing buddies. Were the second morph another Hermit or Shapeshifter, there would be a lot of very large tokens suddenly in play, but no such luck. A Riftwing Cloudskate bought the Japanese player some invaluable time, another turn to hunt for a Shapeshifter. Celso looked visibly annoyed at the bounce creature, yet he pulled it together and studied the board. In came the Avenger, unblocked and bringing Ootsuka to a mere 6 life. Another Riftwing bounced that same Avenger and again the original attacked. A double block from Ootsuka ended badly, as one Thrill of the Hunt killed two. Ootsuka couldn't come back from that and conceded.

    Ootsuka-1
    Zampere-1

    Game 3

    Celso Zampere studies the board.

    Both kept for this final game. Celso led with my favorite move of the tournament, Flagstones and a cycled Edge of Autumn. Ootsuka wasn't doing badly, with Search for Tomorrow and a Wall of Roots. Would it be enough to stop Tarmogoyf? It's only 0/5…

    Riftwing Cloudskate bounced one 'Goyf, which in turn took a Sunlance. Foresee from Ootsuka gave him options, especially with the top four being undesirable, but both players knew Tarmogoyf was the largest creature on the table and Celso was in the driver's seat. A morph from Ootsuka threatened a Thelonite Hermit overwhelming, but another Sunlance took it down. A second Tarmogoyf ended in a vicious turn for the Brazilian. Celso's next turn was even stronger, a third 'Goyf and a Serra Avenger in the air. Untapped Clouskate, 0/1 Wall of Roots, Penumbra spider and a facedown from the Japanese gave Zempere pause, but with a Temporal Isolation in hand, Zampere went for it. In came every creature, and now the onus was on Ootsuka. Both Spider and Riftwing blocked the Avenger, letting all three Goyfs through for 9 points. After damage was stacked Venser rescued an Isolated creature, killing Serra Avenger but putting a new card type in the 'yard. Triple 4/5s were tough, especially at five life to an opponent's 13. Down came the spider again, and in came the creatures. One Tarmogoyf came through, bringing Koutarou to a scant one life. Celso's Serra Avenger even removed Brine Elemental from the equation. Koutarou had to concede, to the consolation of his countrymen. Zampere gave a whoop, to the cheers of his.

    Ootsuka-1
    Zampere-2



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 9:03 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Kenji Tsumura vs. Gabriel Schwartz
    by Eric Reasoner


  • Game 1

    Top 8 competitor Gabe Schwartz.

    Game 1 took all of 3 minutes. Kenji suspended Ancestral Visions, Riftwing Cloudskate, Ancestral Visions, Riftwing Clouskate. Gabriel meanwhile was putting Kavu Predators to work. On turn four he pointed a Fiery Justice at Kenji's face to make each of his Kavus 7/7. Swing for 14? All Kenji could do was untap, draw his card and get ready for the next game.

    Gabriel- "Hey, it's what the deck does"

    Tsumura- 0
    Schwartz- 1

    Kenji pulled Ancestral Visions and Serrated Arrows for Snapbacks, Vensers and Take Possessions.

    Game 2

    Kenji lead with a suspended Cloudskate. Another Predator for Gabriel, this time off of a Grove of the Burnwillows; clearly the Kavu's homeland. The players spent the next few turn making Tarmogoyfs and morphs and coy, come-hither looks to each other. Fiery Justice from Gabriel cleared most of Kenji's board and allowed him to get in for a fight. What began as a solid start for Gabriel quickly turned sour when Kenji made a face-up Brine Elemental and followed that up with a Vesuvan Shapeshifter. A combo that has served the "best player in the world" well all weekend. Praying for an untap step, Gabriel attempted a Dead on the Shapeshifter during Kenji's before he could flip it down. Kenji responded with a Delay for the Dead to keep Gabriel's untap step a remote dream. Neither player could fight, but it was clear that Gabriel was in bad shape and would be hard-pressed to make a game of it. A Riftwing Cloudskate finally gave Kenji a clock. Gabriel wondered allowed if there was "anything I can do." He finally decided 'no' and shuffled up for game 3.

    Gabriel-"Who knew that needing to untap would be that important?"

    Tsumura- 1
    Schwartz- 1

    Game 3

    Gabe started game 3 running, putting Kenji to 11 with a Saffi and a Call of the Herd token. After some trading and killing the board was empty. With nothing on the field, Gabriel put a Mystic Enforcer into play. Kenji paused for a long while trying to decide what to do. Magic must be a terrible chore for the Kenji; when he goes into the think tank he looks like he's in physical pain. His body slightly writhing, his hands always on his face. He makes Magic look excruciating.

    Kavu Predator in the motherland.

    Finally the littlest champion went with a Snapback for the giant threat. Mystic again goes back home, this time due to a Venser. Kenji now had two morphs and a Venser caught in Temporal Isolation to Gabriel's clear board. Gabe put a Kavu Predator into play and aimed a Fiery Justice at the two morphs. Unfortunately there was very little the face-down Willbender could do about it.

    Kenji was now in a tenuous position, facing down a 7/7 Kavu Predator with only a Brine Elemental in hand. He took a hit from the Kavu to go to 7 and watched the Mystic hit the board. He played Briny, flipped it up and said go. Gabe decided to hold back on hitting with his Mystic and passed the turn. Kenji then played another morph, and Gabriel gave the 'That can't be Vesuvan can it?' smile. It was, and Gabe knew he wouldn't be untapping for some time to come. But Kenji wasn't out of the woods yet, sitting on 7 life and staring down a 6/6 flyer, things could still go haywire. Trying to swarm around Kenji's defenses, Gabriel made a Tarmogoyf which fell to Cancel. He groaned, wondering how this game went so wrong, so fast. Kenji then played another morph and attacked with the face-down Shapeshifter, putting Gabriel into an awkward position. Pointing to the other morph, Gabriel asked, "That's a Shapeshifter right? Show it to me." It was and Kenji did and Gabriel extended the hand.

    Tsumura- 2
    Schwartz- 1



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 9:08 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Paul Cheon vs. Jason Imperiale
    by Craig Jones


  • Jason Imperiale

    It's Sunday afternoon and we're now down to just eight competitors remaining. Paul Cheon is the current US national champion and while he was relatively unknown to the rest of the world at the time he's since built on that success with a solid string of finishes. He's running the updated version of the blue-black control deck with additions such as Korlash, Heir to Blackblade and River of Tears from Future Sight.

    Jason Imperiale is running the white-green Tarmogoyf deck that's made a big impact this weekend.

    Cheon won the die roll and hit Imperiale with a Psychotic Episode. Imperiale had to read the card to remind himself what it did. Cheon followed up with a Careful Consideration and thought for a bit before discarding two land.

    Imperiale just did what beatdown does. He played out Tarmogoyf and Mire Boa and started swinging. His fourth turn was less exciting as he sac'ed off a Horizon Canopy for a card and passed the turn.

    Cheon dropped Korlash in the way. Well actually not exactly. Mire Boa was coming through anyway and Korlash was currently smaller than Tarmogoyf.

    Korlash stood in the way anyway and his Grandeur ability was used to find two extra swamps. Unfortunately it put a creature in the graveyard, growing Tarmogoyf to 5/6. This meant Korlash just died.

    I wasn't sure exactly what happened there, but it became apparent a turn later as Cheon cast Mystical Teachings to fetch Tendrils of Corruption. The extra swamps meant the Tendrils was big enough to kill the two mana 5/6.

    EDIT: I asked Paul about this afterwards.

    "No, I screwed up"-Paul Cheon.

    Imperiale made a second Mire Boa and grafted a couple of +1/+1 counters on it. Cheon was getting in control now though. Another Careful Consideration found Damnation.

    Imperiale followed with two Tarmogoyf.

    Cheon cast another Damnation. Then he fetched Teferi with Mystical Teachings.

    It was now time for the end game.

    However the green-white end game is pretty good. Imperiale dropped a Mystic Enforcer. The only thing that really takes that down is Damnation and Cheon had already cast two of them.

    Well not only Damnation. Cheon shut it down with Temporal Isolation.

    Imperiale decided it was enough when Cheon tutored for another Tendrils of Corruption.

    Cheon 1
    Imperiale 0

    Imperiale led off with slow lands. Terramorphic Expanse brought a forest in tapped and Vesuva became a forest that came in tapped. Imperiale was then finally able to make some sideboard tech in Whirling Dervish. The old mainstay from Legends is a terror on black decks.

    This was before they decided to give black Wrath of God. Griffin Guide gave the Dervish wings but then ultimately just became a Griffin when Damnation hit the board.

    Imperiale followed up with a Tarmogoyf and then Griffin Guided the Griffin token.

    Cheon bounced the token with a Snapback. Ouch, that had to hurt.

    The US champ was looking dominant again. A second Damnation cleared out the Tarmogoyf and he followed it with Shadowmage Infiltrator.

    Green-white does have an endgame and it is Mystic Enforcer. The pro-black Enforcer can only really be killed by Damnation and Cheon had already used two of them.

    So now with the Mystic Enforcer Imperiale would surely…

    Triskelavus!

    Ah, yeah, that sort of holds off Enforcer for a while.

    But it's only going to hold off Enforcer for so long. Eventually it's going to run out of counters.

    Teachings for Momentary Blink.

    Ah yeah. I think someone was ready for this. With Cheon able to block the Enforcer for another six turns at least Imperiale packed it in.

    Paul Cheon beats Jason Imperiale 2-0 and advances to the Semi-Final



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 9:17 p.m. - Semifinals: Paul Cheon vs. Guillame Wafo-Tapa
    by Craig Jones


  • Guillaume is playing a sliver deck blah, blah, blah. See the quarterfinals coverage for the low-down on his genius deck.

    Paul is playing a B/U Korlash deck splashing for Mystical Teachings to provide a tool box including Pull From Eternity, Haunthing Hymm, Disenchant, Draining Whelk, and Tendrils of Corruption. The real innovation of this deck is his inclusion of Psychotic Episode in the maindeck, which should prove quite disruptive against Guillaume's sliver engine. Paul's deck doesn't have any counters to deal with Wild Pair, so he will have to draw numerous Psychotic Episodes or time his Haunting Hymm perfectly if he wants to come out of this semifinal match victorious.

    Game 1

    Both players developed their mana, which is a increasingly popular trend in this top 8, before making any plays. Cheon powered out a pair of Prismatic Lens before using Tendrils of Corruption to take care of Wafo-Tapa's Gemhide Sliver. On Wafo's turn he played out some Coalition Relic's, but still only had two lands to work with.

    Cheon put a 3/3 Korlash into play on his turn, and Guillaume slipped a Wild Pair into play courtesy of the explosive Relic's. All Paul could do was pass the turn after attacking Wafo-Tapa and playing his third Lens of the game.

    Another Wild Pair came down for Guillaume along with a third land. Paul played an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth on his turn and cracked in for 5 before passing the turn to Wafo-Tapa, who just passed the turn back to Cheon after drawing.

    Cheon attempted a Psychotic Episode on his next turn and Guillaume used Mystic Snake to counter it and bring Dormant and Frenetic Sliver.

    Cheon asked for the oracle text of Wild Pair and a nameless judge scurried off to get it...

    Three minutes later when he returned the board was clogged with slivers and Wafo had a million cards in his hand thanks to Dormant Sliver and Whitemane Lion tricks. Telekinetic tapped out Paul's blue sources, but he still managed to cast a Damnation, which was answered with a Whitemane Lion into Venser.

    Just when I thought things couldn't get any weirder a Might Sliver poped out of Wafo's hand which gave his six slivers enough power to take Neon Cheon out with some hasty help from Reflex sliver.

    Guillaume Wafo Tapa 1-0

    Game 2

    At this point no one is even watching Kenji in the other semifinals match and all eyes are focused on Wafo-Tapa and his sliver gang.

    Double the pleasure, double the fun.

    Paul drove the action with a turn three Shadowmage Infiltrator, but Wafo responded with a Reflex Sliver on his third turn with the help of a Gemhide. After Neon and Wafo-Tapa traded a couple of hits back and forth Cheon resolved a Mystical Teachings for Tendrils of Corruption at the end of Wafo's turn.

    Cheon made no play on his turn and discarded a Damnation during his cleanup. Wafo continued to beat until Paul cast an end of turn Tendrils but a Mystic Snake appeared and sent the Tendrils packing. On Neon's next turn he dropped the bomb and made Wafo-Tapa discard his hand with a well placed Haunting Hymm.

    Wafo-Tapa continued with the aggro approach when he bashed in again with his slivers and snake, bringing Paul to five. Another Tendrils took care of Reflex Sliver and Wafo-Tapa was in serious trouble. Flashback on Mystical Teachings gave Cheon another Tendrils and the game was all but locked up when he took a Forsee off the top of WafoTapa's deck thanks to a Psychotic Episode.

    Shadowmage was still providing Cheon with cards when Wafo-Tapa decked a Dormant Sliver, which eventually proved useless due to Paul using Draining Whelk on the next sliver he played.

    Neon 1
    Wafo-Tapa 1

    Game 3

    Both players had streamlined draws including turn two Gemhide into turn three Relic for Tapa and turn three Shadowmage from Cheon. A Venser bounced Finkel back to Cheon's hand and on his next turn he used Tendrils to destroy Gemhide.

    Frenetic came down for Tapa while Neon Cheon simply replayed his Shadowmage Infiltrator. Dormant Sliver came down giving him four cards in hand, which were discarded on Cheon's next turn with a timely Haunting Hymm. Cheon has found a way to dismantle Wafo's deck once again and Tapa's tight game was starting to unravel. At the end of Paul's turn in a desperate attempt to get some momentum he used his Frentic Slivers ability on itself, but unfortunately he lost his first die roll of the tournament and the sliver died.

    Paul Cheon had all the answers.

    On his next draw phase Wafo-Tapa drew a much needed Foresee which powered out a Gemhide Sliver and he was up and running again thanks to his Dormant Sliver. Cheon in the meantime developed his board with another Finkel and continued to fill his hand with the one already in play.

    A Wild Pair caused a temporary headache for Cheon who was forced use a Mystical Teachings for Disenchant to get rid of it. Wafo's next turn saw him taping everything to suspend a Detritivore for three. Big daddy Korlash came down and Tendrils took care of Dormant Sliver. Now Cheon was ready to kick it into full gear as he sent in the troops. Wafo blocked Korlash with Venser and then played a Whitemane Lion to get it back, but Cheon had the Slaughter Pact and Venser was sent to the graveyard.

    At the end of Wafo's turn Cheon used Mystical to get a Draining Whelk and Tapa offered him his hand.

    Neon Cheon takes down Wafo-Tapa 2-1!



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 9:24 p.m. - Semifinals: Celso Zampere vs. Kenji Tsumura
    by Craig Jones


  • There are only two rounds left for theese last four players. In this Semi-Final Kenji Tsumura's mono-blue deck got to face off against Celso Zampere's green-white Tarmogoyf deck.

    Tsumura won the die roll and kicked off with some suspend cards, first an Ancestral Vision and then a Riftwing Cloudskate. Zampere tried to bust them up with successive Riftsweepers. The first took care of the Vision, but Kenji was in no mood to lose the Cloudskate and sent the Riftsweeper into ironic suspension with Delay.

    Zampere pulled some nice cycling tricks with Flagstones of Trokair and Edge of Autumn but was starting to get that repeating yourself endlessly problem when playing against mono-blue. The Cloudskate came in and bounced something. A Shapeshifter came in as a Cloudskate and bounced something else. Then another Shapeshifter came in as a Cloudskate.

    Boing, boing, boing.

    Despite the yo-yo nature of his creatures Zampere got the Delayed Riftsweeper back and started swinging with it, Saffi Eriksdotter and a Serra Avenger.

    Zampere had already lost one Elephant token to Cloudskate bouncing, but tried again with a flashed back Call of the Herd. Despite all the tricks Kenji had only one card in hand left and was down to 9 life. He turned both of his Shapeshifters into Serra Avengers and got in for six damage to leave Zampere at 8. Oh and of course they copied the vigilance ability also so Tsumura still got to keep them on defence.

    Zampere wasn't going to let a pair of copied Avengers scare him off. Both his Elephant and Avenger were big enough to take a Shapeshifter down and a Griffin Guide put the Riftsweeper into the same category.

    Tsumura played safe and put both Shapeshifters in the way of the Avenger in case of any tricks. The other creatures got in for enough to put Tsumura to two life.

    In contrast to Tsumura's rather small hand of one, Zampere had four cards to play with. It's not often you seen green-white beating blue in the card advantage stakes. Zampere notched up the pressure with a Tarmogoyf and Tsumura scooped after failing to draw Evacuation, Upheaval or any number of cards that aren't currently in this block.

    Zampere 1
    Tsumura 0

    Zampere seemed to have a very slow start in Game 2. He didn't make a play until an Elephant arrived on the field on turn three. Venser, Shaper Savant was waiting for it and Llanowar Reborn coming in tapped delayed flashing it back for a turn.

    Zampere wanted to get Serrated Arrows down first. The flashed back Call of the Herd was Cancelled and Zampere shot Venser with a Sunlance. What had he done with his green-white beatdown deck, turned it into a control deck?

    Surely this was playing into Tsumura's hands.

    Delay put a Mystic Enforcer into suspension for three turns and now Kenji had seven land and an Urza's Factory to start cranking out 2/2 tokens.

    A Cloudchaser Kestrel came in and then went back again thanks to Riftwing Cloudskate.

    At least Zampere had more cards in hand.

    Despite my joshing, Zampere actually wasn't looking in too bad a way. His Mystic Enforcer came back out of suspension and was joined by a second. There was no threshold yet, but it would only be a matter of time.

    The Arrows shot down Tsumura's Cloudskate and allowed the Cloudchaser Kestrel to level the life totals at 12 each.

    Tsumura had three Factory Tokens, but the ground was clogged up anyway. Of more concern were the two Enforcers about to gain flying and dragon-sized bodies any time soon.

    The Japanese star went for the first part of the pickles lock with Brine Elemental. He made a face down morph.

    Zampere was on very dangerous ground as the morph flipped to reveal the Shapeshifter. The lock was in place but hadn't yet been clamped down fully. Zampere had mana to play with and just needed to get two cards in the graveyard to attack for a lethal 12 with his two Enforcers.

    Traitor!

    The next turn Zampere found a second Flagstones. The legendary lands blowing up gave him threshold. He cast Temporal Isolation to prevent the Shapeshifter from blocking and went in for lethal damage.

    But not quite…

    Snapback! From the one card Tsumura had drawn that turn.

    Zampere visibly slumped.

    Now the lock clamped tight and Tsumura ended the game with a few quick swings of his factory tokens.

    Zampere 1-1 Tsumura.

    Zampere performed the cycle Edge of Autumn with Flagstones trick and then followed it up with Tarmogoyf. It was the 'fair' version of Tarmogoyf - just a 2/3 for two mana.

    He followed with a Riftsweeper (with a +1/+1 token grafted on it) to clean up Tsumura's suspended Cloudskate and started hitting. Tsumura was able to Cancel a Call of the Herd, but was facing a very fast clock.

    A Mystic Enforcer was Cancelled, but this again wasn't stopping the seven points of damage hitting him every turn. The Japanese player was down to a fragile seven life and in danger of slipping out of the tournament.

    He made a morph and revealed it to be a Shapeshifter (copying Tarmogoyf) when Zampere tried to Sunlance it. It at least held the Riftsweeper off as Zampere crashed the Tarmogoyf through to drop Tsumura to three life.

    Zampere dropped Serrated Arrows to make combat math even trickier for the Japanese player. Kenji was forced to make a Brine Elemental just as a Grey Ogre to chump with or die.

    Zampere shot it with Arrows at end of turn. He then thought for a while in his turn. Morphs are so good, because you're never exactly sure what they are.

    Kenji Tsumara couldn't weather the Green/White beats

    He pointed the Arrows at the Brine Elemental again to kill it and then entered the red zone with the 3/3 Riftsweeper and Tarmogoyf.

    And once against Zampere saw a lethal attack thwarted by Snapback. It was even worse as Desert meant Zampere's Tarmogoyf died. He now had nothing.

    This green-white deck is actually fairly resilient though. Zampere went from no creatures to two Cloudchaser Kestrels and two Riftsweepers in two turns. Tsumura's Shapeshifter wasn't holding that off even by masquerading as a Tarmogoyf.

    Once again Kenji Tsumura was thwarted in the top 8.

    Celso Zampere beats Kenji Tsumura 2-1 and advances to the final.



     
  • Sunday, June 24: 9:35 p.m. - Finals: Celso Zampere vs. Paul Cheon
    by Noah Weil


  • Paul Cheon was ready to battle

    Things began in an unusual fashion, a missing Celso Zampere?

    Head judge Jason Ness: "Where is Celso?"
    Random Bystander: "He's watching Paulo and Willy draft. Or he might be in a side event"

    Zampere finally came to his summons and warmly greeted his opponent. The players looked loose and relaxed as they shuffled for this final match, their eighteenth round. They spent discussed San Diego teamups and PT point levels. But when dice were rolled, luck was wished and mulligans were decided, the competitors got down to business.

    Game 1

    Zampere did what his deck does best, starting with a graft land into a larger Tarmogoyf. Cheon's first move was a Psychotic Episode, prompting a puzzled read from Zampere and a laugh from the audience.

    "They always do that," said Cheon.

    Goyf still came in for 3 and after combat, Zampere played an Edge of Autumn and another Llanowar Reborn. Careful Consideration from Paul gave him options, but was certain to create an even larger 'Goyf. The Tarmogoyf took on a Griffin Guide while Cheon was tapped out, dealing even more. It took a Damnation of course, but a Griffin was ready to take up the mantle. A brief rules skirmish occurred when Zampere started to untap and then tried to graft onto the token. The judge determined he had passed that option. A Call token did take one on, only to see both dice go to the grave via another Damnation. Zampere restored with an unthreshed Mystic Enforcer, enhanced with yet another graft token. Cheon looked troubled and played the only card large enough to stand in the way, a 4/4 Triskelavus. Zampere pondered and swung in with the Enforcer, to which Cheon let it through, bringing him down to five. A gigantic 5/6 Tarmogoyf came down after. Paul could only pass with Triskelavus and Urza's Factory mana available. Temporal Isolation prompted serious counting from Paul Cheon, to which he finally responded by a Tendrils of Corruption on the Tarmogoyf. Thrill saved it, until a Trike token spawned and shot it down.

    Still unthreshed, Mystic Enforcer attacked, to be blocked by another trike and fired at Zampere; his first damage of the match. Cheon needed a Vesuvan Shapeshifter to make a gigantic creature, so he dug with another Careful. Another Episode was madnessed out, revealing a Mystic Enforcer on top of the library. Paul well knew how awful it was to Psych Episode a top of the library card, and his mutterings drew gentle laughter from the crowd. With a sigh of resignation, Mystic Enforcer was condemned to the bottom.

    Enforcer took an Isolation of its own, but Griffin Guide off the top was a nice pull for Zampere. The final token blocked and shot Celso, who still had his 4/4 to play with.

    4/4 face off

    Fatty fat Korlash hit as a 9/9 for the American, unable to block the Griffin Guided creature but effective at racing. Zampere played the last card in his hand, a Serra Avenger, and hoped his opponent had nothing. In came Korlash, shaving Zampere's life total in half. Paul ended by cycling Tolaria West for a Slaughter Pact. In came the 4/4 flier and 3/3 flier. Paul again entered the tank, knowing one had to die and that Call of the Herd and Thrill of the Hunt resided in the grave. Paul ended up Pacting the Griffin Guided creature, knowing he now had three blockers to contend with on the following turn. In came Korlash for a desperation attack, but the elephant jumped in the way. Both fliers came in next and Cheon had to scoop.

    Cheon-0
    Zampere-1

    Paul took out his discard suite and Pull From Eternity for more immediate answers to his opponent's blistering deck. Zampere exchanged some Riftsweeper and Serra Avenger for his controlling opponent.

    Game 2

    Paul couldn't have been happy to start with a mulligan down a game, but Celso was had a considerate show of solidarity. Both kept with their next six and Paul led with the ever-popular Terramorphic Expanse against Zampere's graft land.

    Celso's next move was a Whirling Dervish who took on a speedier than normal +1/+1 counter. Dervish had been a winner all weekend for the Brazilian, whose turn two appearance had been giving control decks fits. Cheon merely got things organized with a transmuted for Urborg. Lens helped too, but Dervish was unrelenting. Zampere had no interesting in playing anything else; Dervish seemed strong enough on its own. Yet at the 4/4 stage a Temporal Isolation hit, prompting Celso to get on with the rest of his hand. Mystic Enforcer continued the pro-black theme as Cheon looked stymied. He looked even more unhappy to the Griffin Guide enchanting the Nomad Mystic. Damnation finally made an appearance, leaving behind a mere 2/2 fighter. Saffi and Tarmogoyf joined his action.

    Celso Zampere had too many threats.

    Paul pondered further, his back against the wall, and decided on a Shadowmage Infiltrator to help find help. An attempt at Griffin Guide, probably excessive, resulted in a Slaughter Pact on the 'Goyf. Saffi saved it, but at the cost of two of his three attackers. Careful Consideration dug further for the US Champ, but Finkel was needed on chump duty. Celso once again passed with his hand full of goodness, confident that Paul needed heroic efforts to escape. 6/7 Tarmogoyfs are tricky, although 5/5 Korlash was a fine defender. It got even better when Granduer made it 7/7, the better to block the 'Goyf. Celso was hoping to tap some mana from Cheon, but ended up trading his creature for absolutely nothing. Unperturbed, another Dervish came to take up the fight. Of course the Griffin token had been pecking away the whole time. In the two came again, to which Cheon searched out a Venser. Venser bounced the token and made a beautiful blocker against the Dervish, an utterly sick turn for Cheon. And still Zampere wasn't out of gas; his opponent was just 2 life from giving Celso Zampere the title. That 2 life turned into 10 off a Tendrils, and now Korlash and Venser attacked unimpeded. Zampere literally slumped in his seat at the reversal, inches away from a GP victory but watching it slip through his fingers. Momentary Blink was flashed on Venser to kill an elephant token, and another Tendrils took down the last blocker. Paul attacked for the kill. Zampere shook his head.

    Cheon-1
    Zampere-1

    Game 3

    With a sincere exchange of good luck, the final game got underway. Both kept and began with mana fixing, Edges of Autumn and Terramoprhics Expanse. As to be expected, Celso had the first move with a Call of the Herd, and the flashback. Cheon went Teachings for an answer to the pair of 3/3s, ultimately deciding on Tendrils of Corruption (good answer). Paul had a tough call to make; Tendrils now to avoid Thrill, or Tendrils later to avoid Griffin Guide. He decided on an Urborg-powered, main-phase Corrupt, trying to keep himself afloat while his card advantage spells kicked in. Celso was having none of that, and replaced his fallen pachyderm with a Tarmogoyf, about to get bigger from Cheon's Careful Consideration.

    Against the tapped out opponent Celso went for Griffin Guide, which landed on an elephant. Nine points is a tough pill to swallow, even for national champions. Putting it on the token was interesting, as it saved 'Goyf from Slaughter Pact but made it far worse against Venser. And frankly, it was already pretty bad against Venser. In they came again, to which Cheon flashed back teachings to find an alt cast Snapback. Two cards gone, although Tarmogoyf took on a bonus from an enchantment hitting the yard. Tolaria West went for the popular Slaughter Pact, as Celso had given him another juicy target with Serra Avenger. Down came Aven Riftwatcher, to bring back some of the life lost and combo up with Cheon's Momentary Blinks.

    Grand Prix finalist Paul Cheon

    And that's just what happened as the Riftwatcher blocked an attacking Goyf and blinked for a reset and 4 more life, and a flashback to do it again. Celso was sick of an opponent gaining life on his attacks and slapped down a second Serra Avenger. Paul was sick of not having Korlash in play and fixed that situation too. It wasn't enough as one unblocked Serra Avenger got Thrilled and re-thrilled, dealing exactly five and giving Celso Zampere Jr. the game and the match.

    Cheon-1
    Zampere-2

    Celso Zampere Jr. wins Grand Prix Montreal!


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