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The Rock Shines in the Emerald City!

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Ernie Marchesano is the Grand Prix Seattle Champion!

Several different players commented before the tournament that they thought anything was viable in this format, with the exception of maybe Rock or Tog. Those same players were watching the finals between Ernie Marchesano with Rock and Taylor Putnam playing his aggro Tog deck. Ernie took down the match in two games after Cranial Extraction took out his opponent's Psychatogs and his Volrath's Stronghold prevented Taylor from being able to implement his Brain Freeze strategy.

Before facing off against Taylor, Ernie dispatched the tournament's top-seeded player in Grant Struck and Goblin-wielding Max McCall. The Philly native was an amateur before he crossed the threshold of the Top 32 this weekend. In addition to his $2,400 payout for his victory this weekend, Marchesano will receive an additional $1,500 as the tournament's top amateur, bringing his payout just a hundred clams shy of $4,000.

Finalist Taylor Putnam was one of three non-amateur players in the Top 8 and his Gush-a-Tog deck served him well as he took down Tsuyoshi Fujita and Shuhei Nakamura -- each for the second time this weekend -- before falling to Ernie. Fujita's deck was one of the most buzzed-about decks of the tournament. It was a super-fast Sneak Attack deck that featured four Blazing Shoals to ensure Dragon Tyrant was legal every time it sneaked into play.

The Top 8 was a nice cross section of Extended decks with two Goblins, two Rock variants, Sneak Attack, Tog, Aluren, and Cephalid Breakfast. In the end, nothing beat Rock -- or at least Ernie's version of the once-thought extinct Extended staple.


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Grant Struck   Ernie Marchesano, 2-0        
8 Ernie Marchesano   Ernie Marchesano, 2-0
       
4 Max McCall   Max McCall, 2-0   Ernie Marchesano, 2-0
5 John Ripley    
       
2 Shuuhei Nakamura   Shuuhei Nakamura, 2-1
7 Ryan Cimera   Taylor Putnam, 2-0
       
3 Taylor Putnam   Taylor Putnam, 2-0
6 Tsuyoshi Fujita    


EVENT COVERAGE TOP 8 STANDINGS
  • Blog - 8:18 p.m.: Finals: Taylor Putnam vs. Ernie Marchesano
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 6:40 p.m.: Semifinals: Max McCall vs. Ernie Marchesano
    by Mike Thompson
  • Blog - 6:33 p.m.: Semifinals: Taylor Putnam vs. Shuhei Nakamura
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 6:18 p.m.: Quarterfinals Recap
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 5:50 p.m.: The Top 8 Decklists
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 5:41 p.m.: The Top 8 Player Profiles
    by Brian David-Marshall

  • Day 2 Blog Archive: The 64 survivors, top table matchups, Fujita wears a red dragon and much more!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Osyp in a silly hat, Kibler returns to Magic, Oiso dominates and much more!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Info: Day 1 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Ernie Marchesano $2,400
 2.  Taylor Putnam $1,700
 3.  Shuuhei Nakamura $1,200
 4.  Max McCall $1,000
 5.  Grant Struck $800
 6.  John Ripley $800
 7.  Tsuyoshi Fujita $800
 8.  Ryan Cimera $800
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  • Sunday, March 6, 5:41 p.m. - The Top 8 Player Profiles
  • Taylor Putnam

    Taylor Putnam

    Age: 18

    Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? As many as were available

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: One

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: None to speak of

    What was your record on Day 1: 8-0 Day 2: 3-2-1

    What did you play and why? Gushatog, because Draco Explosion sucks.

    Who built your deck? Mike Bower

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Everything, even tiny children's five color sunburst decks

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? I think they're okay, barring any mistakes I should make

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? Turn 4: Attack, no blocks? Intuition, AK, AK, Gush, extend hand.

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? No

    Maxwell Bennett McCall

    Max McCall

    Age: 16

    Hometown: Portland, OR

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? One

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: This one only

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Nothing Worth Mentioning

    What was your record on Day 1: 8-0 Day 2: 3-2-1

    What did you play and why? Goblins. It doesn't have autolosses, and makes your opponent respond to you. Besides, it can kill on turn three.

    Who built your deck? I took a decklist Michael Atchison won a GPT with and tweaked it.

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Everything, but primarily RDW and UW Desire. Matches vs. RDW: 1, Matches vs. Desire: 0

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Depends on the matchups, I suppose. Anyone can win.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I killed my Rd. 6 opponent and didn't realize it until a spectator pointed out piledrivers boost each other.

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? No.

    Ryan James Cimera

    Ryan Cimera

    Age: 16

    Hometown: Colorado Springs

    Occupation: n/a

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? Two

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: None Previously

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: First place at FNM

    What was your record on Day 1: 7-1 Day 2: 4-2

    What did you play and why? Aluren, because I have been playing it since the last block season ended.

    Who built your deck? My deck is based on Frank Karsten's build, with some sideboard changes

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? UG Madness, Desire, Aluren, and Rock

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Ha!

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I was Extracted for Aluren and just wished for Masticore and beat a Rock player down for the win

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? No

    Tsuyoshi Fujita

    Tsuyoshi Fujita

    Age: 21?

    Hometown: Osaka

    Occupation: Freelance Writer

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? 0

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: 1 Pro Tour, ? GP

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: 2004 Japan National Champion

    What was your record on Day 1: 6-2 Day 2: 5-1

    What did you play and why? Shoal and Sneak Attack. I like playing Dragon.

    Who built your deck? Go Anan

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Goblins and Combo

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Nothing. Because my first round is a very hard matchup.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? Dragon Tyrant + Blazing Shoal is fun. I think I am the only player that played splice spells this tournament.

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? Yes. Osamu Fujita and Masayuki Higashino.

    Shuhei Nakamura

    Shuhei Nakamura

    Age: 23

    Hometown: Osaka, Japan

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? None

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: 6 GP Top 8, 1 PT Top 8

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Japanese Year End Tournament winner. 2004 Japanese National Team

    What was your record on Day 1: 7-1 Day 2: 5-1

    What did you play and why? My Scepter Deck is so bad.

    Who built your deck? Morita and Oiso

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Affinity, Red Deck, Goblins, and Combo

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? I do not know

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I'm so happy to make day 2 because I didn't at GP Boston.

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? Yes. I am playing with Arita Ryuichi and Masami Ibamoto.

    Ernie Marchesano

    Ernie Marchesano

    Age: 21

    Hometown: Philadelphia, PA

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season?: 4 PTQs

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: None

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: None

    What was your record on Day 1: 6-2 Day 2: 5-1

    What did you play and why? Rock. It has decent matchups overall. I just didn't want to play a deck with an auto-loss.

    Who built your deck? I used a standard Rock list, tweaked by Vishu Doshi and myself.

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Goblins and U/W Solution.

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? "Round 1 loss"

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? No.

    John Ripley

    John Ripley

    Age: 34

    Hometown: Victoria, BC, Canada

    Occupation: Sign store manager

    How many PTQs did you play in this season? None

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: None

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Top 8 BC Provincials, Top 8 at 2 GP Seattle Trials

    What was your record on Day 1: 6-2 Day 2: 5-0-1

    What did you play and why? R/G Goblins. I always play Goblins.

    Who built your deck? I built it with help from the guys at Yellow Jacket. Go YJ!!

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? Goblins, Red Deck Wins, U/W Solution, Life, Desire, and Rock.

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? It depends on the match up, but as good as anyone else.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I finished in the Top 64 at the end of day 1 and still made it to the Top 8. I find that unbelievably fun.

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? No

    Grant Struck

    Grant Struck

    Age: 17

    Hometown: Portland, Oregon

    Occupation: Student

    How many PTQs did you play in this season?: None

    Number of GP, PT Top 8's: None

    Other Previous Magic accomplishments: Lots of JSS and PTQ success.

    What was your record on Day 1: 8-0 Day 2: 5-1

    What did you play and why? MaceyRock. I have no idea why I played it.

    Who built your deck? No Idea

    What decks were you expecting to be playing against? No Idea.

    What do you think of your chances in the Top 8? Terrible. I'm 0-9 in PTQ Top 8s.

    Tell us a fun fact about you or the tournament this weekend? I haven't played Magic for 4 months and was planning on quitting entirely after this GP.

    Are you qualified for PT Atlanta? If "yes" who are you playing with? No

     
  • Sunday, March 6, 5:50 p.m. - The Top 8 Decklists


  • Macey Rock / Grant Struck
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05



    Max McCall / Goblins
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05


    John Ripley / Goblins
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05


    Taylor Putnam / Gush-a-Tog
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    16  Island
    Polluted Delta
    Swamp

    23 lands

    Psychatog

    4 creatures

    Accumulated Knowledge
    Brainstorm
    Counterspell
    Cunning Wish
    Fact or Fiction
    Foil
    Gush
    Intuition
    Mana Leak
    Sapphire Medallion

    33 other spells

    Sideboard
    Brain Freeze
    Capsize
    Coffin Purge
    Dominate
    Echoing Truth
    Energy Flux
    Engineered Plague
    Fact or Fiction
    Ghastly Demise
    Rebuild
    Shadow Rift

    15 sideboard cards



    Ernie Marchesano / Rock
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05


    Ryan Cimera / Aluren
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05


    Tsuyoshi Fujita / Sneaky Go
    Top 8 - Grand Prix Seattle - 3/06/05


     
  • Sunday, March 6, 6:18 p.m. - Quarterfinals Recap
  • The gigantic hall was split into two large groups of people. Half of the players were playing in the twilight rounds of the PTQ, or vying for an unopened booster of Summer Magic.

    The other group was watching the top 8, and specifically, the Tsuyoshi Fujita/Taylor Putnam match. Tsuyoshi's blisteringly fast Sneak Attack deck was certainly the talk of the tournament. More people were gathered around that table than the other three matches combined, perhaps hoping to see another fabled Turn-1-Kill.

    Things started out well for Tsuyoshi. An early Sneak Attack resolved when Tsuyoshi had the Desperate Ritual to pay for Taylor's Mana Leak. A Gamble was played fetching a Serra Avatar, but held off by Taylor's untapped Psychatog. Unfortunately for Tsuyoshi, Taylor played another 'tog, which allowed the first to start swinging in. Tsuyoshi kept drawing mana sources, and soon enough the Togs were lethal.

    Taylor Putnam-1 Tsuyoshi Fujita-0

    The other big story of the tournament had to be John Ripley. John just missed out on 3 byes by losing in the quarters of the Grand Prix Trial. John then snuck into Day 2 at exactly 64th place, one away from the cutoff (sorry Mr. Saunders). From starting out dead last in standings, John clawed his way all the way up to top 8, where he faces off against the other Goblin deck, piloted by Max McCall.

    Game 1 was an interesting affair. John started off with the fabled Turn 1 Aether Vial, which led into cheap goblins, but no hand re-fillers. Max traded the little red ones, then played Turn 3 Warchief and Turn 4 Siege-Gang Commander. John was forced to Sparksmith the Commander, costing himself 6 life in the process. Another necessary Sparksmith activation brought John to 5. Max played his 2nd Siege-Gang, John had no answers.

    The second game was quite similar, and seems to be a common theme with the Goblin deck mirror. How much life are you willing to lose to get card advantage? John again had an early start, where Max was stuck on too few lands. Gems like Siege-Gangs, Ringleaders and Matrons waited anxiously in Max's hand, hoping and praying that Max could rip three mountains IN A ROW. Max did exactly that, and once again John found himself out of gas. Max's Ringleader for 4, followed by the double Warchief and double Siege-Gang was enough to earn the 2-0

    Max McCall-2 John Ripley-0

    In the second game of the Fujita/Putnam match, Tsuyoshi took a rough beat when his Gambled for Sneak Attack immediately hit the bin. Didn't they ban Entomb?

    With a Foil in hand, Taylor felt confident casting his Psychatog on turn 3. Tsuyosi kept drawing mana sources, accumulating enough to hard cast Dragon Tyrant. It was countered of course, and a Fact or Fiction later, Tsuyoshi's popular deck was retired for the evening.

    Taylor Putnam-2 Tsuyoshi Fujita-0

    Elsewhere in the top 8 was Ryan Cimera(Aluren) versus Shuuhei Nakamura(Cephalid Life). Ryan had lost earlier in the tournament to Shuuhei, and was not feeling confident about his chances. Shuuhei was feeling confident, which the Japanese certainly had reason to do this weekend.

    Ryan and Shuuhei both kept their openers. Ryan started off with a double Therapy on Shuuhei, but had very few actual combo pieces in hand. Shuuhei's had was excellent enough to shrug off the two Therapies. The Illusionist on turn 3 stuck, and on turn 4 Shuuhei had a large graveyard, a large Ghoul, and a Game 1 win.

    The last quarterfinal matchup was Grant Struck versus Ernie Marchesano. Both were playing Rock decks, but with vastly different styles. Grant was with "MaceyRock", a much more aggressive version of the Green/Black deck, packing Rancors and efficient 3 drops. Ernie's version was the controlling build, with multiple Deeds and Recurring Eternal Witnesses.

    It's generally agreed that the MaceyRock version is better suited to this Extended format. However, Ernie's control version is absolutely brutal against Grant's aggressive type. Recursing Pernicious Deeds and Smothers is a rough situation for Grant.

    Game 1 went according to type. Ernie had the Smothers for early Birds and Elves. A Rancored Mongrel from Grant got some hits in, but traded with Ernie's Ravenous Baloth, killing Grant's last threat and erasing some of the damage in the process. Ernie started getting silly with Eternal Witnesses, and Grant soon had to pack it in.

    Ernie Marchesano-1 Grant Struck-0

    The Nakamura/Cimera matchup was far more fun to watch than two G/B decks siding in Edicts, so over there I went. The interesting thing about this matchup is how far fewer turns both players take than other matches, and how each of those turns take so much longer.

    Cimera was looking in trouble in the second game, with Nakamura with a number of cards in hand and a Shuko on the table. Cimera simply had one Cavern Harpy in hand. In a nice move by Ryan, he proceeded to draw Aluren and Raven Familiar as his next two draws, winning a game that did not look favorable.

    Ryan Cimera-1 Shuuhei Nakamura-1

    The Marchesano/Struck match ended with the sound of many, many of Struck's creatures dying under a hail of Smothers and Deeds and Edicts. Ernie's 4th Smother of the game earned a wry chuckle from Grant. With Grant out of threats, Ernie was free to swing in with a Witness and a Baloth, ending the match 2-0

    Ernie Marchesano-2 Grant Struck-0

    The final game of the quarterfinals was over in true Extended fashion. Cimera double mulligans into a fairly strong hand. In his 2nd turn, he has enough tutors to assemble the entire combo, assuming Nakamura gave him the time. Shuuhei did not however.

    Shuuhei's game 3: Turn 1 Vial Turn 2-Brainstorm, end step put a Nomads en-kor into play Turn 3-Tap Vial for Illusionist, mill library, play Exhume and win.

    Shuuhei Nakamura-2 Ryan Cimera-1

    Turns played by Shuuhei in the entire 3 game match:13 Turns played by Ryan in the entire 3 game match:12

    The semifinals are as follows: MaxMcCall(Goblins) versus Ernie Marchesano(Rock and Taylor Putnam(Psychatog) versus Shuuhei Nakamura(Cephalid Breakfast)

     
  • Sunday, March 6, 6:33 p.m. - Semifinals: Taylor Putnam vs. Shuhei Nakamura
  • Taylor Putnam is developing something of a reputation as an APAC slayer. His Gush-a-Tog deck is well-equipped to deal with the fast, mana tight combo decks like Cephalid Life and Sneaky-Go because of his "free" Foils and Cunning Wish targets like Coffin Purge. The young man from Calgary, Alberta in Canada had already dispatched three of Japan's best on the weekend. On Day One he defeated Shuhei Nakamura and Masashi Oiso -- both playing the Cephalid Life deck -- and today he defeated Tsuyoshi Fujita twice.

    When questioned about his match-up yesterday, the finalist from Pro Tour Columbus sighed and shook his head. "I went to Reanimate and he Cunning Wished for Coffin Purge and Purged."

    Taylor smiled at the memory, "Yeah we played yesterday."

    Shuhei sighed and shook his head again as he had to send back his opening draw on the play. Although he had many of the puzzle pieces he needed to assemble for a quick win he only had one land -- which is why the rest of his hand looked so good, of course. He pondered his next six and decided to keep. Taylor stuck by his opening seven.

    After sifting through the top of his deck with a Brainstorm Shuhei had a turn two Nomad En-Kor. Putnam cast his own Brainstorm in response -- looking for the Foil I assume. Shuhei's Daru Spiritualist was Counterspelled on the next turn and he looked to the top of his deck with another Brainstorm.

    Putnam had no plays on his own turn. Shuhei got in for one with his Nomad. Living Wish resolved and found him an Illusionist. When Nakamura cast it the Canadian Brainstormed into Foil. Putnam did not play a fourth land but did cast his Psychatog.

    Shuhei passed the next turn and had no blocks when Putnam's Tog came into the red zone. The Canadian resolved Fact or Fiction and took the three card pile sight unseen. He then returned two Islands for a Gush and began doing the dreaded Psychatog math. He did exactly enough to kill the Japanese player but Shuhei was able to buy one more futile turn with a bought back Worthy Cause on his Nomad. There was no help on top and they moved to the second game.

    Shuhei pitched back his openers once again and kept his next six. He led off with the counter spell evading Aether Vial and had a Shuko for the second turn along with another Vial. Putnam had a full grip of seven cards to Shuhei's two -- never a good feeling when you're up against Tog. The Canadian player broke a Polluted Delta for a Swamp and put out a Sapphire Medallion on turn two. Nakamura weighed his EOT options and settled on untapping before stopping again for additional thought during his upkeep. He put counters on both his Vials and Worldly Tutored for Illusionist. He Vialed him into play and promptly starting equipping him with the Shuko -- going through his deck deliberately three cards at a time.

    He hard cast the remaining card in his hand -- Cabal Therapy -- and named Cunning Wish. He looked at two Gushes, Intuition, Tog, and a pair of Engineered Plagues. He flashed it back and took the Intuition. Putnam did not find land on his next turn and played his Tog. Because Shuhei still had about a dozen cards left in his deck he could not simply "go off" although he did shuffle the Reanimate and Exhume back during Putnam's end of turn. Now he had to draw one of the two.

    Putnam played his third land and attacked with his Tog. He did some quick math and decided one was fine for now. Shuhei drew the Exhume and tried to figure out how to play things. He decided to play it safe and opted to put down Defense Grid and go for it next turn thinking he had one more turn before the Tog would go lethal.

    Putnam attacked and made sure there were no blocks -- with double Vial on the board you can never be too sure. The Canadian cast Brainstorm and then Gushed. He was able to get his Tog lethal and Shuhei fell to the Japanese slayer like all his other countrymen this weekend.

    Taylor Putnam would advance to face Ernie Marchesano in the finals.

     
  • Sunday, March 6, 6:40 p.m. - Semifinals: Max McCall vs. Ernie Marchesano
  • Game 1

    Ernie's turn 1 Bird and turn 2 Troll Ascetic along with Max's turn 1 Vial, turn 2 Warchief (via Prospecter off of Vial) kick off a very fast paced game. Ernie plays a Wall of Blossoms and a Treetop Village to give him some blockers which are badly needed as Max's turn 3 Ringleader nails Fanatic, Incinerator, Sparksmith and Seige Gang Commander. Ernie takes a few moments to think about his following turn, knowing that a horde of goblins are going to be attacking him next turn. Ernie finally drops a Deed, leaving 2 mana open to regenerate his Troll. Max thinks for a moment about his attack, just sending in his Warchief and Ringleader which is blocked by the Troll. Deed for 3 is activated on Ernie's turn, leaving Troll in play. Max still has plenty of gas in his hand as he drops his Siege-Gang Commander, holding another in his hand. Ernie isn't out of gas either as he plays a Ravenous Baloth and a Wall of Blossoms. Max plays his 2nd Siege-Gang, only to have his tokens blown away by a Deed for 0 on the following turn. Ernie starts to apply the pressure as Baloth and Troll Ascetic attack, dropping Max to 7. Max plays a Warchief and a Piledriver and is forced to pass the turn without attacking. Ernie attacks with Baloth, Troll, and Village which are chump blocked by Max's much smaller goblins. Max draws a land and the game is over.

    Ernie: 1 Max: 0

    Game 2

    Max starts off game 2 with a Mulligan. He plays a turn 1 Vial, only to have his only 2 creatures discarded via a Cabal Therapy, naming Goblin Warchief. The game is looking very good for Ernie as his hand is full of creature removal while Max has no creatures on the board. On Ernie's 3rd turn, he casts a Cabal Therapy, forcing Max to cycle Incinerator. Ernie blindly names Goblin Ringleader and Max flips over the card he drew, a Goblin Ringleader. At this point, Max has no cards in his hand and his only creatures are a Prospector and a Matron. Ernie casts 2 Engineered Plagues over the next 2 turns and Max concedes, sending Ernie to the finals to face Taylor Putnam.

    Ernie def. Max 2-0

     
  • Sunday, March 6, 8:18 p.m. - Finals: Taylor Putnam vs. Ernie Marchesano
  • And after a long weekend, here we are at the finals. In one corner, 18 year old Taylor Putnam from Calgary, Alberta, Canada piloting a very aggressive version of the classic Psychatog deck. Opposing Putnam's dreams of Canadian GP glory is Ernie Marchesano, the 21 year old who's already qualified for the Pro Tour in his hometown of Philly. Both competitors have played a lot of rounds to get here, and both want that trophy real bad. There's some money involved as well, I think.

    Ernie Marchesano

    Some friendly small talk and chatter took place during shuffle time but when the d6 came out, both players got their game face on. Ernie won the die roll. Both players kept their starting 7.

    G1: Ernie kicked off with the double Cabal Therapy opener, snagging an Intuition and Counterspell. Taylor's hand was reduced to a Tog and some lands. Taylor could have flashed a Birds for the hat trick, but chose to wait and use his Chainer's Edict on Psychatog instead.

    Taylor didn't bite however, and passed on playing the Tog with no backup.

    Soon after, Taylor did flash back a Therapy, which was Mana Leaked. Eternal Witness from Ernie let him play the 4th Cabal Therapy of the game. Ernie chose not to Flash the last Therapy back, perhaps planning on getting aggressive with the 2/1. Taylor, with nothing else going on, bit the bullet and laid out the Tog, perhaps feeling he could Gush into a Foil if needed

    Ernie wasn't having any of that, and played another Witness for the 5th casting of Cabal Therapy. It whiffed, and Taylor revealed a Foil and 2 Accumulated Knowledges, excellent cards to recover from all the discard. The 6th and final Therapy cast was Foiled.

    The 2nd AK drew Taylor two cards and now Taylor wanted to rumble. Taylor's lone Tog brought it, and Ernie did some quick math to see if the Tog was somehow lethal (not even close). Tog came through for two unblocked, with a +1+1 setting up a later Cunning Wish.

    Ernie still had the Edict for the Tog, and slipped out a Withered Wretch, threatening more damage and making Taylor's AKs a lot less effective. Ernie swung in with a Witness, Wretch and a Treetop Village bashing for 7, bringing Taylor to 8. Taylor made a Wish for Dominate, and his sideboard complied. Taylor decided to take Withered Wretch instead of Treetop Village. Ernie made an odd choice and chose to strip Taylor Putnam's graveyard of cards, rather than swinging in for another 3 with a Treetop. The stolen Wretch ate the Chainer's Edict in the graveyard and traded with Ernie's Eternal Witness.

    Taylor, getting desperate at 2 life EOT'd a Fact or Fiction. Piles: Wish + AK, vs. Medallion+2 lands.

    Taylor, at hyper-speed, took the good pile and Wished for Ghastly Demise. It killed the lone Treetop Village, but Ernie simply played another. Taylor ran the Brainstorm/Gush but didn't find an answer for the 2nd Village. 6 Cabal Therapies later, Ernie was up game 1.

    Taylor Putnam

    Ernie-1 Taylor-0

    Ernie brought in 3x Duress and Rude Awakening for Walls and a Baloth. Taylor switched a Fact or Fiction, Foil, and Intuition for 3x Engineered Plague.

    Game 2:

    Taylor, down a game, deliberated his opening grip. Ernie, playing it cool, had himself a little stretch. Taylor, in response, mulliganed. Not a place you want to be down a game in the GP Finals. It was not all bad for Taylor, as Ernie simply had a bunch of walls and creature kill in hand. With Ernie having no pressure and no hand disruption, Taylor easily had enough time to recover the lost card.

    Taylor's grip was lands, Psychatog and Engineered Plague. ErnieSmothered the Tog, rather than playing a turn 3 Cranial Extraction. The extraction resolved a turn later, and all 4 of Taylor's toothy gold men were out of the game. The sum power of Ernie's creatures continued to be zero.

    But lo! A topdecked Sakura Tribe Elder. Anyone want to make a 20 turn prediction?

    Taylor ignored the angry snake and began playing hard cast Gushes and Accumulated Knowledges to tear through his deck. With a Sapphire Medallion out, Taylor attempted a Wish to start a Capsize lock, starting with Taylor's lands. This might have been an error, as Ernie's Dust Bowl allowed him to sacrifice the targeted land, fizzling another victory condition.

    SAKURA-TRIBE ELDER CONTINUED HIS RELENTLESS ASSAULT!

    Ernie: Do you have a way to kill me? Taylor: Always. Taylor: Or I just want my time in the spotlight for another 13 turns.

    Much later, Taylor finally got rid of the snake with an Engineered Plague. Ernie shrugged it off, and upgraded to Ravenous Baloth and Treetop Village. A swing from the duo took Taylor to 1 life. Taylor end step Intuitional for Gush/AK/AK. Ernie correctly gave him the draw 2 instead of the draw 4. Another Intuition stripped 3 lands out of the deck.

    Taylor, accurately sensing his time is running out, went for it on his turn with a double Gush, floating 4 mana.

    Taylor Putnam took second

    Taylor: "How many cards in your deck?"

    Mr. Putnam did the standard counting spells and mana, obviously going for a big Brain Freeze. It might have been lethal too, if Ernie hadn't played Volrath's Stronghold last turn.

    Taylor: "I'll Echoing Truth your Volrath's Stronghold." Me: "It's non-land" Taylor: " L "

    Taylor did a quick tally of his options, and with a wry smile, offered the hand of concession. Ernie shook it and the crowd erupted in applause.

    Ernie Marchesanao is the Grand Prix: Seattle Champion!

    With his amateur status, Ernie earned himself $3,900USD. Not a bad weekend's work!

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