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Day 1 Blog Archive

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TABLE OF CONTENTS


  • Blog - 11:59 p.m. - Round 9: Shingou Kurihara vs. Billy Moreno
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 11:56 p.m. - Decklists: Day 1 Undefeated Decks
    by Staff
  • Blog - 11:33 p.m. - Round 8: Raphael Levy vs. Murray Evans
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 10:11 p.m. - Round 7: Eugene Harvey vs. Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa
    by Jonathon Loucks
  • Blog - 9:44 p.m. - Round 7: Gerry Thompson vs. Kenji Tsumura
    by Eric Reasoner
  • Blog - 7:54 p.m. - Round 6: Olivier Ruel vs. Tomoharu Saito
    by Eric Reasoner
  • Blog - 7:00 p.m. - Quick Questions
    by Staff
  • Blog - 5:58 p.m. - Very Original Art
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 4:38 p.m. - Round 4: Tiago Chan vs. Willy Edel
    by Noah Weil
  • Blog - 3:00 p.m. - Babes in the Woods
    by Noah Weil

  • BLOG


     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 3:00 p.m. - Babes in the Woods
    by Noah Weil


  • While a lot of attention at these events goes to the pros, there's another side to the Grand Prix experience. They're the people who have chosen to make their very first tournament ever a GP, and they're doing it at Grand Prix San Francisco. I caught up with a couple of these players to see what brought them to the tournament, and how their experience is going so far.

    Zach Jones

    What's your name and where are you from?

    My name is Zach Jones, I'm from Newark, CA. I came with my friends Ricky Brown and James Woodhouse

    When did you start playing?

    I started five years ago, during Odyssey.

    What got you into the game?

    I had some neighbors that were friends of mine. We would hang out together, and then we found a card shop: C&J Collectibles. I met some new people and found even more guys playing Magic. I really enjoyed the game, and all the cool kids were doing it.

    Why did you decide to play today?

    I had nothing to do today, thought it would be fun to play a tournament.

    Is there anything you're looking forward to doing at this Grand Prix?

    I'm just looking forward to playing all weekend and getting my Birds of Paradise signed [by Mark Poole].

    Your opponents have described your cuteness as "button-like". How do you feel about that?

    That seems about right.

    How has your weekend gone so far?

    I've drawn so many lands with my white weenie. I'm playing 22 lands, I keep drawing eight each game!

    James Duong

    What's your name and where are you from?

    Jim Duong, I live in San Jose

    When did you start playing?

    A year ago, during Time Spiral

    What got you into the game?

    I had some friends that had been playing since Alpha. I picked them up at the mall sometime after they got some boosters. The game looked really interesting so I asked them to teach me. I was hooked.

    Do you have a favorite pro?

    Jon Finkel, I love his playing style. I love the way he surprises people.

    Is there anything you're looking forward to doing at this Grand Prix?

    Getting my cards signed, more gaming, meeting people I've read about, just gaining experience

    How has your weekend gone so far?

    I'm really psyched. This is a lot of excitement for my first tournament. I just want to remember to use good strategies. I'm having tons of fun.

    Anything you want to say to people who might be considering their first tournament?

    Absolutely anyone who can play should play. You get meet such great people, hear interesting stories. And if you win, you get to go new places and get some winnings! I'm already looking forward to the next tournament.

    Thanks for your time and enjoy the rest of the Grand Prix!



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 4:38 p.m. - Round 4: Tiago Chan vs. Willy Edel
    by Noah Weil


  • Willy Edel

    Things started with a bang for these two competitors' first round, the tournament's fourth. On the one side was popular player and writer Tiago Chan, Europe's choice for the Magic Invitational. Squaring off against Tiago was Willy Edel, South America's pick for the Magic Invitational. As the competitors were shuffling, Tiago turned and explained to me the match wouldn't take long; "Willy always plays with the latest beatdown deck of the format". While I obviously couldn't take Tiago at his word, this time he was telling the truth. Chan's U/B/r control was against Edel's G/W/r nouveau beatdown. The players exchanged pleasantries in whatever language intersected between the two, but when it was go time, the competitors were all business.

    Game 1: Unfortunately for Willy, his business involving a pair of trips to mulligan town. His five was keepable but hardly exciting, with a pair of Llanowar Reborns leading into a third turn 3/3 Kavu Predator. While Willy was clearly comfortable putting change on his Predator, that creature represented the totality of his offense. The key to this matchup (the key to any matchup Edel might say) was to win the game quickly, and Edel's mulligan-hobbled draw wasn't doing the job.

    Chan was content to refine mana with Prismatic Lens, Terramorphic Expanse, and Coalition Relic, while enduring hits from the 3/3 Predator. Tiago dropped a backbreaker soon after in Haunting Hymn, wiping the remaining four cards from Edel's hand. Willy tried to come back with a topdecked Call to the Herd, but Tendrils of Corruption, an active Factory, and a grip of cards from Chan made it impossible. A Triskelavus from Tiago further confounded the board. Unconcerned in facing Tiago's Triskelavus and three mana backup, Edel came in with an Elephant token. Tiago reflected and took the bait, blocking the 3/3 with his 4/4. Edel did have Thrill of the Hunt, but in the end lost the card and the elephant token to the Triskelavus and a pair of flying fanatics. With one flyer remaining and under no pressure, Tiago began to make his army of factory tokens, but Edel quickly waived him off and conceded, salvaging time for games 2 and 3.

    Chan: 1
    Edel: 0

    The players remained amiable but cool as they sideboarded and shuffled for Game 2. Tiago admonished Willy for "drawing poorly" a statement which turned out to be slightly premature.

    Game 2: Edel looked at his initial seven and declared them "lovely", to which Tiago declared his keeps as well. Willy then made his blunder, starting off his turn by drawing a card. Tiago looked taken aback for a moment before pointing out the improper draw. Edel looked crestfallen. A judge was summoned, and ruled Willy would simply be forced to mulligan; a turn zero peek before shipping his hand back, apparently. Willy explained to me that his original opening hand contained both Flagstones of Trokair and Edge of Autumn, and he was already enacting his end results before going through the motions.

    However it was supposed to play out, Edel looked at his next six and gave a weak thumbs up. Tiago did have a new opportunity to throw his hand back, unusual, but again declared his keep, which made perfect sense. Both players started light on action, Willy with no green mana and Chan with only two lands. Tiago missed a beat and had to discard a Mystical Teachings, but bounced back a turn later with a land, Shadowmage Infiltrator. Willy grimaced at the Invitational card, or perhaps began figuring a better submission of his own. Either way, Fiery Justice was a long way away for the mono-white seeming Brazilian.

    Tiago Chan

    In came Finkel, many times. Edel did find his green mana and began to lay threats, ending in the sideboarded Heartwood Storyteller and Tarmogoyf. His board was looking better and he was getting damage in, but that Shadowmage was a very steep uphill affair. Willy clawed a bit of card advantage back with a slick move: A 3/4 Tarmogoyf attacked into Tiago's Venser and facedown creature. Both of Tiago's creatures blocked, with the damaged morph turning into a copy of the 'Goyf. It looked like Edel's Tarmogyof would die and Tiago's would live, but Willy turned the tables with Stonecloaker, saving a creature on the way to the graveyard and shrinking a creature enough to go there. It was the perfect play, and in a parity situation it could easily have tipped the scales. Unfortunately for Edel, there was no parity here; Chan's card advantage steadily mounted. A Damnation took care of Edel's Shadowmage problems briefly, but Tiago was quick to replace him. A last ditch Stormbind from Willy was a slim opportunity, but Tiago reversed with a Take Poessession on the enchantment. With no chances left Edel had to lay down his cards and offer the hand. Chan had all the answers.

    Chan-2
    Edel-0



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 5:58 p.m. - Very Original Art
    by Noah Weil


  • Sliver Queen

    Stories had been circulating around the hall about one of the dealer tables having some very impressive pieces of card art. The rumors were true and I caught up with David "Hazer" Hayes, owner of the Black and Blue Magic table, to shed some light on how he came in possession of these unique pieces of art.

    What can you tell us about these cards?

    This was a pet project of mine. I had this idea after reading an article about Ron Spencer doing these over-the-top art alterations. I contacted some of the more popular artists, including Ron Spencer, and asked if they were interested. Most were very excited by the challenge, and we got some great pieces. I really liked how this came out for the casual side, giving more emphasis on the art and artists than just card strength. It's fun to focus on a different aspect of the game. From a marketing side, it's also a nice hook to get people looking at the site. Actually that can be challenging sometimes, since these cards aren't actually for sale. I'm a dealer and buying and selling is what I do, but these are just a part of my private collection that I like to show around.

    Eternal Witness

    So these are one of a kind?

    Completely. I made very sure not to give the artist much instruction. I just gave the artist the card, showed them what other artists had done in the past, and let them do their thing. I of course paid a fairly significant amount, but I was looking for something special.

    Who are you looking to talk to next?

    Matt Cavotta is really enthusiastic about a doing a Goblin Piledriver. Apparently seeing the other artists' work was some kind of challenge to him.

    What about the 3-D card? That's pretty rare to see around here.

    Rob Alexander's Flagstones of Trokair

    Yeah, that's the work of Master Ookuba. I met him in PT Yokohama. He was a cool guy, and I was blown away with his skill and craftsmanship and attention to detail. He has a policy that he never sells cards, and really doesn't like to do rares. But there was a charity auction happening on the site, and I made a big donation, and then he agreed to do it, on the promise I would never, ever sell it. I gave him all the cards, and it took him a good four hours. I of course was incredibly happy with the way it turned out.

    Thanks for your time David. Where can the readers go to see these cards and any future commissions?

    Thank you! These cards can be found at http://www.blackandbluemagic.com/gallery.html


    Tradewind Space Cowboy

    A singular Morphling

    3D Adarkar Valkyrie



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 7:00 p.m. - Quick Questions
    by Staff




  • What is your favorite creature type?

    Eugene Harvey: Shuhei Nakamura: Paul Cheon:
    "Elves" "Rebels" "Wizards"


    Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa: Raphael Levy: Andre Coimbra:
    "Wizards" "Humans" "Lhurgoyfs"




     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 7:54 p.m. - Round 6: Olivier Ruel vs. Tomoharu Saito
    by Eric Reasoner


  • Tomoharu Saito

    Another Invitationalist battle! As the two players sat down, Ruel let tell how awful this match-up was for him. The creatures in Saito's G/W were just bigger and scarier than Ruel's R/G version. Mogg War Marshals have a hard time dealing with Call of the Herd tokens and Serra Avengers.

    Still lamenting how terrible this match-up was for him, Ruel decided to pile shuffle Saito's deck, looking for scuffed and marked sleeves, commenting, "Maybe I can get a win this way."

    Fans were taking photos of Ruel and his pink, antlered hat. Always the showman, he mugged and hammed it up for his adoring public. This man loves the attention.

    A high five from the champions and we were in.

    Game 1:
    Saito began the game by popping Flagstones and slapping his own face multiple times. Both players spent the next few turns building up their teams and getting in hits when they could. Olivier checked out of the game while he drew up a token for his War Marshal. Saito would present a spell of effect only to be waved away with a 'do whatever you want, I'm busy' shrug. After a series of attacks and fresh creatures added to the board, the match took a frosty turn when Ruel prematurely passed the turn after an attack and Saito wouldn't let him go back on it.

    The board was cluttered, but Saito was waiting for a Keldon Marauders to vanish before sending in the troops. After the Marauders were gone Saito's pacifism turned to aggression. A Sunlanced Magus of the Scroll pushed through more damage. Ruel drew his last card and gasped with frustration; another land to add to the collection in his hand.

    Ruel: 0
    Saito: 1

    Ruel cut the Keldon Marauders and a couple of Mountains for Vesuvas, Jaya Ballards and 1 Greater Gargadon.

    Olivier Ruel with his thinking cap

    Game 2:
    More face-slapping by Saito was all that the crowd heard from either player. It was all business now.

    Ruel started off with everyone's favorite $25-bill, Tarmogoyf. Saito followed up with a 'goyf of his own, but added a graft counter to trump Ruel's. Olivier then attacked into the larger 'goyf. Confused, Saito decided to block anyway. With damage on the stack, Ruel attempted a Ghostfire on the Tarmogoyf. Saito responded by cycling his Edge of Autumn, making both 'goyfs a base 3/ 4, saving his own from Ruel trickery.

    The board bogged down again with Jayas, Mogg War Marshals, Saffis and more Tarmogoyfs joining the fight. Saito threatened to end the stalemate by putting Temporal Isolation on Ruel's Tarmogoyf at the end of turn and then playing Serrated Arrows on his own. Finally it was a good time to attack. 2 Tarmogoyfs, an elephant token, and Saffi visited the red zone. Ruel took a healthy hit, but managed to flash in a Sulfur Elemental to kill Saffi while Jaya pointed 3 at Saito's face.

    Ruel was in serious trouble at this point. Facing down larger and greater numbers of creatures than his own he needed some serious help from his deck to win the game. On what would be his last turn he slowly drew his card to find a mountain. Still hopeful, he played a Chromatic Star, popped it and nearly wept for joy when he saw the one Greater Gargadon in his deck. Suspend Gargadon, attack with Isolated Tarmogoyf, stack and sack and it was on to game 3.

    Ruel: 1
    Saito: 1

    Scariest goblin token *ever*

    Game 3:
    The players had a mere 10 minutes to finish the last game, and with the creature stalls that can easily happen and Saito's glacial playing pace, both players felt the pressure of the clock. This game proved to be a lesson in mage slaughtering, with Ruel getting taken to school.

    A first-turn Gargadon was mopped up by a grafted 3/3 Riftsweeper on turn 2. Tough breaks buddy.

    Saito continued the parade of pain while Ruel could only put up meager resistance with a Magus of the Scroll that managed to take down a Tarmogoyf with Stonewood Invocation.
    Saito's Call of the Herd, Serra Avenger, Tarmogoyf; Ruel did the best he could to stem the bleeding with Dead//Gone and Ghostfire, but it wasn't meant to be. Truly a tough match-up.

    Ruel: 1
    Saito: 2



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 9:44 p.m. - Round 7: Gerry Thompson vs. Kenji Tsumura
    by Eric Reasoner


  • Kenji Tsumura is probably not asleep

    Kenji has great hair.

    Game 1:
    Both players began with mulligans, starting a trend that would continue through the rest of the match.

    Kenji got early beats on the board with a Mogg War Marshal and Kavu Predator, but they fell to Damnation after only a few hits. Rewind and repeat, turns later the same team were again taken out with another Damnation, but this time Thompson followed it up with a Shadowmage Infiltrator. Finkel fell to a Dead after blocking the last Mogg token.

    Kenji trembled and fret over each and every move. No one, no one thinks this hard when playing Magic. Watching him is absolutely fascinating. Magic, like love, hurts.

    After a couple of turns of Kenji making Yavimaya Dryads to fetch Dryad Arbors, Thompson used a Haunting Hymn to clear out Kenji's hand, forcing him to discard the Haze of Rage he was planning on using to bust Thompson's head. Yeah, Haze of Rage. It ain't just for your draft sideboard anymore.

    Kenji managed to put Thompson on 4 life, but a series Slaughter Pacts, Tendrils of Corruption, and a final nail named Bogardan Hellkite put Kenji effectively out of the game. When Thompson cast Gaea's Blessing targeting Tendrils, Kenji just motioned for them to move on to the next game.

    Thompson: 1
    Tsumura: 0

    Game 2:
    With Kenji on the play this game and Thompson taking a double mulligan, things looked bad for Minnesota's hero.

    Gerry Thompson studies the board, and is studied as well

    And it was. Kenji came flying out of the gates with a grafted Tarmogoyf into Call of the Herd with a Haze of Rage on the next turn to put Thompson very low, very early. A Void for 2 gave Gerry some game, but it was not to be as Kenji kept applying the hurt with more beats and a Rift Bolt to finish.

    Thompson: 1
    Tsumura: 1

    Game 3:
    Again both players dumped their hands, but seemed, well if not 'happy,' at least satisfied with their next ones.

    This game followed the familiar back and forth of aggro on control. Make a guy, Tendrils that guy, make a couple of guys, Damnation those guys, make more guys, Damnation again, rinse repeat.

    Eventually, hoping Thompson was out of answers, Kenji cast a Summoner's Pact for a large Tarmogoyf. No such luck. A Void for 2 removed the Tarmogoyf and revealed that Kenji had no more action than an Uktabi Drake.

    Kenji and Rich are the best of pals

    Slaughter Pacts dealt with the next couple of creatures Kenji played, but all the while he was building up a flock of Kher Keep tokens. Finally it came time for them to hit. With an elephant token and 4 kobold tokens on the board, Kenji flashbacked Call of the Herd then played Haze of Rage with buyback and sent them all in. Yet another Slaughter Pact removed the elephant, with the remaining putting Thompson on 4. But a Tendrils brought him out of the danger zone and he was free to search up a Hellkite with Mystical Teachings. Kenji kept putting up token resistance, but all it took was a few hits from the Hellkite to end the match in Thompson's favor.

    Gerry Thomson defeats Kenji Tsumura 2-1

    A quick aside on what a great guy Kenji is. A player came up to him before this round asking if he could see Kenji's decklist. Kenji gave him a sideways look, but when the player assured him he "wouldn't show the list to anyone still in the GP," Kenji said, "Give me a pen." Kenji didn't know this guy from Adam, the guy that asked for the list was truly an unknown, but Kenji was kind and generous to a stranger when he had every right and reason not to be. So while I don't encourage all of you to bother him for lists, just know that we have among us a gentleman as well as a champion.



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 10:11 p.m. - Round 7: Eugene Harvey vs. Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa
    by Jonathon Loucks


  • Brazil's Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa

    Eugene Harvey and Paulo Vitor Da Rosa settled into the feature match area for round seven, both with 5-0-1 records. It was Eugene's black sleeves against Paulo's purple, a matchup which always proves to be exciting.

    Game 1:
    The dice landed in Paulo's favor, who chose to play and quickly kept his hand. Eugene thought for roughly a minute, and decided to stick with what he had. Kenji Tsumura, battling Gerry Thompson in the background, had his fabulous hair commented on. Always one to spread the love, I told Eugene that I preferred his remaining hair. The round began, and other matters took center stage.

    Paulo lead with a Tolaria West, and Eugene started with a Dreadship Reef. Goody. I settled in.

    Paulo had other ideas, preferring to speed things up, developing his board quickly with dou-ble Prismatic Lens, followed by a Shadowmage Infiltra-tor. Eugene dropped an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, and used Tendrils of Corruption on the Shadowmage, placing him far ahead of Paulo in the ever important life race these matches always seem to degenerate into. That, or he preferred to avoid the Finkel Tickle. Paulo continued to apply pressure to Eugene's dwarfed mana development by suspending Detritivore.

    What was on Eugene's mind as he hesitated in keeping his opening hand, which was confirmed to be land-light after the match, became apparent when he missed his fifth and sixth land drop. Eugene used a Mystical Teachings to grab a Pull from Eternity, currently without the support of any visible white mana, in response to Detritivore targeting a double-charged Dreadship Reef. Unwilling to back down, Paulo added Triskelavus to his assault and passed the turn. Eugene had the Slaughter Pact for Paulo's Construct, but scooped when he failed to find a land in his next two draws.

    Not quite the all-night bout expected, this one finished in about seven minutes.

    Paulo - 1, Eugene - 0

    "You don't have sleeves on your sideboard?" Paulo asked, as Eugene was switching his sleeved cards with his unsleeved sideboard.

    "No, 60 to a pack," was the reply. Such simple logic.

    Meanwhile, Rich Hoaen was diving into the red zone on Kenji's board. Watch out Gerry!

    Eugene Harvey checks the sideboard

    Game 2:
    Both players again kept their opening hand, and now came Eugene's turn to accelerate with Prismatic Lens, while Paulo just had land. Eugene cast a Shadowmage Infiltrator, quickly matched by Paulo's own. An Urborg-powered Tendrils from Eugene took out Paulo's Finkel, allowing one hit from Eugene's. Paulo found an answer with a Mystical Teachings for Strangling Soot at the end of the turn.

    Eugene, wanting to continue with card advantage, suspended an Aeon Chronicler for three. Paulo Haunting Hymned away the rest of Eugene's hand, then flashed back Mystical Teachings for a Pull from Eternity, targeting the Aeon Chronicler, still with two counters. Paulo continued casting spells, playing another Shadowmage Infiltrator, Foresee, then suspending a Detritivore. Eugene could only make Urza's Factory tokens.

    Finally Eugene attempted a Careful Consideration, thwarted by a Pact of Negation. Paulo, after making sure to pay for the Pact, continued casting spells, unsuspending a 4/4 Detritivore, using a Careful Consideration, suspending another Detritivore, and casting yet another Careful Consideration, while Eugene had nothing...

    ...until...

    Grinning Totem! The crowd chuckled, and Paulo had to pick up the card and read it, furrowing his brow. You could see the gears working as Paulo deciphered how this would affect the game. Eugene pops the totem, and rifles through Paulo's deck, settling on and playing an Academy Ruins.

    "It's cute," said Harvey when asked about the interesting inclusion to his deck.

    Paulo, however, pushed on unaffected, opting to kill an Urborg instead of the freshly-stolen Academy Ruins with Detritivore number two, allowing Detritivore number one, now a 5/5, to attack into two factory workers. Eugene was not a fan of this assault and cast Damnation.

    Detritivore number two killed the Academy Ru-ins, and Grinning Totem number two met a Pact of Negation. An end-of-turn Bogardan Hellkite by Paulo was cancelled, the last card in Eugene's hand. Now completely vulnerable, Eugene was attacked by a 6/6 Detritivore, with his dual Prismatic Lenses meeting Ancient Grudge.

    For those of you counting mana sources at home, Paulo now has eleven, including two Coalition Relics, to Eugene's four lands. This was oddly familiar to Game 1, only ten minutes longer.

    Paulo still refused to let up, extirpating Eugene's Damnations, revealing an uncastable Teferi and Triskelavus in Eugene's hand, and casting Pull from Eternity on his own Mystical Teachings, previously removed with Flashback, which he then used to grab a Spell Burst, finally causing Eugene to extend the hand.

    Paulo Vitor Damo Da Rosa - 2, Eugene Harvey - 0

    Paulo advanced to round 8 with 19 points! How the Teachings mirror finished before Kenji's Uktabi Drakes is a mystery to me.



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 11:33 p.m. - Round 8: Raphael Levy vs. Murray Evans
    by Noah Weil


  • Murray 'The Mauler' Evans

    Both players entered this round with a loss and a draw, needing to win out to enter the rarefield territory of top 64. The players discussed their positioning and pro player cards for a bit, but most of the attention was taking by the feature match one over, Ben Rubin against Casey McCarrel. The Casey/Ben match seemed to draw a lot of buzz from the spectators, at least the more GP-prolific ones.

    "This would have been a great Pro Tour finals five years ago!"-Random spectator

    McCarrel, noticing the other competitors at the table, turned to Raphael.

    Levy: "Long time no see."
    McCarrel: "Hey man, I heard you made the Hall of Fame or whatever. Congratulations! Way to stick with it."
    Levy: "Thank you, thank you."

    While Rubin and McCarrel ultimately decided to draw, Levy and Evans knew their match had to determine a winner. They rolled some dice, shook some hands, and got underway.

    Game 1: Raphael, on the play with a very aggressive R/g deck loved his curvy, resilient hand against Murray's U/B control. Murray didn't have the same fortune, and threw his hand back for an acceptable six. Raphael showed Murray why he was so pleased with a first-turn Magus of the Scroll, a second-turn Mogg War Marshal, and a turn after echo, another Mogg War Marshal. Murray started the way his deck likes to, with a charge land into Coalition Relic. Yet those little 1/1s were adding up, with an Assault thrown in for further bleeding. Evans had enough at 11 life and cast Damnation to wipe the board from five guys to two. Nevertheless those two creatures, with a little help from Stonewood Invocation, still dealt plenty of damage. Murray tried to take the game back at a mere three life, but Levy flashed the Thunderblade Charge and they went on to Game 2.

    Levy: 1
    Evans: 0

    While the players were sideboarding, McCarrel and Rubin came back with some Tenth Edition boosters. Deciding that the feature match space was theirs until the end of the round, they began a one-on-one 10e draft on the gaming floor. Spectators were split between the two drafters and the two block players, which probably has significance somehow.

    Time is on my side…

    McCarrel: "Oooh, black borders!"

    C'mon Casey, where have you been?

    Game 2: This time it was Raphael's turn to spin down to six, while the Mauler was content with his first seven. His affection became clear with a third-turn Shadowmage Infiltrator… and a fourth-turn Shadowmage Infiltrator. Levy started off well with the matchup-relevant suspended Greater Gargadon and flame for one of the Infiltrators. The other Infiltrator began to hit in earnest, and needless to say, it found another buddy. Levy knew he had no chance on the card advantage front, so he stuck to his 9/7 guns with another pair of suspended Gargadons. A Sulfur Elemental resolved for the Frenchman, and was chumped by a fourth Jon Finkel. By this point Murray had dealt 10 points of Shadowmage damage, and had no interest in taking any more life loss. After triple Careful Consideration, his hand was flush; the only way Murray would lose is unnecessary damage. A Damnation did clear away the Finkel situation, but also Levy's remaining sources of damage, including the living Gargadon. Of course the suspended Gargadons wound down further, but Murray followed up with a Teachings-taught Teferi. Teferi was awfully good at keeping Gargadons out of the game forever, as well as solid at dealing damage to an opponent at six life.

    At this point the game looked all but over. Murray was at a robust 13, his hand full of countermagic and removal. Levy had exactly one card in hand, and while his Gargadons only had two counters apiece, they'd have a tough time getting through Teferi's mystic effect on the rules of the game. Onto to Game 3, right?

    Raphael Levy smolders for the camera

    Not so fast. Let's ask a question: If you had a smoke bomb that gave you a few minutes to steal whatever you wanted, what would you grab? Money? Cheesecake? Well if you're smart, you'd take the watch that lets you're freeze time. With that kind of window, you could execute all kinds of nefarious plots.

    Levy knew this principle well, and put it to use. Word of Seizing stole Teferi, giving all of Teferi's powers to Raphael. Under this blanket of safety, Levy sacrificed all his lands to the suspended Gargadons. Murray couldn't do a thing about any of it, and fell to 21 points of hastey damage, Slaughter Pacts and counterspells useless in hand. The crowd gave a whoop at the incredible turnaround, and Levy took the game and match.

    Levy: 2
    Evans: 0



     
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 11:56 p.m. - Decklists: Day 1 Undefeated Decks
    by Staff






  •  
  • Saturday, Aug 25: 11:59 p.m. - Round 9: Shingou Kurihara vs. Billy Moreno
    by Noah Weil


  • Shingou Kurihara

    After a very long day, interspersed with delays, Delay, and intensity, we've reached the finale for one competitor. The winner of this match continues on to six more rounds in day two, while the loser must contend with sleeping in and drafting, as he sees fit.

    Moreno came to the tournament with a new concoction piloted by a few other members of his test group: a Rites of Flourishing deck. Personally, I felt Rites of Flourishing's best use was to be cast when you had to get a doctor's appointment, but clearly Moreno's brain trust felt otherwise. With Rites in play, they're able to cast and recast Walk the Aeons, to obviously solid effect. Opposite Moreno was Shingou Kurihara, flying in from Japan, packing an exceptionally controlling U/B deck. Neither player was much for chatter, but pleasantries were exchanged before this final round.


    Aeon Chronicler versus the enchantments

    Game 1: Both players started with accelerants, Kurihara with a Lens and Moreno with the trademark Rites of Flourishing. Kurihara had to pick up and read the green enchantment, bringing a small smile to Moreno's face. Kurihara shrugged and used his double mana to find and suspend Aeon Chronicler for one. You might think Maro trumps Howling Mine, and you'd be right. Moreno put together his hand and mana as best as possible, ending in a protected Stormbind. Yet Chronicler was getting awfully big, awfully fast. In two swift hits Moreno was down to seven, and was forced to throw a bunch of cards at the Avatar (my favorite creature type!). The game ground to a standstill for a few turns, or as much as a game with symmetrical double card draws and double land lays can. Urza's Factory was doing good work for both players. Eventually Kurihara made his move, playing Teferi with plenty of backup. Cancels and Delays pushed the legend through. Teferi managed to live through Stormbind's inaction, Moreno more interested in hoarding cards for a later damage push. It was not to be, as Kurihara spent the end of the next turn flashing out Triskelavus. Still at a low life from the early beats, Moreno had to concede Game 1.

    Kurihara: 1
    Moreno: 0

    Billy Moreno kept his cool, but his deck didn't cooperate

    Billy explained that while the standard Teachings matchup was tough but beatable, the version Kurihara was packing with extra countermagic was brutal. Hopefully Moreno's sideboard addressed the issue.

    Game 2: The sideboard may have, but Billy's deck didn't want to play ball. Rites of Flourishing hit, a necessity on Billy's land light draw. But Kurihara had the Venser to take advantage of the enchantment and make Billy replay it. Billy did eventually get some usage out of the Rites, but even with multiple double draws, he still couldn't find lands. At one point, between Exploration and artifacts, Kurihara had twelve mana sources to Moreno's four. Billy's situation was further exacerbated when Kurihara's deck did what it was supposed to, with multiple Teachings and Careful Consideration cast to craft the perfect hand. Moreno tried to hang on for dear life, but Teferi once again hit play. At that point, Teachings was good for any creature in the deck and Kurihara used it to find Shimian Specter. The Specter was flashed out and began throwing Lobotomies left and right, with an Extirpate or two thrown in for good measure. Moreno tried using Riftsweeper to shuffle in some lost cards, but he was just too far behind in mana and cards and life. With his options reduced to nothing, Moreno picked up his cards and wished his opponent luck on day two.

    Kurihara: 2
    Moreno: 0


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