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Popular Magic columnist and former Bounty Hunter Josh Bennett is roaming the halls of Pro Tour Philadelphia to bring you all the entertaining stories and tidbits straight from the tournament floor.

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BLOG ARCHIVE - Friday | Saturday

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • 10:30 am - LCQ Joy and Pain
  • 11:41 pm - Around the Hall
  • 12:17 pm - This Ain't Your Grampa's Webcast
  • 12:44 pm - A Few Quick Ones
  • 1:27 pm - Pop Quiz
  • 1:45 pm - Round 3 Feature Match Wrap-Up
  • 2:01 pm - The First to Go
  • 2:45 pm - A Bye for Kai
  • 4:12 pm - Catching Up with Osyp
  • 5:07 pm - Round 4 Wrap-Up
  • 6:34 pm - Round 5 Round-Up (or, The Bloodbath Continues)
  • 7:57 pm - Potent Quotables
  • 8:29 pm - Wrapping up the Day

  • BLOG

     
  • Friday, May 6: 10:30 am - LCQ Joy and Pain
    by Josh Bennett

  • Here for your perusal are the Top 8 decklists from the Last Chance Qualifier run Thursday night until the wee hours of the morning. Four lucky players earned themselves spots in Friday's competition, and the other four received their second-place award of "feel free to sleep in."

    Two things of note:

    The first is that Brett Blackman, a junior player no more than 15 years of age, turned down his hard-won invitation to the Pro Tour so that he would remain eligible for the JSS this year. Once he's got his college tuition paid for, expect him to return to the Big Dance.

    The second is that Anton Jonsson, who hates (HATES!) Constructed, remarked this morning that the Standard format "actually looks interesting for once," after having watched some of the early LCQ matches. This from Magic's very own Eeyore is glowing praise indeed.




    Chris "StrWrsKid" McDaniel - Qualified
    Red Deck Wins





    Kenta Hiroki - So Close
    Death Cloud

    Main Deck

    60 cards

    14  Forest
    Swamp

    22 lands

    Birds of Paradise
    Eternal Witness
    Molder Slug
    Sakura-Tribe Elder
    Troll Ascetic

    20 creatures

    Death Cloud
    Echoing Decay
    Kodama's Reach
    Plow Under
    Terror

    18 other spells

    Sideboard
    Boseiju, Who Shelters All
    Cranial Extraction
    Creeping Mold
    Echoing Decay
    Naturalize
    Persecute

    15 sideboard cards




     
  • Friday, May 6: 11:41 pm - Around the Hall
    by Josh Bennett

  • I don't care that he's wearing this just to be ridiculous.

    I'm pretty sure this is what the damned are forced to eat.

    Just don't try to get your hands on his Lucky Charms.

    One of many beautiful sights ignored by today's Pro Tour crowd.

    This is how cool the Japanese are: Not only are they going to massacre this event, they don't even use chairs.

    It took players a while to realize that they could take this food and not get in trouble.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 12:17 pm - This Ain't Your Grampa's Webcast
    by Josh Bennett

  • I don't know if you've heard, but we live in The Future. There may not be flying cars, but Wizards of the Coast is working hard to take advantage of technology to bring a richer Pro Tour experience to you, the viewer.

    Case in point: This weekend, the video content is being offered in two new and exciting ways. First off, for those of you thinking that you could do with a bigger picture, we'll be releasing this weekend's coverage in 640x480 via BitTorrent. So not only will you have the option of better picture, it should get to you lightning fast.

    There's even better news for those of you with Sony PSPs (you lucky jerks). We released past event coverage in the PSP video format so you can carry the action around with you and watch it when you're on the bus or when you're ignoring your responsibilities at work.

    All the information is here. Bon appetit!


     
  • Friday, May 6: 12:44 pm - A Few Quick Ones
    by Josh Bennett

  • First Cash

    Adam Koska earned $100 the easy way.

    The first player to pick up a $100 match win was Adam Koska of the Czech Republic. He didn't even have to break a sweat: The odd number of people gave him the bye, and consequently, the cash. How very lucky.

    Zero Initial Reg Errors

    Yes, it's true. For the first time in Pro Tour history, not a single player handed in a decklist of 59 cards or missing a sideboard card. Deck checks will probably turn up someone with their Elders and Sustainers reversed, but everyone got to play their first round without penalty. Doubtless the $100 riding on things made players give their list the twice-over.

    Jitte Jitte Bang-Bang

    It's hard not to make a big deal out of Umezawa's Jitte, but before you start your over-under pool, consider that those in the know think it will be outstripped by both Sensei's Divining Top and Sakura-Tribe Elder. Hopefully we'll have actual numbers for you come Saturday.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 1:27 pm - Pop Quiz
    by Josh Bennett

  • Which of the following cards are being played this weekend?



    Answer:

    All of them. Every last Man-Jack of them. There are some interesting stories behind the choices. Try to guess which problem each card answers.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 1:45 pm - Round 3 Feature Match Wrap-Up
    by Josh Bennett

  • In the fight between Shu Komuro and Canada's Jeff "Ffej Ffejerson" Cunningham, Komuro and his Hana-Control deck busted a 2-0 cap directly in Cunningham's heart. His White-Green control failed to serve up the necessary goodies.

    Aten bested Gomersall in a battle of Invitationalists.

    In a clash of the soon-to-be Invitationalists, curmudgeon Tim Aten dispatched the universally beloved Sam Gomersall 2-1. Hana Kami recursion took down the first game, Game 2 went to Gomersall off a blunder of Aten's, and when Gomersall refused to draw spells in the third game, his fate was sealed.

    The match between Gabe Walls's Hana-Control deck and Craig Krempels's Snakes went to time, after splitting the first two and a serious back-and-forth made the third game run long (that, and Walls's warning for slow play). Rather than accept the draw and give both players a loss, Krempels conceded to Walls in light of the board situation. Walls had Kokusho in the air, a Top in play and an Elder waiting on top of his deck, ready to stand in the way of Krempels's Ink-Eyes with Jitte. Of course, when Krempels went to the top of his deck afterwards, he found Stabwhisker, Nighteyes, and Jugan waiting for him. Walls went through the motions of a faux-shuffle-and-Top and found himself three lands. Oops.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 2:01 pm - The First to Go
    by Josh Bennett

  • Triple Elimination isn't all six-round days and lunch breaks. The downside is that players start dropping early and don't stop until it's over. It's that much worse for the bunch out after round three, because they didn't even score any skins money. Here are some unlucky notables:

    The back tables were full of elimination matches by mid-afternoon.

    Wilco Pinkster, Grand Prix-Paris Champion

    Javier Dominguez, one of the creators of Cephalid Breakfast, 13th at Pro Tour-Columbus

    Mark Zajdner, Chronic Loudmouth [did not show]

    David Rood, $20,000 richer at Pro Tour-Atlanta

    Paul "The Muscle" Russel, Pro Tour-Seattle quarterfinalist

    Will Postlethwait, Top 4 U.S. Nationals

    Thirty-two others join them going home empty-handed. Stefan Heumann and David Garcia Copete both take home $50 for their draw, but are still out of the event.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 2:45 pm - A Bye for Kai
    by Josh Bennett

  • The German Juggernaut had plenty of time to chat during Round 4.

    No, no, it's not what you think. This isn't another story about how the German Juggernaut has lost a step. In fact, Kai started this tournament 3-0. It's just that, with every match worth cash, Wizards is handing out byes to the highest-ranked players, not the lowest. So now Kai's 4-0 and feeling fine. Conspiracy theorists, begin your manifestos.

    His deck, built by a small group of German players, is a black-white control deck that draws on the power of Journeyer's Kite.

    "I saw Kai smile today. Twice," reported Randy Buehler.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 4:12 pm - Catching Up with Osyp
    by Josh Bennett

  • You know, Pro Tour-Venice Champion Osyp Lebedowicz wasn't always the charmingest rapscallion on the Tour. Back in "Tha' Day" he was just another PTQ player with his eyes on the prize. In 2001 he was just about ready to throw in the towel. His teammates were qualifying, and he was still struggling for the brass ring. After losing to teammate Adam Horvath in the finals of yet another PTQ, he decided that one more try was all he had in him.

    Well, he Top 8'd, and his talents again brought him to the finals. His opponent, Shawn McKenna, had a terrible matchup, so when Osyp asked about buying the slot, McKenna readily agreed. The price was $150, and the two exchanged information to complete the deal at a later date.
    Osyp lost McKenna's information. He assumed he'd hear from McKenna at some point, but the call never came. It became a running joke around TOGIT, compounding Osyp's reputation as a cheapskate.

    "I always kind of felt bad. I'd think 'Man, what if he's out there watching me win all this money.' I just assumed he'd quit Magic," Osyp said.

    Fast-forward to today, Osyp's standing around, probably watching his latest prank unravel, when he gets a tap on the shoulder.

    "Hey, remember me?"

    It took three tries before Osyp's memory kicked into gear. McKenna had come to collect.

    So did Osyp pay him back?

    "Yeah we exchanged information again. I'm pretty sure nothing'll go wrong this time," assured Osyp.

    Your call whether or not to believe him.


     
  • Friday, May 6: 5:07 pm - Round 4 Wrap-Up
    by Josh Bennett

  • In the Feature Match Area:

    Justin Gary's Multicolor Snakes took down Ryo Ogura's Big Monster Jumble 2-0.

    Tsuyoshi Fujita's Big Blue-Green took care of Pierre Canali's Sway the Stars in decisive 2-0 fashion. The first game, Canali Swayed into nothing, and then found himself with just three Final Judgments against Fujita's four dragons. The second game ended when Fujita dropped a pair of Mindblazes on his head.

    Jeroen Remie couldn't escape the back tables and inevitable elimination.

    Even more revolting was the way Oliver Oks took down Gerard Fabiano's green-white control. Down a game and with his back to the wall, facing a board of Meloku, Myojin of Seeing Winds and Myojin of Cleansing Fire, Fabiano was barely holding on, hiding behind a Yosei and a Genju of the Cedars. He ripped a Top and traded it for a second Yosei. He swung and played the second, aiming to lock Oks for two turns. Instead, Oks let both die, stacked their triggers, and showed Fabiano a Time Stop. It was sickening.

    This round's notable eliminations:

    Jin Okamoto
    Jeroen Remie
    Anton Jonsson
    Jon Sonne
    Gabriel Nassif


     
  • Friday, May 6: 6:34 pm - Round 5 Round-Up (or, The Bloodbath Continues)
    by Josh Bennett

  • Gabe Walls lost his feature match against Masahiko Morita when he couldn't stop mulliganing. It was the first match to finish.

    "I mean, Gabe's pretty good, but Morita's one of the best players in the world," responded previously eliminated Jeroen Remie.

    Across the way, Jelger Wiegersma was getting the bum's rush from a resurgent Kai Budde. Said Wiegersma: "He just crushed me. His deck is really good against the control decks."

    The British? Fighting? In Philadelphia? What is this, 1776?

    Lastly there was the so-called "Battle for Britain": John Ormerod (apparently back from the dead) against Craig Jones. They were both with black-green control decks, except Ormerod had white for Wrath effects, and Jones had Hana-Kami tricks. Both agreed it was too close a match to predict.

    "After boarding we both have the same plan: Spear the guy's answer to Shortfang and then empty their hand," said Jones.

    Jones, a frequent writer for European event coverage, managed to walk away the victor after three games. He joked that he was "trying to prove that some reporters can actually play."

    Notable Eliminations this round:

    Raphael Levy
    Justin Gary
    Matthias Jorstedt
    Vasilis "Jeff" Fatouros
    Sam Gomersall
    Adam Chambers
    Tomohiro Kaji
    Geoffrey Siron
    Tom van de Logt


     
  • Friday, May 6: 7:57 pm - Potent Quotables
    by Josh Bennett

  • "I need to win a few more matches. Unfortunately, my deck isn't tweaked to do that." - Morgan Douglass

    "I tell you, Kenji Tsumura and Shu Komuro: They're a bad influence on me." - Gabe Walls

    "I may not be able to Cloak up a Rith, but I can sure as hell Jitte up a Keiga." - Brian Kibler

    "God, how smart are the Japanese? I feel like a goddamn caveman every time I watch them play." - Patrick Sullivan

    "THAT, is why I'm here. I have driven ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY MILES to find out WHY the Rotting Giant was in his sideboard." - John Shuler


     
  • Friday, May 6: 8:29 pm - Wrapping up the Day
    by Josh Bennett
  • This round, the Pit was filled with elimination matches. Winners would get to come back in the morning, losers would be turned into spectators.

    After Round 6, one of these players would be done for the tournament.

    In the all-Japan feature of mastermind Itaru Ishida versus Tomoharu Saito, Ishida emerged the victor in two quick games. Game 1 went his way despite Saito setting up an enormous turn with Heartbeat of Spring and Myojin of Seeing Winds. Ishida didn't even blink. He forced the Myojin activation with Final Judgment, and then dropped Myojin of Night's Reach to leave Saito empty-handed.

    Next door it was Frenchman against Frenchman as Antoine Ruel faced off against Julien Goron. Goron's Snakes proved to be no match for Ruel's multicolor goodstuff deck. Ruel took it down 2-0.

    The final match to finish was Josh Ravitz with white-green control against Shuhei Nakamura and the Japanese Paddle deck. They split the first two games, and as the third began they were ringed by Japanese players hoping for a Nakamura victory. When Nakamura resolved a successful Mindblaze, they let out a collective sigh of relief.

    Not all eyes were on the Feature Match area. Many spectators were assembled around Table 2 to watch Kai Budde defeat yet another opponent to finish the day at 6-0. Masahiko Morita did manage to take a game off of him, however. All it took was Godo, Bandit Warlord equipped with the Dragon Fang, AND Umezawa's Jitte, AND Konda's Banner. Of course, even then it took more than three turns to take down the German Juggernaut.

    End-of-day Goodbyes:

    John Ormerod
    Katsuhiro Mori
    Paul Rietzl
    Shu Komuro
    Ruud Warmenhoven
    Alexandre Peset
    Julien Nuijten
    Tim Aten
    Jeff Cunningham
    Jose Barbero

    It's worth noting that half of the round-six eliminees will escape with an additional Pro Tour point, thanks to finishing in Top 128.

    "If I come here tomorrow morning and lose in the first round, I am going to be VERY upset," said a 4-2 Brian Kibler.


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