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Grand Prix Atlanta
Day 1 Coverage

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Trial Grinder Winning Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff


Justin Desai
GP Atlanta Grinder Winning Decklist

Daniel Signorini
GP Atlanta Grinder Winning Decklist




 

Saturday, 12:07 p.m. - Grand Prix Atlanta Legacy Primer

by Steve Sadin and Blake Rasmussen


There are a TON of good decks to play in Legacy right now. Whether you want to play a fast combo deck, a beatdown deck, or a control deck – there's going to be a good option for you.

So what are we waiting for? Let's take a look at some decklists!

Reanimator

While Reanimator wasn't a big factor at Grand Prix Indianapolis (the last Legacy Grand Prix), ever since the release of Avacyn Restored, Animate Deads and Entombs have been running rampant at Legacy tournaments across the globe. It's at the point where many pros have confidently stated that "Reanimator is the deck to beat in Legacy".

And there's one big reason for that – Griselbrand.

The premise behind Reanimator is simple. Get a big creature into your graveyard with Entomb, or Careful Study – then bring it back into play with an Animate Dead, a Reanimate, or an Exhume.

The deck is blisteringly fast, and thanks to Force of Will, Daze, and Thoughtseize, it's far from helpless in the face of your opponent's answers.

Plus, even if your opponent has an answer for your reanimated threat (be it a Swords to Plowshares, a Terminus, a Diabolic Edict, or even a Pernicious Deed with a ton of mana) that won't be good enough... Because you can restock your hand with Griselbrand, you will either draw yourself a Force of Will to counter their answer, or another reanimation spell to bring forth another huge monster a turn later. And once that's happened, it's only a matter of time before you'll fly to victory.

Gerry Thompson Reanimator
3rd place at StarCityGames Invitational in Indianapolis

One last important thing to note about the deck: not even uncounterable graveyard hate like Faerie Macabre (which, under normal circumstances, would be a great way to stop a Reanimator deck) isn't enough to beat the current iterations of Legacy Reanimator since they can sideboard in Show and Tells to bring huge threats into play without them ever touching the graveyard.

Delver

Reanimator may be the deck to beat right now, but tempo oriented Delver of Secrets decks are more than capable of holding their own in today's metagame. Shuffling up a mixture of cheap, potent, threats backed by mana denial (Wasteland and sometimes Stifle), cheap removal (Lightning Bolts, and Forked Bolts), free counterspells (Force of Will, and Daze), and Brainstorms has been a recipe for success for as long as Legacy has been a format. And right now is no exception.

While the deck is capable of executing a lot of quick kills, it also has a lot of staying power. If you have the time to sculpt your hand with Brainstorms and Ponders, and protect your threats with Force of Wills – then you can beat just about anything with your Delver deck.

Matt Costa RUG Delver
2nd Place Star City Games Legacy Open Massachusetts

Stoneblade

Tom Martell won Grand Prix Indianapolis just a few months ago with his take on Stoneblade – a Blue-White-Black (or sometimes just Blue-White) deck full of cheap answers that looks to make exceptionally good use of Stoneforge Mystic.

While Stoneblade decks might not be as explosive as Reanimator decks which can put Griselbrands into play on turn two – the deck is still capable of some very fast starts (there are a lot of decks that simply can't beat a turn three Batterskull), and it's almost impossible to hate out with targeted sideboard cards.

So if you're looking for a resilient control deck that's capable of some quick kills – then Stoneblade may very well be the deck for you.

Other decks with Force of Will

While Reanimator, RUG Delver, and Stoneblade are currently the most popular blue decks in Legacy, don't be fooled into thinking that they're your only options. There are tons of other great decks with Force of Will in them which (while somewhat out of the public eye right now) are still more than capable of dominating a tournament.

Sneak and Show

So you want to put a Griselbrand, or an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn into play on turn two -- but you're worried about Tormod's Crypts and friends ruining your day. Well, fear not, because you can circumvent the graveyard entirely by playing Sneak and Show.

Instead of reanimating threats back from the grave, this deck uses Sneak Attack, and Show and Tell to put its humongous threats into play. While Sneak and Show decks typically don't have access to black discard spells like Thoughtseize, they are still more than capable of pushing their threats through with Force of Will, Misdirection, and Spell Pierce.

Jonathan Hickerson Sneak and Show
1st place at Star City Games Legacy Open in Nashville

Hypergenesis

Hypergenesis is another fun, explosive deck that pops up now and then, but has a hard time gaining too much traction in a format full of decks that can Wasteland it, or easily counter its namesake spell.

The deck is fairly straightforward. Use various methods of acceleration to power out a fast three-mana cascade spell, cascading into Hypergenesis, the only spell under three mana in the deck. If that resolves, dump all kinds of huge permanents on the board, such as Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Angel of Despair, Griselbrand and Akroma's Memorial.

The deck is fun and powerful, but suffers from the vulnerability of its key spell to countermagic and the restrictions on casting costs (for Cascade) that keep it from running disruption like Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek.

But the deck can be a blast to play and is incredibly powerful if Hypergenesis resolves. Todd Anderson finished 5th at a SCG Open in Columbus earlier this month with the following list:

Todd Anderson Hypergenesis
5th place at SCG Open in Columbus

Merfolk

Former Legacy standout Merfolk has fallen out of favor recently, but the fact that the deck is full of quick threats (that can grow to huge sizes when surrounded by enough Lord of Atlantises, Merrow Reejereys, Coralhelm Commanders, and Phantasmal Images)) backed by the free countermagic suite of Daze and Force of Will, and a great mana base means that Merfolk will always be a viable option.

Adam Boyd Merfolk
6th place at Star City Games Invitational in Indianapolis

Blue White Miracles

If you're looking for an already established archetype that can make good use of the recently unbanned Land Tax – then look no further than Blue White Miracles. If you want to grind people out with counterspells, clear the board with Terminus, and eventually take over the game with a Planeswalker like Jace, the Mind Sculptor, or a big Entreat the Angels – then you're going to have a tough time finding a more appropriate deck than Blue White Control.

Oh, and don't forget that you can always stash away Miracle cards right at the top of your deck with Brainstorm, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Sensei's Divining Top.

Michael Belfatto UW Micracle
3rd place at a StarCityGames.com Legacy Open

High Tide

And if you want to play a blue combo deck that doesn't touch creatures – then you may want to take a look at High Tide.

Colin Chilbert High Tide
2012 GP Indianapolis Top 8 - Legacy

Non Force of Will decks

But Legacy is not all Force of Wills and Brainstorms. In a format where every non-banned, non-Unglued card every printed is legal, one of the most striking features of the format is the variety of viable decks. Each of these decks may not carry the protection that Alliances most famous instant packs, but they all have powerful, typically proactive game plans.

Maverick

First among decks that forgo Force of Will is Maverick, easily the most successful Legacy archetype to go without blue cards. Maverick is a G/W beatdown and disruption deck centered on Knight of the Reliquary and a host of disruptive beaters like Qasali Pridemage, Scavenging Ooze, Mother of Runes, Gaddock Teeg and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. Noble Hierarch and Green Sun's Zenith for Dryad Arbor gives the deck eight ways to accelerate turn one, but even without those cards the deck operates well at just two mana, which, along with Knight of the Reliquary, makes it one of the best Wasteland decks in the format.

Speaking of which, Knight of the Reliquary gives the deck a surprising amount of play against the field. Searching up Wasteland is obvious, but the presence of Karakas makes trying to win with Emrakul, the Aeons Torn a losing proposition. Stoneforge Mystic adds to the deck's toolbox feel, and access to the format's best removal – Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile – plus any number of Umezawa's Jittes gives the deck a leg up in creature matches.

There have been lists that touch on blue mana for Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Brainstorm, but by and large Maverick sticks to the G/W formula.

Dredge

The boogeyman of formats past, Dredge has had some of the bite taken out of its bark by the plethora of graveyard hate played in the format.

For the uninitiated, Dredge is deck that plays almost entirely from its graveyard, milling huge portions of its deck thanks to the Golgari guild's keyword ability that gave the deck its name. Dredge deposits cards like Golgari Grave-Troll and Stinkweed Imp into the graveyard as a way to mill Narcomoeba, Bridge from Below and Cabal Therapy, eventually winning with some number of Bridge-spawned zombie tokens, fatties reanimated with Dread Return and self-returning creatures like Ichorid. It also has access to one of the most powerful cards in the format, Lion's Eye Diamond.

The success of decks like Reanimator and the incidental damage done to a number of decks by graveyard hate makes cards like Relic of Progenitus, Tormod's Crypt, Surgical Extraction, Leyline of the Void and Bojuka Bog relatively common in Legacy, meaning that one of the best game one decks ever created often has a very difficult time with games two and three.

Adam Prosak Dredge
32nd place Legacy Open in Indianapolis

Burn

Mono Red burn decks saw something of a resurgence early this year, outright winning two Star City Games Legacy Opens and placing well after being largely absent from the metagame for a long time.

Burn decks do exactly what their name implies, flinging as much damage at an opponent as fast as possible with a plethora of the best direct damage spells ever printed. Fireblast, Lightning Bolt, Goblin Guide (one of a very few creatures the deck actually plays), Price of Progress and Chain Lightning serve as the backbone of a deck that often plays out like something of a combo deck. Find 20 points worth of burn, aim them at your opponent, roast accordingly.

The deck's strengths typically lie in an unprepared metagame, but as a mono colored deck with access to a lot of anti-Blue cards, the deck does have its place in a format defined in large part by Wasteland, Force of Will and Brainstorm. Its popularity, which rises and wanes on occasion, can be attributed in part to the Fire and Lightning premium deck, which contains an astonishing number of cards that go straight into the fully fleshed out Legacy version.

Austin Yost Mono-red burn
Winner of a SCG Open in January

Elves

The deck good enough in Extended to get Glimpse of Nature banned ports over to Legacy easily and with even more toys to play with, most explosively Gaea's Cradle and Priest of Titania.

The deck is essentially a creature-based combo deck that generates tons of mana, often unlimited thanks to tricks with Cloudstone Curio, Nettle Sentinel and Heritage Druid, and finishes with something like Ezuri, Renegade Leader or Mirror Entity.

Caleb Durward didn't utilize the Cloudstone Curio combo in the list he played to a second place finish at last weekend's SCG Legacy Open, but clearly he didn't need it. Christoffer Anderson even finished third in the same tournament with a similar list.

Storm

Here we have the rare deck that plays Blue cards but no Force of Will (usually), even though it does run Brainstorm. ANT – which stands for Ad Nauseam Tendrils – is the most common storm deck, and doesn't play Force of Will in large part because it can't possibly win if it's flipping a five mana spell off of Ad Nauseam, let alone multiples. Instead the deck leans heavily on cheap discard, such as Duress, or Orim's Chant effects to allow it to go off undisturbed. Essentially, the deck is all mana, rituals, tutors and card draw, all of which get chained together in one large turn to make a lethal Tendrils of Agony. The deck can be built multiple ways, but it almost always takes advantage of Lion's Eye Diamond and Infernal Tutor, and occasionally packs Empty the Warrens as a backup win condition.

Goblins

Formerly one of the most feared decks in the known universe, Legacy Goblins' Goblin Lackey often asked the question "Force of Will or no?" on turn one. And if the answer was no, the game was often over right then and there as the deck dumped Goblin Matrons, Ringleaders and Piledrivers on to the board while disrupting mana bases with Wasteland and Rishadan Port.

However, thanks to Force of Will, a rise in Lightning Bolt thanks to Delver of Secrets, Swords to Plowshares and a shift to decks like Maverick that can simply block the Lackey (the horror), the deck has fallen by the wayside.

Hymn to Tourach decks

These decks are often hard to categorize and difficult to pin down, but they tend to trade counterspells for discard and the consistency of Brainstorm for the raw power of Hymn to Tourach.

Popular within the last year, these decks were most often Black and White based for Dark Confidant, Swords to Plowshares, Mother of Runes and other discard. Pox and/or Smallpox see some play as well, usually seen alongside Flagstones of Trokair and Bloodghast to mitigate those cards.

There have also been Green versions that used the color for Tarmogoyf, Pernicious Deed and Knight of the Reliquary. The fact that some of the BWG decks with Hymn resemble more recent versions of Maverick isn't an accident.

Lands

One of the coolest, most original decks ever created, Lands (also called 43-Land or some variation thereof) was also at one point one of the best in the format. Though its popularity has waned considerably, it still has its adherents, so don't be surprised to see it pop up here and there this weekend.

Essentially, the deck plays a whole host of specialty lands such as Maze of Ith, Karakas, Mishra's Factory and Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Explore, Manabond and Explore help get multiple lands into play quickly while Life from the Loam and Crucible of Worlds keep them coming back for more.

The rest

As vast as Legacy's card pool is, we can't possibly hope to cover all of the decks, but there are a few that still pop up now and then that are worth mentioning.

Zoo plays all of Magic's best, most efficient beaters with a fetchland heavy mana base. Once one of the most aggressive decks ever, better options in more disruptive or linear shells have passed it by.

Speaking of linear, Affinity decks are still a possibility in Legacy. Every once in a blue moon (but almost never in a Blood Moon, which is terrible for the all artifact lands deck to face) the artifact monstrosity puts up a result thanks to its lightning fast starts and powerful cards like Arcbound Ravager and Cranial Plating. And with players having ready access to the deck from Modern, don't be surprised to see a few Ravager players spotting the room this weekend.

Beyond those, Enchantress sees play now and then, combining Argothian Enchantress-like cards with a bevy of enchantments, and White-based Stacks decks that combine artifact mana, Armageddon and Smokestack get played by griefers here and there. Aggro Loam, a Jund-based Life from the Loam deck with Devastating Dreams, sees some play, and Belcher stands as the fastest, if most fragile, combo decks in the format. Belcher – named after it signature card Charbelcher – can win on turn one, but loses to basically any disruption.

Beyond that, there are many, many possible decks we might have missed. Legacy is an incredibly diverse format where just about anything is possible. Stay tuned all weekend to see if a new strategy emerges – possibly around newly unbanned Land Tax – or if an old favorite emerges from the pack.




 

Saturday, 2:01 p.m. - Quick Hits: What effect will Land Tax have on the format?

by Blake Rasmussen


Reid Duke – "I think it's a really good card for any fair matchup, but it doesn't help keep combo decks in check. It's a tool."
Todd Anderson – "It's not relevant until Griselbrand is banned. Why would you draw three lands when you can draw seven spells?"


Brad Nelson - "Zero"
Sam Black - "Minimal."



 

Round 4 Feature Match - Patrick Chapin vs. Korey McDuffie

by Steve Sadin


Pro Tour regular, and Atlanta native Korey McDuffie came into this match beaming with excitement. Why? Because he absolutely loves Legacy.

"Legacy has been my favorite format for a long time. I fell in love with it playing Standstill about 5 years ago, and I haven't looked back since."

Patrick Chapin and Korey McDuffie kick off the first feature match of Grand Prix Atlanta

His opponent this round, four time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor, Patrick Chapin wasn't quite as excited as the bubbly McDuffie– but he was nonetheless very happy with his deck.

Game One

Chapin won the roll and immediately put his opponent under the gun by casting a turn one Careful Study discarding Griselbrand and Animate Dead (Chapin discarded the two mana reanimation spell because he didn't want to leave himself vulnerable to cards like Daze, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Spell Pierce, or Wasteland).

Chapin's second turn Reanimate got countered by a Force of Will – but a Thoughtseize (which took Show and Tell, and left McDuffie with a hand of Griselbrand, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, and Force of Will) allowed Chapin to Exhume back his Griselbrand without any resistance.

A few seconds later, McDuffie conceded.

Patrick Chapin 1 – Korey McDuffie 0

Game Two

While game one lasted all of a few turns, the second game went a bit longer, as the players spent their early turns building up their mana (making themselves largely immune to Dazes, and Spell Pierces in the process).

Chapin works on building his mana pool

McDuffie was the first player to blink, and he was rewarded for doing so, as he was able to push his Sneak Attack past Chapin's Force of Will with a Force of Will of his own.

McDuffie used the Sneak Attack to put Griselbrand into play, and promptly drew an extra fourteen cards with it. And while McDuffie didn't find an Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn that he could end the game with immediately, he found an abundance of free counterspells to protect him from anything that Chapin could muster.

McDuffie had another Griselbrand a turn later and, after drawing seven more cards with his demon, he found an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn to seal the deal.

Patrick Chapin 1 – Korey McDuffie 1

Game Three

A first turn Grafdigger's Cage bought McDuffie a ton of time, giving Chapin no choice but to dig through his deck with Ponder, and Careful Study as he hoped to play enough lands so that he could eventually hard-cast a Griselbrand.

McDuffie checks his cards to see what his opening move will be.

A Karakas gave Chapin a bit of room to maneuver with, but it ultimately wouldn't be enough. McDuffie had enough countermagic to force through an end of turn Vendilion Clique –clearing the way for him to resolve a Sneak Attack on his own turn.

Griselbrand was soon to follow, and a Pithing Needle naming Karakas allowed McDuffie's Griselbrand to attack unmolested. Another Sneak Attacked Griselbrand, and another attack, later and McDuffie had taken the match.

Patrick Chapin 1 – Korey McDuffie 2




 

Saturday, 4:22 p.m. - Quick Hits: What is the best sideboard card in Legacy?

by Steve Sadin


Drew Levin – "Show and Tell in Reanimator since it gives them a way to dodge graveyard hate, and consequently makes it very difficult for other decks to sideboard against them. "
Brian Kibler – "I don't know about the best card, but Armageddon is definitely the sweetest card in my sideboard."


Tom Martell - "Surgical Extraction. I think it's the best sideboard card against Reanimator, especially if you're playing Thoughtseize."
Owen Turtenwald - "Probably Grafdigger's Cage."



 

Round 5 Feature Match - Brian Braun-Duin vs. Shaheen Soorani

by Blake Rasmussen


In a 905-person tournament, you expect not to have to play your friends, at least not this early in the tournament when there are metric tons of players with the same records.

Unfortunately for Shaheen Soorani and Brian Braun-Duin, it does happen. The friends and teammates found themselves not only paired against one another in Round 5, but also in a feature match with similar decks.

Soorani was playing Esper Blade with Lingering Souls, similar to the deck Tom Martell used to win Grand Prix Columbus a few months back. Braun-Duin was also on Esper Blade, but he did not have the Lingering Souls that stood out as Martell's marquee card.

Either way, both players already knew all of that going in. Chatting amicably about their matchup, the configuration of their decks and how their tournament had gone so far, it was certainly the friendliest feature match I've covered in a long time.

Game 1

Soorani started with a mulligan to 6, one he openly said was less than idea.

"I hope this is the sketchiest 6 ever," Braun-Duin said.

"It's a pretty sketchy 6," Soorani offered.

"But, um, good luck," said Braun-Duin.

Soorani led with an Inquisition of Kozilek to get a sense of what he was working against, while Braun-Duin used Brainstorm to hide a few cards from his friend's prying eyes.

"I hope I get a Stoneforge Mystic," Soorani said.

"Oh, you'll get a Stoneforge Mystic."

And he definitely did get a Stoneforge Mystic, as Braun-Duin revealed a whopping three Stoneforge Mystics, Force of Will and two lands.

Shaheen Soorani fired off plenty of discard game one, but he quickly found himself behind in the match regardless.

Braun-Duin's second Mystic found Batterskull, but it that was then immediately lost to a Thoughtseize.

The players knew each other so well they were bantering back and forth about the proper play, what the odds were of the exact sequence that took place, and even how many of certain cards they had in their decks. It was definitely friendly matchup.

Or at least as friendly as Soorani casting Snapcaster Mage into Inquisition of Kozilek could be. The third discard spell of the game took a Jitte and revealed Force of Will and Vendilion Clique.

A miracle Terminus cleared the board, and Soorani followed up with his own Stoneforge Mystic, finding Batterskull. The equipment didn't get to stay in hand very long as Vendilion Clique pushed it to the bottom of Soorani's library.

The Clique and a Mishra's Factory then started Braun-Duin's clock, dropping Soorani to 9 and putting the pressure on tighter.

Soorani tried to stem the bleeding with Vindicate, but Spell Pierce let Braun-Duin keep on churning. When a Force of Will stopped Soorani's attempted Intuition, Braun-Duin struck the first blow of the match.

Soorani 0 – Braun-Duin 1

Game 2

"Oh yeah, keeping this one. This is a good one," Soorani said, excited for his seven.

"This is not a good one," a less enthralled Braun-Duin offered. But still he kept.

This time it was Braun-Duin who lead with an Inquisition of Kozilek, revealing just how saucy Soorani's hand was. Two Stoneforge Mystics, Lingering Souls and three lands stared back at him, and Braun-Duin took one of the Mystics.

The other Mystic searched up Umezawa's Jitte the following turn, but Soorani chose to lead with Vendilion

"You get to see my sweet tech," Braun-Duin said, spreading out a hand of Restoration Angel, two Vendilion Cliques, Snapcaster Mage, Swords to Plowshares and two Mishra's Factories, with nary a white source to be found. Soorani considered taking nothing, but eventually tucked Snapcaster Mage away.

Braun-Duin then traded his Vendilion Clique for Soorani's, tucking a Jace, the Mind Sculptor as the two faeries fell to the Legend rule.

Meanwhile, Jitte entered the battlefield and came in at Braun-Duin attached to the Stoneforge Mystic.

Brian Braun-Duin has typically gotten the best of Soorani, and Round 5 looked like it might not be any different.

A second Vendilion Clique from Braun-Duin buried Soorani's remaining Lingering Souls, but it also quickly jumped in front of the Jitte-wielding Stoneforge Mystic.

Swords to Plowshares dispatched the Mystic, but Soorani fired back with a Thoughtseize on Restoration Angel and a Wasteland on Karakas, once again cutting Braun-Duin off from white mana. Soorani finished his big turn with another Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull. He even drew Lingering Souls the following turn, putting his friend even further behind.

When a Brainstorm revealed nothing of use, Braun-Duin conceded to a massive board disadvantage.

Soorani 1 – Braun-Duin 1

Game 3

Braun-Duin had the first action of the final game, using a Stoneforge Mystic to search up Batterskull while Soorani Brainstormed twice to find land...and missed both times.

"That would be game over, I think," Soorani said, discarding on his second turn.

Soorani's third Brainstorm did find a land, finally, and enabled him to Inquisition of Kozilek Braun-Duin, who Brainstormed in response. Once Brainstorm resolved, Braun-Duin revealed a hand with no legal targets for the Inquisition, "just" a Batterskull and Jace, the Mind Sculptor.


Facing two cards his hand couldn't handle, Soorani was quick to pack it in.

"You keep getting me," Soorani said.

"I do. And I keep feeling like I'm lucky to do so."

Soorani 1 – Braun-Duin 1




 

Saturday, 5:19 p.m. - Griselbrand: Why 7 > 3.

by Blake Rasmussen


While talking to players this morning about the unbanning of Land Tax, a common theme kept coming out of their answers.

Why would you draw three lands when you can draw seven spells?

Todd Anderson delivered that particular gem of a quote, but the sentiment was the same from pretty much everyone. Seven > three, so why not draw more?

The seven everyone is referring to is the new bad boy of the giant creatures catalogue, Griselbrand. The Avacyn Restored Demon has become the de facto creature to cheat into play with Reanimate, Show and Tell, Sneak Attack and others thanks to one of the most powerful lines of text in Magic: Draw seven.

7 > 3

Among Griselbrand's most fervent supporters is Gerry Thompson, who thinks the Legendary Demon is simply the best thing to do in Legacy.

"Legacy is all about tempo and 1-for-1ing your opponent. It's too fast for mass card draw. Fact or Fiction, Ancestral Vision, those are all legal, but are too slow," Thompson said. "Griselbrand isn't."

A number of other pros and joes agree. Much of the Channelfireball crew is on Griselbrand decks, and a general sweep of the tournament floor reveals Griselbrand after Griselbrand after Griselbrand (one of which was hilariously being held in check by Elephant Grass when I walked by).

The difference is that Griselbrand, once in play, isn't tempo negative like a Fact or Fiction would be. The 7/7 lifelinker is a scary board presence in addition to being a draw engine, meaning that you won't get accidentally run over while resolving your draw spell.

In fact, Thompson said Griselbrand translates into a win for Reanimator more often than not, something he said it hasn't had before. Iona, Shield of Emeria could be attacked from a number of angles, Blazing Archon and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite are unimpressive against many decks, and Terastodon often doesn't do enough. There was only card Thompson saw as even a close corollary.

"Jin-Gitaxis does the same thing, but it dies to too many cards," Thompson said.

It's also significantly worse against one of the breakout cards of the weekend, Karakas. Dealers have reported strong interest in the Legendary and Legend-bouncing land. Once primarily a combo with Vendilion Clique and a way to keep Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn off your back, Karakas has emerged as a way to keep Griselbrand from gaining any of the life back.

In fact, Thompson lost a round today to an Zoo deck sporting cards such as Crop Rotation to ensure they find Karakas.

So far, we've concentrated mostly on bringing Griselbrand back from the graveyard, but Reanimator isn't the only deck to take advantage of the Avacyn Restored All-Star. Sneak and Show – a deck built around Show and Tell and Sneak Attack – also regards Griselbrand highly.

When Karakas isn't involved, Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn is sometimes a better creature to sneak into play, often translating directly into a win or, at the very least, an empty board. But no Sneak and Show player is going to complain when they have to "settle" for Griselbrand. On the other hand, sneaking in Griselbrand and immediately drawing seven can mean that the Sneak and Show player finds an Emrakul to sneak in alongside his new best friend.

BFF, or at least until one of them is banned.

The power of Griselbrand hasn't just increased the importance of Karakas, it has also increased the importance of having a clock.

Thompson said that slow decks with disruption allowed Griselbrand decks to shape their hand and even draw seven without getting in an attack, but disruptive decks that can attack – like hateful Zoo builds and normal Merfolk – can cause problems for the deck. If the Griselbrand player can't afford to draw seven until it gets an attack in, it leaves it vulnerable to all kinds of plays.

For instance, Thompson said there really was no good answer for Æther Vial plus Phantasmal Image. Even this weekend's super techy Not of this World can't save Griselbrand from a Phantasmal Image.


Despite the power of Avacyn's nemesis, not everyone was enthralled by its presence this weekend.

Reid Duke was one of the people responsible for Reanimator's resurgence when he won the Star City Games Legacy Open on June 10 with Griselbrand Reanimator, yet this weekend he's skipped the deck in favor of a more controlling deck.

"I played with it before people were expecting it and after people were expecting it, and it was a very different experience," he said.

When he won the tournament, Duke said all of his games were close, but he won. The next week, when it was more known, he said all of his games were close, but with the opposite result.

"It definitely felt like one to two sideboard cards made the difference," he said.

Duke added that he expected a ton of people to play Griselbrand in Atlanta this weekend, but that even then he underestimated its popularity




 

Round 6 Feature Match - Owen Turtenwald vs. Drew Levin

by Steve Sadin


Two undefeated Black-Blue Reanimator decks square off, only one will win.

After five rounds reigning Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald, and Legacy specialist Drew Levin both found themselves with undefeated records. Their weapons of choice? Two extremely similar Black-Blue Reanimator decks.

Game One

Levin won the roll and opened with a first turn Thoughtseize revealing a hand of two Thoughtseizes, a Brainstorm, an Entomb, and a couple of lands. Drew took a Thoughtseize, but he could do nothing to prevent Owen from resolving his own discard spell a few seconds later.

Owen's Thoughtseize revealed a hand of Careful Study, Animate Dead, Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, Thoughtseize, and Ponder – Turtenwald (who had just drawn a Reanimate to go with his Entomb) opted to take a Thoughtseize in turn.

Levin untapped and cast a Ponder, keeping the top three cards, but nonetheless passed his turn without a second land. Turtenwald then played a land and passed his turn before casting a Brainstorm, and an Entomb at the end of Levin's turn.

Levin takes the first game

Owen attempted to go for the kill by using a Reanimate to bring back his Griselbrand -- but Drew had a Force of Will to counter Reanimate, and a Reanimate of his own to grab the Griselbrand out of Turtenwald's graveyard.

A couple of turns, and about 14 extra cards later, and Levin was up a game.

Drew Levin 1 – Owen Turtenwald 0

Game Two

While the first game was over in a matter of turns, the second game dragged on a bit longer as the players were content to spend their early turns playing lands, and sculpting their hands with Brainstorms, and Ponders.

Drew blinked first by casting an end of turn Entomb – but Drew didn't search for a Griselbrand – instead he found a Coffin Purge. This Coffin Purge, along with the Karakas that he already had in play, gave Levin quite a bit of protection from any reanimation plans that Turtenwald might have.

However, Turtenwald wasn't trying to reanimate anything – a fact that he quickly demonstrated as his end of turn Vendilion Clique cleared the way for a Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Levin's Entomb found him a Griselbrand, but his attempt to Reanimate it was met with Coffin Purge. The players traded Force of Wills, and Levin was finally able sneak a Griselbrand into play thanks to a second Entomb, and a second Reanimate.

Griselbrand ain't got nothing on Jace

Levin drew a bunch of extra cards with his Griselbrand, but with no way to keep a threat in play through Jace, the Mind Sculptor for more than a turn it wasn't long before Levin conceded.

Drew Levin 1 – Owen Turtenwald 1

Game Three

Levin had a lightning fast draw for the third game, using an Entomb to search for a Griselbrand, an Animate Dead, and a Force of Will to protect his Griselbrand from Coffin Purge...

Turtenwald's Force of Will uses Levin's own Griselbrand against him to continue undefeated.

However, Turtenwald had a Force of Will of his own to counter his opponent's reanimation spell -- as well as an Animate Dead which he used to bring his opponent's demon into play under his own control, and take the third game in the matter of minutes.

Owen Turtenwald 2 – Drew Levin 1




 

Round 7 Feature Match - Ian Duke vs. Sam Black

by Blake Rasmussen


I really could not be more excited for this matchup, and it has nothing to do with the players sitting across from one another.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Sam Black, ever since he beat me in Regionals about 8 years ago with a deck that could best be described as "unique." Since then, he's gone on to accomplish just about everything under the sun, including Pro Tour Top 8s and representing team USA.

His opponent this round is Ian Duke, a player short on Black's resume, but long on family connections. The brother of All-World All-Star Reid Duke, Ian Duke was 5-1 coming into the round and was sporting the same deck his brother was piloting, a UW Miracles control deck.

Still, it was their decks that gave me all kinds of chills when I saw the pairings. The Duke family deck is a UW Miracles deck that packs the newly unbanned Land Tax and several very cool ways to get value out of it. Plus, ya know, Land Tax.

Black, meanwhile, might be piloting the most unique deck at the tournament. It is a Red-Black-White zombies, Goblin Bombardment, Lingering Souls, Carrion Feeder, Blood Artist, Bitterblossom, Faithless Looting, thing. That's really the best way I can describe it. He, too, was 5-1.

I mean, Land Tax versus Goblin Bombardment? What year is it again?

Game 1

A turn one Relic of Progenitus looked pretty good against a deck packing Bloodghast, Faithless Looting and Gravecrawler, but the really interesting card came on turn two when Duke played Land Tax.

"Ooooohhhh," cooed Black when he saw the Legends enchantment. Not many people had brought the recently unbanned card this weekend, and Black, like myself, seemed intrigued to see it on the table.

Not too be outdone, Black had a pretty oohh-worth plan of his own. He led with a turn one Gravecrawler, followed by Faithless Looting into a second Gravecrawler jumping out of the graveyard.

Then Duke did something awesome. He popped a fetchland on Black's turn, but "failed to find" any land. That let him trigger his Land Tax on his turn.

"Very tricky," said Black, who had played his second land.

Ian Duke has spent a lot of time Land Taxing this weekend, making him pretty adept at searching his library.

Swords to Plowshares took care of one Gravecrawler as Relic of Progenitus ate away at Black's graveyard. Suddenly, his start didn't look quite as hot, especially as he was forced to play a third land right into Land Tax.

Tidehollow Sculler met Force of Will, and Duke made up the card disadvantage with another turn of Land Tax.

A second Sculler landed, but revealed a hand of seven lands, flush from Land Tax. Looking for action, Duke used his Relic to draw a card, eventually finding Counterbalance on his turn.

It was, however, a blind Counterbalance without much backup. He would need to find some extra action to keep up.

Duke missed on the Counterbalance trigger when Black played Blood Artist, testing the waters. The flip revealed a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, meaning Black could more safely resolve the Goblin Bombardment waiting in his hand.

However, Duke shuffled off a fetchland in response to the Bombardment and blind flipped again, this time hitting Daze. It let him live, but wasn't a particularly helpful card to draw the following turn.

After another turn of attacks dropped him to just three life, Jace, the Mind Sculptor gave Duke something of a lease on life, keeping him alive for one more turn...or so he thought. Black found a Carrion Feeder and was able to drain Duke out from three with Blood Artist.

Black 1 – Duke 0

Game 2

Once again Duke led with an early Land Tax.

So what does Black do?

What do you do? What do you do?!

"Move to discard?"

Of course, the card he discarded was Bloodghast, which popped right back into play the following turn. Black attempted to play Carrion Feeder for Swords to Plowshares protection, but Duke had the Swords to remove the Bloodghast first.

Cabal Therapy named Daze, and missed, but did reveal a whopping three Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Counterbalance and Entreat the Angels.

"This game is not going so well for me," Duke said.

Carrion Feeder continued attacking, while Black cast and resolved Dark Confidant...

...right before Duke cast a miracle Terminus.

The players continued their back and forth as a Bitterblossom was Disenchanted, only to be replaced by a second Bitterblossom and Lingering Souls.

The first Faerie token was sacrificed to Cabal Therapy to pitch all three Jace, the Mind Sculptors, revealing two Counterbalance and Entreat the Angels. Things had quickly turned sour for Duke, even after he finally found a second Tundra, enabling Counterbalance.

Sam Black just might be sporting the most unique deck of the weekend.

The Counterbalance missed the next turn when Black cast Goblin Bombardment, a card which was especially deadly with the swarm of tokens he was amassing and the Bloodghast he followed up with.

By the time Black hit six tokens, Duke could only manage to Entreat some Angels. However, thanks to Goblin Bombardment, even with a few angels in play, Duke was dead on board.

Black 2 – Duke 0




 

Saturday, 6:50 p.m. - Key Sideboard cards in Legacy

by Steve Sadin


Sometimes players will go through an entire Booster Draft without so much as touching their sideboard – and that's perfectly okay. If you were struggling to get enough playable cards, then you might not have anything worth sideboarding in.

But in a format like Legacy, where players can kill you on turn one with a Goblin Charbelcher, attack with an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on turn two, or simply build up a strong board with cards like Mother of Runes, and Knight of the Reliquary while keeping you off of your spells with Wastelands, you better come prepared with a good sideboard.

Not sure what to put in your Legacy sideboard? Well, then you should probably keep reading!


RUG Delver's creatures are big, and they're cheap. But the fact that all of their creatures are big isn't always a good thing... For a mere one mana, Meekstone affects every one of RUG Delver's creatures, ensuring that they can only attack once before they're locked down forever.

Can a RUG Delver deck beat a resolved Meekstone without destroying it? Yes, it technically can, but that's going to be a serious uphill battle.

So if you're playing a deck that doesn't need big creatures to win, and you find yourself having trouble with RUG Delver decks – then you should probably look to stick a couple of Meekstones in your sideboard. You won't be disappointed.


While very few cards are as potent as Meekstone against RUG Delver, if you're playing a deck full of 3+ power creatures then it's going to be difficult for you to make good use of the one mana artifact. So if you find that you need to look elsewhere for cards to strengthen your RUG Delver matchup, then you should take a close look at Mind Harness.

While Mind Harness might not be able to take a Nimble Mongoose – if you use it to snatch a Tarmogoyf, or Scavenging Ooze, it probably won't take long for you to cruise to victory.

Additionally, Mind Harness can take Knight of the Reliquary from Maverick decks, and Priest of Titanias (as well as just about any other combo piece that you might want to grab) from Elf decks.


Alright, maybe Mind Harness isn't a good fit for your deck either because you can't reliably kill your opponent before you run out of mana to pay the cumulative upkeep on Mind Harness. In that case, you should look no further than Submerge to help you with your green creature problems.

Graveyard Hate

Between Faerie Macabre, Coffin Purge, Tormnod's Crypt, Relic of Progenitus, Grafdigger's Cage, Bojuka Bog, and Leyline of the Void, Extirpate, Surgical Extraction, (to name a few), there are a lot of good anti-graveyard cards to choose from – and if you're playing in a Legacy tournament any time soon, you better have some of them in your sideboard.

If you don't put any graveyard hate in your sideboard, then don't be surprised if you find yourself taking a lot of losses at the hands of reanimated Griselbrands, and armies of Bridge from Below tokens.


When asked to name the best sideboard card in Legacy, Drew Levin immediately identified Show and Tell out of Reanimator's sideboard. Drew thinks that Show and Tell stands head and shoulders above the competition "since it gives them a way to dodge graveyard hate, and consequently makes it very difficult for other decks to sideboard against them."

So if you're playing Reanimator, you better make sure that you've got a set of Show and Tells (and potentially some more lands to help you cast them) in your sideboard. And if you're playing against Reanimator, then you better be ready for your opponents to spend three mana to put a Griselbrand into play directly from their hand.


Show and Tell isn't the only card that Reanimator players can sideboard in to give their strategy a serious overhaul. Not by a long shot.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor gives Reanimator decks another angle of attack that doesn't require them to touch their graveyards, or give their opponents the opportunity to put the biggest threat in their hand into play for free.

Between Jace, the Mind Sculptor – and Vendilion Clique, Reanimator decks can play through entire games like a traditional control deck... albeit one that's capable of sneaking a game dominating Griselbrand into play as early as turn two should their opponent let their guard down.


While there might not be a ton of artifacts running around in Legacy right now – it's rarely bad to fit an Ancient Grudge or two into your sideboard if you need some help dealing with Batterskulls, and Umezawa's Jittes.


Looking for a tool that will allow you to outlast control decks, and help you dig for your hate cards against combo decks? Then look no further than Sylvan Library.

While you might not want to pay any life to draw extra cards against a Mono-Red Burn deck – if you're playing against a deck that has no good way to apply pressure to you before they've completely taken over the game, then there's no reason why you can't pay 12, or even 16 extra life to draw a bunch of extra cards.

Other good options

Still looking for some more good cards for your sideboard? Well Pyroblast, Hydroblast, Counterbalance, Gilded Drake, Leyline of Sanctity, Engineered Plague, Umezawa's Jitte, Spell Pierce, and Spell Snare all come to mind as potent options depending on what you're trying to accomplish. And beyond that, there are thousands of other cards just waiting for their chance to shine in your Legacy sideboard.

You just need to find the right job for them.




 

Saturday, 6:53 p.m. - Land Tax, a Short History

by Blake Rasmussen


In the run up to the June 20 banned and restricted announcement, much of the fervor and anticipation surrounded the fate of the Standard Delver deck. But when no changes were made the Standard list, attention turned to the one change that was made.

Legacy

Land Tax is Unbanned


Three little words could make a world of difference this weekend. One of the most powerful enchantments ever printed, Land Tax has been banned in Legacy since 2004 and has at times been one of the most dominant spells in the game.

Probably the best known Land Tax deck was Randy Buehler's Tax Rack deck that abused the synergy between Land Tax and Scroll Rack to turn Land Tax's one "disadvantage" (if you can call it that) of searching up only basic lands into a virtual Ancestral Recall every turn.

Buehler won the North American Extended Championship in 1998 with this beauty.

Randy Buehler
North American Extended Championship 1998 winner

While we're a little bit past the point of Sand Golem and Suleiman's Legacy being viable cards, the Scroll Rack + Land Tax synergy is still incredibly powerful and is probably the first place to start when looking at the enchantment's viability in modern Legacy.


However, Land Tax, originally printed in Legends, has a history that goes back to the very beginnings of the Pro Tour.

Though we don't have all of the deck lists from the 1995 World Championship, we can say for sure that the finals came down to two decks that both sported the white enchantment.

Marc Hernandez
1995 World Championship finalist

And, yes, the decks had 63 and 62 cards in the main deck. What can I say, times were different back then.

So different that decks that sported Zuran Orb and Armageddon did not play the full four Land Tax (it was not yet restricted). Yet you can see the seeds of how the enchantment would be later abused. Zuran Orb let players manipulate the number of lands in play, Ivory Tower makes use of all the extra cards in hand, and Armageddon puts players in a pinch as to exactly what they need to play around.

Land Tax made its name known in Standard (then called Type II) around 1996 when Black Vise was restricted. Bertrand Lestree of France took 2nd at Pro Tour New York in 1996 with Ernhamgeddon, a deck with was based around getting out a quick Erhnam Djinn (then the premier fatty of its day) and follow it up with an Armageddon and artifact or creature mana.

Again note the use of Zuran Orb and Ivory Tower (then both restricted) as well as Armageddon. Notice that there was even Sylvan Library to give a look and shuffle effect with Land Tax, something of a precursor to fetchlands plus Brainstorm or Sensei's Divining Top, if a bit of an awkward one.

At this point, Land Tax was fighting with Necropotence for space in the top decks. Ernhamgeddon was something of a foil to Necro decks (notice Lestree's main deck Order of Leitbur). After all, it doesn't matter how many cards you draw if you have no lands in play.

Speaking of anti-Necro decks, Stasis was a similarly popular strategy for fighting the Necro menace, and Matt Place took Turbo Stasis to the Top 8 of U.S. Nationals in 1996.

Matt Place
Top 8 U.S. Nationals 1996

But, as many who played during that period know, Necropotence was the clear winner in that race. During what became known as the "Black Summer," Necropotence dominated the tournament scene, overshadowing Land Tax and, well, everything else as well.

Land Tax would again have its day in the sun in Extended with Buehler's Tax Rack deck as well as from a then little-known player named Jon Finkel, who won Grand Prix Rio de Janeiro in 1998 with a more aggressive version based around Land Tax and Empyrial Armor. (Note: The sideboard is lost to the ravages of time.)

Jon Finkel
Grand Prix Rio de Janeiro Winner 1998

Fast forward to 2004 and the creation of Legacy. By that time, Land Tax had earned its fearsome reputation as a card to be frightened of. What's more, it led to some fairly uninteresting games of Magic, where both players would simply refuse to play lands, staring at one another until someone blinked.

As a result, Land Tax was added to the Legacy banned list at the outset of the format, never to see play...

...until now.

So far, opinions from pros have been fairly negative, but at least one notable pro is playing it this weekend.

Oddly enough, the reason most players think Land Tax won't break out this weekend is that it will be overshadowed by Griselbrand, another black spell that trades life 1-for-1 to draw cards.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.



 

Saturday, 8:11 p.m. - Photo Essay: Legacy is Kind of Awesome, pt. 1

by Blake Rasmussen


As the most played eternal format, Legacy offers so many different viable decks it can make your head spin a little bit. Goblins and Grindstones and Elves and Reanimators and Metalworkers and Stoneforges and 87 flavors of Delver and more.

This is a format where Goblin Welder, one of the best one drops of all time, is scarcely played at all. It's a format where Elves is a combo deck and where the mightiest Griselbrands get stuck in the slightest bit of Elephant Grass. And it's a format where sometimes a turn two Emrakul, the Aeons Torn just isn't enough.

Basically, it's kind of awesome.

All day we've been gathering pictures of unusual, entertaining, odd or just plain interesting game states from tables up and down the tournament hall. Every one of these actually happened in the main tournament, and most of them were so cool we just couldn't pass up a photo.

So, from my camera to your computer, here are some of the just plain coolest things to happen this weekend.

Here there be 18/19 Kobolds.

Maybe his hooks get stuck in the grass? The Elephant Grass, that is.

You know what’s Humiliating? This!

Fun fact: three of these four cards have been banned or restricted in some format at some time...

Goblin Bombardment?! (Not shown: His opponent's life total. Because he's dead.)

Protection from Demons you say?




 

Round 8 Feature Match - Alexander Hayne vs. David Shiels

by Steve Sadin


A few minutes after his grueling match against Pro Tour Avacyn Restored finalist Gaudenis Vidugiris ended in an unintentional draw, Grand Prix Dallas champion David Shiels now has to face the one man who was able to outlast Gaudenis at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored – the champion Alexander Hayne.

Game One

Hayne won the roll and immediately put the pressure on with a pair of Delver of Secrets, and a Wasteland on Shiels' only land. However, Shiels was quick to capitalize on the situation by using a Forked Bolt to take out both of Hayne's creatures.

Alexander Hayne and David Shiels square off

Hayne rebuilt with a Nimble Mongoose, but Shiels was again able to neutralize the situation by using a Wasteland to take out Hayne's only green source before playing a Nimble Mongoose of his own. The mongooses traded, and when Hayne passed the turn without a follow-up play Shiels decided that it was time to hop into the driver's seat by casting a Tarmogoyf.

However, David's attempts to go on the offensive would ultimately prove to be about as successful as Alex's early tries – as his first Tarmogoyf got countered, and his second died at the hands of a Dismember.

David Shiels attempts to mount an offense come to naught

At this point, Shiels found himself without any threats left, and once again had to spend his time reacting. First he used a Dismember to take out a Tarmogoyf, then, when Hayne played an untargettable Nimble Mongoose he began digging rapidly to find a Nimble Mongoose of his own which he could trade with.

Snapcaster Mage allowed Hayne to recoup some of the card advantage that he had lost over the course of the game – however, a Lightning Bolt, and a couple of Dazes ensured that it wouldn't have any immediate impact.

A couple of turns later, Shiels found a new threat. But rather than jump out of his seat and immediately cast the spell, Shiels used a Wasteland to knock Hayne down to four lands before trying his Nimble Mongoose. With only four lands, Hayne had no choice but to Force of Will the Nimble Mongoose by exiling the only other remaining card in his hand – a second Force of Will.

Alexander Hayne battles valiantly, however falls to Shiels' Tarmogoyf

And that would ultimately be the last relevant play that Hayne made. Because after their grueling war of attrition had gone on for nearly 30 minutes, Shiels was finally able to resolve a Tarmogoyf which he rode to victory.

Dave Shiels 1 – Alexander Hayne 0

Game Two

Hayne opened on Delver of Secrets, while Shiels wasted no time before Wastelanding Hayne's Volcanic Island. That play began paying dividends to Shiels immediately as Hayne had no land to replace it with.

Shiels' kept Hayne mana-less for the majority of the second game

And by the time Hayne found his second land, Shiels was ready with a second Wasteland, and a Spell Pierce to counter Hayne's Brainstorm.

It was a long time until Hayne finally found a land that he could keep, and at that point it was too late as Shiels had a Nimble Mongoose, a Tarmogoyf, and an Insectile Aberration to swing to victory with.

David Shiels 2 – Alexander Hayne 0




 

Round 9 Feature Match - Ali Aintrazi vs. Jesse Hatfield

by Blake Rasmussen


Both Ali Aintrazi and Jesse Hatfield were safely on their way to Day 2 at this point, sporting nearly pristine 7-1 records with just one round to go before the cut. But any time you can feature a Hatfield against a former U.S. national champion, you've got to do it.

Jesse Hatfield was one half of the famous Hatfield brothers who had made High Tide a deck to beat for some time last year and put Candelabra of Tawnos back on the map. Hatfield wasn't playing the mono Blue monstrosity this weekend, but was instead battling with a BUG Delver deck that dipped into Temporal Mastery to really break Brainstorm and Sylvan Library in half.

Aintrazi had some spicy cards himself. Playing Esper Stoneblade, Aintrazi was also packing Humility, which made his Lingering Souls even more effective and his equipment dominant. But Hatfield's deck was even more tempo oriented than most, meaning resolving a four-mana enchantment could prove troublesome.

Game 1

A mulligan to six put Hatfield behind to begin, and Aintrazi's Inquisition of Kozilek put him even further back. The discard spell revealed two Delver of Secrets, two Brainstorm and a Sylvan Library to go with a land. One of the Delvers fell to Inquisition, but the other entered play on Hatfield's first turn.

Delver didn't flip, but Hatfield had to Brainstorm for a second land, and even then it was a Wasteland rather than colored mana.

Aintrazi's Snapcaster Mage rebought Inquisition of Kozilek, revealing Force of Will, Brainstorm, Tarmogoyf and yet another Delver of Secrets. Aintrazi chose the 'Goyf and passed the turn, clearing the way for Hatfield to resolve the Sylvan Library he had hidden at the top of his library.

Brainstorm flipped the Delver the following turn, and Hatfield paid eight life to draw all of the cards off of his Sylvan Library before Pondering.

But when Delver of Secrets attacked, Aintrazi attempted to ambush it with Vendilion Clique. Daze kept it from entering play, and Hatfield cast his previously revealed Delver of Secrets, hoping to steal the match through the air.

The air was exactly where Aintrazi was prepared to fight once he resolved Lingering Souls.

Hatfield's draw step, however, yielded the Temporal Mastery he had stacked on top. He cast the miracle Time Walk and attacked his Insectile Aberrations into Aintrazi's Lingering Souls tokens, losing one but taking Aintrazi to 11 in the process.


A second miracled Temporal Mastery kept Hatfield chaining turns together and getting in damage with the Aberration, dropping Aintrazi to five life.

Here you see Ali Aintrazi not taking any turns in Game 1.

More cantrips, more shuffling and more deck manipulation let Hatfield continually stack his deck until he was satisfied. Eventually, he gave Aintrazi a turn, which was used to simply flash back Lingering Souls.

But a third Temporal Mastery yielded yet another extra turn. During his first turn, Hatfield made a Tarmogoyf. On his second, Hatfield's attacked Aintrazi to just one life after some Lingering Souls chump blocking. Hatfield finished by Wastelanding one of Aintrazi's two white sources, stranding a Humility in his hand.

Aintrazi drew a Swords to Plowshares to give him a shot, but Sylvan Library turned up Ghastly Demise, clearing the way for Hatfield to deliver the lethal blow.

Hatfield 1 – Aintrazi 0

Game 2

Hatfield's first attempt to manipulate his deck – Ponder – was Spell Pierced, followed by Aintrazi Surgically Extracting all of Hatfield's copies of the blue sorcery.

No copies were trapped in his hand, but it did reveal two Wasteland, Tropical Island, a Sylvan Library, Thoughtseize, Engineered Explosives and a Delver of Secrets.

One of the Wastelands hit Aintrazi's Tundra, prompting a Brainstorm before the anticipated Thoughtseize. Instead, Hatfield ran Delver of Secrets onto the board.

The Delver flipped the next turn on a revealed Brainstorm, but before Hatfield could add it to his hand, Aintrazi used Snapcaster Mage to flash back Surgical Extraction, hitting Hatfield's other Wasteland sitting in his hand and shuffling away the Brainstorm. Hatfield didn't miss a beat, though, casting the Sylvan Library that had been so key last game.

Meanwhile, Aintrazi shot back with his own dangerous two drop, casting Umezawa's Jitte to go with his Snapcaster Mage.

A Thoughtseize from Hatfield took Snapcaster Mage, leaving Aintrazi with just a Force of Will in hand, but a ready Jitte.

Snapcaster Mage traded with Delver of Secrets on Aintrazi's attack, depriving him of a creature, but giving him two potentially important Jitte counters.

And here we see Jesse Hatfield taking practically all the turns in Game 2. Seemed fair.

The board now clear of threats, Hatfield started milking his Sylvan Library. First he miracled Temporal Mastery for an extra turn, then he paid four life to draw an extra card off the library. He used his extra turn to cast and resolve a Tarmogoyf, and Aintrazi had no response. The former U.S. champ's hand still two blanks, meaning he had to watch the next turn as well as Delver of Secrets joined Hatfield's growing board presence.

A Stoneforge Mystic, though, gave him a ray of hope. He found a Batterskull, equipped his Jitte to the Mystic and passed the turn. With just seven life, Aintrazi's margin of error was slim at best. He used one Jitte counter to kill the Delver before it flipped, but his odds only got worse when Hatfield miracled another Temporal Mastery.

Ghastly Demise cleared out the Mystic, and an Engineered Exposives for zero left Aintrazi with no outs.

Hatfield 2 – Aintrazi 0




 

Saturday, 10:05 p.m. - Round 9 Roundup: Bobbling all around the Bubble

by Steve Sadin


While Ben Stark, and Alex Hon were busy running the tables on Day One, quite a few other players entered the final round of the day with 6-2 records, and in need of a win to be able to play tomorrow. Lest we ignore these players who were busy fighting for their tournament lives, I decided to check in on some of them and report on the results.

Table 50 Brian Kibler vs. Kevin Bopp

When Kevin Bopp reanimated a Griselbrand into play on turn two, things looked bad for Brian Kibler. When Kevin connected with his Griselbrand twice, and drew a ton of extra cards, it looked like Kevin was well on his way to Day Two...

But just before that happened, Kibler drew the Karakas that he needed to get himself right back into the game – allowing Kibler to overcome the odds, and advance to Day Two.

Table 66 David Ochoa vs. Greg Mitchell

After splitting the first two games, David Ochoa was unable to find a way to put a Griselbrand into his Reanimator deck's graveyard in the deciding game. So instead, he decided to reanimate the Knight of the Reliquary that was sitting in Greg Mitchell's graveyard.

Greg did what he could to make a game of it, but he ultimately succumbed beneath the weight of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and his own undead Knight of the Reliquary.

Table 81 Matt Nass vs Marc Lalague

After Matt Nass won a long, drawn out game one, Marc was able to come back and take the second game... Just in time for the round to end, leaving the players with an unintentional draw that knocked them both out of day two.




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