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Bolding Thunders to Victory in Charleston

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It's been an incredible weekend for Magic here in Charleston. 661 players showed up to compete with their favorite Standard decks. The field was whittled down to 81 players for the second day of competition. When the dust settled only eight players remained. Reid Duke, Peter Kelly, Patrick Cox, Brian Eason, Matt Keene, Gerry Thompson, Morgan Chang, and Jon Bolding were the only Planeswalkers left in the heat of battle.

In the quarterfinals, Jon Bolding dispatched Morgan Chang's four color Unburial Rites deck in a tight three games.

The semifinals saw Jon Bolding up against his worst matchup in the top 8, a significantly more aggressive Rakdos deck being piloted by Matt Keene. Bolding managed to curve out perfectly while Keene stumbled a bit with lands that come into play tapped and Jon Bolding was able to escape the semifinals despite being a massive underdog.

Only two were left standing. Brian Eason's powerful Black/Green/White Tokens deck stood no match against Jon Bolding's Rakdos deck that featured Thundermaw Hellkite and Bonfire of the Damned. Jon Bolding goes home with $3,500, a trophy, and the title of Grand Prix Charleston Champion.

This is Jon Bolding's first major finish and it qualifies him for his first Pro Tour. Be sure to check out Pro Tour Gatecrash to follow Bolding and see if he has what it takes to compete with the best in the world!


Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Reid Duke   Peter Kelly
2-1
       
8 Peter Kelly   Brian Eason
2-1
       
4 Patrick Cox   Brian Eason
2-1
  Jon Bolding
2-0
5 Brian Eason    
       
2 Matt Keene   Matt Keene
2-0
7 Gerry Thompson   Jon Bolding
2-1
       
3 Jon Bolding   Jon Bolding
2-1
6 Morgan Chang    



  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Charleston provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, Ben Swartz, and Ray Punzalan. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.








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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER
  • by Steve Sadin
    Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Charleston 2012

  • by Jacob Van Lunen
    Finals
    Brian Eason (Black/Green/White Tokens) vs. Jon Bolding (Rakdos)

  • by Steve Sadin
    Semifinals
    Matt Keene (Black Red Zombies) vs. Jon Bolding (Rakdos Zombies)

  • by Jacob Van Lunen
    Semifinals
    Peter Kelly (Green/White Humans) vs. Brian Eason (Black/Green/White Tokens)

  • by Steve Sadin
    Quarterfinals
    Morgan Chang (4 Color Reanimator) vs. Jon Bolding (Rakdos Zombies)

  • by Steve Sadin
    Quarterfinals
    Reid Duke (Bant Control) vs. Peter Kelly (White Green Humans)

  • by Jacob Van Lunen
    Quarterfinals Round-Up
    Gerry Thompson (Blue/White Flash) vs. Matt Keene (Rakdos Aggro)
    Pat Cox (Blue/White Flash) vs. Brian Eason (Black/Green/White Tokens)

  • by Steve Sadin
    Top 8
    Player Profiles

  • by Steve Sadin
    Top 16
    Decklists

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION
  1.  Jon Bolding $3,500
  2.  Brian Eason $2,300
  3.  Matt Keene $1,500
  4.  Peter Kelly $1,500
  5.  Ried Duke $1,000
  6.  Patrick Cox $1,000
  7.  Morgan Chang $1,000
  8.  Gerry Thompson $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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Top 16 - Decklists

by Steve Sadin

Gerry Thompson
Top 8
Grand Prix Charleston 2012 (Standard)

Matt Keene
Top 8
Grand Prix Charleston 2012 (Standard)

We know you love decklists, and when the competition is tight, it can be a hair's breadth between making the Top 8 and falling just short. Here are the following eight players, who ranked 16th through 9th.

Stephen Michael
(Top 16)
Grand Prix Charleston 2012 (Standard)

Ben Stark
(Top 16)
Grand Prix Charleston 2012 (Standard)

Brad Nelson
(Top 16)
Grand Prix Charleston 2012 (Standard)

 

Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Steve Sadin

Pat Cox

Age: 28
Hometown: Arlington, VA
Occupation: Systems Engineer


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

1 PT top 8, 4 GP top 8s, SCG Invitational Champion

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

Blue/White Flash, because LSV told me to.

What's your best matchup?

The mirror thanks to Talrand

What's your worst matchup?

Reanimator or Junk Tokens

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

It was not a major factor.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

More Talrands main.



Matthew Keene

Age: 28
Hometown: Charleston, SC
Occupation: Stanley Steamer Associate


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

SC States Winner and top 8 finisher last two years. Food article expert.

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

Zombies, I felt like I won by turn four or had enough reach to close out while they tried to recover.

What's your best matchup?

Blue/White Flash

What's your worst matchup?

Blue/White/Red Midrange

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

No!!! None at all, if it bleeds we can kill it.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

No, not a card.



Brian Eason

Age: 20
Hometown: Atlanta, GA
Occupation: Student


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Money in some GPs, played in some PTs

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

Junk Tokens because Robbie Cordell recommended it and it had the best results on Magic Online.

What's your best matchup?

Zombies, Mono Red, Blue/White Flash

What's your worst matchup?

Reanimator w/ Somberwald Sage

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

Somewhat, I'm playing Primal Hunter because it's very good vs. control and Thragtusk.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

Cut the Conclave Blessing for a Garruk Relentless. Cut the Sigarda for a third Ultimate Price in the sideboard.



Peter Kelly

Age: 21
Hometown: Scranton, PA
Occupation: None


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

None

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

Green/White Humans, it's real fun

What's your best matchup?

Zombies, most midrange

What's your worst matchup?

Decks with Supreme Verdict

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

It was in most of the decks.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

Better sideboard and Smiters



Reid Duke

Age: 23
Hometown: Sugar Loaf, NY
Occupation: MTG


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Magic Online Champion 2011, Four GP top 8s with one win

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

Bant Control. Most powerful lategame in Standard. Plays many of the format's best cards. (Thragtusk and Sphinx's Revelation) My Style.

What's your best matchup?

Midrange creature decks

What's your worst matchup?

Nothing is unwinnable. Zombies and Mono Red are scary.

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

I knew I wanted access to Thragtusk.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

I was very happy with my list for this weekend. I'd like to spend more time testing Jace, Architect of Thought in place of Amass the Components.



Morgan Chang

Age: 31
Hometown: New York City
Occupation:


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

GP Vancouver T8

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

4 Color Reanimator. 9AM Audible from U/W control

What's your best matchup?

I don't know

What's your worst matchup?

I don't know

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

I'm playing 4

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

Unsure



Gerry Thompson

Age: infinite
Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Occupation: Writer, Star City Games


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

8 other GP T8's

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

U/W "Flash." It suits my playstyle

What's your best matchup?

Probably Mono-Red

What's your worst matchup?

Probably Reanimator

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

Clone it.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

A decent amount.



Jon Bolding

Age: 30
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Occupation: Property Management


Previous Magic Accomplishments:

Not much

What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?

Rakdos midrange – tested very well against the expected field

What's your best matchup?

Bant Control

What's your worst matchup?

Mono-red

How big of a factor was Thragtusk in your preparation for this tournament?

It was huge. Thragtusk presents a large presence on the field and many decks revolve around maximizing the number of times you can put it into play.

If you played your deck again at Grand Prix San Antonio next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?

-1 Bonfire, +1 Victim of Night



 

Quarterfinals Round-Up

by Jacob Van Lunen

Pat Cox (Blue/White Flash) vs. Brian Eason (Black/Green/White Tokens)

Game 1

Brian started to accelerate with Arbor Elf while Pat set up his hand with Augur of Bolas.

Brian began making a board presence with Lingering Souls, establishing a dominant board presence. An attack for two and Flashback put Pat Cox in quite the predicament. Avacyn's Pilgrim came down and things were looking good for the GP top 8 rookie.

Pat Cox had Restoration Angel when Brian attacked, but Pat tapping out meant that Brian had a chance to resolve Collective Blessing. The next turn he was swinging for twenty damage and Pat could barely hang on, another Restoration Angel came down and Pat was in chump blocking mode. One more attack was all it took for Brian to get the first game.


Pat Cox

Game 2

Game two won't be quite as easy for Brian Eason once Pat Cox has access to Supreme Verdict and Detention Sphere. Pat is hoping his sideboard will be strong enough to overcome one of his more difficult matchups.

Again, Brian ramped into Lingering Souls with Avacyn's Pilgrim and once again the game looked like it was swinging heavily into Brian's favor very early.

An all out attack from Brian on turn three met a Snapcaster Mage from Pat Cox that traded with Avacyn's Pilgrim.

Brian continued charging into the red zone, but didn't want to overcommit to the board, knowing that Pat had sideboarded in his Supreme Verdicts. Pat declined to cast his Restoration Angel, intending on wiping the board before he spent any resources.

A Sphinx's Revelation for two from Pat made it seem like he was a huge favorite to win the game.

An all out attack from Brian dropped Pat to nine, but he was casually leaning back in his seat, hoping that Brian would commit more resources before he cast Supreme Verdict.

Pat pulled further ahead with another Sphinx's Revelation, this time for three.

Detention Sphere came down for Pat and he targeted a Spirit, Brian decided to cast Ultimate Price targeting his own spirit, but Pat had Dissipate to ensure that all the spirits would be going to detention.

Brian reestablished his board presence, with Borderland Ranger and another Lingering Souls. Intangible Virtue came down and once again Brian was looking to be in the driver seat.

Pat had a lot of digging power and he ran through his deck looking for another Detention Sphere or a Supreme Verdict. Despite seeing a ton of cards, Pat was unable to find one of these important spells.

Brian looked like he was running out of gas, though, and Pat still had plenty of cards in hand. Pat continued digging and eventually found a Supreme Verdict.

Brian had lethal in the air with his Spirits and Pat was forced to cast Surpeme Verdict despite Brian still having two copies of Lingering Souls in his graveyard and Intangible Virtue in play. One copy of lingering souls met Negate, but the second copy resolved.

Pat found another copy of Supreme Verdict on the top of his library and began to completely dominate the game.

Brian was out of cards and things didn't look good against Pat's full grip, but Brian wasn't out of this just yet, he cast Garruk, Primal Hunter and made a token.

Pat wasn't going to let Garruk get in his way, though and he quickly killed Garruk with Restoration angel and a Spirit.

With Dissipate and Rewind in hand, and a dominant board position, Pat quickly closed the game out with a Restoration Angel, some spirits and Runechanter's Pike while Brian floundered, looking for some glimmer of hope.


Brian Eason

Game 3

Brian had Avacyn's Pilgrim on the first turn and Arbor Elf on the second. He went for Garruk Relentless on the third turn and Pat was forced to let it resolve.

Brian tried to give Garruk a friend in Sorin, Lord of Innistrad, but Pat had Dissipate. Garruk continued powering out tokens and Pat struggled to find an answer to the powerful Planeswalker.

Restoration Angel proved good enough to deal with Garruk Relentless, but Pat was facing down a massive army of wolves.

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad came down for Brian on his fifth turn. He made an Emblem and was able to attack for more than enough damage to kill his opponent.

Brian Eason 2 - 1 Pat Cox

Gerry Thompson (Blue/White Flash) vs. Matt Keene (Rakdos Aggro)

Game 1

Matt Keene got off to an aggressive start with Gravecrawler into Knight of infamy, Bump in the Night and another Gravecrawler had Gerry on the ropes very quickly. Another Bump in the night dropped Gerry down to five before he had his fourth land in play. Gerry tried to stabilize, but Matt's draw was far too aggressive and Gerry found himself dead before he had a chance to get fancy.


Matt Keene

Matt Keene 1 - 0 Gerry Thompson

Game 2

Matt went down to five cards but still had an aggressive start. Knight of Infamy seemed to be particularly problematic for Gerry. Gerry's draw wasn't well equipped to deal with the Protection from White two drop and his life total dwindled.


Gerry Thompson

Gerry couldn't get his footing while being beaten down by the Knight. Geralf's Messenger only made things worse. Once again, Gerry was burned to a crisp in the blink of an eye.

Matt Keene 2-0 Gerry Thompson

 

Quarterfinals - Reid Duke (Bant Control) vs. Peter Kelly (White Green Humans)

by Steve Sadin

Reigning Magic Online Champion Reid Duke is playing in his fourth Grand Prix Top 8 this weekend. He's hoping that he'll be able to earn his second Grand Prix title with a Bant splash Nephalia Drownyard control deck that (on paper) seems like it would be particularly well suited against his Quarterfinal opponent's White Green Humans deck.

However, first time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Peter Kelly's deck is quite a bit better against slow control decks than most aggressive White Green decks are. He can hold opponents off of key spells with Judge's Familiar and Thalia, Guardian of Thraben – and he can keep the pressure on even after a Supreme Verdict thanks to cards like Rancor, and Doomed Traveler.

Game 1

Both players mulliganed down to five, and while the only early play that Duke could muster was a turn two Ground Seal -- Kelly had a ton of early pressure with double Champion of the Parish, Rancor, and a Knight of Glory.

Supreme Verdict wiped that away, but a Judge's Familiar plus the automatically recursed Rancor allowed Kelly to keep the pressure on.

Thragtusk put Duke back to 14 – but a Silverblade Paladin gave Kelly's Judge's Familiar double strike and set up an attack for 6 that knocked Duke down to 8.

A second Thragtusk, and then a third Thragtusk helped Reid a bit – but with no way to stop the double striking 3/1 Judge's Familiar, it was only a matter of time before he died to the little bird that could.

Peter Kelly 1 – Reid Duke 0

Game 2

Avacyn's Pilgrim, Doomed Traveler, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and a Rancor allowed Kelly to get in for a few points of damage early – but Duke prevented things from getting out of hand by ramping up his mana with Farseek, and wiping the board with a fourth turn Supreme Verdict.

Kelly made a spirit token when his Doomed Traveler died, and quickly enchanted it with a Rancor. However, the potent combination of Thragtusk, plus Restoration Angel allowed Duke to put himself back up to 20 life while generating an army of 11 power worth of attackers.

Kelly had no way to keep up, and pretty soon the players were off to a deciding third game.

Peter Kelly 1 – Reid Duke 1

Game 3

Kelly got off to a very threatening start in the third game with Avacyn's Pilgrim, Fencing Ace, and a Rancor -- while Duke spent his early turns trying to set things up for himself by casting Farseek, Elixir of Immortality, and Think Twice.

Once he was down to 6, and staring down what would be lethal damage, Duke used a Terminus to wipe away his opponent's board.

Undeterred, Bolding cast an end of turn Selesnya Charm to generate a token, enchanted it with Rancor, and attacked knocking Duke down to 2. Thragtusk brought Duke back up to 7, but a Silverblade Paladin plus a second Rancor were enough for Kelly to take the match.

Peter Kelly 2 – Reid Duke 1

 

Quarterfinals - Morgan Chang (4 Color Reanimator) vs. Jon Bolding (Black Red Zombies)

by Steve Sadin

Long time grinder Morgan Chang earned the first Grand Prix Top 8 of his career at Vancouver earlier this season – but he fell just short of earning an invitation there, taking a bittersweet exit in the Quarterfinals. A few short months later, and Chang finds himself with a chance to do one better here in Charleston.

But in order for Chang to earn a coveted invitation to Pro Tour Gatecrash, he's going to need his 4 Color Reanimator deck to outlast first time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor Jon Bolding's lightning fast Black Red Zombie deck.

Game 1

A pair of Diregraf Ghouls, and a Knight of Infamy gave Bolding a lot of pressure early – but Chang did what he could to stabilize the board with a Restoration Angel, and a Lingering Souls.

However, that would prove to be too little too late, as the protection from white Knight of Infamy, plus direct damage from Geralf's Messenger, Brimstone Volley, and Searing Spear allowed Bolding to get off to a quick lead in the match.

Jon Bolding 1 – Morgan Chang 0


Jon Bolding

Game 2

Bolding opened the second game with a Knight of Infamy, a Searing Spear that took out a Deathrite Shaman, and a Falkenrath Aristocrat. Once he got to 4 mana, Chang played a Restoration Angel – but that quickly died to a Victim of Night, and the ensuing attack knocked him down to 9. Another Knight of Infamy followed, and Chang was left with no choice but to cast a relatively ineffective Supreme Verdict.

In response to the Supreme Verdict, Bolding sacrificed both of his Knights to the Falkenrath Aristocrat, boosting his flier up to 6 power, and allowing it to survive through his opponent's sweeper.

Chang followed that up with a Deathrite Shaman, and he was left hoping that his opponent didn't have a way to finish him off.

The next attack left Chang at 3, and while Bolding didn't have a burn spell to finish things off – he did have another creature in the form of Gravecrawler.

Detention Sphere took out the Falkenrath Aristocrat, but Chang still couldn't afford to breathe easy as a freshly cast Hellrider set up an attack that put Chang on 1, and left him without a board.

Thragtusk put Chang back up to 6, but things were still looking very dicey for the Grand Prix Vancouver Top 8 alum.

Bolding played a second Gravecrawler before attacking with his Hellrider and Gravecrawler. Chang eagerly traded Thragtusk for his opponent's Hellrider, but he still fell down to 2 from the attack.

Another Thragtusk, brought Chang back to 7 – but the 5/3 beast wouldn't be long for the world as a Knight of Infamy set up an attack with a 3/2 Gravecrawler that Chang decided to block with his Thragtusk. Bolding brought the Gravecrawler back, and passed his turn to Chang who had a board full of lands, and a pair of 3/3 beast tokens.

Abrupt Decay killed off the Knight of Infamy, and once again left Bolding without any good attacks – however, a Geralf's Messenger once again swung things slightly in Bolding's favor.

However, Bolding's lead would quickly disappear.

Tracker's Instinct put an Unburial Rites into Chang's graveyard and a Restoration Angel into his hand. The Unburial Rites brought back a Thragtusk. After spending most of the game just struggling to survive Chang, now found himself at a relatively healthy 10 life and in a spot where he could quickly pull away should he be able to live through another couple of turns.

Knight of Infamy allowed Bolding to get in a clean swipe for 3 with a Gravecrawler, but at this point things were rapidly slipping away for him. A Falkenrath Aristocrat gave Bolding a bit of hope -- but between a pair of Deathrite Shamans, and Restoration Angel Chang soon found himself well outside of burn range, and in a dominating position on board.

Bolding stuck around for a few more turns, but once the game had gotten to that point it was only a matter of time before he fell to Chang's overwhelming forces.

Jon Bolding 1 – Morgan Chang 1


Morgan Chang

Game 3

Bolding had an ideal opening in the third game with a Gravecrawler, and a Knight of Infamy, while Chang didn't have a play before his third turn Centaur Healer (which promptly died to a Searing Spear). By the time that Chang had the mana to cast a Restoration Angel, Bolding had found a second Knight of Infamy – setting up an attack that took Chang to 8.

Rather than cast the contextually ineffective Restoration Angel that was sitting in his hand, Chang instead used a Forbidden Alchemy to dig for an answer. His choice paid off, as he found a Supreme Verdict to clear the board.

However, that would only offer Chang a brief reprieve as Bolding was able to untap and cast a hasty Thundermaw Hellkite that clocked Chang down to a mere 3 life.

Desperate for an answer to his opponent's dragon, Chang cast a mainphase Forbidden Alchemy. This time, however, no answer was forthcoming.

Chang lingered over the board for a moment, before extended his hand – wishing his opponent good luck in the Top 4.

Jon Bolding 2 – Morgan Chang 1

 

Semifinals - Peter Kelly (Green/White Humans) vs. Brian Eason (Black/Green/White Tokens)

by Jacob Van Lunen

Peter Kelly and Brian Eason are both making their Grand Prix top 8 debut. Peter Kelly has completely steamrolled this tournament with an unorthodox Green/White Humans deck of his own design. His opponent, Brian Eason, is playing Black/Green/White Tokens, a deck that's been putting up very impressive Magic Online numbers over the past few days.

Game 1

Both players kept their opening hands and Peter had the first play of the game with Avacyn's Pilgrim. Brian made an Arbor Elf.

Peter sent his Pilgrim into the red zone and Brian took the damage. Another Avacyn's Pilgrim and Judge's Familiar came down to give Peter the early board advantage.

Brian had a Borderland Ranger to take control, he found a Forest and used it to cast Arbor Elf.

Peter decided to up the ante with Sublime Archangel. Judge's Familiar came in for five damage. Brian needed to answer the angel or come up with a reasonable plan for racing if he was going to have a chance.

Judge's Familiar came in again and Brian cast Midnight Haunting. One spirit jumped in front of the Judge's Familiar and Peter dumped the remainder of his hand, Fencing Ace and Mayor of Avabruck, onto the table.

Brian couldn't find an answer to the Sublime Archangel and it quickly became apparent that Peter was in the driver seat.

Peter made an interesting play, sending with a good portion of his team instead of maximizing the value of his Sublime Archangel. This gave Brian the opportunity to get back into the game with another copy of midnight haunting.

Suddenly, Brian looked to be pulling into the lead. Garruk Primal Hunter only elicited a shrug from Peter and it became apparent that Peter would need a lot of help to win the game.

Peter found a Rancor (exactly what he needed!) on the top of his deck and bashed with an enchanted Fencing Ace. Brian threw his team in front of the double striking trampler, but Peter's last card was Selesnya Charm and Brian died to the massive attack.

Peter Kelly 1 - Brian Eason 0


Peter Kelly

Game 2

Brian opened with Avacyn's Pilgrim and Peter had Judge's Familiar. Avacyn's Pilgrim helped power out a Centaur Healer from Brian, but Peter had a pair of Rancors for his Judge's Familiar and Brian found himself facing down a five power flyer on turn two.

Judge's Familiar traded with a Spirit and Brian fell to 11. Peter's Fiend Hunter took care of Brian's Pilgrim, but Brian had Intangible Virtue and used the Flashback on Lingering souls.

Peter decided to cast Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Rancor up his First Striker. Brian was content to send his flyers into the red zone and advance his board position a bit with Borderland Ranger.

Brian's Spirit tokens were quickly whittling away at Peter's life total and it quickly became apparent that he wouldn't be able to race the flying squadron of Spirits.

Peter Kelly 1 - Brian Eason 1


Brian Eason

Game 3

Peter powered himself ahead with Avacyn's Pilgrim on the play when Brian didn't have a one mana accelerator. Thalia, then Mayor of Avabruck came down and Peter looked to be stealing this game before Brian could get any footing.

Brian tried to buy himself time with Centaur Healer, but Peter continued beating in and cast Fencing Ace to put himself even further ahead. Lingering Souls from Brian wasn't going to be enough to stop Peter's team. Centaur Healer traded with Fencing Ace, but Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, Avacyn's Pilgrim, and Mayor of Avabruck were still doing fine work.

Garruk Relentless from Brian tried to deal with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, but Peter chose to cast Faith's Shield to continue pulling ahead.

Peter didn't see Garruk Relentless as a threat and sent his team at Brian again. Brian traded a Spirit for Avacyn's Pilgrim and got to untap with 6 life, a planeswalker, and a Spirit token. Now the game looked to be swinging into Brian's favor.

Brian found another copy of Lingering Souls and the game shifted to his advantage. Intrepid Hero came down and made sure that Peter wouldn't be able to end the game out of nowhere with Sublime Archangel or Rancor.

Brian had pulled far enough ahead that he was able to start getting in for damage. With his spirits. The unanswered planeswalker on Brian's side of the table was proving to be very difficult for Peter. Peter found a Rancor, but with an army of Spirits and Intrepid hero on Brian's side, it didn't seem all that impressive.

Brian's board started to get comically big as he continued activating Garruk and even had a Thragtusk with Restoration Angel. A massive attack from Brian sent Peter into the tank. Peter was all out of options and he was forced to chump block with his entire team in order to survive. One more attack was all it took for Brian to win the game.

Peter Kelly 1 - 2 Brian Eason

 

Semifinals - Matt Keene (Black Red Zombies) vs. Jon Bolding (Rakdos Zombies)

by Steve Sadin

Matt Keene, and Jon Bolding were both ecstatic after they won their Quarterfinal matches and earned themselves invitations to Pro Tour Gatecrash. But now that their primary goals for the tournament had been accomplished, Keene and Bolding got to set their sights a bit higher...

Game 1

Keene, who was on the play, missed a beat because he had a pair of Rakdos Guildgates, and a Dragonskull Summit as his only lands.

"I need you to have lands like that to have a chance," said Bolding, referencing just how difficult it would be for his deck to break serve when Keene was on the play.

By the time Keene had played a Diregraf Ghoul and a pair of Grave Crawlers, Bolding had already deployed a Diregraf Ghoul, and a Knight of Infamy of his own. However, Bolding's mana base was also taking its toll on him, as he wound up paying 4 life for a pair of Blood Crypts that allowed him to play his spells on time.

The two players played Geralf's Messengers – and continued attacking each other with minimal resistance.

But once he was on 8 life, Bolding realized that he needed to hold back all three of his creatures if he wanted to live through his opponent's next (sure to be bloody) attack. Keene's ensuing attack with everything knocked Bolding down to 5, while Keene himself fell to 10 when Bolding's Geralf's Messenger recursed itself back into play.

Post-combat, Keene cast a Knight of Infamy, and brought back his two Gravecrawlers – putting himself into a position where he would easily be able to attack for lethal damage on his next turn.

However, he would never get that turn as Bolding had a Brimstone Volley, and a Hellrider to give himself exactly enough damage to take the first game.

Jon Bolding 1 – Matt Keene 0


Matt Keene

Game 2

Keene got off to a great start in the second game with a Gravecrawler, a Diregraf Ghoul, and a Geralf's Messenger.

And while Bolding did what he could to keep up with a pair of Gravecrawlers, and a Pillar of Flame to exile the Geralf's Messenger – a Bump in the Night, a Searing Spear, and a Brimstone Volley was more than enough burn to allow Keene to even the match at one game apiece.

Jon Bolding 1 – Matt Keene 1


Jon Bolding

Game 3

Keene mulliganed down to 5, and while he was somewhat relieved by the fact that Bolding's first play was a Knight of Infamy, he still found himself backpedaling in a hurry.

After opening with a first turn Bump in the Night Keene drew a Knight of Infamy of his own on his second turn, and was forced to take 2 damage from his Blood Crypt to cast it.

When Bolding had a Searing Spear to clear out Keene's Knight of Infamy, and a Pillar of Flame to exile the Geralf's Messenger that followed it, pretty soon Keene was down to 12.

Not only that, but Bolding was able to keep his offenses flowing with a Gravecrawler, and a Diregraf Ghoul.

Keene managed to find a Pillar of Flame, and a Diregraf Ghoul of his own to slow things down a bit, and give himself at least a chance to outrace his opponent with Falkenrath Aristocrat.

Despite his best efforts, Keene was ultimately unable to pull off the miraculous comeback, as Bolding had the firepower that he needed to take the match.

Jon Bolding 2 – Matt Keene 1

 

Finals - Brian Eason (Black/Green/White Tokens) vs. Jon Bolding (Rakdos)

by Jacob Van Lunen

Out of a field of 661 players, only two remain. Jon Bolding followed up his undefeated day 1 record with a top 8 berth, his innovative high end Rakdos deck has proven itself to be the real deal. Brian Eason and his Black/Green/White Tokens deck have been unbeatable on the second day of competition, let's see if Brian can continue his incredible run.

Game 1

Both players spent the first few turns playing lands. A Geralf's Messenger from Jon was the first play of the game, but Brian had a Lingering Souls to stay at parity.

Hellrider came down for Jon and he sent both his creatures at Brian. Brian elected to chump block one of the 3/3s, but still found himself taking five damage and falling to 13.

Jon sent Hellrider and Geralf's Messenger again and Brian attempted to triple block the Hellrider. A Searing Spear from Jon meant that Hellrider would live to attack again. Another Geralf's Messenger joined the team and Brian got a one-way ticket to frown town.

Brian had a Thragtusk for the next two consecutive turns, but he was forced to stay on the defensive and Jon continued getting in for damage.

Jon found a Gravecrawler and started maximizing his Hellrider triggers by only attacking with Geralf's Messengers without +1/+1 counters and his Gravecrawler. Brian needed to find a way back into the game, but Jon didn't seem to be cutting him any slack. Garruk, Primal Hunter drew five cards, but Brian couldn't find an answer and Jon sent his team in for lethal damage on the following turn.

Who says Thragtusk has made red decks obsolete? Jon Bolding certainly disagrees.

Jon Bolding 1 - 0 Brian Eason


Jon Bolding

Game 2

Jon cast Diregraf Ghoul as the first play of the game. Brian showed off some of his sideboard strength with Centaur Healer, but Jon had Victim of Night and continued getting in with Diregraf Ghoul.

Geralf's Messenger came down for Jon and Brian looked to be on the defensive again.

Jon thought for a bit when Brian passed the turn with four lands open, he didn't want to get caught attacking into a Restoration Angel. After an intellectual catharsis, he decided to send with just his Geralf's Messenger. Brian did have the Angel and he was able to block the Messenger and set off its undying trigger.

Another Centaur Healer looked to be swinging the game into Brian's Favor, but Jon tapped out for Thundermaw Hellkite and Brian was forced to take five damage.

Thundermaw Hellkite came in again and Brian elected to block and activate his Vault of the Archangel to trade his Angel for the Dragon and 3 life. Jon had a Gravecrawler to add to his board presence.

Geralf's Messenger traded with Centaur Healer and Gravecrawler started to get in. Brian had Midnight Haunting at the end of Jon's turn and Garruk Relentless came down and fought with Diregraf Ghoul to put Brian way ahead.


Brian Eason

Brian's Garruk Relentless did some heavy lifting and Lingering Souls plus flashback meant that Jon would need a Bonfire of the Damned or Thundermaw Hellkite.

As it turned out, Jon already had Bonfire of the Damned and he cast it (not miracled) for three, killed all the tokens, burned Brian, and was able to attack and kill Garruk Relentless with his Gravecrawler.

Hellrider was next for Jon and Brian was back on his heels.

Thragtusk off the top was a pretty nice one for Brian, but Jon's Falkenrath Aristocrat wasn't going to be blocked by the ground beast any time soon.

Brian had a seemingly endless stream of tokens to throw in front of the 4/1 flyer. Lingering Souls and flashback were coupled with Intangible virtue and Brian started getting some damage in.

All Brian's efforts were for naught; Jon drew Thundermaw Hellkite and dropped it onto the table. Even the Selesnya Charm in Brian's hand wasn't enough to stop Jon's Rakdos army.

Jon Bolding 2 - 0 Brian Eason

Jon Bolding is your Grand Prix Charleston Champion!

 

The Top 5 Card of Grand Prix Charleston 2012

by Steve Sadin


5) Garruk Relentless

The relatively underplayed Planeswalker Garruk Relentless managed to overperform for eventual finalist Brian Eason's token deck all weekend long. Garruk Relentless was largely responsible for Brian's wins in both his Quarterfinals, and his Semifinals matches -- completely dominating the board, killing pesky creatures left and right, and flooding the table with wolves.



4) Cavern of Souls

Counterspells have been increasingly popular in Return to Ravnica Standard, and Cavern of Souls is one of the best ways to fight them. It's gotten to the point where even the majority of dedicated control copies are running 2-3 Cavern of Souls, and just about every aggressive deck is packing a full four copies to help them power their way past countermagic.



3) Supreme Verdict

Supreme Verdict catapulted from being a reasonably good sideboard card in Blue White decks to an absolute all star as Black Red Zombies, White Green Humans, and a host of other creature decks packing 4 copies of Cavern of Souls have risen to prominence.

The format is no longer defined by control mirrors, and consequently the latest iteration of Wrath of God will be an important tool going forward.



2) Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Blue White Flash was considered by many to be "the deck to beat" coming into this event. Many players turned to Cavern of Souls as their anti-control card -- but Cavern does nothing to slow down Supreme Verdict.

And while Black Red Zombie decks have burn, haste, and undying creatures to allow themselves to take games after getting their boards swept -- aggressive white decks just don't have that flexibility...

That's where Thalia, Guardian of Thraben comes in.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben caused some serious headaches for control players this weekend, allowing White Green Aggro players to put their Blue White Flash, and Bant Control opponents off of key spells just long enough to win their matches with minimal (Sphere of) resistance.



1) Thundermaw Hellkite

Jon Bolding's Thundermaw Hellkites earned their keep in the finals against Brian Eason's token deck. The Magic 2013 Mythic Rare is putting itself in a position to supplant even Thragtusk as the premier five-mana spell of the Standard format.

It kills tokens, Planeswalkers, and people!



Grand Prix Bochum was also a standard event, and occurred this weekend, too. Why not check out the top 5 cards from GB Bochum, and see how the Continental European angle on this weekend's Standard event was unique?

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