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It's Pardee Time!

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To quote Sam Pardee's Twitter profile, "I'm in the business of winning Magic games, and business is booming. #yolo #pardeetime".

Sam Pardee came within a match of winning Grand Prix Toronto last December with the powerful Melira-Pod archetype. Despite winning every match leading up to that, he ultimately succumbed to Willy Edel in the Finals.

This weekend, he did even better - winning the whole thing with a tuned version of the deck that featured Voice of Resurgence. Pardee piloted the deck to perfection all weekend, making the deck look simple to play despite how many plays the archetype is capable of. Whether he was gaining millions of life by assembling the combo of Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Viscera Seer, and Kitchen Finks, or simply beating down with a Reveillark like he did against Joe Demestrio in the Finals, Pardee has proven himself to be the premiere pilot for the powerful Melira-Pod archetype.


For Sam, when it comes to Melira-Pod, it's not work. It's Pardee-Time.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Mattia Rizzi   Joe Demestrio, 2-0        
8 Joe Demestrio   Joe Demestrio, 2-1
       
4 Zvi Mowshowitz   Zvi Mowshowitz, 2-1   Sam Pardee, 2-0
5 Matt Nass    
       
2 Sam Pardee   Sam Pardee, 2-0
7 Paul Rietzl   Sam Pardee, 2-1
       
3 Guo, Orie   Dan MacDonald, 2-1
6 Dan MacDonald    







  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Portland provided by Rashad Miller, Zac Hill, Marshall Sutcliffe, and Rusty Kubis. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.



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EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  Sam Pardee $3,500
 2.  Joe Demestrio $2,300
 3.  Zvi Mowshowitz $1,500
 4.  Dan MacDonald $1,500
 5.  Mattia Rizzi $1,000
 6.  Orie Guo $1,000
 7.  Matt Nass $1,000
 8.  Paul Rietzl $1,000
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  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff




  • Zvi Mowshowitz
    Grand Prix Portland, Top 8




    Paul Rietzl
    Grand Prix Portland, Top 8


    Joe Demestrio
    Grand Prix Portland, Top 8




     

  • Top 16 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff











  •  

  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Paul Rietzl

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
    Occupation: Headhunter


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    3 Pro Tour Top 8s (1 win) 8 Grand Prix Top 8s (2 wins)

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Affinity. It's the only deck I own.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best - decks with creatures
    Worst- Ancient Grudges

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    I can't, none of the cards are legal in block. Nice try.

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with

    Yes. Team SCG Black.

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Sacred Foundry.




    Joe Demestrio

    Age: 17
    Hometown: Long Island NY
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 25 PT Gatecrash

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Scapeshift because Jackie Lee told me to.

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Everything is fine except Infect.

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    Not Sure

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    Yes, the one and only Ari Lax

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Trait Doctoring




    Zvi Mowshowitz

    Age: 34
    Hometown: New York City
    Occupation: Magic Player


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Hall of Fame, 1 PT win, 4 PT top 8s, etc.

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    I asked to be handed a deck, Paul Reitzl and Matt Sperling provided, so now i get to Rock'em and Sock'em

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Worst is UWR control and best is a bunch of dudes without any hate, but you should probably trust Paul's answer.

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    Would add 1 Relic to the board

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    I am preparing with team Star City

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Sire of Insanity, note the family resemblance.




    Mattia Zitti

    Age: 19
    Hometown: Italy
    Occupation: MTGO Grinder


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Won 2 PTQs many GP day 2s

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Scapeshift because it's the best deck in this metagame.

    What are your best and worst matchups?

    Worst:
    Infect and Affinity

    Best:
    Everything Else

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    -2 Nature's Claim +2 Pyroclasm in sideboard

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    With Samuelle Estratti, Alessandro Portaeo and other friends

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Far & Away




    Matthew Nass

    Age: 21
    Hometown: Stanford, CA
    Occupation: Student and Writer for Channelfireball.com


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    GP Oakland win, 3 GP top 8s

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Melira-Pod, because Voice of Resurgence made it much better.

    What are your best and worst matchups?

    Best:
    Fair Decks

    Worst:
    Unfair Decks

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    4 Voice of Resurgence main, 4 Lingering Souls board

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    Yes, Team ChannelFireball

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Beck & Call




    Dan MacDonald

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Cambridge Ontario
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    30+ ptq top 8s , finally a GP top 8

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Melira-Pod because it's just not a fair deck to play against

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    UWR and Infect seemed to be easier matchups all weekend Scapeshift and Tron were the worst matchups

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    Nothing, it's the list I played all last season with an added sin collector, 61 baby

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    No, lost in the finals of a ptq and top 8ed 2 others

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Voice of Resurgence, because other pod decks are playing it and it's something to consider next season.




    Orie Guo

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Mountain View
    Occupation: League of Legends guide writer at mobafire.com


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    defeated a hall of famer once

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    UWR, even matchups all around and a good sideboard

    What are your best and worst matchups?
    Best- RG Aggro
    Worst- Storm

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    -1 Runed Halo, +1 Rule of Law

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    No

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Turn & Burn




    Sam Pardee

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Berkley, CA
    Occupation: Web Designer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Finals, GP Toronto Top 4 2012 MOCS

    What deck are you playing, and why did you choose it?
    Voice of Resurgence Pod. I have a ton of experience with it and it's only gotten better.

    What are your best and worst matchups?

    Best:
    decks with creatures

    Worst:
    Tron, decks with Pyroclasm

    If you were to play this deck again next weekend, what changes would you make (if any)?
    Somehow get 4 voices in the 75

    Are you playing in Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next weekend?
    If so, who are you preparing with
    Yes, Jacob Wilson, Jesse Hampton, Ricky Sidher, Christian Calcano, Dave Shiels and a bunch of others

    What's your favorite Dragon's Maze card?
    Probably Advent of the Wurm. It’s super sweet.




     

  • Quarterfinal: Sam Pardee vs. Paul Rietzl

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • This is not the first time Sam Pardee has finished in the Top 8 of a Modern Grand Prix this season.

    Actually, let's be a little more specific. This is not the first time that Pardee has finished in the Top 8 of a Modern Grand Prix with Melira-Pod this season. The Bay area player has been piloting variations on the Melira-Pod deck all year, and his latest iteration of the deck has continued to serve him well.

    His opponent, Paul Rietzl, gave himself a push over the Gold status finish-line with a Top 8 this weekend. If he can finish in the Top 16 of Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next week, he can lock up Platinum as well.

    The SoCal player is no stranger to cameras, with a win at Pro Tour Amsterdam in 2010, but Pardee's second place finish at Grand Prix Toronto this season has made the NorCal player familiar with the spotlight as well. Who will win in this SoCal versus NorCal, Robots versus Pod matchup?

    Game 1

    Pardee was off to a fast start with Birds of Paradise into a second-turn Birthing Pod. Not to be deterred, Rietzl led with Mox Opal and Vault Skirge, and then Springleaf Drum into Steel Overseer.

    Pardee, however, had the correct answer, as his Birthing Pod turned a freshly played Voice of Resurgence into Orzhov Pontiff. The Voice left behind a 1/1 token, and the Pontiff quickly cleared away Rietzl's two creatures and also stranded him without a third artifact to turn on his Mox Opal, as Rietzl was forced to pass.

    Paul Rietzl

    Pardee got his third land on the fourth turn and cast Murderous Redcap. That combined with Pardee's creatures dropped Rietzl to 16. At the end of the turn, Blinkmoth Nexus animated into an artifact creature, letting the Mox Opal produce red to dispose of the Voice of Resurgence token. Rietzl found Inkmoth Nexus waiting on top, but when Pardee played Viscera Seer and used Pod to turn Birds of Paradise into Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Rietzl nodded and scooped up his cards to approximately 50 billion damage represented by the Redcap/Melira/Seer combo.

    Pardee 1 - Rietzl 0

    Game 2

    Rietzl kicked things off quickly with Darksteel Citadel, Ornithopter, Mox Opal, and Arcbound Ravager. A Thoughtcast to refuel a turn later was even more impressive, blowing away Pardee's ideal opening of Razorverge Thicket into Birds of Paradise.

    The Ravager ate Rietzl's Ornithopter and attacked in for 2, dropping Pardee to 18. Vault Skirge dropped Rietzl to 18, and another Ornithopter hit play after that. Pardee played the expected Birthing Pod on turn two, as Rietzl drew for his third turn and looked for the best way to apply some beatdowns.

    Another Arcbound Ravager hit play, and Rietzl looked at the best play. Ravager was sacrificed to the bigger Arcbound Ravager, making it a 4/4, and the two mana creature and Vault Skirge dropped Pardee to 13. Pardee had the answer however with Pod, turning Melira, Sylvok Outcast into Harmonic Sliver targeting Ravager. When Ravager's modular effect triggered onto Vault Skirge, Dismember disposed of the flying creature, and suddenly Rietzl's speedy start began to look a lot worse.

    Sam Pardee

    All that said, Pardee was at 5, and when Rietzl followed up all of Pardee's artifact destruction with Etched Champion, he was still the one with a 2/2 that had protection from all colors.

    Pardee used Pod to upgrade Harmonic Sliver into Ranger Eos, which fetched up Deathrite Shaman and Viscera Seer, the first of which hit play.

    Rietzl attacked Pardee to 3 life and 1 poison on the next turn (thanks to Inkmoth Nexus). Blinkmoth Nexus came down next, and Rietzl emptied his hand by playing Signal Pet and Vault Skirge. Pardee untapped and cast Viscera Seer. The Ranger attacked Rietzl to 14, and a Birthing Pod activation after that turned the Ranger into Reveillark, givinng Pardee some instant tricks.


    Rietzl shrugged and activated Blinkmoth Nexus. But when Rietzl got into combat, Pardee cast Abrupt Decay, having only a Misty Rainforest untapped after that. Rietzl sent in the team. Reveillark jumped in front of Vault Skirge, and before damage, Pardee cracked Misty Rainforest for a Forest, used Deathrite Shaman to gain 2 life, sacrificed Reveillark to Viscera Seer, which brought back Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Harmonic Sliver, which shot down Blinkmoth Nexus.

    At the end of all of that, Pardee stood alive at 1. When Pardee untapped, Pod turned the Sliver into Murderous Redcap. With the combo assembled of Melira/Redcap/Seer, Rietzl offered the handshake.

    Sam Pardee wins 2-0 and advances to the Semifinals!




     

  • Quaterfinals: Grand Prix Portland Quarterfinal Roundup

    by Steve Sadin

  • Orie Guo (Blue White Red Tempo) vs. Dan MacDonald (Melira Pod)

    Game One

    MacDonald had a strong opening hand that saw him play Birds of Paradise into a second turn Birthing Pod – but neither of them were able to stick around as Guo seized the early advantage with a Grim Lavamancer, and a Mana Tithe that countered MacDonald's Birthing Pod.

    Orie Guo

    Eternal Witness allowed MacDonald to bring back his Birthing Pod, and a Murderous Redcap killed off the Grim Lavamancer. But by that point, MacDonald had already fallen too far behind for any of his card advantage creatures to matter – as a Snapcaster Mage, a Lightning Bolt, and a couple of Celestial Colonnade attacks gave Guo the first game.

    Orie Guo 1 – Dan MacDonald 0

    Game Two

    Despite mulliganing, Guo was able to get off to an early lead thanks to Grim Lavamancer, Remand, and a Vendilion Clique which took out a Birthing Pod and left MacDonald with a Sin Collector and an Abrupt Decay.

    Dan MacDonald

    The Sin Collector exiled an Electrolyze, and an Abrupt Decay targeted a Grim Lavamancer – but Guo had a Boros Charm to protect it.

    A Lingering Souls plus flashback gave MacDonald a solid on board presence, but (unbeknownst to MacDonald) he was still in quite a bit of danger as Guo had a grip full of burn spells.

    When MacDonald attacked with all but one of his spirit tokens, he opened up an opportunity for Guo to deal him exactly lethal damage – however, Guo failed to capitalize as he missed an opportunity to Grim Lavamancer away a spirit token and get in a hit with his Vendilion Clique.

    After that point, a combination of burn spells, and Grim Lavamancer activations could have allowed Guo to knock MacDonald down to 1 – but no lower. Before Guo could find that additional burn spell that he needed to make up for his earlier mistake, MacDonald was able to put him away with his army of 1/1 and 2/1 creatures.

    Orie Guo 1 – Dan MacDonald 1

    Game Three

    The duo of Grim Lavamancer and Vendilion Clique allowed Guo to start hacking away at MacDonald's life total early – but MacDonald was able to slow things down with a Spellskite, a Sin Collector, and a Lingering Souls.

    Guo's Eiganjo Castle showed some value by allowing Guo's Vendilion Clique to win combat after combat against MacDonald's spirit tokens... but those Eiganjo Castle activations cost Guo a lot of time – and MacDonald was ready to capitalize.

    Chord of Calling for Orzhov Pontiff wiped Guo's board – and a Qasali Pridemage killed off Guo's follow up play of Batterskull.

    For a moment, it looked like Guo might be able to ride a Grim Lavamancer to victory – but a Kitchen Finks and a Birthing Pod were enough for MacDonald to seal the deal.

    Orie Guo 1 – Dan MacDonald 2

    Mattia Rizzi (Scapeshift) vs. Joe Demestrio (Scapeshift)

    Game One

    Rizzi mulliganed down to 6 and spent some time stuck on 4 lands – while Demstrio was able to get up to 6 lands with a Prismatic Omen relatively quickly.

    When Rizzi finally got to 8 mana, he decided it was time to make his move – so he cast Scapeshift, which Demestrio "countered" with a Remand. Rizzi, fully aware of the fact that he was unlikely to get another turn (and was consequently unable to play around anything) immediately recast his Scapeshift.

    Mattia Rizzi

    Demestrio countered it with an Izzet Charm, then untapped and finished Rizzi off with a Primeval Titan for 2 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles which dealt a total of 12 damage thanks to Prismatic Omen, and a Stomping Ground which dealt the final 6.

    Joe Demestrio 1 – Mattia Rizzi 0

    Game Two

    Rizzi cast a turn four Teferi, Mage of Zhafir which put Demestrio under a very real clock, and completely neutralized all of his counterspells.

    Demestrio was able to resolve a Prismatic Omen, and a Sowing Salt – but a Counterflux stopped his first attempt at Scapeshift, and a Remand served as a temporary solution for Demestrio's second Scapeshift.

    Joe Demestrio

    Even though Rizzi was able to attack Demestrio down to 1 with his Teferi, Mage of Zhafir, he just didn't have the spell that he needed to finish the job – leaving him with no choice but to extend his hand in defeat when Demestrio recast his lethal Scapeshift.

    Joe Demestrio 2 – Mattia Rizzi 0




     

  • Semifinals: Joe Demestrio vs. Zvi Mowshowitz

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • For Joe Demestrio, this marks his first Grand Prix Top 8 finish in his very short Magic career. Demestrio started playing only a short while ago, but in only a year he has managed to qualify for not one, not two, but three Pro Tours. He'll be going to Pro Tour Dragon's Maze for his second Pro Tour appearance this year.

    His opponent, however, is no stranger to cameras or Top 8s. Zvi Mowshowitz, Hall of Famer and one of the all-time greats, was not willing to let Demestrio advance any further. Would Demestrio have a shot at his first Grand Prix trophy, or would Mowshowhitz march on, side by side, with his Robots to a potential Grand Prix victory instead?

    Game 1

    Mowshowitz led off with Memnite. "Is that it, sir?" asked Demestrio jokingly. Mowshowitz quickly confirmed he had other plays, laying Darksteel Citadel and Signal Pest. Demestrio only had a Mountain, as attacks dropped him to 18. Vault Skirge came next, along with Blinkmoth Nexus from the Hall of Famer.

    Demestrio quickly disposed of the three creatures with Pyroclasm. Mowshowitz had no good follow-up, and when Izzet Charm from Demestrio on the next turn had him discarding Primeval Titan and a land, Mowshowitz noted that he liked Demestrio's chances. Mowshowitz did what he could, playing another Blinkmoth Nexus and attacking in with his lands.

    Joe Demestrio

    Demestrio, meanwhile, suspended one Search for Tomorrow, then played another on the next turn. Mowshowitz's lands put Demestrio to 10, but when Search for Tomorrow came off of suspend, Demestrio played a sixth land, Prismatic Omen, and Scapeshift, sending 36 damage to Mowshowitz's dome and sending both players into the second game.

    Demestrio 1 - Mowshowitz 0

    Game 2

    Mowshowitz led off the second game with Darksteel Citadel into Springleaf Drum, while Demestrio had Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.

    Mowshowitz's second turn was a little bit more exciting than that. Mox Opal, Glimmervoid, and two Arcbound Ravagers quickly hit play. Demestrio thought for a moment before playing a Pyroclasm, and Mowshowitz sacrificed one Arcboungg Ravager to the other.

    Cranial Plating let Ravager attack for 9 on the next turn, putting Demestrio to 11.

    Another Cranial Plating earned a concession.

    "Sometimes you get there!" Mowshowitz said in regards to his extremely fast draw.

    Demestrio 1 - Mowshowitz 1

    Game 3

    Demestrio led off with tapped Stomping Ground, while Mowshowitz had a slightly more involved first turn with Mox Opal, Glimmervoid, and Thoughtseize , which revealed Mountain, Stomping Ground, Sakura-Tribe Elder, two Izzet Charm, and Firespout. Mowshowitz settled on pitching an Izzet Charm, and play passed back to Demestrio, who quickly played his Sakura-Tribe Elder and passed back.

    Mowshowitz followed up the first turn with Blinkmoth Nexus and Springleaf Drum. Demestrio sacrificed the Sakura-Tribe Elder to find an Island, then untapped and played a Stomping Ground, passing back to Mowshowitz.

    Zvi Mowshowitz

    The Hall of Famer then led with Etched Champion. With metalcraft now on, Mowshowitz used his Mox Opal and Springleaf Drum for Thoughtcast. Demestrio stopped that with Izzet Charm. Demestrio drew and passed back. Mowshowitz added Signal Pest to his table, then animated a Blinkmoth Nexus and Inkmoth Nexus, attacking Demestrio to 17 and 1 poison.

    Demestrio then untapped and cast Primeval Titan, putting him in the driver's seat as he found two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. He passsed back.

    "Am I going to lose?" asked Demestrio.

    "No," replied Mowshowitz.

    When Mowshowitz had no follow-up to the lethal damage Primeval Titan was representing. He offered the handshake in the face of the Titan.

    Joe Demestrio wins 2-1 and advances to the Finals!




     

  • Semifinals: Sam Pardee vs. Dan MacDonald

    by Steve Sadin

  • Sam Pardee made the finals of the Modern format Grand Prix Toronto last December playing a deck that's only a few cards off from the one that he's already piloted to the Semifinals here this weekend.

    But in order to get another title shot, Pardee is going to need to win a mirror match against Team ManaDeprived member Dan MacDonald.

    Game One

    Pardee Mulliganed down to 5, and MacDonald made matters even worse for his foe by casting a first turn Thoughtseize which stripped away a Qasali Pridemage and left Pardee with just an Abrupt Decay and lands in his hand.

    Dan MacDonald secured himself an invitation for Pro Tour Theros with his Semifinals finish.

    The Abrupt Decay killed off a Deathrite Shaman, and Pardee eventually found a Kitchen Finks to give himself a bit of board presence.

    But while Pardee was busy hoping that he could get anything going for himself, MacDonald was dumping a bunch of different pieces on the table by playing Viscera Seer, Deathrite Shaman, Ranger of Eos, Birds of Paradise and another Deathrite Shaman.

    A pair of Murderous Redcaps let Pardee kill off MacDonald's Deathrite Shamans, and eventually knock Pardee down to 4 – but that wasn't nearly enough as a Birthing Pod, and a Murderous Redcap of his own gave MacDonald everything that he needed to go off.

    Dan MacDonald 1 – Sam Pardee 0

    Game Two

    Pardee opened the second game with a Birds of Paradise, a Thoughtseize (which took an Eternal Witness and left Macdonald with Birthing Pod, Deathrite Shaman, Chord of Calling, and a Misty Rainforest), and a Dismember to kill off his opponent's Birds of Paradise.

    An Aven Mindcensor in response to MacDonald's Misty Rainforest activation deprived him of his second land – and Pardee was able to continue his mana denial plan by using an Eternal Witness to return a Dismember which killed off a Deathrite Shaman.


    MacDonald, still struggling to get enough mana to cast his spells, played another Birds of Paradise... but Dismember killed that off too.

    Even though MacDonald had a hand full of strong spells, without the mana to cast them he could do little but watch as Pardee evened the score up at one game apiece.

    Dan MacDonald 1 – Sam Pardee 1

    Game Three

    MacDonald opened with a Wall of Roots, a Dismember (killing a Deathrite Shaman), and a Kitchen Finks – while Pardee threatened to combo off early by playing a Kitchen Finks of his own, and a Viscera Seer.

    2012 Magic Online Championship Semifinalist Sam Pardee.

    When MacDonald cast a Thoughtseize and saw that Pardee had a hand with Murderous Redcap, Phyrexian Metamorph, and two Chord of Callings – he knew that he was going to need to maneuver very carefully to have any chance of weathering the oncoming storm.

    MacDonald took the Murderous Redcap, and responded to Pardee's end of turn Chord of Calling for two with a Chord of his own that he used to search up an Aven Mindcensor. With the Aven Mindcensor in play, the best thing that Pardee could find was a Birds of Paradise.

    Pardee used his freshly drawn Eternal Witness to return Murderous Redcap to his hand – but MacDonald pressed his newfound advantage by playing a Linvala, Keeper of Silence, and a Melira, Sylvok Outcast.

    Pardee killed off the Melira, Sylvok Outcast with his Murderous Redcap before falling to 7 from MacDonald's next airborne attack.


    Pardee's Phyrexian Metamorph legend ruled away the Linvala, Keeper of Secrets and a freshly plucked Aven Mindcensor of his own allowed him to trade with his opponent's attacking Aven Mindcensor.

    At this point, MacDonald was utterly defeated. Rather than bluff the possibility that he had a removal spell that could prevent Pardee from successfully comboing off, MacDonald played out all of the cards in his hand and asked Sam to just "go ahead and show the Melira."

    Pardee obliged, putting his Chord of Calling onto the table and finding the Melira, Sylvok Outcast that he needed to combo off, and advance to the finals.

    Dan MacDonald 1 – Sam Pardee 2




     

  • Finals: Joe Demestrio vs. Sam Pardee

    by Mike Rosenberg

  • Nearly half a year ago, Sam Pardee found himself blasting through a Modern Grand Prix. He was making his way through Grand Prix Toronto with a stellar record, and made it into the finals piloting a Melira-Pod combo deck, where he ultimately succumbed to Willy Edel in three games.

    Now, Pardee finds himself in the same spot. He's now in the finals of a Modern Grand Prix, piloting a new version of his Melira-Pod deck, and is once again just two wins away from earning his first Grand Prix trophy.

    His opponent, Joe Demestrio, recently started playing professional Magic in the past year. In that short year, he finished in 24th place at his first Pro Tour back in February, and he'll also be attending Pro Tour Dragon's Maze next week. Demestrio has had a very impressive first start, working with Magic veterans such as Ari Lax and Jackie Lee in preparation for the coming tournament.

    Despite their accomplishments this season, both Pardee and Demestrio have only one thing on their mind right now: a victory here, in Grand Prix Portland.

    Game 1

    Pardee was off to a good start, as his opponent led things off with a mulligan. Demestrio's fortune did not improve, and he quickly went to five cards.

    Then, Demestrio went to four. Ouch.

    Demestrio's four cards were about as acceptable as it could be, so he stuck with it. Pardee led off with Deathrite Shaman, and on the second turn played Wall of Roots and Voice of Resurgence, giving him a speedy start. Demestrio had a much less exciting Stomping Ground.

    Joe Demestrio

    Pardee's creatures attacked in, and Birthing Pod made things worse for the Scapeshift player. Pardee used the artifact to trade in Voice of Resurgence for Kitchen Finks, making a 2/2 token when the Voice hit the bin.

    Demestrio searched up an Island on the third turn, and Pyroclasm came after that. The Kitchen Finks persisted back. Demestrio thought for a moment before playing a Mountain and pointing an Izzet Charm at the damaged and withered Wall of Roots.

    Pardee's 2/1 Finks attacked Demestrio to 15, and then Pod traded it in for Ranger of Eos, netting Pardee Viscera Seer and a Birds of Paradise, the latter hitting play. The Ranger attacked on the next turn, and then Birds of Paradise was traded in for Melira, Sylvok Outcast.

    Demestrio's life slowly fell, as the Scapeshift player went to 6. However, the life total didn't matter much, as when Pardee saw the coast clear, he traded in a freshly played Spellskite into Kitchen Finks thanks to Birthing Pod, and Viscera Seer after that earned the concession for Demestrio, as Pardee's combo gained him a ridiculous amount of life.

    Demestrio 0 - Pardee 1

    Game 2

    Demestrio led with a tapped Steam Vents, while Pardee started off by going to 17 thanks to a Misty Rainforest into Overgrown Tomb. The untapped land cast Birds of Paradise. Demestrio meanwhile began to ramp his mana with Farseek. The search effect found Demestrio a Breeding Pool, and play passed back to Pardee.

    Thoughtseize revealed Scapeshift, two Primeval Titans, Remand, and Izzet Charm. The Izzet Charm hit the graveyard, as Pardee hoped to deny Demestrio a chance to find any land drops. A second Thoughtseize did the same, this time stripping away Remand. Finally, Pardee fetched up Temple Garden to cast Deathrite Shaman.

    Sam Pardee

    Demestrio found a Forest waiting on top, which he immediately played as play shifted back to Pardee, who tapped out on the next turn for Reveillark. Demestrio then found Izzet Charm, which he immediately played to draw two cards. Scapeshift and Primeval Titan hit the graveyard, and Pyroclasm cleared away Deathrite Shaman and Birds of Paradise.

    Pardee attacked for 4, then rebuilt with Spellskite and Viscera Seer. When Demestrio whiffed on a sixth land, he quickly shipped it back. Pardee played out the last of his hand with Viscera Seer, and then a third Thoughtseize, depriving Demestrio of his potential Primeval Titan.

    Demestrio managed to get to seven lands, but the Reveillark was doing its job. On the final turn, Pardee asked Demestrio to slam his next draw onto the table.

    When that card wasn't a Scapeshift, the game, match, and tournament was over. Demestrio extended the hand.

    Congratulations to Sam Pardee, Grand Prix Portland champion!




     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Event Coverage Staff



  • 5. Orzhov Pontiff

    We didn't have to spend much time pontificating about whether this classic creature from Guildpact should make it's way onto the list this weekend. Orzhov Pontiff is one of those "gotcha!" type cards that the Birthing Pod decks in Modern are able to search up at an opportune moment. Whether it's giving your creatures a little extra oomph when the Melira-Pod deck is winning a combat race, or sweeping away the opponent's board, like when Sam Pardee sent Paul Rietzl's artifact creatures packing in their Quarterfinal match, Orzhov Pontiff is a necessary one-of for these decks to have access to in a pinch.







    4. Steel Overseer

    Star City Games teammates Paul Rietzl and Zvi Mowshowitz plowed their ways into the Top 8 this weekend with an explosive Robots deck that used Steel Overseer to overpower, and outlast its foes.

    The Robots deck that Paul and Zvi played is capable of some exceptionally fast draws which can bury opponents before they're able to get anything of note going. But rather than rely entirely on their explosive starts to carry them to victory (a strategy that will often allow cards like Lingering Souls to blunt their assault) Paul and Zvi used a full set of Steel Overseers to allow them to close out games against decks with blockers by turning even their Memnites, and Ornithopters into serious threats.







    3. Prismatic Omen

    While Prismatic Omen might not be a "necessary" piece for a Scapeshift deck, it certainly is a nice tool to have, and sometimes it can be the right call for the right event.

    Without a Prismatic Omen in play, Scapeshift decks need to get up to eight lands before they can Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle their way to victory. And sometimes, with access to a finite number of Mountains, Scapeshift decks can struggle to even pull off a kill if they naturally draw one too many of their Stomping Grounds, or when an opponent gains a little too much life. We saw an example of this back at Grand Prix San Diego, where Sammy Tukeman got a little too far out of reach from David Sharfman's Scapeshift in their Semifinal match.

    With access to Prismatic Omen, kills with only six lands in play are possible, since it turns any Valakuts you search up into Mountains and allows for a potential 36 damage. In Joe Demestrio and Zvi Mowshowitz's Semifinal match, six lands was all Demestrio needed when he cast Prismatic Omen and Scapeshift in the same turn, dropping Mowshowitz from nearly full to very dead in a single turn."







    2. Geist of Saint Traft

    Geist of Saint Traft's two toughness, crazy as it may sound, proved itself to be very relevant earlier in the day. When Finkel went off with Empty the Warrens on the second turn in his Round 14 match, Orie Guo's follow-up Geist made the army of 1/1 goblins that Finkel had just made look a little awkward. The Geist single-handedly held off the six Goblins while Guo sculpted a win out of his remaining cards, with the Geist's angel providing the final 4 points of damage necessary to wrap things up. Had the Geist been a Snapcaster Mage or Vendilion Clique, Finkel's goblins would have led him to victory.

    With the format being based around fast decks and aggressive starts, the blue-white-red decks of Modern cannot afford to dawdle for too long. Geist of Saint Traft is quick, efficient, resilient, and gets the job done when blue-white-red has the necessary removal and permission to stymie whatever the opponent is supposed to do.







    1. Voice of Resurgence

    The Dragon's Maze card with the biggest impact on Modern this weekend was undoubtedly Voice of Resurgence, a creature so good that Sam Pardee actively wished he had made room for a full four copies in his Melira-Pod deck. And this is coming from the player who is, after this weekend, unquestionably the greatest Modern Birthing Pod player on the planet!

    Voice of Resurgence does a lot of work for only two mana. It forces decks to play on its terms, makes removal hurt a little less, and leaves behind a sometimes nasty threat when it is sacrificed to things like a Birthing Pod activation. The green-white creature, thanks to its effectiveness in the Birthing Pod archetype, has proven itself to be the breakout card of Dragon's Maze for the Modern format.








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