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Lytle's Zombies Big in Texas

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Tyler Lytle is your Grand Prix San Antonio 2012 Champion! Sporting a revamped version of the same BR Zombies deck that Jon Bolding used to win Grand Prix Charlotte a mere week ago, Lytle began the tournament an undefeated 9-0 before rattling off enough wins to make it to his first Grand Prix Top 8. Once there, he had to beat his way through Reid Duke, who was fresh off a Top 8 in this very format last week. Even updated with new information, Duke's Bant Control deck was no match for him as Lytle cruised to the finals and an eventual victory over Matthew Pratser in the Zombies mirror.

This tournament was all about the effect of Cavern of Souls on the format. Not so much the impact that it had in this particular event, but the fact that it pushed the incredibly late game control decks out of the field. Decks tried to adapt, with many control players switching to the Bant-wagon, but even with its updates and attempts to speed up, the control decks simply couldn't keep up, as Zombies barreled its way to its second straight Grand Prix win.




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Tyler Lytle   Tyler Lytle
2-0
       
8 Matthew Thurber   Tyler Lytle
2-0
       
4 Harry Corvese   Reid Duke
2-0
  Tyler Lytle
2-1
5 Reid Duke    
       
2 Conley Woods   Conley Woods
2-0
7 Joel De Santos Jasso   Matthew Pratser
2-0
       
3 Matthew Pratser   Matthew Pratser
2-1
6 Ben Rasmussen    


  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix San Antonio provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, Jacob van Lunen, and Rusty Kubis. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.







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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Tyler Lytle $3,500
 2.  Matthew Pratser $2,300
 3.  Conley Woods $1,500
 4.  Reid Duke $1,500
 5.  Harry Corvese $1,000
 6.  Ben Rasmussen $1,000
 7.  Joel De Santos Jasso $1,000
 8.  Matthew Thurber $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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Top 16 Decklists

by Blake Rasmussen

Tyler Lytle
Top 8
Grand Prix San Antonio 2012, Standard




Matthew Pratser
Top 8
Grand Prix San Antonio 2012, Standard




Matthew Thurber
Top 8
Grand Prix San Antonio 2012, Standard


Joel De Santos Jasso
Top 8
Grand Prix San Antonio 2012, Standard

Gerry Thompson
Top 16
Grand Prix San Antonio 2012, Standard

Timmy Thomason
Top 16
Grand Prix San Antonio 2012, Standard

 

Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Blake Rasmussen


Name:
Conley Woods

Age:
25

Hometown:
Denver, CO

Occupation:
Game Designer/Gamer

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Top 8s:

GPs:
6

PTs:
2

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?


4 color stuff n' stuff. Just a metagame call based on recent events

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?


Aggro decks without reach/Turbo Fog...



Ben Rasmussen

Age: 31
Hometown: Madison, WI
Occupation: Software Tech


Previous Magic accomplishments:

Top 8s:

GPs:
1 Top 8, Indy 2008

PTs:

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

GW Humans. Played because I had very little experience in the format. Talked with Jackie Lee and Sam Black about what changes to make after they did well with it last week.

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

Having not done a lot of testing, I'll only guess that I'm good vs. midrange and tokens. Bant control is my worst matchup

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Not sure—Thragtusk?



Matthew Thurber

Age: 24
Hometown: San Antonio
Occupation: Bartender


Previous Magic accomplishments:
States Top 8, PtQ To 8, 2nd and back to back national qualifiers

Top 8s:

GPs:
0

PTs:
0

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

I was goign to play Turbofog till Zombies made the deck obsolete. After seeing the GP winners list it was just too good not to play.

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

Best is anything midrange. Worst is bant with a solid draw or the mirror, which is a coinflip.

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Cavern of Souls



Joel de Santos

Age: 28
Hometown: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Occupation: Software Engineer


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 8 Mexico Nationals

Top 8s:

GPs:
3

PTs:
3

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

UW Flash. I chose it because that's what I've been playing for the past 2 ½ years and I like Aggro-Control decks. No.

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

Worst – GW. Thragtusk and Angel beat me
Best – Midrange decks

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Shock lands (all of them)



Tyler Lytle

Age: 26
Hometown: Lone Grove, Oklahoma
Occupation: Software Engineer


Previous Magic accomplishments:

None

Top 8s:
0

GPs:
2 Top 64s

PTs:
0

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

BR Zombies. Tested against some stock lists and found out how powerful Aristocrat and Hellrider are, so I ran with it.

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

Good matchups are against blue decks. The worst is Conley's deck.

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Either Aristocrat or Hellrider.



Reid Duke

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


Previous Magic accomplishments:

MTGO Champion 2011, four GP Top 8s, won Nashville

Top 8s:
Four GPs

GPs:
Providence, Montreal, Charleston T8, 1st Nashville

PTs:
0

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

Bant Control , because it has the strongest late game in Standard. I made the quarterfinals of last week's Grand Prix Charleston. I really liked the deck and wanted another shot!

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

Best Matchup:
Non-blue midrange

Worst Matchup:
Drownyard control. Zombies and UW Flash are scary.

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Falkenrath Aristocrat (best card against me for sure!)



Matthew Patser

Age: 30
Hometown: Chicago
Occupation: Computer Engineer


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Participating in the Guru program, traded an Ice Storm and $20 for an Arabian Nights booster at the Stronghold prerelease...and opened a Library of Alexandria.

Top 8s:

GPs:

PTs:

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

Four color stuff and stuff. No real reason as to why. I just took last week's list and made some changes that I thought might improve it.

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

My worst matchup is Rakdos Guildgate.

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Sphinx's Revelation



Harry Corvese

Age: 25
Hometown: Latrobe, PA
Occupation: High School Soccer coach


Previous Magic accomplishments:

Top 8s:
2 GPs

GPs:
8 or 9 cashes, T8 Pittsburgh 2001, Philly 2012

PTs:

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Did last week's results affect your choice?

UWR Tempo. I needed to pick up a deck and all of these cards are powerful and fit my skillset. After the Bochum result, I knew the deck had a place in the metagame.

What are your deck's best and worst matchups?

The deck has a lot of play and doesn't automatically beat or lose to anything.

What is the best card in Standard right now?

Sphinx's Revelation. Even maybe I should have one or two...



 

Quarterfinals Round-Up - Conley Woods vs. Joel de Santos Jasso

by Nate Price

Coming into the Top 8, Conley Woods's deck had been one of the brighter spots over the course of our weekend. A seeming mish-mash of good cards, his deck seemed surprisingly able to compete with all decks at all phases of the game. It has been a lot of fun to watch it play over the course of the weekend, and his rogue choice has suited him well, earning himself a spot in the Top 8. His opponent, Joel de Santos Jasso, is playing a deck that was supposed to be dead coming into this week, UW Flash. Apparently rumors of its demise were overrated, as both Jasso and Harry Corvese made Top 8 playing versions of the deck.

Game 1

Woods got to play first by virtue of finishing second in the swiss standings, but he had to do so from a card down, mulliganing to six. He was first on the board, flashing in a Restoration Angel at the end of Jasso's turn to get some offense started. When he tried to attack, Jasso used Azorius Charm to return the Angel to the top of his deck. A couple of Thought Scours provided Jasso a creature to remove with his Moorland Haunt, giving him an attacker of his own.


Joel de Santos Jasso

"I'll get this countered," Woods said, trying to replay his Restoration Angel to stop the Unsummon. Sure enough, Jasso had the Dissipate to counter the Angel. Jasso had a second Unsummon for the Beast token Thragtusk left behind, leaving Woods with no creatures.

"Try to get this countered," Woods offered again as he tried to recast his Thragtusk.

Again, Jasso had the Dissipate.

Farseek, "I won't get this countered," Woods said as he dropped a Loxodon Smiter into play.

"No, but you will get an Angel," Jasso acknowledged.

Jasso untapped and began to attack with his fliers. Woods rebuilt with a Borderland Ranger and started sending his Smiter. The fliers cracked back. When Woods went to attack with his Smiter the next time, Jasso aimed an Azorius Charm at it, trying to return it to the top of Woods's deck. Unwilling to part with it, Woods flashed in a Restoration Angel, which Jasso couldn't stop.

Jasso had an Angel advantage, and began sending his holy duo in to try and close things out. Woods got himself back ahead on the following turn by casting Bonfire of the Damned for two, clearing away the Spirit token Jasso had left behind as a blocker. This cleared the way for him to attack unabated...or would have if Jasso didn't have a third Restoration Angel. The third member of the trinity came into play and blocked the attacking Borderland Ranger, killing it. Jasso dropped to 7.

All of the Angels attacked, leaving Woods to simply block with his untapped Restoration Angel, the only flier on his side. Taking 6, Woods dropped to an even 7 life. With things even, but the serve going to Woods, Loxodon Smiter lumbered over alone to reduce Jasso to 3 life. With his remaining mana, Woods tapped out for a Bonfire of the Damned for three. Jasso drew a card with Think Twice in response, and conceded the first game without an answer.

"My draw that game was pretty abysmal," Woods admitted despite his victory. "The first cards I drew that game were those Bonfires. It's not even good in this matchup, and I especially don't want to draw it on turns two and three."

Conley Woods 1 - Joel de Santo Jasso 0

Game 2

While this match was finishing its first game, Tyler Lytle and Matthew Thurber were finishing their entire match. Both playing the BR Zombies deck that had put so many players into Day 2, it was no wonder that their match was going so fast. Lytle, who managed to go undefeated through most of the tournament, had taken the first game on the backs of an incredibly aggressive draw composed of multiple Gravecrawlers, Knight of Infamy, and a Falkenrath Aristocrat to finish things off. As Woods an Jasso shuffled, the board looked fairly similar, with Lytle well ahead on creatures and Thurber struggling to catch up, despite getting to play first in the second game. I was able to watch no more than two turns before Lytle was able to turn his creatures sideways for the final time, taking his match before Woods and Jasso had even drawn their opening hands for their second game.

Jasso started off with a first turn Thought Scour, looking to fill his graveyard with some goodies and cycle through his deck. His second turn brought a Runechanter's Pike, though the Thought Scour had missed. His second Thought Scour was clearly an attempt to find some lands, as he appeared to be a bit light. Two copies of Geist of Saint Traft hit the graveyard, drawing a sigh from Jasso.

"Well, you didn't hit the land you needed," Conley offered. "You probably drew it, though."

When Jasso didn't play a land and launched into another Thought Scour, Woods realized he was wrong.

"Land, land," he tried to call when Jasso reached for the top of his deck. As a Plains and an Island hit the bin, Woods gave a little cheer. That quickly stopped when the top card of Jasso's deck was an Island, which he quickly slipped into play.

"Boo-urns," Woods comically jeered as Jasso was able to get out of his mana screw.


Conley Woods

Triumph of Ferocity hit the table for Woods, a card that had generated an incredible advantage for him over the weekend, but it was quickly Erased by Jasso. Jasso also had a Think Twice to continue searching for lands.On his next turn, Woods played a Huntmaster of the Fells. Jasso chose not to flashback his Think Twice, letting the Huntmaster transform into a Ravager of the Fells, a decision that could prove costly. When Woods went to attack, Jasso wasted little time before using Azorius Charm to buy himself another turn. Unfortunately, this would also allow Woods to potentially add another Wolf token to his turn. When Woods flashed in a Restoration Angel to keep the Ravager on the table, things quickly turned south for Jasso. He found himself with no choice but to keep digging with Think Twice at the end of Woods's turn.

On his turn, Jasso simply passed the turn once again, allowing the Huntmaster to transform into the Ravager yet again. When Woods went to attack this turn, an Azorius Charm dealt with a Wolf token permanently, but it appeared that the damage was done. Woods had a reasonable life total, and Jasso couldn't find a second white source to cast Supreme Verdict. With one more attack, Woods and his brew had advanced to the semifinals.

Conley Woods 2 - Joel de Santos Jasso 0

 

Quarterfinals - Reid Duke vs. Harry Corvese

by Blake Rasmussen

Game 1

Corvese started off with Thought Scour and Runechanter's Pike on a Snapcaster Mage, getting aggressive right off the bat. Thragtusk undid most of the damage, until Thundermaw Hellkite re-undid the life gain.

Sphinx's Revelation for three in his main phase gave Reid some hope, though a second Thundermaw Hellkite dropped Duke all the way to 8 life until Supreme Verdict took them out.

"Please don't have another one," Duke asked out loud.

That was a feint, however, as Duke had Dissipate to counter the promised third Thundermaw Hellkite and a Thragtusk to put him safely back to 13 life.


Not even three Thundermaw Hellkites could help Harry Corvese overcome the buzzsaw that is Reid Duke in Game 1.

Now with Corvese on just one card, Duke was in full control of the game and started attacking freely with his 5/3.

Reluctant to give Corvese any room to counter something, Duke simply used his Alchemist's Refuge to Farseek a few times, holding up Sphinx's Revelation the whole time.

Eventually he fired one off for six, giving him the Dissipate he needed to protect his final attack for lethal.

Duke 1 – Corvese 0

Game 2

Augur of Bolas kicked things off for Duke, but was quickly met with Geist of Saint Traft by Corvese.

The Geist attacked in for a turn until Duke resolved a Restoration Angel to jump in the way. Corvese had his own Angel to rescue his Geist, but that left him tapped out and allowed Duke to resolve a Thragtusk to give him a slight board advantage.

Naturally, that just let Corvese CloneThragtusk and, as soon as Duke tapped out, use Restoration Angel to blink his "Thragtusk" for a second go round.

Combat ensued the following turn, but it was all for naught. Alchemist's Refuge flashed in Supreme Verdict, essentially resetting the table but for a beast token on Corvese's side.

That Beast token, however, picked up a Runechanter's Pike the next turn, however briefly, before Azorius Charm sent it to wherever tokens go when they go places.

Corvese attempted a Hellkite the following turn, but flush with cards, Duke was able to Dissipate the Dragon without any resistance.

However, Corvese flipped the script the next turn, using a freshly drawn Cavern of Souls to resolve Thundermaw Hellkite before Duke drew five off Sphinx's Revelation, then used Azorius Charm plus Nephalia Drownyard to get rid of the giant dragon. It was a sequence that put Duke squarely in the driver's seat, backed by a grip full of counterspells.


Reid Duke was in complete control in the quarterfinals.

Geist of Saint Traft resolved, but with no instants in the graveyard, it couldn't really get through Duke's own Beast token, even with Pike.

When Corvese finally got an instant into the graveyard, Duke responded with an instant, uncounterable Thragtusk that jumped in the way. A quick battle over blocks ensued, but when the dust settled, Geist of Saint Traft was gone and all Corvese had was a Snapcaster Mage.

And with that, Duke started attacking in with a pair of Beast tokens to work on Corvese's life total.

A second Geist also resolved, but with Corvese all the way to 2 life, the Hexproof legend looked to be on blocking duty.

But, in the end, it didn't even get to do that. Duke played another uncounterable Thragtusk, Corvese looked at his hand, looked at his life total (which was 2) and realized he was just dead.

"I really feel like I'm due one of these days," Corvese said after falling just short of an invite to the Pro Tour. "And I don't mind if you put that in coverage."

Reid Duke 2 – Harry Corvese 0

 

Quarterfinals - Ben Rasmussen vs. Matthew Pratser

by Blake Rasmussen

Besides having an awesome last name, Ben Rasmussen has shown how masterful he can be this weekend, pushing his GW Humans deck—inspired by the Sam Black list from last week—through a sea of mirrors and control decks. Though he's from Wisconsin and is a Packers fan, we won't hold that against him in large part due to his stellar play at this Grand Prix. You get a one week reprieve, Rasmussen. Just one.

As for Praster, he was one of three Zombies players in the Top 8, and his Knights of Infamy gave him a serious leg up against his opponent's largely White deck.

Game 1

Both players traded early plays, with Praster starting on his key Knight of Infamy and Rasmussen going Avacyn's Pilgrim into Precinct Captain.

Brimstone Volley killed the Captain as the Knight swung in and started working on Rasmussen's life total.

Rasmussen just reloaded with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and another Precinct Captain, thought they looked pretty tame when facing down a Knight of Infamy.

With his defense sufficiently set, Praster was free to send Falkenrath Aristocrat to the air, starting to take five point chunks out of the Wisconsin player's life.

When Hellrider joined the party, it looked like Praster could run away with the game, but Restoration Angel flashed in front of the Aristocrat, prompting Praster to sacrifice his Knight of Infamy to make his flying vampire indestructible.

And though Silverblade Paladin enabled Rasmussen to attack Praster to 11, a second Hellrider was plenty to take the lastfew life from Rasmussen.

Praster 1 – Rasmussen 0

Game 2

Rasmussen (quick aside: Ben and I used to frequent many of the same PTQs back when I lived in the Midwest. Suffice to say, we were always well aware of each other even if we never really met or played. And, no, there's no relation) was unfortunately forced to mulligan in the second game, but did have a turn two Champion of the Parish.

Granted, he didn't have a second turn human, but still, it was something.

Instead he had a Selesnya Charm to make a 2/2 as his Champion died to Pillar of Flames. The 2/2 became Soulbound with a Silverblade Paladin on Rasmussen's turn three, dropping Praster to 16 life before the Zombie player made the Paladin a Victim of the Night. The same process was repeated the following turn on Sublime Archangel.


Ben Rasmussen is wearing a Vikings jersey, but don't trust him. He is most definitely not a Vikings fan. Also, stuff with Magic: The Gathering was happening.

Praster then played a Vampire Nighthawk, temporarily shutting down Rasmussen's options for attack, even as a Champion of the Parish and Gavony Township joined the fray.

A third Victim of the Night took out the token, keeping Praster in the control seat.

But Rasmussen kept coming at him. Riders of Gavony pumped Champion of the Parish, giving him protection from Vampires in the meantime. And when Silverblade Paladin gave Doublestrike to the Riders of Gavony, Praster fell to 6 on the attack.

But Searing Spear and Pillar of Flames kept Praster fighting back, cleaning Rasmussen's board except for a 4/4 Champion of the Parish. No longer with protection from Vampires, Rasmussen simply traded it with the Nighthawk before casting Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.

Praster played a Geralf's Messenger, but it was quickly neutered by Rest in Peace and chump blocked Thalia the very next turn.

Praster then played Falkenrath Aristocrats, hoping to mount some kind of fast attack that could give him back the advantage his plethora of removal should have entitled him to.

Instead, Rasmussen put out his flying force as well, using Restoration Angel to neutralize the effects of Zealous Conscripts on the following turn. Restoration Angel blocked and died to the Falkenrath Aristocrat, forcing Praster to sacrifice his Zealous Conscripts to keep the Aristocrat alive.

But when Praster didn't find a way to kill Rasmussen that turn, the Wisconsin player was able to play out Avacyn's Pilgrim and pump his team with Township, giving him exactly enough damage when he topdecked Riders of Gavony on the very last turn he could.

Praster 1 – Rasmussen 1

Game 3

For several turns, the players went back and forth, back and forth, trading removal and creatures while Vampire Nighthawk chipped away in the air.

Champion of the Parish? Died to Pillar of Flames.

Silverblade Paladin? Same fate.

Riders of Gavony? Searing Spear.

Sublime Archangel? Victim of Night, but saved by a Faith's Shield.


Matthew Praster, striking a blow against Rasmussens everywhere. Or, at least, Ben Rasmussen.

Eventually, the game came down to Sublime Archangel facing down the Vampire Nighthawk with Rasmussen at a precarious life total.

That's when Bonfire of the Damned happened.

Not the topdeck, miracle Bonfire that we all have come to know and loathe or love, depending on what side you're on. Nope Praster cast it the fair/hard way, tapping seven mana to Bonfire for three damage, clearing the way for his attacker and, even better, clearing Praster's path to the semifinals.

"That was my hardest, most difficult match," Praster said, breathing a sigh of relief.

Praster 2 – Rasmussen 1

 

Semifinals - Reid Duke vs. Tyler Lytle and Matthew Pratser vs. Conley Woods

by Nate Price

Reid Duke wanted another chance at a Grand Prix Top 8, and another chance he got. Playing an updated version of the Bant Control deck he used to make the Top 8 last weekend in Charleston. Standing in the way of his advancing to the finals was Tyler Lytle, who had managed an impressive 9-0 run on Day 1, and continued to stay undefeated through the majority of the tournament. Playing a similar BR Zombies strategy to the one used by Jon Bolding to win GP Charleston, Lytle looked in strong position to give Zombies their second straight Standard Grand Prix.

Lytle mulliganed on the play, which generally isn't too backbreaking for the aggressive Zombies deck. Starting off with a Diregraf Ghoul, Lytle had an incredibly fast follow up, using a Knight of Infamy to make it an attack for three. Duke kept adding lands to the board, but didn't have anything early to interact with the aggressive start from Lytle: no Augur, Azorius Charm, or Detention Sphere. Lytle continued his assault, swinging with both of his creatures to drop Duke to 13 before playing a Gravecrawler.

Duke found some lifegain in an Elixir of Immortality, but he was still going to be taking a massive hit. Lytle's team attacked Duke down to 7 before passing the turn back. Duke wound up and cleared the board with a Supreme Verdict, but even that didn't look like enough. Falkenrath Aristocrat came down, immediately knocking Duke down to a near-lethal 3. When he added a Hellrider to his team on the following turn, Duke conceded.

Reid Duke 0 - Tyler Lytle 1


Reid Duke, stuck at 3 lands...

On the other side of the table, Conley Woods brought his four-color midrange deck to bear against the other Zombie player in the Top 4: Matthew Pratser. Woods's deck was the one deck in the Top 8 that Lytle seemed to fear, so it seemed like this might be a reasonable matchup for Woods's brew. After a mulligan, he began with a fast Avacyn's Pilgrim. He didn't have a three-drop to accelerate into, instead simply attacking for one.

"Boom! Taste it," Woods exclaimed with a smile as he attacked with a creature usually reserved for making mana.

"Man, you got me," Pratser laughed, adjusting his life total.

At the end of the turn, Pratser had apparently had enough of the Pilgrim's saucy beats, using a Searing Spear to kill it. That, or he didn't want Woods ramping into a Huntmaster of the Fells on the next turn. Take your pick.

Pratser untapped and added his first creature to the board, a Knight of Infamy. Woods dropped a third land into play and passed the turn. A quick peek at his hand revealed that he did, in fact, have the Huntmaster, so Spearing the Pilgrim was an amazingly good play from Pratser. Woods was stuck on three lands, preventing him from playing one of his best cards against aggro.

Pratser began to close the door on Woods with a Falkenrath Aristocrat. The four points in the air was a significant chunk of Woods's life. Woods finally found a fourth land for his Huntmaster, but the Aristocrat was a threat capable of withstanding it. Pratser upped the ante once again, using a Hellrider to turn his attackers into a two turn clock. The Aristocrat attacked alone, dealing six damage to Woods. On his turn, Woods did nothing, content to let his Huntmaster transform into Ravager of the Fells. As it transformed, it slung two damage at the Aristocrat, which ate the Knight of Infamy to stay alive, gaining a +1/+1 counter in the process.

When Pratser sent his team, it represented lethal damage. Woods had a Restoration Angel to return his Ravager to Huntmaster status, gaining himself enough life to stay at 2 after the attack. After combat, Pratser added a Gravecrawler to his side of the table, yet one more sacrificial Zombie lamb for the Aristocrat. Woods again did nothing, transforming his Huntmaster to make Pratser sacrifice the Gravecrawler. With Woods at 2, Pratser turned his Hellrider and Aristocrat sideways, letting the Hellrider triggers kill Woods.

Woods held two Thragtusks in hand, which would have certainly helped out that game, but he never found a fifth land to play them.

Matthew Pratser 1 - Conley Woods 0


Conley Woods

Back in the other match, Lytle once again started quickly, with a Diregraf Ghoul coming down on the first turn. This time around, Duke had an Augur of Bolas to defend. Unfortunately, a Knight of Infamy make the Ghoul large enough to attack past it, leaving Duke with little defense. Duke had no play on turn three, giving the reins back to Lytle. This time, the Knight of Infamy went into the Augur, dropping Duke to 14.

Lytle surveyed the scene with an Appetite for Brains, revealing the following cards:

After taking a moment to write down the contents of Duke's hand, Lytle immediately put the Supreme Verdict into Duke's graveyard. As you may have noticed from the graphics above, Duke was stuck on three land. He drew yet another spell on his following turn, and found himself unable to cast anything, simply passing the turn. At the end of his turn, Lytle used Searing Spear to remove Duke's blocker. Within two more attacks, Duke found himself on the wrong end of a lethal set of attackers, still without a fourth land.


Tyler Lytle

"That was at least fast and painless," Duke nodded with a satisfied grin on his face. "Good luck in the finals."

Reid Duke 0 - Tyler Lytle 2

With my attention turned to the final game, I immediately noticed the sparse number of cards in both players's hands. Woods was peeling off a four card hand, as Pratser was staying with a five-card, one-land, double-Geralf's Messenger hand. It was an interesting set of circumstances, especially to be seen in the semifinals of a Grand Prix.

"This has been my first mulligan to five or lower all tournament," Woods conceded. "I have mulliganned to six plenty of times, but never to five."

Despite starting with very limited resources, Woods appeared to have a reasonable start, playing Farseek to grab himself a Blood Crypt. This gave him access to every color in his deck but white. At the end of the turn, Pratser aimed a Searing Spear at Woods's head, clearly looking to end this game quickly. He drew two consecutive lands to start the final game off, giving him exactly what he needed to unload his pair of Geralf's Messengers into play.

After the first hit play, Woods made a rare error. Dropping a Clifftop Retreat into play, Woods put it in tapped, mistaking it for Battlefield Forge, which has yet to be reprinted. Both players passed into Pratser's turn before Woods caught his mistake, and it was too late to go back. Woods held a Huntmaster of the Fells, which would have been absolutely ideal under the situation. By the time he was able to get it into play, the damage had already been done. A turn ahead, Pratser was able to burn off the Huntmaster and the one that followed it, leaving the Wolves to trade with the 3/2 Messengers. As his life total drained away, Woods tried to stabilize with a Loxodon Smiter, but a third burn spell finished things off, giving the match to Matthew Pratser after a very strange Game 3!

Matthew Pratser 2 - Conley Woods 0

Matthew Pratser and Tyler Lytle will meet in the finals, a BR Zombies mirror match, ensuring that BR Zombies will take home its second consecutive American Standard Grand Prix.

 

Finals - Tyler Lytle vs. Matthew Pratser

by Blake Rasmussen

One week after Black-Red Zombie's re-emergence at Grand Prix Charlotte, we've got an all-Undead final here at Grand Prix San Antonio.

On one side we have Matthew Pratser, master of monsters, slinging Zombies and Dragons and Vampires at opponents all the way to the finals.

On the other side we have Tyler Lytle, master of monsters, slinging Zombies and Dragons and Vampires at opponents all the way to the finals.

Sound similar? Get used to it. We're about to wade knee deep in some hot, hot mirror action. Lytle's cards are Pratser's cards for the most part, though there are some subtle differences.

Pratser does have a slight game one advantage in that he has no dead Victim of Nights, but that's something Lytle can easily fix post board. Plus, way back in Round 3, Lytle handed Pratser his only loss of Day 1.

Game 1

Both players played creatures and burn till someone died. The end.

Kidding. Mostly.

Lytle, by virtue of his higher seed (and in some ways, connected to his early win over Pratser), started on the play as both players kept.

Matching Gravecrawlers started the game (see), but for a change of pace, Lytle's second Gravecrawler was only matched by a Diregraf Ghoul.

Already flooded on lands, Pratser chose to leave his Diregraf back to block, but Searing Spear quickly disavowed any blocking notions he might have.

Zombies, after all, don't block.

Lytle responded with a Falkenrath Aristocrat and, when Pratser drew another land, he quickly scooped up his cards in frustration.

"That keep was a misplay," Pratser said.

Lytle 1 – Pratser 0

Game 2

"I only had one real match in this Top 8, and that was the first one, just to qualify [for the pro tour]," Lytle said, happy about his newly claimed invite. "The rest is just for money."

Yup, just money.

But also Zombie bragging rights for a week. And possibly brains. I'm not really sure how this works.


With a trophy and revenge in mind, Matthew Pratser looked to take down the mirror match in the finals.

At any rate, both players were now qualified for the Pro Tour, but their focus was clearly on the match in front of them.

Pratser dispatched Lytle's first Diregraf Ghoul prior to resolving Geralf's Messenger. Lytle, meanwhile, used his time to play a second Ghoul and Pillar of Flames the Messenger. And when Pratser's Vampire Nighthawk died too, things looked grim for him.

Lytle then threw out two Gravecrawlers to continue his beats, but lost one of them to a Pillar of Flames.

A second Geralf's Messenger traded with a Diregraf Ghoul, but Lytle just kept coming with one-drops while being stuck on two lands. Another Diregraf Ghoul kept up the pressure, but a pair of Searing Spears cleared the board of all but Pratser's Geralf's Mesenger. Pillar of Flames dealt the final points to the Messenger.

And like that, the board was clear. Like I said. They play some burn, they play some creatures, lots of stuff dies.

Pratser then drew a Zealous Conscripts and cast it immediately to drop Lytle to 11 life.

Finally Lytle drew a third land. Unfortunatley for him, it was the Mountain. He was able to use burn to keep a few of Prastor's smaller creatures busy of the next few turns, but without a fourth land or third black source, Lytle was stymied long enough for Zealous Conscripts to deal the final few points of damage alongside a Searing Spear.

Lytle 1 – Pratser 1

Game 3

Back on the play, Lytle agonized over his hand for the final game of the final match of the tournament. Eventually, he chose to hold his seven, as did Pratser.

Diregraf Ghoul for Pratser kicked things off while Lytle didn't start his curve until Geralf's Messenger.

Pratser's Vampire Nighthawk came down to provide some defense, but given the amount of burn both players had at their disposal, it likely wasn't long for this world.

But instead of killing the small Vampire, Lytle chose to play a larger Vampire of his own, attacking for seven with Vampire Aristocrats and Geralf's Messenger.

Pratser, meanwhile, cast his own Aristocrats, but chose to leave it back on defense, only attacking with his Diregraf Ghoul and Nighthawk. Life totals stood at 13-12 in Pratser's favor.


Brrrraaaaaaaiiiiinnnnnnssss...as in Tyler Lytle used his brains to demonstrate his mastery of the Zombie mirror match.

But Lytle looked to be up to something when he played Blood Crypt untapped, taking two damage. He left two mana open to cast Geralf's Messenger and attack with his Falkenrath Aristocrats and first Messenger.

That left Pratser to do a serious bit of math, trying to figure out how much he could take and where. That's when things got surprisingly tricky. After Falkenrath Aristocrat blocked the incoming Aristocrat, Lytle passed priority. Pratser had two choices: he could pass priority back, letting the Aristocrats trade (something that looked good given the two Messengers on the board), or he could or he could try and save his Aristocrats by sacrificing his Diregraf Ghoul.

He chose the latter and was punished for it by Searing Spear, killing the Aristocrat in response. After combat, Pratser had just a Vampire Nighthawk to face down two Geralf's Messengers and the still living Vampire Aristocrat.

Pratser had Bonfire of the Damned in hand, but kept drawing just lands. The Bonfire merely succeeded in making the Geralf's messengers larger and slightly less undead, but when Lytle cast Hellrider the next turn, not even Vampire Nighthawk could give Pratser a reprieve.

And with that, Tyler Lytle is the Grand Prix San Antonio Champion!

 

The Top 5 Card of Grand Prix San Antonio 2012

by Nate Price

Falkenrath Aristocrat - At the beginning of the weekend, most players knew it was a very good card. By the end, most players had accepted that it was one of the format-defining cards. A massive power attached to a durable, evasive body, the Aristocrat gives BR Zombies the endgame reach to get up and over the Thragtusks of the format, while serving double duty as an indestructible attacker against Restoration Angel and the myriad removal spells, including Supreme Verdict. All of these, combined with the haste that gives it an immediate impact, the Aristocrats might have won more games all weekend than any other single card in the tournament.



Sphinx's Revelation - The card that makes control a viable deck, as Brian Kibler put it, "Revelation does everything that a control deck wants to do." The lifegain is incredibly important in a field full of aggression. The card drawing is important, as it has to expend a number of spells early to maintain parity, or simply to pull away against control. It's an instant, allowing it to be cast at the end of an opponent's turn. Sphinx's Revelation is mentioned as being a card that pushed mid-range decks out of the format, resulting in the delineation of decks we have now. Revelation is a powerful enough card that players have to actively devote deck planning choices to deal with it, the mark of a truly powerful card.



Farseek - One of the ways that Bant Control has to make itself a little faster, Farseek found a new home this weekend in Conley Woods's Four Color Midrange deck. Needing a very diverse set of mana sources, Woods's deck relied on Farseek to fix his mana, as well as ramp him. The combination of fixing and ramp not only put him in Top 8, but did so for Reid Duke's Bant Control as well, as both decks desperately needed to get to four mana, of the appropriate colors, before the new tide of aggressive decks killed them. With Gatecrash, and likely the next cycle of dual lands, on the horizon, Farseek seems likely to only see its stock rise from here.



Silverblade Paladin - Pegged by Josh Utter-Leyton as one of the best cards in Standard, and selected by Ben Rasmussen as the best card in his deck, Silverblade Paladin is probably the strongest card in GW Aggro. With the ability to come out of nowhere and give any creature double strike, the Paladin allows for unexpectedly massive life swings. When combined with cards like Rancor and Champion of the Parish, the Paladin allows for game ending swings, capable of completely negating any life gained through Thragtusk or Sphinx's Revelations. It also allows the creatures in the deck to fight unfairly, able to take out Thragtusk, Beast tokens, or any of the other aggressive creatures running around Standard. For cementing GW's place in the Standard metagame, Paladin certainly deserves to be on the Top 5 list for San Antonio.



Knight of Infamy - Since GW was the second most represented deck in Day 2, it should come as little surprise that Knight of Infamy makes this list. While the main benefit of Knight was his ability to attack through the expected tide of Lingering Souls tokens, with the rise of GW, his protection serves another purpose. Virtually all of the creatures in the GW Humans deck are white, turning the Knight into either a potent attacker or valuable defender. He attacks right past Centaur Healer and Restoration Angel in the Bant decks, and even makes sure that the other two-powered creatures either ignore Augur of Bolas or trade with Thragtusk. While Falkenrath Aristocrat is going to take most of the credit for getting three Zombies decks into Top 8, Knight certainly deserves his fair share of the praise.



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