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Edel Tops Toronto!

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The letter C!ongratulations to Grand Prix Toronto Champion Willy Edel!

Yes, Edel played Jund, making it the third Modern Grand Prix in a row won by Tarmogoyf and friends, but not looking deeper than that would be a mistake. Not only was Edel's take on Jund truly innovative—Lotus Cobra and Thundermaw Hellkite!—but the tournament was littered with a variety of archetypes.

This weekend saw the reinvigoration of Scapeshift as an archetype, the rise of one of the first true control decks—Collin Morton's UW Spreading Seas list—and plenty of players choosing to try and beat 'em rather than join 'em. Even Edel's Jund deck was an attempt to stay one step ahead of, well, Jund.

But what this weekend may eventually be remembered best for is the continuation of a strong string of performances for Edel, who, since his Return to Ravnica Top 8, has been consistently putting up strong finishes, capped by his win this weekend. The pro has been around for a long time, but this season has truly been one to remember.

So congratulations to Willy Edel and all of the other Top 8 competitors at Grand Prix Toronto!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Alon Chitiz   Alon Chitiz
2-0
       
8 Dan Jordan   Sam Pardee
2-0
       
4 Jon Stern   Sam Pardee
2-1
  Willy Edel
5 Sam Pardee    
       
2 James Vance   Willy Edel
2-1
7 Willy Edel   Willy Edel
2-1
       
3 Collin Morton   Alex Majlaton
2-0
6 Alex Majlaton    


  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Toronto provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Rich Hagon, Sheldon Menery, and Rusty Kubis.







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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
  1.   Willy Edel $3,500
  2.   Sam Pardee $2,300
  3.   Alon Chitiz $1,500
  4.   Alex Majlaton $1,500
  5.   James Vance $1,000
  6.   Collin Morton $1,000
  7.   Jon Stern $1,000
  8.   Dan Jordan $1,000
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Top 8 - Decklists

by Mike Rosenberg

Alon Chitiz
GP Toronto 2012 Top 8 – Modern









Alex Majlaton
GP Toronto 2012 Top 8 – Modern







Because we love you, and because Modern is an incredibly diverse format, here are the decks that finished just outside the Top 8.

Melissa DeTora
9th Place
Grand Prix Toronto 2012 – Modern







Matt Mercier
12th Place
Grand Prix Toronto 2012 – Modern





Jasper Johnson-Epstein
14th Place
Grand Prix Toronto 2012 – Modern



Ben Feingersh
15th Place
Grand Prix Toronto 2012 – Modern



Daniel Cecchetti
16th Place
Grand Prix Toronto 2012 – Modern

 

Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Blake Rasmussen


James Vance

Age: 24
Hometown: Hamilton, ON
Occupation: Steel Worker


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Nothing

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
UGr Scapeshift because Karma and Phil Collins were on my side.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst
Doesn't matter, just outplay opponents.

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?
2 Mono White3 BR Burn
Wide open field




Alon Chitiz

Age: 28
Hometown: Toronto, ON
Occupation: Chef


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Beat my friends in Commander

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Scapeshift- I like combo, less to mess up than a deck like Jund.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst
Tron is best, Soul Sisters is worst.

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?

I played Jund 4 times and Pod 3 times so I didn't see a lot of decks.




Willy Edel

Age: 33
Hometown: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Occupation: Store Owner


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
4 GPs 4 PTs

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Jund, I know the deck really well. It's the best deck if you tune it properly.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst
Tron is worst, aggro decks are best.

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?

Nothing unusual, I played against burn once which I kinda expected since it is supposed to have a good matchup against Jund (I won BTW).




Sam Pardee

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


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
MOCS season 3 top 4, season 6 Champion

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Melira Pod, I've played at least 1,000 matches with it on MTGO and it has a great Jund matchup

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst

Best:
Jund, Storm, White Weenie

Worst:
Tron, Scapeshift

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?

Mirran Crusader aggro-control.




Dan Jordan

Age: 21
Hometown: Albany, NY
Occupation: Poker/Magic Grinder


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Top 16 PT Amsterdam 2010, Honolulu 2012, Seattle 2012Top 4 GP Indianapolis 2012

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Jund, because it seemed like the best deck in the format.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst

Best:
Creature decks

Worst:
Combo

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?

BUG Control and Infect.




Collin Morton

Age: 24
Hometown: Sarnia, ON
Occupation: Phys Ed Teacher


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
0

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Spread'em PlaneswalkersI used to beat Jund by playing Spreading Seas and preventing them from playing their powerful spells.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst
Creature Decks and Tron are best, combo is worst.

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?

Everything! But nothing I didn't expect.




Jon Stern

Age: 34
Hometown: Montreal, QC
Occupation: Software


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2nd Canadian Nats, a bunch of GP top 16s 18th PT Yokohama.

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Spirit Jund- Lingering Souls turns previously bad matchups into winners.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst

Best:
infect and Affinity

Worst:
Tron

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?

Boros Landfall




Alex Majlaton

Age: 27
Hometown: Lanham, MD
Occupation: Fungineer for Funco Inc.


Previous Magic Accomplishments:
4 GP top 8s, top 50 PT AVR and RTR

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Affinity. I've been obsessing over it for 8 years and it's finally paying off.

What are your deck's best matchups?
Worst
Every game 1 is awesome except Splinter Twin. Every post board is awful.

What deck or decks did you play against this weekend that you didn't expect to see?



 

Quarterfinals - Dan Jordan vs. Alon Chitiz

by Blake Rasmussen

Alon Chitiz is something of an amazing story for this tournament. He had zero byes and is mostly a casual player. But, playing Scapeshift has had its rewards this weekend, as two variations of the deck made the Top 8, and a number of others were close behind. His careful play and knowledge of the deck, however, has set Chitiz apart.

Dan Jordan, meanwhile, has made a name for himself on the Star City Games circuit and had a string of solid finishes at the Professional and Grand Prix levels, including a Top 4 at Indianapolis in 2012.


Dan Jordan

Game 1

Jordan was forced to mulligan, but opened a pretty typical Jund hand with three lands, Lightning Bolt, Bloodbraid Elf and the Deathrite Shaman he played turn one.

Remand stalled a Tarmogoyf for a turn and dug Chitiz a little deeper, and a second Remand kept Bloodbraid Elf from the battlefield for a turn. Chitiz found a third Remand of Peer Through Depths and once again sent Bloodbraid Elf off to Jordan's hand. But Jordan was able to finally successfully land his Tarmogoyf to put some pressure on the board.

Pyroclasm swept away Jordan's pair of Deathrite Shamans, leaving Tarmogoyf Alone on the board. Two turns later Chitiz found Scapeshift with seven lands for the win.

Chitiz 1 – Jordan 0


Alon Chitiz

Game 2

Jordan was in hot water right off the bat in game two, forced to mulligan a poor hand into a one-lander, missing on his first try. By the time Stern found his second land, Chitiz was ready with a Remand for the waiting Dark Confidant.

But Jordan started fighting back with a Deathrite Shaman and more lands. But, at this point, it was mostly just a matter of Chitiz finding a Scapeshift over the next few turns. Peer Through Depths didn't immediately turn one up, nor did Serum Visions, and Chitiz was left to just shake his head in frustration. All he could muster was a Pyroclasm to kill Deathrite Shaman.

Jordan, meanwhile, started beating in with a Tarmogoyf and a freshly cast Bloodbraid Elf, but Snapcaster Mage on Peer Through Depths finally found the Scapeshift. From there, it was all math.

Chitiz 2 – Jordan 0

 

Quarterfinals - Jon Stern vs. Sam Pardee

by Blake Rasmussen

Sam Pardee vs. Jon Stern was one of the maquee matchups of the weekend, as Melira Pod, a deck generally believed to be favored against Jund, squared off against the format-defining menace.

Game 1

Pardee owned the early game against Stern, playing Deatrite Shaman into an Orzhov Pontiff, killing Stern's second turn Tarmogoyf, followed by a Birthing Pod that sacrificed the Pontiff to find a Murderous Redcap.

Meanwhile, Stern was in a rough spot. He had managed to resolve Liliana of the Veil, but was short on ways to protect it. He did Thoughtseize off a Bloodbraid Elf, seeing another Birthing Pod and Reveillark. Combined with Liliana, both hit the graveyard.

Pardee then used Birthing Pod to search up Meliria, Sylvok Replica, one card away from comboing Pardee out relatively quickly. An attack with the now night immortal Redcap killed Liliana.

But Stern wasn't out. Lightning Bolt was sitting in his hand, ready to take out the 2/2 Legend.

But it wasn't needed, at least not yet. Pardee chose to use Birthing Pod to sacrifice Melira herself to find a Kitchen Finks.

Stern responded in kind with a Lingering Souls off the top of his deck, chumping with a spirit the following turn.

But Birthing Pod kept working its magic. It turned Kitchen Finks into Ranger of Eos, which dug up a Birds of Paradise and Viscera Seer. Pardee was working toward his combo, but he also had an active Gavony Township to press Stern from both directions.

One turn later, Pardee was able to assemble his combo without much resistance from Stern.

Pardee 1 – Stern 0


Jon Stern

Game 2

Once again Pardee started quickly, casting two Birds of Paradise and a Darkblast on Stern's Dark Confidant. Stern reloaded with a Lingering Souls, but his big play was Olivia Voldaren, which could shut down Pardee's entire deck on its own.

Sure enough, Olivia took out two Birds of Paradise before Pardee was able to use Birthing Pod and Kitchen Finks to find a Phyrexian Metamorph and trade with the Legendary Vampire.

Birthing Pod then started doing work, finding Ranger of Eos, which, in turn, dug up a pair of Deathrite Shamans.

But by then the damage had built up too much from Lingering Souls and Olivia Voldaren attacks. When Pardee couldn't stop the damage or combo off in time, Stern evened things up at a game each.

Pardee 1 – Stern 1


Sam Pardee

Game 3

Pardee led with a Birds of Paradise which, as appropriate, was promptly hit with Lightning Bolt. With nothing else to do, Pardee simply replaced it with a second copy on his turn, following up with a Kitchen Finks.

Stern, meanwhile, played Tarmogoyf into Stony Silence, pressuring Pardee AND turning off Pardee's best card.

Unpreturbed, Pardee simply started making Kitchen Finks. Finks has repeatedly been cited as one of the best cards against Jund, and the pair of them were putting Stern's resolve to the test. It looked like it would be a complete grind between two decks trading one-for-ones

Then Pardee cast Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Viscera Seer and gained "nine million, billion life." So there's that.

And even though Stern cast Maelstrom Pulse on Melira, Sylvok Outcast—successfully—it didn't much seem to matter at this point. Eventually Pardee found a Redcap to take the match.

Pardee 2 – Stern 1

 

Quarterfinals - Willy Edel (Jund) vs. James Vance (Scapeshift)

by Mike Rosenberg

Willy Edel has been on a roll this season. Following a Top 8 finish at Pro Tour Return to Ravnica, he's tweaked his Jund deck to take the latest evolutions of the format head-on. Packing Lotus Cobra and Thundermaw Hellkite, his deck has been accelerating into big plays and sweeping away spirit tokens and Birds of Paradise all weekend. His opponent, James Vance, has also had plenty of success this weekend with Scapeshift, one of the big decks to see a resurgence at the top tables here at GP Toronto.

Will Edel's disruption and power-packed plays be enough to get him and his Jund deck into the Semi Finals, or would Vance's Scapeshift be too quick?

Game 1

Vance had the advantage of winning the die roll, but lacked the sufficient ramp spells to get his deck moving. Edel, meanwhile, had some early action with Lotus Cobra, Kitchen Finks, and Bloodbraid Elf into Deathrite Shaman, giving him an early lead.

To make matters worse for Vance, he had no land drop for his fifth turn, instead playing Sakura-Tribe Elder and using Into The Roil to temporarily disperse Deathrite Shaman.


Willy Edel once again demonstrates his mastery with the Jund deck in Modern.

Edel, who was content with going aggressive, sent his creatures in after using a Lightning Bolt to take out Auger of Bolas. Vance was able to get up to six lands, but Edel's board continued to grow thanks to some assistance from Lotus Cobra. Vance attempted to buy time with a desperation Cryptic Command, but a Raging Ravine activation followed before the attack step, leaving Vance down and out in the first game.

Edel 1 – Vance 0

Game 2

Vance led off with a slow start, but Edel's start wasn't any faster, with the first moment of action taking place during the third turn. An Auger of Bolas on the fourth turn found nothing for Vance, who lost the Merfolk to a Lightning Bolt at the end of his turn.

Edel's first big turn took place with everyone's favorite Alara Reborn cascade creature, Bloodbraid Elf. It found a Lightning Bolt, which was pointed at Vance, but Vance had a Bolt of his own to take out the hasty elf. Vance continued to play lands, content with Edel not having anything.

Edel tried for another Bloodbraid Elf, but found nothing he could profitably cast, as some removal went to the bottom. The elf then met its end on the stack, succumbing to Vance's Cryptic Command. Vance followed with Cultivate, finding some lands, which went along with his Sakura-Tribe Elder.

Edel found and cast Lotus Cobra on the next turn, following up with Marsh Flats for some free mana. It was used to wake up a Raging Ravine in. Sakura-Tribe Elder jumped in the way, finding a Forest. Vance cleared the Lotus Cobra away with Firespout, and then took a hit from Edel's Raging Ravine on the next turn, with Vance's Scapeshifts hiding from him in his deck.

Vance dug with a Peer Through Depths, but again Scapeshift did not arrive. Instead he found Unsummon, which returned Edel's Raging Ravine when it woke up on the next turn.


Vance buys time in every way that he can, knowing that one good draw step will win him the game.

Vance drew again, this time finding Auger of Bolas. The Auger found Peer Through Depths, which then found Rude Awakening. Vance, however, was short on mana to cast it, so he passed...

...and Edel happily obliged with Thoughtseize, as Vance sank back in his seat, his game-ending sorcery discarded. The Raging Ravine followed through for another attack, putting Vance to 7. Vance had Sakura-Tribe Elder on the next turn, but Edel Lightning Bolted the Auger of Bolas, and his Treetop Village and Raging Ravine crashed in. Vance was forced to block, shuffling up his deck. He had to draw a Scapeshift on the next turn.

However, he found something just as good. Snapecaster Mage let him flash back an entwined Rude Awakening, which let Vance's lands rumble over to win the game.

Edel 1 – Vance 1

Game 3

Edel was first to act with Dark Confidant, drawing a Lightning Bolt from Vance on the second turn. Edel fired back with Tarmogoyf, passing back with a fetch land lying in wait. Meanwhile, Vance was content to cast Sakura-Tribe Elder, which jumped in front of Tarmogoyf on the next turn. Edel continued to deploy threats with a second Tarmogoyf before passing action back to Vance. It was no matter to Vance, content with casting Sakura-Tribe Elder, passed with a potentially lethal Scapeshift in hand.

Well, that was the case. At least until Edel played Slaughter Games naming Scapeshift. Vance slumped into his seat. It was now going to be Rude Awakening or bust for the Scapeshift player.

Slaughter Games: pretty good against Scapeshift.

The Tarmogoyfs rumbled in, as Vance's second Sakura-Tribe Elder jumped in the way.

Vance found an Augur of Bolas, and attempted to dig for his remaining out. He found nothing, and was forced to pass. The Tarmogoyfs attacked again, the Merfolk jumping in the way, as Vance fell to 11. Firespout and a Lightning Bolt were used to dispatch a Tarmogoyf, but Edel continued his assault, dropping Vance to 7 before playing Lotus Cobra. His creatures were tapped down by Cryptic Command, and a post-combat Thoughtseize forced another Cryptic Command from Vance.

Vance bought a little more time with Sakura-Tribe Elder blocking Tarmogoyf, but when the top of his deck revealed no way out, Vance offered the handshake on the next turn.

Edel 2 – Vance 1

 

Semifinals - Alon Chitiz (Scapeshift) vs. Sam Pardee (Melira-Pod)

by Mike Rosenberg

Alon Chitiz and his Scapeshift deck and Sam Pardee with Melira-Pod will clash combo against combo in the Semi Finals. Would Chitiz be able to reach the necessary numbers of lands before Pardee assembles a monstrous combination with Melira and her best friends, Viscera Seer and Kitchen Finks and/or Murderous Redcap? Let's find out!

Game 1

Pardee was the first to act in the match with a first-turn Birds of Paradise, as he was sitting with two-thirds of his combo in hand and ready to go. Chitiz had his first play in the form of Sakura-Tribe Elder, while Pardee played out Melira, Sylvok Outcast.

Chitiz sacrificed his Sakura-Tribe Elder for a land, and then followed up with a third-turn Pyroclasm. Pardee rebuilt with Birds of Paradise, but his replacement Melira was Remanded. Chitiz suspended Search for Tomorrow, while Pardee played out the rest of his hand with Melira, Viscera Seer, and a Gavony Township, one of the breakout successes for the Pod decks this weekend.


Pardee, content with Gavony Township, but happiest with a combo.

While Chitiz was content with building his mana, Pardee got to work with his Gavony Township, using it before sending Melira and the Seer in for 5 points of damage. Chitiz found his land, and then found... more ramp, as Farseek fetched out yet another land to add to Chitiz's table. He passed, still looking for a Scapeshift.

When Pardee went to combat, a Cryptic Command from Chitiz tapped down Pardee's board... and with the coast now clear, Pardee cast Murderous Redcap, and demonstrated the combo with Melira and the Seer. Chitiz nodded, and picked up his cards.

Chitiz 0 – Pardee 1

Game 2

Chitiz began with his ideal start of Search for Tomorrow suspended and Sakura Tribe Elder, but Pardee also had a fast opening with Birds of Paradise into Birthing Pod. On the third turn, Chitiz had five lands in play. Serum Visions drew him a card, and he left one card on top with his scry 2 before playing a land and passing.

Ethersworn Canonist from Pardee met Remand, and a second Birds of Paradise along with Viscera Seer came down after. Birthing Pod upgraded one of the Birds into Wall of Roots, which then made a mana so Pardee could cast another Bird.

Chitiz cast Telling Time, then paid 2 to play Stomping Grounds untapped. He passed, and when Pardee attempted a second Birthing Pod, Chitiz was ready with Remand.


Chitiz digs for more ways to buy time with his Scapeshift deck."

However, with the coast now clear, Pardee cast Thoughtseize, depriving Chitiz of a dangerous Scapeshift. Viscera Seer swung in for 1, and Birds of Paradise became Melira, Sylvok Outcast courtesy of Birthing Pod on the next turn.

When Chitiz passed with no other action, Pardee used Birthing Pod to trade in Wall of Roots for Kitchen Finks. His combo now assembled, Pardee felt no pressure as he attacked with his creatures, and sat with his combo in play, waiting for Chitiz to do something before gaining an arbitrarily large amount of life.

With no way to react and behind on the board, Chitiz was forced to act when Pardee turned an Ethersworn Canonist on the next turn into another Kitchen Finks. When Chitiz attempted for Cryptic Command, Pardee responded with sacrificing his already in-play Kitchen Finks, looping for millions of life, and earning the concession from Chitiz.

Chitiz 0 – Pardee 2

 

Semifinals - Willy Edel vs. Alex Majlaton

by Blake Rasmussen

Willy Edel has been on an absolute tear lately, especially in Modern and especially with Jund. He's been playing the deck in some variation of it since Pro Tour Return to Ravnica (where he made the Top 8), and has a unique perspective on the archetype and how to build and play the deck. If anyone knows Jund, it's Willy Edel.

And if you need someone to talk to about Robots, you'd be hard pressed to do better than Alex Majlaton. The four-time Grand Prix Top 8 participant says he's "been obsessing over it for 8 years" and has shown deft command of the deck this weekend on his way to the semifinals.

One of them, however, had to budge.

Game 1

Majlaton led with Signal Pest off Blinkmoth Nexus and a Mox Opal, then saw his hand revealed with a Thoughtseize on Edel's first turn. It revealed:

The hand gave Edel plenty of pause. Both Plating and Master were deadly, but Edel eventually opted to send the Master of Etherium to the graveyard.

Cranial Plating predictably entered play and suited up on the Pest, hitting for three damage.

Edel, content to sit on Lightning Bolt, simply played Deathrite Shaman and passed.

Playing Steel Overseer and the Springleaf Drum, Majlaton attempted to strike for five the next turn, but Edel used his Bolt to take out the Signal Pest, followed by another Lightning Bolt the next turn to kill the Steel Overseer.

Edel had certainly weathered the initial storm, but Majlaton wasn't done yet. A Master of Etherium off the top of his deck yielded a rather large attacker, and even enabled an attack with Blinkmoth Nexus for two.

Fortunately for Edel, his Bloodbraid Elves are better than that, turning up Maelstrom Pulse as if on command to oust the Cranial Plating.

Still, the Master of Etherium and Blinkmoth Nexus hit for seven the following turn, dropping Edel to just seven life. He could stall a bit with his Deathrite Shamans, but he had to answer the Master of Etherium soon. Chump blocking would work in the short run, but it wouldn't get him very far.

Lotus Cobra enabled an attack with a Treetop Village and Bloodbraid Elf, with the Elf trading with a lowly Memnite. Unfortunately for Edel, he was completely out of cards at this point and still facing a very large Master of Etherium.

Lotus Cobra jumped in front of the Master the following turn to stay alive at six life, but he needed something, anything, that could handle Master of Etherium.

Dismember was the answer. In response to a second Master of Etherium, Edel pulled the trigger on killing the first one. He had bought a reprieve, but merely traded one giant artifact creature for, well, the same giant artifact creature.

All this time, Edel was chipping away at Majlaton's life total with Deathrite Shaman as he could, getting him to just 9 life.

This time, the top of Edel's deck was not so generous, turning up a lame-duck Thoughtseize, only good for some self-inflicted pain were he to cast it (he didn't).


If it looks like Alex Majlaton is winning this game, look again.

Instead, he sacrificed his Treetop Village to yet another chump block, then put Majlaton to five life with two Deathrite Shaman activations.

Then he drew Lightning Bolt and won the game.

You read that right. Edel actually won that game.

One Bolt of lightning and two Deathrite Shaman activations later and Majlaton found himself at exactly zero life.

Edel 1 – Majlaton 0

Game 2

Majlaton had to think about it, but ultimately kept his opening seven. Edel, on the other hand, didn't hesitate to go to six, though he obviously wasn't happy with those six cards, as they had no black mana and only two Raging Ravines for land.

Majlaton, meanwhile, started with a Vault Skirge into a Cranial Plating and Etched Oracle. More or less the nuts.

Edel tried to fight back with Lingering Souls, but when Majlaton played Master of Etherium, Edel had seen enough.

Edel 1 – Majlaton 1

Game 3

Both players kept for the decider, and Majlaton came roaring out again, dumping Signal Pest, Mox Opal and Springleaf Drum onto the table in quick succession, followed by an Etched Oracle, pretty much the bane of Jund decks everywhere.

And while Edel wasn't quite as fast out of the blocks, his turn two Lotus Cobra promised potential fireworks on turn three. He used his cornucopia of mana to cast and flash back Lingering Souls, littering the board with tokens that could hold back everything but the Etched Champion. Yet, an attack by the Champion also opened Majlaton up to a large counterattack.

But the Robots mage swung in anyway before playing Steel Overseer and passing the turn. Edel, despite facing an Etched Champion, actually looked to hold a strong position, on that only got stronger when he cast both Maelstrom Pulse and Grim Lavamancer on his turn, then attacked with his team. Lightning Bolt even destroyed the Nexus waiting to ambush his Cobra.

Majlaton, down but not out, reloaded with Thoughtcast into a second Etched Champion and an Ornithopter.


When Willy Edel is piloting Jund, it's not a good bet to go against him, no matter how bad things may look.

At this point, life totals stood at 14-12 in Majlaton's favor.

Edel attacked fearlessly with his Lingering Souls brigade, then used Grim Lavamancer to kill Signal Pest and blunt Majlaton's attack somewhat. Still, Edel fell to 8 on the attack, and Majlaton cast a Steel Overseer. Edel was empty handed and seemly falling behind. He would need more help from his library to stay in this one.

And lo! Off the top of Edel's deck came a Thundermaw Hellkite, giving him a route to victory by attacking with everything.

Here I come to save the day! It seems that Thundermaw Hellkite is on his way!

Grim Lavamancer cleared out a Nexus capable of blocking, and Majlaton fell to two on the attack.

When he found nothing on top of his library, Majlaton extended his hand. Willy Edel was moving on to the finals of Grand Prix Toronto!

Mike Rosenberg

Edel 2 – Majlaton 1

 

Finals - Willy Edel (Jund) vs. Sam Pardee (Melira-Pod)

by Mike Rosenberg

Willy Edel, who has been piloting Jund in all of his major Modern events for the season, has proven that he is one of the driving forces behind innovations for the deck. Armed with a powerful list that packs Lotus Cobra and Thundermaw Hellkite, new additions to the archetype, he has gone through one opponent after enough all weekend.

But his opponent, Sam Pardee, has proven that he is no slouch with the Modern metagame. Packed with a dangerous version of Birthing Pod using Melira, Sylvok Outcast with Viscera Seer and various persist creatures, the deck is capable of some speedy and resilient wins.

Will the Pro Tour regular from Brazil come out on top, or will the player who was sitting in the top seed for most of the event finish ahead?

Game 1

Pardee led off with Birds of Paradise, which Edel quickly destroyed with Lightning Bolt. Pardee replaced his mana-bird with Deathrite Shaman. Edel, when he played Inquisition of Kozilek, shrugged when Pardee revealed two lands and two Birthing Pods, causing his discard spell to whiff.

Pardee played Birthing Pod on turn 3 after losing his Deathrite Shaman to another Lightning Bolt, while Edel had a bigger turn 3 with Lotus Cobra, with a fetch land and activation to make enough mana for Tarmogoyf.


Sam Pardee gets off to a fast start, using Birthing Pod to turn smaller creatures into bigger and better ones.

Pardee followed up with Orzhov Pontiff, dispatching Edel's Lotus Cobra, before sacrificing it to the Birthing Pod for Ranger of Eos, which fetched up Deathrite Shaman and Viscera Seer. Edel continued to press on with his haunted Tarmogoyf (courtesy of Orzhov Pontiff), and a follow-up Lingering Souls.

Pardee, however, played Kitchen Finks and Deathrite Shaman before passing back to Edel, who had nothing more to go with his flashed back Lingering Souls. Pardee traded away a newly played Birds of Paradise on the next turn for Melira, Sylvok Outcast, assembling his combo, as he passed, waiting for Edel to make the first move.

When Edel chose to do nothing, Pardee used Birthing Pod to trade Deathrite Shaman for Spellskite, then used Chord of Calling for four to get Murderous Redcap. Now, with multiple persist creatures in play, Pardee went for it. He sacrificed Kitchen Finks first, declaring the persist trigger as Edel... laughed and picked up his cards for the next game, sitting with nothing instant speed in hand.

Edel 0 – Pardee 1

Game 2

Edel led with a Dark Confidant, which promptly dropped to Pardee's second-turn Abrupt Decay (off of Birds of Paradise). Edel had no other follow-up, and a third-turn Birthing Pod traded in Birds of Paradise for Wall of Roots, as Pardee fell to 14. Edel showed why he had no plays when he used Rakdos Charm to smash the Pod at the end of the turn. However, Edel's turn four Lotus Cobra met an early demise when Pardee played out Shriekmaw for the full cost.

Edel, who was under a lot less pressure with the Birthing Pod on his opponent's field, sent in a Raging Ravine, dropping Pardee to 10. Pardee, who went aggressive with Gavony Township, sent in a fearsome 4/3 Shriekmaw, throwing the Wall of Roots in front of the Raging Ravine.


Willy Edel plays cautiously, focusing on each play with precision.

Edel followed with Grim Lavamancer after his attack before passing, happy with his ever-growing Raging Ravine. Pardee played another land, and then gave up his attack in order to convoke a Chord of Calling for 4. This gave Pardee Murderous Redcap, which quickly dispensed of Edel's Grim Lavamancer.

Now, with Gavony Township available, Murderous Redcap could prove to be a great chump blocker for Edel's Raging Ravine, as the Brazilian pro thought long about his decision. He ultimately woke up Treetop Village. Pardee blocked with the Redcap and persisted to finish off Edel's Treeop Village, but Edel quickly got rid of the Redcap with Maelstrom Pulse, ensuring no combos or Gavony Township plays could happen.

Pardee pressed on with Orzhov Pontiff, attacking with a 5/4 Shriekmaw. Edel shrugged and sent in the Raging Ravine, as Pardee blocked with his Pontiff. Edel passed back, as Pardee found a Birthing Pod. He played it and passed back with Shriekmaw untapped.

Edel thought for a moment before using Rakdos Charm to crush the new Birthing Pod. When he drew, he found a Lightning Bolt, which cleared the way for his Raging Ravine to wrap things up.

Edel 1 – Pardee 1

Game 3

Pardee led off the third and final game of Grand Prix Toronto with Viscera Seer. It attacked for 1, but Pardee's Melira, Sylvok Outcast elicited a Lightning Bolt from Edel, as Pardee sacrificed the legendary creature to scry 1. Edel's first creature on board was Dark Confidant, as Pardee passed without a land on the third turn.


Dark Confidant did what he did best, as he started drawing Edel some cards. Pardee drew, and while he didn't find a land, he did find a Dismember for Dark Confidant, taking 2 from his Phyrexian mana. The Viscera Seer attacked, bringing Edel to 16, who quickly untapped to play Bloodbraid Elf. The elf cascaded into Lotus Cobra, and her attack dropped Pardee even lower, who still didn't have a third land.

Edel Dismembered the Viscera Seer, and an attack send Pardee to 5. Another turn and a Treetop Village activation later, and Pardee offered the handshake.


Congratulations to Willy Edel, Grand Prix Toronto 2012 champion!
 

The Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Toronto 2012

by Blake Rasmussen

Scapeshift

5. Scapeshift

Made possible by the unbanning of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, Scapeshift really has not had a chance to shine since then. Either players were packing enough hate to keep the deck down or it just didn't have the polish necessary to make it a force in the metagame. Either way, the deck showed its power this weekend, placing two players in the Top 8. The deck gets a ton of love from the people who play it, and everyone else is certainly going to have to respect its power going forward.



Birthing Pod

4. Birthing Pod

Speaking of respecting power, Ari Lax—on his way to a Top 16 finish—declared Kiki Pod decks to be the best deck in Modern when Birthing Pod was in play. Ultimately, it was the flavor that utilized Melira, Sylvok Outcast that made the finals, but there was no denying that either deck was often seen running laps around helpless opponents who couldn't remove the Phyrexian artifact. Giving Kiki Pod decks the ability to combo seemingly out of nowhere and all flavors of the deck the ability to get incremental value out of every one of their creatures in an overwhelming fashion, Birthing Pod is surely on the short list of most powerful things you can do in Modern.



Gavony Township

3. Gavony Township

If there was one innovation that put Birthing Pod decks over the top, it was Gavony Township. But it doesn't end there. GW aggressive decks picked up on the power of the card, as did various other strategies. It was the plan B that is occasionally better than many decks' plan A, turning the format's menagerie of small mana critters into something you can't ignore. And when the most played deck in the format is built on killing things with 1-for-1 removal spells, making every Birds of Paradise matter is incredibly important.



Lingering Souls

2. Lingering Souls

It's actually getting a little annoying to write about Lingering Souls at this point. The card is so good across so many formats, that we write entire articles on it before the first day is even halfway done. Powering up Jund, Junk, Melissa DeTora's BW Tokens, Collin Morton's UW control deck (splashing black specifically for Lingering Souls), and a variety of other decks, Lingering Souls was everywhere this weekend. It's presence could also be felt in the relative lack of Poison decks, which traditionally have a hard time with the card, and the very saucy Thundermaw Hellkites in champion Willy Edel's deck.



Lotus Cobra

1. Lotus Cobra

If you didn't read Willy Edel's deck tech [link: http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtg/daily/eventcoverage/gptor12/day2#1208] then you might have missed that Edel actually played Lotus Cobra over multi-format all-star and possible best two drop of all time Dark Confidant. Why? Speed, speed, speed. Edel wanted more ways to match the speed of a format practically defined by one-mana accelerators, adding the mythic Cobra to his already full suite of Deathrite Shamans. Not only did they kick start Edel's deck, they enabled him to play more expensive cards like Thundermaw Hellkite. In fact, it was the acceleration of Lotus Cobra that enabled Edel to keep pace with the otherwise faster Robots and Melira Pod opponents he played against in the last two rounds. It's pretty safe to say that if Edel hadn't been playing Lotus Cobra this weekend, we very well could be congratulating a completely different champion. Instead, Lotus Cobra and Willy Edel will go down as two of the biggest stories from Grand Prix Toronto.

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