gplin12

Grand Prix Lincoln 2012 - Day 1 Blog

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  • by Dane Young
    Round 9: Feature Match
    David Ochoa vs. Conley Woods

  • by Dane Young
    Round 8: Feature Match
    Ben Zoz vs. Bryan Alcorn

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Saturday, 7:30 p.m.: Play the Game, Defend Your Home Turf

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 7:00 p.m.:
    Top tables, Round 7 edition

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Round 7: Feature Match
    Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Conley Woods

  • by Dane Young
    Round 6: Feature Match
    Michael Jacob vs. James Zornes

  • by Dane Young
    Saturday, 5:30 p.m.:
    Grand Prix Lincoln Fantasy Teams

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Round 5: Feature Match
    Willy Edel vs. Louis Kaplan

  • by Dane Young
    Round 4: Feature Match
    Brian Kibler vs. Ed Yelton

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: Top Tables

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Round 3: Feature Match
    Caleb Durward vs. Charles Bowman

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Saturday, 12:46 p.m.: Remember when?

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Saturday, 11:42 a.m.: Grinder Winning Decklists

  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Saturday, 10:45 a.m:
    A (Mostly) Complete History of Modern

 
  • Saturday, 10:45 a.m.: A (Mostly) Complete History of Modern

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • It’s a little hard to believe that Grand Prix: Lincoln is the very first Grand Prix to showcase the Modern format, featuring cards from Eighth Edition and Mirrodin (the original) forward. It seems like ages ago we crowned Samuel Estratti king of the format back in Philadelphia, when the Italian piloted his Splinter Twin deck to his first Pro Tour win, when, in fact, it’s been only fivelong months.

    In Magic time, it might as well have been five years. With two sets of bannings, a World Championship and part of a PTQ season under our belt, the Modern format that debuted with Cloudposts, Preordains and, ahem, Blazing Shoals aplenty bears almost no resemblance to the format ahead of us this weekend.

    For one, none of those cards are legal anymore, with Green Sun's Zenith, Ponder, Punishing Fire, Rite of Flame and Wild Nacatl joining them as forbidden fruit in the format.

    But where Philadelphia often came down to 20 goblins on turn three, attacking Emrakul, the Aeons Torn on turn 4 or 10 poison on, yes, turn two, the bannings slowed the format considerably in time for the World Championships in San Francisco.

    There, combo decks like Splinter Twin and Storm were still strong choices, but a slower format gave way to another impressive showing by Zoo and decks built to abuse Punishing Fire. There were glimmers of what was to come – like various Jund decks and Ali Aintrazi’s UW Tron list – but it was telling that Estratti, fresh off winning Philadelphia with Splinter Twin, chose to attack with Wild Nacatl instead of Pestermite.

    In response, Wild Nacatl and Punishing Fire were banned in order to give other creature decks a fighting chance and, hopefully, open up the format.

    And the result?

    The format’s diversity exploded absolutely exploded.

    Even a glance at Magic Online shows just how many viable decks have emerged in this new, wide open Modern. Sure, Splinter Twin, Affinity and Storm are all players in the new metagame, but with their power levels dialed way back, other decks have stepped in and taken some of the shine off of them.

    In fact, over a semi-random sample of six dailies online, there were 22 distinct archetypes that had at least one 3-1 or better result, and 15 of those decks had multiple high finishes.

    One of the big winners out of the bannings was Jund, which is possibly the most played Modern deck online right now. The deck has always had power to spare – Reid Duke used it to win the Magic Online championship back in November – but it didn’t always fit in the metagame. But in a slower format the combination of disruption, efficient creatures and direct damage has plenty of room to flex its muscle. Notice that Bloodbraid Elf into Blightning has been upgraded into Bloodbraid Elf into freakin’ Liliana of the Veil.




    Melira Pod has also been putting up strong numbers online. The deck uses Melira, Sylvok Outcast, persist creatures and a sacrifice outlet to create a loop, either with Kitchen Finks for tons of life or Murderous Redcap for limitless damage, and does so with a robust tutor suite that includes Chord of Calling, Birthing Pod and Ranger of Eos. Thanks to the deck’s flexibility and a myriad of options, the list has a ton of room to play either a straightforward combo game or fetch up silver bullets to clamp down on an opponent.

    And while Stomping Grounds might have tapped for its last Wild Nacatl, the kitty’s blue flying cousin Delver of Secrets is making its presence felt in Modern alongside Isochron Scepter and a suite of countermagic, removal to create a UWR deck that can shift from control to burn faster than you can say "Reveal Lightning Bolt, flip Delver." The deck can come in flavors that pack anywhere from zero to four Scepters, but Delver, Snapcaster Mage and Steppe Lynx alongside Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix and Path to Exile form the backbone of the deck.

    One example from a daily event even dipped into Standard All-Star Geist of Saint Traft. I especially love the sideboard because it lets it board into a Gifts Ungiven/Unburial Rites reanimation package that can catch opponents unaware.




    For those that don’t know how it works, a little rules loophole lets you search for fewer than four cards with Gifts Ungiven, forcing your opponent to put both cards in the graveyard. So Gifting for Unburial Rites and a fatty of choice puts both in the graveyard, right where you want them to be.

    Speaking of Gifts Ungiven, the uber tutor’s recent emergence in the format could not possibly make me happier. Back in my days as a Magic columnist, I once wrote that I loved the card so much I would pour it on my breakfast cereal if possible. So imagine my disappointment when the initial format proved too fast for a four mana instant that required a bit of set up. Even Gifts Ungiven master and Hall of Famer Frank Karsten couldn’t get it to work at Pro Tour Philadelphia, though not for lack of trying.

    But after Ali Aintrazi showed the world at Worlds that UW Tron with Gifts Ungiven could be a player in the post-Philadelphia format - even when Wild Nacatl was a constant threat - people began to find their way back to big-mana decks despite the loss of Cloudpost.

    While Tron isn’t putting up huge numbers online, it is the only major player that can actually cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, and its massive mana advantage when all of the Urzas lands are assembled gives it a leg up on other control decks. And ever since Aintrazi popularized the UW version, players have begun branching out into UR, incorporating Into the Breach for fast Eldrazi and Electrolyze as a value card.

    Why is Electrolyze, a card that saw some, but not extensive, Standard play when legal, suddenly seeing play in a format with roughly a billion more cards in it?

    I’ll give you two reasons.

    Want some more? How about Dark Confidant, Steppe Lynx, Snapcaster Mage, Signal Pest, Delver of Secrets and Blinkmoth Nexus?

    The fact is, one toughness is the new standard for a lot of Modern’s best creatures, and Electrolyze kills them all, sometimes two at a time, without costing a card. It’s one of the few cards that can deal with Squadron Hawks without falling behind on cards, mana or Tempo. That’s an especially important trait when this beast is a real player:




    That's right, Caw Blade is back! Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic may not be around to break formats or hearts anymore, but notice the use of Steelshaper's Gift as sort of a faux Stoneforge. Also note that all of its creatures die to Electrolyze. I know that if I were playing a Steam Vents control deck this weekend, I'd certainly be looking at playing some number of the Izzet instant.

    Of course, if you're playing Steam Vents, there's also a good chance you're playing some kind of combo deck, be it Splinter Twin or Past in Flames Storm decks that can be lightning fast.

    Nearly 2,000 words in and we haven't even touched on Affinity, Martyr, Mono Blue Faeries, Hive Mind, Boros, Bant, Merfolk or the not-so-cute Bump in the Night burn decks. To say Modern is diverse is probably underselling just how wide-open this format really is.

    Stay tuned all weekend as we showcase some of the best cards of the past decade combined and recombined to create a ton of fun and interesting decks that makes Modern the format that keeps on (un)giving.

     
  • Saturday, 11:42 a.m.: Grinder Winning Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Austin Fritz - Grinder Winning Decklist
    Grand Prix Lincoln 2012



    Daniel Schmidt - Grinder Winning Decklist
    Grand Prix Lincoln 2012


    Charlie Nehl - Grinder Winning Decklist
    Grand Prix Lincoln 2012


    Jaime Dalama - Grinder Winning Decklist
    Grand Prix Lincoln 2012


    Brandon Burton - Grinder Winning Decklist
    Grand Prix Lincoln 2012

     
  • Saturday, 12:46 p.m.: Remember when?

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • A big part of the Modern format's attraction is nostalgia. The newly created nonrotating format lets players resurrect favorite strategies and cards that have long since been forgotten.

    For example, did you know Worship is still legal?

    A Bant deck featuring the best Hexproof creatures in the game is popping up in spots here as players look to completely sink some entire archetypes with the Hexproof+Worship combo. The deck is actually a spiritual successor to Michael Flores' Haterade deck from old Extended several years back that has been picked up in a metagame that has a soft spot for Hexproof creatures and enchantments.

    Speaking of enchantments, check this out:

    Enduring Ideal once helped Akira Asahara Top 8 Worlds in 2005, but seven years later the deck has a ton of cool new toys to play with. Form of the Dragon might make staying alive difficult, but when combined with Paradox Haze for a two turn clock and Phyrexian Unlife, there isn't much room to maneuver for an opponent who didn't experience Champions of Kamigawa Standard.

    But in terms of cool combo decks, it's really hard to beat (and to play) Eggs:

    The deck was always a fringe strategy after the printing of Second Sunrise and Lotus Bloom because the deck is both intricate and difficult to play correctly. It's a combo deck without an easily repeatable loop, meaning the pilot can't just declare a number of iterations and call it a billion. Plus it can take forever to actually kill someone by looping Pyrite Spellbombs.

    How about something a little more straight forward?

    Back when Skred was printed, it was heralded as the "Red Swords to Plowshares," and with good reason. With enough Snow lands it can kill just about anything. There are a bunch of mono red lists in the room, but oddly enough this was the only deck I could find running Snow lands and Skred. Could people really have forgotten about the powerful red instant?

    Players certainly haven't forgotten about Merfolk, though the deck has struggled to gain a foothold in Modern. Still, this next photo harkens back to a day when Merfolk was one of the best decks in Standard.

    That's right, in Round 2 of a 716 player Grand Prix two players sat down for a Merfolk mirror match! If I remember correctly, he with the most Lords usually won, but with Modern's myriad of options, any number of cards could tilt the match either way.

    There was no end to the nostalgia in the first few rounds of the Grand Prix. Players have found new ways to use cards like Groundbreaker, the green Ball Lightning

    ..or found ways to pair every single tournament legal Red and Green haste creature ever together…

    …or fought back at those aggressive decks with a Howling Mine deck filled with fogs…

    With nearly a decade worth of cards and tournaments to look back on, Modern lets players do just about anything they found fun back in the day. Could any of these old favorites break through on Day 2 or beyond? Stay tuned all weekend as we watch for some of the best, coolest and most nostalgic decks we can find.

     
  • Round 3: Feature Match - Caleb Durward vs. Charles Bowman

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • Caleb Durward is one of the last names you want to see sitting across from you early in a Grand Prix. Not only is he a strong player, but he also has a habit of coming at formats from angles others never thought of and breaking the tournament right in half in the process. His Survival of the Fittest Legacy deck took Grand Prix Columbus by storm and eventually led to the banning of that very card. To say he's known as an innovative deck builder might be understating the case.

    Today, however, he came to game with the UWR Delver of Secrets/Isochron Scepter deck that has been gaining popularity on Magic Online.

    Charles Bowman, meanwhile, made the trek all the way from Missouri and, while he may not have Durward's pedigree, he knew his Jund deck inside and out. He said he had tested extensively for this Grand Prix and felt that Jund was such a balanced deck it gave him the opportunity to power through just about anything.

    Game 1

    Bowman led the game off with Inquisition of Kozilek, quickly dispatching a Geist of Saint Traft and leaving an Isochron Scepter sit right where it was.

    Durward had his own one drop in a Delver of Secrets, which promptly flipped thanks to a Spell Pierce, and took a Nacatl-sized chunk out of Bowman's life total. But the Missourian had the perfect answer in a Grim Lavamancer to stop the bleeding.

    Durward played land, go for a few turns before Bowman played Bloodbraid Elf and flipped a Thoughtseize. Durward was able to take care of both with a Spell Pierce and Snapcaster Mage, taking no damage but still losing a card in the exchange.

    He then tried to assemble Lightning Helix and Isochron Scepter, but Maelstrom Pulse took care of the Mirrodin artifact. If that combination had stayed in play even one more turn, it was likely Durward could have started to take over the game.

    Craig Wescoe looks on as Caleb Durward tries to maneuver against a Jund deck that seems to have his number. There's a Doomed Traveler joke in there somewhere.

    Instead, he had to settle for attempting to beat down with a Geist of Saint Traft and a Steppe Lynx, a plan which didn't match up too well against Tarmogoyf and Kitchen Finks.

    A poke from Grim Lavamancer put the life totals at 13-11 in Durward's favor, but he was losing his grip on the board. An attack with Tarmogoyf complicated matters further.

    "That's five, so if I take it I'll go to 8?" Durward thought out loud, possibly hoping to elicit some response from his opponent.

    Getting none, Durward allowed his Steppe Lynx to take the fall and tried to maneuver his Geist of Saint Traft around Kitchen Finks with a Lightning Bolt.

    But in the end it didn't matter, as a Raging Ravine gave Bowman lethal along with a Lavamancer activation.

    Bowman 1 – Durward 0

    Game 2

    No blue mana meant Durward had to send his initial hand back, and five lands meant his six cards weren't any better.

    His five card hand was pretty spicy, though, as a land and Serum Visions revealed he would draw the lands he needed over the next few turns to go with his array of blue spells. Still, he was short on actual threats.

    "I looooove having no pressure against Jund," Durward said, clearly not happy about his position.

    What he did have was counterspells. He used Spell Snare to keep Dark Confidant off the board before cracking another fetchland to hit three mana.

    "This deck is sweet," Durward said as he fell to 13 just from his own lands. "I love taking damage for stuff. I should have put this guy [Dark Confidant] in there."

    Charles Bowman moved to 3-0 after dispatching Caleb Durward, showing people that, yes, Bloodbraid Elf is still very, very good.

    He took a little more damage to fetch out a basic Island the next turn, enabling him to imprint Vapor Snag on Isochron Scepter and bounce a Grim Lavamancer, attempting to make a race out of it while down on both cards and life.

    But when Smother dispatched the Snapcaster Mage and Liliana forced both players to discard, Durward was left empty handed and way behind. Lightning Helix gave him some room to breathe, but the combination of Liliana, Grim Lavamancer and man lands meant he wasn't ever able to catch back up.

    Charles Bowman defeats Caleb Durward 2-0

     
  • Saturday, 2:30 p.m.: Top Tables

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • One of the great joys of data wonks like myself is watching how a format evolves over the course of the tournament. Decks that were thought to be All-Stars going in may quietly drop down the tables till virtually none are left, and others that no one considered initially may do just the opposite.

    To keep an eye on those trends this weekend we'll be periodically checking in with what decks are being played at the top 10 tables to form a picture of what started strong, what gained momentum, and what, eventually, came to define the best decks of the weekend.

    Round 4 is the first round all of the pros join in after three byes, so we're starting our odyssey this round even though undefeated players go all the way down to table 108. We'll check in periodically to give you a snapshot Grand Prix Lincoln.

    Archetype Count
    Melira Pod 4 4
    Izzet Tron 2 2
    RUG 2 2
    Esper 2 2
    UW Tron 1
    Storm 1
    URW Scepter 1
    Splinter Twin 1
    BR Vampires 1
    Martyr 1
    Hive Mind 1
    UR Faeries 1
    Boros 1
    Affinity 1

    Melira Pod, which uses Melira, Sylvok Outcast and persist creatures to gain tons of life or deal tons of damage, was easily the winner of this round's Top Tables. Everything else looked like fairly standard lists, with the exception of the BR Vampires deck.

    Together at last.

    Don't sleep on the deadly aggro deck just because we're early in a Grand Prix. The list packs a ton of dangerous one-drop vampires plus a new Lord in Stromkirk Captain, all backed by efficient burn.

    Does it have what it takes to run with the big boys of the format? Will Melira Pod and Tron decks battle for supremacy this weekend? Watch this feature as we move along for those answers and more.

     
  • Round 4: Feature Match - Brian Kibler vs. Ed Yelton

    by Dane Young
  • Fresh off his win at Pro Tour Dark Ascension armed with, coincidentally, a fresh set of Ascension sleeves, Brian Kibler settled in for his first round of play here in round four of Grand Prix Lincoln against Denver native Ed Yelton.

    Game 1

    Winning the roll, old friend Noble Hierarch started things off for Kibler while Ed set up for something a little trickier with Serum Visions. An Inquisition of Kozilek let Kibler in on the secret, ripping a second Serum Vision from Ed's hand, leaving Splinter Twin, Sleight of Hand and some land. Brian's follow-up of Qasali Pridemage promised to complicate Yelton's plan even further.

    When Knight of the Reliquary and a second Qasali Pridemage joined the fray, Ed was forced to find the Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker half of his combo and hope Brian was without a Path to Exile. He dug in with Sleight of Hand and bought some time with Deceiver Exarch to keep the angry Knight of the Reliquary at bay. Brian responded to the Deceiver Exarch's trigger, trading a Forest for Horizon Canopy. Qasali Pridemage crashed in, bolstered by three Exalted Triggers. Ed took it on the chin, unwilling to give up his Deceiver Exarch without seeing at least a few more cards.

    Brian Kibler

    Twisted Image picked off the Noble Hierarch and dug a card deeper into Ed's deck, but he had to pass the turn back to the Dragonmaster without any more action. Kibler's Knight of the Reliquary smashed in for eight damage and Ed was suddenly staring down lethal damage. He peeled his card for the turn, but an airball forced him to concede.

    Kibler 1, Yelton 0

    Game 2

    Keeping a hand sans ones, Ed led with Misty Rainforest and immediately spread his hand as Kibler pointed Thoughtseize at him. Remand, Deceiver Exarch and Kiki-Jiki revealed that Ed had kept on the back of his naturally-drawn combo. Deceiver Exarch hit the bin, leaving Ed with a clumsy combination of lands and spells, but Brian was nice enough to let him cycle his Remand on Qasali Pridemage. Ed had found something in the interim, tapping Kibler's Overgrown Tomb with a Deceiver Exarch on upkeep. Temporarily locked out of his second land, Brian found some protection in the form of Nameless Inversion, using Treefolk Harbinger as a Mystical Tutor before playing a Swamp and passing the turn.

    Ed's hand was flooded with land, but he was a turn short of making infinite Deceiver Exarchs with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and could only watch as Noble Hierarch developed Brian's mana. Deceiver Exarch held the ground and Ed was now able to play his Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker but declined in the face of Brian's Nameless Inversion. Ed would have to find another route or a way to protect his combo, but he certainly had some time to do it with Brian's board consisting of a 0/3 and an exalted 0/1.

    Ed Yelton

    A second Treefolk Harbinger put Doran, the Siege Tower on top of Kibler's deck as he set up for some real damage through the opposing Deceiver Exarch, but he was forced to keep two lands up for his removal spell. Still without any real action, Ed played a land and said go, expecting to take a beating from the treefolk, but Kibler was unwilling to expose himself to Kiki-Jiki and played a 4/5 Tarmogoyf instead. Luckily for the Dragonmaster, Ed was drawing bricks every turn, as a Splinter Twin would have him dead on the spot.

    A fifth land allowed Brian to cast Doran, the Siege Tower safely as he sent in his suddenly large army. Treefolk Harbingers rolled in while Ed was busy playing a frustrated version of land-go. The treefolk army crashed in again and Ed had one more draw step, but could only shake his head in disgust as he extended the hand.

    Kibler wins the match 2-0

     
  • Round 5: Feature Match - Willy Edel vs. Louis Kaplan

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • This round featured a pair of Americans facing off against a pair of Brazilians in the feature match arena. In this corner, we have Willy Edel, a long-time Brazilian pro with multiple Top 8s to his name, who came to battle with Bloodbraid Elves and other Jund favorites, one of the more popular choices today.

    Sitting across from him is Iowa native Louis Kaplan, part of a contingent of Iowa players who brought a unique take on the blue white tempo decks that dips into black for Lingering Souls over Squadron Hawk. It was a unique take on an archetype that so far seemed to be paying dividends for the Midwesterners.

    Game 1

    A quick Thoughtseize revealed two copies each of Snapcaster Mage and Spellsnare, along with some lands. Edel quickly binned the 2/1, and Kaplan used the second copy to put down some immediate pressure, pressure that subsided quickly once Edel placed Kitchen Finks in its way.

    Kaplan fought back with first one copy of Vedalken Shackles and later a second, but only had one Island to leverage the powerful artifact for several turns.

    A Bloodbraid Elf cascaded past three other copies of the 3/2 haster before eventually hitting a Thoughtseize, stripping Kaplan's Crypitic Command. The Snapcaster traded with the front side of Kitchen Finks in order to shrink it to a size more manageable with Shackles.

    Kaplan did indeed steal the Finks on the next attack, but Edel used his own Terminate to keep the path clear to his Island-light opponent.

    Cryptic Command kept Maelstrom Pulse from being a complete blowout, but Liliana had quietly worked her way up to six counters and a potential ultimate. The Spirits Kaplan made from Lingering Souls, tech a number of Iowa players were packing this weekend, were one turn too late to keep the planeswalker from playing Fact or Fiction with Kaplant's permanents.

    Willy Edel may bend, but he doesn't often break. It was still pretty early, so it wasn't exactly Do or Die, but, certainly, one of these players could stand or fall based on how this round goes. Anyone who gets that joke sure knows their Invasion block cycles.

    Edel split Kaplan's permanents to force him to choose between two spirits and his Islands or his Shackles and all of his non-Island lands. A few turns of attacks was all it took to put the Iowan away from that positions.

    Willy Edel 1 – Louis Kaplan

    Game 2

    Yet another Thoughtseize revealed Lingering Souls, Kitchen Finks and Linvala, Keeper of Silence plus lands in the Iowan's hand. Kitchen Finks fell victim this time.

    Edel continued his powerful start with a Dark Confidant while Kaplan fought back with his deck's key Lingering Souls.

    The Dark Ascension uncommon has been key for a contingent of Iowa players so far today.

    Confidant brought the pain next turn, revealing a Thoughtseize that Edel used to strip Linvala from Kaplan, falling to 12 in the meantime, and then 11 after Verdant Catacombs.

    Relic of Progenitus shut down any other souls that may be lingering out there, and a Kitchen Finks ratcheted up the pressure for the Jund side of things.

    Kaplan attacked Edel to nine, and Dark Confidant revealing Liliana dropped him down to just six life. The pain from his lands, Thoughtseizes and Dark Confidant were catching up to the Brazilian pro.

    A revealed Jund Charm put Edel to just one life, but gave him a potential out both Kaplan's spirits and his own Confidant. When it resolved on Kaplan's upkeep, it looked like Edel may have the gas to stave off elimination despite nearly dying to Confidant.

    Kitchen Finks gave him some breathing room, but an end of turn Vendilion Clique with Edel tapped out dealt the last three points.

    Edel 1 – Kaplan 0

    Game 3

    For the third game in a row Edel started off with Thoughtseize and fell to 16, revealing Path to Exile, Cryptic Command, Vendilion Clique and Mortar Pod. Edel quickly binned the Mortar Pod to clear the way for his Dark Confidant the following turn. A Tarmogoyf and no play for Kaplan put the Brazilian clearly in the driver's seat early on, and a second copy of the Future Sight green monster meant Kaplan had to move fast or game three would be over almost as soon as it began.

    The Confidant was much nicer this game, revealing multiple lands to keep Edel in the teens while he took Lhurgoyf-sized chunks out of Kaplan's life total. Edel looked like he might cruise to a quick win with ease.

    Until he didn't.

    It took every move Louis Kaplan had to stay in Game 3 after Willy Edel's brutal start.

    A Path to Exile and Vendilion Clique dealt with one 'Goyf and the Dark Confidant, and Kaplan followed up with both a Day of Judgment and a Kitchen Finks, setting up just the kind of board reversal Kaplan needed. Suddenly, Kaplan was ahead on a board and close on life, with totals 12-10 in favor of Edel.

    Another Dark Confidant gave Edel a board presence, but could he afford not to block Kitchen Finks and gamble on Dark Confidant?

    The answer, apparently, was no, as Edel blocked with Bob and used Relic of Progenitus to keep the Finks from coming back.

    A third Dark Confidant entered play for Edel, but Kaplan bested him with both Vendilion Clique and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. Just like that, Edel faced a flying squad he might not be able to handle in time.

    Jund Charm killed off Dark Confidant and the Clique, and Kitchen Finks boosted him to 6 life, well out of Linvala range. An attack from the Brazilian dropped Kaplan to 4, but Cryptic Command kept Edel from resolving another Kitchen Finks that could have put the game away.

    By keeping him off another Finks, Kaplan was able to use Linvala and Celestial Colonnade to take game three and move to 5-0.

    Louis Kaplan defeats Willy Edel 2-1

     
  • Saturday, 5:30 p.m. - Grand Prix Lincoln Fantasy Teams

    by Dane Young
  • As Pro Tour Dark Ascension approached, Wizards of the Coast rolled out the awesome Fantasy Pro Tour online Facebook application, allowing fans to pick a team of cards they thought would find the most success through day two and the Top 8 of the Pro Tour. We’re keeping the game going here at Grand Prix Lincoln, asking several players to pick teams for the very first Modern Grand Prix. Let’s see what some of this weekend’s competitors think will find success in the wide-open format:

    Raphael Levy, Melissa DeTora, James Searles

    Small creature

    Adrian Sullivan: Squadron Hawk
    Ronny Serio: Snapcaster Mage
    Stephan Hink: Snapcaster Mage
    Owen Turtenwald: Tarmogoyf
    Raphael Levy: Dark Confidant
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Dark Confidant
    Andrew Morrow: Goblin Guide

    Ronny Serio

    Medium Creature

    Adrian Sullivan: Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
    Ronny Serio: Vendilion Clique
    Stephan Hink: Vendilion Clique
    Owen Turtenwald: Deceiver Exarch
    Raphael Levy: Kitchen Finks
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Kitchen Finks
    Andrew Morrow: Pestermite

    Large Creature

    Adrian Sullivan: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    Ronny Serio: Wurmcoil Engine
    Stephan Hink: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    Owen Turtenwald: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    Raphael Levy: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
    Andrew Morrow: Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

    Stephan Nosy Hink

    Artifact

    Adrian Sullivan: Memnite
    Ronny Serio: Cranial Plating
    Stephan Hink: Vedalken Shackles
    Owen Turtenwald: Birthing Pod
    Raphael Levy: Spellskite
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Spellskite
    Andrew Morrow: Etched Champion

    Enchantment

    Adrian Sullivan: Splinter Twin
    Ronny Serio: Splinter Twin
    Stephan Hink: Splinter Twin
    Owen Turtenwald: Splinter Twin
    Raphael Levy: Blood Moon
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Blood Moon
    Andrew Morrow: Pyromancer Ascension

    Owen Turtenwald

    Planeswalker

    Adrian Sullivan: Jace Beleren
    Ronny Serio: Liliana of the Veil
    Stephan Hink: Liliana of the Veil
    Owen Turtenwald: Liliana of the Veil
    Raphael Levy: Liliana of the Veil
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Liliana of the Veil
    Andrew Morrow: Liliana of the Veil

    Land

    Adrian Sullivan: Island
    Ronny Serio: Scalding Tarn
    Stephan Hink: Scalding Tarn
    Owen Turtenwald: Scalding Tarn
    Raphael Levy: Misty Rainforest
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Scalding Tarn
    Andrew Morrow: Steam Vents

    Andrew Morrow

    Instant

    Adrian Sullivan: Spell Snare
    Ronny Serio: Remand
    Stephan Hink: Remand
    Owen Turtenwald: Lightning Bolt
    Raphael Levy: Lightning Bolt
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Remand
    Andrew Morrow: Lightning Bolt

    Sorcery

    Adrian Sullivan: Serum Visions
    Ronny Serio: Serum Visions
    Stephan Hink: Serum Visions
    Owen Turtenwald: Serum Visions
    Raphael Levy: Malestrom Pulse
    Melissa DeTora and James Searles: Inquisition of Kozilek
    Andrew Morrow: Maelstrom Pulse
    Adrian Sullivan

    With popular answers of Serum Visions, Remand, Splinter Twin and Spellskite, these players clearly expect Splinter Twin to be one of the more successful decks in the tournament. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn almost unanimously took the "large creature" spot, which we can assume foretells various Tron decks, while other answers show a difference of opinion.
    Now that you’ve seen their answers, which cards do you think are going to be the most successful this weekend? Challenge your friends and follow the coverage all weekend to see who was right!

     
  • Round 6: Feature Match - Michael Jacob vs. James Zornes

    by Dane Young
  • Modern is a format in which many decks are playable, but Melira Pod and Storm combo are two of the more popular. We're going to find out which of them is favored here, with Michael Jacob piloting Melira Pod and James Zornes on Storm.

    Game 1

    James won the roll and fetched a basic Island to fuel Serum Visions, scrying both of the cards to the bottom. A tapped Godless Shrine was less than idea for Michael, but Melira on turn two gave him some board presence and a hope of going off before James could.

    Michael Jacob

    Those hopes were dashed when James fired off a Metamorphose on turn three. He proceeded to charge up his mana pool and storm count with Desperate Ritual, Seething Song and another Manamorphose before killing Melira, Sylvok Outcast with Grapeshot and making a dozen goblins with Empty the Warrens. Michael drew for his turn and conceded.

    James 1, Michael 0

    Game 2

    Michael was slow out of the gate again as Kitchen Finks broke the ice for him. James was busy doing nothing, but it was going to take more than a 3/2 to put any real pressure on him. Entomber Exarch tried to do help out, but Remand sent it back, buying James a card and some damage for the time being.

    The exarch came back the next turn and pulled Seething Song out of James' grip, but left a loaded hand that included two Gifts Ungiven. One of them went for a handful of rituals and MJ gave him the worst of the bunch: Pyretic Ritual and Desperate Ritual.

    James Zornes

    Kitchen Finks and Entomber Exarch piled in and a second Kitchen Finks added more damage to the board, but James set up with another Gifts Ungiven for two more rituals. Staring down lethal damage, he went off on the next turn, mashing ritual after ritual onto the board, assembling eight mana before doing it again with Past in Flames. He continued to chain spells together, soaring up to a storm count of 18 and a bunch of mana as he dug into his deck with Serum Visions, Gifts Ungiven and Gitaxian Probe. A second Past in Flames was enough for a frustrated MJ to pack it up.

    James Zornes wins the match 2-0.

     
  • Round 7: Feature Match - Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Conley Woods

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • Teammates, friends and always threats to Top 8 any tournament, Conley Woods and Josh Utter-Leyton sat down in a virtual mirror match of blue control decks. Woods was fresh off his win at Grand Prix Orlando, while Utter-Leyton had already established himself as a Modern master with his 2nd place finish at Pro Tour Philadelphia.

    Both players were even playing similar, though not the same, blue control decks. Utter-Leyton was playing a more traditional Next Level Blue-style deck while Woods was on Mystical Teachings.

    Since the players were so familiar with one another, they spent a good deal of the lead in to the game imagining scenarios in which they could both come out of this tournament happy despite playing each other.

    "I'll gladly take 10th place right now, can we just both take 10th place right now? Should we call a judge and ask?" Woods asked me, as if a coverage reporter had any influence whatsoever over what I'm pretty sure was akin to asking if a genie could grant him a wish.

    Assured that, no, they could not arrange a dual 10th place finish, the teammates shuffled up for game one.

    Game 1

    As you might expect in a blue on blue matchup, the first few turns were a steady rhythm of "Land, go, land, go," until Utter-Leyton's broke serve with a Vendilion Clique. The legendary fairy met Mana Leak, but a follow-up Tarmogoyf stuck.

    Woods had a trump, however, in Vedalken Shackles, along with enough Islands to steal the 3/4 'Goyf, which he immediately started attacking with. Utter-Leyton attempted to take it back with Cryptic Command, but Woods had his own copy to Dismiss his teammate.

    Remand kept another Shackles off the table, but Woods added Miren, the Moaning Well to his board, ready to sacrifice any stolen creature.

    While all of this was happening, Utter-Leyton was stuck on four lands to Woods' eight. Mana usually plays a key role in control-on-control battles, and Woods was clearly ahead in that category.

    In the battle of which Channelfireballer could have the most Islands, Josh Utter-Leyton came out on the short end of game one.

    Utter-Leyton attempted to wrest control of the Tarmogoyf back with his own Shackles, but a second Shackles from Woods kept it from trading sides yet again, creating a complicated dance between three Vedalken Shackles.

    Woods added to his board with a Delver of Secrets as the players kept jockeying for position. Utter-Leyton fell to just three life and, after a flurry of counterspells, faced down a Snapcaster Mage, Insectile Aberration and Tarmogoyf. A Cryptic Command gave him one turn to breath, but his mana disadvantage left him with too few options and not enough room to maneuver.

    Woods 1 – Utter-Leyton 0

    Game 2

    The stead thrum of "Land, go" was interrupted early on this game as Woods led with a Serum Visions right off the bat.

    "Both on top."

    "Really?" Utter-Leyton said, with what passes for surprise from the stoic player.

    Tarmogoyf reared its future shifted head early this game, making a turn two appearance and starting to peck away for two damage a turn thanks to Serum Visions and a Scalding Tarn. Unlike last game, Utter-Leyton was hitting his land drops, allowing him to keep pressure with Tarmogoyf while still keeping up counter magic.

    That came in handy when Woods attempted a Vendilion Clique that Utter Leyton was able to parry with a Cryptic Command. Woods then used his own Commands to bounce the 'Goyf and draw for two turns, all while dispatching a Vedalken Shackles with Ancient Grudge. He then Transmuted Tolaria West for a Slaughter Pact that let him kill the Tarmogoyf, emptying the board once again.

    Woods made the next move, casting a Delver of Secrets and countering Vendilion Clique with Cryptic Command. The Delver refused to flip for several turns, all the while the players were playing more land, interrupted occasionally by a Repealed Tarmogoyf or a second Delver.

    Would you trust this man with a Wipe Away?

    Here's an example of how complicated the game became at that point.

    With two Delver of Secrets waiting to flip, Woods stacked both triggers. Revealing Mana Leak on the first one, Utter-Leyton told his teammate to pause for a moment. After considering his options, he attempted to use Cryptic Command to bounce the flipped Delver, to which Woods replied with his own Cryptic Command, counter the spell and bouncing the Tarmogoyf. After all of that, the second Delver flipped.

    So fast forward to turn, oh, let's just call it turn 87 for all it matters, the board stood at two Insectile Aberrations and 10 land for Conley Woods and 9 land for Utter-Leyton. The attack put Utter-Leyton to seven life while a Nature's Claim on Vedalken Shackles had rocketed Woods up to 18 life. Utter-Leyton resolved a 5/6 Tarmogoyf, but was way, way behind on damage.

    The Aberrations dropped Utter-Leyton to one, but with Woods still at 18, it didn't look like the Tarmogoyf was going to get it done.

    A Snapcaster returned Cryptic Command to keep Utter-Leyton alive another turn and helped drop Woods to four life, threatening a game three if Woods couldn't break through one last time.

    Yet another Cryptic Command gave Utter-Leyton the turn he needed, but Woods still had some tricks up his sleeve. His attempt to Ancient GrudgeVedalken Shackles was met with Dispel. Woods Mana Leaked the Dispel, but Utter-Leyton was able to pay.

    However, that left him with just two mana left to operate Vedalken Shackles, even though he was attacking for lethal. Woods last trick?

    "Wipe Away?" Utter-Leyton said in disbelief as he lost his Tarmogoyf.

    "Boom!" said Woods upon springing his trap.

    When Woods went to attack the next turn with both of his Insectile Aberrations, all he had to do was sacrifice one of them to Miren, the Moaning Well after Shackles attempted to steal it and he had survived a brutal Cryptic Command mirror.

    Conley Woods defeats Josh Utter-Leyton 2-0

     
  • Saturday, 7:00 p.m. - Top tables, Round 7 edition

    by Event Coverage Staff
  • It's Round 7, which means we're checking in again on what the top tables have in store. Last time we looked at the top 10 decks, Melira Pod was the clear winner, followed by RUG, Tron decks and Esper Blade.

    Fast forward through the bubble effect of the byes and we see a much different set of decks doing well. Caw Blade and Jund look like the top dogs at this point, followed by UW Tron, rather than its RU bretheren. Every single one of these decks was at 6-0, meaning they only needed one win to make Day 2.

    Even at this point, as many rogue strategies start to fall by the wayside, it's incredible to see the diversity Modern has to offer. On the top 10 tables, there were a whopping 12 distinct archetypes. Mirror match what?

    ArchetypeCount
    Jund5
    Caw Blade3
    UW Tron2
    RUW Scepter1
    RUG1
    Doran1
    GW aggro1
    Naya1
    Esper Blade1
    BW Tokens1
    Bant1
    Splinter Twin1
     
  • Saturday, 7:30 p.m. - Play the Game, Defend Your Home Turf

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • It seems like every Grand Prix has one or two locals who break out on the weekend and represent their home turf. The home field advantage players get from sleeping in their own bed, playing on familiar ground and traveling only a short distance can sometimes be enough to push talented local players over the edge.

    And while Nebraska doesn't get much press for its Magic community, the state consistently puts players on the Pro Tour and even sports Ben Zoz, a player who has been on several national teams.

    Zoz is here this weekend, and is 5-1-1, but so far the Nebraskans are being paced by Tyler Kozal at 6-1.

    Nebraskan Ben Zoz has been on multiple national teams.

    Kozal traveled just under two hours for Grand Prix Lincoln from the small town of Kearney, Nebraska. Standing strong at 6-0, Kozal's here this weekend one week after slinging spells at Pro Tour Dark Ascension.

    Though he wasn't happy with his performance in Hawaii, he has to be thrilled to be 6-0 after starting the day with zero byes.

    PTDKA was Kozal's third pro tour, with his highest finish coming at PT Kyoto where he played Faeries on the way to Day 2.

    These days he doesn't get to play much paper Magic due to school commitments, but he says Kearney actually has a strong player base split between two shops – Game On and Café Vibe.

    Not too far behind Kozal and Zoz is Luke Goodwin at 5-2, one of Zoz's testing partners and a Lincoln native. Kozal says the local crowd splits its time between gaming at Hobby Lobby and Next Level Gaming.

    Goodwin and crew travel extensively and make it to just about every major Midwest event. Goodwin himself has Day 2'd one Pro Tour and attended a few.

    Goodwin said the scene in Lincoln is incredibly healthy and, interestingly, used to sport some of the highest rated Legacy players in the country thanks to a weekly "creature feature" event that was played with Legacy rules but included the twist of forcing players to stock up on creatures. At the time, they were one of the few places running Legacy events.

    The creature feature events are long since gone, but Zoz, Kozal and Goodwin could certainly make their mark on Modern this weekend with some strong finishes.

    There's also a contingent of Iowans on site who consider Nebraska, if not their back yard, at least their neighbor's yard down the street.

    The state is split pretty evenly between the Ames crew – paced by occasional Pro Tour 11th place finisher Brandon Scheel – and the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City group.

    Both squads are long on Pro Tour experience – most PTs feature multiple Iowa ringers – but few have had breakout performances since Scheel ended his run of always-a-bridesmaid 11th place finishes a few years back.

    The Ames group – which is near Des Moines for those who didn't take Iowa geography – came to game with a fairly typical Storm deck that Scheel has been using to tear up Magic Online recently. The team's cohesion was evident when a Thursday call went out for 15 Sleight of Hands.


    Sleight of Hand

    On the other side of the state, the Cedar Rapids/Iowa group has a number of players floating right at 5-2 with an interesting take on Caw Blade – minus both the caws and the blades.

    Instead the deck takes a page out of Standard and replaced the Squadron Hawks with Lingering Souls, which they said were incredible against other control decks. Louis Kaplan started hot, beating Willy Edel to move to 5-0 in the feature match area, but has since dropped two straight to sit right on the bubble.

    Follow along tomorrow to see which, if any, of these Midwest stalwarts can break through on the big stage.

     
  • Round 8: Feature Match - Ben Zoz vs. Bryan Alcorn

    by Dane Young
  • Former US national team member and Nebraska native Ben Zoz was part of a local crew looking to lead the charge into day two. In his way was Oklahoma's Bryan Alcorn armed with the power-packed and popular Jund deck.

    Game 1

    Bryan won the initiative and led with Raging Ravine, but was trumped by Noble Hierarch to start the match. Bryan kept the mana war even as he pointed a Lightning Bolt at the exalted elf, but Ben's Tarmogoyf slipped through the cracks. Fighting back, Bryan revealed himself to be Jund with an Inquisition of Kozilek.

    Path to Exile fell into the graveyard, leaving Ben with two Spell Pierce and Geist of Saint Traft but no blue mana in sight for Ben's Bant deck. Bryan followed up with a Tarmogoyf of his own, but a second Noble Hierarch and Qasali Pridemage let Ben smash through for five. Bloodbraid Elf found a Thoughtseize, taking the Geist of Saint Traft out right before Ben was able to play it, but the hasty 3/2 couldn't get through the Qasali Pridemage, so Bryan sent just Tarmogoyf.

    Bryan Alcorn

    Happy to race with his clumsy pair of Spell Pierces stranded in his hand, Ben attacked with his larger Tarmogoyf, dropping Bryan to 10. Moorland Haunt gave him a powerful threat with all of the exalted he had lying around, forcing Bryan to tie up his blue mana with Liliana of the Veil. Ben nearly let it in but decided better, making use of one of his otherwise dead Spell Pierces. He took a shot from Tarmogoyf on the chin and winced as Kitchen Finks made things more complicated.

    With just four life left, Ben took to the air with his Moorland Haunt, getting in for three points at a time with the ground gummed up. Bryan sputtered on run of bad draws, falling to four as Ben played Rhox War Monk. Sejiri Steppe gave it protection from green, allowing it to run right past the defending Tarmogoyf, hitting home for an exalted kill.

    Ben 1, Bryan 0

    Game 2

    The traditionally slow-starting Jund deck led with a tapped Overgrown Tomb, but Dark Confidant drew a disgusted head shake from the defenseless Ben, who had no action on either of his first two turns. Dark Confidant peeled a land and attacked, but Ben had the Mana Leak for Bryan's post-combat Kitchen Finks.

    Ben played his third land and said go, but Bryan knew something was up. He tapped out for Bloodbraid Elf and revealed a dead Slaughter Pact, pausing before deciding to send his team. Vendilion Clique went for the elbow drop, but Bryan crushed it with a second Slaughter Pact before cycling a Tarmogoyf, forcing in a big chunk of damage as Ben stumbled behind.

    Ben Zoz

    Thrun, the Last Troll held the fort for a turn, but Bob revealed a backup Tarmogoyf that was almost large enough to fend off the hexproof beast, and Ben was stuck watching his opponent's board fill with beef. He ripped an Obstinate Baloth that would put him back in the ballgame, but made a curious attack with Thrun, the Last Troll before playing it. Bryan had no choice but to let the attack through as he looked for a lethal attack.

    The Obstinate Baloth arrived after combat, sending Ben's life up to 12 and giving him a large body to defend with. Bryan's own Thrun, the Last Troll collided with Ben's after Bryan attacked, losing the Tarmogoyf. Lightning Bolt finished off the Baloth, and Bryan's had regained a dominant board position just like that.

    A 3/3 Knight of the Reliquary and Stirring Wildwood gave Ben some blocking fodder, trading with a Dark Confidant gifted Bloodbraid Elf. Ben fell to 2 from the other Bloodbraid Elf and Dark Confidant, and it was obvious that Ben was betting most of his chips on Dark Confidant finishing the job for him. A Noble Hierarch let the manland attack for four, putting Bryan on a scant one life, and Ben stared at the top of Bryan's deck, presumably trying to will a lethal spell to the top. Inquisition of Kozilek was it, and Ben had somehow found a way to win.

    Ben Zoz wins 2-0.

     
  • Round 9 Feature Match - David Ochoa vs. Conley Woods

    by Blake Rasmussen
  • “It’s good for you, I’m tired and just want to go to bed,” David Ochoa said as he sat down to face fellow Channelfireball teammate Conley Woods in an elimination match with both players at 6-2.

    “Me too,” Woods said. “Actually, I just want to get food.”

    Apparently Woods wanted to stay hungry, because he turned down beef jerky from Ochoa.

    “Does it intimidate you that I haven’t lost since round five?” Ochoa said, sliding his beef jerky away.

    “You mean that you started out 0-2? No, it doesn’t,” Woods shot back.

    Oh yeah, Conley Woods and David Ochoa are two incredibly accomplished magicians, yadda, yadda yadda. Loser doesn’t have to wake up early tomorrow. Game on.

    Game 1

    Both players quickly revealed their stripes as Ochoa led with a Tron piece, two Expedition Maps and Azorius Signet while Woods had a quick Delver of Secrets.

    The Delver did its best human fly imitation when Woods revealed a Slaughter Pact, a card that was about the least useful card he could draw against Tron.

    “Exactly what I wanted against you,” Woods offered.

    Ochoa quickly found the full Urza Tron on turn four and used it to Gifts Ungiven for Thirst for Knowledge, Remand, Repeal and another Gifts Ungiven, the very definition of a value Gifts Ungiven. Remand and Thirst for Knowledge made it to Ochoa’s hand while the Insectile Aberration put Ochoa to 13.

    From there another Expedition Map found Eye of Ugin and Ochoa attempted to pass the turn. When Woods then Repealed Azorius Signet, Ochoa used the mana to Path to Exile the Aberration then searched out an Eldrazi with Eye of Ugin.

    Taking another tact, Woods went on the offensive with two Snapcaster Mages flashing back nothing and a Delver of Secrets, dropping Ochoa to 9.

    Not shown, the assembled Urza Tron and the legendary Eldrazi it spawned.

    But Ochoa didn’t go for the throat with an Eldrazi just yet, especially when he could turn the tables so spectacularly with Timely Reinforcements, shooting back up to 15 and placing a ton of blockers in the way of the Snapcasters.

    TheDelver of Secrets, however, wouldn’t get so caught up after it flipped into Insectile Aberration. Woods followed up with Vedalken Shackles, though its only real use was grabbing a wayward soldier token.

    But realizing he couldn’t beat an Eldrazi through the tokens, Woods scooped when Ochoa showed him a land to play around more counterspells.

    Ochoa 1 – Woods 0

    Game 2

    The pace of game two was immediately different as Woods played and flipped a Delver of Secrets right away, putting Ochoa to 14 before he could even crack an Expedition Map. He then went to 11 while his Thirst for Knowledge was Mana Leaked.

    But it was apparently a ruse, as Ochoa laid the third Tron piece and cast Wurmcoil Engine on turn 4 while Woods was tapped out. That forced Woods to play Cryptic Command on his own turn to bounce the offensive artifact.

    Ochoa was all the way down to five when he attempted to attack. An Ancient Grudge cut off that avenue mid-attack, but Oblivion Ring removed the Aberration. Woods then finished off the lifelink token with the back side of Ancient Grudge.

    Ochoa attempted a Gifts Ungiven, but it was met with a Mana Leak that he couldn’t pay for.

    After Ochoa searched up Eye of Ugin with an Expedition Map, Woods dropped a haymaker, trying to stifle Ochoa’s progress with Blood Moon. In response, Ochoa searched up Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre, but was now fairly far away from casting it.

    Blood Moon

    He used his lone basic Island to Gifts Ungiven for Azorius Signet, Island, Repeal and Talisman of Progress, getting the two artifacts.

    The reason why was readily apparent the following turn when both were hit with Spell Snares that had otherwise been rotting in Woods’ hand.

    All this time the Deathtouch Wurm token had been beating down and quietly tied it all up at 5 life apiece, a life total that looked precarious when Ochoa used Expedition Map to find Celestial Colonnade, even if it was locked under Blood Moon.

    But Woods found Snapcaster Mage to replay Cryptic Command and unlock his Delver of Secrets from Oblivion Ring. The attack dropped Ochoa to a precarious two life, and when his Ulamog – cast off 11 lands the hard way – was hit with Mindbreak Trap, Ochoa packed it up.

    Woods 1 – Ochoa 1

    Game 3

    After an involved game two, the pair found themselves with just 8 minutes left on the clock for the final game of the round, the match, and the tournament for one of them. A tie would do no one any good.

    Both players played at a breakneck pace, passing back and forth rapidly with little action in the early turns. Expedition Map gave Ochoa nearly Tron on turn five, but a fight over Vendilion Clique on his end step let Woods resolve Blood Moon.

    When he did that, there were just over four minutes showing on the clock.

    Talisman of Dominance resolved, but Woods landed Delver of Secrets to start his clock. He also played Vendilion Clique, but Ochoa used that opportunity to Celestial Purge the Blood moon and unlock his mana base.

    Time was tick, tick, ticking down on making day two for Conley Woods.

    Two minutes left.

    Path to Exile dispatched the Clique, but not before it put Pact of Negation on the bottom of Ochoa’s library.

    30 seconds

    Another Blood Moon.

    Time.

    Wurmcoil Engine found its way to the battlefield through Mana Leak, but Woods had flipped Delver of Secrets. He then used Cryptic Command to stave off the Wurmcoil for a turn, but Ochoa transmuted Tolaria West to find Pact of Negation.

    Both players were jockeying to earn a concession, and when the five turns ran out, Ochoa reluctantly scooped to a close board position that slightly favored Woods.

    Conley Woods defeats David Ochoa 2-1 and moves on to Day 2

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