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Duke is King of Nashville

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Reid Duke has done it again!

Reigning Magic Online Champion, and three time Grand Prix Top 8 competitor, Reid Duke proved once and for all that he has what it takes to succeed with physical cards by going undefeated through the Swiss rounds of Grand Prix Nashville before sprinting through the Top 8 without dropping a single game!

Todd Anderson, on the other hand, had a very difficult road to the finals. After squeaking his way into the Top 8 with a 12-2-1 record, he was able to defeat Shuuhei Nakamura (who earned the 18th Grand Prix Top 8 of his career this weekend), and three-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Josh Utter-Leyton, before ultimately falling to Reid.

Caleb Durward followed up his Top 8 finish at Grand Prix Indianapolis last weekend with a Top 8 finish here – but despite having two amazing tournaments, a quarterfinal exit here leaves him still longing for an invitation to Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in Barcelona.

And Kyle Babin, Lissa Jensen, and Robbie Cordell each made their Grand Prix Top 8 debuts this weekend.

Outside of the Top 8, Jon Finkel and Owen Turtenwald each finished in the Top 64, earning the 1 Pro Point that they needed to guarantee that they would reach Platinum level in the Pro Players Club just by showing up at Pro Tour Avacyn Restored.

Be sure to join us next weekend as we bring you live coverage from Grand Prix Mexico City and Grand Prix Kuala Lumpur!





Follow live streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Nashville at ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Rich Hagon, Nate Price, and Ben Swartz.

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Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals Champion
5 Lissa Jensen Reid Duke 2-0
1 Reid Duke Reid Duke 2-0
3 Kyle Babin Kyle Babin 2-1 Reid Duke 2-0
4 Robbie Cordell
7 Todd Anderson Todd Anderson 2-0
6 Shuuhei Nakamura Todd Anderson 2-1
8 Josh Utter-Leyton Josh Utter-Leyton 2-1
2 Caleb Durward







EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Reid Duke $3,500
 2.  Todd Anderson $2,300
 3.  Kyle Babin $1,500
 4.  Josh Utter-Leyton $1,500
 5.  Caleb Durward $1,000
 6.  Robbie Cordell $1,000
 7.  Lissa Jensen $1,000
 8.  Shuuhei Nakamura $1,000
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  • Top 8 Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Robbie Cordell (R-Cordell)

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Dalton, GA
    Occupation: Magic Online


    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    First one!

    PTs:

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    No

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    8-1, Intangible Virtue

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Black-Red 2-1
    Black-White Humans/Spirits 3-0

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Black-White… so much synergy



    Todd Anderson

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Birmingham, AL
    Occupation: Writer for StarCityGames.com


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Top 25 at Pro Tour Dark Ascension in Honolulu, Top 8 at Grand Prix Austin, 2009 US National Team member, SCG Grinder

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    2

    PTs:

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    Yes

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    8-1, Desperate Ravings

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    2-1 Red-Blue-Black Stitch Together
    2-0-1 White-Green splash black Travel Preparations/Lingering Souls

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Red-Green Aggro



    Kyle Babin

    Age: 22
    Hometown: Baton Rouge
    Occupation: Student at LSU


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    Magic Online Grinder

    Top 8s:

    GPs:

    PTs:

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    No

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    8-1. Increasing Ambition, only because it got my actual bombs, Devil’s Play and Curse of Death’s Hold.

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Green-Red splash black both times.
    3-0
    2-0-1

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Green-Red



    Josh Utter-Leyton

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Rohnert Park
    Occupation: Software Engineer at Bunchball


    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    3

    PTs:
    3

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    Yes

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    7-1-1, Lingering Souls

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Red-Green Dinosaurs 2-1
    Black-White Humans 3-0

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Well my favorite is Spiders, but I don’t let myself draft it anymore…



    Lissa Jensen

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Rochester, Wi
    Occupation: Librarian


    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:

    PTs:

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    Nope

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    8-1, Increasing Devotion with Champion of the Parish

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Green-White both times.
    2-1 in the first draft
    3-0 in the second draft

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Green-Red Smashy



    Reid Duke

    Age: 22
    Hometown: Sugar Loaf, NY
    Occupation: the Gathering


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    2011 Magic Online Champion

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    2 - Providence, and Montreal (2011)

    PTs:

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    Yes, on Pro Level

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    9-0, it was a tie between foil Vault of the Archangel, and non-foil Vault of the Archangel.

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Blue-Red Burning Vengeance 3-0
    White-Green Beatdown 1-0-2

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Black based decks with morbid, and lots of removal.



    Caleb Durward

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Chicago
    Occupation: Writer for ChannelFireball.com


    Previous Magic accomplishments:

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    2 - Grand Prix Columbus, and Grand Prix Indianapolis last weekend

    PTs:

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    NO.

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    8-1, Dungeon Geists

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Green-White 3-0
    Green-Red 2-0-1

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Delver.dec



    Shuuhei Nakamura

    Age: 29 + 16 months
    Hometown: Somewhere
    Occupation: Grand Prix Top 16 Collector


    Previous Magic accomplishments:
    2011 Hall of Fame

    Top 8s:

    GPs:
    17

    PTs:
    5

    Are you qualified for PT Avacyn Restored (yet)?
    Yes

    What was your record on Day 1 and what card was your MVP?
    8-1. Dissipate (it was the 23rd card in my deck).

    What archetypes did you draft on Day 2 and what were your records with each?
    Blue-White 3-0 (seems good)
    Blue-White 1-1-1 (seems bad)

    What is your favorite archetype in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Booster Draft?
    Blue-White, or Green-White, or Green-Red





     

  • Quarterfinals: Shuuhei Nakamura vs. Todd Anderson
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • It was the best of decks, it was the worst of decks...

    Butchering of classic opening lines aside, the match between Shuuhei Nakamura and Todd Anderson looked like it could me a matchup between a draft gone right and a draft gone horribly askew.

    Talking to the players before their quarterfinals match, Nakamura was pretty straight forward about what he thought about his base green deck of, well, stuff.

    "Sick," said the Hall of Famer. "Really, really bad."

    Meanwhile, Anderson seemed a little sunnier on his green white deck splashing black for Lingering Souls, a card that had been huge for him so far this weekend.

    "Do you like your deck?" Nakamura asked when he sat down.

    "Do you like yours?" Anderson asked, not willing to give too much away right off the bat.

    "I don't like it," Nakamura said, not shy about how he felt about his deck.

    Game 1

    Nakamura started things off with a Young Wolf and a Shriekgeist, giving a little chuckle when he cast the two drop.

    The reason was evident when the Shriekgeist promptly milled Lingering Souls. Always the good natured one, Nakamura let out a word not printable on a family website, even though he was smiling while saying it.

    Nakamura made no secret of the fact that he thought his deck was pretty bad.

    A second mill then revealed Travel Preparations, giving both players a good laugh.

    Still, the Japanese pro kept adding to his board while Anderson simply played a Mausoleum Guard and Gallows Warden, flashback cards still at the ready. Those two combined were enough to slow Nakamura down for a turn even as he made a bunch of mostly random 2/2s.

    Anderson rebought the Travel Preparations with Make a Wish and buffeted his Lingering Souls tokens to let him start doing damage with his spirits. But they shrank a big the following turn when a Grasp of Phantoms helped Shriekgeist get rid of the Gallows Warden permanently.

    It didn't much matter at this point though. He had Nakamura down to just one life, and was ahead with two 3/3 spirits and a 4/4 Mausoleum Guard to Nakamura's virtual nothing.

    "Thank you Shriekgeist," Anderson offered.

    Todd Anderson 1 – Shuuhei Nakamura 0

    Game 2

    The first few turns of this game were, how to put it gently, anticlimactic. Nakamura's first five turns involved playing five forests, while Anderson didn't hit his third land until his turn five.

    Todd Anderson was more than happy to prove Nakamura right, and took two games faster than most matches finished one.

    When he did start hitting lands, though, out came the big guns. Lingering Souls (with a Swamp for flashback to boot) and a Galvanic Juggernaut.

    Nakamura finally got on the board with an Armored Skaab, but it wasn't more than a speed bump to a Galvanic Juggernaut, and it couldn't block any Lingering Souls anyway.

    Requiem Angel was then enough to convince Nakamura to scoop.

    Todd Anderson defeats Shuuhei Nakamura 2-0



     

  • Quarterfinals: Josh Utter-Leyton (White-Black) vs. Caleb Durward (Red-Green)
    by Steve Sadin

  • Just last weekend, Caleb Durward piloted a Red-Blue-Green Delver deck to the Top 8 at Grand Prix Indianapolis. Caleb wasn't happy with his play in the Quarterfinals, and explained to his friends that he "punted" his match against eventual Finalist Kenny Castor. This was a particularly costly loss for Caleb, as he needed a Top 4 to qualify for Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in Barcelona.

    Rather than let his mistakes get him down, Caleb was able to bounce back, and fight his way to the Top 8 here in Nashville. He once again finds himself a match away from a highly sought-after invitation to Pro Tour Avacyn Restored.

    But that match is going to be a difficult one, as his Quarterfinal opponent is none other than Josh Utter-Leyton – the three-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor who has been silently dominating tournaments for the better part of the last two years.

    Game One

    Both players mulliganed to start the game, and while they each had fairly strong draws, Utter-Leyton was ready with answers, or trumps, for every one of Durward's plays. Between Avacynian Priest, Slayer of the Wicked, and Burden of Guilt, Utter-Leyton was far ahead from the get-go.

    Caleb Durward plays in this top 8 match

    Before Durward could even begin thinking up ways that he could get out of his terrible position, Utter-Leyton played a Mikaeus, the Unhallowed which attacked for lethal a couple of turns later.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 1 – Caleb Durward 0

    Game Two

    Durward mulliganed into a hand with a Daybreak Ranger, but no red mana sources. And while Utter-Leyton hoped that he would be able to kill the potentially devastating werewolf with a Skirsdag Flayer, he was unable to find a fourth land before Durward drew the Mountain that he needed to activate Nightfall Predator.

    Without an answer for Nightfall Predator, Josh could only sit and watch as Caleb systematically picked apart his board, before completely overwhelming him a few turns later.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 1 – Caleb Durward 1

    Game Three

    Caleb played a checklist card on his third turn, and Josh immediately inspected it to see what had been marked. "It's not Daybreak Ranger!" exclaimed Utter-Leyton, who was clearly very relieved to find out that he would only have to face a Hanweir Watchkeep.

    For a moment it looked like Josh was going to be able to run away with the game by using a Skirsdag Flayer, and a Bonds of Faith to deal with all of Caleb's relevant threats – but Caleb suddenly put himself right back into the thick of things by using a Naturalize to free his Hollowhenge Beast, and attack Josh down to 6 life.

    Josh Utter-Leyton wins the 3rd match to advance to the semi-finals

    However, a Moment of Heroism pumping an unblocked Thraben Militia gave Josh the life (and the extra damage) that he needed to advance to the Semifinals, leaving Caleb a mere match away from earning his invitation to Pro Tour Avacyn Restored for the second weekend in a row.

    Josh Utter-Leyton 2 – Caleb Durward 1



     

  • Quarterfinals: QF Wrapup
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Kyle Babin vs. Robbie Cordell

    In the first game, Cordell and his black white deck appeared to be ahead of Babin's vampire horde, until his Stromkirk Captain showed up. From there a Rakish Heir and Markov Patrician wielding a Silver-Inlaid Dagger were too much to handle and Babin took the first game convincingly.

    In the second game, Babin was the aggressor. Walking Corpse, Rakish Heir, Erdwal Ripper and Bloodcrazed Neonate all made early appearances as Cordell tried to keep his head above water. And keep his head above water he did. Thanks to a some lifelink and some untimely flooding by Babin, Cordell was able to reassert himself.

    At one point, Babin drew four straight lands, something his aggressive deck has a hard time recovering from. Who Village Bell Ringers, which were premium removal spells against Babin's horde of one-toughness creatures, made attacking impossible.

    A few lands and a few more attackers for Cordell evened up the match at one apiece.

    Robbie Cordell used all the tricks at his disposal to win game two.

    Now, neither of these players were qualified for Pro Tour Avacyn, which meant this was, essentially, a Pro Tour Qualifier finals on top of everything else. Cordell even came into the event with just one bye, while Babin had made his way to the Top 8 with zero byes to his credit.

    In the third game Babin curved out again, going Walking Corpse into Erstwald Ripper into Morkov Patrician. A Midnight Haunting kept the Ripper from attacking more than once and an Undying Evil counteracted Babin's early removal. Once again, a quick start was quieted by Cordell's tricks.

    The players started trading Vampire Interloper beats, but Cordell went several bigger by playing a Morkrut Banshee without Morbid. The 4/4 didn't need much help going over the top of Babin's tiny creatures. It traded a few turns later for Night Revelers as the attack dropped Cordell to just four life.

    Babin looked like he might break through, but a timely Spare From Evil kept him in blockers for another turn. Meanwhile, Cordell kept churning along with a Vampire Interloper.

    But it was Kyle Babin who had the last trick of all.

    But on the attack that Cordell's Spare from Evil spared his creatures from death, he dropped to just two life.

    So, Babin, with no board and nothing but land in hand slowly peeled his top card. He checked it, checked life totals, looked at the board, and flipped over...

    Brimstone Volley.

    Kyle Babin defeats Robbie Cordell 2-1

    Reid Duke vs. Lissa Jensen

    This match was on camera, so a full replay of the match will be available on ggslive.com. But for those who can't wait...

    Duke won in two on camera to beat Lissa Jensen and stay undefeated on the day.

    Game one was a drawn out affair. Both players played big creatures, stalling out the ground. Eventually, Jensen found a Moorland Haunt, but wasn't able to break through Duke's defenses. When the Magic Online Champion eventually found a Murder of Crows in his blue red deck, he was able to attack and loot his way to victory with the 4/4 flier.

    The second game was much less interesting. Jensen mulliganed and missed on one of her colors early, letting Duke get in a ton of early damage. Game two she mulled and didn't hit her colors on time, letting Duke get in a ton of early damage. A Voiceless Spirit temporarily shut down Duke's offense, but a Spectral Flight followed by a Furor of the Bitten let him resume attacking again. The straw the broke the camel's back was, with a Delver of Secrets on the Table, Duke revealed Brimstone Volley, making the ending academic.



     

  • Semifinals: Reid Duke vs. Kyle Babin
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • It was hard to figure out which player had a more compelling story this weekend.

    On one hand you have Reid Duke, 2011 Magic Online Champion and all around good guy who has been steadily gaining respect for his play over the past year.

    On the other hand you have Kyle Babin, who made it all the way to the semifinals – qualifying for Pro Tour Avacyn when he was not already qualified – without the aid of any byes at all. It was Babin's first Grand Prix Top 8 and he hadn't lost a draft match all day long, culminating last round in a topdecked Brimstone Volley for the win.

    But only one of them could play for the title no matter how interesting their path to the feature match area was. Both players took an aggressive tact in the draft, with Duke playing a blue red deck with Furor of the Bitten and a number of goodies at the top of his curve, and Babin playing a hyper-aggressive black red vampire deck that had served him well in the quarterfinals.

    Game one

    Bloodcrazed Neonate and Screeching Skaab squared off early, but Duke turned out to be the aggressor when his Geistflame cleared the way for Furor of the Bitten on the Skaab.

    Wrack with Madness ended the Skaab's rampage, but both players appeared to be out of gas.

    "I need some action over here," Babin said.

    He found some with a Markov Patrician, but Ghostflame was waiting in the graveyard to dispatch it quickly. Duke then drew and cast a Soul Seizer, meriting a Dead Weight from Babin to protect any future creatures.

    From zero byes to the semifinals, Kyle Babin has shown his mastery of Dark Ascension/Innistrad limited.

    Future creatures like the hasty Night Revelers that crashed Duke's party the following turn. That earned a chump block despite Duke's life total being in the teens at the time. It seemed he knew how dangerous red black's reach could be.

    Meanwhile, a Deranged Assistant was ticking Babin's life total down into single digits, soon joined by a Murder of Crows. At that point even a Stromkirk captain wasn't enough to save Babin.

    Reid Duke 1 – Kyle Babin 0

    Game two

    Babin once again came rocketing out of the gates, as his black red vampires list can do. A Bloodcrazed Neonate became trouble when a Stromkirk Captain buffed it on turn three.

    But this was Reid Duke we were talking about, a player who still hadn't lost a single game on the weekend. Brimstone Volley took care of the quickly expanding Neonate, and a Makeshift Mauler put the breaks on Babin's attack as soon as it came down. Murder of Crows also didn't help Babin's case at all.

    Reid Duke looks like the man of destiny, making it all the way to the finals without dropping a single match so far.

    The combined might of a Geistflame, Silver-Inlaid Dagger and Stromkirk Captain teamed up to take down the 4/5 zombie, but that just gave Duke more fodder for his crows.

    Babin tried to make a show of it with an Erdwal Ripper, but when Murder of Crows churned up a Rolling Temblor to completely destroy Babin's board, it was elementary for Duke to continue his seemingly preordained date with the finals.

    Reid Duke defeats Kyle Babin 2-0 to move on to the finals of Grand Prix Nashville



     

  • Semifinals: Todd Anderson vs. Josh Utter-Leyton
    by Steve Sadin

  • After a few years of sporadic success, punctuated by an appearance on the US National team, and a Top 8 at Grand Prix Austin, Todd Anderson decided to see what he could do if he committed himself to Magic full time. So far this decision seems to be paying off for him, as he's just followed up a Top 25 finish at Pro Tour Dark Ascension in Honolulu with a Top 8 finish here in Nashville.

    While Todd Anderson is just starting to build up his Magic resume, the strikingly consistent (and quiet) Josh Utter-Leyton has already racked up three Pro Tour Top 8s, a US Nationals win, and (now) three Grand Prix Top 8s all since 2010!

    Game One

    Todd Anderson got off to a quick start with a 4/4 Ulvenwald Bear, and a Lingering Souls, but Josh Utter-Leyton was able to stabilize with a Victim of Night, and a Voiceless Spirit...

    Todd Anderson is becoming a real force to reckon with in the Magic world.

    ...at least until a Crushing Vines took out Josh's Voiceless Spirit, and allowed Todd to attack Josh to death with his spirit tokens.

    Todd Anderson 1 – Josh Utter-Leyton 0

    Game Two

    Todd kept a fairly slow draw in game two, and Josh was ready to punish him for it. Josh used an Avacynian Priest, and a Slayer of the Wicked to deal with all of Todd's relevant threats, while flying to victory with a Niblis of the Mist, and a Voiceless Spirit.

    Todd Anderson 1 – Josh Utter-Leyton 1

    Game Three

    In the deciding game of their match, Todd Anderson took full advantage of the fact that he was on the play, building up an early lead with a bunch of aggressive creatures, a well-timed Hunger of the Howlpack, Lingering Souls, and a Crushing Vines.

    Josh Utter-Leyton never received the 6th land he needed so badly.

    Josh hoped that he would be able to live long enough for his Mikaeus, the Unhallowed to take over – but without a sixth land, or an answer for Todd's spirit tokens, he could do nothing but watch as Todd flew to victory.

    Todd Anderson 2 – Josh Utter-Leyton 1



     

  • Finals - Reid Duke vs. Todd Anderson
    by Blake Rasmussen

  • An epic weekend of Magic has wound up right where many though it would after catching sight of Reid Duke's play on Day 1: with the 2011 Magic Online Champion in the finals.

    Now, even the rosiest predictions probably wouldn't have pegged Duke to reach the ultimate match without so much as a single loss on his record, but he has clearly been the class of the competition this weekend, going 9-0 in sealed and 4-0-2 in draft to lock up his third Grand Prix Top 8.

    Standing in his way of a perfect weekend is StarCity Games Open Series ringer Todd Anderson, on his second Grand Prix Top 8. Anderson had defeated Shuuhei Nakamura and Josh Utter-Leyton on his way to the finals, cutting a swath through two of the game's best.

    "I had to beat two pro tour champions to get here, and now I have to beat a MOCs champion," Anderson said.

    Adding to the matchup was the fact that these two players were friendly and co-writers for StarCity Games. They knew each other well enough that Anderson could give Duke a little ribbing about the Magic Online Champion being bumped to the premium side of the site. Anderson even spent a little time gushing about some of Duke's articles.

    Friendly as they were, each one was looking for their first Grand Prix Championship and undoubtedly would give no quarter in their pursuit of the trophy.

    Game one

    Deranged Assistant kicked things off for Duke, but Anderson answered with the "best card in my deck by a mile," Lingering Souls.

    The Assistant enabled a Bone to Ash on Villagers of Estwald, curving naturally into a Murder of Crows, a card that has been one of Duke's MVPs so far. Anderson was still able to attack past it thanks to a Travel Preparation and a Blazing Torch.

    Duke, showing the tricks that got him to the finals, pulled off a strong move the following turn, attacking into a 2/2 spirit equipped with the Blazing Torch. When Anderson blocked and tried to throw the Torch, Duke used Geistflame to remove the blocker and earn a loot. With the Torch gone, Duke could freely use the Murder of Crows to block if need be.

    Rolling Temblor cleared out two of Anderson's creatures and gave the MOCs master three Murder of Crows triggers. Afterwards he threw up a major flying roadblock with Stormbound Geist. Even Anderson's Requiem Angel didn't provide much resistance, as the Murder of Crows had found Duke's Harvest Pyre.

    However, everything flipped when a Kindercatch gave Anderson some sudden offense. The 6/6 could attack pretty freely, and Duke's Soul Seizer wasn't likely to get through Anderson's three spirits anytime soon.

    Todd Anderson said he never lost a game where he cast Lingering Souls...until now.

    Anderson mused out loud about playing around Silent Departure, but in the end opted to flash back Travel Preparation to make a 4/4 spirit and a 7/7 Kindercatch, trying to push his advantage while he could.

    At this point Duke was forced to start chump blocking the Kindercatch to stay alive, but the necessary offense to fire back wasn't forthcoming. Eventually he opted to triple block the 7/7, losing his Murder of Crows in the process. Duke's library was even getting pretty skinny, ticking down to seven and then six cards left from all of the Murder of Crows triggers.

    After that creatures died left and right to preserve life totals. A Falkenrath Marauders traded with two spirits, a few pawns died, and, with only a few cards left in Duke's library, he found himself with two Stormbound Geists facing a Kessig Recluse.

    Attacking with both Geists forced Anderson to block, killing one Stormbound Geist. That triggered morbid for Duke's Brimstone Volley, sealing the first game.

    Reid Duke 1 – Todd Anderson 0

    Game two

    Game two started eerily similar to the first. Deranged Hermit enabled a turn four Bone to Ash.

    "Guess I'll get Boned," Anderson said, playing into the counterspell with an Abbey Griffin.

    Falkenrath Marauders threatened to get big, but a Crushing Vines clipped its wings as Anderson offered a silent thanks. But Duke simply replaced it with one of his Murder of Crows.

    Meanwhile, Anderson made a Gallows Warden and a Thraben Sentry, then buffered them both with the front side of Travel Preparation.

    Lost in the Mist undid most of the damage the next turn, countering the flashback on Travel Preparation and bounding the Gallows Warden.

    Reid Duke can now lay claim to being one of the very few to go undefeated through an entire Grand Prix.

    But when Anderson attacked with the Gallows Warden, Duke saw his opening. Doing some quick math, Duke asked if Anderson was indeed at 10 life. When he said he was indeed at 10, his face fell a bit.

    "I have a feeling I'm dead," Anderson said, surveying the board.

    Spectral Flight on Deranged Assistant gave Duke seven power worth of flying, enough to put Anderson in range for Brimstone Volley, capping Duke's undefeated weekend.

    Reid Duke is the Grand Prix Nashville Champion!



     

  • Top 8 Decks
    by Event Coverage Staff



  •  

  • Top 5 Cards
    by Steve Sadin and Blake Rasmussen


  • Reid Duke tore through Grand Prix Nashville without dropping a single match -- but he had a bit of help getting there. Reid's Sealed Deck had not one, but two copies of Vault of the Archangel that he used to great effect all day on Saturday. With his Vault of the Archangels, Reid never lost a damage race, and he never encountered a creature that he was unable to deal with.


    All weekend long we saw players getting off to quick leads, then absolutely destroying their opponents by setting them back an entire turn with Griptide or Grasp of Phantoms. While these blue bounce spells might not be that impressive when you're trying to come back from behind -- if you're ahead on the board, there are few better cards to have than a Grasp of Phantoms.


    Increasing Devotion was a key player in the sealed pools for Top 8 competitors Lissa Jensen and Kyle Babin. Both players named it their Day 1 MVP, as the five tokens created by the white sorcery can be used to swarm an opponent, slow them down, or for any number of sacrifice effects that run through Innistrad block limited.

    Without the five-mana rare, it's possible Babin and Jensen could have had a much harder time making their runs through the tournament. Throw in the flashback - which Babin said caused several people to concede on the spot - and you have one of the most dangerous cards in the format.


    The key card in Tom Martell's Grand Prix Indianapolis winning Legacy deck was also the key card in quite a few Draft, and Sealed Decks this weekend. Lissa Jensen, and Todd Anderson were both able to secure their Top 8 berths with a horde of spirit tokens -- and Todd was fortunate enough to draft yet another Lingering Souls in the Top 8, where he ultimately used it to slice through Josh Utter-Leyton in the Top 4.

    So if you happen to open (or get passed) a Lingering Souls in your next draft -- do yourself a favor, and take it. You won't be disappointed.


    When asked what the best card in his Top 8 winning deck was, Reid Duke didn't even hesitate. The clear answer was the two copies of Murder of Crows, a card that not only provided a hefty 4/4 flying body - often on turn four thanks to Deranged Assistant - but also let Duke churn through his deck at light speed.

    In the finals against Todd Anderson, Murder of Crows provided most of Duke's offense and also let him find the answers he needed to some pretty scary creatures, many of which were buried near the bottom of his deck. He ended game one with just five cards left in his library from all the Murder of Crows triggers, but he needed each and every one of them to raise the trophy.



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