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Nakamura storms back from 0-2 to take GP Philadelphia!

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Hall of Famer Shuhei Nakamura continues to add to his daunting resume, winning his fifth Grand Prix at Philadelphia this weekend. Even more impressive? He started the tournament 0-2 (after three byes) and had absolutely zero margin for error. All he had to do—and exactly what he did—was win 14 straight matches. Easy game.

Shuhei's historic accomplishment was only matched this weekend by the historically strong Top 8. Five Platinum level pros made up the final draft table, including Martin Juza and Lukas Jaklovsky, two Czech Republic players who were looking to continue their country's good fortune a week after countryman Stanislav Cifka won the Pro Tour.

But the weekend definitely belongs to Nakamura and his 14 straight wins.

Congratulations to Shuhei Nakamura, Grand Prix Philadelphia Champion!





Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Jake Gans   Martin Juza, 2-0        
8 Martin Juza   Shuhei Nakamura, 2-0
       
4 Luis Scott-Vargas   Shuhei Nakamura, 2-0   Shuhei Nakamura, 2-0
5 Shuhei Nakamura    
       
2 Lukas Jaklovsky   Lukas Jaklovsky, 2-0
7 Harry Corvese   Lukas Jaklovsky, 2-0
       
3 Greg Smith   Greg Smith, 2-0
6 Yuuya Watanabe    


  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Philadelphia provided by ggslive.com with Rashad Miller, Marshall Sutcliffe, Steve Sadin, and Ben Swartz.. See full video archives at ggslive's YouTube channel.







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EVENT COVERAGE TWITTER

INFORMATION
 1.  Shuhei Nakamura $3,500
 2.  Lukas Jaklovsky $2,300
 3.  Greg Smith $1,500
 4.  Martin Juza $1,500
 5.  Jake Gans $1,000
 6.  Luis Scott-Vargas $1,000
 7.  Harry Corvese $1,000
 8.  Yuuya Watanabe $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
Final

16
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16
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16
15
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10

Yellow Bracket
9
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1
9
8
7
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5
4
3
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1
9
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1
Blue Bracket
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
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1
9
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5
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9
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Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Coverage Staff



Martin Juza

Age: 13 (or at least that’s how old he feels)
Hometown: Plzen, Czech Republic
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
10th limited GP Top 8

Day 1 record:
9-1

Day 2 record:
5-0, plus conceded to a friend

What Guild are you?
#7drops

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
G/B or G/W

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?
I had a lot of rares - UWR. (Cyclonic Rift, Supreme Verdict, Chaos Imps, Detention Sphere, etc.)

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?

G/B and G/B




Harry Corvese

Age: 25
Hometown: Latrobe, PA
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Top 8 GP Pittsburgh (defending the PA GPs)5 or 6 more money finishes in the last 2 years

Day 1 record:
8-2

Day 2 record:
6-0

What Guild are you?

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
Izzet

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?
3-spell Bant. MVP! Dispel

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?

Rakdos/Izzet




Yuuya Watanabe

Age: 23
Hometown: Machida, Japan
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
2 time Player of the Year. 6 GP wins. 2 PT Top 8s

Day 1 record:
10-0

Day 2 record:
3-2-1

What Guild are you?
Izzet

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
Not Rakdos. The other four guilds are ok.

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?
Pack Rats!! Pack Rats is broken in limited

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?
1st WG
2nd GB




Shuhei Nakamura

Age: 29 + 365 days + 359 days
Hometown: All hub airports (maybe Tokyo or Osaka)
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Get a few times, despite from Asahara Akira

Day 1 record:
0-2 after first two rounds

Day 2 record:
X-0 after 11 rounds

What Guild are you?
Orzhov

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
No idea, but I don’t like Rakdos

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?

Vraska?
Because I had it removed by Slaughter Games

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?

Draft 1:
Golgari splash Selesnya Guildmage
Draft 2 Selesnya splash Vraska




Greg Smith

Age: 30
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Basically none.

Day 1 record:
9-1

Day 2 record:
4-0-2

What Guild are you?
Rakdos

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
Selesnya

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?
Selesnya, splash blue for Archon of the Triumvirate and double Voidwielder. Best card was Armada Wurm.

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?
Selesnya then Rakdos




Jake Gans

Age: 16
Hometown: Melville, NY, USA
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
Beating Chris Pikula in Vintage

Day 1 record:
9-1

Day 2 record:
5-1

What Guild are you?
Golgari

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
Selesnya

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?
Cyclonic Rift

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?
Selesnya, splash Pack Rats. Selesnya Splash Pack Rats and Supreme Verdict.




Luis Scott-Vargas

Age: 29
Hometown: Oakland, CA, USA
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
5 PT Top 8’s, 7 or 8 GP Top 8’s, 3 Nats Top 8’s, Winner, MTGO Community Cup 2011

Day 1 record:
10-0

Day 2 record:
3-1-2

What Guild are you?
Dimir

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
The one with the most 7-drops (Golgari
)

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)? Rakdos Pack Rat, MVC Pack Rat, 2nd MVC:
copy of Pack Rat. Best supporting actor goes to Mizzium Mortars.

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?
Rakdos, then Izzet splash Rakdos. I drafted Rak "dos" times.




Lukas Jaklovsky

Age: 21
Hometown: Prague, CZE
Occupation:


Previous Magic accomplishments:
100+ PT Points without a single GP Top 8

Day 1 record:
9-0-1

Day 2 record:
3-0, 1-1-1

What Guild are you?

What do you think the best Guild is in Draft?
Izzet aggro obv.

What did you play on Day 1 and what was your MVC (Most Valuable Card)?
WGB, Fencing Ace + Common Bond

What guilds did you draft on Day 2?
Jund and Rakdos




 

Quarterfinals - Martin Juza vs. Jake Gans

by Blake Rasmussen


Martin Juza had a little karma working for him on his way to the Top 8. In Round 15 he could have knocked out fellow Czech Lukas Jaklovsky, but instead conceded to him so they both had a shot at making the Top 8 with wins in the final round. Both players ended up following through and making the Top 8.

And that karma seems to have followed the pair into the Top 8. Seated next to each other, they appeared to be the only serious Red drafters at the table, with Juza picking up a ridiculous looing Rakdos deck.

But we play the games because, well, anything can happen. And Jake Gans might just be too young to care who or what he's playing against. The 16-year-old New York resident hitched his ride on Pack Rats in Day 2 and rode it all the way to the Top 8. He didn't have any copies of the scourge of the tournament, but he had clearly shown his talent in the format, and taking down Martin Juza in a limited Top 8 would be pretty big game.

Game 1

As the high seed, Juza quickly chose to play first and gained a bit of an edge when Gans was forced to mulligan to 6 cards.

Rix Maadi Guildmage was the first move, and Juza followed up with a Dead Reveler. Gans fought back with Security Blockade, but another Guildmage and a Thrill-Kill Assassin kept the pressure way up for Juza. He even added a Spawn of Rix Maadi, as if he wasn't far enough ahead.


But Gans kept fighting back. Eyes in the Skies and Golgari Longlegs gave him a significant force of his own and left Juza doing some pretty complicated combat math to figure out his attacks. Eventually he opted to attack with everything.

When the dust cleared, Juza lost a Guildmage and a Dead Reveler while Gans lost all of his creatures save a single 2/2 knight.

Gans tried to mount a defense after that, but one more attack and a few more Guildmage activations and he saw the writing on the wall.

"Yeah, I'm dead."

Juza 1 – Gans 0

Game 2


Juza was again first on the board with Rix Maadi Guildmage while Gans was missing Forests. He did, however, Avenging Arrow the Guildmage and Soul Tithe Juza's follow-up Dead Ringer to keep pace.

Juza, his deck full of beaters, simply played Splatter Thug and Rakdos, Lord of Riots and kept going. Gans had the Selsnya Charm, but no green mana to kill Rakdos.

Juza 2 – Gans 0




 

Quarterfinals - Lukas Jaklovsky vs. Harry Corvese

by Blake Rasmussen


It's been a good two weeks for the Czech Republic. First, Stanislav Cifka takes down Pro Tour Return to Ravnica. Then, Lukas Jaklovsky and Martin Juza get paired up in Round 15 with Juza in position to help his friend and playtest partner. From there, a dual Top 8 almost seemed inevitable. And with the players in opposite brackets, it was even feasible we could see an all Czech Republic final.

Standing in the way of that feat is Harry Corvese, the lone Pennsylvania native still standing to defend the state's home turf. Corvese's no stranger to GP success in his home state, having previously Top 8ed Grand Prix Pittsburgh.

Game 1

Corvese, the high seed, chose to play in the first game, but Jaklovsky had the first play with an unleashed Gore-House Chainwalker. Corvese, however, unleashed a giant brick with Loxodon Smiter, something Jaklovsky would certainly have trouble with.

Instead, he chose to start ignoring it, casting a Frostburn Weird and attacking, then casting TWO more Frostburn Weirds.

"That's weird," Corvese said, before making a Centaur with his Centaur's Herald, that later traded with the Chainwalker.

At this point the board was Loxodon Smiter against three Frostburn Weirds. Weird indeed.

Inaction Injunction kept the Smiter in check, and an unleashed Splatter Thug kept Corvese under fire.

They got even trickier when Dynacharge dealt Corvese 11, but at the cost of his Splatter Thug.

Even a Mercurial Chemister, bomby as it might be, looked like it might not be enough to get Corvese out of trouble, especially when the Czech player unleashed a Chaos Imps. Corvese needed to find a way to deal with the 7/6.

Swift Justice and Common Bond on Isperia's Skywatch seemed to be a possible answer, but Jaklovsky was ready with Explosive Impact. Even Mercurial Chemister was haing trouble digging up an answer, and Corvese fell to five on the attack.

Corvese kept attacking though, bringing life totals to 8 all after casting Centaur Healer. It was enough to survive the next Chaos Imps attack, but he needed to find a solution.

Jaklovsky followed up with a Goblin Electromancer, then passed the turn back, looking to weather Corvese's coming attack.


Neither the Chemister nor his draw step yielded any help, and Corvese was forced to draw again on his main phase. He was still drawing mostly air, and a Towering Indrik wouldn't help since the Chaos Imps had trample.

However, there was an issue with Jaklovsky not realizing his Imps had trample and not assigning the damage through the Indrik. After quick judge ruling, it was found the life totals had not

In the end, Corvese couldn't find even a chump blocker the next turn, and Chaos Imps was enough to get there.

Jaklovsky 1 – Corvese 0

Game 2

Another Frostburn Weird kicked off Game 2, and Jaklovsky kept up the pressure with a Splatter Thug.

Corvese started his curve at 3, opening with a Selesnya Sentry and following up with Towering Indrik. That, however, didn't prevent Jaklovsky from getting in for three with Splatter Thug.

Both players spent the next turns without attacking or playing any spells, until Corvese broke the silence with Seek the Horizon for Plains, Forest and Mountain. When Jaklovsky tried to Thoughtflare, Corvese met it head on with Dispel.

But that gave Jaklovsky the chance to stick a Pursuit of Flight. The question was, which creature among his three (including a Nivix Guildmage), would get the advantage?

Frostburn Weird eventually picked up the pseudo-wings, dealing Corvese seven damage with the Weird when all was said and done.

That left Jaklovsky tapped out, but with a major threat Corvese had to deal with to have a chance.

Corvese didn't have any other plays on his turn, but the reason became abundantly clear when he tapped seven mana for Cyclonic Rift. After first strike damage, Jakovsky was able to play and copy Annihilating Fire to kill Corvese's team and keep the Rift from being too devastating.

Corvese then followed up with his Mercurial Chemister and Centaur's Herald, immediately putting Jaklovsky on the back foot.


That was when Jaklovsky drew his Hypersonic Dragon. Jaklovsky suited it up with Pursuit of Flight and smashed Corvese down to just four life.

Could Corvese find an answer?

Swift Justice on Mercurial Chemister in the far from ideal attacking mode kept Corvese alive for a turn, but just. He fell to 1 on the next attack.

From that point, Jaklovsky simply unloaded his hand, dropping his three creatures back on the field and essentially daring Corvese to find a way out.

When Corvese couldn't find an answer, Jaklovsky moved on to the semifinals.

Jaklovsky 2 – Corvese 0




 

Quarterfinals - Yuuya Watanabe vs. Greg Smith

by Frank Lepore


Greg Smith was the higher ranking player in the Swiss which meant he earned the right to play first. While Yuuya had drafted a midrange Golgari deck, Greg found himself in Selesnya with a minor black splash. Yuuya Watanabe is looking for his 8th Grand Prix trophy, while Greg is a rookie.

"Roll to go first?" Greg asked, before Watanabe corrected him, mentioning that he gets to choose. "Ah! Greg responded, "Can you tell it's my first time?" It's okay Greg. Yuuya has only done is a thousand times.

Game 1

Smith started off with a Dryad Militant; an aggressive start if there ever was one. A Stonefare Crocodile would join him a few turns later and Yuuya would respond with a Dreg Mangler. A turn later and the three power monsters were trading while Smith was casting a Deadbridge Goliath. An Ogre Jailbreaker came down for Watanabe, but would it be enough?

"No Gates? Smith inquired. "No Gates," Watanabe confirmed. But the beats weren't done yet. A Corpsejack Menace would join Smith's team, putting an immense amount of pressure on Watanabe. It seemed as though Smith was playing the Scavenge Event Deck, if there were such a thing.


A Selesnya Keyrune and a Gatecreeper Vine from Watanabe and it was back to Smith. Watanabe was at 11 life right now and Smith was representing 11 power. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Nonetheless, Smith bashed in with his Goliath, while Watanabe blocked and applied a Giant Growth to his Jailbreaker. The Goliath was finished, and like that, the board was looking a little more in Watanabe's favor.

Two birds were made at Watanabe's end step by Smith and he decided to attack with the team. Watanabe announced blocks as best he could, but still ended up taking six while taking out the Dryad Militant. He was down to five life now, and a Korozda Monitor for Greg was making things even more difficult.

"Scavenge Deadbridge Goliath onto a bird? So...ten counters?" The 11/11 bird looked frightening, but Watanabe had the Launch party for it, putting the Gatecreeper Vine in the grumper. The board was once again even, and a Trestle Troll from Watanabe tried to keep it that way. A Stab Wound from Watanabe ensured that the Corpsejack Menace would be less of a threat, and all of a sudden, Watanabe had provided Smith with a clock. A Centaur's Accord from Smith meant that he might find victory before he bled out. Watanabe studied the board carefully. In an unlikely play, Watanabe played an Underworld Connections which seemed to contradict his low life total. When Smith announced an alpha strike, Watanabe drew a card...his one last chance, but it was for naught.

Greg Smith 1, Yuuya Watanabe 0

Game 2

"I'm keeping these close," Smith quipped, referring to the tokens that had won him the game.

Watanabe was on the play this game and Smith led off with a Centaur's Herald. Watanabe played a Daggerdrome Imp and the race was one! A turn four Deadbridge Goliath from Smith caused a slight slump in his chair from Watanabe. He audibly sighed as he was stuck without green mana. Watanabe took more damage, falling to 12 life, and when he drew for his turn an audible moan was heard. He slumped even lower in his chair and passed the turn.


Smith sent in the team. Watanabe blocked the Centaur, then cast a Launch Party at the Deadbridge Goliath, but Smith had the Rootborn Defenses. He saved the Goliath and populated, putting another Centaur in play. Unfortunately for Yuuya Watanabe, that was all she wrote

Greg Smith defeats Yuuya Watanabe 2-0 and advances to the Semifinals.




 

Semifinals - Greg Smith vs. Lukas Jaklovsky

by Blake Rasmussen


Could we possibly be headed to an all-Czech final? It was certainly still in play with Lukas Jaklovsky and Martin Juza both in the semifinals.

Jaklovsky had drafted arguably one of the strongest decks at the table, but Greg Smith had just dispatched Yuuya Watanabe, who previously seemed unbeatable. His deck obviously had a little something going for it as well.

Game 1

Both players kept as Jaklovsky missed on a turn two Frostburn Weird. He did, however, have a Splatter Thug to start attacking.

Smith, unfortunately for him, missed his third land drop, and was quickly staring down the Goblin Electromancer and Gore-House Chainwalker Jaklovsky had drawn in the intervening turns. He tried to use Giant Growth to take out a Splatter Thug with Centaur's Herald, but Annihilating Fire dispatched any notions he had there.


And when Jaklovsky drew Hypersonic Dragon off the top, it was, for all intents and purposes, over. One draw step and Smith made it official.

Jaklovsky 1 – Smith 0

Game 2

Things started poorly for Smith in the second as well, as he was forced to start with five cards on the play while Jaklovsky quickly kept his seven.

Once again Jaklovsky led with a Splatter Thug, and once again Smith got stuck on two lands and a Centaur Herald.

"I'm sensing a pattern," Smith said.


Jaklovsky broke the pattern, however, with a Pursuit of Flight on the Thug AND Goblin Electromancer. Giving them both flying, Smith was already to 6 life.

And just like that, Smith was dead. Yes, it was that fast.

And while Martin Juza had lost next door, Jaklovsky now had the opportunity to make it two in a row for the Czech Replubic in major events.

Jaklovsky 2 – Smith 0




 

Semifinals - Martin Juza vs. Shuhei Nakamura

by Frank Lepore


Shuhei Nakamura is in the Magic Hall of Fame. Martin Juza...well, he might as well be. Both players have astounding records behind them. The two friends glanced over one another's decks before the match, and pointed out what weaknesses they saw. "Oh, only two Cryptic Commands!" Juza commented, dropping a Downsize and a Blustersquall onto the table. "Judge, can I get two Plains!" Juza joked, attempting to replace the cards he was weak against.

Game 1

Juza was on the play this game - as he was the entire Top 8 being in the top seed - and both players kept their openers. Nakamura led off with a Crosswind Courier while Juza had a Splatter Thug to match. Nakamura played and attacked with a Tower Drake, dropping Juza to 18 life before Juza cast a second threat of his own in the form of a Gore-House Chainwalker. A Voidwielder from Nakamura returned Juza's Splatter Thug to his hand, and the beats kept coming from the Tower Drake.

A Faerie Impostor returned the Voidwielder, only to bounce the Splatter Thug one more time. Juza was falling behind...


Juza was stuck on three lands - Mountains alone - and was forced to discard. Nakamura got in for another four damage, and Juza was down another life. An Armory Guard came down for Nakamura, along with a Swamp for Juza.

An Auger Spree finally made an appearance and made short work of the Drake, but Juza was at six life. Juza attempted a Deviant Glee on his Splatter Thug but Nakamura had the demoralizing Trostani's Judgment. Juza had no choice but to Annihilating Fire the remaining flier to stay alive. He dropped to three life and played a Rix Maadi Guildmage and another Gore-House Chainwalker.

"No Cryptic, no Cryptic!" Juza begged.

Not quite, but an Azorius Arrester meant that the blocks from Juza would be a little stifled. Nakamura attacked with the team, and Juza had an Explosive Impact for the 2/5, but still took two damage. After Nakamura played a Selesnya Sentry, the game was a but locked up

Shuhei Nakamura 1, Martin Juza 0

Game 2

Juza was on the play once again. And had a much better start with a turn two Gore-House Chainwalker. Nakamura met it with an Azorius Arrester and the Chainwalker would have to stay home. A Dead Reveler from Juza and a Vassal Soul from Nakamura were also added to the board. A Deviant Glee on the Chainwalker, and both creatures entered the red zone taking Nakamura down to 13 life.

Nakamura cracked back for four since the coast was clear and followed up the attack with Arrest on the enchanted Chainwalker. A Spawn of Rix Maadi joined Juza's team, and he contemplated whether or not to unleash. "Or not" was the choice and Nakamura beat for two in the air.


Both players amassed their armies and Juza managed to nab Nakamura's Stealer of Secrets with a Traitorous Instinct. One Downsize later and Juza was drawing no cards but Nakamura was still as a dangerously low four life. Nakamura did some detaining and some bouncing and kept hitting Juza with 2/2's. With Nakamura at four life Juza was able to play a Hellhole Flailer but without a third mana to activate it, Nakamura was then able to Blustersquall Juza's team and attack for the win.

Shuhei Nakamura defeats Martin Juza 2-0 and advances to the Finals!




 

Finals - Shuhei Nakamura vs. Lukas Jaklovsky

by Blake Rasmussen


"I have a GP curse," Martin Juza said, watching Shuhei Nakamura play Lukas Jaklovsky. "I either win the GP or lose to the winner. If Shuhei wins, it keeps going, if not, it's broken."

It was hard to argue against Nakamura at this point. He started out the tournament with two straight losses, one loss away from elimination, but fought back and won every single match on his way to the finals. Whatever clicked in Round 6 for the Hall of Famer had clearly carried him all the way to the tournament's final two. It would also mark his fifth Grand Prix win.

But Jaklovsky had a little bit going for him as well. The Czech Republic contingent as a whole has been riding a bit of a hot streak, with Stanislav Cifka's Pro Tour Return to Ravnica win last weekend, and the pair of Czech players who made Top 8 this weekend.

Game 1

Nakamura was first on the board with Keening Apparition, but Jaklovsky fought back with Frostburn Weird.

The Weird took a turn off as Azorius Arrester kept it locked down. Nakamura even had Faerie Impostor to reset the 2/1 detainer.

A second Weird kept the ground locked up while the Faerie attacked in, but Jaklovsky found a temporary reprieve with Inaction Injunction, made less expensive by Goblin Electromancer.

That was when Nakamura got serious. He cast a Fencing Ace and, the very next turn, suited it up with Knightly Valor. It traded for one of the Frostburn Weirds on a double block when it attacked, but Nakamura had clearly gotten value out of the 1/1 doublestriker.

Looking to get back to attacking, Jaklovsky brought out the Splatter Thug that had served him so well in the Top 8, unleashing it to start attacking. Nakamura, however, made the move look poor when he detained his way past Jaklovsky's blockers and dropped him to 12, and then 8 the following turn when New Prahv Guildmage started giving itself flying.


Jaklovsky wasn't done yet, though. He cast his Chaos Imps, keeping it leashed, in order to block. Voidweilder, however, delayed that particular option for at least a turn. And with New Prahv Guildmage on the table, investing that much mana in a creature was a risky proposition.

But he made the move anyway, looking to stabilize at four life. But when Nakamura detained the flier, he had enough creatures to push through the final four points of damage he needed to take Game 1.

Nakamura 1 – Jaklovsky 0

Game 2

Two quick keeps and a turn two Frostburn Weird met Keening Apparition. Jaklovsky was light on lands, specifically Red mana, so he used Inaction Injunction to dig a bit, finding a third Island that turn and his first Mountain on the subsequent draw step.

Out, naturally, came the Splatter Thug.

Nakamura, meanwhile, was busy building up his team. Joining the Keening Apparition were Azorius Arrester and Armory Guard, making it tough for Jaklovsky to break through on the ground. Instead of attempting to do so, Jaklovsky simply added a Nivix Guildmage to his side and passed. Nakamura did the same with a Vassal Soul on his turn and Tower Drake on the next, finally opening up an avenue of attack.

And when Jaklovsky hit his fifth land, the race certainly shifted into the air with a nearly audible "whoosh" made by the Hypersonic Dragon that leapt from his hand.

However, that just meant the air was still clear for Nakamura, who attacked for 6 the following turn and cast a second Armory Guard, both of which had Vigilance.

0-2 to 14-0? Could Shuhei Nakamura really come back from the brink of elimination to take the title?

That gave Jaklovsky pause. He declined to attack with his Hypersonic Dragon and wondered out loud how much Blustersquall cost.

But it turned out Nakamura had a different kind of blow. Trostani's Judgment removed the Hypersonic Dragon and cleared the air, letting him knock Jaklovsky all the way to 6 life.

But Jaklovsky wasn't done, not by a long shot. Izzet Charm, copied by Nivix Guildmage, killed both of Nakamura's fliers and seemingly halted his offense.

I say seemingly because Nakamura never really seems to stop moving forward. He attacked the next turn with all of his creatures, clearly representing some kind of trick.

That trick turned out to be Downsize, which let Nakamura nock Jaklovsky down to two life. When Nakamura played Faerie Invaters to return Azorius Arrester, Jaklovsky had to peel.

He drew.

Nothing.

One more draw with Nivix Guildmage?

Draw?

Nothing.

And with that, Shuhei Nakamura wins his fifth Grand Prix title!




 

Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Philadelphia

by Event Coverage Staff




5. Pack Rat

No card was cited more as the card to beat in Return to Ravnica Limited than Pack Rat. The seeminly innocuous rare has quickly caught on as pretty unbeatable without some pretty serious rares like Mizzium Mortars and Supreme Judgment. In one match, Yuuya Watanabe actually won by casting a turn two Pack Rat and literally no other spells. And considering four of the eight decks that started 9-0 had Pack Rat on their front line, it's safe to say the card dominates this format.





4. Stab Wound

If Pack Rat was the Mazerati of the format, Stab Wound was the Honda Civic. Reliable, inexpensive, gets you where you want to go, and does so in a brutally efficient fashion. Martin Juza claimed his spot in the Top 8 by dealing 18 damage to Bing Luke with Stab Wound (and two more with Launch Party). Stories like that were all over the hall, and the Pros were quick to agree that Stab Wound was pretty easily the best common.





3. Faerie Impostor

The best reason this unassuming uncommon made the list is because of the common just above it. You HAVE to be able to beat Stab Wound to have a chance in this format, and Faerie Impostor lets you do that while leaving behind a 2/1 flier that's not too shabby on offense. Shuhei Nakamura leveraged every bit of the Faerie Impostor in his Top 8 winning deck, using it to reset Detain creatures and fly over for two points at a time. The card has often been overlooked, but Nakamura is a master at using cards to their fullest.





2. Frostburn Weird

When asked about the best common in the format, Stab Wound was at the top of most Pros' lists, but Frostburn Weird was often second with a bullet. Acting either as a cheap Horned Turtle as well as a potential offensive beater, Frostburn Weird was the best reason to play the oft neglected Izzet guild. It was especially deadly when paired with Pursuit of Flight, and Lukas Jaklovsky leveraged three Frostburn Weirds to a trip to the finals.





1. Teleportal

Teleportal represents a class of cards that many pros said were important for the format. CReature stalls happen often, especially with Selesnya decks that can populate a crowd too big to get through. Teleportal, Blustersquall and Rogue's Passage were all good ways to break through difficult board positions, and their value certainly goes up in sealed.






 

Top 8 Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff











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