No Stopping Jelger!

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Congratulations to Jelger Wiegersma, Grand Prix–Indianapolis 2008 Champion!

The Summer Series Grand Prix have started with a bang in Indianapolis. The prize pool was bigger. The number of Pro Points given out was bigger. The event itself was bigger than any Grand Prix ever run in North American by a clear margin. In a field so large, it is hard to pick out individuals as likely winners, but right from the start of the competion one Dutchman seemed to have the stars aligned in his favour.

Across the entire weekend Jelger Wiegersma lost only a single match, to Gaudenis Vidugiris. He managed to get his revenge for this though, in a climactic final, where he added to those 12 Top 8s from 73 lifetime Grand Prix. The weekend has been an incredible beginning to what will be a magical summer.

Stay with us here at magicthegathering.com, where the next stop is Buenos Aires!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Eric Franklin   Jamie Parke, 2-1        
8 Jamie Parke   Gaudenis Vidugiris, 2-0
       
4 James Beltz   Gaudenis Vidugiris, 2-1   Jelger Wiegersma, 2-1
5 Gaudenis Vidugiris    
       
2 Tyler Mantey   Tyler Mantey, 2-0
7 Ben Rasmussen   Jelger Wiegersma, 2-1
       
3 Jelger Wiegersma   Jelger Wiegersma, 2-0
6 Randy Wright    

EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
  • Top 8 : Player Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Top 8 : Player Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Podcast: It's Like I Knew
    by Rich Hagon
  • Final: Win faster.
    Jelger Wiegersma vs Gaudenis Vidugiris
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Semifinals: Oona, the Bystander Bomb
    Jamie Parke vs Gaudenis Vidugiris
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Semifinals: Does Screw beat Flood?
    Tyler Mantey vs Jelger Wiegersma
    by Rich Hagon
  • Quarterfinals: Parke-ing Violation
    Jamie Parke vs. Eric Franklin
    by David Strutz
  • Quarterfinals: Counter-Magic
    Gaudenis Vidugiris vs James Beltz
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Quarterfinals: Randy's Dire Situations
    Jelger Wiegersma vs. Randy Wright
    by Kyle Sanchez
  • Quarterfinals: In a Bind
    Ben Rasmussen vs Tyler Mantey
    by Marc Calderaro
  • Day Two Blog: Draft strategies, Sealed revealed, podcasts and much more!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day One Blog: Size matters, picking the field, undefeated decklists, old timers return, and much more!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff
 1.  Jelger Wiegersma $4,000
 2.  Gaudenis Vidugiris $3,000
 3.  Jamie Parke $2,000
 4.  Tyler Mantey $2,000
 5.  James Beltz $1,500
 6.  Eric Franklin $1,500
 7.  Randy Wright $1,500
 8.  Ben Rasmussen $1,500
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  • Quarterfinals: In a Bind
    Ben Rasmussen vs Tyler Mantey
    by Marc Calderaro
  • These two have fought hard over the last two days, both show fatigue. Interestingly, they also both show a lack of faith in their decks. They speak with a sense of dread in their voices; I get the impression that Jelger's shadow looms large, even here - like Sauron. Or maybe they just both hate their decks. Tyler's deck has some powerful spells but at the cost of a consistent manabase. And Ben feels his deck is quite the opposite; he chose consistency over power (over Oversoul-of-Dusk-power in particular - it was the last card cut from his deck).

    Ben wins the role to get the Quarterfinals underway.

    Game 1

    Ben shipped his hand back twice - playing safer than his Round 14 games against Chris Lachmann. He ended with a hand as good as could be expected: two lands and a Farhaven Elf says, "Keep." After Tyler sent his seven back, he decided six was good for him.

    Assorted lands were played and Tyler's Sickle Ripper was the first spell cast. Ben was unable to answer (missing his third land in the process), and took two because of it (18-20). In his second main phase after the Ripper attack, Tyler cast a Ballynock Cohort.

    Ben found his third land and cast a Tattermunge Duo but elected not to block when Tyler cast Ballynock number two and attacked (15-20)

    A Shield of the Oversoul came down indestructibilizing (it's a word, I swear) Ben's Duo.

    Tyler had an answer for the Duo ready in the form of Silkbind Faerie, another Ripper attack dropped Ben further behind. (13-20)

    Ben cast a Farhaven Elf and passed his turn with two defenders up and four land (Plains, Mountain and two Forests).

    Tyler sent in the team, using Silkbing Faerie to tap Farhaven Elf which caused a look of pain from Ben. He knew that if Tyler didn't tap the Duo it meant he had an answer for the Shield - and he did. After the Duo blocked (Ben didn't really have much choice), Tyler flashed the Prismwake Merrow, and Ben flashed the scoop.

    Ben 0 - 1 Tyler

    Game 2

    Ben and Tyler
    Ben was so excited about keeping his opening seven! I was very happy for him. A more pensive Tyler kept his seven, but perhaps it was just a show.

    Ben started with a Seedcradle Witch. On the third turn, before Tyler could respond, Ben imbued him with the strength of the Oversoul and took Tyler down a peg. (20-16)

    On his next turn, Tyler summoned a blocker in Ballynock Cohort, but another Witch attack heightened the life gap further. (20-13)

    Ben Farhaven Elf'ed into a Plains, garnering feigned surprise from Tyler. He just shrugged, dropped his third differently colored land in four turns and summoned a Barrenton Cragtreads. I guess some people just don't need mana correcting.

    The newly powered-up Cohort got chumped by the Elf and Tyler passed his turn.

    Ben returned blows with Seedcradle (20-10) and seemed content with his ten-point lead, summoning another Farhaven Elf to fetch a Mountain.

    Tyler thought for a minute before sending his team in; Farhaven played the chump again. (17-10), but this time, the Cragtreads connected. And then, Tyler swung the game in his favor, tapping five land and entangling the indestructible witch in a Biting Tether. "At least you can't activate its ability," Ben chimed in.

    He may have not gotten mana screwed in this game, but that Tether did its best to try to give Ben trouble in Game 2. Sadly, these powerful Shadwmoor enchantments can sometimes do that; Biting Tether was Tyler's first pick for a reason. Ben bounced back, summoning a Scuzzback Mauraders and passed.

    Tyler put a sad counter on the Witch and swung with the team. (9-10) He then did what I affectionately call, the "What-Do-You-Have? Dump" and tapped out for a Silkbind Faerie and a Ballynock Cohort. The tables had turned; it was now time for Tyler to start swinging for the fences. Ben Manamorphosed, pulled his own form of "The Dump" with Wildslayer Elf and Juvenile Gloomwidow and then hesitated before passing the turn.

    After Tyler's turn began, the Seedcradle received its second -1/-1 counter, and Tyler smiled and swung with the team. Tapping the young Gloomwidow before blockers, Ben traded the Elf with the Cragtread and chumped a Cohort with his Persister. The Marauders did their job and persisted back into play as a 4/1. (4-10) In his second main, Tyler brought out the unblockable Inkfathom Infiltrator.

    Ben searched desperately for a way out - Elvish Hexhunter and Shield of the Oversoul came out, hoping to block. But with the Silkbind out there, he had little hope.

    The Witch died on Tyler's upkeep, which made Ben audibly sigh with delight, but he still wore frustration on his face. He was on the ropes.

    Tyler contemplated, did his math, and then swung with the Ballynock Cohort and Infiltrator and used an Aphotic Wisps to give the Cohort fear.

    And with a knowing nod, Tyler Mantey advanced to the Semifinals.

    Tyler Mantey wins 2-0.


     
  • Quarterfinals: Randy's Dire Situations
    Jelger Wiegersma vs. Randy Wright
    by Kyle Sanchez
  • Jelger Wiegersma is the most recognized player in the Top 8 this weekend, with 73 Grand Prix under his belt. Not only that, but he's made Top 8 in roughly fifteen percent of all the Grand Prix he's ever played in—a stunning fact that Jelger himself wasn't even aware of until Scott Larabee crunched the numbers. He drafted a monstrous blue-red control deck featuring two Power of Fire to combo with a host of the untap-mechanic creatures, including a pair of Silkbind Faerie, a Merrow Wavebreakers, and Dire Undercurrents to abuse his strictly blue creature base.

    On the other side is two-time Ohio State champion Randy Wright. This is his first time at the top of a Pro event, and he drafted an aggressive red-green deck featuring three Hungry Hungry Spriggans along with a low curve with a few bombs to win the late game if necessary. Barkshell Blessing has been an all-star for him during his climb to the top, but unfortunately he only managed to nab one in the final draft of the weekend.

    Game 1

    Randy mastered the die roll and obviously elected to play first. We were talking about his deck prior to the round, and one of the key factors he mentioned was the importance of playing first with this type of deck. Randy's opening seven weren't good enough to play, but his six-card hand was enough to perk his posture.

    Despite being on the play, Jelger, had the first man of the match with Mistmeadow Witch which was soon joined by a Hungry Spriggan from Randy. Jelger offered the trade by getting into the red zone with the Witch, but Randy had a plan for his three-mana 1/1, and it didn't involve blocking. Parapet Watchers came down after combat to join the lonely Witch.

    An unblocked Spriggan was followed up with a Mudbrawler Raiders, which would have been troublesome if not for a Watchwing Scarecrow from Jelger on the following turn.

    Wright's next turn involved his Spriggan and Raiders jumping into combat, with Watchwing looking to bounce off of Mudbrawler. A timely Barkshell Blessing took care of the Crow, and Randy announced his big finisher was coming...but all he had was a Juvenile Gloomwidow. He passed the turn with three unused mana.

    Jelger's next turn saw him hiring some hands to tend to the fields with Lurebound Scarecrow to take care of the manual labor while Briarberry Cohort played the evasive finesse role.

    A third unblocked Spriggan attack dropped Jelger down to 8, leaving Randy sitting pretty on 19. He didn't have anything to continue the offense, but with Spriggan going for twelve it shouldn't be too hard to sneak in another eight.

    Dire Undercurrents was Jelger's next play, and after passing the turn he noted that he probably should have attacked with Briarberry.

    Another turn led to another attack from Hungry Spriggan, who'd had more than his fill of Jelger's hide so far. Wiegersma opted to double-block this time, however, with Briarberry and Parapet Watchers with an open Plains to provide a single pump. Randy chose to trade with the Parapet, leaving Briarberry in the hands of Randy's arachnid.

    Jelger began use of his Dire Undercurrents, bringing Merrow Wavebreakers in play while keeping his hand full at the same time.

    Old Ghastbark finally added another body to Randy's wrestlers, and with OG Bark on defense, Randy saw a glimmer of hope after having several no-action turns.

    Woodfall Primus hit the graveyard when Jelger cast a Gravelgill Duo on his turn, and stated his fear that Randy might have something even better in his hand. Parapet Watchers also joined the Dutchie's team, and Jelger complained about how cold the event center is, blowing on his hands to spring some life into them.

    "More like a mulligan to five," Randy ranted, informing Jelger that Primus had been around since the opener.

    Jelger's fears were confirmed when Randy slammed his first pick of the draft on the table—Knollspine Invocation. Jelger was suddenly in danger of losing a game he clearly had under complete control.

    He didn't show any signs of slowing down on his next turn though, bringing his pair of Silkbind Faeries into play and sneaking in three damage with his Wavebreakers. Randy drew and passed the turn, his creatures completely useless in the face of Jelger's rapidly growing board position.

    Jelger's next turn was epic. He took a couple of minutes to plan out his intricate turn, starting off with a Power of Fire on one of his Silkbind Faeries. From there the Faerie went off, starting by shooting Randy's dome while tapping all of his blockers. After going back and forth on potential attackers, Jelger attacked with exactly enough to bring Randy from 12 to 0.

    Knollspine Invocation got its first activation of the game, discarding Burn Trail to take care of the 4/4 Scarecrow, so Randy fell to a measly four life with OG Bark, Mudbrawler Raiders, and Juvenile Gloomwidow as his attacking force. He'd need to deal eight damage to take the Dutch King down, and with his Silkbind Faeries and Mistmeadow Witch on defense is wasn't looking good.

    "I have a lot of outs right now," announced Randy, cradling the top card of his deck.

    "Yeah, a five-drop would do it," Jelger said in agreement.

    Randy drew his card and thought for awhile.

    "Slowrolling?" asked Jelger, who assumed the worst, realizing he could have avoided this topdeck situation by holding back a couple of troops.

    "No, just thinking."

    Randy sent in his team, Jelger blocked both blockable creatures, and Randy scooped 'em up.

    1-0 Jelger

    Game 2

    Randy took another mulligan while on the play and kept a one-land hand with high hopes. Luckily, the top three cards of his deck were lands, and he was able to curve out with Tattermunge Witch, Hungry Spriggan, with Rustrazor Butcher and Juvenile Gloomwidow entering the fray on the fourth.

    Jelger had an inspiring curve as well, with Briarberry Cohort, Silkbind Faerie, Oona's Gatewarden, and Watchwing Scarecrow coming down town on 4th Street.

    Hungry Spriggan got in once unblocked, and Jelger wasn't in the mood to race with his Briarberry, admitting his error in combat after passing the turn.

    The Spriggan's next attack saw battle alongside Rustrazor Butcher, who was blocked by Oona's Gatewarden, and with a pair of pumps from Tattermunge Witch it brought Jelger to 10.

    Whimwader looked to shut down Randy's assault, and when Randy attacked with Rustrazor, Jelger quickly jumped to the double-block with Whimwader and Briarberry Cohort. Wright had it right and used his favorite card in the format to get a +4/+4 pump on the aggressive Goblin, which obliterated both of Jelger's creatures.

    Dire Undercurrents was all Jelger could muster while Randy got in for the next few turns with some small beats from Rustrazor and Juvenile Gloomwidow. In the meantime, Jelger was busy digging through his deck, adding Gravelgill Duo, Parapet Watchers, and Merrow Wavebreakers to his team.

    Jelger started using his Silkbind Faerie to get in some small damage while taking care of any attacks from another Hungry Spriggan on Randy's side. His little beats continued, with Gravelgill Duo and Parapet Watchers jumping in front of the Gloomwidow. A timely Puncture Bolt gave Randy yet another two-for-one in combat, but Jelger was unaffected with a surplus of spells to throw away thanks to the Undercurrents.

    Merrow Wavebreakers traded with Juvenile Gloomwidow on next combat, and it appeared as though Jelger was just throwing cards away to wear down his opponent.

    Power of Fire connected with Jelger's Faerie, which provided an answer to the annoying Tattermunge Witch, but was struck down with a Flame Javelin.

    More blue creatures continued to jump out for Jelger. A pair of Wanderbrine Rootcutters started to nibble away at Wright, bringing the life totals to 6-10 in favor of Randy.

    Burn Trail was on Jelger's mind, being at six, but Randy didn't have it or the red creatures required to make it lethal. The Dutch powerhouse soon overwhelmed his opponent in an ocean of bad blue beaters.

    Jelger advances to the semifinals and remains the clear favorite to win the GP.


     
  • Quarterfinals: Counter-Magic
    Gaudenis Vidugiris vs James Beltz
    by Tim Willoughby
  • James led with a swamp and an island, while Gaudenis led with a Mountain and an Island into Manamorphose and Tattermunge Witch, which was hit by Consign to Dreams, but was soon replaced by a powerful-looking Leech Bonder.

    Gaudenis couldn't keep a creature in play though, as Aethertow put the merfolk back on top of his deck. Tattermunge Witch came back, but Gaudenis was unable to get much more on the board than lands in the early game.

    The first permanent from James was a Cinderhaze Wretch. Tattermunge Witch and Leech Bonder finally stuck. They attacked past Cinderhaze Wretch, and Leech Bonder did its little dance to shrink James's Wretch,

    The Wretch did force a single discard from Gaudenis; judging by the Curse of Chains that hit the graveyard, his hand looked pretty solid. Parapet Watchers followed up for Gaudenis who was now taking beats from Gaudenis all over the place. Scuzzback Marauders pressed the attack, which James had to fight back with Loch Corrigan. Between it and the Marauders, James had quite a few ways to spend his mana. This was all for nought though when Oona, Queen of the Fae came down for Gaudenis. The huge legend was easily enough to finish things off

    James 0 - 1 Gaudenis

    Talk was sparse between games. This Summer GP had already afforded each a prize greater than normal for a GP, but the thought of the spoils to the eventual victor had to playing on each of their minds.

    Game 2 started out slowly, which seemed to be a good thing for Gaudenis until a discarded Boggart Ram-Gang at the end of turn indicated a slightly awkward draw of only blue sources.

    James had a Corrosive Mentor for turn three, which successfully rumbled in for a point the next turn. A Leech Bonder from Gaudenis managed exactly the same. Wanderbrine Rootcutters came down, and at end of turn, Leech Bonder used its ability to send a -1/-1 counter Corrosive Mentor's way.

    Gaudenis was still stuck on three Islands but looked to make a game of it with Silkbind Faerie. Another Rootcutters came from James, who was still behind on life, as Gaudenis continued to beat in with untapping threats and build his board with a Tattermunge Duo.

    James needed something to get this game working for him, and that something was Incremental Blight, killing off most of Gaudenis's board. While Gaudenis had a Merrow Wavebreakers to follow up with, when a Wicker Warcrawler came down from James, he looked in a little trouble. The life totals were 14 to 10 in James's favor, even with a River Kelpie, Gaudenis he would still need to be careful in the ensuing combat phases. Gaudenis blocked with his team to survive one set of attacks but this only bought him a short reprieve as he couldn't secure any favorable trades. A Scuzzback Marauders came down for Gaudenis, but looked more than a little awkward when James played Blowfly Infestation, in the face of a board heavily laden with -1/-1 counters.

    When James attacked with Cinterhaze Wretch and Wicker Warcrawler, Gaudenis took some time to consider blocks. There was no way that he could avoid his blocks leaving his team dead, but he did manage to take down the Warcrawler in trades and draw a card with his River Kelpie thanks to the Marauders' persist.

    The life totals were now 12 to 10 in James's favor. Gaudenis played a Morselhoarder and a Mudbrawler Cohort, attacking immediately with the goblin warrior to square things up. It was time for James to Beseech the Queen. Consign to Dream was the choice, and it immediately hit Morselhoarder to clear the way for an attack for 5.

    The Morselhoarder came back. It was not looking like good for Gaudenis. When compared with Inkfathom Witch James' new Briarberry Cohort and Cinderhaze Wretch, not to mention the Corrosive Mentor, Parapet Watchers and that Blowfly Infestation, things were far from close.

    Morselhoarder beat up Corrosive Mentor, and a Curse of Chains on Briarberry Cohort bought Gaudenis some time. When James went all-in on Cinderhaze Wretch emptying Gaudenis's hand, a Consign to Dream in response dealt with the Inkfathom Witch briefly. It came back with Loch Corrigan. Quite the party.

    All that Gaudenis could do at this point was to keep rumbling in with Morselhoarder and hope. He beat up Parapet Watchers, but was dead to Corrupt the very next turn.

    James 1 - 1 Gaudenis

    Gaudenis and James
    For game 3 there were no mulligans. Gaudenis started out with a Tattermunge Duo, while James had Blowfly Infestation. All those -1/-1 counter tricks looked likely to be useful as a Swans of Bryn Argoll was soon in play for Gaudenis.

    Who plays nice with -1/-1 counters? Inkfathom Witch. While James was waiting for his engine to get running though, he took quite a beating in the air. In no time at all he was on 11, as a Crimson Wisps pumped the Duo for an extra point on the swings.

    Needing a quick answer, James played Beseech the Queen for Incremental Blight. Gaudenis had a little think. He confirmed that Incremental Blight required three distinct targets to be played, before attacking James down to 5. Scar then killed off Inkfathom Witch, allowing Incremental Blight to put a -1/-1 counter on the Swans.

    James played a Wanderbrine Rootcutters and passed. Gaudenis then went to the tank. He had just 5 damage to do, but was wary of the Incremental Blight ready to spoil his day. Eventually he attacked with both his creatures, forcing a Scar from his opponent to stay alive. A Watchwing Scarecrow came along from James the following turn to serve as a blocker. On just 3 life, things were looking rough. Grief Tyrant was the next play from Gaudenis.

    "That guy's fair!" declared James, clearly nonplussed at the massive monster on the opposing side of the board.

    At this point, Incremental Blight happened. The way I type it here suggests that this was a quick process. With Grief Tyrant and Blowfly Infestation about, this was a little tricky. When the dust settled, all that was left of James was a 1/1 Wanderwine Rootcutters.

    Gaudenis was still putting on pressure, playing Tattermunge Witch and River Kelpie.

    "This is kind of awkward" declared James, as he cast Corrupt for 6 to the dome to get back up to 9, and his opponent down to 7.

    That 9 dropped to 4 when a Manamorphose allowed the normally red/blue deck to pump once with Tattermunge Witch. A Scuzzback Marauders after combat was enough to finish things off

    Gaudenis wins 2 - 1 and advances to the semi-finals


     
  • Quarterfinals: Parke-ing Violation
    Jamie Parke vs. Eric Franklin
    by David Strutz
  • Jamie Parke is an old-school player with a double-digit DCI number. Eric Franklin got to Day 2 the hard way with no byes and a 9-0 record. Will the up-and-comer have what it takes to beat the veteran?

    Game 1

    The players shuffled up while mugging for the cameras, then rolled off to see who'd go first. Jamie won and took the play. There were no mulligans.

    Eric made the first play with a turn one Smolder Initiate, which attacked turn two. Jamie started off with three Plains, and Eric added an Island to his two Swamps and played a Leech Bonder after swinging for one to put Jamie to 18.

    Jamie's first play was on turn four, a Raven's Run Dragoon. The next turn Eric's Bonder swung in and was blocked by the Dragoon, only to meet a Barkshell Blessing. The Leech Bonder untapped and moved a counter from itself to the blocker to stay alive.

    On turn five, Jamie played his fifth Plains and thought over his options. The answer was a second Dragoon. Eric promptly swung in with is now 2/2 Leech Bonder, bringing Jamie to 16. His play for the turn was Splitting Headache in Coercion mode, with an Initiate activation to put Jamie at 15. Eric discared Shield of the Oversoul, a tough choice, he also had Ballynock Cohort, Barrenton Medic, and a surprise Mountain. The Shield was Eric's pick.

    Next Jamie drew and swung with his Dragoon, which got through to put Eric at 17. Thinking for a minute, the veteran laid his Mountain and conspicuously passed the turn. Eric wasted no time in swinging with his team on his turn, but the Glamer Spinners Jamie drew off the top flashed in to block the Initiate. Jamie moved to 13.

    Post-combat, Eric laid a Gravelgill Duo and Wingrattle Scarecrow to keep on the pressure. Jamie responded on his turn with a long pause, followed by a swing with the Dragoons. The Wingrattle happily stepped in the way and Persisted back. Barrenton Medic then came down for Jamie.

    Eric's next turn started with an attack by the Leech Bonder, which went unblocked and then moved Wingrattle's counter onto the Medic. Jamie went to 11. Loch Korrigan joined Eric's board, with five Swamps and an Island to make him sufficiently scary.

    Jamie, looking to stop the beatings, added not one, but two Ballynock Cohorts to his side, throwing up a formidable wall of first strikers.

    Eric was undaunted, though, and he swung on his turn with the flying Scarecrow and his new Shade. Jamie once again considered his options, glancing at his life total and sighing before putting Glamer Spinners, the Dragoon, and both Cohorts in front of the Korrigan. Eric pumped the Shade six times and assigned four to one Cohort, three to the other. Jamie saved one damage with his Medic and took two to fall into single digits at 9.

    Two cards in hand and his opponent still at 17, Jamie decided to come in with his Raven's Run Dragoons and the surviving Ballynock Cohort. Eric didn't block, putting him at 11. Jamie added a Rune-Cervin Rider to the field and said go.

    Eric, progress quelled, drew, played a land, and passed. With the momentum now fully in his favor, Jamie sent his Spinners, Rider, Cohort, and Dragoon in, leaving back his Medic. Eric's Wingrattle Scarecrow blocked the Riders, which pumped itself in order to live. Eric fell to a precarious 3 life. He untapped and drew, but he didn't find an answer for the opposing air force and packed it in.

    Jamie Parke 1, Eric Franklin 0

    Game 2

    Jamie Parke, left, and Eric Franklin.
    The players thumbed through their sideboards but made no changes, then Eric declared he'd play first. The opening grips were good, and the action got underway.

    Jamie's turn two Medicine Runner was hit with a Scar, and Eric hit Swamp, Island, Plains on turns 1-3 and cast a Gravelgill Duo for his first creature. Jamie followed on his third turn with Ballynock Cohort, and Eric played Leech Bonder and Smolder Initiate the next turn. Now 3/2 and Fear, Eric's attacking Duo brought Jamie to 17.

    Jamie thought but did nothing on turn four, and Eric kept up the pressure by casting a Crowd of Cinders with a Smolder Initiate activation on turn five. He swung with his Fearful Duo and Jamie was at 14.

    Clearly on the back foot facing down four creatures versus his single Ballynock Cohort, Jamie attempted to stall the ground with an Old Ghastbark. But Eric's 3/3 Crowd of Cinders and 1/1 Leech Bonder could not be kept out of the red zone. The 3/6 blocked the Bonder, but Eric had Barkshell Blessing. He moved a counter from the Bonder to the Treefolk and they bounced, and Jamie took 3 once again to go to 11. He was behind on life and on the board, but he had three more cards in hand. Looking to press that advantage, Jamie laid a Forest and Illuminated Folio and passed the turn.

    Eric cast a Fate Transfer to move the remaining -1/-1 counter from Leech Bonder onto Ballynock Cohort before swinging in with the now-3/3, Gravelgill Duo, and Crowd of Cinders. Both Cohort and Ghastbark got in the way of Leech Bonder, and only the treefolk survived. Jamie's life total was cut to 5.

    The veteran drew, played a land, and passed the turn. Eric promptly added Loch Korrigan to his side, activating his Smolder Initiate to drop Jamie to 4. Jamie sighed and paused over the Korrigan before allowing it. In came the Duo once more, and Jamie activated his Folio to draw a card. He thought long and hard, and just as Jamie picked up his pen to move to 2, a judge stepped in and issued Jamie a warning for slow play. Surprised, Jamie asked for an appeal, and the head judge stepped in just to remind the players that "untimed" doesn't mean "infinite time." Jamie nodded, and play continued.

    A Mercy Killing on the Loch Korrigan solved one threat, and then Jamie added one of his own in Raven's Run Dragoon. The very next turn, however, Eric played a second Lock Korrigan and activated the Initiate to put his opponent at the lowest possible life total. Jamie staved off death for another turn, but Eric played a second Initiate and ended the game with the first.

    Jamie Parke 1, Eric Franklin 1

    Game 3

    The players drew their hands after Jamie declared he'd play first. The seven-card hands were good enough, and the decisive game began.

    Jamie's first turn was Plains, Safewright Quest for Forest, and Eric played a turn-one Smolder Initiate. Eric's third-turn Scuttlemutt was soon facing down a Raven's Run Dragoon for Jamie. Eric used his fourth turn to play a Faerie Macabre, activating the Initiate to again draw first blood. However, Jamie cracked back with his Dragoons, taking Eric to 17. He played a Barrenton Medic and passed the turn. Calm as always, Eric drew, played a fourth Swamp, and cast Crowd of Cinders, using his Initiate once more. He sent all three guys into the red zone, and after the 0/4 blocked Scuttlemutt, Jamie was at 15.

    Jamie's next turn consisted of Prison Term on Crowd, followed by an unblocked attack with his Dragoons to take Eric to 14. Eric then added a second Faerie Macabre and a Safehold Sentry to the board before swinging with the first Faerie. Jamie considered tapping three mana, but instead he just took one, using the Medic to prevent one. It was 14-13 in favor of Eric.

    The players took turns adding creatures to the board and making attacks. Eric's pair of Faerie Macabres would attack, while various groundpounders did Jamie's dirty work. Before long, an attacking Ballynock Cohort, Barrenton Cragtreads, and Raven's Run Dragoons squared off with Eric's Scuttlemutt, Safehold Sentry, and Smolder Initiate. Considering calmly, Eric put his 2/2s in front of the Raven's Run Dragoons. Jamie put three damage on the untapped Sentry and then cast Mercy Killing on his Dragoon to get 3 fresh 1/1s, and Eric went to 5.

    Eric's Faeries got Jamie down to 7, and a Cinderhaze Wretch with Smolder Initiate activation brought the life totals within one. The game was coming to a head.

    Jamie carefully considered what it was safe to attack with, and he decided to send in his recently-cast Medicine Runner, Ballynock Cohort, and Barrenton Cragtreads, and all three tokens 1/1 tokens. The Wretch blocked the Cragtreads, the Initiate stepped in the way of the Cohort, and a Scuttlemutt took down a token, but Eric fell to a precarious 1.

    Eric remained stoic under pressure—his board was significantly more bare than his opponent's. Jamie leaned back in his chair as he passed the turn with one card in his hand. Eric quickly attacked with his two Faeries, and Jamie thought over the possibilities. He decided to use Barrenton Medic's untap ability three times, dropping only one life to 5. Eric did have something up his sleeve, but his Rite of Consumption was only good for a life loss of 4. It wasn't enough, and Eric extended the hand.

    Jamie Parke wins 2 – 1!


     
  • Semifinals: Does Screw beat Flood?
    Tyler Mantey vs Jelger Wiegersma
    by Rich Hagon
  • Jelger opened Game 1, but not before Mantey had dropped to six on the draw, and thought carefully about those before keeping. Puresight Merrow led off, then hit for two, followed by Silkbind Faerie. Mantey had three land but no play, so took a further three, before Wiegersma added Gravelgill Duo. Mantey finally made Watchwing Scarecrow as his first action. Helm of the Ghastlord made the Gravelgill Duo 5/4 and Mantey fell to 10, then passed yet again, despite having four cards and black, blue and white mana available.

    Jelger goes into the think tank.
    In came the Dutch team, with Jelger untapping the Silkbind Faerie to tap Watchwing Scarecrow. Still before blockers Mantey used Prismwake Merrow to turn the Gravelgill Duo green and then traded with it two-for-one. He still took 3 damage though, and was down to 7. Lurebound Scarecrow completed the Dutch turn. Tower Above caused Jelger to lose his Silkbind Faerie, but that didn't stop him crunching in for 6, adding to Mantey's woes with Mistmeadow Witch. Mantey offered up Ballynock Cohort but the Witch made that irrelevant, and Wiegersma took the lead.

    Wiegersma.1, Mantey 0

    Sickle Reaper turn two gave Mantey a better foothold in Game 2 than he had ever established in the first, and Thistledown Duo came down on turn three, matched by another turn four. Suddenly it was Wiegersma on the back foot, with Watchwing Scarecrow his first offering as late as turn four. It was immediately killed by Gloomlance and now he was at just 7 life. Could Whimwader stem the beats? It ate Mantey's Sickle Reaper before Mantey added Cultbrand Cinder to add another -1/-1 counter to the Whimwader, making it a sickly 3/1. Wanderbrine Rootcutters looked to help Jelger stabilise.

    Scar finished off the Whimwader, before the Cultbrand Cinder traded with the Rootcutters. Again Wiegersma looked to get back into this one, this time with Kinscaer Harpoonist. Aphotic Wisps from Mantey, and then Ballynock Cohort, preceded both Thistledown Duos smashing face, dropping Wiegersma to 1 life and quickly squaring off the series at a game apiece.

    Wiegersma.1, Mantey 1

    Let's bring you a flavour of the interaction between the two players prior to the decider:

    A sigh from Jelger. "I keep."
    A sigh from Mantey. "I'm gonna pitch it back."
    Mantey prepares to draw six. "Just give me six fabulous cards, every color.....er, I'm going to five."
    Mantey prepares to draw five. "I hope your hand's real bad."
    Wiegersma pauses. "I think it's favourite against five. Maybe not against six, but against five."
    More sighs from Mantey.
    Long pause.
    "I gotta keep it."

    Briarberry Cohort led the way for Wiegersma, but could only attack for one. Then Lurebound Scarecrow appeared, with Wiegersma jokingly covering his Cohort with both hands to protect it from horrible two-for-one action. Torpor Dust slowed the scarecrow, then Last Breath on the Briarberry Cohort the following turn dealt with both as Wiegersma had feared.

    Mantey made Ballynock Cohort then Medicine Runner, while Wiegersma added Wanderbrine Rootcutters to a Mistmeadow Witch. With eight land in play Wiegersma was in danger of proving that screw beats flood. Still, that eight mana meant double activations of the Mistmeadow Witch. That would be more than a little problematic for Mantey, with Wiegersma ahead 22 life to 10, and adding Briarberry Cohort to the board.

    Mantey tried Dusk Urchins, which were quickly removed by the Witch, and Wiegersma cast Silkbind Faerie. With the supercharged Mistmeadow Witch very much online and Mantey utterly behind the 8-ball there was no way back. It turned out that sometimes flood beats screw.

    Jelger Wiegersma 2, Tyler Mantey 1


     
  • Semifinals: Oona, the Bystander Bomb
    Jamie Parke vs Gaudenis Vidugiris
    by Tim Willoughby
  • Gaudenis and Jamie
    Just before this match, Steve Sadin came up to me, pumped the fist and declared with a grin "Jamie's on the train."

    A 50th place finish from Jamie in Hollywood was a pretty solid comeback for Parke, who with this GP is suddenly looking to be a fixture on the Pro Tour for a while. He's got a qualification for Berlin, and sufficient points that we will likely be seeing him around for some time now.

    Gaudenis won the roll and elected to play. His red/blue deck had done the business in round one and he just had one more match to win to make the finals of the first ever Summer Grand Prix. In Jamie Parke, he had a tough opponent though.

    Each led with a 2/1; a Tattermunge Witch for Gaudenis, and a Medicine Runner for Jamie. These traded off before Jamie followed up with Ballynock Cohort. Gaudenis had a Slinking Giant to hold off the three drop. Raven's Run Dragoons from Jamie was matched by Scuzzback Marauders from Gaudenis. The first strike on the Cohort would be enough to hold off attacks for the short term, but this was unlikely to bother Vidugiris too much... his deck's late game was very much bolstered by Oona, Queen of the Fae.

    A Shield of the Oversoul on Raven's Run Dragoons allowed Jamie to start taking 5 point chunks out of his opponent's life total. The indestructibility of his flyer was soon threatened though, as Grief Tyrant came out to play for Gaudenis.

    For the short term, the problem for Vidugiris continued to be the 5/5 flyer. It took him to 10, before he played River Kelpie and attacked with his team. This threatened 13 damage, until Jamie blocked the Marauders with his Cohort, and used Mercy Killing on Slinking Giant. He took 4 on the attack, and gave his opponent a draw (from the Kelpie when the Marauders persisted) and 4 elves from the Killing.

    Jamie bashed in with his team, taking Gaudenis to 5, and played Firespout to make the board a little clearer. He was left with his 'dragon' of sorts, while Grief Tyrant and River Kelpie (with a counter) were the creatures for Vidugiris.

    Now that he was on the ropes to the flyer Gaudenis found an answer in Curse of Chains. He attacked Jamie to 4, preying on the fact that Parke now had only a single card left in hand. When he followed up with Oona, Queen of the Fae, this was enough for Parke to scoop things up and go to Game 2

    Jamie Parke 0 - 1 Gaudenis Vidugiris

    On the play, Jamie had a mulligan for game 2, but with a quick Safewright Quest, he ensured that his mana would not be an issue in the short term. A Safehold Sentry came down on turn two, to face off against a Spiteflame Witch from Gaudenis, who had also hit all his colours (note - this does not include black for the witch's ability). Gaudenis had a Leech Bonder, which threatened to make Game 2 a rough one for Parke. He got the early beats in, but was not following up with creatures. Was this a patchy draw? Was it a draw with a Firespout waiting to happen? Gaudenis would have to play carefully to stay safe.

    The Bonder ran into Safehold Sentry for a bounce thanks to their relative untap abilities before Gaudenis played Tatterkite. Jamie just sat back, played land and Illuminated Folio. He chump blocked Leech Bonder with Safehold Sentry the following turn staying at 18 after Tatterkite got it's first nibble. When Gaudenis played Scuzzback Marauders, Jamie was suddenly in a bind. The board now could easily attack him for 10, leaving him on just 7.

    This is exactly what happened, and even after a Firespout from Parke, he was still facing down a 4/1 Scuzzback Marauders. At least this was what he thought. Turn to Mist on Leech Bonder was enough to make the Firespout far from ideal, with the Leech Bonder hanging around to potentially keep Scuzzback Marauders going for a long while.

    An Inquisitor's Snare took out the 4/1 before it could do too much harm, but Leech Bonder on its own took Parke to 6. Jamie was on the ropes. He really didn't want to see Grief Tyrant. Silkbind Faerie from Gaudenis was also far from ideal, especially when Crimson Wisps let it enter the fray immediately.

    The now red Silkbind Faerie was taken down by another Inquisitor's Snare, but now Jamie was on 5, with 5 power on the other side of the board. When Gaudenis swung in the following turn, Jamie dropped his hand of land onto the table, For Parke it was all over.

    Gaudenis Vidugiris wins 2 - 0 and advances to the finals!


     
  • Final: Win faster.
    Jelger Wiegersma vs Gaudenis Vidugiris
    by Tim Willoughby
  • This is the fourth time that these two gentlemen have played this weekend. So far the score is 1-1-1. That loss was Jelger's only on the tournament. This match is the one that matters though. Settle down for a good one.

    Jelger won the roll, and led off with a Briarberry Cohort off two Islands. Both these players are playing decks with a heavy complement of blue spells, but to begin, Jelger was mono, while Gaudenis had a Mountain to play with.

    Just as soon as Wiegersma could draw a Plains, it threatened to make his position pretty scary, with a Mistmeadow Witch on the board. It got hit by Scar before it could become active though, to the great relief of Vidugiris.

    When Jelger played Dire Undercurrents on turn five, it met a few careful looks from the crowd. It was soon pretty clear how good it was though, as Oona's Gatewarden netted him +2 card advantage, and Gravegill Duo did the same. Puresight Merrow provided more gas, and as if from nowhere Jelger was miles in front.

    "I like this card" remarked Jelger with his typical soft-spoken understatement.

    Gaudenis at this point had just a Sootwalkers, and was in a rough spot as Jelger filled his board more and more every turn with creatures that would draw him into more creatures.

    It was only one more turn before Gaudenis scooped it up, Game 1 had not been remotely close.

    Jelger Wiegersma 1 - 0 Gaudenis Vidugiris

    On the play for game 2, Gaudenis was a quick keeper, but less quick to commit a threat to the board than his opponent, who managed a turn 2 Puresight Merrow. Gaudenis' turn 3 Leech Bonder was none too shabby, but Silkbind Faerie from Jelger looked pretty solid itself.

    Gaudenis committed a Tatterkite to the board, who along with Leech Bonder shut off Jelger's avenue of attack with Silkbind Faerie.

    Or so it seemed. Helm of the Ghastlord made Silkbind Faerie big enough to be able to swing in, and indeed draw Jelger a card irrespective of Leech Bonder doing its thing.

    Gaudenis attacked with Leech Bonder again to take Jelger to 17, and followed up with Tattermunge Duo. Jelger went with Merrow Wavebreakers.

    The life totals were 17 each when Gaudenis rumbled in with his now 3/3 Leech Bonder and Tattermunge Duo. After a little thought, Jelger placed Merrow Wavebreakers and Puresight Merrow in the way of Leech Bonder. He didn't want those counters on his Silkbind Faerie spoiling his block. Unforunately for Jelger, the trick that Gaudenis had was a Consign to Dream, which left the Puresight Merrow all alone in its blocks.

    While Wiegersma replayed his five drop, Gaudenis was busy attacking in, taking Jelger to 10. Wiegersma's fight back was a Wanderbrine Rootcutters and Lurebound Scarecrow, unsurprisingly naming blue.

    Gaudenis played Tattermunge Witch and attacked with Tattermunge Duo and Tatterkite. The ground pounder got double blocked, and a Scar on Merrow Wavebreakers was enough to allow the Duo to trade with Jelger's Scarecrow. Wiegersma was now at just 8, to his opponent's 17.

    Jelger struck back, but his offence just wasn't as big as his opponents. Even after playing a second Wanderbrine Rootcutters, he found himself in a difficult position during attacks. He traded his Rootcutters with Sootwalkers from Gaudenis, but had little in the way of answers to Oona, Queen of the Fae. A Gravegill Duo looked unlikely to cut it. When Gaudenis attacked with his team, he took Jelger to one.

    A quick knock on the deck was not good enough though, and Jelger scooped the following turn.

    At this point Raph Levy came over to check the scores.

    Jelger Wiegersma 1 - 1 Gaudenis Vidugiris

    "One one?!"

    "He's got Oona."

    "Come on... six mana?" - the Hall of Famer was unimpressed and suggested that Jelger should just win faster.

    With this in mind, Wiegersma chose to play for the final game.

    "Good luck... but no Oona please"

    "But that's the key to my luck!"

    Both players had aggressive starts for Game 3, with 2 power beaters. The Puresight Merrow of Jelger's thoroughly trumped Tattermunge Witch though, when it picked up the Power of Fire the very next turn.

    "Let's see if it lives."

    Jelger hid his little pinger in the hope that it would get to hang around. Gaudenis was having none of it though. A Turn to Mist did for the enchantment if not the creature.

    Jelger played Kinscaer Harpoonist and tried to keep up the pressure, while Gaudenis had a Slinking Giant, who ran into a Plumeveil.

    "That's not fair"

    "Nope" smirked Wiegersma.

    Game 3 was all about the beatdown from Jelger, who was a little concerned to see enemies of such practices (Silkbind Faerie and Leech Bonder) on the other side of the field in short order.

    His plan? Wanderbrine Rootcutters with Helm of the Ghastlord. With just 1 card in hand, Gaudenis was loathe to let this 5/5 Dimir Cutpurse through. Silently in the background Raph Levy began to cheer.

    With a small "boo..." Gaudenis triple blocked with his team. The 5/5 killed off Merrow Wavebreakers and Leech Bonder, leaving just a Silkbind Faerie for Gaudenis. Not a draw and a discard, but still none too shabby.

    Jelger bashed his opponent down to 11. Before playing Mistmeadow Witch, with mana up to activate it. The Dutchy was closing in for the kill. He merrily took attacks from his opponent to go to 16, knowing he was in a winning race. At the end of turn he used his witch to hide away Silkbind Faerie for long enough to get stuck in, and attacked Gaudenis down to 6. A Watchwing Scarecrow followed.

    Gaudenis desperately dug for an answer with a Cerulean Wisps in his turn, but it didn't appear to be there. Jelger's attacks saw a Consign to Dream on Mistmeadow Witch, that was responded to by a flicker on one of Gaudenis's potential blockers. Gaudenis was on 2, with no cards in hand and lethal on the board for the following turn.

    Jelger passed.

    There was a Watchwing Scarecrow from Gaudenis, but it wasn't enough, the very next turn he extended his hand.

    Congratulations to Jelger Wiegersma, Summer Grand Prix Indianapolis 2008 Champion!


     
  • 10:30 pm - Podcast: It's Like I Knew
    by Rich Hagon
  • In our last podcast, I spoke with four players who were in with a shout of making Top 8. Among them was Dutch player Jelger Wiegersma, a man as famous for his laidback attitude as his outstanding playskill. I wanted to know what would really get him going to the point where the outcome really really mattered. The final? Oh yes, he really wanted to win another Grand Prix, and now he has. Join us as we talk with the victorious Wiegersma mere moments after the final duel. The Summer Series has begun!

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