gpoak13

He’s back! Jensen shows mastery in Oakland

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The letter I!t didn't take long for William Jensen to show the world they were right to elect him to the Hall of Fame.

Capping off his comeback tour that started in Grand Prix Boston-Worchester exactly a year ago, Jensen added a punctuation mark to his resume by defeating Neal Oliver in three tense games to finish off an impressive performance at Grand Prix Oakland. Drafting and playing at a level he's been building to all year, Jensen not only celebrated his entrance into the Hall, it put the rest of the world on notice that "Huey" is a force to be reckoned with once more.

But let's not overlook his opponent in the finals, Neal Oliver, who last played in a major tournament a few months back at Grand Prix Las Vegas—a tournament he won, by the way. That makes two straight Grand Prix finals appearances for the player who wowed pros with his patience and tight play all weekend. If Oliver starts to travel more—and he says he will—don't be surprised to see him spike another Top 8 sometime soon.

And if that wasn't enough storylines, the Woo brothers, Travis and Elliott, made yet another brother-brother duo to make the Top 8 of a major tournament. Though they both fell in the quarterfinals, they spawned countless puns and rhymes during their run to the top. Woo know who woo are.

But the weekend truly belongs to Jensen, a Hall of Fame performance for a Hall of Fame player.

Congratulations, Huey Jensen, Champion of Grand Prix Oakland 2013!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Travis Woo   Joshua Goldman, 2-0        
8 Joshua Goldman   William Jensen, 2-0
       
4 William Jensen   William Jensen, 2-1   William Jensen, 2-1
5 Elliott Woo    
       
2 Ben Lundquist   Ben Lundquist, 2-0
7 Carlos Ale   Neal Oliver, 2-1
       
3 Patrick Griffin   Neal Oliver, 2-1
6 Neal Oliver    








EVENT COVERAGE INFORMATION
 1.  (William Jensen) $3,500
 2.  (Neal Oliver) $2,300
 3.  (Ben Lundquist) $1,500
 4.  (Joshua Goldman) $1,500
 5.  (Carlos Ale) $1,000
 6.  (Travis Woo) $1,000
 7.  (Elliott Woo) $1,000
 8.  (Patrick Griffin) $1,000
Pairings Results Standings
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  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • William Jensen

    Age: 31
    Hometown: Las Vegas
    Occupation: Gamer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:

    Magic:
    The Gathering
    Hall of Fame 2013

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Ogre Battledriver, Red/Green, 9-0.

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Opportunity, Blue/White, 2-1.

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Bogbrew Witch/Bubbling Cauldron/Festering Newt, Black/Red, 2-0-1

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    Akroma's Vengeance because it was in my deck when I top 4'ed Pro Tour Venice.




    Carlos Ale

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Fullerton, CA
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    None

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Giant Growth, Green/Black, 7-2.

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Blightcaster, Green/Black, 3-0.

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Suntail Hawk, Black/White, 3-0

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    Chameleon Colossus was one of my favorite cards when I first started playing.




    Neal Oliver

    Age: 24
    Hometown: El Cerrito, CA
    Occupation: SAT Tutor


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    GP San Jose Top 16, GP Vegas winner.

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Liliana of the Dark Realms, Blue/Black, (frequently sideboarding into Blue/Red) 8-1.

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Primeval Bounty/Chandra Pyromaster, Red/Green, 2-1.

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Deadly Recluse, Red/Green, 3-0.

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    I loved the five-color-control decks when Cruel Ultimatum went completely over the top of everyone else.




    Ben Lundquist

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Gloversville, NY
    Occupation: Game Designer


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Four Grand Prix Top 8s, National Team 06'

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Played Blue/Black maindeck, nothing spectacular in the way of individual cards. I sideboarded into Black/Green against decks without much removal when Enlarge really shined. Played Enlarge on Child of Night a few times. 9-0.

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Opportunity, Blue/White, 2-1

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Lifebane Zombie, Green/Black, 2-0-1

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    Chainer's Edict. I started playing during Torment and I loved this card. Lots of great memories. Shout out to Gerard Fabiano for format advice!




    Travis Woo

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Seattle, WA
    Occupation: Training for mental and physical fitness


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Built decks, played cards, talked about it.

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Best card in my pool was easily the Forest, Green/Red, 8-1

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Best card was Plains. White/Green, 3-0.

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Best card was Forest. Green/Blue, 2-1

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    I could ramble about any of these for hours. Magic cards for life!!!




    Elliott Woo

    Age: 25
    Hometown: Seattle, Washington
    Occupation: Economic research


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Lots of games played, lots of fun had.

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    My best card was probably Primeval Bounty. I played Green/Black and went 9-0 (with zero byes!).

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    I played Blue/Red Opportunities. Opportunity is very good. 2-1.

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?

    Chandra's Outrage Maybe?
    I played Black/Red and went 2-1

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    Dark Ritual. Dark Ritual was the key card in some of my "best" decks as a child.




    Patrick Griffin

    Age: 30
    Hometown: Thousand Oaks, CA
    Occupation: Office Clerk


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    FNM RegularPre-release wins

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Domestication. Stealing creatures and sacrificing them if an opponent tries to take it back on my turn.

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Quag Sickness. Removal was very important in stabilizing the board and letting me play 6-mana haymakers.

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Blur Sliver/Hunt the Weak. Aggro cards just using low drops to put pressure on my opponent.

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    Ink-Eyes, Servant of Oni. My first release win was Champions of Kamigawa, so the ninjitsu mechanic has a strong memory from winning those tourneys.




    Joshua Goldman

    Age: 24
    Hometown: Whittier
    Occupation: Financial Professional


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Day 2 Grand Prix Vegas (134th place)Winning the first 2HG tournament sanctioned at LAX (1st place)

    What was the best card in your Sealed Deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Foil Primeval Bounty, though Accursed Spirit put in work. I played Green-Black with a greedy Rise of the Dark Realms. My day 1 record was 7-2.

    What was the best card in your first draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    My first pick Jace, Memory Adept took many close games. Isaac Burlew of the Monday Night Magic crew suggested I play UR tempo in my draft. It turns out he was right. 3-0

    What was the best card in your second draft deck?
    What Color Combination did you play?
    What was your record?
    Nephalia Seakite picked up many auras and sniped opponents out of nowhere. I somehow got away with UR tempo again, as red was wide open. UR tempo may be a good deck . Another 3-0.

    Which of the From the Vault: Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?
    Twenty cards brings back the most memories for you and why?






     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff

  • Elliott Woo
    Top 8 GP Oakland 2013











     

  • Quarterfinals - Benjamin Lundquist vs. Carlos Ale

    by Jacob Van Lunen

  • Both players shuffled their decks quietly as the judge explained the rules for Top 8. Lundquist, thanks to his tremendous performance in the swiss, had the option to play or draw. It wasn't an easy decision; he looked through his deck a few times and decided to draw first.

    Ale joked with Lundquist about looking through his deck when deciding to play or draw as the players drew their opening hands for the first game. Lundquist smiled and said some disparaging things about the tablecloth they were playing on.


    Carlos Ale

    Ale went down to five cards and Lundquist went to six. Angelic Wall held down the fort for Lundquist until he was able to stick Serra Angel. The Angel was soon joined by Charging Griffin while Ale was unable to find a flying or reach creature of his own. The flyers proved to be too much for Ale and they were off to a second game.

    Lundquist bemoaned the cost of parking between games. Apparently his car rental cost him less money per day than his parking.

    The mulligans continued in the second game for Ale, but Lundquist was content with his opening seven. Ale had an early Rumbling Baloth to one-up the Imposing Sovereign on Lundquist's side of the table, but Seraph of the Sword came down and seemed to change the tides in the New Yorker's favor.

    Pacifism from Ale let him crash into the red zone with his Rumbling Baloth and use his Giant Growth as a Lava Spike. Lundquist seemed unphased.


    Ben Lundquist

    Howl of the Night Pack from Ale was negated by Lundquist and Seraph of the Sword jumped back into action when Brave the Elements helped it shed its pacified demeanor. Rumbling Baloth had been smote by the rare Angel and Ale found himself with no creatures on the battlefield.

    Ale tried to get back into the game with Sporemound, but it wasn't enough, and Ben Lundquist reserved himself a seat in the Top 4.

    Ben Lundquist defeats Carlos Ale to move on to the semifinals!




     

  • Quarterfinals - Travis Woo vs. Joshua Goldman

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • It's difficult to overstate just how impressive it is that the Woo brothers, Travis and Elliott, both made the Top 8. We've seen the Ruels do it a number of times, and the O'Mahoney-Schwartz brothers do it back in the day, but for both brothers to barrel through a 1,631-man Grand Prix on the same weekend is astounding, to say the least.

    Travis Woo, however, wasn't thrilled with his deck this time around.

    "Oh, it's totally unplayable," he said of his Black White deck. He'd once again drafted Angelic Accord, but the deck hadn't exactly come together as he would have liked.


    Travis Woo

    He also drafted Angelic Accord in earlier rounds and had success, but he said it wasn't on purpose.

    "I just get sucked into it. I don't look for it, it looks for me," he said.

    Joshua Goldman is also pretty excited the brothers made the Top 8.

    "I'm just very happy to be here and extremely excited to be playing you!" Goldman said when he sat down. "I watch you on stream all the time!

    "I wasn't planning to make it past the quarterfinals, but I wanted to play against you."

    But he still was looking to end Woo's run. His Black-Green deck had some pretty powerful cards, notably Kalonian Hydra and Garruk, Caller of Beasts. He might be a Woo fan, but he wouldn't let that get in the way of his own story.

    The Games

    And he showed that he wouldn't back down right off the bat. As was the custom in the ritual that is M14 limited, the players traded early plays back and forth. Banisher Priest removed an Accursed Spirit, but Quag Sickness brought it back.

    The ground ground to a halt when Minotaur Abomination on Woo's side made attacks virtually impossible for either player. In fact, things were so stymied that even Kalonian Hydra, when it made its first appearance, didn't shift things much.

    "I am impressed that you've managed to stall a board that has a Kalonian Hydra on it," Goldman said.

    "It's tenuous," Woo acknowledged.

    And it was. It took an unfortunate attack from Woo to loosen things up. He attached a Fireshrieker to Stone Chanter and came in with lifelink. But when a maindeck Naturalize took out the equipment, letting Rumbling Baloth trade for the pachyderm, Woo's advantage dissipated.

    Then Goldman drew Troll Hide.

    "This is exactly what I needed."


    Joshua Golman

    He played Troll Hide on Kalonian Hydra, and was suddenly very much in command. Two attacks later and Woo was ready for a new game.

    "I am going to concede."

    As the players started game two, Woo was looking pretty blue. He wasn't happy with his deck or his chances, and he wasn't quite sure what to do. The Kalonian Hydra just grew and grew, and Woo knew his deck lacked the right kind of kung fu.

    And Goldman did exactly the same thing in two.

    Some creatures traded off the bat, there was a Rumbling Baloth and an Accursed Spirit that Woo tried to fight through, but he used too much of his ju-ju to deal with what was next in Goldman's brew.

    So when Kalonian Hydra showed its many heads again, Woo knew just what he had to do.

    He extended his hand and wished his fan the best of luck.

    "My deck is horrible, it's really bad," Woo said. "Hey man, good luck. Unless you play my brother next round."

    And with that, we were down to one Woo. Goldman's aim was true, and he knew exactly how his Hydra grew. And though it was his first big to-do, the rookie was the one who ultimately flew.

    Joshua Goldman defeats Travis Woo 2-0 to move on to the semifinals




     

  • Quarterfinals - Neal Oliver vs. Patrick Griffin

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • "I might just have to start traveling to Grand Prixs now."

    Neal Oliver might not be a regular on the Grand Prix circuit, but he's quickly become a fixture in the Top 8s of the ones he does attend. Fresh off his win at Grand Prix Las Vegas—the largest Magic tournament ever held—Oliver's penchant for punching through in large limited GPs could become a thing if he decides to actually, you know, start going to them.

    And, to his credit this weekend, he has a few things working in his favor. For one, I was on hand for his Vegas victory as well, making me something of a good luck charm. For another (much more important) reason, he likes his Black-Blue deck very much.

    "I think it's the stone cold nuts," he said, saying he was slightly more confident in this deck than the one he had in Las Vegas. And he was very confident in that deck.

    On the other hand, it's almost too bad he really likes his deck, because his opponent this round, Patrick Griffin, is playing very much the same Black-Blue control deck. Sure, some cards are the same, but both players lack Divination and Opportunity to pull ahead (yup, neither player has a single copy of either). Griffin's deck is a bit more aggressive in the air and has a strong ground game to hold the fort, but Oliver has a few bombs, most notably the Islandwalking Colossal Whale.


    Patrick Griffin

    Oliver has the experience, they both have the tools, but only one Black-Blue deck could move on.

    The Games

    The colors each player was sporting were certainly appropriate, as the match left both Oliver and Griffin metaphorically black and blue. There was so much back and forth, so many punches and counter punches, that they didn't even start their third game till literally every other match in the Top 8 had long since finished.

    The first game started with a lot of back and forth. Oliver landed a few fliers, while Griffin did the same. An Essence Scatter caught a Nightwing Shade while Sengir Vampire picked up a Mark of the Vampire. I'm not sure if that's a flavor fail or not.

    But little of that mattered when the dust settled. What did matter was the Air Servant on Griffin's side of the board. It shut down Oliver's Marked Sengir and, over the next few turns, kept the air clear while it hit for four damage repeatedly. It only took a matter of moments for Griffin to end it from that point.

    Still, the game was deceptively close.

    "It was Air Servant versus Sengir Vampire versus you not drawing removal," Griffin said. "If you had drawn removal, that game could have gone the other way around.

    In the second game, Griffin again had his Air Servant, but a Mark of the Vampire wielding Scroll Thief eventually forced a trade with the flying elemental, less Griffin fall too far behind.

    That proved to be his undoing, as the ground stalled out long enough for too long to help Griffin get going.

    The players kept trading resources back and forth. With no Divinations or Opportunities in either player's decks, no one could get ahead from a stalled position.

    Eventually, Neal amassed enough of an air force to push through the last of the damage, exclusively with flying creatures that would have otherwise bowed before the Air Servant.


    Neil Oliver

    Oliver had one somewhat interesting play along the way to keep that air force intact. With a Sengir locked under Claustrophobia, he Time Ebbed his own vampire to ensure he'd draw it the following turn.

    After that epic second game and close first, the match unfortunately ended a bit anticlimactically. Griffin drew an extra card and, realizing his mistake too late, was awarded a game loss. He had called a judge on himself, but because he had already made a game action, the rules were clear: he was awarded a game loss.

    Neal Oliver defeats Patrick Griffin 2-1 and moves on to the semifinals




     

  • Semifinal - Joshua Goldman vs. William Jensen

    by Jacob Van Lunen

  • William Jensen is staging a comeback. The Hall of Fame Elect found himself on top of the standings after fifteen rounds of swiss. Only two more opponents stand in the way on his path to victory.

    Joshua Goldman is in his first Grand Prix Top 8. He regularly watches Travis Woo's stream and was very excited to tell the onlooking crowd about his victory over the Magic Online Community Cup competitor. He's here to have a good time, and being in the Top 4 of this 1632 player tournament is the best he could hope for.

    Both players chatted as they shuffled their decks before the first game. Joshua pointed out that both of them had beaten Woos in the quarterfinals and made it very clear that he was here to maximize the amount of fun he was going to have.

    Goldman got on the board first with a Corpse Hauler and started cracking Jensen for two a turn.

    Jensen tried sculpting his hand with Academy Raider, but Goldman's board was getting out of hand quickly as Deadly Recluse and Rumbling Baloth joined the Corpse Hauler.

    Jensen tried to stabilize with Deathgaze Cockatrice, but Quag Sickness from Goldman meant he would be crashing in for another seven points of damage. Goldman was extremely talkative throughout the game, announcing each card and interaction with clear and loud statements.

    Jensen was finally able to put the brakes on Goldman's aggression with Liturgy of Blood into a Corpse Hauler of his own.

    The board had been stabilized and Jensen continued to sculpt his hand with Academy Raider. Liliana's Reaver came down for Jensen and Goldman accurately exclaimed, "Well, that, is, terrifying."

    Goldman couldn't find any more gas and quickly found himself dead to rights when the Liliana's Reaver on the other side of the table found Shiv's Embrace and took over the game.

    They shuffled for a few minutes and Jensen stared at Goldman for a few seconds, "It's your choice."


    William Jensen

    "It's always difficult when I have a choice, but I believe I should play first. I know the pros like to draw first, but I am not a pro. I don't think I am anyway, not even after today."

    Goldman struggled with his mana while Jensen molded his hand with Academy Raider.

    Ratchet Bomb was ticking up for Goldman, who affectionately referred to the rare artifact as his "pineapple bomb."

    Sengir Vampire came down while Goldman still had two lands in play, his pineapple bomb was getting in range to deal with the vampire as he found a third land, but he continued to take four points at a time.

    Sengir Vampire was blown up by Goldman's pineapple, but Jensen had Liliana's Reaver and it seemed that Goldman was not long for this world. Corrupt dealt with Goldman's only blocker and Liliana's Reaver got in to put the game completely out of reach for Goldman. One more turn of beats was all it took for Huey to find himself a spot in the finals of Grand Prix Oakland.


    Josh Goldman - Power, power, everywhere, but none to cast.

    William Jensen defeats Josh Goldman to move on to the finals!




     

  • Semifinals - Neal Oliver vs. Ben Lundquist

    by Blake Rasmussen

  • Both players have been here before. Ben Lundquist may have the experience—having been a threat to Top 8 for nearly a decade—but Neal Oliver had the more recent success, having outright won Grand Prix Las Vegas. Anyone who can win a 4,500 man tournament has clearly got some skills.

    And this weekend he's proved Vegas wasn't a fluke. He narrowly edged past a Black-Blue mirror in the quarterfinals, but he was quite happy with his deck. He lacked the Divinations and Opportunity that normally marked a Black-Blue deck like his, but he had plenty of removal and plenty of power, especially in the form of a hungry, hungry Colossal Whale.

    But Lundquist was certainly no slouch. He has four Grand Prix Top 8s and a U.S. Nationals team appearance in '06. He was at or near the top of the standings all day, and a win here could potentially pair him in an all-old school finals, with Hall of Famer William Jensen on the opposite side of the bracket.


    Ben Lundquist

    His weapon of choice for the Top 8 was a tempo-oriented Blue-White deck with a pair of Serra Angels headlining it, not to mention a Fiendslayer Paladin and an Imposing Sovereign to make life difficult on opponents early.

    Both demonstrated remarkable talent all weekend, and a win here would cement their status as either an up and comer, or a pro who never lost his touch.

    The Games

    What was quickly apparent was that neither of them showed any signs of rust. Right off the bat each player was playing around cards the other actually had, baiting with the right spells, and generally putting on a clinic for the gathered crowd and the video audience.

    Much of the first game centered on the pair of Serra Angels Lundquist had in his hand. He started out by baiting a Cancel with a Master of Diversion. Oliver, however, fired back by having a second Cancel to stop the first Angel Lundquist attempted.

    The second one stuck for exactly one turn until a Time Ebb gave it a temporary time out.


    Neal Oliver

    That time, however, was exactly what Oliver needed.

    Tapping seven on his very next turn, Oliver summoned a Colossal Whale to put a, well, colossal hurting on the Island-wielding Lundquist.

    In succession the whale swallowed a Stonehorn Chanter and the second Serra Angel in succession. But Oliver wasn't content to just bang his bomb against his opponent's board. Instead he showed some smarts that impressed a bevy of pros paying attention.

    Well ahead on board, but with several creatures tucked precariously under the Colossal Whale, Oliver had the patience to wait a turn to play around Celestial Flare. He played a Minotaur Abomination to ensure Celestial Flare didn't hit his most important target, and, as a result, took the first game by riding his Whale cautiously to victory.

    In the second, Oliver didn't have much of an opportunity to display the talents people were commenting on. After playing three successive Swamps, Oliver missed a land drop and had to discard. It was really only a matter of Lundquist casting a Serra Angel and Stonehorn Chanter and turning them sideways, briefly protected by a Celestial Flare, until he sent it to a deciding third game.

    And what a third game it was. Imposing Sovereign and Fiendslayer Paladin set the tone early, but both players began to dig in when removal and various 4/4 fliers became involved. Serra Angel caught a case of Claustrophobia, and Sengir Vampire was forced to sit back when a Lifebane Zombie revealed a pair of Celestial Flare in Lundquist's hand.

    Unfortunately for Lundquist, his draws from that point on were mediocre. Oliver tried several ways to make Celestial Flare untenable, adding more and more creatures to the board without doing much more than blocking Fiendslayer Paladin with a 1/3 now and then. Lundquist refused to bite.

    But when Time Ebb on the Paladin freed Oliver up to attack with five creatures, suddenly Lundquist couldn't afford to sit back anymore.

    And Oliver knew it. He started snapping his cards briskly, dong the math and attacking with his entire crew. Lundquist drew a few creatures to help block, but a Corrupt and some blocks cleared them out.

    Eventually, and with a crisp finality, a Time Ebb cleared away enough creatures to let Neal Oliver crash through for yet another trip to a Grand Prix finals. In his first Grand Prix since winning Las Vegas, Oliver had found himself in a familiar position.

    Playing for the title.

    Neal Oliver defeats Ben Lundquist 2-1




     

  • Finals - Neal Oliver vs. William Jensen

    by Jacob Van Lunen

  • Hall of Fame Elect, William Jensen, is showing the world of Magic why he deserves his spot in the Hall with a finals appearance here at Grand Prix Oakland. It's been a long road to this point, and his Finals opponent is sure to put up a formidable battle.

    His opponent, Neal Oliver, is quickly building a resume for himself after winning the largest Magic tournament in history at Grand Prix Las Vegas. This is his first Magic tournament since his victory in Vegas and he's proven that he has what it takes to compete at the very highest level of Limited competition.

    "Is this your first big finish?" asked Jensen.

    Oliver smiled, "well, I won Vegas."

    "I'd say that's pretty big."

    Both players kept their opening hands. Oliver made the first play of the game with Scroll Thief while Jensen had an Academy Raider to sort of keep up.

    Seacoast Drake and Wring Flesh from Oliver cleared Jensen's board. Oliver attacked with his Scroll Thief and drew an extra card.

    Huey's Canyon Minotaur was lost in a Time Ebb as Oliver's Scroll Thief continued to generate card advantage and ping away at Jensen's lifetotal. Jensen attempted to stabilize with Pitchburn Devils, but Oliver's Sengir Vampire would present a serious problem.

    Wild Guess found Chandra's Outrage to deal with Oliver's Vampire, but the recast Canyon Minotaur was Domesticated and Jensen had his back against the wall.

    Jensen netted a lot of cards by using Altar's Reap in conjunction with Pitchburn Devils that had been enchanted with Sensory Deprivation, but he was still struggling to keep up with the Scroll Thieves that Oliver continued to force through.

    Oliver's thievery proved too much for Jensen, despite a reasonably strong draw, and they were on to a second game.

    Jensen liked his chances better on the play after seeing the combination of Scroll Thief and removal in the first game. Oliver's Scroll Thief was, once again, the first play of the game. Jensen decided to use a removal spell right away to prevent Oliver from winning in the same fashion as the first game.


    William Jensen

    Trained Condor from Oliver was quickly one-upped by Jensen's Liliana's Reaver. Oliver failed to find a fourth land and could only deprive the Liliana's Reaver of some sensibility with his turn. Liturgy of Blood cleared the way for the reaver, and Oliver used Wring Flesh to avoid a trigger.

    A topdecked Claustrophobia was good enough to deal with the Liliana's Reaver, but the damage had already been done. Oliver had been forced to use three cards and two turns to deal with Jensen's bomb and Jensen continued to develop with Mindsparker, Gnawing Zombie, and Pitchburn Devils.

    Nephalia Seakite and Warden of Evos Isle began to stage a defense. Jensen was drawing a lot of land and Oliver's card detriment from the Liliana's Reaver was being reduced to nothing.

    But Jensen continued to apply pressure, attacking with Pitchburn Devils, and dropping Oliver to Ten life. The Pitchburn Devils and Corrupt in Jensen's Hand would likely be enough to finish off Oliver, but he refused to give up hope.

    Jensen put Oliver in range for Volcanic Geyser or Corrupt and passed the turn. Volcanic Geyser caught a Cancel, but the follow-up Corrupt was good enough to move things on to a third game.


    Neal Oliver

    "It's been a good match so far."

    "Yeah, it has," nodded Jensen, "Good luck, you're playing, right?"

    Jensen's opening hand was good enough, but Oliver was forced to go down to five cards.

    "This game might be less interesting."

    But it wasn't!

    Seacoast Drake and Corpse Hauler stared at one another as both players developed their mana. Trained Condor from Oliver threatened to break the stalemate, but Jensen had the Shock he needed to keep Oliver at bay.

    Mindsparker from Jensen was met with Scroll Thief from Oliver. The thief must have stolen some moldy bread, though, because he became very ill with Quag Sickness on the following turn.

    Oliver continued to hit land drops, but couldn't find enough spells to interact. He attempted to get back on par in terms of cards with Domestication on the Mindsparker, but Jensen responded with Altar's Reap.

    Sengir Vampire was next for Jensen, and even Oliver's Colossal Whale was met with Liturgy of Blood. Jensen's Sengir Vampire was Corrupted, but he continued to apply pressure with Pitchburn Devils.

    Oliver cast Lifebane Zombie and saw Altar's Reap, Volcanic Geyser, and another copy of Pitchburn Devils, "I'm dead," he laughed.

    He had a Cancel to deal with the second copy of Pitchburn Devils, but he was still in a bad spot as Jensen's already resolved Devil continued to charge into the red zone. Corpse Hauler was upgraded into Sengir Vampire and Huey looked very in control with a Volcanic Geyser in case anything went wrong.

    Warden of Evos Isle wanted to block something, but Act of Treason and Altar's Reap made short work of that plan.

    William Jensen defeats Neal Oliver in three games to claim the title of Grand Prix Oakland Champion!




     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Jacob Van Lunen



  • 5. Elixir of Immortality

    Elixir of Immortality isn't a card you would expect to make the maindeck of a professional's draft, but some of the most powerful cards in Magic 2014 are card draw spells. Decks with many copies of Opportunity and Divination often put themselves in danger of decking. A single copy of Elixir of Immortality helps the deck survive quick aggression in some cases, increases the card quality of a remaining library when a player already has a lot of lands in play, and prevents the player with multiple copies of Opportunity or Divination from decking themselves.





    4. Brave the Elements

    Ben Lundquist used Brave the Elements to make Pacifism fall off his Seraph of the Sword so he could successfully survive an attack and swing back for the win in the quarterfinals. Brave the Elements was seeing extensive sideboard play throughout the second day of competition. Often allowing players to alpha strike for the win, and often serving as a one-mana Negate against decks with a lot of removal.







    3. Divination

    Drawing cards is very good in Magic 2014 where very few non-rares are capable of netting card advantage on their own. Brian Kibler, Ben Stark, Tom Martell, and William Jensen all identified Divination as the most desirable common in Magic 2014 Sealed Deck.







    2. Enlarge

    Described as a Lava Axe and Cruel Edict rolled into one by Ben Stark, Enlarge stole games and killed bombs all over the room throughout this weekend. Enlarge was also a big skill tester. Better players would leave a less relevant creature untapped when they cast an important creature into potential Enlarge mana from the opponent, while less experienced players would freely attacked and lose their most important piece of board presence to the Green sorcery.






    1. Opportunity

    Opportunity was a clear favorite amongst the set's uncommons. Magic 2014 sealed play involves a lot of one-for-one trades wherein each card is exchanged for a single card of the opponent's without help. In Magic 2014 , card advantage (The overarching strategy that involves trading cards of your own for more cards of your opponent's) is usually achieved through combat tricks or instant speed removal. Doom Blade in response to Giant Growth, Shock during a double block, or Giant Growth to counteract an opposing pump spell are all common examples of how a player might get ahead in the card economy trade. This makes the format extremely skill intensive and rewards players for reading their opponents and casting spells at the most opportunistic moments. A card like Opportunity breaks all the rules and provides the caster with four fresh new cards at the expense of a single card. If both players are casting and trading cards at a similar rate, the player with Opportunity will have three more cards in hand when their opponent is all out of gas.






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