Grand Prix Brisbane 2011

Congratulations to Jeremy Neeman, winner of Grand Prix Brisbane! After a battling through a talented and international Top 8, Neeman takes home his second Australian Grand Prix trophy in a row, following on from his victory in Sydney last year.

Jeremy Neeman, piloting Blue/Black control, narrowly beat out Tim Fondum, piloting G/W Tokens, in three tense games. Rounding out the Top 8 were Shouta Yasooka, Andreas Pranoto, Jacky Zhang, Luke Mulcahy, Daniel Unwin, and Hao-Shan Huang. Congratulations to all the Top 8 finalists, and once again to 'The' Jeremy Neeman, the Grand Prix Brisbane champion!

Top 8 bracket

Quaterfinals

(1) Pranoto, Andreas

(8) Yasooka, Shouta

(4) Neeman, Jeremy

(5) Zhang, Jacky

(2) Huang, Hao-Shan

(7) Fondum, Tim

(3) Mulcahy, Luke

(6) Unwin, Daniel

Semi-finals

Pranoto, Andreas

Neeman, Jeremy, 2-0

Fondum, Tim, 2-0

Mulcahy, Luke

Finals

Neeman, Jeremy, 2-1

Fondum, Tim

Champion

Neeman, Jeremy, 2-1

EVENT COVERAGE

INFORMATION

1. Jeremy Neeman $3,500
2. Tim Fondum $2,300
3. Andreas B Pranoto $1,500
4. Luke Mulcahy $1,500
5. Hao-Shan Huang $1,000
6. Jacky Z Zhang $1,000
7. Daniel G Unwin $1,000
8. Shouta Yasooka $1,000

pairings, results, standings

Pairings

14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Results

14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Standings

14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

Name: Hao-Shan Huang
Hometown: Taiwan
Age: 29
Occupation: Student, part-time Pro
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Next-Level Runner-Runner R/G Ramp, built and tested by Team Chappy (Kuo Tzu-Ching, Chapman Sim, and myself)
What was the most important card in your deck?
Primeval Titan, or that Kibler token... Since Kibler is the symbol to Top 8 after a 3-2 start!
Day One Record:
6-1-1
Day Two Record:
5-0-1
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
G/W
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Liliana of the Veil
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
2 GP Top 8's, in Singapore and here.
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
Cardmaster in Taipei.
Name: Shouta Yasooka
Hometown: Japan
Age: 29
Occupation: Pro Magic Player
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
U/B Tezzeret. I like Tezzeret!
What was the most important card in your deck?
Tezzeret
Day One Record:
7-1
Day Two Record:
4-2
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
Red Decks
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Liliana of the Veil
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
GP Kobe 2011, winner.
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
I don't play FNM.
Name: Luke Mulcahy
Hometown: Melbourne
Age: 24
Occupation: Engineering Student
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
Wolf-Run. Been working on it since before the Innistrad Pre-release.
What was the most important card in your deck?
Slagstorm.
Day One Record:
7-1
Day Two Record:
4-0-2
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
The mirror.
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Mulch
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
15th at PT San Diego
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
Metagames Melbourne
Name: Jacky Zhe Zhang
Hometown: Sydney
Age: 27
Occupation: Student, casual player
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
RG Wolf-Run
What was the most important card in your deck?
Beast Within
Day One Record:
8-0
Day Two Record:
3-2-1
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
G/W Tokens
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Kessig Wolf Run
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
GP Sydney Top 4
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
That's history.
Name: Andreas B Pranoto
Hometown: Indonesian, live in Melbourne
Age: 24
Occupation: Graphic Designer
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
7 Garruk and his trainer – Karn / Wolf Run
What was the most important card in your deck?
Green Sun's Zenith
Day One Record:
7-1
Day Two Record:
4-0-2
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
G/W – Tim Fondum's deck
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Garruk Relentless
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
3rd in Indonesian Nationals about a decade ago.
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
Metagames.
Name: Jeremy Neeman
Hometown: Canberra, Australia
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
UB Control, it always wins the first game.
What was the most important card in your deck?
Mana Leak
Day One Record:
6-2
Day Two Record:
5-0-1
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
Mono-Green, it's a ROFLstomping in their favor.
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Snapmaster Chin. I mean, Ian Mage.
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
Top 8 PT San Juan 2010
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
Aaron's mum's beach house.
Name: Dan Unwin
Hometown: Melbourne
Age: 26
Occupation: Baller
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
UB Control, Ian Chin told me to.
What was the most important card in your deck?
Mana Leak
Day One Record:
X-1
Day Two Record:
X-1-1
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
Dungrove Green.
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Nephalia Drownyard
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?
This one!
Where do you play Friday Night Magic?
Metagames.
Name: Tim Fondum
Hometown: Melbourne
Age: 27
Occupation: Student / ROFLSTOMPER
What deck did you play this weekend and why?
G/W ROFLSTOMP
What was the most important card in your deck?
Hero of Bladehold
Day One Record:
8-0
Day Two Record:
X-3
What deck do you least want to play against in the top 8?
G/W
What is your favourite card in Innistrad?
Viridian Corrupter
What's your best Magic finish and where/when?

Where do you play Friday Night Magic?

Top 8 - Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Andreas Pranoto

Hao-Shan Huang

Luke Mulcahy

Jeremy Neeman

Jacky Zhang

Daniel Unwin

Tim Fondum

Shouta Yasooka

Quarterfinals - Hao-Shan Huang vs Tim Fondum

By Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Huang managed a feisty 9 on 2 D6, but Fondum crushed it with a 12. Having used up all his luck on the die roll, Fondum promptly followed that up with a mulligan.

Huang powered out a turn 3 Solemn Simulacrum with a Rampant Growth, while Fondum summoned a turn two Mikaeus, the Lunarch, a turn 3 Blade Splicer, and a turn 4 Hero of Bladehold. The Golem token attacked, and Huang chump blocked it with the Simulacrum.

Huang

Huang's fourth turn was an impressive one, a Primeval Titan for a Kessig Wolf Run and an Inkmoth Nexus. But unfortunately, impressive because it looked like it wouldn't be anywhere near enough, as Fondum spread +1/+1 counters across his team, untapped and sent in the 4/5 Hero (plus two 1/1 Soldiers) , the 4/4 Golem Token, and the 2/2 Blade Splicer, with Mikaeus sitting at home, ready to lend a hand from a distance. Huang pondered his options, but basically just died.

Fondum 1 – Huang 0

Fondum's start was less explosive in game two, with his double Avacyn's Pilgrim's being swept aside by a Slagstorm. He followed up with a Blade Splicer, and a Hero of Bladehold. Huang spent two Galvanic Blasts on the Hero, but Fondum had a second. Solemn Simulacrum further developed Huang's mana, but if he didn't have a way to kill that Hero, he was going to take a lot of damage, and quickly.

Tim Fondum

Fondum attacked with the Hero and chums, and the Blade Splicer and Golem. Huang animated an Inkmoth Nexus, and holding that and the Simulacrum in each hand, leaned over the table to consider his blocks. He finally placed the Nexus in front of the Hero, and the Simulacrum in front of the Blade Splicer. Fondum sank all of his mana into his Gavony Township, and that was all he (as in me) wrote.

Tim Fondum defeats Hao-Shan Huang 2 – 0

(Okay, so I wrote that bit as well. And this bit.)

Quarterfinals - Luke Mulcahy Vs Dan Unwin

By Pip Hunn

Both players played out lands and passed, until Mulcahy summoned a Solemn Simulacrum, which was countered with a Mana Leak. Mulcahy found a problematic Thrun, the Last Troll, a card which Unwin had outlined earlier in an interview was a big challenge for his deck to deal with.

Both players summoned Wurmcoil Engines, which crashed into each other. Mulcahy followed up with a Primeval Titan, while Unwin had another Wurmcoil Engine. The creatures whittled each other down. Mulcahy attempted a Slagstorm, but Unwin had a Dissipate.

Mulcahy's next few threats were also counterspelled as Unwin tried to control the pace of their game. With piles of Doom Blades and Dissipates in his graveyard, Unwin's Snapcaster Mages started proving their worth, two-for-oneing Mulcahy's aggressive plays.

Unfortunately for Unwin, counterspells can't stop Inkmoth Nexus or Kessig Wolf Run. Mulcahy managed to use the dangerous land combination to poison Unwin to death, despite his life total being a healthy 36.

Mulcahy enjoys a bit of brute force.

Luke Mulcahy 1 – Dan Unwin 0

The second game started in a similar fashion, both players advancing their lands before attempting to land haymaker punches. Thrun, the Last Troll showed up again with his ability to trump countermagic, but Unwin had a Consecrated Sphinx, more than capable of blocking Thrun, the Last Troll all day long.

Unwin casts a careful eye over his defenses.

Mulcahy switched gears and went for a Primeval Titan, fetching out some Kessig Wolf Runs. A trampling Thrun, the Last Troll is much harder to deal with than a normal one, and Unwin couldn't find an answer in time.

Luke Mulcahy 2 – Dan Unwin 0

Quarterfinals - Shouta Yasooka vs Andreas Pranoto

By Pip Hunn

Shouta Yasooka vs Andreas Pranoto

Yasooka opened the game with an early Despise, showing a hand for Pranoto that had a great deal of ramp and an ugly top end in Garruk, Primal Hunter and Primeval Titan. Yasooka drew through his deck and found a Tezeret, Agent of Bolas.

Pranoto killed it with a Beast Within and summoned a Primeval Titan, fetching a pair of Inkmoth Nexus. Doom Blade from Yasooka took out the Titan, but Pranoto simply followed up with a Garruk, Primal Hunter.

While Yasooka struggled to hold off the ever-increasing horde of Beasts, Pranoto slowly worked Yasooka's poison total ever higher. Yasooka was forced to topdeck spells repeatedly to try and stem the bleeding, and his luck couldn't last forever.

Pranoto plays so hard, everything's a blur. That, and I couldn't get his
hands to hold still long enough for a clean shot.

Yasooka took out a Garruk with a Despise, and used a Wring Flesh on an early Llanowar Elves. Yasooka summoned an Azure Mage, which turned out to have a Beast Within it. Pranoto cast and resolved a Karn Liberated, who went to town on Yasooka's hand.

Yasooka cast his own Planeswalker, and Tezzeret animated a Ratchet Bomb and provided some aggression from the Japanese player. Yasooka found a Grave Titan, which finally proved enough to deal with Karn Liberated.

Pranoto went to reconstruct his board with a Green Sun's Zenith, finding a Thrun, the Last Troll. However even a shrouded regenerator wasn't enough to hold off Yasooka's growing Tezzeret and his army of 5/5 machines.

Yasooka harnesses the power of awesome-looking glowing Planeswalkers.

Shouta Yasooka 1 – Andreas Pranoto 1

Yasooka led the game with a Solemn Simulacrum. His Consecrated Sphinx was killed with a Beast Within, but Pranoto struggled to find any defense. Eventually a Green Sun's Zenith fetched out Thrun, the Last Troll to slow the game down a little. Yasooka had no intention of being stopped, and upped the ante with his signature Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.

Thrun, the Last Troll managed to beat through Yasooka's defenses, but he just replaced Tezzeret with a Liliana of the Veil and found a Spellskite to protect her. When Liliana Vess made Pranoto discard, he threw out a Karn Liberated, leading Yasooka to breathe a sigh of relief.

An Ancient Grudge killed off the Spellskite, and Thrun, the Last Troll attacked Liliana Vess. Yasooka went to activate his Inkmoth Nexus to defend it, but Pranoto flashbacked the Ancient Grudge before blockers.

Yasooka topdecked a Wurmcoil Engine to stave off his impending death by Troll, and a Doom Blade in the nick of time to stop the Inkmoth Nexus. Both players drew blanks for a few turns, knocking the tops of their decks in a prayer to the Magic Gods for the winning card.

After a few false starts and heart-breaking slowrolls, the winning card turned out to be a Kessig Wolf Run for Pranoto, allowing Thrun, the Last Troll to trample over Yasooka's blockers for the win.

Andreas Pranoto 2 – Shouta Yasooka 1

Semifinals - Tim Fondum vs. Luke Mulcahy

By Pip Hunn

Mulcahy took a mulligan to six, then – by the roar of the assembled crowd – drew the land he needed off the top to cast a Rampant Growth. Unfazed by his opponent's good luck, Fondum cast a Mortarpod.

Mulcahy brazenly summoned a Birds of Paradise, ignoring the Mortarpod on the battlefield. Fondum had no action at three mana, just killing the Bird and passing. Mulcahy had an Acidic Slime to knock out one of Fondum's lands, and then a Viridian Emissary.

Fondum cast a Birds of Paradise and equipped it with the Mortarpod, but chose not to block the attacking Emissary and Slime. Fondum summoned a Hero of Bladehold, changing the dynamic on the board considerably... Until Mulcahy killed it with a Devil's Play. Fondum untapped and summoned an Elspeth Tirel.

Mulcahy attempts to incinerate Fondum's creatures with mind beams... Or so it seems.

Mulcahy kept swinging, and Fondum was forced to chump block with his Soldier tokens to stay out of reach of the flashbacked Devil's Play. The Play took out Elspeth after combat, and Fondum started to rebuild with a Garruk Relentless and a Blade Splicer. Mulcahy was left defenseless, and Fondum flashed his long-sandbagged Overrun to take the first game.

Tim Fondum 1 – Luke Mulcahy 0

Both players opened with Birds of Paradise, but while Mulcahy went for a Rampant Growth, Fondum preferred a Viridian Emissary. Mulcahy summoned a Solemn Simulacrum, which was happy to trade with Fondum's Emissary.

Both players kicked it up a gear, with Mulcahy summoning a Primeval Titan and Fondum a Geist-Honored Monk. Mulcahy's Titan roared into the red zone, and another joined it on Mulcahy's side of the battlefield. Fondum had an Elspeth Tirel to provide some Soldiers and pump his Geist-Honored Monk. When Mulcahy attacked with both Primeval Titans, a boatload of open mana, and a pair of Kessig Wolf Runs, the players entered the strange and terrible world of arithmetic.

After careful calculations, Fondum made some blocks. After the dust had settled, Mulcahy almost apologetically played a Wurmcoil Engine. Fondum snorted and picked up his cards.

Math is never fun.

Luke Mulcahy 1 – Tim Fondum 1

Fondum powered out an aggressive start with a Birds of Paradise into a Blade Splicer, followed by a Hero of Bladehold. Still on two lands, Mulcahy shook his head and played a Forest, still off Slagstorm mana... If he even had it. The next attack step was a big one, with Fondum's army swinging for 14. Smiling, Mulcahy showed the Slagstorm stranded in his hand.

Tim Fondum 2 – Luke Mulcahy 1

Semifinals - Jeremy Neeman vs Andreas Pranoto

By Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

"Six Garruk's!" Neeman exclaimed as they perused each others decklists. "Seven," Pranoto corrected him with a smile, as he had a third Garruk Relentless in his sideboard.

Neeman tried so hard to best Pranoto's 5 on one D6, that his first two throws rolled right off the table. His third rolled a 1. Pranoto got things started with two Birds of Paradise, and a third turn Garruk Relentless. Neeman tried to suppress Pranoto's mana with a Black Sun's Zenith for one, but he kept laying lands, while Garruk kept laying Wolves.

Andreas Pranoto stares death in the face. Well, Neeman in the face, anyway.

Pranoto had Neeman down to 11 before he managed to dig up his Black Sun's Zenith again with a Forbidden Alchemy. He leveraged his breathing room into a pair of Consecrated Sphinxes, the first evidently had a Beast Within, the second stuck around long enough to kill Garruk, draw Neeman a fist full of filthy lucre, and basically take game one alongside a Grave Titan.

Neeman 1 – Pranoto 0

Where game one was all about Neeman clawing back from the brink of an almost certain Wolf-related fatality, he was all over game two. Pranoto's first non-mana play was a Garruk, Primal Hunter. That was hit by a Mana Leak. He tried a Green Sun's Zenith for 6, but Snapcaster Mage milked more mileage out of the Mana Leak. Neeman summoned a Consecrated Sphinx, and when Pranoto didn't have a Beast Within in hand, Neeman was able to ride the steady stream of cards to victory.

Jeremy Neeman slowly and surely taking apart all-comers.

Jeremy Neeman defeats Andreas Pranoto 2 – 1

Sunday 16th October 9:20pm – The Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Brisbane

By Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw
Snapcaster Mage

Snapcaster Mage – Tiago Chan waited a long, long time to see his reward for winning the 2007 Magic Invitational become a reality, and it was no doubt well worth the wait. Snapcaster Mage played an important role in Jeremy Neeman's winning Blue/Black Control deck this weekend, and he wasn't the only one embracing the power of the widely sought after 2-drop. Blue/White decks were flashing back Mana Leaks, Blue/Black decks were flashing back Doom Blades, and Solar Flare decks were flashing back anything they could get their hands on. Tiago Chan, we love your work.

Liliana of the Veil

Liliana of the Veil – while the number of Liliana Vesss getting played in both Blue/Black decks, and Solar Flare decks varied from player to player, there's no question that this new streamlined version leaves the original in the dust. She may not seem as flashy as some other Planeswalkers, but as the turns pass, her sheer inexorable power becomes clear. Liliana Vess will see plenty of play in the years to come.

Garruk Relentless

Garruk Relentless – Speaking of flashy Planeswalkers, Garruk breaks (and flips) the mould. Both Tim Fondum's and Andreas Pranoto's top 4 decks used Garruk to pump out a steady stream of Wolves, putting pressure on the various control decks they faced this weekend.

Kessig Wolf Run

Kessig Wolf Run – Everyone assumed that last season's Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle decks were a thing of the past, but Kessig Wolf Run has helped ensure those Primeval Titans will be crashing into the red zone with lethal certainty for some time to come.

Geistflame

Geistflame – This one's a little subtle, but the Mono Red decks have been loving themselves a little Geistflame action this weekend. Lightning Bolt it sure aren't, but you don't have to look far in the format to see a wealth of tasty, soft, one-toughness targets. And then there's enabling Bloodthirst, Geistflame does it all. (As long as your definition of "all" is as loose as mine.)

Finals: Tim Fondum vs Jeremy Neeman

By Pip Hunn

Fondum mulliganed to five, but still managed an impressive start of Avacyn's Pilgrim into Blade Splicer. Neeman shrugged and took the five from Fondum's attack, and then let a Viridian Emissary resolve. His end of turn Doom Blade killed Fondum's Golem, but left him with men on the board, incuding a freshly cast Birds of Paradise.

Neeman nonchalantly fell to 11 and passed, this time with four mana open. The Snapcaster Mage he represented failed to appear, with all the creatures getting through unmolested. Neeman fell to seven, still with nothing on his turn. Fondum attacked, and Neeman Doom Bladed the Emissary, taking two and falling to a precarious five life.

Consecrated Sphinx made Fondum's task look a lot harder... Until Overrun landed on the table. On to game two!

Tim Fondum 1 – Jeremy Neeman 0

Fondum led off with an Avacyn's Pilgrim, which was quickly Doom Bladed. Neeman, keen to take less of a beating this game, wasn't going to let any creatures stick around longer than he had to.

Unfortunately for Neeman, the next creature Fondum cast was, "Your friend and mine!", Thrun, the Last Troll. Neeman had the answer in a Geth's Verdict, and once again the board was clear. Neeman milled himself with a Nephalia Drownyard and picked particularly well, milling himself into a pair of Think Twice.

Fondum went for a second Thrun, the Last Troll, but Neeman simply Thought, Thought Twice, then flashed in a Snapcaster Mage and re-cast his Geth's Verdict. Then, for good measure, he untapped and summoned a Consecrated Sphinx. Fondum didn't cast anything for the next two turns. The rest, as Holmes would say, was elementary*.

Jeremy Neeman 1 – Tim Fondum 1

Yes, I'm well aware Holmes didn't actually say that. The saying still stands.

Both players mulliganed to five, and joked about going to zero to increase the tension. They kept their hands and began the last game of Grand Prix: Brisbane. Fondum began the game with a turn three Thrun, the Last Troll. Neeman only had a Think Twice, and no action on his turn.

Fondum followed up with a Geist-Honored Monk, but Neeman had a Mana Leak to stop it. Fondum powered up his Birds of Paradise and Thrun, the Last Troll with a Gavony Township. Neeman found a Phantasmal Image to deal with Thrun, the Last Troll, but the Birds were relentless. Fondum tried an Elspeth Tirel, which was Negated, and then Neeman summoned a Consecrated Sphinx.

The first Sphinx was short-lived, as Fondum had an Oblivion Ring, but Neeman had drawn another, and the 4/6 flier started to draw him the gas he needed to pull ahead. Fondum summoned a Wurmcoil Engine.

When the Wurmcoil Engine rumbled into the combat zone, Neeman had a Doom Blade for it. Fondum tried a Garruk Relentless, but Neeman was again able to Forbidden Alchemy into a Dissipate to stop any pressure. Meanwhile, his Consecrated Sphinx had started getting aggressive in the air. A Black Sun's Zenith from Neeman killed both Fondum's Wurmcoil tokens, but Fondum fond another Thrun, the Last Troll on the top of his deck.

Neeman once again dug through his deck, and this time he found a Geth's Verdict. That, and a Grave Titan, prompted Fondum to extend his hand.

Congratulations to Jeremy Neeman, winner of his second Australian Grand Prix in a row, and champion of Grand Prix: Brisbane!

Jeremy Neeman 2 – Tim Fondum 1

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