Grand Prix Lincoln 2012

Fighting his way through one of the most diverse formats ever, Magnan found an angle that no one else saw, reaching into the way back machine to resurrect CAL - Confidant Aggro Loam - a deck that used Life from the Loam to superpower Seismic Assault , Flame Jab , and Raven's Crime . His epic game three against Andrew Cuneo will certainly go down as one for the ages as both players traded blows in a match that was not for the faint of heart.

The weekend will also be remembered as the first Modern Grand Prix, the first Grand Prix held in Lincoln, Nebraska, and anything but the first Grand Prix Top 8 for Luis Scott-Vargas. Team ChannelFireball didn't quite dominate this event like they had recently, but Scott-Vargas held the torch all the way into the Top 4.

But it was Magnan's Life from the Loam 's that are heralding a shift in the format in the midst of a PTQ season, showing just how unexplored and wide open Modern can be.

 

top 8 bracket

Quaterfinals

(1) Mary Jacobson

(8) Samuel Friedman

(5) Samuel Karls

(4) Bronson Magnan

(3) Luis Scott-Vargas

(6) Mat Mercier

(7) Derrick Rutledge

(2) Andrew Cuneo

Semi-finals

Samuel Friedman, 2-0

Bronson Magnan, 2-0

Luis Scott-Vargas, 2-0

Andrew Cuneo, 2-1

Finals

Bronson Magnan, 2-1

Andrew Cuneo, 2-1

Champion

Bronson Magnan, 2-1

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EVENT COVERAGE

  • by Dane Young
    Top 5 Cards
     
  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Final:
    Andrew Cuneo vs. Bronson Magnan
  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Semifinal:
    Samuel Friedman vs. Bronson Magnan
  • by Dane Young
    Semifinal:
    Luis Scott-Vargas vs. Andrew Cuneo
  • by Dane Young
    Quarterfinal:
    Bronson Magnan vs. Samuel Karls
  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Quarterfinal:
    Mary Jacobson vs. Samuel Friedman
  • by Blake Rasmussen
    Quarterfinal:
    Andrew Cuneo (Pod) vs. Derrick Rutledge (Jund)
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8: Decklists
     
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 8: Player Profiles
     
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
     
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
     
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION

   
1. Bronson Magnan $3,500
2. Andrew Cuneo $2,300
3. Luis Scott-Vargas $1,500
4. Samuel Friedman $1,500
5. Mary Jacobson $1,000
6. Samuel Karls $1,000
7. Mat Mercier $1,000
8. Derrick Rutledge $1,000

pairings, results, standings

Pairings

15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Results

15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Standings

15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Player profiles

Name: Mary Jacobson

Age: 22

Hometown: Portland, OR, currently living in Corbin, KY

Occupation: Grinder

Previous Magic accomplishments:

Top 8s: Innistrad Sealed PTQ, SCG DC Legacy Open

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Affinity, because it's awesome.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

Eight.

What is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Ornithopter

Name: Samuel Friedman

Age: 24

Hometown: Florence, TX

Occupation: Educator

Previous Magic accomplishments

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Affinity. It's the best of the decks I had time to test.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

Ad Nauseam , Twin, Caw, Affinity, Fae, Tron, Storm, Melira, Sylvok Outcast

What deck is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Lightning Bolt !

Name: Bronson Magnan

Age: 31

Hometown: Naples, FL

Occupation: IT Consultant

Previous Magic accomplishments: Most TCG Player Points last year, Caleb and Craig's barn.

Top 8s:

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Aggro Loam. It identifies the weakness found in the MTGO Modern metagame and exploits it.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

After 3 byes 12 different decks in 12 rounds.

Life from the Loam

Name: Andrew Cuneo

Age: 36

Hometown: Pittsburgh

Occupation: Computer Programmer

Previous Magic accomplishments

Top 8s: Two team Rochester Pro Tour Top 8s

PTs: 10th Worlds San Francisco

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Melira, Sylvok Outcast. I always play Melira, Sylvok Outcast in Modern.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

Seven. Melira, Sylvok Outcast, RUG, Twin, Affinity, Jund, Martyr, Doran, the Siege Tower

What deck is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Kitchen Finks

Name: Luis Scott-Vargas

Age: 29

Hometown: Oakland

Occupation: Editor, Channel fireball.com

Previous Magic accomplishments

Hardcast Progenitus in a Pro Tour (with double Traumatic Visions backup)

GPs: 8

PTs: 5

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

UW Tron because I wanted to cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Plus, gotta use my foil Thirst s and Gifts somewhere.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

Eight plus four Melira, Sylvok Outcast decks.

What deck is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Karn Liberated

Name: Matthew Mercier

Age: 29

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Occupation: Construction Estimator

Previous Magic accomplishments

Qualified for PT San Juan

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Jund. It's what I was given on the car ride over.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

Storm, Pod, Jund, Affinity, Twin, Vampires!! Zoo, Caw Blade, Faeries.

What deck is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Jund Charm

Name: Derrick Rutledge

Age: 26

Hometown: Olathe

Occupation: Accounting

Previous Magic accomplishments

GPs: First.

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Jund. It seemed to have a good matchup against what we tested.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

10.

What deck is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Bloodbraid Elf .

Name: Samuel Karls

Age: 21

Hometown: Green Bay, WI

Occupation: Cashier/Scrub

Previous Magic accomplishments

GPs: 1 (if you count this one)

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?

Mono Blue Faeries. A week before the tournament Brett Yost and Taylor Laehn told me I'd enjoy it.

How many different decks did you play against this weekend?

Affinity, Jund, Mirror, Mirror with red, Storm, Bant , UR Tron, Mirror with red and white.

What deck is your favorite Modern-legal card?

Cryptic Command .

Top 8 - Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Mat Mercier

Derrick Rutledge

Andrew Cuneo

Samuel Karls

Luis Scott-Vargas

Mary Jacobson

Samuel Friedman

Bronson Magnan

Quarterfinal - Andrew Cuneo (Pod) vs. Derrick Rutledge (Jund)

by Blake Rasmussen

Game 1

An early Thoughtseize showed Cuneo was on the mono creatures plan to start off, as he resolved Wall of Roots and Linvala, Keeper of Silence early on, but both of them were already smaller than Rutledge's 4/5 Tarmogoyf .

Despite some early disruption from Rutledge, Cuneo assembled his combo of Viscera Seer , Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Kitchen Finks , but simply sat on them for fear of removal in response. By waiting while ahead on board, he could combo off at instant speed any time he wanted.

With no removal in sight and getting beat down by Linvala, Keeper of Silence, Rutledge opted to move on to game 2.

Cuneo 1 – Rutledge 0

Game 2

Rutledge bolted the Birds right off the bat, as all good boys and girls are trained to do, and a Bloodbraid Elf followed up to put Cuneo under immediate pressure. Cuneo tried to stem the bleeding with a Phyrexian Metamorph on the Bloodbraid Elf , but Ancient Grudge quickly moved the roadblock out of the way.

The Bloodbraid Elf traded with an Entomber Exarch , but that cleared the way for a Tarmogoyf to begin beating down on Cuneo.

Derrick Rutledge

When Tarmogoyf attacked, Cuneo flashed in a Viscera Seer hoping to block and scry, but a Terminate kept it from stepping in the way. It was, however, able to help find a Maelstrom Pulse to take care of one Tarmogoyf .

A second Tarmogoyf and a Liliana of the Veil , however, put too much pressure on Cuneo, who was already far behind, and succumbed quickly.

Cuneo 1 – Rutledge 1

Game 3

Rutledge was in trouble immediately as he missed his second land drop while Cuneo played Birds of Paradise , Noble Hierarch , Wall of Roots and Kitchen Finks .

Rutledge's first play? Dark Confidant

Cuneo answered with a Chord of Calling for Murderous Redcap , and his overwhelming board position was quickly putting Rutledge in an awkward position. A second Dark Confidant stuck, revealing a Treetop Village on the next upkeep. The land was welcome, but the fact that it came in tapped was problematic.

Andrew Cuneo

A Chord of Calling found Thrun, the Last Troll , ratcheting up the pressure even further. A Lightning Bolt on Kitchen Finks saved some damage, but at 9 life, Rutledge was facing 11 damage.

He played a Tarmogoyf to block while leaving up Bolt mana to try and scrape his way back into the game. A Bolt and a block let Rutledge stay at 2 life, but he was a green mana short of casting Kitchen Finks . Seeing the writing on the wall, he scooped up his cards.

Cuneo 2 – Rutledge 1

Quarterfinal - Mary Jacobson vs. Samuel Friedman

by Blake Rasmussen

Mary Jacobson and Samuel Friedman had crashed their way to the Top 8 blazing similar paths.

Game 1

Friedman had the play, and thus the initiative, leading off with Memnite , Vault Skirge and a Mox Opal .

Jacobson traded her Mox Opal for Friedman's, playing a Memnite and Signal Pest .

"Let's race!" Friedman said, banking on his Vault Skirge s to get him there.

He upped the ante with a Steel Overseer on the same turn he killed Jacobson's. She could tell she was in trouble.

Mary Jacobson

"I think I just scoop now. I gotta at least try," she said, after playing and equipping a Cranial Plating that connected for six on a Signal Pest .

A second Steel Overseer put things over the top for Friedman, and like that he was up a game in the mirror.

Friedman 1 – Jacobson 0

Game 2

Memnite , Vault Skirge , Mox Opal and Vault Skirge led to an explosive start for Jacobson. A Galvanic blast on Vault Skirge and Ancient Grudge slowed things down slightly, but Friedman was still way behind right off the bat.

Friedman started using removal spells to slow the beats, first an Ancient Grudge , then trading away an Inkmoth Nexus . But with City of Brass as his only colored mana source, he was getting pinged as legions of small robots kept crashing in.

Bit by bit he whittled Jacob's attackers down till he sat at 4 life facing Signal Pest and Vault Skirge with just an Ornithopter . His plethora of removal gave him enough time to find a second Ornithopter , Vault Skirge and a Steel Overseer . Still, at a precarious four life, Jacobson had several turns to find virtually any burn spell.

Samuel Friedman

Instead, she found an Ornithopter , which she promptly declared no longer her favorite card.

And when Vault Skirge picked up a Cranial Plating and put Friedman safely out of range, he could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

Knowing she could no longer catch up, Jacobson scooped up her many artifacts and congratulated her opponent on his top 4.

Friedman 2 – Jacobson 0

Quarterfinal - Bronson Magnan vs. Samuel Karls

by Dane Young

The wide-open nature of the Modern format was on display this weekend, with the Top 8 boasting a crazy six distinct archetypes without any Storm or Twin combo decks. Two extremes were matched up here as Bronson Magnan's Aggro Loam deck took on Samuel Karls' Monoblue Faeries.

Samuel won the roll, but it was Bronson's Dark Confidant that kicked off the action, getting in under any Faerie Trickery and giving the Florida native a dangerous threat that forced Samuel to shift gears. He threw out a Spellstutter Sprite for no value on Bronson's end step, looking to neutralize the Dark Confidant 's card advantage by getting in for some damage. Scion of Oona helped the cause, but Flame Jab picked it off and the Dark Confidant got in for a couple of points and Tarmogoyf added more beef to Bronson'board.

Samuel Karls

A second Scion of Oona was eaten by Liliana of the Veil, leaving just lands on Samuel's side, and Bronson got in for five more, dropping Samuel to 13. The blue mage found a Vedalken Shackles to steal Tarmogoyf and dug back in with Mutavault into Mistbind Clique , stealing the initiative back from Bronson.

Tarmogoy and Mistbind Clique crashed, killing Liliana of the Veil and sending Bronson down to 9, but Samuel was missing the backup counterspells he needed to finish the job, quickly losing his board to a second Liliana of the Veil and Seismic Assault . Life from the Loam took over from there, making short work of Sam's life total in turning all of his extra lands into Shock s with Seismic Assault .

Bronson Magnan 1, Samuel Karls 0

Game 2

Samuel was on the play again, but had to throw his opener back. He led with an Island and lost Vendilion Clique to Inquisition of Kozilek , leaving him with Spellstutter Sprite , Threads of Disloyalty , Mutavault and Island . Luckily for him Bronson was taking it easy, letting both players settle into a draw-go plan that gave Samuel time to dig out of his mulligan.

Countryside Crusher broke the ice after several turns, which gave way to some end step action. Scion of Oona was greeted by Darkblast , but Spellstutter Sprite jumped in for the save. It tried to, anyway, but Bronson had a second copy of the dredge spell and the Scion of Oona fell to the graveyard.

Bronson Magnan

Cryptic Command Repulse d the Countryside Crusher and let the Spellstutter Sprite get to work, but Bronson was planning bigger things. He dredged Darkblast and played Liliana of the Veil through Samuel's lone untapped Island . Both players lost a card to the hungry Planeswalker before Darkblast took down the 1/1 faerie, but Countryside Crusher stayed home in Bronson's hand.

Samuel played his last card, Wurmcoil Engine , hoping it was good enough to swing things in his favor, but a pair of Ancient Grudge s smashed all three parts of the big wurm, leaving Bronson with exactly enough mana to replay his Countryside Crusher . Mutavault was a poor answer, and Samuel took a huge hit after the giant ate some lands off the top off Bronson's deck, falling to 2 and had to watch as a second Countryside Crusher joined the team.

Cryptic Command off the top bought a turn for, but the Tectonic Edge that came next did not.

Bronson Magnan wins the match 2-0

Semifinal - Luis Scott-Vargas vs. Andrew Cuneo

by Dane Young

Two titans squared off in the semifinals, with the Eldrazi-wielding Luis Scott-Vargas in his eighth Grand Prix Top 8. His opponent, old schooler Andrew Cuneo, had a fine Pro Tour resume of his own, and he knew his deck inside-out, promising to make this an exciting matchup between two of the more popular decks on the weekend.

Game 1

Luis won the roll but was forced to start on five cards, leading with Urza's Tower . Andrew had also taken a mulligan and opened on Viscera Seer , but his lonely Viscera Seer was not happy to see Luis roll out the natural UrzaTron over three turns, followed by Azorius Signet and Hallowed Fountain . Andrew was stumbling on land, but tore Iona, Shield of Emeria out of LSV's hand the legend could completely shut him out.

Chaining Thirst s for Knowledge and Remand s, Luis fought out of his double mulligan as he further developed his mana, soon ramping into Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre to blow up one of Andrew's two lands. One more draw step was all Andrew needed, conceding in the face of annihilation.

Luis Scott-Vargas 1, Andrew Cuneo 0

Luis Scott-Vargas

Game 2

Cuneo was on the play and got to keep his opener, but Luis decided five was his lucky number, keeping a hand of Gifts Ungiven , Expedition Map , Oblivion Ring , Seachrome Coast , Eye of Ugin . Thoughtseize stole Expedition Map , but Luis got busy ripping lands off the top anyway.

Kitchen Finks and Entomber Exarch kept the heat on, trying to get lethal in before Luis could wiggle out of another tight spot. The Entomber Exarch made Luis discard Gifts Ungiven , Andrew followed up with Viscera Seer and Reveillark . Phyrexian Metamorph tried to Duress Luis again, but Luis had peeled a second Gifts Ungiven to bin Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Unburial Rites .

Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite came back to life, but Andrew was ready with some big hits after scrying away some lands with his dying creatures. He attacked for two with Reveillark before cashing it into his Birthing Pod , fetching Mikaeus, the Unhallowed and rebuying both Phyrexian Metamorph and Entomber Exarch . The clone legend ruled Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and the Entomber Exarch bought back Reveillark in case he wanted to do it again later. Out of gas, Luis drew for his turn and conceded to the lethal attackers.

Luis Scott-Vargas 1, Andrew Cuneo 1

Andrew Cuneo

Game 3

It was down to the final game to decide who was going to move on, and this time both players started on seven cards. Luis started with a lot of colored lands and an Expedition Map while Andrew curved out with Birds of Paradise , Wall of Roots , Melira, Sylvok Outcast and Ranger of Eos into Viscera Seer .

Luis was taking damage, but was only one piece short of assembling his mana engine, with another map ready to go once he untapped. Andrew decided to put an end to that, using a Birthing Pod to turn Wall of Roots into a Fulminator Mage that blew up Urza's Tower . Luis replaced the lost land and broke the Birthing Pod with Disenchant , but Chord of Calling for Murderous Redcap put the final nail in Luis' coffin, enabling infinite damage in tandem with Viscera Seer and Melira, Sylvok Outcast .

Andrew Cuneo wins the match 2-1

Semifinal - Samuel Friedman vs. Bronson Magnan

by Blake Rasmussen

Bronson Magnan may be thrilled to qualify for his first pro tour now that he's made the top four, but his Seismic Assault / Life from the Loam deck was a beast capable of taking down the crown. If anyone else had even looked at the archetype before today, we hadn't heard of them. But Magnan's performance here was certain to change that.

Samuel Friedman is a Austin-area player who is now qualified for his second Pro Tour, though he wasn't be to attend the event due to his obligations as a football coach and teacher. Now that he was qualified for Barcelona, though, he knew the timing would let him make the trip.

Friedman, ever the chatty one, worried aloud about how bad the matchup looked post board for him, virtually unwinnable, he mused. Magnan's sideboard packed cards like Darkblast and Ancient Grudge that could make life miserable for an Affinity player.

Game 1

Friedman, ready to get going, nearly jumped the gun while on the draw.

"I just got so excited, I haven lands and spells. I'm ready to go!"

Not ready enough, as he came out meekly for an Affinity deck, managing just a Steel Overseer on turn two.

Magnan actually caught first blood when he connected with a Dark Confidant on turn three, which he followed up with a Countryside Crusher .

Before it could flip any cards, Friedman used a Galvanic Blast to take kill the Crush er, metalcrafted thanks to a second Overseer and a Memnite .

Stuck on only two red sources Magnan sacrificed his own land to a Ghost Quarter to pay for Seismic Assault and kill both Steel Overseer s before they could get too out of hand. The following turn the Dark Confidant revealed a Verdant Catacombs that enabled a Tarmogoyf , effectively gumming up the ground.

However, Friedman found a Cranial Plating , giving him a way to sneak through a large amount of damage on the Memnite for one brief turn. But when the Tarmogoyf stepped in the way, Friedman had to decide if he wanted to risk his Blinkmoth Nexus to Seismic Assault .

He did indeed take that chance, and promptly lost it to a discarded land.

But when Dark Confidant revealed Liliana of the Veil, Magnan was walking a tight rope trying to keep his head above water at three life, and when no more lands were forthcoming, Signal Pest with a Cranial Plating was more than enough to make Friedman's robots lethal.

Friedman 1 – Magnan 0

"I won a free entry to a win a box, I need to use it before they stop doing them," Friedman worried as the players shuffled up for the second game.

#Top8Problems, right?

Samuel Friedman

Game 2

Apparently Friedman won it last night knowing he would be back today but unsure of his late game fate. Somehow, I don't see many players feeling too bad for him.

On the draw once again, Friedman found another slower hand staring back at him, making no play till Arcbound Ravager on turn two, but lost it quickly to a Nature's Claim .

Magnan then backed up his removal with a Countryside Crusher on turn three, which became a 5/5 on his upkeep.

Friedman fought back with a Cranial Plating and an Ethersworn Canonist , but when Ancient Grudge killed the Ethersworn Canonist and Inquisition of Kozilek discarded Etched Champion , things looked bad for the affinity player.

Blinkmoth Nexus was able to connect for 12 damage thanks to Cranial Plating , but it was hardly enough. Liliana of the Veil Darkblast and Ancient Grudge kept the way clear for a now 7/7 Crush er, evening the match at one game apiece.

Friedman 1 – Magnan 1

Game 1

Friedman had his first turn one play of the match, though it was only a Springleaf Drum . He followed up with a Steel Overseer before Magnan made a move.

But what a move it was. Inquisition of Kozilek stripped a Cranial Plating and Darkblast killed the Overseer. That left Friedman short on creatures but long on the Inkmoth and Blinkmoth Nexi he had been playing every turn.

A Signal Pest met the same fate as the Overseer, with Darkblast dredging back on Magnan's turn. A Nature's Claim then neutered the Cranial Plating and most of Friedman's offense.

Bronson Magnan

"Ya gonna get me?" Magnan asked.

"I'm gonna get you," Friedman said unconvincingly as he attacked with a lone Inkmoth Nexus .

After Magnan dredged the Darkblast again, Friedman was forced to start passing without any play as both players built up their hands over multiple turns.

"And, victory condition," Magnan said as he played both an Obstinate Baloth and Lavaclaw Reaches . "Two victory conditions."

Friedman began working on some victory conditions of his own, hitting for two poison and killing the Baloth while Magnan was tapped out.

A second Baloth ballooned Magnan's life total, but Friedman was clearly leaning on a poison kill. In response to a Darkblast , Friedman used his Blinkmoth Nexus to pump the one that was targeted and put Magnan to five poison.

But on the next attack, Magnan dealt with both Inkmoths with a Nature's Claim and a Ghost Quarter , though he oddly threw away a Darkblast when both removal spells killed the poisonous lands without any help.

It was about that time that Magnan drew a Life from the Loam , supercharging his position thanks to the presence of Ghost Quarter and Flame Jab in his graveyard.

With Ghost Quarter and Darkblast , Magnan was set up to deal with any threat the Affinity player could offer. What he didn't have was a way to actually win, as Galvanic Blast killed his Lavaclaw Reaches , or at least as much as a land can die when Life from the Loam is in play.

Magnan then began jabbing at Friedman's still high life total, retracing Flame Jab one land at a time.

Flame Jab

However, Friedman found his trump with Etched Champion and backed it up with two Darksteel Citadel s. Magnan had no answer for the 2/2, but was well ahead on life totals 25-9 after an attack with Lavaclaw Reaches .

Friedman kept scratching and clawing his way back, killing Lavaclaw Reaches with Galvanic Blast and casting a second untouchable Etched Champion . But as far behind as he still was, he started daydreaming about what card he could draw to find a win.

"It's a new card, it's called Darksteel Cranial Plating . It's Cranial Plating , but indestructible," Friedman said.

But when he didn't have any answer to another turn of Flame Jab s, he extended his hand to Bronson.

"Do I have time to go throw up now?" Magnan asked before his trip to the finals of Grand Prix Lincoln.

Bronson Magnan defeats Samuel Friedman 2-1 to move on to the finals of Grand Prix Lincoln.

Final - Andrew Cuneo vs. Bronson Magnan

by Blake Rasmussen

Previously unknown Bronson Magnan certainly won't be so anymore. His CAL deck has reminded the world what a potent combination Life from the Loam and Seismic Assault can be, shaking up the Modern landscape and probably every PTQ in the coming weeks.

Standing in his way was longtime pro Andrew Cuneo piloting one of the better known decks coming into this event. He had proved his mastery over the Melira Pod archetype over the course of 15 rounds and two Top 8 matches.

Game 1

Magnan's Inquisition of Kozilek revealed Birthing Pod , Kitchen Finks and two Chord of Calling , giving him an array of options to disrupt Cuneo.

"You kept that hand?" Magnan mused to himself, puzzled at the lack of action before binning Kitchen Finks .

Cuneo attacked for a point at a time for several turns with a Viscera Seer before both players played their signature cards in Birthing Pod and Seismic Assault . Magnan fired off another powerful three drop with Liliana of the Veil , discarding Life from the Loam in order to get his engine started if he ever drew green mana.

Bronson Mangan had plenty of reasons to raise an eyebrow in the finals.

But the Pod player had a powerful engine of his own, and a Kitchen Finks allowed him to Pod up Ranger of Eos for Viscera Seer and Noble Heirarch.

"Seems good," Magnan said, now that he was no longer in the driver's seat.

"Yup, I agree."

Liliana of the Veil and Flame Jab killed Ranger of Eos and Kitchen Finks , but Cuneo had a powerful follow up. Casting Revelark, the Pittsburgh native had protection from both Liliana of the Veil and a monster of a creature to Birthing Pod away. He also found a Harmonic Sliver to cut off any recovery through Seismic Assault .

As if that wasn't enough, he used Birthing Pod to turn Reveillark into Mikaeus, the Unhallowed , granting his entire team undying and resurrecting a Viscera Seer and Noble Hierarch . When he revealed a Melira and showed that he knew how to Pod for Murderous Redcap , the players were on to game two.

Cuneo 1 – Magnan 0

Game 2

"That game got out of hand for me fast!" Magnan said.

He led off with another Inquisition of Kozilek , hoping to keep the game in check this time, seeing lands, Dismember , Eternal Wintess, and Wall of Roots . The rookie put the Dismember in the graveyard, protecting his turn two Dark Confidant .

If anything, Magnan's start was getting out of hand fast. Liliana of the Veil killed a Wall of Roots , Flame Jab killed an Eternal Witness – which had returned Dismember – and a Raven's Crime forced Cuneo to discard two cards, including the Dismember .

Cuneo found himself overpowered at every turn in game two.

Kitchen Finks was something of road bump, but Liliana of the Veil and Flame Jab moved it out of the way and left Cuneo with just two Forest s in hand. A second Dark Confidant kept the gas flowing, especially when both triggers revealed lands and drew Magnan to a Seismic Assault .

Cuneo tried to get his Birthing Pod going with a Kitchen Finks , but in response to the life gain triggers, Magnan used Seismic Assault to off both halves of the Finks. He used the same trick the following turn for Obstinate Baloth , flashing enough lands to finish things off the following turn.

Cuneo 1 – Magnan 1

Game 3

"This is it now, this is the whole weekend," Magnan mused, setting up the necessary drama befitting a Grand Prix finals. "Good luck."

Magnan, excited to play the final game, offered a quick "keep," even though he was on the draw. Cuneo followed suit, if reluctantly.

A first turn inquisition of Kozilek revealed why.

"My hand is kind of embarrassing," Cuneo said, revealing two Chord of Calling Birthing Pod , Maelstrom Pulse and nary a creature in sight. Maelstrom Pulse was the choice, protecting yet another early Dark Confidant .

Magnan, now drawing multiple cards thanks to Confidant, wasted no time in using both Liliana of the Veil and Flame Jab to kill the Kitchen Finks twice.

Chord of Calling fetched a Wall of Roots , which in turn enabled Cuneo to cast a second Chord of Calling for four, finally killing Dark Confidant with Murderous Redcap .

Back to fighting (sort of) fair, Liliana of the Veil got to work on both players hands again. Flame Jab and a copious helping of lands killed the Redcap and kept Liliana of the Veil out of harm's way.

Cuneo, running out of options, reluctantly cast and activated Birthing Pod to search for Kitchen Finks knowing full and well Magnan had Ancient Grudge at the ready .

The following turn, Magnan used Flame Jab to shrink the Kitchen Finks and, tight on mana, got techy by discarding Ancient Grudge to Liliana of the Veil and casting it on the cheap for its flashback cost.

The decision proved costly when a Birthing Pod off the top let Cuneo make use of his Kitchen Finks . The Pod pulled out Ranger of Eos , which in turn found Viscera Seer and Noble Hierarch .

And every single one of them, save the Hierarch, fell prey to Flame Jab s.

Melira off the top enabled a Birthing Pod for Eternal Witness , returning Murderous Redcap to (finally) kill Liliana of the Veil .

Magnan dredged Life from the Loam again on his turn and was greeted with a strong dredge.

"Oh, that was a good one," he said, pulling Bojuka Bog into his hand. Cuneo's graveyard was stacked at this point, and the Bog could turn off any Reveillark shenanigans that could have won the game on the spot...

...except Magnan took the risk and used three Flame Jab s to kill the Redcap dead. The play would actually remove Cuneo's main combo win condition if he could remove the Redcap the following turn with the Bog. Eternal Witness Podded into an Obstinate Baloth , a card that was conveniently out of triple Flame Jab reach. Had Cuneo found another avenue to victory?

Bojuka Bog did indeed exile Cuneo's graveyard, but Magnan had to put together enough damage to kill the Obstinate Baloth , or else his 12 life wouldn't stand up. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough red mana to do so for two turns, and was forced to fall to 8 life.

A Birds of Paradise then became Wall of Roots , ensuring Cuneo could keep Poding the next turn after Magnan jabbed four time to eliminate the Balot.

Kitchen Finks put Cuneo to 23, but three Flame Jab s put it to bed and Cuneo to 25.

25 is a lot of Flame Jab s...

Instead of relying on doing one point at a time, Magnan began attacking with Lavaclaw Reaches . The first attack dropped Cuneo to 19, but a two drop into a Kitchen Finks put the brakes on things again. After another round of Flame Jab s, the Finks was gone, but Magnan made a Dark Confidant to maybe, finally, pull ahead after treading water for so long.

Or not, as he quickly placed Bob in front of an attacking Dryad Arbor .

A dredge of Life from the Loam finally revealed an Ancient Grudge , turning off a Birthing Pod that had kept Cuneo in the game for about 87 turns. Finally, Magnan seemed to have wrested control of the match...

Until Cuneo drew and cast Thrun, the Last Troll . The Hexproof regenerator drew an audible gasp from the crowd, immediately shutting down all of Magnan's tricks.

"That would have been better had I Podded for it a million turns ago," Cuneo said.

Magnan, down at 8 life from earlier attacks, was suddenly in trouble. An attack from the legendary Troll put him to four while Cuneo was still safely at 15 life.

Could Magnan draw out of it?

The gasp from the crowd gave it away, and Cuneo already had Thrun, the Last Troll in his graveyard as Magnan was tapping mana for Liliana of the Veil .

"I just won a Grand Prix!"

Bronson Magnan is the Grand Prix Lincoln champion!

Top 5 Cards

Dark Confidant

5 - Dark Confidant

Bob Maher's invitational card Dark Confidant has been gold in every format since its printing in Ravnica, providing a steady stream of card advantage to players who are after greatness, at any cost. With Modern re-opening the vault for older cards, Dark Confidant was an easy go-to despite a fragile body and no evasion, demanding an answer lest the opponent get run over by an avalanche of card advantage. The dangerous little guy was all over the top tables throughout the tournament, with twelve copies breaking through to the Top 8.

Life from the Loam

4 - Life from the Loam

This innocent-looking sorcery has been the centerpiece for many powerful decks over multiple formats, first fueling Psychatog before moving onto Seismic Assault and Solitary Confinement. It got fully exploited when combined with Onslaught's cycling lands, providing multiple dredges every turn to churn through the deck. Bronson Magnan proved that Life from the Loam was good enough even without cycling lands, using the powerful sorcery to keep his retrace spells going before eventually killing opponents with Seismic Assault on his way to the Grand Prix Lincoln championship.

Cranial Plating

3 - Cranial Plating

With "Affinity" decks morphing into a super-explosive pseudo-combo decks, Cranial Plating has taken the place of Arcbound Ravager as the robotic "Fairy Godmother" that Pierre Canali won Pro Tour Columbus with in 2004. The equipment has become so crucial to the archetype's effectiveness that players have stretched their mana to incorporate Steelshaper's Gift —a card that struggled to find a spot in any constructed format until relatively recently—in order to find it.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

2 - Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Affectionately known as the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" for its impressive collection of tentacles, Emrakul, the Aeons Torn has seen play in formats everywhere, from Standard Eldrazi Green, to Legacy Show and Tell, to Modern Tron decks. The alien's prohibitive casting cost almost exclusively requires him to be cheated into play, and Tron players have been doing that with Through the Breach, borrowing the line from Pro Tour Philadelphia decks, but with the backup ability to realistically hardcast the Eldrazi like Luis Scott-Vargas did all the way to a semifinals appearance.

Birthing Pod

1 - Birthing Pod

While Birthing Pod has certainly been a player in Standard, its spot on this list is more about Melira, Sylvok Outcast, Viscera Seer, Kitchen Finks and Murderous Redcap. Having Melira and Viscera Seer in play allows the Melira Pod player to sacrifice Kitchen Finks repeatedly for infinite life thanks to Melira, Sylvok Outcast's power keeping the persist creature from getting -1/-1 counters. The same applies to Murderous Redcap providing infinite damage. The combination, tied together by Birthing Pod and Chord of Calling, make up one of the most popular and powerful decks in the Modern format, as evidenced by Andrew Cuneo's finals appearance.

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