GRAND PRIX PROVIDENCE 2013

After an incredibly long day, consisting of five different drafts, the Finals went by in a relative blur. Andrew Longo, Eric Phillipps, and Eric Berger defeated Matt McCullough, Ari Lax, and Alex John in a quick two-set match fraught with punishing draws, aggressive openings, and stifling defense.

This trio of friends from the New York area used many of the same tricks they had used to make it to Day 2 to help them become the Grand Prix Providence champions. One of Phillipps's all-stars from his Finals deck was Blood Baron of Vizkopa of Vizkopa, the same card he used to run roughshod over the Finals. Longo's Finals deck made great use of Unflinching Courage, which Berger had used to destroy two different drafts earlier in the day. But the biggest card in the Finals was certainly Phillipps's Blind Obedience, which managed to slow down the stupidly aggressive decks Lax and McCullough drafted just enough for him to take over.

This weekend was a veritable who's who of the past and present of East Coast Magic, and it was fitting that an East Coast team would be the ones to take home the trophy. They drafted well, they played well, and they also displayed their fair share of, well, providence on their way to becoming the newest team to take home a Grand Prix title here at Grand Prix Providence.


top 4 bracket

Semi-finals

(1) McCullough / Lax / John

(3) Cowley / Manning / Bohlmann

(2) Longo / Phillipps / Berger

(4) Juza / Nakamura / Stark

Finals

McCullough / Lax / John, 2-0, 2-1

Longo / Phillipps / Berger, 2-0, 2-0

Champion

Longo / Phillipps / Berger, 2-1, 2-0

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EVENT COVERAGE

  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 5 Cards
    Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Providence
  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Finals - Round 2
    Andrew Longo, Eric Philipps, and Eric Berger vs.
    Matt McCullough, Ari Lax, and Alexander
  • by Nate Price
    Finals - Round 1
    McCullough/Lax/John vs. Longo/Phillipps/Berger
  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Finals Decklists
     
  • by Mike Rosenberg
    Top 4 - Semifinals:
    Bruce Cowley, Christopher Manning, and Kevin Bohlmann vs.
    Matt McCullough, Ari Lax, and Alexander John
  • by Nate Price & Tobi Henke
    Sunday, 11:30 p.m.
    Team Draft Chart: All the Players, All the Picks!
  • by Nate Price
    Semifinals Draft Lists
     
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Top 4
    Team Profiles
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 2 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

INFORMATION

     
1. Longo/Phillipps/Berger $6,000
2. McCullough/Lax/John $4,500
3. Cowley/Manning/Bohlmann $3,000
4. Juza/Nakamura/Stark $3,000

pairings, results, standings

Pairings

16 15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Results

16 15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Standings

16 15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 4 Profiles

by Event Coverage Staff

Eric Berger

Age: 34
Hometown: New York, NY
Occupation: Patent Lawyer
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Started PT San Diego 2007 4-0. Convinced an amazing woman to marry me despite playing too much Magic.

Guild Affiliation:
Boros

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Eric Phillipps and Andy Longo, who we picked up instead of Josh Ravitz, who chose to play with Chris Pikula and Igor Frayman.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
RGB. Armed & Dangerous.

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – GUW – Unflinching Courage
2nd – GUW – Unflinching Courage
3rd – WB – Boros Reckoner, Pontiff of Blight, 2x Grisly Spectacle

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
I have no idea.

Eric Phillipps

Age: 33
Hometown: New York, NY
Occupation: Finance
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:

PT:
Rye Juniors Top 8, 1997

Guild Affiliation:
none

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Eric Berger and Andrew Longo, we're old friends.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
WBU. Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
Some combination of U, W, G.

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
I have no idea.

Andrew Longo

Age: 32
Hometown: New York, NY
Occupation: Engineer
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Pro Tour Dallas Competitor

Guild Affiliation:
Boros

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Eric Berger and Eric Phillipps (PPPs). We're old friends!

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
BW, Skymark Roc

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – WBU – Tithe Drinker
2nd – GR – Punish the Enemy
3rd – WR – Viashino Firstblade

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
No idea.

Bruce Cowley

Age: 42
Hometown: Stafford, VA
Occupation: Computer Programmer
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Pro Tour LA 2000 T8, Grand Prix Toronto 1996 T8 (I'm old.)

Guild Affiliation:
All of them.

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Chris Manning and his friend Kevin. Manning has been a friend and teammate forever.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
GWBu. Golgari Decoy (had 2)

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – UW – New Prahv Guildmage
2nd – UGr – Jace, Architect of Thought
3rd – RWg – Bronzebeak Moa

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Tibalt. I like to challenge myself.

Chris Manning

Age: 35
Hometown: Boston, MA (I now live in NYC)
Occupation: Finance
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Top 8 US Nationals, New England Regional Champion 1998, money finishes in a few PTs.

Guild Affiliation:
Dimir

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Kevin Bohlmann and Bruce Cowley. They're friends who play Magic well and we get along.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
UBr – Desecration Demon

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – UGB – Species Gorger. So many combos.
2nd – UGW – Fused Beck & Call
3rd – BGrw – Ogre Slumlord

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Jace. He's the best.

Kevin Bohlmann

Age: 35
Hometown: NYC
Occupation: Software Engineer/Gaming (gourmetgaming)
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
T32 in Legacy SCG Baltimore Open. Day 2 in a Time Spiral Grand Prix.

Guild Affiliation:
none

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Chris Manning is a friend from NYC and a very formidable player. Bruce Cowley is an old friend of his and came with highest recommendation from Lan D. Ho.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
Boros. Foundry Champion or Boros Charm.

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – BG – Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
2nd – RW – Rootborn Defenses
3rd – BR – Rix Maadi Guildmage

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Vraska. She's unique.

Martin Juza

Age: I turned 26 yesterday.
Hometown: Plzen, Czech Republic
Occupation: Professional Tourist
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
This is my 16th GP Top 8, 2 PT Top 8s

Guild Affiliation:
Simic

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Ben Stark and Shuhei Nakamura, the two Limited masters. I consider myself lucky that they wanted me as their third.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
Boros. Firemane Avenger

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – UWB
2nd – BRW
3rd – BRW

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Jace, duh.

Ben Stark

Age: 29
Hometown: Tamarac, FL
Occupation: none
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Won PT Paris, 4 PT Top 8s, Won GP Indy, 9 GP Top 8s

Guild Affiliation:
none

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Martin Juza and Shuhei Nakamura, two of the best players in the world and good at Limited.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
GBW – Crypt Ghast

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
Four-color not-white – Varolz, the Scar-Striped
Orzhov – Gift of Orzhova

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Liliana.

Shuhei Nakamura

Age: 29 plus 30... ok. 31.
Hometown: Japan?
Occupation: Pro Magic player and traveler (will be done, maybe)
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
I was GP Top 16 collector.

Guild Affiliation:
Orzhov

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Martin Juza and Ben Stark. Subway strategy.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
UGr, Progenitor Mimic

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – BWU – Ogre Slumlord
2nd – BWU – One-Thousand Lashes
3rd – UGb – Dinrova Horror

If you could team up with a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Nicol Bolas, not close.

Ari Lax

Age: 22
Hometown: Boston
Occupation: Systems Engineer
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
2 Pro Tour Top 16s4 Grand Prix Top 8s

Guild Affiliation:
Dimir

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Alex (John) is responsible for both my Limited GP Top 8s, and Matt (McCullough) is about 70% in PT drafts lifetime. Secret team captain was DJ Kastner.

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
Gruul with Domri Rade

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – Ubr – Pack Rat (1-1)
2nd – WR – Warleader's Helix (2-0)
3rd – GRB – Explosive Impact (2-0)

If you could team up for a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Bo Levar. He seems like the nut.

Matt McCullough

Age: 23
Hometown: Big rapids, MI
Occupation: Engineer
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Top 32 Pro Tour Philadelphia 20113-1'd a Momir Basic Daily Event

Guild Affiliation:
Glint-Eye Nephilim

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?

Alex John:
Best Limited player in Michigan

Ari Lax:
Two free byes

Secret team captain:
DJ Kastner

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
BWr. Best card was Pack Rat. Every time my opponent would immediately kill it and I would win anyway. Every time I activated it 2+ times, I lost.

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – BRg -Clan Defiance and Master of Cruelties
2nd – BUG – Simic Fluxmage
3rd – RG, Rakdos Cackler

If you could team up for a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Sarkhan the Mad. He seems fun to hang out with.

Alexander John

Age: 24
Hometown: East Lansing, MI
Occupation: Student
 

Previous Magic Accomplishments:
Top 32 Grand Prix NashvillePlayed at Pro Tour Kobe in 2006

Guild Affiliation:
Witch-Maw Nephelim

Who are your teammates and why did you play with them?
Matt McCullough – He's got a good head on his shoulders.Ari Lax – He had two byes.

Secret team captain:
DJ Kastner

What color combination did you play in Sealed, and what was your best card?
Bant – Armored Wolf-Rider. I won every game I played him.

What color combinations did you draft, and what were your best cards in each?
1st – Bant – Species Gorger
2nd – Bant – Thrashing Mossdog
3rd – Grixis – Stolen Identity

If you could team up for a Planeswalker for the next Team Limited Grand Prix, which Planeswalker would you choose and why?
Jace, duh.


Semifinals Draft Lists

by Nate Price
 

Martin Juza

Shuhei Nakamura

Ben Stark

Matt McCullough

Ari Lax

Alex John

Bruce Cowley

Chris Manning

Kevin Bohlmann

Andrew Longo

Eric Phillipps

Eric Berger


Team Draft Chart: All the Players, All the Picks!

by Nate Price & Tobi Henke
 

Take a look at the following table. The vertical columns have all picks by the player listed at the very top, one after the other. The same shade of grey here denotes cards taken from the same booster pack. That's to help you see what choices the player faced when he made a particular pick. By going along the diagonal line of same-colored boxes downwards, you can see what cards were left in the booster at any point in the draft.

Draft: Booster Pack 1

Eric Phillipps Matt McCullough Eric Berger Ari Lax Andrew Longo Alex John
Blood Baron of Vizkopa Armed // Dangerous Varolz, the Scar-Striped Pyrewild Shaman Unflinching Courage Krasis Incubation
Haazda Snare Squad Viashino Firstblade Putrefy Rubblebelt Maaka Trostani's Summoner Kraul Warrior
Rakdos Drake Viashino Firstblade Give // Take Viashino Firstblade Bronzebeak Moa Vorel of the Hull Clade
Rakdos Drake Viashino Firstblade Rakdos Drake Viashino Firstblade Thrashing Mossdog Simic Guildgate
Boros Mastiff Selesnya Guildgate Rakdos Drake Battering Krasis Steeple Roc Haunter of Nightveil
Obzedat's Aid Steeple Roc Golgari Guildgate Profit // Loss Jelenn Sphinx Beck // Call
Toil // Trouble Armored Wolf-Rider Fatal Fumes Rakdos Guildgate Simic Guildgate Maze Glider
Maze Abomination Riot Piker Mutant's Prey Lyev Decree Saruli Gatekeepers Overgrown Tomb
Wind Drake Sunspire Gatekeepers Maze Abomination Riot Piker Runner's Bane Azorius Cluestone
Wind Drake Selesnya Cluestone Runner's Bane Riot Piker Nivix Cyclops Blast of Genius
Opal Lake Gatekeepers Awe for the Guilds Rot Farm Skeleton Ubul Sar Gatekeepers Runner's Bane Runner's Bane
Boros Cluestone Opal Lake Gatekeepers Rakdos Cluestone Clear a Path Deputy of Acquittals Maze Behemoth
Boros Cluestone Goblin Test Pilot Showstopper Riot Control Feral Animist Mindstatic
Restore the Peace Boros Cluestone Morgue Burst Hidden Strings Rakdos Cluestone Wake the Reflections
Wake the Reflections Mindstatic Uncovered Clues Showstopper Crypt Angel Hidden Strings
 

Draft: Booster Pack 2

Eric Phillipps Matt McCullough Eric Berger Ari Lax Andrew Longo Alex John
Holy Mantle Syndic of Tithes Scab-Clan Charger Wojek Halberdiers Shambleshark Prophetic Prism
Guardian of the Gateless Homing Lightning Crocanura Wojek Halberdiers Wasteland Viper Dinrova Horror
Hellkite Tyrant Daring Skyjek Biomass Mutation Warmind Infantry Simic Guildgate Killing Glare
Blind Obedience Cartel Aristocrat Scab-Clan Charger Skinbrand Goblin Drakewing Krasis Burst of Strength
High Priest of Penance Martial Glory Greenside Watcher Wojek Halberdiers Prophetic Prism Simic Fluxmage
Pit Fight Boros Charm Adaptive Snapjaw Knight Watch Burst of Strength Orzhov Guildgate
Assault Griffin Gruul Charm Basilica Guards Warmind Infantry Keymaster Rogue Stomping Ground
Corpse Blockade Aerial Maneuver Shadow Alley Denizen Ordruun Veteran Dimir Guildgate Way of the Thief
Horror of the Dim Towering Thunderfist Deathcult Rogue Furious Resistance Spell Rupture Last Thoughts
Bomber Corps Riot Gear Duskmantle Guildmage Agoraphobia Clinging Anemones Bioshift
Zarichi Tiger Midnight Recovery Mortus Strider Boros Guildgate Totally Lost Illusionist's Bracers
Psychic Strike Bomber Corps Naturalize Forced Adaptation Paranoid Delusions Spire Tracer
Shadow Slice Forced Adaptation Shadow Alley Denizen Alpha Authority Crackling Perimeter Serene Remembrance
Skygames Beckon Apparition Dying Wish Murder Investigation Paranoid Delusions Contaminated Ground
 

Draft: Booster Pack 3

Eric Phillipps Matt McCullough Eric Berger Ari Lax Andrew Longo Alex John
Stab Wound Auger Spree Pack Rat Volatile Rig Mercurial Chemister Mizzium Mortars
Rakdos Guildgate Explosive Impact Sluiceway Scorpion Gore-House Chainwalker Korozda Monitor Runewing
Tavern Swindler Rakdos Shred-Freak Golgari Charm Swift Justice Selesnya Charm Voidwielder
Eyes in the Skies Keening Apparition Grim Roustabout Knightly Valor Inspiration Selesnya Keyrune
Vassal Soul Vassal Soul Auger Spree Selesnya Sentry New Prahv Guildmage Izzet Charm
Trostani's Judgment Civic Saber Zanikev Locust Vassal Soul Azorius Guildgate Izzet Guildgate
Launch Party Ethereal Armor Stonefare Crocodile Dramatic Rescue Call of the Conclave Cancel
Avenging Arrow Cobblebrute Grim Roustabout Trestle Troll Druid's Deliverance Pursuit of Flight
Selesnya Sentry Catacomb Slug Stonefare Crocodile Tenement Crasher Dispel Skyline Predator
Mizzium Skin Armory Guard Rogue's Passage Rakdos Ragemutt Ogre Jailbreaker Inspiration
Inaction Injunction Electrickery Death's Approach Druid's Deliverance Crosstown Courier Gobbling Ooze
Dark Revenant Trained Caracal Chemister's Trick Druid's Deliverance Essence Backlash Inspiration
Chemister's Trick Epic Experiment Cremate Aquus Steed Minotaur Aggressor Spawn of Rix Maadi
Blistercoil Weird Downsize Survey the Wreckage Urban Burgeoning Izzet Keyrune Horncaller's Chant

Top 4 - Semifinals: Bruce Cowley, Christopher Manning, and Kevin Bohlmann vs. Matt McCullough, Ari Lax, and Alexander John

by Mike Rosenberg
 

Three players sat down, but only two matches reached their natural conclusion. Matt McCullough and Ari Lax were able to defeat Bruce Cowley and Christopher Manning in their matches, leaving the second game of Alexander John's match against Kevin Bohlmann unnecessary and unresolved.

Cowley and McCullough's Match

The first match to finish was between Cowley and McCullough, where McCullough slowly whittled Cowley's Gruul forces down through huge swings in resources thanks to Midnight Recovery and Sepulchral Primordial. The three creatures Midnight Recovery brought back and the Primordial left Cowley out of gas and racing an unwinnable clock.


Bruce Cowley, Christopher Manning, and Kevin Bohlmann

The second game left Cowley without red mana and stranded on three lands, as an enraged Grim Roustabout and Millennial Gargoyle beat down until Cowley had enough. The two players quickly joined their teammates to aid in any difficult decisions.

Bohlmann and John's Match

While their teammates were blowing through each game at a rapid pace, Bohlmann and John ended up in quick board stalls. Paralyzing Grasp and Runner's Bane locked down Kraul Warrior and Gyre Sage respectively, and all of John's other blue creatures looked very awkward in the face of Skylasher from Bohlmann.

However, one of those blue creatures was also red, and had plenty of abilities for John to use. Nivix Guildmage helped John sculpt a hand that could actually...well, do something. As Bohlmann built up an offensive force with Hunter of Nightveil and Maze Glider, which let the Hunter swing into the air, John started evolving his Gyre Sage. Eventually, it hit 4/5, freeing it from the Runner's Bane. Once it was untapped, a timely Explosive Impact shot down the Maze Glider mid-combat, which dropped the formerly flying Hunter of Nightveil back down to earth where Gyre Sage could promptly smash it.

After that, it was elementary. John continued to sculpt his hand, while Bohlmann attempted to mount some sort of pressure. Eventually, John found what he was looking for, as a bloodrushed Skarrg Goliath when John sent in his team pushed through the final points of damage once Bohlmann was tapped out.

The second game looked to go just as long, if it were not for...

Manning and Lax's Match

It seemed like the team's match would be settled on the result of the games between Bohlmann and John after Lax had a not-so-stellar start against Manning in their match. Despite having a Martial Law active, a Purge the Profane deprived Lax of necessary tricks, and creatures like Precinct Captain were getting dwarfed by centaur tokens via Manning's Courser's Accord. The one major threat Lax was able to present, a Tenement Crasher, was given One Thousand Lashes.


Matt McCullough, Ari Lax, and Alexander John

While it took a few turns for the game to end, the winner was clear as Manning's board grew and Lax's board remained stagnant. Martial Law didn't buy Lax time; it simply slowed his demise.

That could not be said for the second game, where Martial Law helped allow Viashino Firstblade and Warmind Infantry to push through for early damage. Courser's Accord gave him even more beef to attack with, and while Manning was able to take out the centaur tokens and Warmind Infantry over the course of a couple of turns, he could not stop dying to the Massive Raid that came after a couple more creatures entered play.

The third and final game saw Maninng staring down a brutal curve consisting of Fencing Ace, Skyknight Legionnaire, and Viashino Firstblade. While Avenging Arrow shot down the Fencing Ace, Martial Law from Lax eventually causes some havoc, detaining Manning's best creature each turn.

Eventually, it detained a centaur token while Manning was at 8 with a Daggerdrome Imp. When Lax attacked with a Steeple Roc, Manning declined to block, and lax was quick to slam a Scorchwalker onto the table for its bloodrush. Without any answers to the now 8 damage coming his way, Manning offered the concession.


Finals Decklists

by Mike Rosenberg