Grand Prix Washington D.C. 2010
Nelson King of the Capital!
May 22-23, 2010
Grand Prix Washington D.C. 2010
Grand Prix Washington D.C. has come to a close. A staggering 1931 players annihilated all previous North American records, with a vibrant Standard environment bringing players from across the United States and beyond. The international flavor was enhanced with many of the finest players in the world descending on Dulles, spending a weekend of Grand Prix get-togethers before the showpiece in San Juan, the second Pro Tour of the season, next weekend. An excellent Top 8 showcased some fine US talent, and only Carlos Romao, the 2002 World Champion, stood against the might of the States.
The Final saw Owen Turtenwald face Brad Nelson in a classic matchup. Turtenwald would be the aggressor with the perennial powerhouse Jund, while Nelson would look to survive the onslaught, Spread some Seas, Spring some Minds, and Slay some Banes. Or something. In three tense games, Nelson emerged victorious, and takes $3,500, the Championship trophy, and ten Pro Points into the Puerto Rico Pro Tour spectacular just five days from now and then continues on to Wizards of the Coast HQ to battle for the 2010 Magic Online Community Cup June 9-11!
Congratulations to Brad Nelson, Grand Prix Washington D.C. Champion 2010!
top 8 bracket
(1) Brett Blackman
(8) Brad Nelson
(4) Joshua Wagener
(5) Michael Stanfar
(2) Owen Turtenwald
(7) Carlos Romão
(3) Kyle Boggemes
(6) Brad Carpenter
Brad Nelson, 2-1
Joshua Wagener, 2-1
Owen Turtenwald, 2-1
Kyle Boggemes, 2-0
Brad Nelson, 2-0
Owen Turtenwald, 2-0
Brad Nelson, 2-1
by Bill StarkFinals:Owen Turtenwald vs Brad Nelson
by Rich HagonSemifinals:Josh Wagener vs Brad Nelson
by Ben SwartzSemifinals:Kyle Boggemes vs Owen Turtenwald
by Sam FeeleyQuarterfinals:Brett Blackman (Mythic Conscription) vs. Brad Nelson (U/W Control)
by Ben SwartzQuarterfinals:Joshua Wagener vs. Michael Stanfar
by Rich HagonQuarterfinals:Bradley Carpenter vs. Kyle Boggemes
by Bill StarkQuarterfinals:Owen Turtenwald vs. Carlos Romao
by Event Coverage StaffTop 8:Player Profiles
by Event Coverage StaffTop 8:Decklists
by Event Coverage StaffDay 2 Coverage:Complete Coverage from Grand Prix - Washington DC, Day 2
by Event Coverage StaffDay 1 Coverage:Complete Coverage from Grand Prix - Washington DC, Day 1
by Event Coverage StaffInfo: Fact Sheet
|1. Brad Nelson||$3,500|
|2. Owen Turtenwald||$2,300|
|3. Kyle Boggemes||$1,500|
|4. Joshua Wagener||$1,500|
|5. Brett Blackman||$1,000|
|6. Michael Stanfar||$1,000|
|7. Brad Carpenter||$1,000|
|8. Carlos Romão||$1,000|
pairings, results, standings
Quarterfinals: Owen Turtenwald vs. Carlos Romao
Neither player on the table one Quarterfinals of Grand Prix-Washington D.C. was new to the bright lights of the Top 8. Romao, in addition to having a number of Grand Prix Top 8s, was a former World Champion. Owen Turtenwald was a Grand Prix finalist and the American who first stood in the way of Carlos' herculean task to try to win the largest Grand Prix ever in the Americas while being the only Top 8 member not from the United States. Could Owen eliminate the possibility of the title not being kept on home turf, or would the Brazilian move on in an effort to steal it for his own?
The two got underway with Owen leading on a Putrid Leech after winning the die roll, and Carlos making up for a mulligan with Wall of Omens to draw a card. It was one of the key matchups in the world of Standard, Carlos Romao's Super Friends planeswalkers control deck against Owen Turtenwald's Jund build.
Spreading Seas shut off a Savage Lands from the Jund side of the table, but Owen had enough mana of the appropriate colors to cast Bloodbraid Elf, flipping a Lightning Bolt, and crashing in with both the 3/2 and a pumped Putrid Leech. That dropped Carlos to just 9, and the Brazilian scrambled to defend. A second Spreading Seas took care of a Raging Ravine and drew Carlos the fourth land he needed to both keep up on mana and cast Wall of Omens in the same turn.
Terminate munched one of the two 0/4 walls, and Owen was able to drop his opponent to just 5 with another Bloodbraid/Leech attack. Day of Judgment cleared the board of creatures, but Turtenwald refueled with Siege-Gang Commander. He didn't have enough mana left over to sacrifice any Goblins, however, and Carlos cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, then Path to Exile to Unsummon one of the tokens and exile the Siege-Gang itself.
That still left Owen with two 1/1 Goblins, and he promptly sent them in to put Carlos at 3. Post-combat Turtenwald had Blightning to seal the deal, and Romao found himself down a game.
Owen Turtenwald 1, Carlos Romao 0
The Jund-playing Turtenwald had to lead off the second game with a mulligan, and opened on Raging Ravine. Carlos Romao had Spreading Seas to transform the land into an Island, but some sideboard tech came through for Owen on his second turn: Pentad Prism. The artifact allowed him to make up for his mulligan by cantripping and to make the color of mana he wanted from that point on.Owen Turtenwald
Romao cast Wall of Omens, but had no responses when Owen used his morphed Island to filter black through his Prism and cast Duress. Two Elspeth, Knight-Errant, a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Gideon Jura, Scalding Tarn, and Martial Coup were all starting back at him; he may have resolved his discard spell, but that was not a pretty hand to be staring down! He opted to take Jace, then made his third land drop with a Raging Ravine (replacing the one that had been enchanted with Spreading Seas).
Romao cast Elspeth, Knight-Errant and made a Soldier token. Owen untapped and had Bloodbraid Elf which flipped up a Blightning. He opted to redirect the damage to Elspeth, putting her on two counters, and forced an Island and Martial Coup from his opponent's hand. Bloodbraid was forced to attack Gideon, and Turtenwald finished off Elspeth with a second copy of Blightning. Out of cards, Carlos ripped a Jace Beleren, used it to draw a card, and suddenly looked very much in control. With active Gideon Jura, a Wall on defense, and Jace Beleren to draw cards, Romao was definitely in fine shape.
But the Top 8 of a Grand Prix, particularly one as large as Washington D.C., is no place to rest on your laurels. Siege-Gang Commander stepped up to bat for Owen, and a Maelstrom Pulse was sent at Gideon Jura. Carlos had Flashfreeze to counter, but the planeswalker absorbed most of the attack from the Siege-Gang and friends. A post-combat Goblin sacrifice took care of the Jace Beleren.
Determining he was safe for the time being, Carlos activated a Celestial Colonnade and began attacking his opponent. Turtenwald cast Sarkhan the Mad, and used it on himself to turn a Goblin token into a Dragon. It looked like Romao wouldn't be the only one benefitting from the use of powerful planeswalkers!
Romao tried to take the Sarkhan out with an attack from Gideon, but Owen blocked with his Dragon to protect instead. When he had the turn back, the Jund player used Maelstrom Pulse to take out Gideon, turned his last Goblin into a Dragon, then a turn later turned a Sprouting Thrinax into a Dragon and got three Saprolings. It wasn't looking good for Carlos.
The Brazilian drew for the turn and cast Wall of Omens. That found him Spreading Seas, which he used to shut off his opponent's Raging Ravine. He passed the turn with two Wall of Omens and a Celestial Colonnade, the score at 13-10 in his favor.
On just one loyalty counter, Sarkhan the Mad was used to draw a card. That card was Bloodbraid Elf, which flipped up a Putrid Leech on cascade. Turtenwald moved all-in with his creatures, and left combat minus a Dragon but with his opponent at 6. Carlos didn't have long. With two Colonnades left, he attacked to put Owen to 6. He had enough mana left over to activate one for chumping duty the following turn, but was still going to be taking some damage from Owen's numerous other threats.
True to the aggro deck's nature, Owen sent the team sideways. Carlos activated his creature-land to block a Dragon token, then put each of his Wall of Omens in front of Bloodbraid Elf and Putrid Leech respectively. That meant three Saprolings got through, and the Brazilian was down to 2 life. He had one turn.
The top of his deck? Spreading Seas. That wasn't good enough. The next card? Martial Coup! That was good enough! He cast the sorcery to wipe the board and put a lethal force onto the table. Now it was Owen's turn to draw out of it. Turtenwald picked up his top card, able to hit Blightning, Lightning Bolt, or a cascade spell for a second chance. He found? Nothing.
Carlos Romao was still alive!
Owen Turtenwald 1, Carlos Romao 1
The second game started off with both players casting cantrips on their second turn. Carlos had a Wall of Omens while Owen had Pentad Prism. Sprouting Thrinax and Bloodbraid Elf allowed Turtenwald to begin attacking, and Romao found himself stuttering on mana a bit after he skipped his fourth-turn drop.Carlos Romao
He found it a turn later, and used all four mana to cast Elspeth, Knight-Errant making a Soldier token. Turtenwald didn't seem too impressed by the planeswalker play, and opted to send his Bloodbraid Elf right at Carlos. Post-combat he revealed why by casting Maelstrom Pulse targeting the white permanent. Carlos missed his fifth land drop and had to pass, short the double blue he needed to cast either copy of Jace Beleren in his hand.
Owen capitalized by casting Duress, taking Day of Judgment from his opponent's hand. The Bloodbraid continued battling on, dropping the Brazilian as low as 6 while he floundered to find a land. When he finally did, it was in the form of Celestial Colonnade, but after untapping the dual he cast Gideon Jura and blew up the tapped Bloodbraid Elf; Carlos had bought himself some time but he wasn't out of the woods yet.
Gideon forced all of Owen's creatures to attack the planeswalker, and Carlos cast Wall of Denial as a blocker. Maelstrom Pulse dealt with the Gideon, but with only a Putrid Leech on the table Owen would gain nothing from attacking into the Wall. That meant Carlos had time to get his Jace Beleren going, complete with Flashfreeze backup. A Blightning to drop Carlos to just 3 life wasn't enough to prompt the counter, however, and he fell to a single Lightning Bolt away from death.
Carlos was still having mana problems, stuck on five and unable to get past that threshold to start casting multiple spells in a turn with his Flashfreeze counter backup. It was an odd situation considering the extra cards he was drawing each turn, from any combination of Jace Beleren, Spreading Seas, and Wall of Omens. He finally got to six mana, and cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He promptly fatesealed his opponent and moved a Maelstrom Pulse to the bottom of his library.
Bituminous Blast from Owen cascaded into Bloodbraid Elf, then that in turn found Blightning. Romao was forced to Flashfreeze the Blightning, but he was going to lose his Wall of Omens and only have one blocker. The extra attacker from the Bloodbraid meant Carlos' 3 life was too fragile, and his hopes of nabbing the champion trophy were dashed.
Owen Turtenwald 2, Carlos Romao 1
Quarterfinals: Bradley Carpenter vs. Kyle Boggemes
Sometimes, we reporters write our intro to a match once the match has finished, because that way we can tie in the story, knowing what the ending is going to be. I'm writing this as the players shuffle up, so anything I say here could look very foolish a few minutes, hours, weeks, or months from now. Nonetheless, I'm going to risk it and say this:Kyle Boggemes
Kyle Boggemes may be embarking upon a really, really good Magic career. He made the Final of Pro Tour San Diego earlier this year, and has seemingly cruised into the Top 8 here, the largest Grand Prix in North American history, topping out at over 1900 players. His calm manner, thoughtful yet crisp play, and apparently unshakeable belief are a potent package, and he has a Blue-White Control deck ready to make all the right plays.
In his way, a maximum of three more opponents, and the first of those is Brad Carpenter. Starting the tournament with just two Byes, he lost twice early, and then went on a huge winning streak.
Raging Ravine faced Celestial Colonnade as we got under way, with Spreading Seas quickly turning Savage Lands into an Island. Putrid Leech was first up for Carpenter, leaving Boggemes to cast Everflowing Chalice for one. The Leech attacked and pumped, and Boggemes decided to see what the removal was like across in Carpenter's hand, running out Baneslayer Angel. Sprouting Thrinax and Lotus Cobra are not removal...
The Baneslayer piled in for the obligatory ten point lifeswing, and Boggemes added Elspeth, Knight-Errant and a Soldier token, before blowing up Raging Ravine with Tectonic Edge. In came the Carpenter team, with everything aiming at Elspeth. The Soldier token traded with Lotus Cobra, but Elspeth was gone.
Five mana for Carpenter meant Sarkhan the Mad. He used the loyalty ability to force Boggemes to sacrifice the Baneslayer, granting him a Dragon instead. Not a vast improvement on the situation, really. After Boggemes dropped him to two, Carpenter used Sarkhan to give himself a Dragon this time, sacrificing Sprouting Thrinax to generate tokens. It wasn't relevant. Boggemes showed his Jace, the Mind Sculptor, ready to bounce the Dragon token and leave the airways clear for a comfortable win.
Carpenter 0 – 1 Boggemes.
Lotus Cobra opened game two for Carpenter, and being on the play could certainly give him an edge. Spreading Seas was on hand to deny Carpenter his Raging Ravine, but the Lotus Cobra could provide Red mana, and did so, as Carpenter laid and then sacrificed Verdant Catacombs, enabling him to run out Bloodbraid Elf, Cascading into Maelstrom Pulse. He chose not to use it, sending the Pulse to the bottom. A Maelstrom Pulse from hand destroyed the Spreading Seas, and Boggemes tried to stabilize with Elspeth, Knight-Errant and the accompanying Soldier token.Bradley Carpenter
Consuming Vapors dealt with that Soldier, and Bloodbraid Elf and Lotus Cobra dealt with Elspeth. Things were looking a lot better for Carpenter. Day of Judgment from Boggemes helped some, but Carpenter came right back with Vengevine, leaving Boggemes at just six life. Two Wall of Omens looked to shore up the defences. Carpenter had Maelstrom Pulse for the pair of them, but Flashfreeze said no, critically for Boggemes.
Tectonic Edge took out Raging Ravine, and Boggemes had enough mana left to cast Baneslayer Angel. Lotus Cobra wasn't going to challenge that. Bloodbraid Elf Cascaded into Lotus Cobra, but that was Carpenter out of cards, while Boggemes sat with three, and then four. Spreading Seas drew him another card, and then he piled in with the Baneslayer, taking him back up to eleven, completing the turn with Kor Firewalker. Whatever Carpenter drew, it would need to be good. He was keeping it secret as he went into combat, turning everything sideways. Six damage got through, but that was effectively just one in the wake of the Baneslayer. Elspeth and a Soldier left Carpenter in an awful hole, and it was hard to see how he could climb out of it.
Terminate killed the Baneslayer, but Celestial Colonnades were more than enough to get the job done. A win doesn't make Boggemes the Next Big Thing, any more than a loss would have meant he isn't. It's just another small step towards a first title. One down, two to go.
Bradley Carpenter 0 - 2 Kyle Boggemes.
Quarterfinals: Joshua Wagener vs. Michael Stanfar
"So much Magic," remarked Michael Stanfar, a solid PTQ player from Virginia.
"I know, it's like you win nine rounds and you have another eight to go," replied Joshua Wagener, former 2003 U.S. National Champion. Both players escaped the grueling seventeen Swiss rounds of Grand Prix-Washington D.C. with two losses and a draw, having to win fourteen rounds a piece. Joshua's Jund deck with Royal Assassin caused both the judges and Michael to turn heads. Michael's maindeck Luminarch Ascension prompted a similar response from Joshua.Joshua Wagener
Joshua won the roll and began on the play and got things going with a turn two Putrid Leech. Michael countered Joshua's start by cracking an Arid Mesa and playing a Wall of Omens. Joshua got in there for 4 with his Putrid Leech, and played a second Leech. After land-go from Michael, Joshua got in with both Leeches dropping Michael to 7 and casted a Sprouting Thrinax before passing the turn. Elspeth, Knight-Errant came down for Michael making a Soldier token, but Michael was not long for this world with a Blightning and attack from Joshua sealing game 1.
Joshua Wagener 1, Michael Stanfar 0
Michael began game two on the play but was forced to mulligan his seven card hand. Michael began things with a turn three Sea Gate Oracle, which prompted Joshua to play a Goblin Ruinblaster unkicked before passing things back. Joshua attempted to play a Pithing Needle but Michael negated it. After land-Wall of Omens-go from Michael, Joshua played a Bloodbraid Elf, cascading into Terminate, which was Flashfrozen by Michael. Joshua finally forced through an important Malakir Bloodwitch, but that and the rest of Joshua's creatures were dealt with by Michael's timely Day of Judgment. Joshua played Putrid Leech, allowing him, after Michael played a second Wall of Omens, to attack for 4.
Michael dug himself out by playing a Jace, the Mind Sculptor but Joshua had a Pithing Needle to deal with it. Joshua's Needle got Negated by Michael but Joshua had a Maelstrom Pulse to deal with the pesky planeswalker anyway.
Michael attempted to pull back in the game with a Sphinx of Jwar Isle, but Joshua's Lavaclaw Reaches forced Michael to trade with his Sphinx leaving him at 11 life. Michael dropped an Elspeth, made a token, prompting Joshua to Maelstrom Pulse the Knight-Errant. Michael untapped, cast Martial Coup for six and left Joshua wishing he had saved his second Pulse to deal with Michael's army of Soldiers.
After a blank off the top from Joshua, Michael played a second Jace, the Mind Sculptor, brainstorming into a Wall of Omens. Looking for something good, Joshua drew a Malakir Bloodwitch putting both players at 9. Michael used Jace's -1 ability to bounce the Bloodwitch, activated his Celestial Colonnade and attempted to attack for the kill, but a timely Terminate from Joshua allowed him to live for one more turn. Joshua drew another land and conceded.
Joshua Wagener 1, Michael Stanfar 1
"Drew all my hate cards and it still wasn't enough," muttered Joshua.Michael Stanfar
Both players began the final game with full grips with Michael starting things off with an Arid Mesa into Wall of Omens. A turn three Blightning knocked Spreading Seas and Path to Exile out of Michael's full grip. With the absence of a third land from Michael, Joshua got some creatures on the table with a Bloodbraid Elf into Putrid Leech. Hurting for lands, Michael cast a Path to Exile on his own Wall at end of turn allowing him to cast a Sea Gate Oracle to find his fourth land.
An attack the following turn from Joshua got Michael to Path to Exile his own Oracle. A Blightning post-combat knocked a Jace, the Mind Sculptor and a Day of Judgment from Michael's hand, but Michael was able to Day of Judgment away Joshua's board. Joshua slammed down his Malakir Bloodwitch hoping that Michael did not have another Wrath of God effect. Michael did not and Joshua attacked in with his Bloodwitch dropping Michael to 5.
Joshua Wagener 2, Michael Stanfar 1
Quarterfinals: Brett Blackman (Mythic Conscription) vs. Brad Nelson (U/W Control)
Seven players had 42 points at the end of Swiss, meaning five of them would come up just short and not play for the title of Grand Prix-Washington D.C. champion. Brad Nelson was not one of those five. Squeaking in as the eighth seed, he faced his Magic Online clanmate Brett Blackman (of "Osyp Drives Me to School") in the Quarterfinals.Brad Nelson
Before the match, the judges asked Brad to re-sleeve his deck. He finally got to the feature match area and discovered that the replacement sleeves he bought marked very easily. After another delay that involved desleeving his sideboard to come up with sixty non-marked cards, he finally drew his opening hand... and promptly mulliganed to six. Brett kept his opening seven.
Brad took a point of life to activate Arid Mesa, while Brett did the same for Verdant Catacombs, leading to Noble Hierarch. Brad cracked another Mesa, going to 18, and cast Wall of Omens. Brett had a turn-two Knight of the Reliquary that had to stare at a second Wall of Omens from Brad. Brett came back with a Lotus Cobra, Birds of Paradise, and Dauntless Escort in one turn thanks to the Knight's sacrifice ability. Wall of Omens number three and four came down for Brad the next turn, desperate to find answers before Eldrazi Conscription could wreak havoc. But after some clarification on shortcuts and mana, Brett cast Sovereigns of Lost Alara and the colorless enchantment found its way to Birds of Paradise, putting Brad at 6 life. Brad continued the desperate search for answers with two Spreading Seas (one on his own Plains), but could not find them, and Brett had the game won with one more swing.
Brett Blackman 1, Brad Nelson 0.
Brad looked slightly dejected during sideboarding and leading into the second game, but at least the mulligan roles were reversed. He was able to keep his first hand while Brett took a single mulligan. After three turns of land-go, Brad tried to make the first move with Spreading Seas on Brett's Celestial Colonnade, but it met a Negate. Brad retaliated with an Oblivion Ring on the Knight and Spreading Seas on a Forest. Brett snuck in Gideon Jura with Brad tapped out, but on the next turn, a second Spreading Seas met a second Forest, and Brett was without green sources. He tried digging for them with Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but it was not to be. Attacking with Gideon Jura turned out to be the source he needed, as a Path to Exile removed the white planeswalker.
A Celestial Colonnade attack left Brett without anything but lands. Brett's third fetch-land of the game left the slow-moving affair at 20-17 in favor of Brad, but it allowed him to animate Celestial Colonnade, attack for 4, and cast a 5/5 Knight of the Reliquary. Brad responded with a 1-for-1 Day of Judgment, but Celestial Colonnade attacked Brad down to 12, and Brett's own Oblivion Ring took out the one holding his Knight. Brad mounted some defense with Baneslayer Angel, but Brett had Sovereigns of Lost Alara the next turn and Conscripted his Knight. Baneslayer blocked, and Brad bought some more time with Day of Judgment.Brett Blackman
Celestial Colonnade ate a Tectonic Edge and a second Baneslayer came down for Brad along with two Wall of Omens. He declined to block an attack from a Colonnade, going to 1 in the process. An attack from Baneslayer brought Brad back up to 6 and Brett down to 12. Colonnade swung back unblocked to put Brad back down to 2. Brad attacked the next turn, but Brett blocked with Birds of Paradise and fetched a Sejiri Steppe with Knight of the Reliquary, negating the life gain. Brett deliberated, then attacked with Knight of the Reliquary and Celestial Colonnade, both of which were blocked. Another Angel attack from Brad evened the life totals at 7. Celestial Colonnade and Knight of the Reliquary continued to bring pressure, putting Brad at 3, then Dauntless Escort provided insurance against a would-be Day of Judgment.
A Sejiri Refuge and a Baneslayer swing put Brad back up to 9, then an Oblivion Ring swallowed a large Knight of the Reliquary. Brett tried to stave off the attack, but Brad would not relent, swinging again and putting Brett at 2. Martial Coup made eight tokens, and when Brett realized he couldn't outlast the Soldiers, he conceded, forcing a deciding third game.
Brett Blackman 1, Brad Nelson 1
After a quick bathroom break by Brad, Brett went first in game 3. Brad had two Sejiri Steppes in his first three land drops, while Brett's fetch-lands drove his life total 2 points the other way. Brett had the first offense with a Qasali Pridemage, putting the totals at 19-18 in favor of Brad. A 4/4 Knight of the Reliquary followed, and Brad met his next draw with a quizzical look on his face. After much thought, a sip of water, and a reminder from the table judge to maintain a reasonable pace, Brad cast Gideon Jura only to have it Negated. Noble Hierach arrived and allowed Qasali Pridemage to attack for 4, putting Brad down to 15. Day of Judgment met Brett's second Negate, and Knight of the Reliquary got up to a 6/6 at the end step. Celestial Colonnade, Knight, and Pridemage all attacked, putting Brad down to 4. Martial Coup for five cleared the board, but Brett recovered with Dauntless Escort and another Noble Hierarch. Brad kept up the pressure, though, with Baneslayer Angel. Celestial Colonnade attacked with exalted, but was met with a Path to Exile after Brad gained 5 life with first strike damage. Ten power worth of tokens and Angels brought Brett down to 8 life, and when Brad's Jace, the Mind Sculptor bounced the Hierarch, it was on to the Semifinals for the man they call "Fffreak."
Brad Nelson 2, Brett Blackman 1
Semifinals: Kyle Boggemes vs Owen Turtenwald
"You should concede to me because I told [Adam] Yurchick that he could honk my nose if I win," joked Kyle Boggemes as he sat down to his Semifinals match against long time friend Owen Turtenwald; both Kyle and Owen cut their teeth on the same Midwest PTQ circuit. They each had had recent results as well, with Kyle most recently getting second place at Pro Tour-San Diego and Owen Top 8ing Grand Prix Minneapolis.
"GL Meatball, " said Kyle jovially.
"You too," replied Owen.Kyle Boggemes
Kyle won the roll and started off on the play by cracking two Arid Mesas into a Wall of Omens. Owen countered with a turn three Sprouting Thrinax. An end-of-turn Path to Exile on his own Wall accelerated Kyle to a Jace, the Mind Sculptor which brainstormed but left Kyle with no fifth land. A Bloodbraid Elf into Blightning for Owen killed the Mind Sculptor and dropped Kyle to 12.
Kyle slowed down Owen's beats with an Elspeth, Knight-Errant creating a token. Owen's Lightning Bolt dealt with the token and allowed him to attack to kill the Knight-Errant. Still at a loss for his fifth land, Kyle played a second Jace, the Mind Sculptor, brainstormed, and again found no lands.
Owen Turtenwald 1, Kyle Boggemes 0
Kyle began the game with a turn two Everflowing Chalice allowing him to accelerate into another Everflowing Chalice for two counters. Owen destroyed both Chalices with a Maelstrom Pulse and Kyle played a Wall of Omens onto an empty board. Owen Blightninged Kyle down to two cards, forcing him to discard two lands.Owen Turtenwald
With four lands on the battlefield Owen mulled over his options and opted to cast a Bloodbraid Elf cascading into a Doom Blade. That destroyed Kyle's Wall and allowed Owen to attack for 3. Kyle reacted by casting an Oblivion Ring sending Owen's Bloodbraid Elf into exile. After cycling a Prophetic Prism, Owen cast a Sprouting Thrinax.
Kyle tried to bring the game back under his control by casting a Baneslayer Angel, but Owen had a timely Maelstrom Pulse to destroy it. Nothing from Kyle's deck meant Owen was able to attack Kyle down to 5 and cast a Putrid Leech. However a Day of Judgment off the top left Owen with only three Saprolings. Kyle drew nothing the following two turns, however, and Owen's 1/1s carried him to the Finals.
Owen Turtenwald 2, Kyle Boggemes 0
Semifinals: Josh Wagener vs Brad Nelson
This Semi Final is a prime case of the old versus the new. The old is represented by Josh Wagener, the 2003 US National Champion who went on to lift the Team title at Worlds that year alongside Justin Gary and Gabe Walls. The new comes courtesy of Brad Nelson, already qualified for the Magic Online Championship Series at the end of this year, and here in his second Grand Prix Top 8.
Blightning opened the match for Wagener, with Nelson discarding Everflowing Chalice and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Spreading Seas turned Savage Lands into an Island, but Mountain followed for Wagener. Bloodbraid Elf Cascaded into... nothing, since Terminate had nothing sensible to aim at. Nelson put up the shields with double Wall of Omens, effectively negating the earlier Blightning. Wagener regained that edge with a second Blightning, seeing Nelson discard Mind Spring and Oblivion Ring. How did Nelson negate that second Blightning? With a Mind Spring for two.Josh Wagener
Alright then. How about Blightning number three and four, cast back to back in a powerhouse turn that had the large crowd gasping. Nelson was left with just one card in hand. He cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and went into Brainstorm mode. For six mana, Wagener cast Broodmate Dragon. Jace bounced one half, and Nelson added Baneslayer Angel to the board. Back came Wagener, with Bloodbraid Elf Cascading into Sprouting Thrinax. Nelson now stood at seven life. Jace left a card on top of Wagener's library, before Nelson laid another Wall of Omens, powered in with the Baneslayer, and took himself back up to twelve.
In came the Broodmate Dragon, and Nelson had the answer yet again with Path to Exile. How he was still in the game after an amazing quad Blightning was anybody's guess. Startling Magic. Part of the answer of course was the quad Wall of Omens he had seen, and now that fourth bonus card had produced Gideon Jura, with eight loyalty insisting that Wagener attack. He added Siege-Gang Commander in what was becoming an incredible game.
In came the Baneslayer, setting Nelson to twenty two, and Wagener to just five. Moments later, it was over. Four Blightning. Didn't get it done. What a great game.
Wagener 0 1 Nelson.
The first play of game two came from Nelson, making a Raging Ravine into an Island with Spreading Seas. Everflowing Chalice built his mana, and out came Gideon Jura, going straight to eight loyalty. Bloodbraid Elf led to Pithing Needle on Gideon, and in came the Elf, dropping Gideon to five loyalty. Oblivion Ring for Nelson sent the Pithing Needle packing, and Gideon went back to seven loyalty. Out came another Bloodbraid Elf, this time Cascading into Goblin Ruinblaster, which Wagener lacked the mana to kick. Gideon's loyalty now sat at just two. The next forced attack from Wagener dealt Gideon the final blow, and he cast a backup Pithing Needle, set to Celestial Colonnade, with Brad activating it in response to allow some measure of defence.Brad Nelson
Oblivion Ring once again sent Pithing Needle away. Blightning only took one card and dealt no damage, with Nelson 'discarding' his Negate. A second Blightning left Nelson with nothing, and Wagener just one card in hand. Who would topdeck Magic favor? Both could recover quickly, and we saw that straight away, as Nelson found Mind Spring on top, and turned that into six fresh cards. When Wagener attacked, Nelson was at a perilous four life, facing down Bloodbraid Elf, Goblin Ruinblaster, and a freshly-played Sprouting Thrinax.
Everflowing Chalice for three was his first play, followed by Gideon Jura, forcing all of Wagener's men to attack the Planeswalker. Path to Exile sent the Sprouting Thrinax packing, and Gideon fell to three loyalty. Wagener completed the turn with Putrid Leech. Nelson was hanging in there, just. Day of Judgment made things look a lot better, and he activated Celestial Colonnade and commenced the beats. When Wagener passed, the tide really seemed to be turning. Spreading Seas drew Nelson a card. He sent two Celestial Colonnades, with Wagener using Terminate to take just four. He was still down to ten, though, and Gideon was up to seven loyalty. Celestial Colonnade became live, Gideon Jura became live, and Wagener used his last card, a Terminate to stay alive for one more turn.
That was all it was, though, as Brad Nelson took the game and the match, ready to advance to the Final.
Josh Wagener 0 2 Brad Nelson.
Finals: Owen Turtenwald vs Brad Nelson
"Owen's gonna be tough," Brad Nelson said to no one in particular as he waited for his opponent to show up for the Finals. Owen Turtenwald meandered over to the feature match area and sat down for his second Grand Prix Finals appearance. His deck? The hated Jund while Nelson had brought Blue-White Control to do battle.
Nelson's control deck won the die roll and the players got underway. Owen's first-turn Raging Ravine turned into an Island as Brad cast Spreading Seas targeting it, and Nelson got to draw an extra card the following turn as he cast Wall of Omens. The tandem of cantrip spells put Turtenwald on the back foot, with no creatures over the first three turns.
Brad cast Elspeth, Knight-Errant and made a Soldier, but lost his planeswalker as Owen used Lightning Bolt and Blightning to deal enough direct damage to kill it. A second planeswalker joined the battlefield for Brad, this time a Gideon Jura. Now Owen was in a really tight spot, with no creatures on the table and staring down a Gideon with eight loyalty. A second Blightning made that five and emptied Brad's hand, but he topdecked Jace, the Mind Sculptor and used it to brainstorm.Brad Nelson
Feeling confident with his setup, Nelson sent his Gideon at Owen's face dropping Turtenwald to 12. Siege-Gang Commander made an appearance and Brad Jaced up a brainstorm for the second time since casting the blue power rare. That netted Brad a Baneslayer Angel, and he used Gideon to require all Owen's creatures attack the planeswalker the following turn.
A Lightning Bolt and a Goblin sacrifice allowed Owen to take out the Baneslayer, and he then traded a second Goblin for Brad's lone Soldier token while dropping Gideon to four loyalty. A turn later it dropped to three loyalty as Brad continued forcing his opponent to attack the planeswalker while Owen built up his creature base with Bloodbraid Elves.
Jace found Brad a Mind Spring for seven which put him at a commanding lead in the card advantage department. Trying to gain some ground on that advantage, Owen cast a Sarkhan the Mad and used it to draw a Bituminous Blast from the top of his library. Nelson cleared the board with Day of Judgment, though his Gideon Jura had finally bit the dust to one final attack from Owen's team before dying to the Wrath. The game was taking a while to finish, and that favored Nelson's deck particularly when you considered he was leading at 21-12.
Two planeswalkers died in short succession, first Owen's Sarkhan the Mad to Oblivion Ring, then Brad Nelson's Jace, the Mind Sculptor to the direct damage from a Blightning. Nelson cast a monstrous Martial Coup for more than enough tokens to take out the remainder of his opponent's life, and Owen was on only one out: Maelstrom Pulse. He didn't draw one, but cast Bituminous Blast targeting a Soldier. The first cascade revealed a land, then a Broodmate Dragon, then…the Pulse! The crowd roared in amazement.
Nelson shifted to Plan B, Celestial Colonnade. With a ton of mana on the table, he could activate two copies of the creature-land and bash for 8 each turn. That left Owen looking to the top of his library for hope yet again, but when it wasn't there they were on to the second game with Brad in the lead.
Brad Nelson 1, Owen Turtenwald 0
On the play for the first time in the match, Owen Turtenwald led off with a powerful sideboard card on his second turn: Duress. Brad was forced to discard Elspeth, Knight-Errant, then cast a second-turn Wall of Omens. Putrid Leech for Owen was followed by Bloodbraid Elf, which cascaded up Pentad Prism, and when he was attacked by both of the creatures Brad used Celestial Purge to take out the Leech.Owen Turtenwald
At five mana, Brad Nelson cast Baneslayer Angel but seemed to know intuitively it was going to die. Sure enough, his opponent untapped and took the powerful Magic 2010 rare out with a Maelstrom Pulse. A second Bloodbraid Elf from Owen found him a Duress, and he used that to take out the Day of Judgment in Brad's hand. The Elves continued pressing in dropping Nelson to 8, which became 7 as Owen cast Malakir Bloodwitch.
That gave Brad one turn to find a solution to the creatures headed his way, and he found a doozy: Sphinx of Lost Truths with kicker. When Owen revealed a second Maelstrom Pulse to take the 3/5 out, however, Brad didn't have an answer for the Bloodwitch and the match was evened to one a piece.
Brad Nelson 1, Owen Turtenwald 1
For the final game of the match, both players had artifacts to cast on the second turn. Brad's was an Everflowing Chalice with one counter while Owen had Prophetic Prism. An Elspeth, Knight-Errant from Nelson met its end at the hands of a Maelstrom Pulse, but Turtenwald missed a land drop to stay stuck on three and was soon facing a second Elspeth just a turn removed from dealing with the first.
Not to worry, though, as he promptly drew his fourth land and then cast Bloodbraid Elf. He cascaded into a Putrid Leech sprouting an instant army and forcing Nelson to chump block his 3/2 with a Soldier token. A Mind Spring for three cards put Nelson far ahead on the card count for the second time in the match, and Owen crashed his Putrid Leech and Bloodbraid Elf at Elspeth, again forcing Nelson to chump with Soldiers.
Before long Owen found himself with a second copy of Bloodbraid Elf which dutifully cascaded forth into Maelstrom Pulse. That allowed him to kill the second Elspeth and gave him enough threats on the battlefield to start pressuring Brad's life total. Day of Judgment cleared the table of creatures, but Owen reloaded with a Sprouting Thrinax and Putrid Leech. Martial Coup for six Soldiers dealt with those threats and for the moment Brad had stabilized.
A third Bloodbraid Elf for Turtenwald allowed him to attack with three Saprolings and the Elf itself. Post-combat the board was clear of creatures save for the creature-lands on either side of the table. Celestial Colonnade was batting for Brad while Owen had Lavaclaw Reaches. Baneslayer Angel joined the team for Nelson and began cushioning his life total. When he cast a Gideon Jura after the Angel, it became clear Owen was going to need a lot of good draws in order to pull the match out.
Brad activated his Colonnade and attacked with his team, prompting a chump block from Owen. A turn later, with no help on top, Turtenwald extended his hand in concession.
Brad Nelson 2, Owen Turtenwald 1