2002 Grand Prix Philadelphia Top 8 Draft

Posted in Event Coverage on October 27, 2002

By Zev Gurwitz

The Top 8 Of Grand Prix Philly sat down to sort out some unopened packs, and grab some cash if they could. Sitting at the table was Pro Jeff Cunningham, for whom this was just another grand prix top 8, sitting on either side of Cunningham were two New Jersey players, both wearing "TOGIT" shirts, and hometown favorites Craig Krempals and Patrick Sullivan. Pittsburg local Nick Eisel, and Virginian Morgan Douglass are opposite each other, Eli Aden, a Knoxville, TN, gamer, Jacob Rabinowitz from Boston and Shawn Doran of Rochester, NY, round out this very young Top 8.

The draft started out with Cunningham, first seeded after the Swiss electing to sit in seat four. I asked Cunningham before the draft what he would try for and he said "I won't draft anything but green/red or green/black." With that in mind, the first pack was opened. Shaw Doran was put into a difficult position being asked to open first, as he wouldn't really be able to safely declare his colors. The pack was laid out and some good cards were on the table, Sparksmith, Serpentine Basilisk and Anurid Murkdiver were probably the best colored cards in the pack. But Doran had a trump card. Riptide Replicator was the rare, and in one pick, Doran effectively negated the disadvantage of picking first, and since the Basilisk was picked by Sullivan, on pick from Cunningham, Cunningham's main draft strategy was shot.

The players shifted who opens and the colors of each deck began to develop. Morgan followed his Sparksmith up with several more red picks. Sullivan continued to take Green cards, including a sixth pick Ravenous Baloth. Cunningham was sticking to black, but trying to make it clear he would fight for green. Krempals went right for blue white, but may be black with a Swat, and Nick Eisel showed tendencies towards a green and red deck. Eli Aden started white and ended up into black as well. Jacob Rabinowitz started taking green and red ingredients and the colored spells in Doran's deck ended up being mostly blue and white, headed by an Exulted Angel opened by Aden.

After the first round of packs the colors came out to...

Cunningham Black/Green
Krempals Blue/white or black
Eisel Green/Red
Aden White/Black
Rabinowitz Green/Red
Doran Blue/White
Douglass Red/Black (Sparksmith, Cruel Revival)
Sullivan White/Green

The second round of packs kicked off in the other direction with Jacob Rabinowitz taking the green common powerhouse Wirewood Savage. Wretched Anurid went to Eli Aden and the Menacing Ogre picked Nick Eisel as an owner. Cunningham, a little frustrated that now black was being overdrafted as well as green, decided to try for a Solar Blast. The players were trying to stay focused on building strong decks, and hate drafting was kept to a minimum. That didn't stop Cunningham from looking a little rattled, as players left and right kept jumping on the good black cards, leaving him with the dregs. Aden solidified himself as Red Black, Sullivan stayed true to green white, but was rewarded by pulling an Akroma's Vengeance. Douglas stuck with Black red, picking up his second pinpoint avalanche. Doran picked up some more fliers and a Combat Medic for his Blue White deck, and Krempals nabbed Blatant Thievery and Tribal Golem for his blue white deck, on the opposite side of the table, and these two made up the blue drafters in the top 8.

The drafters settled into archetypes based on their colors and which ever creature type that those colors best support. The Blue white drafters were taking Clerics and Illusions, the black red players were picking up goblins, while the green drafters were taking beasts and the beasts best buddy Wirewood Savage. The red players were just hopping to open up the sets best common, Sparksmith, eventually. Krempals played red for Lavamancer's Skill in his blue white deck, Rabinowitz had multiple Solar Blasts and Skirk Commandos in his solid red green deck, Cunningham ended up with a Sparksmith and a solar blast but chose not to play them in his green black deck, and Morgan Douglas found double Pinpoint avalanche, double Erratic Explosion, and superstar Sparksmith in his tight black red deck. Eisel went bombalicious in the last few packs, slamming down Gigapede and Silvos, Rogue Elemental. Shawn Doran ended up with Triple Pacifism to go along with his Angel and Replicator.

In the end the deck will shape up as follows...

Sullivan in Green and White
Morgan with a smashing Black and Red deck
Doran has a Blue White deck that could be called a "Ting"
Rabinowitz's Red Green deck could smash
Aden's black white deck is super fast
Cunningham is taking Black Green to town
Krempals is gaming with Blue White red
And Eisel has a Beastly Red Green deck.

I'd expect Eisel's aggressive bombs to carry him to the gold.

Shaun DoranMorgan DouglassPatrick SullivanJeff CunninghamCraig KrempalsNick EiselEli AdenJacob Rabinowitz
Pack 1Riptide ReplicatorSparksmithSerpentine BasiliskAnurid MurkdiverMistform StalkerSearing FleshSandskinBirchlore Rangers
Sea's ClaimBrightstone RitualElvish PioneerMage's GuileLonely SandbarMistform MaskNosy Goblin
Pack 2Screaming SeahawkPinpoint AvalancheSnarling UndorakSwatDaunting DefenderSpined BasherDaru EncampmentVitality Charm
Fever Charm Elvish GuidanceAccursed CentaurTrickery CharmKaboom!Aura ExtractionDwarven Blastminer
Pack 3Disciple of GraceGoblin SledderRavenous BalothScreeching BuzzardDaru HealerSymbiotic BeastProfane PrayersBarkhide Mauler
Choking TethersSkittish Valesk ??Lonely SandbarNova ClericElvish Warrior
Pack 4Crude RampartsSpurred WolverineBirchlore RangersSparksmithProfane PrayersPinpoint AvalancheBattlefield MedicHeedless One
Disruptive Pitmage?Elvish Vanguard ???Fade From Memory
Pack 5Shieldmage ElderSevered LegionTreespring LorianLeery FogbeastSwatErratic ExplosionWretched AnuridBarkhide Mauler
Renewed FaithAirdrop CondorDive Bomber? Slipstream EelGustcloak RunnerStandardize
Pack 6ComplicateSevered LegionKrosan ColossusTreespring LorianMisery CharmSymbiotic BeastGluttonous ZombieSkirk Commando
Mistform WallFever CharmMistform DreamerCrown of FuryRenewed Faith Gustcloak RunnerSlipstream Eel
Pack 7PacifismSevered LegionDaunting DefenderVitality CharmSage AvenGoblin TaskmasterFeeding FrenzySolar Blast
Trickery CharmCrown of FuryElvish GuidanceCrown of VigorComplicateAirdrop Condor Risky Move
Pack 8Exalted AngelCruel RevivalDaru LancerAphetto VultureDaru HealerWall of MulchProfane PrayersElvish Warrior
Crown of AscensionMistform MaskBirchlore RangersChoking Tethers?Goblin SledderWretched Anurid
Jacob RabinowitzEli AdenNick EiselCraig KrempalsJeff CunninghamPatrick SullivanMorgan DouglassShaun Doran
Pack 9Wirewood SavageWretched AnuridMenacing OgreEssence FractureSolar BlastSunfire BalmErratic ExplosionSecluded Steppe
Sea's ClaimBrightstone RitualSlipstream EelCommando RaidDaru CavalierAphetto DredgingRiptide Biologist
Pack 10Elvish WarriorCruel RevivalLightning RiftBlatant ThieverySymbiotic BeastGustcloak HarrierFestering GoblinBattlefield Medic
Goblin Sledder ??Crown of FuryLeery FogbeastLay WasteStarlit Sanctum
Pack 11Birchlore RangersFallen ClericPinpoint AvalancheGustcloak HarrierSpitting GournaBattlefield MedicSpitfire HandlerFleeting Aven
Barren MoorDaru Healer BackslideTrickery CharmElvish PioneerNameless OneSupreme Inquisitor
Pack 12Skirk CommandoFallen Cleric?Tribal GolemSymbiotic ElfEmbermage GoblinPinpoint AvalancheAscending Aven
?Daru Healer? Airborne AidSyphon MindDemystifyNova Cleric
Pack 13Symbiotic ElfDisciple of MaliceLay WasteShieldmage ElderScreeching BuzzardGlory SeekerAnurid MurkdiverAven Fateshaper
Thunder of HoovesCrown of AweWirewood ElfSecluded Steppe Elvish PioneerFalse CureBackslide
Pack 14Wirewood PrideFrightshroud CourierSkirk CommandoDaru EncampmentShepherd of RotAkroma's VengeanceErratic ExplosionDive Bomber
Run WildFoothill GuideVitality CharmRiptide BiologistSpined Basher Syphon MindSpy Network
Pack 15Solar BlastGravel SlingerTreespring LorianLavamancer's SkillsFrightshroud CourierPearlspear CourierUndead GladiatorPacifism
Spurred WolverineCrafty PathmageNameless OneDisciple of GraceSpined BasherWirewood Herald Spy Network
Pack 16Snarling UndorakNantuko HuskWirewood HeraldAphetto AlchemistInfestSpined BasherMistform WallPacifism
Overwhelming InstinctSyphon SoulBackslideFever CharmMana EchoesUnified StrikeGoblin Sky Raider
Shaun DoranMorgan DouglassPatrick SullivanJeff CunninghamCraig KrempalsNick EiselEli AdenJacob Rabinowitz
Pack 17Gustcloak SkirmisherScreeching BuzzardDive BomberWirewood SavageShared TriumphBattering CraghornCabal ArchonWave of Indifference
Spy NetworkPiety CharmShepherd of RotSage AvenSpurred WolverineThrashing MudspawnWirewood Pride
Pack 18Doubtless OneWretched AnuridShockElvish WarriorAkroma's BlessingThreatenProfane PrayersDaru Healer
Glory Seeker Defensive ManeuversImage CrafterChoking TethersSpurred WolverineOblationNosy Goblin
Pack 19Crown of AweSpitting GournaWhipcorderWirewood SavageEssence FractureShockCharging SlatebackErratic Explosion
Disruptive PitmageAphetto Dredging Withering HexDaru CavalierSlipstream EelMisery CharmBirchlore Rangers
Pack 20Ascending AvenNantuko HuskLeery FogbeastGluttonous ZombieAven SoulgazerKrosan TuskerCover of DarknessWave of Indifference
Choking TethersHaunting CadaverTaunting Elf Information DealerGustcloak RunnerRenewed FaithInvigorating Boon
Pack 21Mage's GuileBarkhide MaulerWirewood ElfKamahl's SummonsSolar BlastSilvos Rogue ElementalFestering GoblinElvish Riders
Lonely SandbarNosy GoblinGustcloak RunnerDisciple of Grace Elvish GuidanceAccursed CentaurAphetto Alchemist
Pack 22Screaming SeahawkScreeching BuzzardPiety CharmAphetto VultureCrown of AscensionGigapedeFeeding FrenzyWirewood Herald
Profane PrayersChain of AcidGoblin TaskmasterTranquil ThicketSecluded Steppe Brightstone RitualElvish Guidance
Pack 23Daru LancerCommando RaidAven SoulgazerBroodhatch NantukoGrassland CrusaderBirchlore RangersBattlefield MedicPinpoint Avalanche
Spy Network??Barren MoorProfane PrayersSkirk Fire Marshal
Pack 24Aphetto GrifterTrained PangolinGustcloak HarrierHaunted CadaverLavamancer's SkillsForgotten CaveMisery CharmBattering Craghorn
?Words of WindNaturalizeFoothill GuideMistform WallCrown of FuryCrown of Awe

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