The blog is back!
Due to overwhelmingly popular demand, BDM's back in business roaming the halls of Pro Tour Seattle snooping out the juicy tidbits of goings-on that would otherwise end up on the metaphoric cutting room floor. And this time we're involving you, the reader. Are you rooting for a particular pro player and itching for an interview? Are you nursing an awesome story idea just waiting to get covered? Discuss Pro Tour Seattle on our message boards and post your suggestions, comments, and ideas and we'll do our best to get you the insider scoop!
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With two Japanese teams, one Canadian team, and the surging Dutch team making it to Sunday, this was the first time that an American would not be playing on Day Three of a Pro Tour. With one Japanese team destined for elimination in the first round (they are playing each other), it will be a continental battle between Asia, Europe, and North America tomorrow.
See how it all plays out by following all the action during the live webcast. There will be detailed draft coverage with insightful and witty commentary by Randy Buehler and Brian Kibler, with a cast of surprise guests.
Rubbing salt in the wound…After Pocket Rockets drew their way into the Top 4 -- the first Day Three for all three players at their very first Pro Tour -- one anonymous member recounted their day. "We only lost to one team all day long -- Josh Ravitz's team. I don't know who those other two guys were, though."
Chris Pikula and company had just one more match to get through to make it into the Top 4 tomorrow. Chris had another obstacle to consider as he sat down opposite toernooicentrum.nl/faal team member Didier Deurloo. "My wife is going to be sooooo mad at me."
As he explained the story of how his wife came to Seattle with no expectations of him making Day Two, Ruud leaned over from the B seat and asked, "Would she be rooting for us?"
"She probably would be."
Josh Ravitz won his first game rather quickly while Igor Frayman was on the ropes. Chris fell in the first game as well and things were looking grim in Game 2. Chris played a Sylvok Explorer but stalled on two lands. Didier Magma Jetted the Explorer after Chris powered out a Krark-Clan Stoker with it. When Chris missed his third land drop for two more turns, Didier twisted the screws and reap and Sowed one of his lands.
Chris got his beat on with the Stoker but Didier put an end to that with a Tangle Golem. Chris found a third land but could do nothing with it. Meanwhile, the Dutch player was casting Journey of Discovery with entwine. Chris' Cathodion was Echoing Ruined and he fell to seven between the attacking Golem and mana burn.
He played a Tel-Jilad Outrider and attacked Didier down to 12. The Dutch player flashed out a Tangle Spider at the end of the turn, missing a chance to ambush the Stoker for no apparent reason. Still he attacked Chris down to four and played an Arachnoid.
Pikula drew a Hoversail and played it and promptly sacrificed it to the Stoker so he could get to five mana for a Fangren Hunter. "Everyone loves Ritual-Fangren Hunter!" It was enough to keep Didier at bay and he passed. Chris added a Krark-Clan Grunt and followed with Krosan (just for you Geordie!) Sorcerers on the next two turns. Didier had nothing but lands and Dawn's Reflections. Chris pinged him for two a turn and exhaled deeply when his Ferocious Charge sealed Game 2 for him on an all in attack a few turns later. "Wow! I stoked up a victory!"
Meanwhile, Josh had won his match and Igor had fallen in two straight. The match hinged on their third game. Chris sent back his hand and kept the next six. Didier led off with a Talisman and was able to make a four Sunburst Opaline Bracers on turn three. Chris had a Sorcerer and a Sylvok Explorer on the next turn. He summoned a Fangren Hunter a turn later but he was held back by a Wall of Blood with the Bracers on it. Didier found some offense with a Tanglewalker and a Viridian Joiner. Chris' Krark-Clan Ogre offered no way to break through and Chris was pinging away and building toward a lethally entwined Rude Awakening. He had enough mana but waited for a turn and Didier took that opportunity to Reap and Sow a Mountain with entwine.
Didier kept the pressure on with an equipped Tanglewalker and he played a full-sized Skyreach Manta. He tapped his Joiner to move the equipment to his flier. Chris thought about his end of turn and shot Didier. He moved his Horned Helm over to his Sorcerer and drew a land to entwine the Rude Awakening but he was two points short of killing the Dutch player.
He realized almost immediately that he could have played the turn differently. He could have shot the Wall of Blood and used the Inflame in his hand. Didier would have either had to let the Wall die or pay two life to save the Wall. Either way -- paying two life or having one fewer blocker -- would have won the game and the match for Pikula's The Max Fischer Players.
Chris was beside himself and his expletives rang throughout the hall. He regained his composure pretty quickly and smirked, "Plus, I would have been a genius if I had made that play. How could I miss that play?"
Osyp Lebdedowicz pointed out that Didier would have won Game 2 had he ambushed the Stoker. He added, "You're an old man. Nobody expects you to see that play."
Didier added, "His wife is happy now. We saved his marriage."
With the main event winding down we thought we had better get down to the serious business of announcing which team wins in the category of Best Team Name.
It was a tight race between the only two teams to put any distance between themselves and the rest of the pack. In the end we decided that the second best team name belonged to Phimus Pan, Adam Prosak, and James Davis of Pants Pants Revolution. (It should be noted that newly hired Tournament Center honcho Greg Collins really wanted to go with this one.)
The best team name -- funny on any number of levels -- belonged to Peter Guevin, Paul Rietzl, and Tom Guevin with Peter Paul + Scary.
"Do we get a Pro Point for that?" asked Tom Guevin. "Because I really need one Pro Point."
Standings snapshot going into the final round…
|1||Von Dutch||27||(Remie, Wiergesma, Cornelissen)|
|2||www.shop-fireBall.com2||25||(Ishida, Ikeda, Okamoto)|
|3||S.A.I.||25||(Shimura, Ibamoto, Arita)|
|4||Pocket Rockets||24||(Russell, Derro, Wood)|
|5||The Max Fischer Players||24||(Frayman, Ravitz, Pikula)|
|6||Bottom Set||21||(Williams, Reeves, Maher)|
|7||Antoine Ruel||21||(Ruel, Ruel, Nassif)|
|8||toernooicentrum.nl/faal||21||(Snepvangers, Warmenhoven, Deurloo)|
Von Dutch has already shaken hands on the draw with www.shop-fireball.com2 and both teams are assured a spot. From there it gets a little complicated… S.A.I was paired with Pocket Rockets and they cannot afford to draw because The Max Fischer Players were paired against Bram Snepvanger's squad and they did not get the expected concession. If Pocket Rockets drew and then Max Fishcher won, it would mean that they would be drawing themselves out of the Top 4.
What this all means is that Bottom Set -- and possibly even their round 11 opponents :B -- suddenly has a shot at making the Top 4 if Pocket Rockets and The Max Fischer Players both lose.
|1||www.shop-fireBall.com2||24||(Ishida, Ikeda, Okamoto)|
|2||S.A.I.||24||(Shimura, Ibamoto, Arita)|
|3||Von Dutch||24||(Remie, Wiergesma, Cornelissen)|
|4||toernooicentrum.nl/faal||21||(Snepvangers, Warmenhoven, Deurloo)|
|5||Pocket Rockets||21||(Russell, Derro, Wood)|
|6||:B||21||(Aten, Szleifer, Pelcak)|
|7||The Max Fischer Players||21||(Frayman, Ravitz, Pikula)|
|8||Make Fetch Happen||21||(Goldman, Thompson, Pettinger)|
|9||Cosmic Tones…||19||(Harvey, Cuneo, Wise)|
|10||Tight Ship||19||(Chan, Ferraro, Handfield)|
Before the start of play for Round 10, there were only ten teams remaining with a reasonable shot at making Day Three. The top two Japanese teams agreed to a draw with each other before they even drafted -- a move that has made things very interesting. If they had not drawn this round, there would have only been eight teams on this list. Cosmic Tones and Tight Ship would have been virtually eliminated.
Many people felt that they would have been better off playing and assuring that one of the two teams locked up a spot on Sunday. It is safe to say that Gary Wise is not among the people saying that, since his team now has the opportunity to win twice and make it to Day Three. If that happens, Gary would become the first player to make the Top 4 of four different Team Pro Tours.
According to Japanese Sideboard reporter Keita Mori, they were looking for the best way for both teams to make Top 4. "At the time there were three teams with one loss and five teams with two losses," he said. "So they looked at the pairings and they knew that the winner would make Top 4 but it was too risky for the loser of the match."
One of the two teams will likely be able to draw their way in if Von Dutch wins their match with Make Fetch Happen. A Von Dutch loss would create a glut of 24-point teams, making it unlikely that anyone will want to draw with them.
Meanwhile, the 21-point teams all control their own destiny and two wins equals 'in.' The second Dutch team, led by Bram Snepvangers, is playing against the local Pocket Rockets (led by Paul Russell). Chris Pikula and the Max Fischer Players are squaring off against Tim Aten and his smiling :B squad. Both Gary Wise's and Eric Chan's teams were paired against teams with 18 points.
There were 84 players in last night's Mirrodin Block Constructed qualifier for Pro Tour Columbus. The event began around 6 p.m. and ended somewhere past 4 a.m. It finally came to a conclusion when Alexander Jersch dropped before the finals and Markus Magera won the tournament with Affinity.
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- Saturday, July 10: 4:04 pm
Level Four Judges Gijsbert Hoogendijk and Sheldon Menery congratulate Tony Mayer on achieving Level Three status at this event.
"It is not fair! I won my match very quickly!" Olivier Ruel was disappointed with the picture on the front page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Business section this morning. There was a feature article about this weekend's Pro Tour entitled, "If You Believe in Magic…" and it was accompanied by a photo of teammates Gabriel Nassif and Antoine Ruel playing one of their matches yesterday -- after Olivier had already won his match.
Their team name bears the name of his brother, Antoine Ruel. The teammates had a bet going into Grand Prix Zurich that whoever finished highest in the standings would get the chance to choose their team name … and what better name could he choose to revel in winning the bet than his own name?
The answer to yesterday's trivia question.
Q- Which Magic artist has attended the most Pro Tour events?
A- Mark Rosewater. Mark illustrated Look at Me I'm the DCI for the Unglued set. Mark has attended 46 of the 50 Pro Tour events -- more than any other human being.
Ted Knutson wants to take a moment to issue a formal and public apology to former Canadian national champion Peter Radonjic. It seems that Ted grossly misspelled Pete's name in the coverage yesterday and he received a firm talking to from him.
"I was wrong okay! I just spelled his name wrong. I'm sorry! Leave me alone!"
If Pete Venters never illustrates another Magic card, it will because his hand fell off this weekend. Pete began painting images for Magic cards starting with Antiquities and has worked steadily on every single set since, with the sole exception of Portal: Three Kingdoms. That is a total of 213 images! Only five of those cards were not issued in an artist proof (a card with the art on one side and a blank card back).
Pete sold an entire collection of 208 artist proofs to one collector and agreed to sign them all. The cards that were not issued in artist proof were his two Vanguard cards, and APAC land, his player rewards Demon token, and the alternate art for the Chinese Carrion Wall (in case you were wondering).
Venters regularly sells his artist proofs, although not in this volume.
"I have never sold a full collection before," sighed a weary Venters, who was surrounded by his Magic output. He does not sell his originals very often, however. He has actually only sold three of the pieces he ever did for the game. He sold a couple of pieces at a galley show back in the mid-90s.
"I sold Gaea's Avenger, Hellfire, and Sage of Lat Nam," he said. "Its kind of funny because the Sage was sold to a library and the picture is of a wizard sitting in front of a wall of books."
Once he can get archival scans that are up to his high standards for his artwork, he will begin to put some of his pieces on the market.
"I like to say I have the largest collection of Magic art," Venters joked.
He will not be selling his favorite painting anytime soon.
"I will certainly keep a few pieces. I definitely won't be selling Baron Sengir."
While I have already explained why Josh Bennett is not working on the coverage team this weekend, I have not addressed the absence of the right Reverend Toby Wachter.
It's quite sad, actually.
Toby desperately wanted to become a super-hero and exposed himself to a near-lethal dose of gamma radiation. Get-well cards can be sent to him in Carlsbad, California.
Although Phoenix Foundation did not make it through to Day Two they are very much a part of the festivities -- in spirit, anyway. Mike Turian was grumbling about asking the various teams about their draft strategy. "They tell me their strategy and then when I ask them why they always say, 'Because Dirk said so' or 'That's what Kai told me to do'--it is very frustrating."
The Japanese are now officially dominating this event. S.A.I (Ichirou Shimura, Masami Ibamoto, and Ryuuichi Arita) has still not lost all weekend and www.shopfireball.com2 (Itaru Ishida, Tsuyoshi Ishida, Jin Okamoto) just handed Bottom Set (David Williams, Neil Reeves, and Robert Maher) their second loss. The three Japanese teams still only have three losses between them over the two days - and each has started 2-0 on Day Two. N.O.L = N. oka (Masahiko Morita, Tsuyoshi Fujita, and Osamu Fujita) took two losses yesterday but has yet to lose today and shopfireball had one loss yesterday.
Very impressive. It looks like a Japanese team is almost certainly going to advance a team to Day Three--the first time the Japanese will accomplish that feat at a team event.
"I put the over/under at 11 1/2," mused Randy Buehler as he looked over at one of the more impressive draft tables in Magic history. Von Dutch (Jeroen Remie, Jelger Wiergesma, and Kamiel Cornelissen) were squared off against Something Cool (Mattias Jorstedt, Raphael Levy, and Tommi Hovi). He was referring to the total number of Pro Tour Top 8 appearances by players at the table. There was not a single player at that table with less than two Day Three appearances.
"I'll take the over in a minute," declared Scott Johns, who remembered when Tommi was the game's premier player.
A quick "ctrl-F" of the Pro Tour Top 8 page revealed that if you went with Scott Johns and took the over you would be correct -- by a fairly wide margin. That table had SIXTEEN Pro Tour Top 8s between them. Tommi Hovi had four, Kamiel and Mattias had three apiece, and the rest of the gang each had two.
As Bob Maher prepared for his team's matchup with Jin Okomoto and company, he was happy with his deck but nervous about the Razormane Masticore in Jin's 40 cards. He shrugged and looked quickly through his cards, "But how hard can it be to deal with a 3/3 creature?"
"Uh, Bob…it is a 5/5."
"No it's not," scoffed The Great One. He called the judge over to confirm the stats on the Fifth Dawn bomb. "A 5/5 for five? That's ridiculous!"
Williams was also stunned by the card -- "So what you have to discard a card."
The team had put in practice time playing with Fifth Dawn and although they are very familiar with the commons and uncommons, the rares can still take them by surprise. Bob looked a little more carefully through his deck, finding only a Rain of Rust to combat it.
I was talking with the members of The Max Fischer Players prior to the start of the day's first draft. They were arguing about Josh's assertion that their team did not need to have a green drafter. Josh had participated in and observed countless practice drafts at TOGIT in the weeks leading up to the event and his strategy was gleaned from that experience. TOGIT was the site of a Magic summit with Phoenix Foundation, Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy, Von Dutch, Shenanigans, The American Way, and a couple of other teams gathered in New Jersey for an intense week of practice.
Josh's teammates Chris Pikula and Igor Frayman did not venture outside of the confines of New York City, preferring to practice Sealed Deck and become more familiar with the cards. Josh was trying to imbue them with what he had learned, and they were very resistant to the idea of not drafting green. "What happens if we open Fangren Hunter?"
The irony of all this was that their first-round opponent was to be Osyp Lebedowicz and his Shenanigans. What happens when neither team wants the green? To be fair, the strategy that emerged from the New Jersey sessions was not to abandon green altogether, but to have a base-black deck on the right, base-white in the middle, and a base-blue on the left. Green would often end up as a support color for the white in the middle seat.
When the draft was announced, Randy Buehler declared it a "Funnyman Title Match" between old-school Chris Pikula -- considered by many to be the funniest player to ever shuffle a Magic deck -- and the heir to his throne, Osyp Lebedowicz.
Josh kicked off the draft with a Viridian Longbow and Chris took a Goblin Replica. Chris followed with a Spikeshot Goblin and when the pick moved around to Pat for the third card of the pack he took a Viridian Joiner and showed green. In the next pack he second picked a Skyhunter Patrol and snagged a Tel-Jilad Chosen and Battlegrowth on the way back. He also found a Longbow of his own when he opened.
Both Pat and Josh ended up going green-white. Pat had two Loxodon Mystics and a Leonin Bola in his deck and put himself at a huge advantage over Josh. Adam Horvath had a base blue deck with multiple Spire Golems but he had to deal with a Pulse of the Forge that Chris opened. Igor had opened a Pristine Angel but was not running it in his black-blue-red deck. He probably should have drafted in a way to support the possibility of running it. As it was Josh still wanted him to play it but Igor did not see how it was possible.
"How do you want me to run my mana for the Angel? I'm listening…four Swamps, four Plains…?"
Chris Pikula put his foot down, "You are not running the Angel. Josh is insane!"
Igor did manage to open a playable bomb in Razormane Masticore--much to the chagrin of Shenanigans.
The Max Fischer Players all dropped the first game of their matches and then battled back. Josh fell quickly to Pat in the third game but Igor managed to top-deck a flying blocker -- despite Osyp being the player with Mind's Eye on the table and he was able to turn the third game around with Riever Demon. "What do you want from me? I am a Pro Player, I top-decked the card I needed," grinned a giddy Igor.
The match came down to the game between Adam and Chris. It looked like Adam's Triskelion had foiled Chris' comeback from manascrew when it killed Chris' Advanced Hoverguard during a key turn that tapped him out. Chris was holding Vulshok Berserkers and Pulse of the Forge, however, and he was able to do an unexpected seven points in one match-winning turn.
It should be noted that the only losses that The Max Fischer Players have taken this weekend have to teams with players of a similar vintage -- Tommi Hovi's team and Bob Maher's team.
The fate of Josh's boys… I Blame Bung was still playing against Team Niccolo Macchiavelli last night after every other match had ended. They had a time extension and the crucial Game 3 came down to extra turns. Adam Hurd was facing off against a Greater Harvester and his Mirror Golem had just been Shattered. There was almost no chance of him winning on the extra turns and the best he could hope to do was stay alive. He managed to do so, but a tie eliminated both teams. Adam waited to see if his opponent had any interest in conceding and there was tense couple of minutes as both teams waited for the other to blink. Finally, the table judge broke the silence and demanded a result…
Adam extended the hand and advanced the other team on to Day Two.
- Saturday, July 10: 3:50 pm
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