Day 1 Blog Archive

Posted in Event Coverage on November 17, 2007

By Wizards of the Coast


  • Blog - 9:26 p.m.: Still More Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 9:11 p.m.: Round Eight: Jon Sonne vs. Mark Herberholz
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 8:58 p.m.: More Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 6:08 p.m.: Round Six: Adam Chambers vs. Jacob Van Lunen
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 5:48 p.m.: They Drove (and drafted) All Night
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 3:40 p.m.: Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 2:45 p.m.: Round Four: Paul Cheon vs. Steven Wolansky
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 1:19 p.m.: Beach House Redux: Five Questions with Nassim Ketita
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 11:48 a.m.: Building With Shingou Kurihara
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 11:15 a.m.: There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Mana Fixing
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff


Saturday, November 17: 11:15 a.m. – There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Mana Fixing

by Brian David-Marshall

How many is too many?Lowryn Sealed Deck often comes down to mana and while every player hopes for bomb rares when they scan through their card pool they also want manafixing. Players want to be able to splash their removal easily, support their shapeshifter spells with off-color Harbingers, and have their Briarhorns lurk in a Vivid Meadow (I'm not bitter, really!).

The Vivid cycle of lands are high on everyone's Christmas list but players will do what is necessary to make their good cards come together. Fertile Ground is one of the few "signets" in the format, Springleaf Drum can do some exciting things in the right deck, and Shimmering Grotto is usually available in the common slot.

About a dozen players opened up card pools with literally more mana fixing than anyone this side of Billy Moreno could ever want. Twelve Tournament Packs were handed in with a run of seven Shimmering Grottos in place of the last seven commons in the deck. All the decks were collected and replaced with correctly collated decks. There was no word on whether or not the players who received them were happy with the mana from the new starters.


Saturday, November 17: 11:48 a.m. – Building With Shingou Kurihara

by Brian David-Marshall

Shingou Kurihara has quickly emerged as one of the top Limited players in the game. Following a Top 32 finish in Kobe, Shingou has made the Top 8 of both Limited Pro Tours this season. While he only has one Limited GP Top 8 this season he does have to ninth places finishes on tiebreakers that could easily represent the five point difference in the Player of the Year standings between him and leader Tomoharu Saito.

As I walked over to see how Shingou tackled the complexities of Lowryn Sealed deck the Japanese player was shaking his head as he moved packs of tribal cards in and out of what would eventually become his deck.

"This deck only has two cards," sighed Shingou as he gestured toward Wydwn, the Biting Gale and Dread. To be fair he also had a Silvergill Douser, considered by many players to be the best common in the set, long with an array of Merfolk and Faeries. The problem was that, with the exception of the Douser, none of the other Merfolk were especially exciting. On the Fairie side of the ledger he did have Dreamspoiler Witches, Wydwyn, Spellstutter Sprite, and a Peppersmoke. There was also a nice suite of instant speed removal to make the Dreamspoiler witches live up to their name.

Kurihara considered his options and put the dedicated black cards to the side and looked at a green package that was tribally focused around Treefolk. He wrinkled his nose at the smell of that configuration and decided to take out the green, add the black cards back in, and remove the Merfolk from the equation. This shuffling of pieces allowed him to toy with playing red for Thundercloud Shaman, a ragtag band of giants, and a pair of Tarfire.

After a few moments it seemed like this deck was going to be committed to paper but it was scrapped and all the red cards save the Tarfires were sent to the sidelines. Splashing was not going to be an issue for Kurihara who had a pair of Vivid lands, Gilt-Leaf Palace, and a Wanderer's Twig and finding some red mana was unlikely to be a problem. For that matter, Shingou reasoned, he should have no troubles finding green for Nath's Elite or Briarhorn.

With his four color army assembled it was now time to get the deck down to fighting weight. Hurly Burly, Ponder, Tidewater Mystic, and one Paperfin Rascal were pushed aside and suddenly Shingou had twenty-three cards but he did not seem happy. Once again green called to him. Dauntless Dourbark, Bog-Strider Ash, Cloudcrown Oak, and others started to jostle for position with the men from Merrow.

As Shingou put one green card after another into his four column, with his two and three casting cost slots suddenly empty, he abandoned that plan. "The green cards are better than the blue ones but the mana costs are all wrong."

Having a reasonable mana curve was important to him as he felt the deck was bad although with three byes he has a little room for error and could potentially make Day Two with a 3-3 record in played matches. Despite his qualms about the deck Shingou made it clear that a 3-3 record would be a disappointment.

"I think I can go 4-2 but hopefully 5-1," he concluded as he got down to registering his starting configuration with less that five minutes left in the allotted time to build.

Shingou Kurihara - Day One Card Pool

Download Arena Decklist

Saturday, November 17: 1:19 p.m. – Beach House Redux: Five Questions with Nassim Ketita

by Brian David-Marshall

Nessim Ketita is a Toronto player with some success at the two legacy Grand Prix. He finished 12th place in Philadelphia and 20th place in Columbus. He played on the Pro Tour once at PT Honolulu and is eager to return. Setting his sights on qualifying for Kuala Lumpur, Nassim and a handful of other local players decided to head down to Daytona Beach early, rent a house, and practice Lorwyn Sealed and draft with no other distractions.

Staying in the house with Nassim were Robb Davis (13th place GP Toronto, 86th place PT Kobe), David Felske (25th place PT Kobe), Jurgen Hahn (2002 Canadian National Champion), Paul Russell (4th place PT Seattle), as well as Toronto area amateurs Dan McDonald, Ian Woodley, Scott Baillie, and Chris Mason. The group was able to get in plenty of draft practice all week, debate Sealed Deck card pools, and battle for the Beach House Guitar Hero Championship.

I talked to Nassim about the experience:

BDM: What is the goal of your stay in Daytona?

Nassim: I can't speak for everyone on this, but my personal goal is to qualify for the Pro Tour. I had a taste of the Pro Tour lifestyle back at PT Honolulu, and I've been trying to get back ever since. I think it's great that the GP is located at a prime vacation spot, otherwise I wouldn't have gone all out. All in all, I think I'll have a great time regardless if I qualify for Kuala Lumpur or not.

BDM: What was your inspiration for the Magical getaway?

Nassim: My inspiration is definitely the famous Beach House at PT Honolulu. That group had a member that won the overall tournament and created two format-defining decks (Beach House Control and Heezy Street). I hope to have similar success with our group.

BDM: How did you prepare for the event?

Nassim: I absolutely believe that you can gain an edge in Limited, as long as you apply the proper methodology in testing. We (drafted) several times a day to prepare. In each draft I learned something new about the format, and the benefit of having some of the top Toronto players in one room is we get to compare notes and have discussions about card values etc. The idea is that as soon as we sit down to play at the GP, we will not only know what the best cards are, but we will know how they all interact together, which is key in a tribal format like Lorwyn.

BDM: Are you guys heading straight back to Toronto or will anyone be detouring in New York for Worlds?

Nassim: No one in our group is qualfied for Worlds, but one of us is going and will likely play in the Car tournament.

BDM: Are there any Pros you are excited to see play in Daytona? Any of them that you would like to play against? Any you would not like to play against?

Nassim: One pro I have been rooting for lately is Paul Cheon. I think it is absolutely phenomenal that he went from being a virtual unknown to a Level 6 in just over a year.

As for pros I'd like to play against, I have always wanted to play against Kenji. I just hope I don't have to face him in Day 1! That goes for pretty much any pro as it's rather difficult to make Day 2 of a limited GP without the full 3 byes.


Saturday, November 17: 2:45 p.m. – Round Four: Paul Cheon vs. Steven Wolansky

by Brian David-Marshall

The first feature match on the weekend involved two players very eager to rack up some Pro Points this weekend. Former U.S. National Champion Paul Cheon is just one point shy of reaching level 6 status in the Players Club after his GP win in Krakow. He is assured two points merely for showing up to play at Worlds but if he can secure even one point this weekend it will mean that he gets the Level 6 perks for Worlds. That includes an additional $500 appearance fee and not having to pay for his own hotel room – no small perk in New York City.

His opponent was Florida native Steven Wolansky who is in the running for Rookie of the Year. Steven has locked up level 3 for his rookie campaign with 21 points this season but could feel the race slipping away from him as front runner Yuuya Watanabe picked up two more points at a recent GP.

"Going back to back?" asked Wolansky as he and Paul shuffled up their decks.

"It's not Constructed," laughed Paul. "This is only my second Limited Grand Prix."

The last Limited Grand Prix Paul played in was last year's New Jersey event when he was knocked out of the tournament in the final round by Patrick Sullivan.

"I just wanted to make Day Two it was my first Limited Grand Prix," said Paul who showed how much his life has changed in the year since that event with his next statement. "I won the PTQ the next day though."

The subject turned to Steven's season forecast and Paul asked how many points the rookie needed for Level 4.

"A lot," exhaled Steven, "Nine."

With both players decks sufficiently shuffled they were ready to get started. Paul began drawing his cards and clearly defined his Pro Point goals for this tournament. "I just want one."

Game 1

A turn two Kinsbaile Skirmisher came down for Steven but he was set back multiple turns by a pair of Pestermites from Paul. When Steven got to four mana he was able to ambush one of the fliers with Sentinels of Glen Elendra, pulling the correct colored mana from his Vivid Crag. .

"I didn't even know you were blue," said Paul as he put the swatted Pestermite in the bin.

Paul was stalled at three lands but was still able to put up something of a fight with Firebelly Changeling and Runed Stalactite.

Veteran of the Depths surfaced on Steven's side and the game was slipping beyond Paul's reach as a Mulldrifter joined Steve's team as well. Paul equipped a Boggart Sprite-Chaser to make a 3/4 flier. When he played an Elemental Harbinger he 'failed' to find anything not wanting to miss a land drop.

Now it was Steven's chance to Pestermite and he tapped Paul's lone red source in his upkeep. Paul floated the mana, drew his card, and decided that he did not have a way out and conceded the game.

Game 2

Both players quickly went to work on their decks. Paul had a color change he wanted to implement and summoned a judge to bring him Forests as he switched out his red cards for green ones. Noteworthy among the red cards getting the boot was Chandra Nalaar

"I should not have sleeved," said Paul as he tried to perform the task of switching colors as quickly as possible. Steven also had some adjustments to make and swapped out a pair of the Skirmishers, and Ego Erasure for two copies of Ponder and a mountainwalker.

"So did you build your deck wrong or is this something just for me?" asked Steven.

"This is something just for you!" promised Paul.

Paul had to send his opening seven cards back from whence they came and kept the next six. Steven saw some cards he liked and kept his full set of seven. Paul quickly developed his mana with a Fertile Ground. Steven used a sideboarded Ponder off of a Vivid Crag to find an Island and passed the turn. Paul played Silvergill Douser which actually attacked into open mana a turn later.

Steven's turn four Brion Stoutarm was Lignified but Paul was again missing land drops. When he found land number three and was able to flash out Sentinels of Glen Elendra to power up his Douser and negate the Sentinel that Steven had flashed out the turn previous. Steven drew two cards with Mulldrifter but had no way to get damage across.

Paul's deck pushed across a land for him and it allowed him to make a Changeling Titan on top of the Sentinels. Hillcomber Giant came down from Steven with enough mana left over to Faerie Trickery a Moonglove Extract. Steven took seven from the Titan but continued to mount his army including Stonybrook Angler and Kithkin Greatheart.

The bark-covered Brion stepped in the path of the Titan to buy a turn for the Angler to come on line but Paul bounced the tapper with Aethersnipe. Steven had his own copy of the six mana elemental and bounced the Silvergill Douser that was frustrating his fliers although it left him without enough mana to replay the Angler and he had to stare down 11 points of power being turned sideways by Paul. Steven traded Aethersnipes and chumped the Titan with his Mulldrifter. Paul replayed his Douser and also played Bog-Strider Ash. Steven had one Swamp in play for it to walk on.

"Oh-no!" exclaimed Paul when Steven sent everyone into the red zone. He nudged the Treefolk in the way of the Greatheart and took the rest. Steven used Wings of Velis Vel to polish off the swampwalker. Makeshift Mannequin returned Aethersnipe which in turn bounced the Douser. Steven also played his Angler but it had to chump block the Titan when Paul killed the Aethersnipe by targeting it with Pestermite.

"You're at six? I got you..." said Steven, trailing off as he reexamined the board. "Never mind you are still in this."


Steven sent everyone into the Pestermite and summoning sick Douser.

Paul sighed, "I gotta block..."

He put his Pestermite in the way of the Hillcomber Giant and fell to one. Steven took out the Titan with Oblivion Ring and played Footbottom Feast to replay the Angler. Paul shrugged and sent his Leaf Gilder into battle. Steven, hoping to get Paul to use his Douser on his own turn, decided to offer the trade with his Angler.

Steven played Aethersnipe targeting the Douser and Paul responded with Rootgrapple on the Oblivion Ring that was keeping his Titan locked down. It championed the Douser. Steven attacked with everything and Paul had to give up his Sentinels to block the Hillcomber Giant.

Merrow Rejeery came off the top of Paul's deck in a timely fashion. He was able to attack with Titan and then ambush Steven's last two attackers with Wings of Velis Vel making his Rejeery big and untapping his Titan when he played the Merfolk spell.

Suddenly Steven was out of gas and had to throw any creatures the top of his deck yielded in the path of the Titan. Brion Stoutarm was called to chump duty as was the Streambed Aquitects that followed.

"That's a good one," said Steven as he ripped Cloudgoat Ranger off the top of his deck. Paul attacked and Steven blocked the Titan only to have Paul play Fistful of Force. Paul clapped his hands together and revealed Aethersnipe.

"Let's clash! I have a six."

Steven did not even bother to look at his next card.

"Let's hurry up and play Game 3."

Game 3

With less than five minutes remaining neither player had the aggressive draw needed to deal twenty in such a short period of time.

Final result: Paul Cheon and Steven Wolansky draw with one win apiece.


Saturday, November 17: 3:40 p.m. – Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage

by Brian David-Marshall

Round Four: Shouta Yasooka vs. Benjamin Lundquist

Reigning Player of the Year Shouta Yasooka lost his first actual match of the day to former U.S. National team member Benjamin Lundquist.

Round Five: Patrick Chapin vs. Andre Coimbre

Patrick ''The Innovator'' Chapin, looking for his 100th lifetime Pro Point, lost to Portugal’s Andre Coimbra who recently made the Top 8 of GP Brisbane.

Round Five: Sol Malka vs. Mark Herberholz

Sol Malka, who helped popularize the green-black deck that has come to be known as the Rock, lost to Pro Tour Honolulu winner Mark Herberholz.


Saturday, November 17: 5:48 p.m. – They Drove (and drafted) All Night

by Brian David-Marshall

Trey Dismukes contacted me Thursday night – from one of four computers in their van that had internet access throughout the trip – to let me know about the only way to road trip to a Grand Prix. There were six players driving to the event from Texas and Trey finagled a high speed wireless card from work and turned the van interior into a rolling hot spot. That enabled Trey, Jamie Locklin, Dan Nguyen, Chris Carolan, James Jordan, and Aaron Toben to do what any normal human being on a 14-hour drive heading to a weekend of non-stop Magic would do – play more Magic

Of course there were some very literal bumps in the road. If you happened to be in a MTGO draft match against Ace of Drafts on Thursday and he uncharacteristically misclicked his Silvergill Douser making itself smaller it could be because he was barreling along Interstate 10 doing 80 miles an hour at the time.


Saturday, November 17: 6:08 p.m. – Round Six: Adam Chambers vs. Jacob Van Lunen

by Brian David-Marshall

“Happy Birthday Tara!” announced Jacob as he and Adam settled in for their match-up of undefeated Sealed Decks. If your girlfriend let you go play in a Grand Prix on the weekend of her birthday you would make a point of thanking her too. Jacob is one half of the Pro Tour winning team from San Diego – you know, the ones with the Poison Slivers. With a solid finish here and/or at Worlds he could be in a good position to make a run at Rookie of the Year but at this point he was just hoping to make it to Day Two with what he described as a “difficult” card pool.

Adam Chambers busted out the Taking Back Sundays shirt that he wore when he reached the finals of Pro Tour Atlanta. An upstate New York native, Adam is a Limited specialist who sometimes has unconventional card evaluations and tends to play a long inevitable game.

Game 1

Jacob Van Lunen contemplates a move Jacob got started with Springleaf Drum and Skeletal Changeling while Adam played Deeptread Merrow. Jacob’s Kithkin Harbinger fetched Nameless Inversion. Adam offered up Stonybrook Angler and it quickly died to Moonglove Extract. Adam shrugged and deployed Boggart Loggers.

Jacob sent in his team and tapped out to play Dreamspoiler Witches. Adam played Merrow Rejeery and then attacked. Jacob tapped his Dreamspoilers/Drum and killed the Loggers with Shields of Velis Vel using the Dreamspoiler ability. Jacob passed his next turn and killed both Merfolk using Nameless Inversion on Adam’s upkeep.

“Don’t laugh at me...I got a bad pool!” demanded Jacob as he played Nath’s Buffoon. Adam had missed land drops for two turns and when he played a fourth land and did nothing it raised Jacob’s hackles and he chose not to attack, playing Springjack Knight instead. Adam proved him right by flashing out Sentinels of Glen Elendra EOT. Adam then added Hornet Harasser to the board and that stopped Jacob’s army in his tracks.

Militia’s Pride came down for Jacob but with only two Plains could not justify putting his team into the red zone. Meanwhile Adam was playing the cards that had been gathering in his hand while he waited for lands. Streambed Aquitects, Thieving Sprite – hitting Warren Pilferers – and another Aquitect all came down and made Jacob’s life miserable.

Changeling Hero offered a glimmer of hope but that was quickly dispelled by Adam’s Shriekmaw then Dreamspoiler Witches. The Witches allowed Adam to smoke a pair of creatures on Jacob’s next turn with Nameless Inversion. Jacob drew his own Shriekmaw but it offered no way for him to live through Adam’s next attack.

“I drew every bad tournament in my deck and one of the good ones,” laughed Jacob about getting a feature match in which he played Nath’s Buffoon.

Game 2

Adam Chambers: Round Six Victor

Kinsbaile Skirmisher puffed up its own chest on turn two for Jacob – who had chosen to draw this game. He tossed the extra card to Thieving Sprite letting it swipe a Plains. Goldmeadow Harrier and Hillcomber Giant joined the squad over the next two turns but Jacob binned the Harrier to Moonglove Extract and could not see a way to run around the Hornet Harrasser without it.

Jacob showed off another good card in his deck and was joined by Ajani Goldmane. He pumped up his team but opted not to attack that turn. When he played Kithkin Harbinger the following turn he was blown out by Cryptic Command which bounced his 4/4 Hillcomber.

“I did draw a good card this game,” said Jacob while shaking his head over how far the blue counter had set him back. “I was really hoping that was Faerie Trickery.”

Jacob still made a go of it and used Nameless Inversion on the Harasser and replayed his Giant. By now his Skirmisher was a 4/4 Skirmisher but Mistbind Clique was big enough to trade with it. The Thieving Sprite came back after combat to take another Plains – the last card in Van Lunen’s hand. It also attacked for the final point needed to dispatch Ajani.

Still Jacob had a 4/4 Giant that he saved from a double block of Streambed Aquitects and Thieving Sprite with his Shields of Velis Vel. His Quill-Slinger Boggart was countered with Broken Ambitions and the Giant was put to bed with Glimmerdust Nap.

Dreamspoiler Witches were namelessly inverted by Adam and Shriekmaw deigned to kill a Springjack Knight leaving Jacob without any chance of winning.

Final result: Adam Chambers defeated Jacob Van Lunen in two games.


Saturday, November 17: 8:58 p.m. – More Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage

by Brian David-Marshall


Round seven: Gabriel Nassif vs. Alex Lieberman

Pro Tour Atlanta winner, and seven-time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor maintained a flawless record with his win over Grand Prix Minneapolis winner Alex Lieberman.


Round seven: Tomoharu Saito vs. William Postlethwait

Player of the year frontrunner emerged victorious in a drawn out three game set with Grand Prix Detroit Top 8 competitor, and Florida native, William Postlethwait.

Saturday, November 17: 9:11 p.m. – Round Eight: Jon Sonne vs. Mark Herberholz

by Brian David-Marshall

Jon Sonne has had an impressive Grand Prix career with five Top 8s and a pair of wins to go along with one Pro Tour Top 8. His opponent was Pro Tour Honolulu winner Mark Herberholz looking for his first Grand Prix win which would allow him to climb roight back into the Player of the Year race heading into Worlds.

Game 1

Jon Sonne Mark was Mr. Mana Fixing in the early game as he played two different Vivid lands and a Secluded Glen but he had no plays when he passed on turn four. Jon did not come out of the gates blazing either though playing the board controlling creatures Ameboid Changeling and Kithkin Healer.

Smokebraider – even more mana fixing – was Mark’s first play and that opened a window for Jon. Sonne had been wary of the four mana flash creatures and sent his guys in when Mark only had three mana left after playing the elemental.

Jon stocked up his hand with Mulldrifter and put it in the way of Mark’s Smokebraider when it attacked the following turn. Ma Mark flashed out Briarhorn and munched on the flier. Jon attempted to kill the Elemental with Nameless Inversion but Mark had Wings of Velis Vel. Jon decided that he wanted to sneak in a point of damage from his Ameboid but that left his soon to be played Surgespanner vulnerable to Mark’s Consuming Bonfire.

Benthicore came down for Sonne and it trundled across the red zone. Jon destroyed Mark’s board when Mark blocked with his Acolyte and Smokebraider. He used the mana elemental to play Blades of Velis Vel only to have Jon bounce it with Whirlpool Whelm. Jon won the clash revealing Eyeblight’s Ending and that was enough for Mark who needed to draw something better than Smokebraider next turn.

Game 2

Jon kicked things off with Springleaf Drum and Stonybrook Angler. Mark had no plays until Jon’s Streambed Aquitects met with Eyeblight’s Ending. He had no manafixing this game and when Mark passed the turn with four red/black mana up Jon attacked without fear. Mark attempted to Shriekmaw the Angler on the next turn but Jon saved it with Whirlpool Whelm.

Jon Pondered into Silvergill Adept and then tapped it to make black mana for Eyeblight’s Ending on the Shriekmaw – which was fine by Mark who was holding Warren Pilferers to get it right back.

Then the Benthicore came down. Mark settled in for a long game and played Thorntooth Witch. When Jon replayed his Angler used Turtleshell Changeling to set off the Thorntooth Witch and the merfolk went down. Mark also played Moonglove Extract. Jon had two cards in his hand as he sent in the Benthicore. Mark shrugged and put his Thorntooth Witch and Pilferers in the path of it. Jon shuffled the two cards back and forth before deciding to bounce the 5/5 back to his hand with a second Whirlpool Whelm.

Jon summoned a Kithkin Healer to draw the Extract and Mark obliged.

Mark killed the Healer with Extract and ate Jon’s lone Swamp with Faultgrinder. Jon still had enough mana to replay the Benthicore. Mark found an answer – of sorts -- with Skeletal Changeling and also had Mudbutton. Jon seemed out of gas and a turn later Mark played Shriekmaw on the Silvergill Adept.

“You have how many cards?” asked Jon.

“I have no cards.”

“Nice,” nodded Jon as he played Surgespanner and Avian Changeling.

Mark sent in everyone but the Changeling and Mudbutton. The Benthicore blocked the Faultgrinder and four merfolk barred the way for Goblin Pilferer. Mark had ripped Blades of Velis Vel and was able to clear Jon’s board except for the Changeling and Surgespanner. Mark was able to go on offense every turn now. Jon kept the Turtleshell occupied with Surgespanner tricks but he could not do anything about the other five points of damage that were getting through each turn.

Game 3

Mark Herberholz

Springleaf Drum was the turn one play for Jon and Mark played out Moonglove Extract. Jon’s Streambed Aquitects could live through that but Mark had Eyeblight’s Ending. Jon offered up Kithkin Healer to the artifact and when Mark used the extract Jon bounced it with Whelm. Mark played Moonglover Winnower.

The Healer returned and Mark’s Turtleshell was countered with Broken Ambitions – it revealed a land for Mark and Surgespanner for Jon. The Surgespanner came down and promptly bounced the Winnower. Mark, stuck on four lands, had to evoke Shriekmaw to kill it. He also played Smokebraider.

Jon was putting up an airforce with Avian Changeling and Plover Knights. Mark attempted to level the playing field with a Thundercloud Shaman for two – using Smokebraider to power out Fire-Belly Changeling first.

Mark fell to nine from the two attackers in the air and but lit up the Plover Knight in a Consuming Bonfire. Jon was left with nothing but the Avian Changeling while Mark’s army was getting in for six a turn.

“Whew,” declared Mark when it was over. “I don’t know what (Surgespanner) does but can he hit lands?”

“He returns any non-land permanent,” answered Jon.

“Shouldn’t you have just bounced my lands every turn when I was stuck on four?”

Jon replayed the scenario in his head and agreed that could have made the match play out differently.

Final result: Mark Herberholz defeated Jon Sonne two games to three.


Saturday, November 17: 9:26 p.m. – Still More Faces in the Crowd: Feature Match Photo Coverage

by Brian David-Marshall


Round Eight: Shouta Yasooka vs. Zac Hill

Reigning Player of the Year Shouta Yasooka needed to win if he wanted to advance to Day Two but he could not get past Zac Hill. Zac had some assistance from a couple of friends...Jace Beleren and Ajani Goldmane. He had them both in play when he won the deciding game and left Shouta to side drafting for the rest of the weekend.


Round Eight: Shuhei Nakamura vs. Tiago Chan

Shuhei Nakamura has not had a lot of success in GPs this season. In his last seven events he failed to make Day Two six times. That is a lot of the reason why he is unlikely to repeat as a Level 6 mage this season. His opponent was another Level 6er, Tiago Chan. Shuhei managed to overwhelm the Portuguese player with his array of bombs including Wort, Wren’s Run Packmaster, and Nath of the Gild-Leaf and advance to Day Two.

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