Finals – Tom Martell vs. Philip Yam

Posted in Event Coverage on January 19, 2014

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Tom Martell arrived to the feature match area like a rock star. A line of spectators held their hands up and excitedly high-fived the Pro Tour Gatecrash Champion as he made his way to the table. Philip Yam walked around the table, sat down, and pensively studied his opponent's decklist. This may have been Yam's first Grand Prix Top 8, but he showed no sign of nervousness.

Game 1:

Yam sent back his initial seven, but six seemed better. Blood-Toll Harpy from Yam was answered by Wingsteed Rider from Martell.

Ordeal of Erebos from Martell put Yam against the ropes, and Traveling Philosopher joined the team the same turn. Yam found an Island and used Griptide to pick up a valuable two-for-one against Martell.

Martell continued to apply pressure by replaying the Wingsteed Rider and adding Scholar of Athreos to his army. Yam had Breaching Hippocamp, but little else.

An attack from Yam sparked Martell's curiosity. "Triton Tactics," he said aloud. He decided to only attack with his flyer after using a Scourgemark to give it three toughness and Yam had the Triton Tactics Martell suspected.

Martell's board continued to grow with Favored Hoplite and another Traveling Philosopher.

Yam had Prescient Chimera, but he was forced to block a Philosopher and Martell's Battlewise Valor dispatched of the five-mana flyer.

Yam played out Shipwreck Singer and Meletis Charlatan, but it seemed too late for the San Francisco native.

Yam's lifetotal was getting dangerously low, especially considering the Scholar of Athreos on the other side of the table. Martell did a bit of combat math, paused, and attacked with all of his creatures. Yam fell to three life and the six lands Martell had in play were enough to end the game with his Scholar of Athreos over the next turn cycle.

Both players remained silent between games.

Game 2:

Martell had the first play of the game with Traveling Philosopher, but Yam played Meletis Charlatan.

Ordeal of Erebos let Martell get aggressive and he attacked through the Charlatan. Having seen Yam's decklist it was clear to Martell that he needed to win quickly and didn't have room to play around cards like Griptide.

Yam played Thassa, God of the Sea, but he continued to take a beating from the Traveling Philosopher as it grew.

Yam played Triton Fortune Hunter and Fleshmad Steed, leaving him with only two cards in hand against the Ordeal of Erebos on the other side of the table.

Martell attacked, and Yam was forced to discard his last two cards, Fleshmad Steed traded with a Lagonna-Band Elder, and Yam fell to 8 life.

Martell found Scholar of Athreos, a particular dangerous card in the current situation.

Yam continued to scry with Thassa, God of the Sea. He found Sealock Monster, which made his Thassa, God of the Sea into a creature and stalled up the board.

Martell found a Wingsteed Rider, though, and Yam didn't have the necessary flyer to block.

Dauntless Onslaught put Yam to a precarious three life. Unable to find and answer to Martell's flyer, Yam offered his hand, and the crowd exploded with applause.

Tom Martell is your Grand Prix Sacramento Champion!

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