Grand Prix Minneapolis
Day 2 Coverage

Posted in Event Coverage on May 19, 2012

By Wizards of the Coast


Day 1 Undefeated Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Brandon Nelson 9-0

Christian Calcano 9-0

Josh Utter-Leyton 9-0

Chris Schafer 9-0

Day 1 Grinder Winning Decklists

by Marc Calderaro

So we didn't want to post these lists yesterday, so we wouldn't take away the competitors' edge. But today, if you've made Day Two already, your list is fair game, folks. Here are all the players who earned three byes at this Grand Prix the night before the event started.

Eric Rath (UWb Delver)

Andy Hanson (Naya Pod)

Andrew Tenjum (UW Delver)

Matthew Simpson (Naya Pod Aggro)

Jake Barlow (Wolf Run Ramp)

Aaron Frey (Rakdos Pod)

Jon Bronson (RG Aggro)

Kensuke Fukuchi (Wolf Run Ramp)

And yes, just for funsies, there was one Sealed Grinder. Please do not net-deck this an bring it to your next FNM. It will not win.

Tim Laubach - Sealed RW

Round 10 Feature - Match Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Brandon Nelson

by Marc Calderaro

Brandon Nelson has had to work hard as a Magician. Though so does everyone else, Brandon has an extra burden because he came into his prime just as another particular Magic player did as well. Perhaps you've heard of him; his name's Brad Nelson. Opposite in appearance and demeanor, Brandon Nelson has been quietly posting solid results near the top of the Grand Prix standings and finished fourth at Nationals last year. His RG Aggro deck sporting the shiny new Bonfire of the Damned was one of the four undefeated lists coming into the second day.

One of the other lists was Josh Utter-Leyton's UW Delver of Secrets. Joshua Utter-Leyton is a three-time Pro Tour Top-8er, a three-time Grand Prix Top-8er, as well as a US National Champion. This man has cred coming out the wazoo and he didn't even have some other Magic player earning posting results with a name like Boshua Butter-Bayton or anything. Even if he did, his nickname (and Twitter handle) Wrapter, gave him a clear out in case he ran into any Boshuas in his travels. Perhaps Brandon Nelson should consider a cool nickname.

Josh Utter-Leyton

Game 1

Utter-Leyton went down to six cards, then went down to 16 life when he cast Dismember on Brandon Nelson's first-turn Llanowar Elves. Nelson barely blinked and used his next turn to refuel with an Avacyn's Pilgrim and a Birds of Paradise. Utter-Leyton developed his board with the two main creatures of his deck, a Delver of Secrets and a Geist of Saint Traft, but the mana birds allowed Nelson to hard-cast a Bonfire of the Damned for two and wipe them away before any damage was done.

Nelson followed with a Sword of War and Peace, equipping it to Pilgrim and getting right past two new Spirit tokens (made via Lingering Souls) to make the scores 9-22. Sword of War and Peace is capable of some really silly life-swings like that, especially when the other creatures available to block are unable to do so.

Nelson considered for a while between the Strangleroot Geist and Huntmaster of the Fells in his hand before settling on the Geist. The hasty green beater joined the Pilgrim in combat. Utter-Leyton cast Snapcaster Mage and put it in front of the Geist. Then, the undercosted flash-maker allowed Utter-Leyton to reuse the Dismember to take out the Pilgrim. Though the exchange seemed extremely efficient, as the Strangleroot Geist returned from the graveyard, and it picked up the Sword of War and Peace, it was clear Utter-Leyton was not yet out of the woods.

Nelson failed to equip the Sword to a Birds of Paradise as a Gut Shot took it out. Nelson knew with the mana Utter-Leyton had up, a second Snapcaster Mage was waiting to cast the Gut Shot again. It did just than mid-combat when it came down to block the Geist again. But Utter-Leyton had sunk to 1. After a post-combat Huntmaster of the Fells, the score was 1-20.

Though a control deck is certainly capable of winning from that point difference, not when the boards looked like they did now. And not when the vast majority of your blockers are white, and there's a repeatable pro-white-granting equipment on the field.

Brandon Nelson 1 – 0 Josh Utter-Leyton

Game 2

Utter-Leyton started out the second game quickly. His turn-one Delver of Secrets went turn-two Insectile Aberration and his Gut Shot removed a Llanowar Elves, then returned to kill the follow-up Birds of Paradise with a Snapcaster Mage. Utter-Leyton quickly took Nelson to the score of 5-16.

Though Nelson tried to stabilize with a Huntmaster of the Fells, gaining two life and making a Wolf token, Utter-Leyton flashed the perfect counter – two Vapor Snags. The Wolf and the Master disappeared, the two extra life evaporated, and as the creatures rumbled into the red zone, so did Nelson's remaining life total.

Brandon Nelson 1 – 1 Josh Utter-Leyton

Brandon Nelson

Game 3

Nelson didn't have a turn-one accelerator, but had kept his opening seven anyway. This was a bit curious, but when Utter-Leyton cast a Gitaxian Probe, all the secrets were revealed. Nelson was holding two Huntmaster of the Fells, a Sword of War and Peace, an Incinerate, and a Green Sun's Zenith. The Zenith fetched out a Birds of Paradise on the next turn, and the Incinerate burned a Snapcaster Mage to death. (The Mage had been used to cycle with the Gitaxian Probe on the previous turn.)

Utter-Leyton presented a big question mark for Nelson to answer in the form of a