Grand Prix Seattle
Day 1 Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on March 4, 2012

By Wizards of the Coast


  • by Steve Sadin
    Round 9: Feature Match
    Owen Turtenwald vs. Brian Wong
  • by Josh Bennett
    Round 8: Feature Match
    Christian Calcano vs. Eric Meng
  • by Josh Bennet
    Saturday, 8:45 p.m.: Quick Questions
    What Dark Ascension card are players overvaluing in sealed?
  • by Steve Sadin
    Saturday, 9:00 p.m.:
    Sealed Deck Round Table
  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 7:10 p.m.:
    Sealed Exercise with Michael Jacob
  • by Steve Sadin
    Saturday, 6:55 p.m.:
    Sealed Exercise with Owen Turtenwald
  • by Steve Sadin
    Round 6: Feature Match
    Owen Turtenwald vs. Jordan Judson
  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 5:45 p.m.: Quick Questions
    Six-Casting Cost?
  • by Josh Bennett
    Round 5: Feature Match
    Ben Seck vs. Michael Jacob
  • by Josh Bennett
    Saturday, 4:45 p.m.: Quick Questions
    Dark Expectations
  • by Steve Sadin
    Round 4: Feature Match
    Jackie Lee vs. Jesse Hampton
  • by Steve Sadin
    Saturday, 12:00 p.m.:
    Sealed Deck Building Exercise in Seattle
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

Saturday, 12:00 p.m.: Sealed Deck Building Exercise in Seattle

by Steve Sadin

In some Sealed Deck formats, the tools just don't exist for players to build good aggressive decks with any regularity. When this happens, players can comfortably build decks that ignore the early game almost entirely, instead focusing their attention on winning the drawn out slugfests that they are sure to become engaged in.

Dark Ascension/Innistrad is not one of those formats.

While decks that are full of big, game-breaking creatures, and some high quality removal spells may excel in slower formats – they will have trouble winning in faster formats such as Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed.

But just how fast is Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed, and how much does the speed of the format affect the deck building decisions of the world's top pros?

To learn more, we're going to have some of the best of the best show us how they would build this sample Sealed pool.

Round 4: Feature Match - Jackie Lee vs. Jesse Hampton

by Steve Sadin

A year ago, Jesse Hampton, and Jackie Lee were virtually unknown outside of the Northwest, and the Northeast, respectively. But over the past few months both Jesse, and Jackie have vaulted themselves into the spotlight.

Jesse Hampton earned his first Pro Tour Top 8 at Pro Tour Philadelphia a few months ago, but nearly had to miss Pro Tour Dark Ascension in Honolulu when he had his appendix removed just two weeks before the event.

He played through the pain, and found himself in the hunt for the Top 8 through most of the weekend before ultimately falling a bit short, having to "settle" with a Top 16 finish.

Pro Tour Dark Ascension in Honolulu was Jackie Lee's first Pro Tour, but she quickly demonstrated that she has what it takes to succeed on the game's biggest stage when she started off the tournament with a 5-0 record in Standard. The rest of the tournament did go quite as well for her, and she wound up finishing just outside of the money, and in need of an invitation to Pro Tour Avacyn Restored in Barcelona.

She wouldn't need that invitation for long as she battled her way to the Top 4 of Grand Prix Baltimore a mere two weeks later.

Game One

Jesse Hampton won the roll, and started with a Selhoff Occultist , a Falkenrath Noble , a Civilized Scholar , and a Silent Departure to put himself off to an early lead.

Homicidal Brute traded with Jackie Lee's Drogskol Captain , and Hampton kept the hits coming with a Sturmgeist .

A Chant of the Skifsang took Hampton's Sturmgeist out of commission, and put Jackie right back into the game.

However, as soon as Jackie had stabilized, Jesse began digging through his deck with Forbidden Alchemy , and Think Twice – ultimately finding the Faith's Shield that he needed to free his Sturmgeist .

Without a way to permanently deal with either Falkenrath Noble , or Sturmgeist Jackie soon found herself down a game.

The game in a sentence:

Jesse curved out, and although Jackie was able to stabilize for a bit she didn't have any ways to permanently deal with Jesse's threats, and eventually lost to Falkenrath Noble and Sturmgeist .

Jesse Hampton 1 – Jackie Lee 0

Jesse Hampton

Game 2

Jackie got off to a good start in game two with Thraben Heretic , Elder Cathar , Brimstone Volley (taking out a potentially gamebreaking Thraben Doomsayer ), Stormbound Geist , and a Lingering Souls – while Jesse found himself struggling to find the right colors of mana to cast his spells.

A Bonds of Faith , and a Drogskol Captain looked like they would be enough for Jackie to seal the game, but Jesse had a Faith's Shield , and an Urgent Exorcism to put himself right back into the thick of things.

A Silent Departure , a Feeling of Dread bought Jesse a bit more time – but it wasn't enough, and Jackie was eventually able to fly to victory.

The game in a sentence:

Jackie got off to a quick lead, and while Jesse was able to put himself back into the game with some well-timed tricks, Jackie had enough good threats to eventually secure the victory.

Jesse Hampton 1 – Jackie Lee 1

Jackie Lee

Game 3

Jackie opened on Drogskol Captain , and a Moon Heron , while Jesse had a Falkenrath Noble , and a Sturmgeist . A Fiend Hunter took out Jesse's Sturmgeist , and cleared the way for Jackie to attack for six with her two spirits.

Jesse hoped that a Silent Departure (bouncing Fiend Hunter and freeing his Sturmgeist ) would get him back into the game, but Jackie's Feeling of Dread set up yet another big attack.

A flashed back Silent Departure , and a Claustrophobia left Jackie without any untapped creatures on the board – but a Fires of Undeath , and a Brimstone Volley allowed Jackie to burn Jesse out just before time expired.

The game in a sentence:

Jackie was able to punch through for a bunch of damage early with Drogskol Captain and Moon Heron backed by Feeling of Dread -- and by the time that Jesse had stabilized on the board, Jackie was able to burn him out with a Brimstone Volley , and a Fires of Undeath .

Jackie Lee 2 – Jesse Hampton 1

Saturday, 4:45 p.m.: Quick Questions - What card in Dark Ascension has exceeded your expectations in Sealed?

by Josh Bennett
Luis Scott-Vargas: " Undying Evil . It looks unassuming, but it does so much more than one mana's worth." Paul Rietzl: " Wolfhunter's Quiver . When it came out I thought "No way am I paying five to equip that," but it's actually very good. Even not on a deathtouch guy. "
Conley Woods: " Wild Hunger . It's the only reason I'm winning today." Shuuhei Nakamura: " Lingering Souls . Everyone thought it would be insane, and it's better than that!"
Patrick Chapin: " Undying Evil . It's even better than a lot of the removal in the format." Eric Froehlich: " Undying Evil . When it first came out, it was like "Well, I guess this could be good," but it's an auto-play."

Ben Seck vs. Michael Jacob

by Josh Bennett

"I don't play a lot of Magic... well I do. I don't play a lot of *good* Magic."

So said the genial former-PT fixture Ben Seck. This weekend he's paying a price for his hiatus from the game - he had to battle to 4-0 with just a single bye to his name. Not so for opponent Michael Jacob, who enjoyed the comfort and luxury of the full three.

Jacob frowned and flashed me a landless hand stacked with checklist cards. He stuck with his six, and they were off.

Game 1

Jacob was on the play, but it was Seck on the board first with Ashmouth Hound . Stromkirk Noble showed up late to the party on Jacob's turn three, and Jacob revealed that he was out of lands. Seck hit for two and played Torch Fiend , waiting on an Evolving Wilds . Jacob played and equipped Blazing Torch and passed back. Seck sent in his creatures and Jacob made the expected trades to clear the board.

Unfortunately for him, Seck's Galvanic Juggernaut was a better follow-up than Jacob's nothing. He added Falkenrath Aristocrat and smashed for nine. Jacob found a swamp and passed. Tribute to Hunger caught the Aristocrat in response to Screeching Bat , but Jacob was far behind and low on life. He played Instigator Gang and resigned himself to death. Seck was happy to oblige, offing the Gang with Geistflame and Fires of Undeath , then swinging for the win.

Seck 1 - Jacob 0

Michael Jacob

Game 2

Seck was first on the board again with Highborn Ghoul . Jacob rattled off three mountains and a Jar of Eyeballs . Seck followed up with Rakish Heir , while Jacob summoned Markov Blademaster and a Blazing Torch to his side. Naturally, Seck had drawn removal: Geistflame . The two eyeball counters were cold comfort to Jacob. Seck added Ashmouth Hound and passed.

Jacob played out Crossway Vampire and hoped to avoid further beats. Seck pointed Fires of Undeath at it, and Jacob responded by Fling ing it at the Rakish Heir . Seck smashed with his creatures and added Black Cat to the board.

Jacob went hunting for answers in the Jar of Eyeballs . He confirmed Seck had one card in hand.

"Well, I hope it's bad," he said with a wry smile and showed Rolling Temblor . The Black Cat got one last laugh in, stealing Tribute to Hunger from Jacob's hand. Seck untapped and played Pitchburn Devils . Jacob made no play and took three, while Seck added Riot Devils .

Ben Seck

All Jacob could manage was a Gravepurge . "Do you SEE the synergies? Do you see what's going on here? This is what we've come to."

He got the Crossway Vampire back to block, but even trading for the Pitchburn Devils was bad, taking another hit out of his dwindling life total. It wasn't long before Seck was notching the second win. He apologized for Jacob's ill-fortune, but Jacob just laughed it off.

"I wouldn't be sorry. My deck is terrible. I wish I hadn't been featured, I'm probably losing my next three."

Ben Seck defeats Michael Jacob 2-0

Saturday, 5:45 p.m.: Quick Questions - What is the maximum number of six-casting-cost spells you'd include in a sealed deck in this block?

by Josh Bennett
Sam Black: "Five is my snap answer, I'm trying to think if there's something I'd want six of. I'd play six Broodmate Dragons." Ben Stark: "It depends on so much. With a normal curve, I'd probably want two, but I'd happily trade fives for sixes."
Eric Froehlich: "Probably three? You could play more with good accel or lots of removal, but with aggressive decks I'm happy leaving some sixes on the bench." Shuuhei Nakamura: "With 17 land, three. With 18, four. Mostly, I hate seeing them in my opening hand. "
Brian Kibler: "Generally three. You can play more, but you have to make sure your deck can survive to get you there." Luis Scott-Vargas: "It depends a lot on what they are. I'm never cutting Geistcatcher's Rig, but things like Dearly Departed, Requiem Angel? You need your sixes to have an immediate effect."

Round 6: Feature Match - Owen Turtenwald vs. Jordan Judson

by Steve Sadin

After five rounds of play, reigning Player of the Year Owen Turtenwald finds himself with an undefeated record, playing against Jordan Judson – a Washington native playing in his very first Grand Prix.

Game 1

Turtenwald opened on a Typhoid Rats , and a Gather the Townsfolk before playing a fourth turn Bloodline Keeper which Judson, who was playing green-white, had no way to deal with.

Jordan Judson

An Increasing Devotion , and a Kessig Cagebreakers gave Judson some pressure of his own – but without any removal spells, Judson soon found himself on the wrong end of a Lord of Lineage , and an army of 4/4 flying vampires.

Owen Turtenwald 1 – Jordan Judson 0

Owen Turtenwald

Game 2

Judson mulliganed down to five, and had a first turn Wolfbitten Captive – but no second land to follow it up with. By the time Judson had found his second land, it was too late as Turtenwald had already built up an unbeatable board.

Owen Turtenwald 2 – Jordan Judson 0

Saturday, 6:55 p.m. - Sealed Exercise with Owen Turtenwald

by Steve Sadin

After winning his Round Six Feature Match in the matter of minutes, Owen Turtenwald had quite a bit of time to burn before the next round – fortunately for us, he was nice enough to spend of that time demonstrating how he would build our Deck Building Exercise Sealed Pool.

"This is the best pool ever" exclaimed Turtenwald after laying out the pool's blue and black cards on the table."

"It has a great curve, rares, and some good answers. I wish I had this pool instead of the one that I'm playing"

Turtenwald spent a few more minutes deciding what he wanted his final build to be, before ultimately settling on the following 40 cards.

Owen Turtenwald - Sealed Deck Building Exercise

Download Arena Decklist

"You definitely play blue-black with this pool. Slayer of the Wicked was the only card that I really debated over. Slayer of the Wicked seems like it should be worth running because you have Evolving Wilds – but it just doesn't do quite enough for you to make it worth it to add another color."

Turtenwald then elaborated further.

"It's good because it's a removal, which this deck doesn't have much of, and it's a human for Skirsdag Flayer – but it's tough to make the mana work since the deck already has a double black ( Highborn Ghoul ), and a double blue ( Dungeon Geists )."

When asked why he played the innocuous Walking Corpse , Owen didn't seem to think that it was much of a question.

"You have Gravecrawler , and Diregraf Captain – so there's almost no reason not to play Walking Corpse . "

Owen Turtenwald

After going over the deck's creatures, Owen spent a minute explaining why he didn't play any of his equipment, or his Spectral Flight .

" Mask of Avacyn was worth thinking about because of Dungeon Geists , and Grimgrin, Corpse-Born – but it still isn't good enough."

"Wolfhunter's Quiver is just too expensive when you already have two Grasp of Phantoms , and three five drops. If the game goes long, you're probably going to win it anyway – and it's just so bad to have a Wolfhunter's Quiver in your opening hand, so I left it in the sideboard."

" Spectral Flight is such a miser card. If your deck isn't great, you should usually play it -- but this deck is just too good to risk getting two for oned when you play Spectral Flight ."

While Owen may not have though that he had many tough decisions to make, there's a very important lesson to be learned from the way that he built his pool:

You don't need to mess with your mana, or play conditional cards when your deck is already very strong.

Saturday, 7:10 p.m. - Sealed Exercise with Michael Jacob

by Josh Bennett

"Yeah I'll build a sealed deck. Anything, so long as it's not my actual deck. I had to spend three cards to counteract a Lingering Souls . My opponent had no trouble winning with his remaining cards."

Pro Tour Amsterdam Top 4'er and toque enthusiast Michael Jacob has not had a good tournament. Hamstrung by a miserable pool, he's resigned himself to watching from the sidelines for the rest of the weekend. As a break from his misery, I asked him to see what he could do with our pool. He did a quick glance through and laughed. "Yeah, why couldn't I have opened this?"

Jacob separated the pool into colors and dug in. First on the chopping block was green. He pared it down to about six cards he really wanted, then shelved it entirely. White fared little better, save the lone Slayer of the Wicked who earned a spot on the table as a potential splash.

He fanned eight red cards he'd be happy playing - Haneweir Watchkeep, Tormented Pariah , Flames of Undeath, Nearheath Stalker , Ashmouth Hound , Afflicted Deserter , Rolling Temblor and Faithless Looting . I asked how he rated the Looting and he said "Excellent. If you don't think so, you're probably playing it on turn one. It's a turn four or five play. If I could draw four and discard five, I would do it every single game I play."

Blue stuck out for him, particularly the double Grasp of Phantasms and Dungeon Geists . He piled it by casting cost, then added the black. He started making quick cuts. Walking Corpse , Chosen of Markov and two Falkenrath Torturer s hit the bench. He cut Markov Patrician with relish, saying "I hate this card. It dies to everything, and it never trades up, only down. Horned Turtle s, spirit tokens, you're just never getting ahead with this guy. I don't know why people love it. Your cards should be better than this."

He was happy to have Night Terrors , and wanted to include Gruesome Discovery . "I love Night Terrors . I mean, look here, you play it and take their removal, then drop Grimgrin, how are they supposed to beat that?" He wavered on the Discovery, but kept it in. Rotting Fensnake got the boot. "Even with all these morbids... I can't play this or the Patrician."

Now that he was close to twenty-three, he considered the splash of Slayer of the Wicked and Saving Grasp . "You might not even need to do this, but I would definitely have plains ready to sideboard in. He's just too good against some decks. You probably want two plains, what with Deranged Assistant and Thought Scour . Take out one Thought Scour and Gruesome Discovery , maybe."

He reconsidered the Harrowing Journey he'd left on the sidelines. "With two Grasp of Phantoms , you really want to hit all your lands, so probably play this." He looked for a cut, and thought about Wolfhunter's Quiver , but kept it in when he remembered Diregraf Captain . "Even if it's just one deathtouch guy, it's worth it. People don't play enough of their free wins in this format." He pointed to One-Eyed Scarecrow . "Like that guy, it kills me when people don't play that. It bricks like half a white deck's cards."

Here's what he settled on, saying it was "within a card or two of what I'd play. Frankly, you'd have to be crazy not to play blue-black."

Michael Jacob - Sealed Deck Building Exercise

Download Arena Decklist

Saturday, 9:00 p.m. - Sealed Deck Round Table

by Steve Sadin

Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed is one of the fastest Sealed Deck formats in years. But simply knowing that this is a fast format isn't enough to help you rack up the wins – you're going to need to know how you should adjust your play, and deck building, decision in order to maximize your chances to win.

To learn more about the practical impacts of the speed of this format, I sat down with some of the game's best and brightest and asked them some questions about how they approach Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed.

Brian Kibler

Would you rather curve out, or resolve the best spell in your deck?
My deck doesn't have any great spells, so I would rather curve out.

Can you build a good control deck in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed?

Brian Kibler

As long as you have a reasonable amount of removal, and creatures that you can stall out the game with – you can design a deck that can win with six casting cost spells.

Can you ignore the early game entirely?
No. I think that you need to be able to interact with both aggressive ground creatures, and fliers quickly.

If you aren't very aggressive, and able to punch your way past relatively inefficient fliers – then you're going to need to have ways to deal with creatures in the air.

A lot of people build decks that are good at stalling the ground, but ultimately end up losing to fliers – so if you can't deal with Chapel Geist s, you're in trouble.

Can you choose to draw first in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed?
I think that decks that have enough early removal can draw first. But if your deck doesn't have a lot of quick plays you want to play first, particularly because of Werewolves – you just don't want to fall behind opposing Werewolves.

Matt Costa

Would you rather curve out, or resolve the best spell in your deck?
Curve out.

Sometimes you resolve Heretic's Punishment , and then die -- but I think that my deck is pretty unbeatable if I curve out properly. I have infinite vampires, and ( Stromkirk Captain ) the vampire lord.

Can you build a good control deck in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed?

I think that you can build a good control deck, but you'll always have a soft spot to a specific type of card, or archetype. Sometimes you'll have a deck that's generally good at controlling the board, but you might be losing to really big creatures because your removal spells are all things like Fires of Undeath , Brimstone Volley and Dead Weight .

Matt Costa

Or you'll have a deck that has multiple Victim of Night s, but no way to deal with something like a resolved Bloodline Keeper .

Can you ignore the early game entirely?
No. Never.

None of the late game cards in this format are good enough at recouping the overwhelming board advantage that you would let your opponents develop early. Even the control decks play lots of two, and three drops – so anyone can curve you out.

Can you choose to draw first in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed?
Normally, I always choose to draw first in Sealed, but I'm becoming convinced that it's right for me to play first with my deck today.

I was looking at my notes from this tournament, and I realized that I'm undefeated on the play – and I've only won a couple of my games on the draw.

Luis Scott-Vargas

Would you rather curve out, or resolve the best spell in your deck?

Resolve my best spell. My best lines of play are Blasphemous Act , into Huntmaster of the Fells – or just turn four Huntmaster of the Fells . Both of which are going to beat most draws where my opponent curves out.

Can you build a good control deck in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed?

You generally don't want to be controllish in this format... but if you do build a control deck, you want to be confident that you can kill a bunch of bombs.

Luis Scott-Vargas

If you're playing an aggressive deck, you can just beat your opponent before they win with their bombs. But if you're playing a control deck, you need to have like 3-4 pieces of unconditional removal, and even then you might just lose to something like a Geist Honored Monk, or an Unburial Rites .

Can you ignore the early game entirely?
I don't think any deck in the format can afford to do that.

If you do, you're just going to die to werewolves, and two drops, and two drop werewolves.

Can you choose to draw first in Dark Ascension/Innistrad Sealed?
You probably shouldn't. In some matchups it's okay to (like in control on control), but in the dark I would always choose to play first.

Saturday, 9:45 p.m.: Quick Questions - What card are players overvaluing in sealed?

by Josh Bennett
Craig Wescoe: " Geralf's Messenger . People keep showing me this card and saying "So obviously I had to go black." Eric Froehlich: " Reap the Seagraf . I think people look at it and confuse it with Moan of the Unhallowed , or other great cards, when it's only fine."
Conley Woods: " Haunted Fengraf . I keep seeing people playing this in three-color decks. " Shuuhei Nakamura: " Falkenrath Torturer . That guy is TERRIBLE."
Brian Kibler: " Fling . I can't count how many times people have played this with no way to take advantage. No undying, no Traitorous Blood, nothing." Ben Stark: " Wild Hunger . Don't get me wrong, it's a great card, but I think it pulls people into green-red when it shouldn't."

Round 8: Feature Match - Christian Calcano vs. Eric Meng

by Josh Bennett

It was a battle of rookie sensations past and present here in round 8. On one side, Christian Calcano, who first rose to the public eye during his run at the Rookie of the Year title in 2010 and has since become a Pro Tour mainstay. On the other, rising star Eric Meng. Meng finished 26th at Pro Tour Dark Ascension - his first PT - and followed it up with a Top 8 at GP Baltimore, yet still does not have an invite for Pro Tour Barcelona.

Game 1

Calcano won the roll, and chose to draw. He beat Meng onto the board with Doomed Traveller, but had no play to match Meng's Cloistered Youth . Things got worse for Calcano when Meng decided his basket needed more eggs, slapping Spectral Flight on his transformed Unholy Fiend . Calcano had no immediate answer in hand, and so had to play it as a race. He played the rich man's Ambush Viper , Snapcaster Mage , at end of turn, hit for three, but made no play on his three land.

Meng fretted over the suspicious board, eventually choosing to play Mausoleum Guard and hold back both his creatures. Calcano's bluff had paid off. He played a fourth land and passed again. Meng played Thraben Sentry and sent his other creatures into what looked like a trap, but it was only Hollowhenge Spirit waiting to save Calcano five damage. Calcano chumped the Mausoleum Guard with Doomed Traveller to get a spirit.

Calcano untapped, played his fifth land, and thought hard about his next move. Eventually he chose to swing out. Meng calmly marked himself down to eight. Calcano made a Silverclaw Griffin and passed. Now it was Meng's turn to wear the thinking cap. He swung with both Unholy Fiend and Mausoleum Gard to put Calcano to eight. He tapped out for Murder of Crows and passed back, falling to seven. Calcano reconsidered the board and decided to stay home this turn, adding Gallows Warden to his squad.

Meng tagged the Silverclaw Griffin with Burden of Guilt and tapped it down. The Guard and Fiend duo attacked again. Calcano declined to block, and Meng had no trick to punish him. He stood at one life. He untapped and took off his hood, frowning and shaking his head. He passed the turn without attacking or playing a spell.

Again Meng attacked with his chosen pair. Hollowhenge Spirit ate the Mausoleum Guard , and the spirit token chumped the Unholy Fiend , flipping Thraben Sentry and getting him two spirits. Meng's life ticked down to five. Calcano had Gather the Townsfolk at Fateful Hour, but it did little to help against Meng's air force. His only hope was that Meng would play a spell into Lost in the Mist before attacking. Meng did not, and took the first game.

Meng 1 - Calcano 0

Game 2

Again, Calcano chose to draw. In contrast to the first game, this one looked downright leisurely to start. Calcano's Loyal Cathar was the only play before turn four. Meng played Galvanic Juggernaut , but Calcano had Bonds of Faith for it. Next up for Meng was Elgauld Inquisitor, showing that he'd sideboarded into swamps in the process. Calcano went to the air with Gallows Warden and passed.

Meng summoned Falkenrath Torturer and put Burden of Guilt on the Gallows Warden . Calcano played Divination , then Mentor of the Meek , tapping out. Meng had Dead Weight to send the Mentor packing, then tapped the Loyal Cathar with Niblis of the Mist , getting in for four and gaining two. Calcano hit back with his Cathar and added Silverclaw Griffin and Doomed Traveller to the mix.

The ground looked to be gummed up, but Meng had the answer: He sacrificed his Galvanic Juggernaut to his Torture r, then cast Morkrut Banshee to kill the Griffin. He swung in with his motley crew, and Calcano traded half of Loyal Cathar for the Elgauld Inquisitor. He was down to twelve, while Meng was sitting at eighteen. He played out the last of his cards, a Moon Heron and a Havengul Runebinder .

Again, it was coming down to Meng's aggression and his getting through damage before Calcano could stabilize. Meng hit with Banshee and Niblis, and the Doomed Traveller spared Calcano four damage. Calcano passed his turn without a play, and Meng checked it out with Night Terrors . It was Gather the Townsfolk . Meng sent the Banshee , Niblis and Griffin. Calcano made a zombie to chump the Banshee and had his Heron devour the Niblis. He was down to seven.

Christian Calcano

Meng declined to activate Burden of Guilt , needing the mana for his Haunted Fengraf . Calcano took the opportunity to attack with the Warden and Unhallowed Cathar , and made a zombie to get in the extra point. Meng took it, down to eleven. His Fengraf served up Galvanic Juggernaut .

Again, Silverclaw Griffin and Morkrut Banshee hit the red zone. Calcano chumped both with his spirit and zombie tokens. Meng tapped out to play Loyal Cathar and Juggernaut .

And then Calcano realised he'd forgotten to exile a creature to make his zombie the turn previous. A judge was called and allowed the game to continue after Calcano exiled a creature. Calcano swung with Gallows Warden and Unhallowed Cathar . Juggernaut traded with Cathar, made a 5/4 thanks to Havengul Runebinder . Meng was down to eight.

Eric Meng

"It's embarrassing, but I'll play this guy after combat," said Calcano, adding Armored Skaab to the board. Luckily for him, it stocked his graveyard with three more creatures for his previously-exhausted Runebinder. He just needed to last long enough for his zombie horde to take over. Meng played One-Eyed Scarecrow and attacked with Falkenrath Torturer , Silverclaw Griffin and Morkrut Banshee . Calcano's zombies teamed up to kill the Banshee and the Heron traded with Torture r.

Calcano found Grasp of Phantoms waiting for him, and with it a glimmer of hope. He got rid of the Silverclaw Griffin , but Meng could still hit for one with his spirit. They repeated it on the following turn, with Calcano down to just one life. In desperation, he send his 3/3 and 2/5 zombies at Meng, who went into the tank to think about what could be up. He chose to block both to be on the safe side, and Calcano revealed two land in hand.

Eric Meng defeats Christian Calcano 2-0

Round 9: Feature Match - Owen Turtenwald vs. Brian Wong

by Steve Sadin

Brian Wong started Grand Prix Seattle without the aid of any byes. But after eight rounds of play, the Seattle native, and four time Pro Tour competitor himself a mere match away from ending Day One with a perfect record.

But in order to do that, Wong is going to have to get past Owen Turtenwald – the man who set the record for the most Grand Prix Top 8s in a single season during 2011.

Game 1

Turtenwald won the roll, while Wong mulliganed – but Wong was nonetheless able to get off to an aggressive start with a Thraben Heretic , and an Elder Cathar .

However, Wong's lead didn't last for long as he had no way to deal with Turtenwald's turn four Bloodline Keeper .

Wong stuck around for a few more turns, but with no answers for Bloodline Keeper in sight, he eventually fell to Turtenwald's army of flying vampires.

Owen Turtenwald 1 – Brian Wong 0

Owen Turtenwald

Game 2

Wong opened on Lingering Souls , and Galvanic Juggernaut – while Turtenwald got himself into the game with a Markov Patrician , and a Bonds of Faith that he used to shut down Wong's 5/5 artifact.

Wong kept pressing ahead, and when he played his Angel of Flight Alabaster Wong had his first dominating board position of the match– at least until Turtenwald untapped, and played a Dearly Departed which shut off Wong's offense.

Turtenwald used a Tragic Slip to take out Wong's Angel of Flight Alabaster – but he still didn't have any good attacks.

The players spent their next few turns casting creatures, but without a way to break through, Turtenwald gave Wong the time he needed to take the game with a Feeling of Dread , and a Griptide .

Owen Turtenwald 1 – Brian Wong 1

Brian Wong

Game 3

Turtenwald began the deciding game by mulliganing twice before sheepishly keeping his five-card hand.

Turtenwald had a Skirsdag High Priest , and a Diregraf Ghoul – but those would be the only spells that he cast in the third game as he watched Wong fly to a 9-0 record on Day One.

Brian Wong 2 – Owen Turtenwald 1

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