Rich Kraupa spent his qualifying season in a series of near-misses, only to earn an invitation to Pro Tour Born of the Gods the hard way with his Top 8 appearance here at Toronto. Two-Time Grand Prix Champion Seth Manfield also scored an invite to Valencia, which lets him defer his Silver Status invite to Pro Tour Journey into Nyx in Atlanta. Now it's time to battle for gold and glory.
Kraupa has a stocked blue-black deck that can bury the opponent in card advantage. Manfield's red-green aggro deck hopes to end the game before that can happen.
Game one was a brutal lopsided affair. Kraupa's first play of Returned Phalanx fell to Lightning Strike, then he took four from Minotaur Skullcleaver. He played out a Triton Fortune Hunter, but Manfield suited up with Leafcrown Dryad and made it another four. Kraupa tried to fight back with Griptide, but Manfield just rebuilt his board and then served up Portent of Betrayal to put the game away.
Game two was more Kraupa's speed. Manfield stumbled off the starting blocks, and after trading Sedge Scorpion for Fleshmad Steed he couldn't find another threat until Ill-Tempered Cyclops. When Manfield went for the monstrous, Kraupa was ready with Lash of the Whip. Disciple of Phenax made sure the path was clear, and then Kraupa started chaining enchantments on Triton Fortune Hunter. The game was soon his.
Manfield was back on the play and made the most of it. He got a quick six in with Arena Athlete and Minotaur Skullcleaver before Kraupa could get on the board. Kraupa summoned Triton Fortune Hunter, but was forced to block a second Skullcleaver and fell to just ten.
However, Manfield had stalled on three mountains. Kraupa played Disciple of Phenax, stealing Destructive Revelry. Manfield untapped and drew. He swung in with his Skullcleaver but couldn't punish a block. He passed the turn without playing a card. Another Disciple from Kraupa laid his secrets bare: A hand full of green cards: Leafcrown Dryad, Feral Invocation, Savage Surge and Fade into Antiquity. A forest would make all the difference, but it was not to be. Kraupa bestowed a pair of Nimbus Naiads on a second Fortune Hunter, and soon he was on to the semifinals.
Kraupa seemed almost apologetic about the conclusion to the match. Nobody likes a non-game, even when it ends in your favor. Manfield was gracious in defeat, shaking Kraupa's hand and wishing him luck in the Top 4.