Thomas Kiene and Nick Lynn were two of the players battling in the single elimination rounds of Grand Prix-Portland whose resumes paled in comparison to some of their big name competitors like Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, Martin Juza, and David Ochoa. Thomas exhibited excitement at his first Top 8, saying "Can I give a shout out to my friend Jacob Danger, the Park Ranger?" while Nick remained stoic and focused.
Though he lost the die roll, Thomas's deck gave him an aggressive start with Stormfront Pegasus backed by Honor of the Pure. His opponent was not far behind with Black Knight and Bog Raiders, but when Thomas cast Scroll Thief he found his 1/3 outgunned by a Shiv's Embraced Black Knight. In an effort to catch back up, Kiene continued building his board with a Cloud Elemental.
The Black Knight attacked unimpeded and pumped up to deal a colossal 7 damage. That halved Thomas's life total to 7, but he continued building up an army of flying creatures by casting Assault Griffin. His Stormfront Pegasus attacked to knock Nick down to 8, but he opted to keep Scroll Thief, Cloud Elemental, and the Griffin back for potential blocking.
After considering his options, Nick attacked with his aura'ed Black Knight and a Bloodthrone Vampire he had cast, holding back a Bog Raiders. Thomas chumped both, putting Scroll Thief in front of Bloodthrone and Cloud Elemental in front of Black Knight and post-combat Lynn cast Nightwing Shade. The 2/2 black creature was soon chumping Stormfront Pegasus but when Thomas cast a post-combat Baneslayer Angel he had no non-white flyers to block his opponent's Black Knight and took lethal damage from the 2/2 wearing the Shiv's Embrace.
Nick Lynn 1, Thomas Kiene 0
Goblin Piker was the first creature to the battlefield in the second game, joining the side of Nick Lynn's black-red deck. The aggressive start from Lynn was tempered by the fact he missed a third land drop, providing time for his opponent to cast Cloud Elemental, then Azure Drake. Combust took out the Drake but a Stormfront Pegasus and Roc Egg soon reloaded for Kiene who was quickly overpowering Lynn with his growing army.
Honor of the Pure pumped Kiene's team considerably while across the table from him Nick was still stuck on just Goblin Piker. The 2/1 picked up Shiv's Embrace but Nick wasn't afraid to swing. He sent his 4/3 sideways only to find his opponent returning fire with a 5-point attack followed by Baneslayer Angel. Did Nick possibly have any outs for a game that had taken approximately five minutes of time off the clock?
He untapped and, with five Mountains, passed giving no hint what he was up to. He waited patiently while Thomas figured out the correct attacks, but when Stormfront Pegasus and the Baneslayer turned sideways Lynn conceded.
Nick Lynn 1, Thomas Kiene 1
"I'll try not to draw mono Mountain," Lynn joked as he prepared for the final game of the match, referring to his color screw from the second duel.
"Yeah," his opponent replied, "black cards are overrated."
It was all down to one final game for Nick Lynn and Thomas Kiene, and it didn't start off well for Nick. After being color screwed in the second battle he was forced to start on the play with a mulligan. Thomas cheerfully kept his opening hand, watching as Lynn sent six back for five. The five card set was good enough, and play got underway with Nick opening on Bloodthrone Vampire followed by Prodigal Pyromancer. Thomas's first creature was Scroll Thief, but he opted not to block an incoming Bloodthrone Vampire in an effort to trade for a sacrifice of Prodigal Pyromancer.
On a return-fire attack with Scroll Thief Kiene was able to successfully connect and draw a free card. He then tapped out to cast Assault Griffin, but took a point from his opponent's pinger at the end of his turn. Nick, meanwhile, drew for his turn but passed without casting any spells, clearly struggling after his double mulligan. He took 4 from his opponent's next attack, giving up another free card as Thomas's Scroll Thief was able to connect, but his draw step yet again failed to provide him with any goodness and he passed once more without casting any spells.
Kiene cast Honor of the Pure and sent his team sideways, with Assault Griffin and Scroll Thief joined by Silvercoat Lion. Nick put his Bloodthrone in front of his opponent's Thief, then sacrificed his Prodigal Pyromancer to keep his Bloodthrone alive. Curiously he hadn't opted to chump the Lion with the Pyromancer, taking an extra 3 damage, but he finally got some help from his library as he ripped a second Mountain to allow him to cast Magma Phoenix. With help from the Bloodthrone the 3/3 was able to wipe the table clean of creatures, but Thomas reloaded with Cloud Elemental and Stormfront Pegasus.
The two creatures proved too much for Nick's card-short hand, and a draw step later he was out of the Grand Prix.
Thomas Kiene defeated Nick Lynn to advance to the Semifinals 2-1.