Quarterfinals: Owen Turtenwald vs. Carlos Romao

Posted in Event Coverage on May 22, 2010

By Bill Stark

Neither player on the table one Quarterfinals of Grand Prix-Washington D.C. was new to the bright lights of the Top 8. Romao, in addition to having a number of Grand Prix Top 8s, was a former World Champion. Owen Turtenwald was a Grand Prix finalist and the American who first stood in the way of Carlos' herculean task to try to win the largest Grand Prix ever in the Americas while being the only Top 8 member not from the United States. Could Owen eliminate the possibility of the title not being kept on home turf, or would the Brazilian move on in an effort to steal it for his own?

The two got underway with Owen leading on a Putrid Leech after winning the die roll, and Carlos making up for a mulligan with Wall of Omens to draw a card. It was one of the key matchups in the world of Standard, Carlos Romao's Super Friends planeswalkers control deck against Owen Turtenwald's Jund build.

Spreading Seas shut off a Savage Lands from the Jund side of the table, but Owen had enough mana of the appropriate colors to cast Bloodbraid Elf, flipping a Lightning Bolt, and crashing in with both the 3/2 and a pumped Putrid Leech. That dropped Carlos to just 9, and the Brazilian scrambled to defend. A second Spreading Seas took care of a Raging Ravine and drew Carlos the fourth land he needed to both keep up on mana and cast Wall of Omens in the same turn.

Terminate munched one of the two 0/4 walls, and Owen was able to drop his opponent to just 5 with another Bloodbraid/Leech attack. Day of Judgment cleared the board of creatures, but Turtenwald refueled with Siege-Gang Commander. He didn't have enough mana left over to sacrifice any Goblins, however, and Carlos cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, then Path to Exile to Unsummon one of the tokens and exile the Siege-Gang itself.

That still left Owen with two 1/1 Goblins, and he promptly sent them in to put Carlos at 3. Post-combat Turtenwald had Blightning to seal the deal, and Romao found himself down a game.

Owen Turtenwald 1, Carlos Romao 0

The Jund-playing Turtenwald had to lead off the second game with a mulligan, and opened on Raging Ravine. Carlos Romao had Spreading Seas to transform the land into an Island, but some sideboard tech came through for Owen on his second turn: Pentad Prism. The artifact allowed him to make up for his mulligan by cantripping and to make the color of mana he wanted from that point on.

Owen Turtenwald

Romao cast Wall of Omens, but had no responses when Owen used his morphed Island to filter black through his Prism and cast Duress. Two Elspeth, Knight-Errant, a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Gideon Jura, Scalding Tarn, and Martial Coup were all starting back at him; he may have resolved his discard spell, but that was not a pretty hand to be staring down! He opted to take Jace, then made his third land drop with a Raging Ravine (replacing the one that had been enchanted with Spreading Seas).

Romao cast Elspeth, Knight-Errant and made a Soldier token. Owen untapped and had Bloodbraid Elf which flipped up a Blightning. He opted to redirect the damage to Elspeth, putting her on two counters, and forced an Island and Martial Coup from his opponent's hand. Bloodbraid was forced to attack Gideon, and Turtenwald finished off Elspeth with a second copy of Blightning. Out of cards, Carlos ripped a Jace Beleren, used it to draw a card, and suddenly looked very much in control. With active Gideon Jura, a Wall on defense, and Jace Beleren to draw cards, Romao was definitely in fine shape.

But the Top 8 of a Grand Prix, particularly one as large as Washington D.C., is no place to rest on your laurels. Siege-Gang Commander stepped up to bat for Owen, and a Maelstrom Pulse was sent at Gideon Jura. Carlos had Flashfreeze to counter, but the planeswalker absorbed most of the attack from the Siege-Gang and friends. A post-combat Goblin sacrifice took care of the Jace Beleren.

Determining he was safe for the time being, Carlos activated a Celestial Colonnade and began attacking his opponent. Turtenwald cast Sarkhan the Mad, and used it on himself to turn a Goblin token into a Dragon. It looked like Romao wouldn't be the only one benefitting from the use of powerful planeswalkers!

Romao tried to take the Sarkhan out with an attack from Gideon, but Owen blocked with his Dragon to protect instead. When he had the turn back, the Jund player used Maelstrom Pulse to take out Gideon, turned his last Goblin into a Dragon, then a turn later turned a Sprouting Thrinax into a Dragon and got three Saprolings. It wasn't looking good for Carlos.

The Brazilian drew for the turn and cast Wall of Omens. That found him Spreading Seas, which he used to shut off his opponent's Raging Ravine. He passed the turn with two Wall of Omens and a Celestial Colonnade, the score at 13-10 in his favor.

On just one loyalty counter, Sarkhan the Mad was used to draw a card. That card was Bloodbraid Elf, which flipped up a Putrid Leech on cascade. Turtenwald moved all-in with his creatures, and left combat minus a Dragon but with his opponent at 6. Carlos didn't have long. With two Colonnades left, he attacked to put Owen to 6. He had enough mana left over to activate one for chumping duty the following turn, but was still going to be taking some damage from Owen's numerous other threats.

True to the aggro deck's nature, Owen sent the team sideways. Carlos activated his creature-land to block a Dragon token, then put each of his Wall of Omens in front of Bloodbraid Elf and Putrid Leech respectively. That meant three Saprolings got through, and the Brazilian was down to 2 life. He had one turn.

The top of his deck? Spreading Seas. That wasn't good enough. The next card? Martial Coup! That was good enough! He cast the sorcery to wipe the board and put a lethal force onto the table. Now it was Owen's turn to draw out of it. Turtenwald picked up his top card, able to hit Blightning, Lightning Bolt, or a cascade spell for a second chance. He found? Nothing.

Carlos Romao was still alive!

Owen Turtenwald 1, Carlos Romao 1

The second game started off with both players casting cantrips on their second turn. Carlos had a Wall of Omens while Owen had Pentad Prism. Sprouting Thrinax and Bloodbraid Elf allowed Turtenwald to begin attacking, and Romao found himself stuttering on mana a bit after he skipped his fourth-turn drop.

Carlos Romao

He found it a turn later, and used all four mana to cast Elspeth, Knight-Errant making a Soldier token. Turtenwald didn't seem too impressed by the planeswalker play, and opted to send his Bloodbraid Elf right at Carlos. Post-combat he revealed why by casting Maelstrom Pulse targeting the white permanent. Carlos missed his fifth land drop and had to pass, short the double blue he needed to cast either copy of Jace Beleren in his hand.

Owen capitalized by casting Duress, taking Day of Judgment from his opponent's hand. The Bloodbraid continued battling on, dropping the Brazilian as low as 6 while he floundered to find a land. When he finally did, it was in the form of Celestial Colonnade, but after untapping the dual he cast Gideon Jura and blew up the tapped Bloodbraid Elf; Carlos had bought himself some time but he wasn't out of the woods yet.

Gideon forced all of Owen's creatures to attack the planeswalker, and Carlos cast Wall of Denial as a blocker. Maelstrom Pulse dealt with the Gideon, but with only a Putrid Leech on the table Owen would gain nothing from attacking into the Wall. That meant Carlos had time to get his Jace Beleren going, complete with Flashfreeze backup. A Blightning to drop Carlos to just 3 life wasn't enough to prompt the counter, however, and he fell to a single Lightning Bolt away from death.

Carlos was still having mana problems, stuck on five and unable to get past that threshold to start casting multiple spells in a turn with his Flashfreeze counter backup. It was an odd situation considering the extra cards he was drawing each turn, from any combination of Jace Beleren, Spreading Seas, and Wall of Omens. He finally got to six mana, and cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor. He promptly fatesealed his opponent and moved a Maelstrom Pulse to the bottom of his library.

Bituminous Blast from Owen cascaded into Bloodbraid Elf, then that in turn found Blightning. Romao was forced to Flashfreeze the Blightning, but he was going to lose his Wall of Omens and only have one blocker. The extra attacker from the Bloodbraid meant Carlos' 3 life was too fragile, and his hopes of nabbing the champion trophy were dashed.

Owen Turtenwald 2, Carlos Romao 1

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