Richard Kraupa has had quite the weekend. He not only finished nine rounds of Sealed Pack with an undefeated record, but he also managed to rebound after a rough first draft in order to lock up his slot in the Top 8. Now, he finds himself only two wins away from a Grand Prix trophy.
And on top of all of this, it's only Kraupa's second Grand Prix. The relative newcomer has shown that he has some serious skills, and his blue-black deck is sporting three copies of Triton Fortune Hunter.
His opponent, Greg Ogreenc, had a different kind of second-time experience. This weekend marks the Wisconsinite's second Grand Prix Top 8 finish. After getting through a difficult Quarterfinal match against Grand Prix Seattle 2012 Champion Robert Smith, Ogreenc is only two wins away from claiming the title for himself with his blue-green deck.
The first play of the game for Kraupa was Erebos's Emissary on the fourth turn. Ogreenc had Opaline Unicorn, which fueled Kerametra's Acolyte a turn later, which then in turn let Ogreenc cast Centaur Battlemaster despite missing a land drop. Kraupa had Triton Fortune Hunter on the next turn, but the Battlemaster received Feral Invocation, allowing Ogreenc to attack in for 8.
Ogreenc continued the big turn with a post-combat Reverent Hunter (thanks in part to Kerametra's Acolyte producing a ton of mana), which came in with five +1/+1 counters.
Kraupa had a solid defensive play though with Baleful Eidon bestowed upon his Triton Fortune Hunter, drawing Kraupa a card. Unable to get over the deathtouch heroic creature, Ogreenc grew his Battlemaster even more with Fate Foretold, and then added a second Opaline Unicorn to the table. Kraupa had his own copy of the two mana blue enchantment, drawing two cards thanks to his Triton Fortune Hunter. Griptide took care of Ogreenc's very larger Centaur Battlemaster, and Kraupa sent in the Emissary. A triple block caused Kraupa to pitch Fledhbane Steed and Erebos, God of the Dead, and a Bone of Erebos ensured the enchantment creature would survive as well as take out Ogreenc's Reverent Hunter (along with a Unicorn).
A few turns later, and Ogreenc was behind on the board, behind on cards, and behind on life. With Kraupa's Shipwreck Singer forcing Ogreenc's few remaining defenses to attack into a losing race, it was not long before Ogreenc found himself shuffling up for the second game.
Ogreenc led off fast with a second-turn Voyaging Satyr, which allowed him to power out a...small attack for 1. Ogreenc followed with Opaline Unicorn and passed, while Kraupa had a third-turn Triton Fortune Hunter. The mana acceleration allowed for Ogreenc to deploy an early Precient Sphinx, but Griptide sent the flying creature to the top and allowed Triton Fortune Hunter to attack in for 2. The Opaline Unicorn galloped in for a point of damage before Ogreenc re-cast the Precient Sphinx. Stalled on mana, Kraupa added Shipwreck Singer and passed back with two open.
Ogreenc sent the Precient Sphinx and the Opaline Unicorn in, and before damage, Feral Invocation made the Precient Sphinx into a 5/6 attacker, dropping Kraupa to 12. Time to Feed let Ogreenc take out the Shipwreck Singer. "One card in hand?" Kraupa asked before casting Dsiciple of Phenax, which rid Ogreenc of his in-hand Reverent Hunter.
Ogreenc drew and found Aqueous Form, which allowed him to maintain a two-turn clock. Kraupa sent in his Disciple and Triton Fortune Hunter, drawing a card and gaining 5 life when Ogreenc blocked the Disciple with Voyaging Satyr after Cuthroat Maneuver. A bestowed Nimbus Naiad on Triton Fortune Hunter bought Kraupa another turn,but the unblockable Opaline Unicorn ticked away turn after turn. Eventually, Kraupa ran out of flying blockers, and he moved to the third game.
Kraupa led with a second-turn Fleshbane Steed and was joined on turn three by Shipwreck Singer. Ogreenc, meanwhile, had a second-turn Voyaging Satyr, only this time, it was unable to attack in when Ogreenc had a third-turn Opaline Unicorn. Returned Phalanx was Kraupa's only follow-up, and it paled in comparison to Ogreenc's fourth turn Anthousa, Setessan Hero. Kraupa drew and then passed the turn with five open.
Meletis Charlatan came down as bait for Gainsay, and Kraupa was happy to oblige. This allowed Aqueous Form to resolve on Anthousa, and Ogreenc attacked in for 4. Shipwreck Singer was able to make the damage a little less on following turns, and Kraupa got in damage when he could, but Precient Sphinx gave Ogreenc another very real threat. Kraupa countered back with a bestowed Nimbus Naiad on Returned Phalanx, but he still lacked an answer to the unblockable Anthousa.
When nothing came to deal with the imminent clock, Kraupa offered the handshake.
Greg Ogreenc wins 2-1 and advances to the Final match!