Posted in NEWS on March 23, 2014

By Corbin Hosler

To say there was a difference in experience in Sunday's semifinal would be quite the understatement. On one side sat Kyle Boggemes, who has a Pro Tour Top 8 to his name, while on the other side was Clyde Martin, who came to Cincinnati with his son in the hopes of having a fun weekend and nothing more after having not attended a Grand Prix in nearly two decades.

Martin did much more than that, steamrolling his way into the Top 8 and cruising through his quarterfinals match without dropping a game.

No matter who won the match, the Grand Prix would have an unexpected finalist. Would it be Boggemes, the former pro who came to Cincinnati on a whim because he had a weekend off, or Martin, the underdog from Indiana who was looking to create a little March madness of his own?

The decks

Martin's Mono-Black Aggro deck has been the biggest surprise of the weekend, utilizing aggressive, evasive creatures to race his opponents while taking apart their hand with discard spells.

Boggemes hasn't played Magic competitively recently, but he picked up the popular Esper Control deck because he was drawn to Sphinx's Revelation. After defeating another aggressive deck (Mono-Blue Devotion) in the quarterfinals, he faced the same conundrum against Martin, except Martin also had the ability to attack Boggemes' hand thanks to Thoughtseize, Lifebane Zombie and Duress after sideboarding.

Clyde Martin recently returned to Magic for the first time since Ice Age. Yes, that's nearly 20 years ago.


Undercosted black creatures facing off against counterspells and board wipes? It's a matchup taken straight from the last time Martin played competitive Magic.


Which was in Ice Age. That's 1995, for those of you scoring at home.

The games

A turn two Pain Seer did its best Dark Confidant impression for Martin, giving him a free card (a land, of course) on the third turn. A follow-up Thoughtseize revealed four lands and a Supreme Verdict from Boggemes, which Martin quickly tossed aside before laying a Desecration Demon.

It looked like the game may end quickly, but Boggemes found another Verdict waiting on the top of his deck to end the threat. That was when Martin demonstrated the rebuilding power of Mono-Black Aggro, unleashing Rakdos Cackler and laying a Mogis Marauder to give both haste and continue the beats.

Hero's Downfall traded for Jace, Architect of Thought on the next turn and set up the game's defining moment: Should Martin activate Mutavault and attack or cast the Thoughtseize in his hand to try and snag one of Boggemes' final two cards?

Maximizing his mana for the turn, Martin chose the former, a plan that quickly backfired when Boggemes untapped and slammed Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Several turns and tokens and an ultimate later, her soldiers were flying through the air to send the pair off to Game 2.

Kyle Boggemes, playing in his first Grand Prix Top 8 in four years, consults his sideboard against Clyde Martin.


When Boggemes looked at his opening seven for the second game, he admitted after the match it was tough to contain his excitement.


Three scrylands. Last Breath. Jace, Architect of Thought. Elspeth, Sun's Champion. Supreme Verdict.

As he put it after the match, "pretty much the best seven I could draw."

That opening hand, coupled with the fact that Martin couldn't find a discard spell and whiffed with both of his Lifebane Zombies, made for a quick second game that ended with an Archangel of Thune granting counters to a board full of Elspeth tokens.

A handshake later and Boggemes, who said he expected to do poorly this weekend, suddenly found himself one match away from winning his first Grand Prix.