This Week in Magic History: March 21-27

Posted in Feature on March 27, 2009

By Wizards of the Coast

March 20-23, 2003: The Pro Tour comes to Venice

This week in 2003, Osyp Lebedowicz conquered Pro Tour–Venice. One of the more outspoken members of the successful CMU-TOGIT conglomerate, Lebedowicz's was the only Astral Slide deck to claw its way to the Top 8. There he was up against a sea of Explosive Vegetation decks and Goblins. The talent was deep and his wasn't the deck that was being talked about, but at the end of three rounds, Lebedowicz stood with the trophy in his hand.

In the quarters he smashed first-timer Akihiro Kashima of Japan. Lebedowicz won the first game despite it being in Kashima's favor, and then sideboarding helped make it a sweep. In the semis he stared down William Jensen, who had just butchered Gabriel Nassif's Goblins, and the match between the two was some of the best Magic the spectators could recall. Lebedowicz was a huge underdog but somehow managed to drag things to five games. In the fifth he came back from a 31-4 deficit for a huge upset victory. Huey's victory over Nassif had people declaring him the odds-on favorite to take home the title.

Top 8 Final Standing
1. Osyp Lebedowicz (USA) $30,000
2. Tomi Walamies (Finland) $20,000
3. Jordan Berkowitz (USA) $15,000
4. William Jensen (USA) $13,000
5. Gabriel Nassif (France) $9,500
6. Darwin Kastle (USA) $8,500
7. Akihiro Kashima (Japan) $7,500
8. Mattias Jorstedt (Sweden) $6,500
(Click here for complete final standings)

Meanwhile, Jordan Berkowitz had given a clinic on why his Beasts deck had brought him to the Top 8, destroying Darwin Kastle's Dragon Vegetation deck in four games. He met his match in Tomi Walamies, who came to this Tour despite assurances that Houston was going to be his last event. "Jelly" showed himself to be in classic form, and rode goblins to the Top 8. He handled Berkowitz as easily as he felled Mattias Jorstedt in the mirror quarterfinals.

Going into the finals, everyone knew how it would turn out. Lebedowicz was at an overwhelming advantage. Walamies knew it too. It only took three games. As the last damage was dealt, Lebedowicz was mobbed by his CMU-TOGIT fellows, and cheers went up across the hall. Congratulations to Osyp Lebedowicz, Pro Tour–Venice Champion!

Also This Week

The same weekend Osyp was winning the Pro Tour, team PS2 (Masahiko Morita, Katsuhiro Nori, and Masashiro Kuroda) was winning the Venice Masters event. Follow all the Masters action here!

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