Grand Prix Auckland 2012

At the end of day one, we were all aflutter over the players at the top of the standings, but also sneakily and "unofficially" undefeated on 5-0-2, was Walker MacMurdo, an American ex-pat who's been living in New Zealand for the last 9 years.

MacMurdo continued his run through day two, drawing two more matches but never actually losing one, to enter the Top 8 in 6th place, his Four Color Reanimator deck chewing through his library to spit out Griselbrands, Craterhoof Behemoths, or one of his many Angels of Serenity.

First up in the Top 8, MacMurdo overwhelmed Auckland's John Denz and his Blue-White-Red control deck, then he move on to beat Dylan Brown from Sydney and his Séance Reanimator deck. Finally, MacMurdo met 2010 Australian National Champ Adam Witton in the finals, and Craterhoof Behemoth'd himself to victory in two straight games over Witton's Naya deck.

Joining MacMurdo, Witton, and Brown at Pro Tour Gatecrash in Montreal will be Yoshitoki Sakae from Japan, who has been studying in New Zealand for the last year, and finished at the top of the Swiss with his Blue-White-Red Midrange deck featuring 4 Thundermaw Hellkite.

Top 8 bracket


(1) Yoshitoki Sakai

(8) Anthony Purdom

(4) Adam Witton

(5) Robert Liu

(2) Justin Cheung

(7) Dylan Brown

(3) John Denz

(6) Walker MacMurdo


Yoshitoki Sakai 2-1

Adam Witton 2-0

Dylan Brown 2-0

Walker MacMurdo 2-1


Adam Witton 2-1

Walker MacMurdo 2-1


Walker MacMurdo 2-0



1. Walker MacMurdo $3,500
2. Adam Witton $2,300
3. Yoshitoki Sakai $1,500
4. Dylan Brown $1,500
5. Justin Cheung $1,000
6. John Denz $1,000
7. Robert Liu $1,000
8. Anthony Purdom $1,000

pairings, results, standings


13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1


13 12 11 10 9 8

7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 - Player Profiles

by Event Coverage Staff

Anthony Purdom

Age: 29

Hometown: Brisbane

Occupation: Software Engineer

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
Top 8 of Australian Nationals.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Good Games Brisbane

Which actor would play you in a movie?
Ed Helms

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?
I could totally sucker-punch Gideon.

Yoshitoki Sakai

Age: 25

Hometown: Hokkaido

Occupation: Student

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Vagabond Takapuna.

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?

Walker MacMurdo

Age: 23

Hometown: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Occupation: Student

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?
4-Colour Reanimator

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
This one!

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Aargon Hobbies, Dunedin, NZ,

Which actor would play you in a movie?
Joaquin Phoenix.

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?

John Denz

Age: 30

Hometown: Auckland, NZ

Occupation: Finance.

Which Ravnica Guild are you?
Azorius, obv.

What deck did you play this weekend?
Miracles, designed by Aaron Sewell in about 5 minutes between grinders.

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
2X Top 8 Nats, 2x Top 16 GP's.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
King of Cards, Auckland.

Which actor would play you in a movie?
George Clooney.

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?
Elspeth, I'd woo her.

Adam Witton.

Age: 30.

Hometown: Melbourne.

Occupation: Student.

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?
Midrange Naya.

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
9th Worlds 2010.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Good Games, Melbourne.

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?

Robert Liu

Age: 15

Hometown: Sydney

Occupation: Student

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?
Uwr (Geist) Midrange

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
2nd, WMCQ, Sydney.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Good Games, Sydney

Which actor would play you in a movie?
Jonah Hill

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?
Jace, given it's hand-to-hand and no Jedi mind tricks.

Justin Cheung

Age: 31

Hometown: Sydney

Occupation: Public Servant

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?
GBW Reanimator

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
2nd place team, Worlds, 2008.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Magic Online.

Which actor would play you in a movie?

Which Planeswalker do you think you could take in hand-to-hand combat?
Nicol Bolas.

Dylan Brown

Age: 19

Hometown: Sydney

Occupation: Sales Agent

Which Ravnica Guild are you?

What deck did you play this weekend?

What's your best Magic event finish and where/when?
Right here, right now.

What is your local Magic gaming store?
Good Games Sydney / Tin Soldier Penrith.

Which actor would play you in a movie?
Shia Labeouf

Top 8 - Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Walker MacMurdo

Justin Cheung

Yoshitoki Sakai

Robert Liu

John Denz

Anthony Purdom

Dylan Brown

Adam Witton

Quarterfinals: Justin Cheung vs. Dylan Brown

by Pip Foweraker

Game 1

Brown led play with his first-turn Overgrown Tomb summoning an Avacyn's Pilgrim. He followed it with a second one, while Cheung had a Grisly Salvage during his end step, netting him a Sunpetal Grove and filling his graveyard with some juicy reanimation targets.

Brown accelerated into a Thragtusk, and followed up with a Séance. Cheung had another Grisly Salvage. Cheung summoned a Thragtusk of his own, blocking Brown's attack and trading Thragtusks into graveyards. Séance came online, letting Brown gain another 5 life and showing the power of his engine.

Cheung summoned an Angel of Serenity, clearing out the Séance'd Thragtusk and Brown's graveyard. Cheung then summoned another Thragtusk, putting pressure on Brown to come up with some goods. A Mulch pushed an Unburial Rites and a Thragtusk to the graveyard, and then Brown cast a Faithless Looting, discarding lands this time.

Wait, you've played how many Thragtusks?

Cheung summoned a Craterhoof Behemoth and swung with it, his Thragtusk, and his Angel of Serenity. After assigning blockers, Brown calmly said "I take 18?", and Cheung nodded almost despondently – the power of multiple Thragtusks revealed.

Brown flashed back an Unburial Rites to get his own Angel of Serenity. After clearing out Cheung's Angel, Brown used a Slayer's Stronghold to pump and swing with the Angel and his army, knocking Cheung to a low life total.

Cheung sat back and considered his options. He had a lone Thragtusk in play against his opponent's Seance, Angel, Thragtusk token, Beast, and Pilgrim. He summoned an Angel of Serenity, continuing a mind-numbing series of exiles and zone changes that comes with the territory of two-player AoS shenanigans.

All the shenanigans in the world, however, couldn't hide the fact that Brown ended up getting one of his Angels back in his hand and still had that Slayer's Stronghold in play. Hasty Angels that remove your opponent's board...

Dylan Brown 1 – Justin Cheung 0

Game 2

Cheung was forced to mulligan in the second game. Brown took a Shock off his Overgrown Tomb to summon an Avacyn's Pilgrim, and Cheung went straight for a Mulch, whiffing on lands but dropping an Unburial Rites and Co. where they needed to be.

Brown shows how Slayer's Stronghold earned its name, taking two straight games with the powerful land.

Grisly Salvage for Brown was just as juicy, hitting two Angels of Serenity, a Restoration Angel, and two lands. Brown didn't have any action on his third turn, while Cheung missed a land drop. Brown summoned a Thragtusk, leaving Cheung in an unenviable position.

Cheung found his third land but had no play, while Brown attacked and summoned another Thragtusk. Cheung cast a Lingering Souls to buy himself some time, then passed. Brown had a Sever the Bloodlines for the tokens, and a Slayer's Stronghold to hit for exactly lethal.

Dylan Brown 2 – Justin Cheung 0

Quarterfinals - Yoshitoki Sakai vs. Anthony Purdom

by Pip Foweraker

Game 1

Sakai opened Game 1 with a Mental Note into a Geist of Saint Taft, while Purdom spent his first few turns Faithless Looting to get his reanimation engine underway. Unfortunately, he was just a turn too slow – the incoming Angel and Legend nibbled away at his life total. Purdom reanimated a Griselbrand, but a quick Unsummon from Sakai let him crash in unopposed for lethal.

Yoshitoki Sakai 1 – Anthony Purdom 0

Game 2

Sakai struggled to mount any defence in the second game, as Purdom accelerated into Thragtusks. Geist of Saint Taft is much worse on the defensive, it would seem, as Sakai's life total collapsed in multiples of 5 in short order.

Anthony Purdom 1 – Yoshitoki Sakai 1

Game 3

For the decider, Sakai led the action with a Thundermaw Hellkite, which took a Dreadbore to the face in short order. Purdom summoned a Centaur Healer and a Thragtusk, while Sakai found another Hellkite. Purdom mounted a defence as best he could, but Sakai found a Clone to copy his Hellkite and punched through for lethal.

Yoshitoki Sakai 2 – Anthony Purdom 1

Quarterfinals - Adam Witton vs. Robert Liu

by Pip Foweraker

Game 1

Witton led off with pair of Keyrunes, and both players summoned Restoration Angels. Liu found a Detention Sphere for both of Witton's artifacts, but couldn't attack profitably. Witton had a great way to break a creature stalemate – Kessig Wolf Run. His Angel swung in, and Liu declined to sacrifice his Angel for no gain at this early point.

Witton followed up with a Thragtusk, while Liu passed with a plethora of mana up. Witton attacked with both his Restoration Angel and Thragtusk, Kessig Wolf Run primed and threatening. Liu blocked the Angel with his own, and, in response to Witton's pump, shot it with Azorius Charm. Liu then had a Searing Spear for the Thragtusk, but Witton was ready with a Selesnya Charm.

Liu cast a main-phase Snapcaster Mage to flash back his Searing Spear, getting rid of Witton's troublesome Thragtusk. Witton attacked with his Beast token, and Liu blocked with his Snapcaster Mage. Post-combat, Witton had an Oblivion Ring to get back his Keyrunes. Liu passed once more, mana open, and Witton cautiously probed with a Keyrune and his Beast token. Liu blocked the Keyrune, and, in response to Kessig Wolf Run, had a Searing Spear in response.

On Witton's next attack, Liu summoned a second Restoration Angel and blocked both the Beast and the Keyrune. Witton, however, had a Restoration Angel of his own, keeping his Keyrune alive. Witton found a trump a turn later in Angel of Serenity, wiping out Liu's board and prompting a concession.

Adam Witton 1 – Robert Liu 0

Game 2

If Game 1 was all about Kessig Wolf Run, Game 2 was all about Sigarda, Host of Herons. Witton started the game with a Huntmaster, Liu kept pace with a Dungeon Geist, and Witton took advantage of the lull to resolve a Sigarda.

Liu was immediately forced on the defensive by the hexproof flier, and while his defensive spells and burn could deal with Witton's other threats, Sigarda proved too much after four or five merciless attacks.

Adam Witton 2 – Robert Liu 0

Quarterfinals - Walker MacMurdo vs. John Denz

by Ray "blisterguy" Walkinshaw

Game 1

Having finished higher in the Swiss rounds, John Denz chose to play first, which would be important for his control deck trying to fend off Walker MacMurdo's Four-Color Reanimator deck.

As Denz laid lands, MacMurdo filled his graveyard with Faithless Looting and Grisly Salvage. Denz Syncopate'd a Centaur Healer, before summoning Jace, Architect of Thought. With no creatures in play, the Planeswalker looked to be a serious threat.

But it wasn't like MacMurdo had been doing nothing. He flashed back Unburial Rites on an Angel of Serenity. While there was nothing for the 5/6 flier to exile, Denz really liked that the sound of that idea, and exiled it himself with a Detention Sphere.

MacMurdo's back-up plan of a pair of Lingering Souls was much less exciting in the face of Jace's first ability, and a Syncopate took care of a Thragtusk, before Denz added Tamiyo, the Moon Sage to his team.

Between the two Planeswalkers, Denz had the game on lockdown. MacMurdo tipped some more of his library into the bin with Grisly Salvage and Mulch, revealing a Griselbrand. His first attempt to Unbury the demon was exiled by a Syncopate, but the second was successful, and MacMurdo wasted no time throwing away some of his life to refill his hand, finding a Dreadbore to kill Tamiyo.

Walker MacMurdo is happy to trade life for cards.

Denz peeled a Terminus off the top to clear the board, leaving a Beast token from the Thragtusk Tamiyo had been holding down, and cast Entreat the Angels for 2. MacMurdo evaporated the Detention Sphere with an Oblivion Ring, finally freeing his Angel of Serenity. MacMurdo exiled Denz's Angel tokens, and sent his Beast token in to finish off Jace.

Denz cast another Entreat the Angels, this time for 3, but MacMurdo simply trampled over the top of them with a Craterhoof Behemoth.

Game 2

MacMurdo 1 – Denz 0

MacMurdo began game two with a Faithless Looting, and flashing back Lingering Souls on turn two.

"Oh that's gross," MacMurdo remarked as he poked about in Denz's hand with a Duress, seeing Detention Sphere. Think Twice, Jace, Architect of Thought, 2 Tamiyo, and a Plains. Eying up the three land Denz had in play already, MacMurdo took the Jace.

When MacMurdo tried to go in with another Duress the following turn, Denz hid behind the Negate he'd drawn, before untapping and summoning Tamiyo. MacMurdo summoned a Thragtusk, but that just gave Tamiyo something to hang on to. Denz then drew and played another Jace, Architect of Thought to hold back the Spirit tokens.

MacMurdo added a second Thragtusk to his team, but Denz was happy to exile them both with the Detention Sphere MacMurdo had seen earlier. A pair of Beasts sprang into existence, and Tamiyo immediately latched onto one of them.

The remaining Beast attacked Jace, and MacMurdo played Slaughter Games with Denz's Entreat the Angels, stripping all four from his deck.

Terminus cleared the table as Denz filtered through his deck with a Desolate Lighthouse, Tamiyo ticking upwards in loyalty, while Jace spent his finding Denz some better cards. A second Slaughter Games removed the Dissipates from Denz's deck.

John Denz is looking for Miracles.

Denz cashed in the last of Jace, Architect of Thought's loyalty, but he just came right back as Jace, Memory Adept, and immediately hit MacMurdo's library for 10.

MacMurdo struggled to land a threat to take out Jace, as the Planeswalker repeatedly flushed away MacMurdo's options. It wasn't long before they were on to the deciding game.

MacMurdo 1 – Denz 1

Game 3

After both players mulliganed, Denz shut down MacMurdo's plans with a turn two Rest in Peace, while MacMurdo Duress'd an Entreat the Angels, leaving Denz with a Terminus and some land. MacMurdo summoned back to back Thragtusks, forcing Denz to run out the Terminus. The residual Beast tokens attacked Denz down to 9 life, and a Slaughter Games removed the Dissipates from Denz's deck, revealing another Entreat the Angels, and a pair of lands in Denz's hand.

Denz drew and played a land, and cast Entreat the Angels for 2. MacMurdo wiped them out with an Angel of Serenity, and attacked Denz down to 3. Denz's draw step was not a miracle, so he passed the turn back to MacMurdo, before trying again with a Sphnix's Revelation for 2. He flipped over the first card, revealing a land, before shaking his head with a smile, and offering the gracious handshake of defeat.

Walker MacMurdo defeats John Denz 2 – 1

Semifinals - Adam Witton vs. Yoshitoki Sakai

by Pip Foweraker

Game 1

Witton mulliganed to 6. Sakai led off with a Runechanter's Pike and a Geist of Saint Taft, while Witton found a Keyrune to try and keep pace. Witton, on the defensive, was forced to cast a Restoration Angel in his own end-step, leaving Sakai to crash in with the Geist unhindered.

Giving your opponents time to blink is optional in Sakai's world.

Witton attempted to cast an Oblivion Ring to deal with the Runechanter's Pike, but Sakai had a Dissipate for it. Witton followed up with a Huntmaster to try and keep pace, but Sakai was having none of it, flashing an Essence Scatter and sending Witton to his sideboard.

Yoshitoki Sakai 1 – Adam Witton 0

Game 2

Witton started much more strongly in the second game, opening with a Keyrune and a Restoration Angel, while Sakai was forced to summon a Snapcaster with nothing much to do with it. Both players missed critical land drops, but Witton was able to hit his 5th land in time to drop a pair of Thragtusks, prompting a concession from Sakai in short order.

Adam Witton 1 – Yoshitoki Sakai 1

Game 3

Sakai mulliganed to 5 for the decider. The final fame started off fairly slowly. Witton tried a Huntmaster of the Fells, but Sakai had an Essence Scatter. Witton, luckily, had a second one, which stuck. Sakai took advantage of the lull to summon a Geist of Saint Taft. The ground started to stall out, exacerbated by Sakai's Clone on the Huntmaster.

Witton, Serene as his Angel, calmly wipes his opponent's board.

The stall was resolved fairly impressively by Witton's Angel of Serenity, clearing out Sakai's board. With nothing on the top of his deck, Sakai scooped up his cards.

Adam Witton 2 – Yoshitoki Sakai 1

Semifinals - Dylan Brown vs. Walker MacMurdo

by Pip Fowerakero

MacMurdo began the Semis with a Faithless Looting, slotting a Griselbrand directly into his graveyard. Brown had a Mulch to do the same, although his was less awesome. MacMurdo Mulched again, as did Brown, both players happy to get their engines up and running.

Some Lingering Souls decided to hang out on MacMurdo's side of the board. and passed, while Brown had a Seance to get things underway. MacMurdo had a Grisly Salvage to dump an Unburial Rites and an Angel of Serenity into his graveyard. He attacked with his Spirits, then cast an Acidic Slime to take out Brown's Seance. Brown played another and passed, happy to hang back with his Beast token.

MacMurdo flashed back his Lingering Souls to get another pair of tokens and then fed his graveyard with a Faithless Looting. Brown had a Grisly Salvage, netting him a Craterhoof Behemoth, and passed, copying an Angel of Serenity with his Séance.

MacMurdo could attack with his Spirit tokens, but voiced his foreboding about what was coming for him next turn, aware of Brown's growing pile of lands. MacMurdo summoned a Thragtusk, giving himself a little bit of a life buffer.

Brown summoned a Trostani, Selesnya's Voice, and then followed with a Centaur Healer. "I don't like the way this is looking", grumbled MacMurdo. "Seems like shenanigans." MacMurdo. He flashed back his Unburial Rites, having at long last found a white source, and his Angel of Serenity came swinging back into play, taking out Trostani and a pair of Beast tokens.

MacMurdo ran through the next turn's combat math, anticipating a Craterhoof Behemoth, attacked with his tokens and a Thragtusk, then passed. Brown's Séance started creating advantage for him, letting him get an Angel of Serenity token, clearing out MacMurdo's Angel for a turn and removing some of his Spirit tokens.

Brown hard-cast the Trostani, then used a Slayer's Stronghold to give it haste and copy a Séance'd Thragtusk Token. Cool? Cool. MacMurdo seemed unfazed, dropping another monster Angel and engaging in what both players agreed was Shenanigans with a Capital S. After a marathon game, both players life totals sat in the low 20's.

It's not every Magic player who survives a Craterhoof Behemoth to the face. MacMurdo's secret? Clean living and smart mulligans.

"Daddy's home!", exclaimed Brown, dropping his Craterhoof Behemoth and pumping all his creatures by +6/+6. MacMurdo blocked, took a clobbering, and cast a Grisly Salvage, digging for answers and finding a Thragtusk. MacMurdo used an Unburial Rites on his Griselbrand, then used his Slayers' Stronghold in with a hasty to swing in with a hasty Griselbrand, bringing his life total to a less perilous figure.

Brown offered a prayer to the Luck Gods, then tried a Faithless Looting to dig himself out of the hole he was in. The Gods sent neither an answer nor a shovel, so both players finished up an epic first game and moved to their sideboards.

Walker MacMurdo 1 – Dylan Brown 0

Game 2

"Your 4 will be better", advised Brown, as MacMurdo pondered his double-mulligan. MacMurdo disagreed, and Brown led play with an Avacyn's Pilgrim. The Pilgrim started bashing, while MacMurdo gained back his lost card advantage with a powerful Mulch.

Brown accelerated into a Thragtusk, while MacMurdo Mulched again, netting himself another pile of land and dropping an Unburial Rites and a Craterhoof Behemoth into his graveyard. He discarded an Angel of Serenity

Brown simply attacked with his creatures and played a second Thragtusk, bringing himself to 28. MacMurdo used his Unburial Rites on his Angel, removing one of Brown's Thragtusks, the Pilgrim, and a Thragtusk from his graveyard.

Brown had a Sever the Bloodline on the Angel, getting his guys back and swinging in with his remaining Thragtusk and Beast token. MacMurdo summoned the Thragtusk but had no other action. Brown summoned his Thragtusk and Pilgrim once more. MacMurdo had an Unburial Rites for his Thragtusk. Brown crashed in with a Thragtusk and a pair of Beast tokens.

Post-combat, Brown summoned an Angel of Serenity, clearing MacMurdo's board and graveyard. MacMurdo had a Lingering Souls (twice!), but a flashbacked Sever the Bloodline took care of that.

Brown feels that some Souls spend too long hanging around his opponent's board. Luckily, he has the perfect fix.

Dylan Brown 1 – Walker MacMurdo 1

Game 3

MacMurdo had the first action for the decider, using a Faithless Looting to discard an Unburial Rites and an Acidic Slime. Brown had an Avacyn's Pilgrim but little else. MacMurdo reanimated his cidic Slime, taking out a land, and then attacking after Brown had no action.

Slaughter Games from MacMurdo named Thragtusk, netting two copies out of Brown's hand and showing a hand of Sever, Restoration Angel and land. Brown flashed in his Restoration Angel at the end of MacMurdo's turn and attacked with it.

MacMurdo summoned a Deathrite Shaman and flashed back his Faithless Looting, discarding land and another Looting. MacMurdo used his Shaman to pump the Slime, being as aggressive as possible. Brown attacked back with both his men, life totals dropping evenly to the mid-teens.

Another Faithless Looting let MacMurdo discard an Unburial Rites, a Craterhoof Behemoth, lay a land, and swing for lethal.

Walker MacMurdo 2 – Dylan Brown 1

Finals - Walker MacMurdo vs. Adam Witton

by Pip Foweraker

Game 1

Both players took a mulligan, but MacMurdo kept going, settling on his 5. Witton started the game with an Avacyn's Pilgrim, while MacMurdo's Mulch netted him 2 lands but no gas for his graveyard.

Witton had no action on his third turn, while MacMurdo cast a LingeringSouls. When Witton passed again with no action, MacMurdo claimed to have a been struck by a vision of a Restoration Angel in his near future.

MacMurdo summoned a Centaur Healer and passed. Witton had an Oblivion Ring for the Healer, giving MacMurdo an opportunity to attack safely. MacMurdo flashed back his Lingering Souls, then passed. Witton had no action once more. A Grisly Salvage, showed some lands, Unburial Rites, and Craterhoof Behemoth. MacMurdo took the land, then used it to cast the Unburial Rites on his Craterhoof Behemoth to take the first game in style.

How MacMurdo restrains himself from bellowing whenever he summons Craterhoof Behemoth is beyond me. Maybe he's more mature than I am.

Walker MacMurdo 1 – Adam Witton 0

+2 Sigarda, Host of Herons
+2 Zealous Conscripts
+2 Rest in Peace
+1 Terminus
-4 Huntmaster of the Fells
-1 Devil's Play
-1 Restoration Angel
-1 Oblivion Ring

+1 Craterhoof Behemoth
+1 Sever the Bloodline
+1 Zealous Conscripts
+1 Abrupt Decay
+1 Mizzium Mortars
-2 Grisly Salvage
-3 Unburial Rites

Game 2

Witton led the second game with a mulligan and a Farseek, then summoned an Avacyn's Pilgrim. Grisly Salvage from MacMurdo revealed a Griselbrand, three lands, and a Thragtusk. MacMurdo took a land, untapped, and summoned a Centaur Healer.

A Selesnya Keyrune shored up Witton's board. MacMurdo Mulched, not hitting anything of import, and passed, both players developing slowly. Witton tapped out and summoned an Angel of Serenity, perversely refusing to exile his own creatures at his opponent's suggestion.

Witton has 'certain views' on killing his own creatures.

MacMurdo decided to be a Dread Bore, then re-summoned his Centaur Healer once the Angel bit the dust. After nothing from Witton, MacMurdo cast an Unburial Rites on his Griselbrand. Witton used a Terminus to stem the bleeding. MacMurdo paid some life before Ol' Grisely disappeared, and used his fresh grip to summon an Acidic Slime, knocking out Witton's Kessig Wolf Run.

Witton summoned Garruk, Primal Hunter, and immediately made a Beast. Another Dreadbore from MacMurdo took out Garruk. Thragtusk joined the MacMurdo's team. Witton had no action, and passed with mana open and 3 cards in hand. MacMurdo restrained a spreading smile and attacked. Witton animated his Keyrune, blocked the Thragtusk, then flashed a Restoration Angel to save it.

"That's pretty good, I guess," said MacMurdo, casting a Lingering Souls post-combat and reanimating another Thragtusk. Witton cast a second Keyrune and passed. A hard-cast Craterhoof Behemoth was killed the instant it landed, but everyone else got big. It was all over but the handshake.

Congratulations to Walker MacMurdo, champion of Grand Prix: Auckland!

Walker MacMurdo 2 – Adam Witton 0

The Craterhoof Behemoth for all of the marbles!

The Top 5 Cards of Grand Prix Auckland

by Event Coverage Staff
Thundermaw Hellkite

5. Thundermaw Hellkite

Thundermaw Hellkite combines raw power with blisteringly synergistic abilities, and bundles it up into an angry little package that likes nothing more than to take chunks out of your opponent's life total, one quarter at a time. This wingèd beastie was ably pilot by Yoshitoki Sakai over the weekend, clobbering opponent after opponent to leave him at the top of the Swiss. He loved it enough that he played 4, all to fantastic effect. How do you defend against a haster that taps all your blockers? None of Sakai's foes could figure it out, either.

Jace, Architect of Thought

4. Jace, Architect of Thought

Think of a 4-letter word that causes violent reactions amongst those who hear it. Now make that word family friendly, and you end up with the most recent version of everybody's favourite prodigy, Jace. This new and improved version might not be as broken as his predecessors, but that doesn't mean he's lacking in power. Jace's ability to defend himself in addition to searching for answers to threats gives him a utility that's impressive indeed.


3. Séance

A key card in an emergent deck, Séance provides an amazing amount of strategic flexibility, especially when combined with a dedicated reanimator strategy. Creatures with comes-into-play abilities are doubly welcome – and Séance works particularly well with our Honourable Mention, Angel of Serenity. Not to mention our #1 card for the weekend. Basically, recycling creatures is awesome, and it's even better when the format is very token-friendly. The only thing better than a great creature is when it comes back to play some more. Speaking of which...

Unburial Rites

2. Unburial Rites

The thing about creatures is that they die. Usually, you'd prefer them not to. Unburial Rites lets you deal with this problem, and, just in case it doesn't work the first time, it's even got flashback so you can have another go. Combine Unburial Rites with a format filled with awesome creatures, cards that feed the graveyard, and what do you get? Something powerful. 'What sort of creatures?', you ask?


1. Thragtusk

Thragtusk. Old Snouty. The Lumbering Wonder. The Green Menace. Trust me, in years form now, you'll look back on Thragtusk and wonder what you were doing playing Titans mere months before this intrepid Beast came out of M13 and into your decklist. Your nostalgia will be so overwhelming that you'll start to make up fanciful nicknames as terms of endearment. What doesn't Thragtusk do? It keeps you alive, has a huge power and a respectable toughness, and when it dies (and if you've been reading the list, you'll know that's not a bad thing) it leaves behind a reminder of what a great time you had together.

Thragtusk isn't subtle. He doesn't have to be. Play him. Now.


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