Top 5 Moments of Grand Prix Denver 2016

Posted in Event Coverage on December 4, 2016

By Event Coverage Staff

Thanks to Hallie Santo and Marc Calderaro for their contributions to this article.


5. Metallurgic Summonings, What what?

Bobby Fortanely’s U/B Metallurgic Summonings deck was a fan favorite this weekend. In his two on-camera feature matches, the New York-based grinder showed his prowess by creating dozens of Construct tokens and dealing huge chunks of damage with Dynavolt Tower. The most memorable moment came at the end of Round 11, when Fortanely worked his way out of a tough spot thanks to two copies of Summonings. After top-decking a Glimmer of Genius, he made two 4/4 Constructs and found another Glimmer on the scry, building up an insurmountable board presence. Fortanely finished 11th in Denver this weekend, and we doubt we’ll be seeing the last of this deck.

4. Everyone Loves Panharmonicon

...or, as our viewers on Twitch like to call it, “Slam-harmonicon.” We first heard about this deck early on Day 1, when word got out that Team East West Bowl’s Ben Weitz had cooked up a spicy new brew just for this tournament. Weitz and teammate Pascal Maynard sold us on the Panharmonicon plan, and viewers at home got to watch third-ranked pro Seth Manfield get tons of value with Eldrazi Displacer and Reflector Mage under the lights. What’s more unreal than following up a turn four Panharmonicon with a turn-five Cloudblazer? Watching Manfield convert his umpteenth 9-0 Day 1 finish into his eleventh Grand Prix Top 8.

3. The Emergence of a Third Path – Aetherworks

But the biggest deck of the weekend was Temur Aetherworks, which cemented itself as the rock to W/U Flash’s paper and B/G Delirium’s scissors. Ten copies of the deck made it into Day 2 with records of X-2 or better; when combined with the red-green version of the archetype, Aetherworks Marvel decks proved to be more dominant than supposed “best deck” B/G Delirium. We traced the origins of the deck from “Patient Zero” Lance Austin and watched as it spread throughout the pro scene. Pantheon played it. Ray Perez Jr. played it -- and added Confiscation Coup to the sideboard to take opposing Aetherworks Marvels! Steve Rubin, sixth-ranked player and climbing, took the deck all the way to the finals. A third horse has entered the race, and this weekend, it left the other two in the dust.

2. "Six clues? I'd say you've solved the puzzle at this point." Hint: It’s Emrakul.

Speaking of Aetherworks, folks, that Quarterfinals third game between sixth-ranked Steve Rubin and Michael Snyder might go down in stream history. There were five resolved Emrakul, the Promised End well before anyone sunk below 20 life.

It was a pseudo-mirror match between Temur Aetherworks and Red-Green Aetherworks, and both players just kept windmill-slamming 13/13s and revealing more 13/13s. As a result, the game became more about eking land advantage than creature supremacy. Rubin eventually got the game, and talking to Snyder after the match he said, “Yeah, I knew it was over when I had three permanents to his twelve.”

But the story started well before, when Rubin had six clue tokens from two Tireless Trackers. Snyder remarked “Six clues? I'd say you've solved the puzzle at this point." For anyone aware of the Eldritch Moon lore, the clues in Shadows over Innistrad led to the solution to the puzzle: Emrakul, the Promised End. Here it foretold the auspicious rest of the game. It was unforgettable foreshadowing in an unforgettable game.

1. Thalia Clears the way for Severa

While Temur Aetherworks seemed like the superior build to combat aggressive opponents, Matt Severa’s Mardu Vehicles deck rode in circles around Steve Rubin in the finals. Severa had some truly impressive starts in Games 1 and 3, but the card that won him the match was Thalia, Heretic Cathar. Thalia doesn’t usually drive a Smuggler’s Copter or a Cultivator’s Caravan, but her presence on Severa’s side of the battlefield meant that even Ishkanah and Emrakul couldn’t save Rubin.

This marks Severa’s third Grand Prix win of 2016 -- he went back-to-back at Team Limited events in Washington D.C. and Louisville -- which puts him even with Hall of Famer Olivier Ruel for the record of most wins in a year. He’ll be bringing that third trophy home to Wisconsin tonight and competing on his home turf next weekend. Could Milwaukee make four?

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