Grand Prix Louisville was action packed from start to finish, and No. 20 Sam Black and teammates Justin Cohen and Matt Severa led from start to finish. While the powerhouse was the biggest story of the weekend, it was far from the only one.
Here are some of the most memorable things that happened at Grand Prix Louisville.
5) Goodbye Moon
The vibrant new world of Kaladesh is coming soon to a gaming store near you, but we've not quite escaped from the shadowy madness that has enveloped the shadows of Innistrad. Our last Grand Prix with Eldritch Moon and Shadows Over Innistrad has come and gone, and with it a few cards that played major roles throughout the weekend.
The biggest — both literally and figuratively — of those was Emrakul, the Promised End, which featured prominently in Matt Severa's list on Day 1. Also making highlight plays throughout the weekend were other Eldrazi cards that made use of the Emerge mechanic. Many a Drownyard Behemoth and It of the Horrid Swarm were seen across the top tables this weekend.
4) Andrew Brown nearly runs the table
Andrew Brown is a pretty good Limited player. Good enough to advance to the Top 8 of Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch, for instance. And teamed up with the winner of that Pro Tour — Jiachen Tao — as well as Grand Prix winner Eugene Hwang, it certainly seemed like the team had the makings of a deep run in them.
Unfortunately, that didn't quite pan out, as they finished Day 1 at 6-3. But that didn't stop Brown from running the table himself, finishing 9-0 in matches thanks to both Tamiyo, Field Researcher and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets.
“Yeah, if it wasn't for my ‘noob' teammates we'd be undefeated,” he joked. “My deck was great.”
He wasn't done yet. In what he dubbed a “Constructed Emrakul deck,” Brown started Day 2 with four straight wins. Though he wasn't quite able to seal the deal in the final round — finishing the tournament 13-1 — it's worth appreciating this beauty of a Sealed deck.
Went 9-0 today in matches but 6-3 overall. May have mis built our other decks. Here's what I played. It was gas. pic.twitter.com/LLVuSHNNeW— Andrew Brown (@Murk_Lurker) September 11, 2016
3) Taking the One Time — At the Right Time
Justin Cohen knows everyone gets their “one time” at least once a tournament, right?
That's what he claimed in his team's semifinal match against Paul Rietzl, Jelger Wiegersma and Matt Sperling when he looked at his opening hand, then looked at it again, then looked to his teammates.
“Is it too early to take my “one time' here?” he asked.
Whatever works, I guess.
2) Finkel, Pikula and Parke Make Deep Run
Chris Pikula's quest for the remaining few Pro Points he needs to make it back on the Hall of Fame ballot has been well documented. So, too, has Finkel's dominance over two decades of Magic.
Those combined at Grand Prix Louisville for a deep run into Sunday. Along with Jamie Parke, the trio finished Day 1 at 8-1 — narrowly losing to Black, Cohen and Severa in the final round — and were in position to possibly advance to the Top 4.
While they didn't quite make it there, the 10-4 finish was good enough for 16th place and leaves Pikula on the cusp of eligibility once again.
Finished 10-4 at the GP. I only need one pro point for the ballot now for everyone asking me.— Chris Pikula (@meddlingmage) September 11, 2016
1) Black, Severa and Cohen Go Wire-to-Wire
“We may as well just try to win them all,” Sam Black explained after locking up their Top 4 berth with a perfect 12-0 start.
They didn't quite do that — they lost once in Round 13 — but it was an isolated incident. Black, Severa and Cohen are friends and fellow Madison natives, major parts of the group that has made Madison essentially the capital of Limited Magic. They play together regularly at home, and their preparation paid off in Kentucky as they defeated Hall of Famer Ben Rubin and teammates Matt Boccio and Tillman Bragg in the finals to become the champions of Grand Prix Louisville.
Congrats to the winners!