Grand Prix Mexico City
Day 2 Blog

Posted in Event Coverage on March 25, 2012

By Wizards of the Coast


  • by Steve Sadin
    Round 13 Round-Up
    Pascal Maynard vs. Craig Wescoe
    Paul Rietzl vs. Josh Utter-Leyton
    Jackie Lee vs. Daniel Hernandez
    Gottlieb Yeh vs. Marino Donato Sandoval
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Quick Questions:
    Favorite Sideboard Card?
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Round 12: Feature Match
  • by Steve Sadin
    Sunday, 4:00 p.m.: Finding Ways to Win with Paul Rietzl
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Round 11 Round-Up
    Pascal Maynard vs. David Hernandez
    Paul Rietzl vs. Marcelino Freeman
    Craig Wescoe vs. Josh Utter-Leyton
  • by Steve Sadin
    Round 10: Feature Match
    Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Humberto Patarca
  • by Steve Sadin
    Quick Questions:
    Would you Sideboard a Burning Torch?
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Sunday, 1:20 p.m.: Interview with Marcelino Freeman
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Round 9: Feature Match
    Andreas Ganz vs. Marcelino Freeman
  • by Marc Calderaro
    Day 1 Undefeated Decks
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Day 1 Blog
  • by Event Coverage Staff
    Info: Fact Sheet

Day 1 Undefeated Decks

by Marc Calderaro

Here are the decks that went undefeated through 7 rounds of Grand Prix Mexico City, Day 1:

Humberto Patarca (Day 1 Undefeated)

Archibal Sanchez Peralta (Day 1 Undefeated)

Timothy Thomason (Day 1 Undefeated)

Josh Utter-Leyton (Day 1 Undefeated)

Round 9: Feature Match - Andreas Ganz vs. Marcelino Freeman

by Marc Calderaro

Andreas Ganz and Marcelino Freeman are two emerging players on the scene. Ganz, who runs the European Magic site,, was Swiss National Champion in 2010. Oddly enough, 2010 was also the year Freeman was National Champion of Mexico. Both have 21 points going into this round, and a good run on the day will see their first Grand Prix Top 8 finishes. But first, they had to get through each other.

Game 1

Ganz went to six cards and opened with a Woodland Cemetery and an Island into a Walking Corpse. Ganz was playing a strong Black-Blue deck with a couple non-basics for Spider Spawning and Gnaw to the Bone. The Corpse got in for a couple points, but Freeman, who was stuck on two lands, used a Silent Departure to get some tempo back. It was his fifth turn before he found land number three, and an Altar's Reap on his Gravecrawler revealed no further help.

Ganz simply sent in his Abattoir Ghoul and Nephalia Seakite repeatedly to knock Freeman down to 10, and just continued loading up the board with goodies. Freeman had a great-looking hand of Victim of Night, Galvanic Juggernaut, Moon Heron, and more, but they were all out of his mana reach. The game was quickly slipping away, and it looked as if Freeman's gambit of a two-land hand (going second, with the Reap/Gravecrawler combo), would prove a fatal mistake.

The fourth land, around turn seven, allowed him to stave off some points with a Falkenrath Noble. Freeman used his chump-blocking skills to remain alive for a extra turn, but alas, he didn't draw the magical card that would wipe all five creatures away whilst gaining him ten life and two extra land.

Andreas Ganz 1 - 0 Marcelino Freeman

Andreas Ganz

Game 2

Freeman kept a more land-heavy hand this game and led off with a Screeching Bat, drawing first blood. Ganz spent the early turns with Black Cat and Forbidden Alchemy. Choosing among Silent Departure, Griptide, Island and Abattoir Ghoul, he took the creature and immediately played it.

Freeman wasted no time using a Sensory Deprivation to turn the Ghoul blind and swung in with the Bat and a surgeon zombie butcher of his own. Ganz's Ghoul played chump, but returned to fight another day thanks to Unburial Rites. However, that was not going to stop Freeman's onslaught alone.

Freeman had a seemingly perfect set of cards. Wakedancer made a token and when all four creatures came crashing in, Freeman used Hysterical Blindness to kill the Ghoul yet again. Next turn he cast Silent Departure on a Havengul Runebinder, leaving Ganz with two lonely Black Cats. The felines were surely imposing to the likes of you and me, no doubt, but not to an army of zombies and vampires and such and such.

Freeman's hand had the exact right amount of aggression and disruption; there was no way Ganz was going to make it out of this one alive.

Andreas Ganz 1 - 1 Marcelino Freeman

Marcelino Freeman

Game 3

Ganz took another mulligan, but based on the result of his playing-first-one-mulligan in game one, that meant relatively little. The Swiss player started with Markov Patrician and got in for a six-point life swing. Ganz followed with a second pseudo-Lifelink in Abattoir Ghoul.

Freeman had used this time to cast a Screeching Bat and a Galvanic Juggernaut. The Juggernaut took a ride on a Griptide back to the top of Freeman's library, and Ganz increased his lead – 24-11. Ganz searched with Forbidden Alchemy and cast a Selhoff Occultist, leaving everything back to block. All three creatures simply watched the Juggernaut march past, then attacked back. After a Falkenrath Noble trigger or two for Freeman, it was 20-8. Ganz's aggression was strong, but Freeman's board was slowly building insurmountably.

Ganz tried a surprise Nephalia Seakite on Freeman's next attack step, but a Victim of Night gave the JuggernautVigilance and stopped the bird from killing the life-draining Noble. 12-9. Freeman cast a post-combat Makeshift Mauler and passed back. Though the boards looked pretty even, the fact that Ganz was handless and Freeman had that 2/2 flying drain machine put the odds in Freeman's favor.

Ganz would have to hang his hat on his fresh Havengul Runebinder to help him turn the tides. The board state looked like this:

If Ganz could just stem the fliers from Freeman for a couple turns, the Runebinder would be his savior. He had been trying with every Occultist trigger to mill his Spider Spawning and Gnaw to the Bone into his graveyard to buy the time he needed. Just stop the fliers. But on the next turn, Freeman did him no favors: he cast Spectral Flight. Yeah, Makeshift Mauler is imposing enough without help, but as a 6/7 Flying dude-copter... yeah that's going to be a problem. And with that, Ganz's life total was zeroed.

Marcelino Freeman 2 – 1 Andreas Ganz

Saturday, 1:20 p.m.: Interview with Marcelino Freeman

by Marc Calderaro

It's a common theme I hear over and over in interviews. When I asked Marcelino Freeman, former Mexican National Champion, how he started playing this game, the answer sounded familiar: "My friend tried to teach me and I said, 'No way. I'm going to love it.' And he said, 'No, no, no. We can just play casually.'" It was at this point that Marcelino rolled his eyes and thumbed though his draft deck again. Marcelino started out as a chess player, but the call of the cardboard found him hard. And like anyone who has a proclivity to fantasy and games, it's only a matter of time.

"I love the flavor of this block so much. As a kid, I loved reading Frankenstein and The Invisible Man, and the first time I looked at Invisible Stalker, I said, 'Somebody knows what's up.'" I talked to Marcelino right after he took down Andreas Ganz in Round 9, before he trounced his Round 10 opponent in less that ten minutes. He said his draft deck is only a 2-1 deck, but he's already fulfilled the "2" part quickly enough, so I wouldn't assume that "1" is necessarily to follow.

Though Marcelino likes the competition of top-level Magic tournaments, that's not the main reason why he shows up to events like this one. "It's the trips – the traveling; I love traveling." He continued that the Magic slogan is true, "See the world." So far he's been to Chiba, San Diego and San Francisco, and his eyes lit up when we talked about what would happen with a Top 4 finish and a qualification for Pro Tour Dark Ascension in Barcelona.

When I asked what about traveling he liked so much, in addition to all the normal-people reasons, Freeman added, "I love the cold. San Francisco was perfect weather." Freeman can't stand the heat. "I mean, if you're on the beach all the time with a couple of drinks, yeah. But other than that, eh." He added that if there were an invented Pro Tour location he could automatically qualify for, it would be Russia. "I've read so much about it. And it's really cold!"

Marcelino was happy to talk about his own accomplishments and goals but also the goals for the Latin American Magic scene. "We're not as bad as everybody thinks; I promise!" Now, I never thought anything like that, but Freeman argued that it's not the quality of play, but the consistency of the large tournaments. "My friends in America say they can drive to at least three Grand Prixes. We're getting there." He said there's another Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa in their midst, and that person will shine soon enough.

When they announced a Grand Prix in Mexico City he said he was ecstatic at the chance to earn a spot on the Pro Tour, and a better shot at that Gold Level Player's Club. Though he's still a couple points shy, a good finish here and just showing up at the next Pro Tour will get him within spitting distance. "And if that happens, who knows what's next for me?" Marcelino's eyes widened again. Marcello was very affable, but his eyes would often reveal the excitement he felt just under the surface.

Marcelino Freeman was great to meet and talk to, and if he continues on the path he's blazed for himself today, he can show up all these foreign pros and earn himself a sweet trip to Barcelona – let's hope there's a snowstorm in Spain for him.

Quick Questions - Would you ever leave Blazing Torch in the sideboard of a draft deck?

by Steve Sadin

Josh Utter-Leyton: "Yes. In some decks you just don’t have enough cheap creatures for it to be good."

Paul Rietzl: "No. I value removal lower than most people, so I’m usually scrambling for ways to kill creatures."

Jackie Lee: "The main reason why I would cut Blazing Torch from my maindeck would be if I was worried about my creature count. If I already had a lot of removal, and I needed to choose between Blazing Torch, and a good creature – then I would probably go with the creature."

Raphael Levy: "I can see times when I wouldn’t want Blazing Torch, like when I’m drafting a Blue-Green deck, and I don’t have many creatures. But it’s very rare that I would cut it."

Round 10: Feature Match - Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Humberto Patarca

by Steve Sadin

Over the last two years Josh Utter-Leyton has played consistently fantastic Magic that has led him to three Grand Prix Top 8s, three Pro Tour Top 8s, and a United States Nationals win. If he continues dominating this tournament, then he can pass Brian Kibler for first place in Pro Points in the United States – and put himself into a position to once again represent his home country as the captain of the United States team at the World Magic Cup.

Going into this round, Josh Utter-Leyton was one of only two remaining undefeated players. The other undefeated player? Humberto Patarca – a Venezuelan player looking for his first Grand Prix Top 8.

Game 1

Josh Utter-Leyton mulliganed, and found a six-card hand with enough removal spells to ensure that Patarca wouldn't keep anything of note around for long.

But despite his strong start, Utter-Leyton soon ran out of gas and found himself rapidly falling behind as Patarca played creature, after creature – and pressed his advantage with Silent Departure, Feeling of Dread, and Fiend Hunter.

Just as things were starting to look grim for Josh, he drew and cast a Bloodline Keeper that Humberto had no answer for. A few turns, and a few Bloodline Keeper activations later, and Josh was up a game.

Josh Utter-Leyton 1 – Humberto Patarca 0

Humberto Patarca (left) and Josh Utter-Leyton (right)

Game 2

After the two players uneventfully played creatures for the first few turns, Josh cast a Skirsdag High Priest which immediately caused Humberto to slump in his chair.

Without a way to deal with the Skirsdag High Priest, or any way to apply pressure to Josh – it was only a matter of time before Josh took over the game with an army of 5/5 flying Demons.

Josh Utter-Leyton 2 – Humberto Patarca 0

Round 11 Round-Up

by Marc Calderaro

There were some great games going on this Round: Craig Wescoe got paired up to try and defeat the last remaining undefeated player, Josh Utter-Leyton; Paul Rietzl and Marcelino Freeman dueled to take the other one down a peg; and Pascal Maynard and David Hernandez duked it out in the red zone. I floated among all the matches to see what was going on.

Pascal Maynard (27 points) vs. David Hernandez (27 points)

Game 1

These players had mirrored decks. Both were playing Green-White with a splash of Red. The first game played out pretty much how you'd expect: It was the war of Travel Preparations.

Pascal Maynard got an early lead on the board position with some Darkthicket Wolf action, a flipped Scorned Villagers and a big Ulvenwald Bears. And although he was racing against an unblockable Somberwald Dryad, Maynard had the inevitability thanks to Travel Preparations. But once David Hernandez got an Elgaud Inquisitor online, the life gain was stretching out Maynard's win. The game looked even grimmer for Maynard when Hernandez drew and double-played a Travel Preparations of his own for four unblockable damage and four gained life each turn.

Maynard steadied and was figuring out how to win. That is until, of course, he drew his second Travel Preparations. He suited up his already-suited creatures and swung for more than enough damage.

Pascal Maynard 1 – 0 David Hernandez

Pascal Maynard

Game 2

This game was considerably more lop-sided. Maynard came out of the gates blazing with an Avacyn's Pilgrim, a Scorned Villagers and two Darkthicket Wolves. And though Hernandez had a Rebuke, his first creature was a Silverclaw Griffin. With Maynard being about able to super-size both Wolves each turn, a 3/2 for five mana was not going to cut it.

Pascal Maynard 2 – 0 David Hernandez

Paul Rietzl (27 points) vs. Marcelino Freeman (27 points)

Games 1 and 2

Both the first two games were kinda crap-fests. Paul Rietzl kept a sketchy hand which was light on land but had an insurance Mulch. However, it insured for basically nothing, as he cast it on turn three and totally whiffed. Marcelino Freeman cleaned up easily with a Galvanic Juggernaut, a Vengeful Vampire and a timely Silent Departure or two.


Game 2 looked pretty similar, just the other way around. Freeman's own hand-gamble didn't pay off, and after two discarded cards and two lands in play, he just threw in the towel.

Paul Rietzl 1 – 1 Marcelino Freeman

David Hernandez

Game 3

"Ok, let's play one good game," Rietzl said. And you know what? They did.

Freeman started as the aggressor with a Selhoff Occultist, a Zombie Alchemist and additional Zombie support. The scores were 14-19, then 12-19 very quickly, but Rietzl stemmed the bleeding with a nice Slayer of the Wicked and a bit more removal. He then got his own board going and a sub-game developed called "Flip and/or Stop the Lambholt Elder".

First it was a Sensory Deprivation on the Silverpelt Werewolf, but that got Naturalized, but then the creature was flipped back. Rietzl skipped his turn to flip it again, but Freeman had the Claustrophobia to neutralize it (seemingly) for good.

Freeman was still trying to pick away with the Selhoff Occultist, milling Rietzl for a couple each time. However, one turn was not very good for the Mexican, as he hit both an Unburial Rites and a Gravetiller Wurm. Freeman cast a Makeshift Mauler and prepared himself, but Rietzl pulled a few synergistic moves to really pull ahead and punish the unfortunate mills.

He cast Deadly Allure on his small Young Wolf (Lobo Joven in Spanish), then traded it with the Makeshift Mauler. And thanks to Undying, and Morbid, and Flashback, by the turn's end Rietzl had a 2/2 slightly older Wolf, and an 8/8 Trampling Wurm.

Freeman had a Griptide or two, but it only took a couple hits from the big guy to put Freeman at X-2.

Paul Rietzl 2 – 1 Marcelino Freeman

Craig Wescoe (27 points) vs. Josh Utter-Leyton (30 points)

Game 1

This set could be simplistically described as the "Battle of the Bombs." In the first game, Josh Utter-Leyton revealed the endless, endless removal that spewed forth from his deck to kill just about everything Craig Wescoe had. Utter-Leyton used his life total as a valuable resource and sunk to 2 before doing any damage at all. However, because he was so low on life he had to do sad things like using his Sever the Bloodline flashback to take out a lowly 2/1.

This helped Wescoe immensely when he drew a Kessig Cagebreakers.

"That's a lot of creatures in your graveyard," Utter-Leyton remarked.

Yes. Yes it is. And you should know, Josh, you put them there.

Craig Wescoe 1 – 0 Josh Utter-Leyton

"You know, that's the first game I've lost so far," Utter-Leyton said.

Game 2

This game was much the same, but with a different result. The endless, endless removal from Utter-Leyton worked this time, and he was able to get a Bloodline Keeper online before Wescoe could do anything about it.

A steady stream of Vampires ended Wescoe's life.

Craig Wescoe 1 – 1 Josh Utter-Leyton

Game 3

In the last game, Wescoe had a new plan, and sided into his Green-White deck a whole new color. He had tried to draft a White-Black deck, but abandoned it once he saw Utter-Leyton, sitting next to him, first-pick the Bloodline Keeper. However, there were still some good cards Wescoe had as leftovers, so he sided in answers to the giant keeper, and a couple others to give his deck more reach.

Wescoe had only seen a few removal spells in the first game and thought he could out-aggro Utter-Leyton. After what he saw in the second game, however, he thought better of it and sided in a couple Falkenrath Torturers, an Unburial Rites an Executioner's Hood and a Tragic Slip, along with a couple Swamps and mana-fixing.

The extra reach turned out to be a boon. Again, much like the other two games, Wescoe threw out creature after creature, hoping to exhaust Utter-Leyton's removal. And Wescoe was again able to do it. The Kessig Cagebreakers again played the finisher, but this time he also played the spoiler. The big great beatstick caused Josh Utter-Leyton his first match loss of the day. Both players went to 10-1.

Craig Wescoe 2 – 1 josh Utter-Leyton.

Sunday, 4:00 p.m. - Finding Ways to Win with Paul Rietzl

by Steve Sadin

After going 7-1 on Day One, Pro Tour Amsterdam Champion Paul Rietzl drafted a deck that his friend Martin Juza described as "completely unplayable." While Paul recognized that his deck had some problems, he wasn't nearly as down on it as Juza was. Three rounds later, Paul had 3-0ed with his unconventional deck, and I was able to borrow him for a few minutes to have him explain how his deck came together.

"I opened Tragic Slip, and Markov Warlord – and I took Tragic Slip. I think the pick is close, but I really like drafting black in this format. Next I got passed a pack where Niblis of the Mist, and Relentless Skaab were the two best cards – and I took Lambholt Elder over them because I saw a couple of Scorned Villagers to my right, and I wanted to make it clear that I was drafting green."

"I don't even like Lambholt Elder that much, I just really, really value signaling what I'm drafting by taking Double-Faced Cards."

Paul's decision to take the Lambholt Elder seemed to be paying dividends for him as he then got passed the Scorned Villager that he had his eye on.

"Third pick, I took a Scorned Villager, and at that point I figured I would probably draft green-red, maybe splashing black."

But despite the fact that his third pick worked out for him, things took an unfortunate turn for Paul.

"After that I took a Young Wolf, because I wanted to continue forcing green – and I looked over and I saw that Ben Stark (who was sitting to my right) had taken a Scorned Villager! This was terrible for me, but I'm pretty stubborn, and I figured there was a chance that the Scorned Villager was just the best card in the pack – and Ben didn't really have any other options, so I wasn't just about to move out of green."

"I rounded out the pack by taking a couple more green cards, then I wheeled two copies of Undying Evil (which I love), and a Deadly Allure which is awesome in a deck with Young Wolf, and a bunch of morbid triggers."

At this point Paul knew that he was firmly in green-black, and he was still hoping to muscle Ben Stark out of green.

"I opened up a Ulvenwald Mystics, and immediately slammed it into my pile to let Ben know that I wasn't moving out of green – then I followed it up with a Gastaf Shepherd, giving him as good an opportunity as any to get out of the color."

"I third picked a Slayer of the Wicked, and I got a Bonds of Faith 6th, so I knew I was going to splash white – and I also grabbed a Unburial Rites, a Blazing Torch, and a Geistcatcher's Rig (which is particularly good in this kind of deck because I didn't have many other expensive spells). Towards the end of the pack, I took a Disciple of Griselbrand over a Somberwald Spider because I wanted a morbid enabler – but this pick still pained me because I really wanted a way to block fliers."

Realizing that his deck was going to be a bit odd, Paul knew that he was going to need to continue making unconventional picks in order to put together a deck that could reliably win.

"In pack three, I opened up a terrible pack where the best cards were a Typhoid Rats, and a Caravan Vigil. I wanted the mana fixing, but I took the Typhoid Rats because I figured there was a good chance that the Caravan Vigil would table. Then I followed it up with a Mulch, a Spider Spawning (which is really good in this kind of deck), a Demonmail Hauberk (because I needed another enabler), a Mausoleum Guard, and another Disciple of Griselbrand."

"Then I took a Shimmering Grotto, a Somberwald Spider which was HUGE for my deck, since my only other way to deal with fliers was Geistcatcher's Rig. The Caravan Vigil from my opening pack didn't table, but I did get another Shimmering Grotto."

Paul had drafted a collection of powerful, and synergistic, spells – but his mana wasn't quite as good as he wanted it to be.

"I actually wound up playing two Shimmering Grottos, which I've never done before in my life. I felt like I needed 4 white sources, and if I played three Plains (and cut the second Shimmering Grotto) – then I wouldn't have had enough black sources to reliably leave up mana for my Undying Evils, and my Tragic Slip."

While Shimmering Grotto is a big burden for most decks since it often forces players to wait a full extra turn to cast their most important spells, Paul explained that it wasn't that big of a problem in his deck.

"My white spells were good enough that I was willing to wait an extra turn to cast them – and most of my black spells only cost one mana (two Undying Evils, Deadly Allure, Tragic Slip, Typhoid Rats – so I really just wanted to draw a black mana, and I didn't care if it took me a little bit longer to cast them with Shimmering Grotto."

As he was getting ready to leave for his second draft of the day, Paul pointed out some of the cards that he felt were absolutely vital for his success.

"This deck was definitely much greater than the sum of its parts. I had a good curve, removal, some morbid, powerful flashback spells, and a lot of pieces that worked really well together."

"I probably Deadly Allured my Young Wolf three times in the 8 games that I played with the deck. Demonmail Hauberk was just insane for me, especially with Spider Spawning – and Unburial Rites was obviously awesome."

Paul Rietzl 3-0 Draft

Round 12: Feature Match - Josh Utter-Leyton vs. Pascal Maynard

by Marc Calderaro

Both players sat down and shuffled without saying a word. They kept their headphones in their ears, silently riffling through their decks.

Obviously Josh Utter-Leyton has been in the spotlight today; he's been at the top of the standings the whole time, and as such, he keeps playing against other good players we like spotlighting. This round his opponent was Pascal Maynard, a young Québécois who has a Grand Prix Top 8 under his belt and has represented his country as a member of the Canadian National Team in 2010. Brian David Marshall wrote a great interview piece with Maynard last year that you can read here if you're interested. If you're not, however, here's a feature match.

Game 1

Josh Utter-Leyton started with a Deranged Assistant into two Screeching Skaabs. He milled a pretty good amount of cards for turn three – and he hit all lands. Both players laughed at some smooth play from Utter-Leyton's library. Pascal Maynard used a 2/3 Villagers of Estwald to clog up the ground and a Nibilis of the Mist to clog up the skies. The Villagers flipped into a whole 'nother animal at the end of Maynard's turn, threatening to switch on the offense.

Utter-Leyton sent in his Skaabs, but he hesitated for a moment – Maynard had five land untapped (one of which was Vault of the Archangel). Maynard revealed a trump in Briarpack Alpha. He pumped his Nibilis and was able to kill both Skaabs without shedding any of his own blood. After return attacks it was 11-20 in Maynard's favor.

Utter-Leyton tried to build back his board. First he milled another land with Deranged Assistant, then played a Nibilis of the Mist of his own and a Stitched Drake. Though a One-Eyed Scarecrow sat across from the flyers, they were still big enough to help out Utter-Leyton's cause. So was the Civilized Scholar. The 0/1 turned all crazy style and traded with the Briarpack Alpha, though Pascal still got some nice value thanks to his Vault land. It was 9-23, and Utter-Leyton's three flying creature were only doing a total of five damage at a time. Even after a Nephalia Seakite, and a Voiceless Spirit, it was still only seven. This might have been the most value-laden One-Eyed Scarecrow I've ever seen.

Josh Utter-Leyton

Maynard used some Demonmail Hauberk tricks to put his Villagers to work even after they were put under a Burden of Guilt. The green guys happily went into the graveyard to make Maynard's Nibilis a 6/3 flyer. After taking Utter-Leyton to 3, the Spirit also offed himself so a new Elgaud Inquisitor could be a Craw Wurm with Lifelink. 3-20.

Utter-Leyton was fed up with being so many creatures ahead on board and still be losing. He flashed in a second Seakite and triple blocked the "Craw Wurm." Even though it was a 1-for-3, Utter-Leyton just needed to stop the Hauberk from equipping and re-equipping. He still had more creatures and his Avacynian Priest was helping immensely. The 1/1 Spirit from the Inquisitor could be tapped, and so could the flipped form of both Cloistered Youth creatures. So all of them stayed as 1/1s and none of them attacked.

Pascal maynard

The game went on turn after turn, Utter-Leyton consistently adding to his flyer count, and Maynard consistently adding more lands. The score was 3-20, then 3-17, 16, 12, when finally Maynard drew, played and sacrificed a Young Wolf to make the Travel-Prepared Cloistered Youth a 7/4. It swung in, then gained Deathtouch and Lifelink and Maynard went back to 19.

This game had gone on so long and Utter-Leyton had burned through his deck so well, he was down to his last three cards; he had to make something happen. On the next attack he again triple-blocked the second giant Youth to take it down, but Maynard saved it with a Spidery Grasp. As the Québécois was trying to calculate just how big the creature was – jostling around numbers in his head and out his mouth – Utter-Leyton looked at the clock, saw 18 minutes remaining, and scooped up his cards.

Pascal Maynard 1 – 0 Josh Utter-Leyton

Game 2

Cloister Youth had no fear turning into an Unholy Fiend this game. A follow-up Nibilis of the Mist allowed Maynard to sneak in some early damage before a Burden of Guilt came down upon it. Utter-Leyton doubled his opening from before – a Deranged Assistant into two Screeching Skaabs. Maynard doubled his play as well, sacrificing the creature burdened with guilt to a Demonmail Hauberk. Both players feverishly attacked one another and scores went 11-17, 11-15, 5-15, 5-11.

Josh Utter-Leyton (5 life, 2 cards)

2 Screeching Skaabs, Deranged Assistant, Voiceless Spirit, Avacynian Priest


Pascal Maynard (11 life, 2 cards)

Doomed Traveler, Howlpack Alpha, Nibilis of the Mist (equipped with a Demonmail Hauberk)

Josh had to double-block the Wolf and chump the Spirit, and had to watch his board substantially diminish. He had some stunners in his hand, but they were nothing compared with Maynard's Travel Preparations. The ridiculous common spell pumped up both the Traveler and a fresh Silverclaw Griffin. And as slowly as Maynard had one the first, was as fast as he won the second.

Pascal Maynard 2 – 0 Josh Utter-Leyton

Utter-Leyton picks up his second loss in as many rounds, and he has to win something fierce in these last two if he doesn't want to see his Top 8 hopes die.

Quick Questions - What’s Your Favorite Card to Sideboard In?

by Marc Calderaro

Paul Rietzl: "Ancient Grudge. Easy."

Raphael Levy: "Ray of Revelation."

Lucas Jaklovsky: "Urgent Exorcism."

Matt Sperling: "Bar the Door. If I see Rolling Temblor or if they seem to like double-blocking, it's coming in."

Shuhei Nakamura: "Thraben Purebloods! "

Rey Mysterio: "I need no sideboard!"

Round 13 Round-Up

by Steve Sadin

Pascal Maynard 11-1 vs Craig Wescoe 11-1
After checking the standings, Pascal Maynard and Craig Wescoe decided to intentionally draw – figuring that they should both be locks for Top 8.

"Hopefully we don't end up in 9th, and 10th place" quipped Pascal after they turned in their match slip.

Paul Rietzl 10-2 vs Josh Utter-Leyton 10-2
After his 10-0 start, Josh Utter-Leyton began an unfortunate slide that saw him lose his next two matches.

It looked like Josh might turn things around when he won the first game of his match against three time Pro Tour Top 8 competitor Paul Rietzl – but a combinations of mulligans, and mana problems caused Josh to lose his third match in a row without putting up much of a fight.

Jackie Lee 10-2 vs Daniel Hernandez 10-2

Daniel Hernandez got off to an aggressive start with a Hamlet Captain, and an Immerwolf, topped off by the absolutely gamebreaking Garruk Relentless. Jackie Lee had a bomb of her own in Olivia Voldaren – but a Brimstone Volley ensured that Daniel would be able to ride his Garruk Relentless to victory.

In the second game, Daniel's Scorned Villager allowed him to cast a turn three Garruk Relentless that Jackie again had no way to deal with. A few turns, an Immerwolf, a Predator Ooze, and some Garruk activations later – and Daniel Hernandez was 11-2.

Gottlieb Yeh 10-2 vs Marino Donato Sandoval 10-2

After 3-0ing his first pod with a hyper aggressive (nearly) mono-white deck, Gottlieb Yeh drafted a white-blue deck that may have been even better than his first draft deck.

Chapel Geist plus Curiosity drew Gottlieb a bunch of cards, and ultimately allowed him to dominate the game with Fiend Hunter, Geist-Honored Monk, and a Feeling of Dread.

In the second game, Gottlieb got stuck on two lands, and Marino was able to quickly even the score at one game apiece.

Marino took an early lead in the third game with an Avacyn Pilgrim into a turn two Villagers of Estwald – but a Grasp of Phantoms followed by a Geist-Honored Monk put Gottlieb firmly into the driver's seat.

Marino hoped that his Requiem Angel would be enough to put himself back into the game – but a Heavy Mattock (which made Gotlieb's Geist-Honored Monk too big to block profitably), a flashed back Grasp of Phantoms, and a couple of big attacks were enough for Gottlieb to take the match.

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