Posted in GRAND PRIX NEW JERSEY 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on November 16, 2014

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

Eric Froehlich is no stranger to the top tables at high-level Magic tournaments. Currently ranked 8th in the Top 25 Pro Player Rankings, Froehlich has established himself as one of the most consistently impressive Magic players in the world.

His opponent, Walking the Planes own Nathan Holt, is actually a wizard. Or, rather, an actor that plays a wizard in a web series about people playing a game where they're, at least on some cerebral level, pretending to be wizards.

The round was about to start in seconds, and Nathan Holt was nowhere to be found. Then, in a blaze of glory, a hipster from Philadelphia bursts through the aether and threw a magical dark cloth over his head as he screamed, "There is no way I can fight this battle without my cloak!"

In the first game, the dark wizard called Holt, despite his immense power, was unable to find a second land. Froehlich was content to sculpt his hand with Brainstorms and fetch lands.

Eventually, Holt found a second land, sacrificed Lotus Petal, and immediately went for Show and Tell. A counter-war ensued, and Froehlich's Pyroblast and Force of Will were enough to power through Holt's backup Force of Will.

Froehlich continued to sculpt his hand while Holt could do nothing but continue passing the turn. Dig Through Time from Froehlich put him in a dominant position against the incredibly convincing actor posing as a wizard.

Things looked to be locked up when Froehlich cast Jace, The Mind Sculptor and used the Brainstorm ability.

Holt smiled, "Ah, you're smarter than my last opponent. He fate sealed me four times and lost."

Froehlich smirked with a chuckle, "I was hoping I could outsmart you."

The tone of the match descended into absurdity as Froehlich continued to Brainstorm with Jace, The Mind Sculptor on the following turns.

Eric Froehlich

Eventually, Froehlich cast Containment Priest and Holt scoffed.


Froehlich was comically ahead at this point, and both players laughed about Holt's unfortunate situation. Holt tried to cast Force of Will to counter Containment Priest, but Froehlich had Spell Pierce.

Holt threw his arms in the air, "You had a counter! So lucky! You only brainstormed like four times with your Jace! Filthy topdecker!"

At this point, both players, and everyone else in the feature match area, were laughing hysterically.

Froehlich decided to show Holt his hand and they decided to move on to a second game.

Froehlich 1 - 0 Holt

Froehlich asked about Holt's record. Holt was paired down to play him. Holt had a guaranteed spot in the second day of competition, but Froehlich would need to win this round to move on.

Holt started singing to himself in a high pitch, "I am the luck-eee-ust wiz-zard," then in a low voice, "the luckiest wiz-zurd!"

Things never quieted as they started the second game. Froehlich had taken a mulligan and had no resistance for Holt's combo.

On the second turn, Holt played ancient tomb, tapped both of his lands, and then slumped in his chair, "So stupid, so stupid, so stupid, soooooo stupid!" He regained his composure and looked Froehlich directly in the eye stating calmly, "That was really stupid."

Froehlich laughed, "You can untap your lands if you want."

"Oh, alright."

The next turn, Holt cast Blood Moon and forced Froehlich to sacrifice both of his fetch lands to find a basic Plains and Island.

Holt looked me directly in the eye, "If you write about my punts. I want you to call them punts. I also want you to say that I told you to call them punts."


Froehlich looked up, "I don't think I have any idea what's happening in this match. I'm just listening to Nate talk."

"See, it's all part of my plan."

The next turn, Holt used Show and Tell to put Griselbrand into play and Froehlich had no choice but to concede.

Froehlich 1 - 1 Holt

In the third game, Holt's second turn Defense Grid would meet Counterspell and his Show and Tell on the following turn would be met by Containment Priest from Froehlich. Holt was able to put Sneak Attack into play, but the powerful enchantment wouldn't do much with Froehlich's Containment Priest on the table.

Containment Priest started attacking and was soon joined by Stoneforge Mystic.

"I'm gonna concede. I played super horrible. Now, I need to find something to blame it on. I guess it has to do with the fact that I ran more than a mile back and forth to my car to get this cloak."

Nathan Holt

"Where was your car?"

"It's really far. I'm actually still out of breathe."

The players shook hands and exchanged stories of their previous battles from earlier in the day.

Eric Froehlich wins and secures his spot in the second day of competition here at Grand Prix New Jersey!

Froehlich 2 - 1 Holt