Grand Prix Oakland 2010
Nass Steamrolls Oakland in Dynamic Debut
February 13-14, 2010
Grand Prix–Oakland has come to a close, and a player making his Pro Tour debut next week has come to the party ahead of time. Eighteen year old Matthew Nass, a California resident, simply stormed his way through two days of competition. He was the last player in the entire 769-strong field to taste defeat, going all the way to 13-0. Sometimes, that heralds a collapse, but not this time. Already with a Top 8 berth secured, he first navigated his way past Petr Brozek of the Czech Republic, piloting a fantastic Boros deck that has been the talk of the town here.
In the semis, Nass faced another fearsome challenge in Conley Woods, who again had deck tech to savor. Awaiting him in the final was Adam Yurchick, ready to battle Elves with his trusty Sword of the Meek, Thopter Foundry, and the mighty Dark Depths. But it was Nass who made the most of his first visit to the Top 8. Now he heads out of town as the leader in the Player of the Year Race, the leader in the Rookie of the Year Race. He is, in fact, King of Magic – at least for seven days.
Join us just five days from now for the first Pro Tour of the 2010 Season, as the California carnage continues. Roll on San Diego!
top 8 bracket
(1) Adam Yurchick
(8) Tomoharu Saito
(4) Patrick Cox
(5) Travis Woo
(2) Matthew Nass
(7) Petr Brozek
(3) Conley Woods
(6) Joby Parrish
Adam Yurchick (2-1)
Travis Woo (2-0)
Matthew Nass (2-1)
Conley Woods (2-1)
Adam Yurchick (2-1)
Matthew Nass (2-1)
Matthew Nass (2-0)
by Rich HagonThe Final: Combo/Elves. But Which One?Matthew Nass vs. Adam Yurchick
by Brian David-MarshallSemifinalMatthew Nass vs. Conley Woods
by Rich HagonSemifinal: I've Been Fulminating All WeekendTravis Woo vs. Adam Yurchick
by Brian David-MarshallQuarterfinalNass vs. Brozek
by Mat MarrQuarterfinalConley Woods vs. Joby Parrish
by Rich HagonQuarterfinal - Depths of Despair?Adam Yurchick vs. Tomoharu Saito
by Event Coverage StaffTop 8Deck Lists
by Event Coverage StaffTop 8Player Profiles
by Event Coverage StaffBlog: Day 2Feature matches, undefeated Day One deck lists, Day Two metagame breakdown, and more!
by Event Coverage StaffBlog: Day 1Feature matches, nerdcore hiphop, travel stories, hot Extended cards, and more!
by Event Coverage StaffInfo: Day 1 Player List
by Event Coverage StaffInfo: Fact Sheet
|1. Matthew Nass||$3,500|
|2. Adam Yurchick||$2,300|
|3. Conley Woods||$1,500|
|4. Travis Woo||$1,500|
|5. Patrick Cox||$1,000|
|6. Joby Parrish||$1,000|
|7. Petr Brozek||$1,000|
|8. Tomoharu Saitou||$1,000|
pairings, results, standings
Top 8 Player profiles
Name: Travis Woo
Home town, and Country: Seattle
When did you start playing Magic: At the tender age of five.
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:Top 16 at GP Seattle
What deck are you playing? Living End
If you could choose again, what would you change? Nothing right now, but that doesn't mean it's perfect.
What decks surprised you this weekend? The Boros, UCI, and balance decks I saw on day one were absurd.
Who is favorite to win the event? Who knows.
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Sam "Galeforce winds" Galey.
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Stasis.
Name: Matt Nass
Home town, and Country: Stanford, CA, USA
Job: Student / Tennis coach
When did you start playing Magic: About four years ago. (Kamigawa)
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:No
What deck are you playing? Elves
If you could choose again, what would you change? Viridian Shaman should be maindeck.
What decks surprised you this weekend? RW Landfall.
Who is favorite to win the event? Me?
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Luis Scott-Vargas
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Ranger of Eos
Name: Conley Woods
Home town, and Country: Denver, Colorado, USA
Job: Professional Magic Player
When did you start playing Magic: Mirrodin
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:Pro Tour Honolulu, Grand Prix Tampa
What deck are you playing? The Bant Wagon
If you could choose again, what would you change? Possibly speed the deck up with Spell Snare over Mana Leak. No Crypts in the board.
What decks surprised you this weekend? Hypergenesis.....isn't that deck dead?
Who is favorite to win the event? ...Me....
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Luis Scott-Vargas
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Wee Dragonauts obviously.
Name: Joby Parrish
Home town, and Country: Boise, Idaho, USA
Job: Marine Reservist and full time Student
When did you start playing Magic: Odyssey
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:None
What deck are you playing? Blue Zoo
If you could choose again, what would you change? I would change one Temple Garden for a Breeding Pool.
What decks surprised you this weekend? Elves.
Who is favorite to win the event? Living End.
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? No one.
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? I would be riding Progenitus.
Name: Petr Brozek
Home town, and Country: Sezempe, Czech Republic
Job: Card Player
When did you start playing Magic: 1995
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:None
What deck are you playing? The best deck (Boros)
If you could choose again, what would you change? Nothing
What decks surprised you this weekend? None
Who is favorite to win the event? Me
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Saito
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Zektar Shrine Expedition
Name: Adam Yurchick
Home town, and Country: Mentor, Ohio, USA
Job: Student / Poker
When did you start playing Magic: Spring 1999
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:GP Minneapolis 05, GP Philadelphia 08
What deck are you playing? UB Dark Depths Thopter Combo
If you could choose again, what would you change? Cut a Leyline for Extirpate. Sideboard a Gatekeeper of Malakir over something.
What decks surprised you this weekend? Expected about everything I saw, besides the RW burn boros deck.
Who is favorite to win the event? Adam Yurchick
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Gabriel Nassif
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Unhinged Island, on a hammock.
Name: Tomoharu Saito
Home town, and Country: Tokyo, Japan
Job: MTG Pro Player and Shop Owner
When did you start playing Magic: 11 years ago.
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:Over 10 GP, 5 PT
What deck are you playing? Hypergenesis
If you could choose again, what would you change? No. This time is very good timing.
What decks surprised you this weekend? Living End.
Who is favorite to win the event? Tomoharu Saito from Japan.
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Tomoharu Saito
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Imaginary Pet.
Name: Patrick Cox
Home town, and Country: Melbourne, Florida, USA
Job: Mechanical Engineer
When did you start playing Magic: Mirrodin
Any previous GP / PT Top 8s:Nope.
What deck are you playing? Zoo, duh.
If you could choose again, what would you change? Maybe play a Breeding Pool. Otherwise the list seems fine.
What decks surprised you this weekend? The Boros deck.
Who is favorite to win the event? I don't know what everyone is playing.
Who is the best player in world Magic right now? Probably a Japanese person.
If you could be in the artwork of a Magic card, what card would it be? Wild Nacatl.
Top 8: Deck Lists
Quarterfinal: Depths of Despair? - Adam Yurchick vs. Tomoharu Saito
Earlier in the day we saw Tomoharu Saito in action against Gabe Walls. On that occasion, the Japanese Hypergenesis deck simply destroyed Walls and his Dark Depths deck. Now Adam Yurchick must seek to overturn that result with his version of Thopter-Depths. The trouble, of course, is that Hypergenesis itself is so hideously one-sided. Still, there's a reason they play the games rather than just work out who's favorite, so let's see if the American can sneak the victory.
Game 1 – Gemstone Mine began for Saito, and Yurchick used Swamp to power out Thoughtseize. He found waiting for him: Demonic Dread, Oblivion Ring, Terastodon, Thirst for Knowledge, Angel of Despair, and Simian Spirit Guide. It was the mana accelerator that hit the graveyard.
Chrome Mox was next for Yurchick, who ran out Dark Confidant before adding Dark Depths to the board. Saito used Demonic Dread to Cascade into Hypergenesis, and promptly put Angel of Despair into play. Yurchick passed, and Saito added Terastodon to the board. This time, Yurchick took advantage of the Hypergenesis to land Thopter Foundry, but Saito also had Oblivion Ring ready to bring in. With both players having passed, Saito now had to choose his targets for the Angel and The O Ring, which sounds like a daytime TV movie. The Angel targeted Dark Confidant, Terastodon targeted Saito's own Oblivion Ring, and Yurchick's Thopter Foundry and Swamp. Yurchick got a pair of 3/3s out of the deal, and another pair when the Terastodon came back again, allowing Saito to completely wipe Yurchick's board, apart from those four Elephants.
How is it that giving someone twelve power and toughness for free can mean they can't possibly win? It's a strange world, Extended. Saito piled in with a huge attack that left Yurchick with minimal hope, and that became no hope moments later.
Tomoharu Saito 1, Adam Yurchick 0.
Yurchick was quick to keep for Game 2, and turn one Thoughtseize found Thirst for Knowledge, Simian Spirit Guide, Bogardan Hellkite, Bogardan Hellkite, and three land in Saito's hand. Once again, Yurchick took the mana producer away.
Out came Dark Confidant for Yurchick, and he added Dark Depths, although still with no way to turn it on at rapid speed. Saito began the laborious task of charging his many lands, while Yurchick used the end of turn to cast Thirst for Knowledge, pitching Thopter Foundry.
In came Dark Confidant once again, before Yurchick imprinted Chrome Mox and cast Thirst for Knowledge. This time, it was Dark Confidant and Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth that hit the graveyard. Thoughtseize took away Simian Spirit Guide for the third time in the match, leaving Saito a hand packed with enormous men, namely Angel of Despair, double Bogardan Hellkite, Terastodon, and Progenitus. Now that's a lot of power and toughness in one hand.
For all his digging, Yurchick didn't seem to be finding what he needed. Thirst for Knowledge number three saw him pitch Duress and Dark Depths. He Transmuted Tolaria West for Chalice of the Void, laid it at zero, and passed. Saito had nothing, and Yurchick went back to work with Dark Confidant in the red zone. Thoughtseize took Ardent Plea, and now Yurchick sent double Vampire Hexmage into play. Saito could see that Marit Lage was on the way, and he scooped to send a surprisingly tense match into a decider.
Tomoharu Saito 1, Adam Yurchick 1.
On the play, Saito kept his opening seven, increasing the pressure on Yurchick, who took a few moments before going in search of a better six. Yurchick had Thoughtseize on turn one, and faced Progenitus, Bogardan Hellkite, Ardent Plea, Oblivion Ring, and two lands. Unsurprisingly, it was Ardent Plea that vanished. Another Thoughtseize revealed Saito's hand had not improved. Away went Oblivion Ring, and the early game clearly belonged to the American.
A third land from the top allowed Yurchick to cast Phyrexian Arena, the Apocalypse card drawer par excellence. Still Saito sat doing nothing other than laying land. Yurchick Transmuted Tolaria West for Chalice of the Void, cast it for zero, and Saito simply charged his lands. At five mana, Saito finally had something to play, casting Ingot Chewer to kill the Chalice of the Void. Down came Chrome Mox, but without imprinting, since Yurchick was ready to Repeal it. That in turn drew him deeper, and now he could cast Vampire Hexmage, with Dark Depths an eager recipient of a future sacrifice.
It looked as if Saito needed a Cascade spell very badly, but he passed without an offering. Yurchick sacrificed the Hexmage, and now the 20/20 was on the battlefield. Thoughtseize caused Saito to respond with Bogardan Hellkite, and there was no shortage of targets, since Saito had been gifting Yurchick tokens via Forbidden Orchard. When Thoughtseize resolved, Progenitus hit the bin, leaving just Hypergenesis in the Japanese hand.
Inevitably, the Hellkite blocked Marit Lage, but it was surely a matter of time before we were done. This was no Gabe Walls re-run, and Adam Yurchick advanced to the semifinals, still in the hunt to be the first leader in the Player of the Year Race.
Tomoharu Saito 1, Adam Yurchick 2.
Quarterfinal - Conley Woods vs. Joby Parrish
Conley Woods continued to take his innovative decks far into pro play facing Top 8 newcomer Joby Parrish in the quarterfinals. Conley's Extended Bant deck featuring the new Jace would face down Joby's Zoo with Bant Charms.
The players were friendly before the match with Conley wondering how long it took Joby to get here. A 14-hour drive from Idaho and 15 rounds of Magic including a perfect 9-0 start behind him Joby was much quieter than Conley.
Having reviewed each other's decklist before the game Joby knew the possibilities when as he said "attempt to cast Pridemage" without ever setting the card onto the battlefield.
Mana Leak was indeed there and Path to Exile dealt with the Nacatl leaving the zoo player with an empty board and having done no damage after two turns.
Conley became the aggressor with two Noble Hierarchs teaming up to attack for two. Knight of the Reliquary, which Conley's teammate Brad Nelson is calling the best creature in multiple formats, tried to get the beats going again for Joby. Bant Charm would however send it to the bottom of the library before it could find a land or attack for the Zoo player.
"17 that's the highest I have ever been against Zoo at this point" Conley said, commenting on the lack of progress of the aggressive deck going into the fourth turn of play.
Tolaria West was transmuted and Conley debated between on turning it into a Treetop Village or an Engineered Explosives. Conley settled on the Explosives but declined to play it, instead ruining Joby's fetch land with an Aven Mindsensor at the end of his turn own turn.
The explosives would not turn out to be very potent as Nacatl, Pridemage and Knight impressively rebuilt the Zoo board.
Life totals stood at 8 for Joby 10 for Conley after an attack with Knight leaving a board of three creatures each, two Hierarchs for Conley to go with the Mindcensor. Mindcensor was attacking for four a turn thanks to exalted, meaning Zoo needed to find an out with his next draw step.
When Joby attacked again Conley took the safe route and blocked with Hierarch. This took a turn off his clock but meant he was not dead to a burn spell.
Conley attacked Joby to one and just needed to survive the turn and attack again to win. He lost his last heiarch to stay alive but his lethal attack back with the Mindcensor met a Lightning Bolt.
Joby attacked through Conley's empty board for the win.
Parrish 1, Woods 0Joby Parrish
"I made three of four mistakes, Top 8 jitters right?"Joby said. But the first game was still a win in his column.
A semi-local crowd of Northwest supporters celebrated the win in the background. The Idaho team deckbuilders have been a mainstay at West Coast Grand Prix events for years and this is a banner day for all of them.
Conley felt like he just needed more threats to win that game. Joby said "that's why we did not put hierarch in this deck" it just does not attack well," I don't understand why people play hierarch in Zoo."
Conley started Game 2 with a Treetop Village to Joby's Nacatl.
When his pen flew into pieces Conley wanted his "joke pen" in the coverage but numerous members of the crowd were too quick to provide one for the moment to be worth mention here.
When Joby did not follow up on his first play Conley commented "So you have the one one-drop no two-drop hand, so you just have infinite removal" Joby replied only with "Maaaaybe."
This game Joby was well ahead on life and the Ranger would put him ahead on creatures. However the Umezawa's Jitte threatened to change all that.
"So you have three Wild Nacatls in your hand," Conley said. He continued, "If you put all three Wild Nacatls into play at the same time you can beat anything but a royal flush." Joby wisely did not take the bait, "A royal flush named Engineered Explosives."
All three creatures jumped in front of the Rhox War Monk which took Conley back to 17. With a path and a jitte counter all three creatures were finished off by the one attacker.
Now the question was if Conley's Mystic and Hierarch would be able to punch through Joby's superiors creatures thanks to the equipment with only one counter on it. A goyf and two Nacatls seemed to indicate that jitte might not be enough.
Conley waited until after attacking to pop an Engineered Explosives to get exalted. Joby declined to risk his Goyf in combat even though it would have killed Conley's last creature.
A Vendilion Clique revealed Loam Lion and Nacatl. Neither provided a direct answer to the Umezawa's Jitte but Conley sent the bigger cat away regardless. Joby seemed to unclear how to beat the equipment refusing to attack or block with his Goyf.
However his next draw step found an answer with a Bant Charm in response to a yet another Vendilion. However the Goyf continued to hold back without clear reason and the Clique ate up Joby's life three at a time.
When a Goyf joined Conley's team he knew that the Zoo player was in serious trouble and needed a big topdeck. "Its got to be a really good one," Conley said. When Joby cast only Loam Lion, Conley sensed victory " That's not quite Cryptic Command good."
With a massive combat from Conley Joby scooped up his cards to prepare for the final game.
Parrish 1, Woods 1
Conley's deck innovation was the subject of much discussion amongst the crowd. When a spectator asked for the cards at the PTQ next weekend Conley was more concerned that more people were watching another match. "There is a huge crowd for [Matthew] Nass over there," he commented about the local hero he could face in the next round.
During sideboarding the players discussed whether Samurai of the Pale Curtain was the nutz against dredge or not. Conley felt it was not that great affecting only permanents but Joby maintained that preventing bridging counters was worth it.
Going into the Game 3 Conley said he had "the best hand I have keep all day." But a keep from Joby revealed that his statement was "incorrect" when Conley mulliganed.
Conley's six only included a single Plains for mana. But a Path to Exile and a lot of threats had him thinking about keeping describing it at the "toughest mulligan all day." He decided to gamble on the one-lander and kept.
A topdecked Temple Garden solicited a "Got there!" from Conley and the match would not be decided on mana. Joby did not have a one drop but sensed Conley's mana short and Helixed the Hierarch.
Conley answered with a Tarmogoyf. "I just wanted my goyf to be bigger, it was all a ploy, I set it up from the beginning." As Conley had kept a one lander this should serve as a helpful reminder to the readers at home to never trust your opponent.
Conley's friendly sounding banter continued going into Joby's fourth turn. "It's Ranger of Eos, that the only reason you would keep a land like that."
Joby had little gas however debating for considerable time what to name with Meddling Mage. Only a Helix in hand and a Treetop in play were there to help against Conley's hand full of threats.
The next turn Joby found a Goyf and used his Helix to kill Conley's Samurai of the Pale Curtain. Finding a third land had Conley debate his play for one of the first times of the match. Another Samurai was the choice.
Head judge John Carter wanted to know how the first Samurai had been removed from the game and not the Lightning Helix that killed it. Conley explained that the Helix was not a permanent and thus not affected by the samurai's ability.
In a flurry of blows, Paths from each side took out both Goyfs and the Samurai's bushido allowed it to trade with the Treetop Village.
As in Game 2 Conley had two Vendilions that both pulled removal in response to their ablity.
"I have such the ace in the hole," Conley said, "I'm going to brainstorm" showed that Jace, the Mind Sculptor was joining Conley's team. "Would you be upset if I told you I boarded out two of them," Conley said.
Joby seemed resigned as the Mind Sculptor crafted Conley the hand he wanted. No matter which threats the Zoo player found Conley always seemed to have a Bant Charm, a Path or a bigger guy ready for them.
Meddling Mage dropped Jace to one but Conley kept brainstorming anyways. Conley debated whether to use the Bant Charm he found mainstep on a new threat from Joby, fearing his opponent also having a Bant Charm.
Conley was right the Jace had found him the biggest threat on the board in a Tarmgoyf. A second one drew a handshake from Joby.
Conley Woods defeats Joby Parrish 2-1
Todd Anderson wanted to know if Conley kept a no green source hand and the crowd told him about the Temple Garden rip off the top.
Conley said he had considered bringing Battle of Wits to the event but was concerned that the stricter enforcement of shuffling and search rules would have made it impractical. The homebrewed Jace deck turned out to be a good choice as he advanced to the semifinals against local hero Matt Nass and his Elves.
Quarterfinal - Matthew Nass (Elves) vs. Petr Brozek (Brozek Deck Wins)
Petr Brozek was following up on his Top 16 performance at last season's World Championships. His Brozek Deck Wins was the talk of the tournament with turn three kills involving Steppe Lynxes and Zektar Shrine Expeditions. He was hoping for a measure of revenge against his quarterfinal opponent, Matt Nass who had defeated him in the Swiss. While Brozek traveled here from he Czech Republic his opponent, Matt Nass only had to travel from nearby Stanford. In my Friday column the owner of his local shop suggested Nass as a player from the area to keep an eye on and the young tennis coach has not disappointed with his Elves Combo deck. He was one of three players to go 9-0 on Day 1 and he finished Day 2 in similarly strong fashion.
Brozek opened with Flagstones of Trokair and Steppe Lynx -- a combination of cards that had powered up turn-three kills for him in the Swiss. Nass started off with Nettle Sentinel, a card which has been known to power up a turn-three kill or two in its day. Brozek attacked for four on turn two thanks to Scalding Tarn but his second turn combo piece -- Zektar Shrine Expedition -- was absent. He passed the turn and left his mana up to Path to Exile a Heritage Druid after Nass had played one earlier in the turn. When Nass passed the turn unable to get to three elves to make mana, Brozek crisped the other Druid up with an EOT Lightning Bolt. Brozek got in for another four with his Lynx.
Brozek's supply of lands began to taper off while Nass surged back into the game with Primal Command to gain 7 life and search for Ranger of Eos. The Ranger yielded Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel a turn later and Nass parlayed them into Elvish Archdruid. A turn later Nass was playing Cloudstone Curio and demonstrated the ability to draw through his deck with the cards in play. Brozek nodded and moved ahead to Game 2.Nass (Left) and Brozek (Right)
Brozek started the game at 17 with a Scalding Tarn into Sacred Foundry into Steppe Lynx. Nass also took some damage from his lands when he played Llanowar Elves off of Horizon Canopy. Brozek attacked for two and aimed Lightning Bolt at the Elf. Nass did not play a second land and took another point to play Arbor Elf. Brozek was scuffling for lands as well and emitted a deep sigh knowing he had a shot to win here with Nass stumbling but he did not play a third land and just put a second Steppe Lynx on the board. Nass was still missing his third land but played Nettle Sentinel to take his third point from his lands.
"Do you have the Path?" asked Nass who was hoping to hide behind his Arbor Elf. Brozek showed him the white removal spell. Nass had taken 3 from his lands, 3 from the Blaze, 2 from an earlier attack and now the two Lynxes did the remaining 12.
Nass opened with Misty Rainforest into Llanowar Elves while Brozek opened on Flagstones but had no Lynx this game. He played a Geopede on the second turn while Nass had played Boreal Druid and Nettle Sentinel -- but no second land. Nass played a second land and was able to play Umezawa's Jitte and equip his Sentinel. He attacked and killed the Geopede. Brozek was able to play two Geopedes -- apparently his opening hand was packed with them -- and keep the Umezawa's Jitte effect at bay with some "pump spells" on board in the form of fetch lands.
Nass had been scuffling for a white source but found a Temple Garden which yielded Ranger of Eos into Burrenton Forge-Tender and Heritage Druid. The game went on for a little while longer but the threat of the Forge-Tender made it impossible for Brozek to break through before Primal Command put the game out of reach with life gain and search for Eternal Witness. Ultimately, Brozek needed to Path the Forge-Tender and find a Volcanic Fallout but he was not able to do so in time.
Final result: Matt Nass defeated Petr Brozek two games to one and would advance to face Conley Woods in the semifinals.
Semifinal: I've Been Fulminating All Weekend - Travis Woo vs. Adam Yurchick
Now just two matches stood between this pair and the first title of 2010. While Yurchick had been the flagbearer for the Thopter-Depths combo that has been widely acknowledged as the best deck in the format over the last few weeks, across the table sat Travis Woo, who was making his Top 8 debut, having narrowly missed out at Grand Prix-Seattle last year.
Yurchick mulliganed to six, but Woo was quick to keep his opening seven. Turn two saw Yurchick cast Dark Confidant, but by then Woo had both Monstrous Carabid and Street Wraith in his graveyard. At least Dark Confidant was fuelling Yurchick's hand, and he attempted to shorten the clock with Vampire Hexmage. Jungle Weaver cycled for Woo at end of turn, which seemed to be the only part of the turn cycle he was interested in.
Finally, he had something to do on his own turn, casting Fulminator Mage. That was good timing, as Dark Confidant revealed Dark Depths on top of Yurchick's library. Thirst for Knowledge allowed him to pitch Chrome Mox, a card lying essentially dead in his hand for some time. Dark Depths came down, and Yurchick passed. Both players had a near-full grip at this point, and plenty of life.
Fulminator Mage attacked for two, and then did what he was meant to do, namely put Dark Depths in the bin. Violent Outburst Cascaded down into Living End, and now Monstrous Carabid, Jungle Weaver, Fulminator Mage. Street Wraith, and a second Carabid were all in play for Woo, facing down a pretty insignificant-looking Vampire Hexmage. Yurchick looked to fight a rearguard action with Thopter Foundry and Dark Confidant, but Woo's men were seriously huge. Slaughter Pact offed the Jungle Weaver, and a double block put paid to Monstrous Carabid.
Travis Woo 1, Adam Yurchick 0.Travis Woo
Leyline of the Void arrived right on cue for Yurchick, and Dark Confidant had also read the script on turn two. Monstrous Carabid cycled, but unlike Game 1, there was no future advantage for Woo, since the Leyline Exiled the Carabid instead.
Thoughtseize from Yurchick had been great all day, and here it found Jungle Weaver, Valley Rannet, double Violent Outburst, Maelstrom Pulse, Night of Souls Betrayal, and a land. It was the Maelstrom Pulse that hit what would have been the graveyard, but for the Leyline. Woo cycled the Valley Rannet, as that early Leyline continued to do Yurchick proud. Violent Outburst Cascaded into Living End, which had little effect other than to Exile Yurchick's Dark Confidant. Yurchick replied with Chalice of the Void set to zero, and Woo was, if not happy, at least willing to sweep up his permanents and head for a decider where he would hope to avoid an early Leyline of the Void.
Travis Woo 1, Adam Yurchick 1.
Both players kept their opening hands, and Woo couldn't resist a smile as Yurchick failed to land Leyline of the Void. He did, however, have Vampire Hexmage on turn two, powered by Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, and crucially, Dark Depths. Monstrous Carabid cycled for Woo, who let out a small ‘hmm' at the sight of the Hexmage.
The Dark Depths turned into the inevitable 20/20, and Yurchick sent it into the red zone. Woo had no answer, and once again Adam Yurchick had got himself through a tight one, and now would head for the final, where he awaited either Matt Nass or Conley Woods.
Travis Woo 1, Adam Yurchick 2.
Semifinal - Matthew Nass (Elves) vs. Conley Woods (Bant)
"You beat that red-white deck?" asked Conley as he and Matt Nass shuffled up for the first game of the semifinals.
"Yeah," beamed Matt. "That deck is sweet."
"I know," said Conley, obviously suffering from deck envy. "I beat it in the Swiss and I was not sure which one of you I wanted to face here because it was really close."
Nass won the coin flip and announced that he would not be mulliganing.
"That was a quick keep," sighed Conley who also kept.
Nass played Boreal Druid and passed the turn to Conley who played an upright Hallowed Fountain representing Path to Exile. Nass played a turn two Cloudstone Curio and Conley joked: "Not Spell Snaring that."
Nass offered up an Eternal Witness eyeing the Misty Rainforest in his bin. Conley took the bait and Mana Leaked it. Nass was holding Temple Garden and played it. Conley had an awkward draw and was forced to run mana through his Flooded Grove to play Noble Hierarch. Nass played Glimpse on the next turn and followed it up with Boreal Druid and Heritage Druid. He asked Conley if he understood the mechanics of how he could draw through his whole deck.
Conley nodded but asked Nass to demonstrate the cycle. Nass played his third elf and then with the Curio effect on the stack tapped the three of them for mana. Then he would pick up an elf, play it, draw a card, pick up another, etc until he had used his three green mana and had all three creatures untapped and ready to go again. He went through it once and was going to do it again but Conley stopped him.
"I just wanted to make you do it once to make sure you knew. You can just draw three at a time."
Nass began to cycle through his deck until he found Nettle Sentinels which allowed him to profit mana on each cycle and then found Essence Warden which then allowed him to gain lots of life. As he was crisply going through the deck he earned hushed murmurs of admiration from the specators.
"Wow that deck looks hard," said one.
"It is," his friend said emphatically. "That's why I didn't play it. I am not smart. I would rather take the SAT exams."
Meanwhile Conley waited patiently for Nass to find a Primal Command that would let him finish off the game.
"If this was MTGO I would have won by now," joked Conley. The deck has so many triggers that are impossible to shortcut on Magic Online that the deck is not heavily played in online events. Conley scooped when Nass finally found the Command with one card left in his library.
"I built my deck for the Top 4 archtypes and not Elves," said Conley as he looked through his sideboard for something good in the matchup. "I made the last cards in my sideboard Tormod's Crypt instead of Chalice. I have not played the Crypts once. If I can win this and the Living End deck wins maybe I will finally get a chance to use them."
"This is a keeper," announced Conley as he looked at his hand and he led with Noble Hierarch. "This is so much better on the play."
"Better than turn four on the draw?" laughed Nass as he sacrificed a fetch land.
"Are you taking three?"
"My deck never takes three."
"You have a Temple Garden."
"Did you see that?"
"Yeah, you played it after I countered the Witness which made me sad."
Conley played Samurai of the Pale Curtain on turn two and was able to attack for three a turn while picking off creatures as needed when Nass attempted to equip them with Jitte.
"I have gotten to do more this game than all of last game," grinned Conley as he aimed Bant Charm at a Cloudstone Curio. He was able to keep Nass from ever getting the Jitte online and eventually finished him off with the Samurai and a Treetop Village.
"I'll keep," said Nass emphatically.
"Son of a..." grumbled Conley.
"This deck never mulligans," shrugged Nass sheepishly.
"Do you have a turn two win?" asked Conley as he contemplated his opening hand.
"You are lying to me but I will run with it."
"Okay here is the magical turn. If you win you get banned for lying."
"Jitte!?!" yelped Woods. "I don't like where this one is going."
Conley transmuted Tolaria West and Nass asked: "What are you getting?"
Nass suited up one of his guys and killed the Hierarch.
The transmuted land was painful for Conley who did not have a third land and had now lost the Noble Hierarch.
"Need a good card. Didn't get one," he sighed before brightening at the similar number of lands in play on both sides. "Wait did you miss a land drop too?"
"Everyone is missing land drops," said Nass.
Land continued to elude Conley and he had to pop the Explosives to kill Llanowar Elves and Essence Warden. Nass restocked with Nettle Sentinel. Woods was still scuffling and played another Explosives -- this one set on 2. Nass attacked with the Sentinel and then played Glimpse of Nature to cycle Heritage Druid into Verdant Catacombs. Woods popped the the Explosives to deal with the Jitte. Nass was unfazed and attacked with Nettle Sentinel before playing another Jitte.
Conley found a land and was paralyzed by his options. "Oh man. I don't know what to do now."
Nass had enough mana to set Conley back the land he had just found by using Primal Command to Fallow Earth a land and search. Conley played Aven Mindcensor in response and crossed his fingers: "Was it there?"
"This was here," said Nass, showing him Heritage Druid. "Ship."
"No need for cussing."
Nass used another Glimpse on his next turn and played Heritage Druid. In response Conley used Path on the Nettle Sentinel. Nass picked up his deck to look for the land but he got a warning for looking at extra cards and had to shuffle and look at top four cards for his land due to the Mindcensor. He missed. Later in the turn he played Ranger of Eos and whiffed again.
"Its like a big ol' stop sign," laughed Conley who untapped to legend slay the Jitte with his own copy. Nass was content to play small ball with his Glimpses -- much like LSV in the finals of Berlin -- and put a few guys into play and found another Jitte which he played and equipped to the Ranger. It traded with the Aven Mindcensor. Nass was able to send in his small army of guys a couple of times and eventually finished Conley off by moving his Jitte around to two different creatures and pumping them both.
Final result: Matt Nass defeated Conley Woods two games to one to advance to the Finals against U.S. National team member Adam Yurchick.
The Final: Combo/Elves. But Which One? - Matthew Nass vs. Adam Yurchick
With 767 players vanquished, only two remained. For eighteen year old Matt Nass, this was a taste of the big time seven days earlier than he might have anticipated, since Pro Tour-San Diego next week will mark his debut at the big show. Playing Elves, he was the last man standing this weekend, getting to 13-0 before tasting defeat, at a point when he was already locked for the Top 8. Now Level 4 Pro Adam Yurchick stands in his way, with two Grand Prix Top 8s behind him, including a final appearance at Grand Prix-Philadelphia in 2008.
Nass had the ideal Llanowar Elves turn one, while Yurchick, who mulliganed to six on the play, could only muster Dimir Aqueduct on his second turn. Turn two for Nass was the tasty Elvish Archdruid. Elvish Visionary and a second Elvish Archdruid followed for Nass, who attacked for three. Yurchick ended the turn with Thirst for Knowledge, pitching Dark Depths and Dark Confidant.
Duress showed him Elvish Visionary, two Boreal Druid, and a Nettle Sentinel, none of which he could touch with the one-mana Sorcery, but at least he now had perfect information with which to sculpt his next plays. He elected to Transmute Muddle the Mixture into Vampire Hexmage, and, given that he'd pitched Dark Depths earlier in the game, seemed likely to have the Coldsnap land in hand.
Glimpse of Nature from the top of the deck signalled Nass' intention to go off, and it wasn't long before a veritable torrent of Elves was hitting play, with Cloudstone Curio soon along for the ride. "3...2...5..2..3..1..5...4..3...6...5...7...2.." Well, alright, I'm making some of those numbers up, but it's a good reflection of the monologue spoken by Nass, as his mana ebbed and flowed, periodically dropping by five for Primal Command, rendering all possible resistance futile, as someone once famously said.
Matt Nass 1, Adam Yurchick 0.Matthew Nass
For a change, Yurchick felt able to keep his opening seven, while Nass had an easy decision to send his opener back to the shuffle. After a land from Yurchick, Nettle Sentinel opened for Nass. Dark Confidant was turn two for Yurchick, as it had been so often in this Top 8. Elvish Visionary was up next for Nass, who seemed to be holding himself together, despite the pressure of the finish line looming.
Yurchick semi-reluctantly laid Sword of the Meek before passing, leaving Nass to cast Heritage Druid. Out came: Essence Warden, Elvish Visionary, and Ranger of Eos (fetching Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel), before Nass passed back to Yurchick, who was now looking in serious trouble. He had a full grip of seven cards to be sure, but when he cast Thirst for Knowledge, he once again opened the door to Nass. Could he take full advantage?
Evefrything attacked, but perhaps the most crucial part of the turn was the Ghost Quarter he laid post-combat, providing Dark Depths defense. Tolaria West Transmuted for Engineered Explosives, and Nass looked concerned. Chrome Mox was Imprinted with Repeal, allowing Yurchick to cast the Explosives for one.
Now just two Elvish Visionary remained in play for Nass, but that would quickly change. Heritage Druid and Nettle Sentinel came out for Nass, and he had mana for Ranger of Eos too, fetching a pair of Nettle Sentinels. Now it looked as if Yurchick's Engineered Explosives had been just a temporary reprieve. He laid another Explosives, again set to one, but this time left it ticking. Arbor Elf untapped the Nettle Sentinel, and Nass sent everything into the red zone. Yurchick fell from 13 to just 4 at a stroke, and it seemed as if Nass was on the verge of a famous triumph.
Yurchick had no choice but to blow the Explosives at end of turn, which may have bought him some time, but it was clear that the Ghost Quarter across the table was a serious roadblock to his ambitions of forcing Game 3. Chalice of the Void from the top seemed unlikely to change anything, so he went to plan B of casting Compulsive Research. Was this the last turn of the final? He Transmuted Muddle the Mixture, fetching out Vampire Hexmage, and used a newly Imprinted Chrome Mox to allow him to play it, also adding Dark Depths to the board.
The two Elvish Visionaries attacked Yurchick down to just one precious life, thanks to Pendelhaven. Now the proverbial fat lady was getting rather loud. Yurchick untapped, with only the top of his deck between him and the end of the road. He drew, but there was no help. By two games to none, the dominant player of the weekend refused to be derailed in the Top 8.
Matt Nass, the last man standing, is the 2010 Grand Prix-Oakland champion!