Grand Prix Orlando 2012

Conley Woods is the Grand Prix Orlando Champion!

Delver of Secrets , Invisible Stalker s and Runechanter's Pike s were everywhere this weekend, but in the end it was Conley Woods and Patrick Chapin, two rogue deck designers and fan favorites who faced off in the finals with decks no one else had, with Woods taking home his first Grand Prix trophy.

And as the format gets ready to welcome Dark Ascension, Chapin and Woods have shown that the format remains wide-open for innovation and rogue deck designs in the hands of capable players. Aspiring deck builders would do well to pay close attention to their lists and methods as a new set dawns.

The weekend will also be remembered for the first time rising star Ben Friedman cracked a Grand Prix Top 8 and for yet another dominant performance by Team Channelfireball, which put three players in the Top 8 and another two in the Top 16.

But in the end it was Conley Woods who won the weekend with his innovative Black/Green Ramp deck proving that rogue can definitely be the way to go.

top 8 bracket


(1) Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

(8) David Ochoa

(4) Conley Woods

(5) Ben Friedman

(2) Stephen Mann

(7) Javier Adorno

(3) Gabri Nieves Ortiz

(6) Patrick Chapin


Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa, 2-0

Conley Woods, 2-0

Stephen Mann, 2-0

Patrick Chapin, 2-0


Conley Woods, 2-0

Patrick Chapin, 2-0


Conley Woods, 2-0



Follow live streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Orlando at with Rashad Miller, Rich Hagon, Sheldon Menery, and Jake Van Lunen.




1. Woods, Conley L $3,500
2. Chapin, Patrick A $2,300
3. da Rosa, Paulo Vito $1,500
4. Mann, Stephen G $1,500
5. Nieves Ortiz, Gabri $1,000
6. Friedman, Ben S $1,000
7. Adorno, Javier $1,000
8. Ochoa, David A $1,000

pairings, results, standings


15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


15 14 13 12 11 10

9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Top 8 Decklists

by Event Coverage Staff

Top 8 - Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

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Top 8 - Conley Woods

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Top 8 - Ben Friedman

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Top 8 - David Ochoa

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Top 8 - Patrick Chapin

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Top 8 - Javier Adorno

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Top 8 - Gabriel Nieves

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Top 8 - Stephen Mann

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Top 8 Player profiles


David Ochoa

Age: 30
Hometown: Hayward, Ca
Occupation: Writer

Previous Magic accomplishments
Top 8s: US Nationals 2010, 2011

GPs: 3
PTs: 0

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Blue-White Delver. It’s the best deck using Snapcaster Mage and Delver of Secrets .

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?
Patrick Chapin’s 4.5-Color Control Deck.

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
Sword of War and Peace. It Allows your creatures to survive sweepers like Slagstorm and Whipflare, race more efficiently, and attack through potential blockers.


Gabriel Nieves

Age: 20
Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Occupation: Student

Previous Magic accomplishments
First Top 8!

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Esper Control. I’m a control player and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite is a great card in Standard at the moment. She won me most of my matches.

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
To me, looks like both, but I fear the Sword more.


Patrick Chapin

Age: 31
Hometown: Milwaukee/RIW Hobbies
Occupation: Professional Magic Player/Writer for

Previous Magic accomplishments
Four Pro Tour Top 8s, Two GP Top 8s, Junior PT Top 4, Type 1 Champ, wrote “Next Level Magic.”

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Grixis. I thought I’d mix it up. Only good matchup is delver, which is fortunately half the field.

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?
Humans is my worst matchup, and Wolf Run Ramp isn’t good for me either.

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
Sword of War and Peace. How is this close?


Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Age: 24
Hometown: Porto Algere
Occupation: Student/Player

Previous Magic accomplishments
Won Brazilian Nationals twice! 11? Grand Prix Top 8s, 8 Pro Tour Top 8s.

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Blue-White Delver. My friends said it was good, and I’ve always liked aggro-control decks.

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?
I’d rather not play the 75-card mirror, but at this point anything is fair game.

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
I played 2 and 2, and would play 2 and 2 again. Pike was better in this deck (though Sword is a better card overall, I think).


Javier Adorno

Age: 27
Hometown: Tampa, Fl
Occupation: Student

Previous Magic accomplishments
This is my first Top 8.

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
-Green Wolf Run, it’s the deck I have the most experience with.

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?
Steve Mann, cuz he’s my buddy.

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
Sword of War and Peace.


Steve Mann

Age: 28
Hometown: Tampa, FL
Occupation: Professional Lucker

Previous Magic accomplishments
Beating _Batutinha_

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Illusions. I had it on hand when I decided to attend the GP. The deck is horrible!

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?
My quarterfinals opponent - Wolf Run.

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
Sword of War and Peace.


Ben Friedman

Age: 18
Hometown: Baltimore, MD
Occupation: Matt Costa’s Apprentice

Previous Magic accomplishments
StarCityGames Invitational Top 8.

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Humans, because Matt Costa told me to.

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?
deck seems like it should steamroll me, hopefully I win so I can go to Barcelona!

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
Sword of War and Peace.


Conley Woods

Age: 25
Hometown: Denver, CO
Occupation: Professional Monguise

Previous Magic accomplishments
Two Pro Tour Top 8s, four GP Top 8s.

What deck did you play and why did you choose it?
Black-Green Glissa Ramp.

Is there any deck or player in the Top 8 that you don’t want to face?

Runechanter’s Pike or Sword of War and Peace?
Sword of War and Peace.

QuarterFinals - Javier Adorno vs. Stephen Mann

by Steve Sadin

Javier Adorno, and Stephen Mann are friends, and Tampa, Florida residents, who have played together for years – so it's only natural that the two of them would be playing a match against each other in Florida on a Sunday afternoon...

But instead of this being the finals of a draft at the Game Academy – this is a Top 8 match at a Grand Prix, and only one of them will walk away from this match with an invitation to Pro Tour Barcelona.

Game One

Stephen Mann got off to a fairly fast start with a Phantasmal Bear , a Phantasmal Illusion, and a Snapcaster Mage while Javier Adorno's only play before turn five was a Sphere of the Suns , and a couple of attacks with a Inkmoth Nexus .

A Mana Leak to counter Inferno Titan was enough for Mann to take the first game while most of the other players in the Top 8 were still shuffling.

Stephen Mann 1 – Javier Adorno 0

Stephen Mann

Game Two

Mann played an early Gitaxian Probe and saw a hand of two Galvanic Blast s, Solemn Simulacrum , Primeval Titan , and immediately put this knowledge to good use -- making sure to leave up counterspell mana up at every opportunity.

An early Gitaxian Probe left Javier Adorno without many secrets

A couple of Inkmoth Nexus es, and a Kessig Wolf Run gave Adorno a route to victory that didn't require him to resolve a spell – but a Moorland Haunt again turned things in Mann's favor, as he was able to generate some much needed flying blockers.

With his Inkmoth Nexus es essentially neutralized, Adorno needed to land a titan in order to force a third game. But with a hand full of counterspells, that wasn't something that Mann was going to let happen – and a few turns later Stephen Mann was on his way to the Top 4 of Grand Prix Orlando, and needing to make plans for a trip to Barcelona in May.

Final Result

Stephen Mann 2 – Javier Adorno 0

QuarterFinals - Patrick Chapin vs. Gabriel Nieves

by Blake Rasmussen

In a sea of UW aggro decks, Delvers and Humans, Illusions and Spirit s, Patrick Chapin and Gabriel Nieves crossed over 15 rounds of Standard only to find themselves match up in a rare control-on-control matchup.

Nieves, hailing from Puerto Rico, was playing a fairly stock Solar Flare list. Nieves won his win-and-in round 15 to make this, his FIRST, Grand Prix Top 8.

Chapin, hailing from the internet and possibly the future as far as I can tell (actually Milwaukee), was playing an update of the Grixis deck that he had done well with at Worlds.

They started out pouring over their decklists, ribbing eachother about their respective mana bases.

"You're playing Solar Flare! You can't give me a hard time about my mana base!"

With a bevy of tapped lands on both sides of the table, this match was likely to go long. And while game one certainly wouldn't disappoint in that regard, game two was something definitely unexepected.

Game 1

Chapin made the first play of what was sure to be a drawn out game, casting an end of turn Forbidden Alchemy , binning another Alchemy. He then immediately, and completely disregarding Nieves' open mana, cast – and resolved – Liliana of the Veil .

Nieves discarded a Think Twice and then resolved a Forbidden Alchemy as both players started stocking their hands, graveyards and mana bases. Chapin was clearly contentment ticking up his Liliana Vess after playing a Ratchet Bomb to protect against future Oblivion Ring s.

Another Liliana Vess activation moved the planeswalker up to six loyalty, inching closer and closer to allowing Chapin to activate her ultimate ability.

Gabriel Nieves Solar Flare deck gave Patrick Chapin everything it could take in game one.

That forced Nieves to make a move, which he found in the form of an Oblivion Ring to exile Liliana of the Veil, at least until Ratchet Bomb could get to three counters.

Chapin used that opportunity to flashback a Forbidden Alchemy via Snapcaster Mage , which immediately started attacking for the first points of the match.

But Nieves landed the first haymaker, resolving a Sun Titan to bring back an Island , prompting Chapin to flash back a Forbidden Alchemy the old fashion way.

Ratchet Bomb cleared out the Oblivion Ring , and Liliana Vess reared her deadly head again, forcing Nieves to sacrifice the Sun Titan . Nieves attempted to reload the following turn with a Batterskull , but two Mana Leak s allowed Snap caster to keep chugging along.

This time it was Chapin's turn to Titan, resolving his deck's only Inferno Titan to drop Nieves to 11 life, forcing him to cast Day of Judgment and clear the board.

Now creatureless again, Chapin started working his Liliana of the Veil up toward six once more. He even found a Desperate Ravings along the way to look for some gas and a Ratchet Bomb to protect his board, though it did cause him to discard his lone Sorin Markov .

Liliana of the Veil did hit six loyalty, but Nieves found some serious gas with a Forbidden Alchemy . Oblivion Ring removed Liliana Vess again and Unburial Rites brought back a Sun Titan .

But the haymaker's weren't done. Not by a long shot.

Olivia Voldaren found her way into play alongside exactly enough mana to turn Sun Titan into a vampire and take control of it.

Hunting for answers, Nieves flashed back a Forbidden Alchemy in his main phase. Finding nothing, he conceded to Chapin's lethal board.

Chapin 1 – Nieves 0

Game 2

The first attempt at anything resembling a spell was Nieves attempting a Pristine Talsman which Chapin was quick to Dissipate .

When Chapin attepted the same Liliana of the Veil that had done so much work in game one, Nieves was ready with the Mana Leak this time around, and followed it up with a Nihil Spellbomb that he almost immediately cashed in in response to an Inferno Titan . He didn't find a counterspell of any kind, and the Ratchet Bomb he played could not possibly stop Inferno Titan in time.

Patrick Chapin gazes lovingly at Liliana of the Veil, but it was Inferno Titan that gave him a quick game two win.

And just like that the Titan attacked Nieves all the way down to five in just one swing.

With no help coming, just like that, it was over!

Patrick Chapin defeats Gabriel Nieves 2-0

QuarterFinals - Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa vs. David Ochoa

by Steve Sadin

Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa, and David Ochoa are friends, and teammates who managed to cruise into the Top 8 playing identical (75/75) Blue-White Delver decks.

Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa

"Want to switch decks?" joked Ochoa while they were shuffling.

"No way, yours has checklist cards in it!" replied PV.

Game One

PV won the roll, and the players each kept their opening hands.

"How many one landers did you keep on the play in this tournament?" asked Ochoa.

PV shot Ochoa a look normally reserved for people wearing their underwear outside of their pants, before finally replying with a one-word answer.


"Well this is awkward."

PV started off the match with a Delver of Secrets , before Ochoa's first turn Gitaxian Probe revealed a hand of: Delver of Secrets , Invisible Stalker , Sword of War and Peace , Gitaxian Probe , and Vapor Snag – his first one land on the play hand of the tournament.

PV was able to flip his Delver into an Insectile Aberration – but his Gitaxian Probe failed to yield him a second land, so he had to content himself by playing his second Delver. Ochoa played a couple of Delvers of his own – while PV found the second land that he needed to cast his Invisible Stalker .

PV's Vapor Snag cleared the way for a couple of extra hits with his Insectile Aberration , and in turn forced Ochoa to frantically dig for answers with his Ponder s.

Any hopes that Ochoa had of getting back into the game were immediately dashed when PV played a Sword of War and Peace to go with his Invisible Stalker .

David Ochoa

"You were very lucky." Said Ochoa with a smile.

Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa 1 – David Ochoa 0

Game Two

Ochoa's first play was a turn two Invisible Stalker , while PV had a turn one Delver of Secrets that immediately flipped into an Insectile Aberration .

Ochoa's attempt at Geist of Saint Traft got countered by Mana Leak , and gave PV the window that he needed to resolve a Runechanter's Pike.

A Gitaxian Probe revealed that PV hand featured Oblivion Ring – so Ochoa wouldn't even be able to pull away with the Sword of War and Peace that he drew off of the Probe .

Da Rosa advances to the Semi-Finals

A Moorland Haunt bought Ochoa a bit of time, but without an answer for his opponent's first turn flying Wild Nacatl , let alone the Runechanter's Pike, and the Invisible Stalker -- Ochoa was never really able to get himself into the game.

Final Result

Paulo Vitor Dama da Rosa 2 – David Ochoa 0

QuarterFinals - Conley Woods vs. Ben Friedman

by Jake van Lunen

Conley Woods has been red hot recently. After dominating Worlds, he posted a Top 32 finish in Austin and continued his streak with a Top 8 here in Orlando. Woods has been turning heads all weekend with his innovative black-green ramp deck. The renown deckbuilder has 4 Grand Prix Top 8s, and two Pro Tour Top 8s to his name, but has yet to win a professional level event outright.

Could this be Conley Woods' time to finally take home a trophy?

Ben Friedman is making his premier event Top 8 debut this weekend. Friedman, a Baltimore native, has qualified for many Pro Tours and had great success on the Star City Games circuit, including a Top 8 at the Invitational. A Top 32 finish at Pro Tour: Philadelphia and a run at Grand Prix Austin that ended one match short of a Top 8 proves that Friedman has what it takes to compete at the highest levels of competitive play.

Game One

Woods won the roll and chose to play first. He smiled, "Good luck, but hopefully not as good as mine."

Friedman came barreling out of the gate with an Elite Vanguard on his first turn followed by a Grand Abolisher .

Woods, whose deck had a much lower impact low end but a much higher high end, spent his second turn developing his mana with Rampant Growth and his fourth dispatching the Abolish er with a Doom Blade .

Friedman snuck in another two damage with Elite Vanguard , but it was clear that his steam was running out when he only cast Doomed Traveler during his second mainphase.

Woods took advantage of Friedman's hiccup and cast Acidic Slime , destroying one of Friedman's lands and trading with Elite Vanguard . The trade appeared short sighted when Friedman followed up with Geist of Saint Traft .

Acidic Slime

But it was quite the opposite. Woods had worked his way up to Grave Titan , and things began looking very bleak for Friedman. A land and Hero of Bladehold presented a strong board presence, but Grave Titan still trumped everything on Friedman's could muster.

Woods' attacked yielded a chump block with his Doomed Traveler , and the scales tipped even further in favor of Woods when he cast a Primeval Titan and found a pair of Inkmoth Nexus .

Friedman tried to apply pressure with Fiend Hunter and an all-out attack, but Woods had enough zombies to soak up most of the damage and successfully kill Hero of Bladehold and Geist of Saint Traft . Friedman sighed, "It's not looking too good for our hero."

Woods attacked and continued to develop his board with Grave Titan 's trigger. A second Grave Titan post-combat was enough for Friedman to concede and move on to game 2.

Woods Woods 1 - Ben Friedman 0

Friedman lamented how bad the matchup was while looking over Woods' sideboard options. Woods responded with empathy, "Yeah, it's pretty rough for you. It feels good to be on the opposite side of this kind of matchup," referring to his difficult matchup in the top 8 of Worlds.

Game Two

Neither player liked their first hand, but each confidently kept their second six.

Friedman once again started with Elite Vanguard and prepared to serve up some early beats. On his second turn he attacked for two and added two more Elite Vanguard s to the table. "Please, no Maelstrom Pulse ," Friedman joked.

Woods took a beating while he spent time working on his mana with Rampant Growth . Friedman continued to apply pressure with Champion of the Parish , but failed to play a third land.

Everything changed when Woods tapped out on his third turn and cast Black Sun's Zenith .

"This hand was supposed to win... So long as you didn't have Black Sun's Zenith or Ratchet Bomb ," Friedman deadpanned.

Black Sun's ZenithGrave Titan

Friedman failed to find a third land with his draw step and could only add a 1/1 Champion of the Parish to the battlefield, following it up with a Mirran Crusader the next turn.

A Solemn Simulacrum and Grave Titan , however, gave Woods a commanding lead. Friedman wasn't going down without a fight, though, he continued to apply pressure by casting Leonin Relic Ward er to exile the Solemn Simulacrum before attacking Woods down to eight.

Woods attacked back for ten damage and cast a Batterskull , leaving open mana to chump block the Mirran Crusader with his Inkmoth Nexus , which he did after Friedman removed Batterskull with an Oblivion Ring .

Another attack from Woods forced Friedman to block the Grave Titan , and a Green Sun's Zenith for Glissa, the Traitor allowed Woods to press his advantage further. Friedman drew for his turn and was unable to find an answer to Woods' zombie horde.

"I guess I'll need to find another way to qualify for Barcelona," said Friedman before shaking Woods' hand and wishing him good luck in the Semifinals.

Conley Woods wins 2 - 0

Semi-Finals - Patrick Chapin vs. Stephen Mann

by Steve Sadin

Long time pro Patrick Chapin, who has four Pro Tour Top 8s, and now three Grand Prix Top 8s under his belt, is no stranger to the spotlight. Florida native Stephen Mann, by contrast, is playing in his first Grand Prix Top 8 this weekend.

Newcomer Stephen Mann is making a name for himself in his first GP

And while Mann was clearly excited to have locked up an invitation to Pro Tour Barcelona -- he seemed less than optimistic about his Illusions deck's chances going into his Semifinals match against Chapin's "Anti-Delver" Grixis Control deck.

Game One

Chapin won the roll, and the two players had to start off the match with mulligans down to six.

Chapin used a Mana Leak to counter Mann's attempt at an early Snapcaster Mage , and ultimately left Mann with only a Moorland Haunt token for damage. Damage that Chapin was able to offset with a Pristine Talisman .

Mann played out a couple more creatures, which Chapin killed with Whipflare -- and by the time Mann had made a second spirit token, Chapin had found a second Pristine Talisman to make sure that his life total never dipped below 20.

A Batterskull gave Chapin a very real clock, and made Mann's offensive attempts seem even more futile. When Chapin decided not to take a Curse of Death's Hold (which he had more than enough mana to cast) off of Forbidden Alchemy , it was clear that the game was all but over.

Mann stuck around for a few more turns, but without any maindeck answers to an active Batterskull (and an abundance of mana)– he eventually conceded.

Patrick Chapin 1 – Stephen Mann 0

Game Two

Mann began game two with a mulligan, but was still able to get off to a strong start with a Phantasmal Bear , and a Lord of the Unreal .

Patrick Chapin advances to the finals

A Ratchet Bomb dealt with the Phantasmal Bear , but Mann had a Delver of Secrets to replace it – and Chapin suddenly found himself in a position where he needed to dig into some answers fast (and hope that Mann didn't find a white source for his Moorland Haunt ) in order to have any chance of getting back into the game.

Desperate Ravings plus flashback seemed to do the trick, as Chapin was able to find a Liliana of the Veil to deal with Mann's Insectile Aberration , a Whipflare to draw out a Dissipate , before ultimately resolving a gamebreaking Sorin Markov .

By the time that Mann finally drew a white source to activate his Moorland Haunt , it was already too late.

Final Result

Patrick Chapin defeats Stephen Mann in two games to advance to the Finals!

Semi-Finals - Conley Woods vs. Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

by Blake Rasmussen

As familiar as these two player were with each other, they weren't above the pleasantries.

"Hello!" Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa said, offering his hand to his teammate and fellow Worlds Top 8 competator.

"Hi, I'm Conley" Woods said, trailing off at his own joke.

Obviously the two teammates and friends were quite familiar with one another. Woods had conceded to Vitor Damo da Rosa at Worlds to get both into the Top 8 and Vitor Damo da Rosa had returned the favor late in this tournament with the same result.

"Can we let the more handsome player go first?" Conley asked. Assured by the judge that that was not a random way to determine who had the choice, the players rolled instead. Conley won.

"See, the handsome one won anyway!" said the ever dashing Conley Woods.

Teammates, testing partners and apparently a moderately handsome duo, these two were sure to lay an interesting match.

Game 1

The handsome one – er, Woods – started ramping almost immediately, though Vitor Damo da Rosa stilted his start with Mana Leak s on his first two attempts at Sphere of the Suns .

Invisible Stalker ate a Geth's Verdict before Vitor Damo da Rosa, stuck on two lands, cast a naked Snapcaster Mage . That too fell to Geth's Verdict , but not before attacking Woods down to 18.

Gitxian Probe revealed Acidic Slime and one of each Titan, Grave and Primeval. The Slime destroyed Moorland Haunt the following turn and traded with Vitor Damo da Rosa's second Snapcaster Mage .

Vitor Damo da Rosa resolved a Geist of Saint Traft , but Woods had already advanced his Ratchet Bomb to three and destroyed it before attacks.

Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa had a lot to think about against Conley Woods

Things continued to come up all Conley as he resolved a Primeval Titan , even though it was Vapor Snag ged.

Vitor Damo da Rosa found a second Geist as well as some Midnight Haunting Tokens, but a Grave Titan put a screeching halt to the Geist. Woods was also able to trade off an Inkmoth Nexus for one of the Spirit s, and had slowed Vitor Damo da Rosa's rapid pace to a crawl.

During a deck tech earlier in the day, Woods had said the Grave Titan was good against Delver decks, and when he cast a second one, upping his count to six zombies, he certainly showed why.

Woods 1 – Vitor Damo da Rosa 0

Game 2

Vitor Damo da Rosa started out strong with a Delver of Secrets on turn one, even after a mull to 6, and a Gitaxian Probe the following turn to reveal Rampant Growth , Curse of Death's Hold , Ancient Grudge , Glissa and lands.

The Rampant Growth resolved through Vitor Damo da Rosa's open mana, and the Delver flipped the following turn. When Vitor Damo da Rosa also cast a Geist of Saint Traft , it looked like the game could end in a hurry.

Woods shot back with his own three-drop legend – Glissa, the Traitor – and fully expected it to be Vapor Snag ged even as he played it. When it was indeed Snag ged, Woods dropped to six life and looked to be in serious trouble.

But a Liliana of the Veil and a Ratchet Bomb teamed up to clear the board – the new Bomb killing the now zero-cost Insectile Aberration and Liliana of the Veil forcing Vitor Damo da Rosa to sacrifice his Geist. Woods had staved off death for at least a little bit.

Vitor Damo da Rosa shot back with his second Geist of Saint Traft , but Woods again had Glissa, the Traitor , back from her Vapor Snare vacation, as well as an Inkmoth Nexus to block the token if need be.

Another Ponder and another series of decisions for Vitor Damo da Rosa. He had come out quickly, but Woods was clawing his way back bit by bit every turn. He used an Oblivion Ring to remove Glissa from the equation and an attack to take out Liliana Vess as well.

Conley Woods, the man, the myth, the very handsome legend

That did, however, give Woods an opportunity to land Curse of Death's Hold , all the while keeping Inkmoth Nexus available to block. That was enough of a deterrent for Vitor Damo da Rosa, who passed without attacking.

Both players passed back and forth several times before Woods drew and cast a Black Sun's Zenith , freeing his Nexus to attack for one poison.

Once again, Paulo passed. The curse had rendered about 80 percent of his deck unplayable.

The following turn Woods attempted to Kessig Wolf Run his Inkmoth Nexus , but Snapcaster Mage on a Vapor Snag temporarily kept the game's result up in the air. But when a Grave Titan landed on the battlefield the next turn, it was more than enough to move Woods onto the finals.

Conley Woods defeats Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa 2-0

Finals - Patrick Chapin vs. Conley Woods

by Steve Sadin

Conley Woods and Patrick Chapin are two of the most renowned rogue deck designers in the world – consistently finding ways to succeed with strategies that most other players had never even considered viable.

But despite their abilities to succeed at the game's highest levels – Chapin and Woods are both yet to win a premier event. Between the two of them, they have 6 Pro Tour Top 8s, and 5 (now 7) Grand Prix In Top 8s, but no wins. One of these players is guaranteed to leave this match a Grand Prix Champion, while the other will have to resume their role as a perennial bridesmaid.

"Now this is what I like to see. Me and you in the finals of a "stale," four month old Standard format playing our own decks," said a jovial Chapin.

"It's a brewer's world. Everyone else is just living in it," replied Woods.

Game One

Woods spent his first few turns ramping up his mana with Rampant Growth , Sphere of the Suns , and Solemn Simulacrum – while Chapin dug through his deck with a couple of Ponder s.

As soon as Woods got to nine mana (putting himself safely out of Mana Leak range) he resolved a Grave Titan – which Chapin promptly killed with a Devil's play.

Patrick Chapin

"One time, don't have it!" exclaimed Chapin, as Woods began his next turn with a couple of zombie tokens, and a Solemn Simulacrum .

Woods, in fact "had it"– playing a Primeval Titan , fetching an Inkmoth Nexus , and a Kessig Wolf Run .

After a bit of banter, and deliberation, Chapin decided that his best course of action would be to cast an Inferno Titan . But when Woods showed him the Geth's Verdict , Chapin wasted no time before scooping up his cards, and reaching for his sideboard.

Conley Woods 1 – Patrick Chapin 0

Chapin: "The last time I was in the finals of a Grand Prix, I came in second. It was the 90's, and I lost to Eric Taylor."

Woods: "Eric Taylor, isn't he a hair dresser right now?"

Chapin: "No, he is not a hair dresser. I believe he's the University of Michigan Web master... in-between haircuts."

Game Two

Fully aware of the fact that he didn't want to compete with Woods' Jund Ramp deck in a drawn out game, Chapin spent the first part of game two attacking his opponent's mana. An Ancient Grudge took out Woods' Sphere of the Suns , and a Liliana of the Veil killed a Birds of Paradise .

Unfazed, Woods took out the Liliana of the Veil with an Inkmoth Nexus , and built up his board with a Thrun, the Last Troll , and an Acidic Slime (which also took out Chapin's only green source).

A Snapcaster Mage gave Chapin another use out of his Forbidden Alchemy , and a second Liliana of the Veil took out the Acidic Slime – but all the while, Thrun, the Last Troll kept eating away at his life total.

A Solemn Simulacrum gave Woods another damage source, and an Acidic Slime was able to draw out a Mana Leak . All the while, Chapin spent his time digging through his deck with Desperate Ravings .

When Woods tapped out for Grave Titan , Chapin knew it was time to make his move. An end of turn Blue Sun's Zenith for four restocked Chapin's hand, and a Life's Finale wiped Woods' board and stripped his deck of Grave Titan s.

Woods' Glissa, the Traitor was matched by an Olivia Voldaren from Chapin. And while Chapin had hoped that a Dissipate , countering Geth's Verdict , would be enough to keep his Olivia alive – Woods had a Go for the Throat as the last card in his hand to deal with the legendary vampire.

Woods returned Solemn Simulacrum with Glissa, and thought for a bit before recasting it right into a Mana Leak .

Despite having been ahead for almost the entirety of the game, things suddenly looked grim for Woods when Chapin found a Snapcaster Mage , which returned a Go for the Throat , and left Woods with an empty board.

Woods pulling back ahead.

Woods didn't stay behind for long as a Garruk, Primal Hunter came down, made a token, and immediately put Woods right back into the driver's seat.

For a second it looked like Olivia Voldaren would be enough to put Chapin back in the lead, but at a mere 7 life, and with only five mana left over, Chapin had no choice but to block the incoming beast token or else die to a Kessig Wolf Run activation.

Desperate Ravings found Chapin a Lililana of the Veil that he used to take out a token, but Woods was able to pick off the Liliana of the Veil with his Inkmoth Nexus , make a replacement token with Garruk, Primal Hunter , and further build up his board with a Solemn Simulacrum .

If Chapin didn't make a huge play on his very next turn, Woods was going to fly out of Orlando with a trophy in his luggage.

"Well, this isn't appropriately named at all," quipped Chapin as he cast a Desperate Ravings .

When his first Desperate Ravings of the turn failed to produce an answer, Chapin flashed it back, and after resolving the spell he couldn't help but smile.

Woods was clearly concerned, but when Chapin passed the turn with no play, and six-mana up Woods started to ease up.

Woods attacked with his beast token, and his Solemn Simulacrum – prompting Chapin to flashback an Ancient Grudge , and block with his Snapcaster Mage . Woods activated his Kessig Wolf Run , representing lethal trample damage. At least as long as Chapin didn't have anything...

Chapin: "The reason why I smiled after I flashbacked my Desperate Ravings was because I had just drawn my third Ancient Grudge . Up until a few minutes before the tournament, that third Ancient Grudge was an Inferno Titan ."

And with that, Chapin extended his hand and congratulated Conley Woods – your Grand Prix Orlando Champion!

Final Result

Conley Woods 2 – Patrick Chapin 0

Top 5 Cards

Delver of Secrets decks dominated Grand Prix: Orlando, putting more players into Day Two than any other archetype. Delver of Secrets allows the deck to apply a huge amount of pressure with a single one-mana creature. A flipped Delver of Secrets is usually enough to establish a dominant position on the battlefield. Once a favorable board-state is achieved, the deck plays a viciously efficient control game with cards like Mana Leak , Vapor Snag , Snapcaster Mage , and a menagerie of other mana-efficient spells.

Green ramp decks continued to enjoy success this weekend. Primeval Titan 's ability to search for some combination of Kessig Wolf Run and Inkmoth Nexus makes it a potent force that's difficult for opponents to deal with, even when they have a removal spell. Primeval Titan found a home in a new archetype too. Conley Woods' Green/Black ramp deck utilizes the power of Primeval Titan to back up some of the most well-positioned control spells in the format. Cards like Black Sun's Zenith and Ratchet Bomb make it easy to stall the game to the point where Primeval Titan or his buddy Grave Titan can take over.

Ratchet Bomb made a lot of waves this weekend. The prevalence of so many token producing cards and flip cards means that a single Ratchet Bomb can often wipe an opposing player's board without a single charge counter. Conley Woods recognized the power of Ratchet Bomb and decided to take full advantage of it, going so far as to include Glissa, the Traitor in his deck to recur the game-breaking artifact.

Only seven players showed up to Grand Prix: Orlando with Puresteel Paladin decks. Of those, six players found themselves playing in Day Two. Mortarpod is an incredibly strong way to interact with the most popular decks of the format, especially Delver of Secrets and Snapcaster Mage . William Postlethwait used it in a Round 9 feature match to claim his spot on Day 2 by getting repeated uses out of it with Glint Hawk . And with even more token producers coming in Dark Ascension - not the least of which is Sorin, Lord of Innistrad - expect to see more of this artifact in coming months.

Charles Gindy's victory at last week's Star City Standard Open event popularized an unusual equipment from Innistrad. Runechanter's Pike gives a surprisingly large boost of power when played in decks that pack tons of cantrips like Ponder and Gitaxian Probe . The potency of Invisible Stalker equipped with Runechanter's Pike forced control players to include cards like Tribute to Hunger or, as Conley Woods did, Geth's Verdict . Some players even included Marrow Shards , an obscure instant from New Phyrexia, just to deal with Invisible Stalker (s). That didn't seem to stop them from running amok this weekend.