Posted in GRAND PRIX PORTLAND 2014 - COVERAGE - EVENTS on August 10, 2014

By Mike Rosenberg

Mike Rosenberg is a writer and gamer and has been part of the Magic text coverage team since 2011. He joined Wizards as organized play’s content specialist in June 2014.

For both teams, losing was not an option that they wanted to consider. 10-4 ensures Pro Points from the day, but both teams were still in contention for a Top 4 finish today.

On one side of the table sat the No. 8 Ranked Players Josh Utter-Leyton Tom Martell, along with David Ochoa. All three were looking to start their 2014-2015 season off strong. On the other side of the table, Rob Hunsaker, Adam Ruprecht, and Brendan Goold were aiming to earn Pro Tour invitations, and to do that meant besting the opponents in front of them.

Let's take a look into how this match played out.

Utter-Leyton vs. Hunsaker

Utter-Leyton's mono-black deck, featuring Ob Nixilis, Unshackled, aimed to race Hunsaker's Grindclock. After an 0-2 loss to the former Player of the Year, Hunsaker confirmed to his teammates.. "Grindclock is not good," he said.

Left to right: Rob Hunsaker, Adam Ruprecht, and Brendan Goold.

Martell vs. Ruprecht

The second match was about as fast as well, with Martell succumbing to two faster starts from Ruprecht in a match-up featuring white and blue spells facing off.

Ochoa vs. Goold

That left everything on the match between Ochoa and Goold.

After starting down a game, Ochoa grew his board against a mana-starved Goold, with two Forge Devils dispatching both of Goold's Frenzied Goblins. While Goold fell to single-digits over the course of many turns while stuck on two Mountains, Ochoa was drawing nothing but lands. And while Ochoa lacked action, Goold's hand was nothing but spells.

Scrapyard Mongrel with a Darksteel Citadel put Ochoa on the back foot, forcing him to trade off his smaller creatures, which finally started to show up, with the 5/3 trampler. Goold simply replaced it with another.

The game took a significant change though when Ochoa found a Restock. With a load of lands in play, Ochoa got back a Shaman of Spring and Invasive Species, giving him plenty to do. The Shaman drew him into Siege Wurm, which he cast next turn. However, Goold had the first move with a big creature in Hoarding Dragon, which searched up a Bronze Sable.

Left to right: David Ochoa, No. 8 Ranked Player Josh Utter-Leyton, No. 8 Ranked Player Tom Martell

However, the race ultimately fell into Ochoa's hands, as Stoke the Flames after an all-out attack let him bring the team's match to a third game. At this point, both teams were at 1-1 in matches, allowing both teams to work together in helping Ochoa and Goold sideboard for the third match.

As they looked through sideboarding, Martell brought up a few sideboard options. Torch Fiend was dismissed by both Ochoa and Utter-Leyton. Some expensive cards were fanned through, although the team debated for a moment on Wall of Fire, especially since Ochoa would be on the draw. Ancient Silverback was the last suggestion, but Ochoa ultimately left the deck as-is happy with his configuration from his first sideboard selections.

The two started their game with uneasy opening plays: Elvish Mystic for Ochoa, and Generator Servant for Goold. While Ochoa was relieved that there was no Forge Devil for his Elvish Mystic, it was Goold who was more animated when he got to untap with his Servant, sacrificing it to unleash a hasty Hoarding Dragon. Stoke the Flames took out the dragon on the next turn, netting Goold a Darksteel Citadel, which was used to cast Scrapyard Mongrel.

Charging Rhino jumped in the way of the Mongrel, but Crowd's Favor allowed the dog to stay in play, trampling over Ochoa for 2. A second Scrapyard Mongrel earned a shake of the head from everyone on Ochoa's side, seeing the end of the match in sight.

A third Scrapyard Mongrel was more than enough to lock the game in Goold's favor.

Hunsaker, Ruprecht, and Goold win over Utter-Leyton, Martell, and Ochoa