Day Two Highlights of Grand Prix Seattle 2018

Posted in Event Coverage on April 8, 2018

By Meghan Wolff

Meghan is one half of the podcast Magic the Amateuring and an adjunct professor at Tolarian Community College. She loves Limited, likes Modern, and dips her toes into each Standard season. She's decidedly blue and is the #1 hater of Siege Rhino in the Multiverse.

Saturday meant the start of the Standard Grand Prix on one side of the hall, where over 1400 players arrived fresh and eager for their first eight rounds. With established strategies like Hazoret Red, Sultai Constrictor, and Grixis Midrange going head-to-head with more recent developments like Black-White Vampires and White-Blue Auras, it was a fierce Day One of Standard.

On the other side of the hall, seven more rounds of Legacy brought us to the Top 8, which in turn determined the first GP Seattle 2018 winner. At the start of the day, eleven players led the pack, having finished Day One with a perfect 8-0 record. Grixis Delver and Four-Color Control topped the field, but Miracles, Storm, and Lands aren't far behind.

The Top 8, however, only has room for, well, eight, and so the field was further narrowed. With some of the most powerful cards and impressive synergies in Magic hitting the table, anything was possible. Who emerged victorious in Legacy, earning the title of Grand Prix Champion? And who leads the Standard field headed into Day Two? Find out below!

Hometown Hero Daniel Duterte Takes the Legacy Trophy

The Legacy portion of GP Seattle came down to Daniel Duterte, a hometown hero from Seattle, and Jeremy Dezani, French pro and member of Hareruya. As Duterte carved a path through the Legacy Grand Prix, finishing Day 1 undefeated and sailing into the Top 8 with the second seed, it seemed like all of Seattle was on his side. Tweets of support rolled in, while local players crowded the rail in the feature match area to watch him play.

Duterte and Dezani played two of the defining decks of the Legacy format, featuring two of the defining creatures – Duterte was on Grixis Delver, while Dezani played Sultai Control featuring Leovold, Emissary of Trest.

Duterte was on the play, and in the first game, his lead proved crucial. The players started the game with dueling Deathrite Shamans, but Duterte took care of Dezani's with a Lightning Bolt right away, while Dezani’s Fatal Push on Duterte’s elf was met with a Spell Pierce. Duterte had the upper hand, and he ran away with it, playing out a Delver of Secrets and Wastelanding Dezani’s only source of colored mana.

Duterte led the match, 1-0.

In Game Two, Dezani and Duterte looked set up to race, Dezani landing the first True-Name Nemesis, and Duterte answering it with a Delver of Secrets. But when Duterte added his own True-Name Nemesis to the board, Dezani was forced to wipe all the creatures away with a Toxic Deluge.

Duterte was able to recoup, however, with a Liliana, the Last Hope, that returned creature after creature from his graveyard to his hand. Dezani tried to answer, digging through his deck with Brainstorms and Ponders, but came up with nothing but lands. Faced with a Delver of Secrets, then a True-Name Nemesis, and then a Deathrite Shaman that he couldn’t find answers for, Dezani’s life total dwindled.

Duterte took the match 2-0, and the hall behind him erupted in cheers.

Around the Hall

Saturday brought another Grand Prix day full of two main events’ worth of excitement, plus the usual Commander camaraderie and very magical mayhem. Once again, players had the opportunity to Brawl with bona fide wizards from Wizards of the Coast and sling spells against their favorite cosplayers and Magic personalities.

The Planeswalker Summit at noon brought together incredible cosplay from around the Grand Prix. GP visitors could meet their favorite Planeswalkers or, if they weren’t careful, get immortalized in stone by one (@AiAmethyst).

For April King (best known as @CubeApril), a new card in the upcoming trip to Dominaria meant an opportunity to cosplay one of the most important cards in Magic’s history.

“When I was 14, Jaya Ballard's flavor text changed Magic from a fun card game into a game that I loved," April tweeted when Jaya Ballard’s new Planeswalker was previewed. “In my late 20s, her Time Spiral card brought me back to Magic. Without Jaya Ballard, I wouldn't be here today. Seeing her grow into a powerful old woman is a dream come true."

A Legacy Innovation - Mono-White Soldiers

It’s not every day that Legacy sees a new deck rising to the top of the standings, since many of the format’s most powerful cards and strategies have been around for years. This weekend, however, Chantelle Campbell wowed the Legacy crowd with Mono-White Soldiers that has been on the fringes of Legacy before, but never so firmly in the spotlight.

In Round 10, Campbell beat her Eldrazi-wielding opponent in game two by casting an Armageddon, then killing him with a lonely Recruiter of the Guard over the course of six turns while her Suppression Field kept his Rachet Bombs in check.

In Round 11, Campbell’s Sneak and Show opponent put an Emrakul into play with a Show and Tell. On the next turn, they went to attach, and Campbell tapped all her lands before sacrificing them to the Annihilator trigger, then used the mana to flash in a Selfless Squire and attack back for the win on her next turn.

Chantelle Campbell’s Mono-White Soldiers - GP Seattle

Standard Gets Started

While Legacy climbed toward its conclusion on Saturday afternoon, on the other side of the hall Standard was just getting started with its first eight rounds.

There were lots of familiar faces, including Scarab Gods, Winding Constrictors, Pia Nalaars, and Approach of the Second Suns. At the same time, plenty of players showed up ready to prove that the Standard environment is far from set in stone.

One of those players was coverage’s own Maria Bartholdi, who started the tournament 5-0 with a take on her favorite Modern deck, Green-White Hexproof. While there aren’t many hexproof creatures running around in Standard right now, Sram sure can draw a lot of cards, and Adanto Vanguard can prove pretty difficult to kill.

Bartholdi’s White-Blue Auras deck features cats getting curious and vampires showing a lot of solidarity.

Maria Bartholdi’s White-Blue Auras – GP Seattle

Among pro players in the Standard event, Blue-Black Midrange and Blue-White God-Pharaoh’s Gift were popular choices, though Red-Green Midrange, White-Blue Cycling, and the increasingly popular blue-red build of God-Pharaoh’s Gift also made appearances. With seven rounds to go before the Top 8, Standard decks new and old still have plenty of matches to prove themselves.

Standard Undefeated Players

From a starting field of over 1400 players, only eleven remain undefeated at the end of the first eight rounds of Standard play.

Congratulations to the Standard undefeated players: Shuhei Nakamura, Shota Yasooka, Jeremy Frye, Graham Hryniuk, Brad Nelson, Elliot Radsliff, Kendra Smith, Andrew Shain, Andy Wilson, Tanner Schilperoort, and Gan Yan!

Day One’s undefeated decks include Mono-Red Aggro, Blue-Red and White-Blue God-Pharaoh’s Gift, Blue-Black Midrange, Mardu Vehicles, Red-Green Midrange, and Sultai Constrictor.

Check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion of GP Seattle!

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