So much happened this weekend at Grand Prix San Jose. It was a fantastic salvo for Aether Revolt which will become all out war at the Pro Tour next weekend.
Here are the Top moments from the weekend that capture the dynamic, and the cards of the tournament!
5. Ben Weitz’s Gonti Thopter Heart
Though Team Massdrop West’s Ben Weitz didn’t make it into the Top 8, he made a grand impression in Day 2 when he drafted, not only an “infinite” Thopter token combo deck, but one that also gives you an extra turn to attack with your arbitrarily large amount of Thopters.
The combination of Whirler Virtuoso, Decoction Module, and Gonti’s Aether Heart means that each Virtuoso Thopter-making nets three more energy. Just the amount to make another. After all that business is done, you know, making 1,000,000 creatures, you can sacrifice your Aether Heart to take an extra turn and get them all into the red zone.
Just check out Weitz’s life pad from Round 10.
4. John Asbach Releases the Gremlins into Top 8
In Round 15, John Asbach was paired against wunderkind Nate Steuer for a win-and-in for Top 8. It was a tense match the whole way through. Steuer’s deck was powerful—if a bit inconsistent color-wise—plus he always has the advantage of people not treating him with his due respect—then he just tends to run them over.
But this time eventual champion Asbach got the upperhand, in front of a crowd of onlookers.
Asburn held onto the big Red rare Release the Gremlins for what felt like forever. He was worried that the card would just rot in his hand without good targets. But then the Self-Assembler from Steuer made Asbach perk up in his chair. Maybe this card wouldn’t be so bad after all....
A turn later, he clinched the Top 8. Here it is in his own words:
(Marc) Texan John Asbach talks about his crazy R15 match against Nathan Steuer, and his upcoming first Pro Tour invitation. pic.twitter.com/GfxOxjzPam— Magic Pro Tour (@magicprotour) January 30, 2017
3. Hausman-Cohen Scours the Land for, well, Land
This was a small moment for some, but a big one for finalist Ari Hausman-Cohen. During the week leading up the Grand Prix, he had begun asking around for various white-bordered and full art land.
You see, he was hoping to play the most mismatched lands on the Grand Prix stream, to make the land-aware crowd of the chat go crazy. His only flaw—video was at Grand Prix Prague this week.
But no matter, Hausman-Cohen delivered with some truly odd choices—even his full art lands weren’t the same painting, nor same expansion!
It wasn’t until the finals when it truly paid off, but his exchange with eventual winner John Asbach went as such:
“What are you doing with your lands, man?!"
“Ooohhh, you’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you? Just to tilt me?"
Hausman-Cohen grinned from ear to ear, as his master plan paid off after all.
2. The Fourteen-Land Mistakes of Roberto Berni
Seminfinalist, Austinite, and Grand Prix Phoenix champion Roberto Berni came in with a very pat strategy for Aether Revolt Limited—cheat those lands.
Everyone here has been talking about just how many to play or not play, but Berni and his group are complete spendthrifts—just tossing land out of their decks willy-nilly.
He played fifteen land in both his Sealed deck Day 1, and a Draft deck Day 2. And both times, he thought maybe he should have played fourteen. Fourteen lands as the goal in Draft and Sealed? It’s just mayhem over here during the revolt.
Here he is talking about his strategy leading into the Top 8.
1. John Asbach Has the Tezzeret’s Touch
Temple, Texas’s John Asbach didn’t necessarily call his shot, but after building his Top 8 draft deck, he knew just how good it was.
And that feeling proved itself right throughout the Top 8, as Asbach used his two Tezzeret’s Touch, his Aethersphere Harvester, and various friends to take home the trophy without dropping a game.
Here’s Asbach, in all his excited glory, talking about how the Top 8 went by design: