It has been quite a year since Antonino DeRosa had his silly likeness commemorated on a Player Card. Coming in to Toronto he had won the second Grand Prix of his career, became the 2005 U.S. National Champion, finished second at the team competition at Worlds, made his first Pro Tour Top 8 at Prague, way more than doubled his lifetime winnings, and capped it all off with another Grand Prix win this weekend.

DeRosa defeated his good friend, and occasional teammate Jon Sonne in two quick and dirty games in his ninth appearance in a Grand Prix Top 8.

There was little time for rejoicing though as everyone had to hurry home and get working on the 60-card Ravnica decks for PT Charleston that was looming in less than two weeks. See y'all then.

top 8 bracket


Jelger Wiegersma [NLD]

Mark Lovin [USA]

Antonino DeRosa [USA]

Brad Taulbee [USA]

Jon Sonne [USA]

John Fiorillo [USA]

Kyle Sanchez [USA]

Jay Jiang [CAN]


Mark Lovin, 2-1

Antonino DeRosa, 2-0

Jon Sonne, 2-1

Kyle Sanchez, 2-1


Antonino DeRosa, 2-0

Jon Sonne, 2-1


Antonino DeRosa, 2-0


  • Blog - 10:58 p.m. - Finals: Jon Sonne vs. Antonino DeRosa
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 10:33 p.m. - Semifinals: Jon Sonne vs. Kyle Sanchez
    by Chris Millar
  • Blog - 9:51 p.m. - Semifinals: Antonino DeRosa vs. Mark Lovin
    by Julien Nuijten
  • Blog - 9:12 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Jelger Wiegersma vs. Mark Lovin
    by Julien Nuijten
  • Blog - 8:44 p.m. - Quarterfinals: John Fiorillo vs. Jon Sonne
    by Frank Karsten
  • Blog - 7:26 p.m. - Quarterfinals Roundup!
    by Brian David-Marshall
  • Blog - 7:19 p.m. - Top 8 Draft: Drafting with Jelger Wiegersma
    by Julien Nuijten
  • Blog - 7:07 p.m. - Top 8 Decklists
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Blog - 5:58 p.m. - Top 8 Profiles
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 2 Blog Archive: Day 1 Undefeated Decks, Draft Reports, Feature Matches, Antonino De Rosa, and More!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Round 12: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Round 9: Pods
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Day 1 Blog Archive: Gunslinging, Feature Matches, Your Favorite Pro Players, and More!
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Country Breakdown
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Day 1 Player List
    by Event Coverage Staff
  • Info: Fact Sheet
    by Event Coverage Staff


1. Antonino De Rosa $2,400
2. Jon Sonne $1,700
3. Kyle Sanchez $1,200
4. Mark Lovin $1,000
5. John Fiorillo $800
6. Brad Taulbee $800
7. Jay Jiang $800
8. Jelger Wiegersma $800

pairings, results, standings


14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


14 13 12 11 10 9

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


Sunday, June 4: 5:58 p.m. - Top 8 Profiles

Mark Lovin

Mark Lovin

Age: 27
Occupation: Technician (Corporate grant)
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment:
Champs '03 - win, 2HG Champs - win i.e. not much)
Record yesterday/today: 6-1-1 / 5-1
Draft strategy: Honestly? Avoid blue. People seem to force it too often and I fare better when I stay out of the way.
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Moldervine Cloak: Ridiculous card the leaves your options open.
Guildpact: Either Savage Twister or Skeletal Vampire. Both are retarded. (honorable mention goes to Angel of Despair, who carried me to Day Two.)
Dissension: Demonfire. The xR spells like that are always unfair.

Kyle Sanchez

Kyle Sanchez

Age: 18 (barely)
Occupation: Student
Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: 2HG States Champ (with Billy Moreno)
Record yesterday/today: 11-2-1
Draft strategy: Be flexible. Green fatties are good. Blue is overdrafted.
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Glare of Subdual
Guildpact: Vampire/Twister
Dissension: Simic Sky Swallower

John Fiorillo

John Fiorillo

Age: 27 9
Occupation: Engineer
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: Top 4 GP Richmond. Beating Jon Sonne in the ring toss.
Record yesterday/today: 8-0/4-1-1
Draft strategy: Take all the good cards and let the mana fall where it may.
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Ribbons of Night or a cheese doodle.
Guildpact: Skeletal Vampire
Dissension: Simic Skyswallower

Jon Sonne

Jon Sonne

Age: 28
Occupation: Lab Analyst
Hometown: NJ
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: 2 x GP wins
Record yesterday/today: 7-0-1/4-2
Draft strategy: Take the best cards and be flexible. I just open the pack and see what is there.
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Ribbons of Night
Guildpact: Niv-Mizzet
Dissension: Demonfire?

Antonino DeRosa

Antonino DeRosa

Age: 24
Occupation: Game developer
Hometown: Port St. Lucie, FL.
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: 9 GP Top 8's, PT Prague Top 8, 2nd Team event at Worlds.
Record yesterday/today: 6-1-1/5-0-1
Draft strategy: Whatever comes.
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Compulsive Research
Guildpact: Steamcore Weird
Dissension: Assault Zeppelid

Brad Taulbee

Brad Taulbee

Age: 24
Occupation: Banker
Hometown: Maryland
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: 0-4 PT Columbus/ 0-3 PT Prague
Record yesterday/today: 6-2/6-0
Draft strategy: black-white-blue
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Moldevine Cloak
Guildpact: Blind Hunter
Dissension: Guardian of the Guildpact

Jay Jiang

Jay Jiang

Age: 19
Occupation: Student/Accountant
Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: Zip… I don't really play that often.
Record yesterday/today: 6-1-1/ 5-1
Draft strategy: Anything goes.
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Glare of Subdual
Guildpact: Foil dual? No idea.
Dissension: No idea…only drafted the set twice and both times were today.

Jelger Wiegersma

Jelger Wiegersma

Age: 24
Occupation: Gamer
Hometown: Eindhoven
Best Magic Finish/Accomplishment: Being the Tontiemaster
Record yesterday/today: 6-2/5-1
Draft strategy: Anything goes
Best individual card to open in each pack for draft:
Ravnica: Flame Fusilade
Guildpact: Skeletal Vampire
Dissension: Demonfire

Sunday, June 4: 7:07 p.m. - Top 8 Decklists

Jelger Wiegersma


Jonathan Sonne


Antonino De Rosa


John Fiorillo


Mark Lovin


Brad Taulbee


Kyle Sanchez


Jay Jiang

Sunday, June 4: 7:19 p.m. - Top 8 Draft: Drafting with Jelger Wiegersma


The first three picks were easy for Jelger: first pick offered him Lightning Helix over Plague Boiler, Skyknight Legionnaire and Conclave Equenaut. Second pick gave him a bomb rare in Cerulean Sphinx and his third pick was Snapping Drake over some mediocre green cards. His fourth pick was a tough choice though: move into black with Brainspoil or Dimir House Guard or stick to his colors with a safe Benevolent Ancestor, also fitting nicely into a deck with already two flying creatures. Fifth pick he once again decided to pick a safe Screeching Griffin rather than a Dimir House Guard or Moonlight Bargain. The sixth pick surprisingly offered him a late Bottled Cloister, and he rounded the pack out with a couple of Terraformers and a Courier Hawk.


The first pack offered another great flying creature in Harrier Griffin over Pyromatics. Second pick brought the choice Guildpact often brings: Steamcore Weird, Ogre Savant, Izzet Chronarch or Blind Hunter. Jelger opted for the Weird but thought about taking Savant for a long time. His next pick showed that Jelger isn't always a greedy man when he took Izzet Signet over Repeal, another Chronarch and Ghost Warden. He still got a Ghost Warden in the next pack, shipping Train of Thought, and in the next pack picked up Guardian's Magemark, ignoring Osiary Thrull and Streetbreaker Wurm. The black cards kept on coming as the next pack contained Exhumer Thrull and Teysa, but Jelger realized that it was too late to pick up black cards and picked another Ghost Warden. Bloodscale Prowler, Thunderheads, Train of Thought and Withstand rounded out a reasonable second booster.


The last booster came up, and Jelger's deck wasn't looking like it might win him the Grand Prix yet. He was in a good position for the final booster though: John Fiorillo on his right and Antonino De Rosa on John's right both didn't plan on picking any Azorius cards.

The first pick Jelger took Plumes of Peace over Ocular Halo and Soulsworn Journey, and second pick he passed the same two cards and the white Eidolon for Court Hussar. Another Plumes was a fine third pick, but the fourth and fifth picks were amazing for Jelger: two Pride of the Clouds! After that, he got passed an unexciting booster and then a very late Azorius Herald, confirming once again that there weren't many Azorius drafters at the table. Beacon Hawk, Prahv, Spell Snare and a very late white Eidolon rounded out a terrific pack for Jelger.

Jelger Wiegersma

Jelger was content with his deck but not much more than that. He said that he'd never played with Pride of the Clouds before and therefore didn't know how good it was. Overall, his deck had many good cards and good synergy between cards, and he was reasonably happy about how the draft went. He thought that maybe he'd have had a better deck had he moved into black in Guildpact, but when you already have Lightning Helix it's kind of hard to pass Steamcore Weird for Blind Hunter. Another opportunity to move into black was his fifth pick Guardian's Magemark over an Ostiary Thrull, but he didn't think the Thrull was a good enough reason to switch colors.

Sunday, June 4: 7:26 p.m. - Quarterfinals Roundup!

Antonino DeRosa vs. Brad Taulbee

Brad Taulbee, left, vs. Antonino DeRosa

"You just windmill slam an Ivy Dancer as your first pick if you know you are playing Antonino," laughed Krempels as Brad Taulbee started out his quarterfinal match against the reigning U.S. champ with the aforementioned green hoser.

Brad was scuffling for land though and tried to buy some time with an early Plague Boiler. That plan did not work out so well in practice though. Antonino was under no pressure and was able to build a hand for life post-Boiler. Brad eventually found land and let the Boiler go with a Plaxcaster Frogling showing up in its wake. DeRosa had a way around the Frogling though and drew a handful of cards with Twisted Justice.

Game 2 was a more drawn out affair with both players finding spells and the lands to cast them with. Brad had his Frogling, a 4/4 Mossdog with Ocular Halo, Dimir House Guard, and and Ogre Savant. Ant was hiding from the House Guard behind his Golgari Rotwurm and was whittling him down turn by turn. The only limiting factor was the amount of black mana DeRosa had available. When the Italian-American player made three black mana with his Verdant Eidolon a five turn clock was rapidly accelerated. Electrolyze and Seal of Fire did the rest.

Jay Z Jiang, left, vs. Kyle Sanchez

Antonino DeRosa won his quarterfinal match 2-0 over Brad Taulbee.

Kyle Sanchez vs. Jay Z Jiang

There was more money on the line in this battle than in any other match as both players were sans Pro Points and vying not only for the lion's share of the tournament purse but of the Amateur prize as well.

Kyle Sanchez came out of the gates with a triple Ravnica opening - Selesnya Evangel and Selesnya Guildmage. Jiang was on the ropes from the opening gun and was quickly onto Game 2 without showing anything of what his deck could do.

Jon Sonne, left, vs. John Fiorillo

In the second game it looked like more of the same from Sanchez with a handful of fliers and Selesnya Guildmage. Jiang had only Enigma Eidolon and Vedalken Entrancer and looked like he as going to fold without a fight. Overrule got him a crucial turn to find red mana for a splashed Cackling Flames and he stabilized at one life behind a wall of walls - Oathsworn Jury and Wee Dragonauts. Eventually he was able to mill him out for five cards a turn with his blue man group.

Game 3 saw Jiang demonstrate the alternate fuel of Eidolons when he pitched one to his karoo on the draw turn two. Turn three Skyknight Legionnaire did not attack into Courier Hawk. Jiang put his life points at a premium and was not planning to win on damage. Kyle added Ghost Warden and Beacon Hawk next turn only to have the Warden pinged by Hypervoltic Grasp.

Kyle was undaunted and kept making Freewind Equenauts. Wildsize outfoxed the Skyknight - although Jiang was able to bounce the enchantment. Kyle was pretty far out ahead and had a decided tempo advantage. He upped the tempo with Blind Hunter. Jiang replayed his Eidolon and was able to take out a Gray Ogre per turn but had multiple two toughness guys to deal with even before Kyle played Conclave Equenaut.

Mark Lovin, left, vs. Jelger Wiegersma

He killed the Blind Hunter and waited to see where the haunt effect to go on the stack. Kyle decided to haunt his Courier Hawk. Jiang frowned, nodded, and used Cackling Flames on the 3/3 anyway. Kyle kept on coming though with Selesnya Evangel and Gristleback.

Jiang played a tenacious game but he just could not deal with the overwhelming advantage on the other side of the table. Or could he? Gristleback died in combat, the huaunted Courier Hawk was Condemned, and … nope…he just could not keep up.

"I boarded Courier Hawk and it went the distance," smiled Sanchez. He was relieved to have won his match and was startled by the crisp play from his opponent. "He had some weird card choices but he played insane-prodigy-well!"

Kyle Sanchez defeated Jay Z. Jiang 2 -1

Sunday, June 4: 8:44 p.m. - Quarterfinals: John Fiorillo vs. Jon Sonne

John and Jon, or rather the less confusing Fiorillo and Sonne, are great American players with good results at the Grand Prix circuit, so we should be in for some good games. Both players like the Rakdos cards; Fiorillo drafted a Black-Red-White-Red deck, whereas Sonne drafted a Black-Red-Blue deck.

Game 1

Entropic Eidolon

Fiorillo won the die roll and obviously chose to play first. Both players had turn two Signets and Fiorillo had the first guy in Shrieking Grotesque, to which Sonne discarded Entropic Eidolon. He got it back next turn with a Riot Spikes that killed the flyer and made an Orzhov Eutanist as well. Jon could only muster a Squealing Devil and Wild Cantor on the next two turns. Sonne fared better, as he cast Entropic Eidolon and Dimir Guildmage. When Sonne attacked, Fiorillo decided to trade his Wild Cantor and a Darkblast from his hand for Orzhov Eutanist, unable to get something better out of that instant. Sonne added a Squealing Devil to his board after that.
Fiorillo played just some more creatures in Gobhobbler Rats and Bloodscale Prowler. Sonne used Dimir Guildmage to empty Fiorillo's hand, who got his hopes up since he now had a Hellbent-enabled Gobhobbler Rats that could smash through Sonne's creatures. Unfortunately for him, that plan was foiled with a Last Gasp. So now Fiorillo had some random dudes with 2 toughness or less, while Sonne had Entropic Eidolon that was keeping all of them at bay, along with a Dimir Guildmage that would provide him with some long-term card advantage. Soon enough, he drew into Twinstrike, killed off Fiorillo's creatures, and swung in for the win.

Sonne 1 - Fiorillo 0

Game 2

Fiorillo got to play first and had a fast start with Frenzied Goblin and Veteran Armorer on his first two turns. Sonne played Rakdos Ickspitter on turn 3, which Fiorillo answered with an Ickspitter of his own on turn 4. Now Fiorillo had to hope Sonne did not have any removal for the Veteran Armorer, otherwise that Ickspitter would ping off his team one by one. Fortuntately for him, Sonne indeed did not have anything and just played Dimir House Guard instead. So now Fiorillo's Ickspitter shot down the one on Sonne's side, and Fiorillo used Frenzied Goblin's ability to smash through the House Guard. Sonne just frowned on his turn, as he could only play Squealing Devil, which was sure enough pinged down. Sonne was not looking good, especially since Fiorillo's attack took him down to 7 life now. The tide turned when he found an answer in Twinstrike, which took down the Ickspitter and Veteran Amorer in one sweep. Fiorillo had now trouble recovering though, playing Sunhome Enforcer, Exhumer Thrull, and the digged up Veteran Armorer over the course of his next couple turns. Sonne put out Djinn Illuminatus and passed, still on the ropes, desperately hoping that Fiorillo was out of gas now. Fiorillo thought for a while on his turn, staring at the board of his Frenzied Goblin, Exhumer Thrull, Veteran Armorer, and Sunhome Enforcer against Sonne's board of Dimir House Guard, Sandstorm Eidolon, and Djinn Illuminatus. Sonne (at 6 life) got his hopes up when Fiorillo decided there was no viable attack, but pouted when Fiorillo emptied his hand with Minister of Impediments and Gobhobbler Rats. Sonne put out some more random creatures, but it was to no avail. Fiorillo simply used his Minister of Impediments and Frenzied Goblin to take out Sonne's biggest creatures and then alpha striked with all of his guys. Sonne chumped blocked down to 1 life to stay alive for a turn, but didn't come close to surviving next turn's attack.

Sonne 1 - Fiorillo 1

Game 3

Squealing Devil

Sonne got to play first and started with a Plagued Rusalka, but didn't play any creatures on his next three turns. Fiorillo wasn't playing anything either, missing black mana. On turn four, he just slowly drew his card and found…Orzhov Basilica! Not perfect, as it didn't give black mana right away, but it was still a fine draw. Sonne made an Ogre Gatecrasher, and the Rusalka took Fiorillo down to 16. Fiorillo took care of the 3/3 with Faith's Fetters and played Cry of Contrition, haunting the Rusalka. Sonne discarded Pyromantics to it, and promptly got it back with Izzet Chronarch. Fiorillo had a lot of 1 toughness and 2 toughness guys in his hand and figured that he had to work through that Pyromantics damage eventually, playing Blind Hunter and Frenzied Goblin. Sure enough, Sonne 2-for-1'd with the burn spell, destroying Firollo's board. Fiorillo made Rakdos Ickspitter and Gobhobbler Rats on his next turn. They were both destroyed by Twinstrike. Wo, two 2-for-1 removals in a row was certainly not bad for Sonne. But it didn't stop there. Sonne played another Izzet Chronarch to get back Pyromantics again, which dealt with Fiorillo's Agrus Kos, Wojek Vetaran. Orzhov Eutanist and Squealing Devil came down on Sonne's side after that, and Fiorillo could only shake his head and extend his hand, unable to deal with such an Onslaught of card advantage.

Jon Sonne defeats John Fiorillo 2-1

Sunday, June 4: 9:12 p.m. - Quarterfinals: Jelger Wiegersma vs. Mark Lovin

Game 1

Aquastrand Spider

Jelger won the die roll and didn't hesitate to keep a hand with only white sources. Mark played a Signet and a third turn Screeching Griffin while Jelger pushed all of his resources in with a Bottled Cloister. He got away with it because Mark only had Simic Ragworm, and Jelger still hadn't found a non-white source so all he could do was trade Mark's Griffin for his own copy. Mark followed up with a bunch of Signets and Aquastrand Spider, but he ran out of gas and into Jelger's Beacon Hawk. Jelger now had found his blue source and produced Terraformer and Lightning Helix for Mark's Ragworm, but Gaze of the Gorgon saved the Worm. Mark still hadn't found anything and decided to send in the Worm against Jelger's Beacon Hawk and Terraformer, and Jelger attempted the two-for-one trade. "You've got balls, I'll give you that", was Mark's response as he put his Ragworm in the bin. Jelger's hand was now full of spells while he was at a healthy 16, as he started to produce some flyings against Mark's lone Aquastrand Spider. Mark's deck coughed up Protean Hulk, but it was too little too late as Plumes of Peace took care of that problem while Jelger continued to smash with his flyings.

Game 2

Mark predictably started Game 2 and lead with Aquastrand Spider, Minister of Impediments, Sporeback Troll and Conclave Equenaut, while Jelger this time kept a hand with only blue sources and played the Cloister again on turn four. Jelger was already at a low life total, and a fifth turn Snapping Drake couldn't stop Mark's quick start. He tried though; when Mark activated his Minister to tap the Drake, Jelger quickly put the Drake in front and said "BLOCK!", but his attempt of misinterpretation was neglected. "You Dutchies are sooooooooooo funny", Mark replied.

Game 3

Jelger played first and both players kept again, Jelger again missing one of his colors in his opening hand. This time round, he found it in time though; Ghost Warden was followed up by Izzet Signet while Mark had a third turn Ragworm. Jelger backed up his Ghost Warden with another copy, Court Hussar and Snapping Drake while Mark just played lands and Signets. Jelger found it suspicious and asked Mark how many cards he had. Mark had four and Jelger asked if any of them were Savage Twisters. Mark was not so chatty this time but Jelger ignored that and made two more guys. Mark did have the Twister to clear the board and get him back in the game, but Jelger had wisely kept back his Pride of the Clouds and started to make some tokens. Conclave Equenaut, Silhana Ledgewalker and a hasty Gruul Scrapper came to service for Mark, and Jelger tried to trade his two tokens for the Scrapper but Gaze of Gorgon prevented that from happening. Jelger, in need to stabilize, made another token and decided to play his Pride of the Clouds after he'd drawn his second copy. Fiery Conclusion sacrificing the Ledgewalker took care of the Pride that was in play, and Debtor's Knell on Mark's side came into play to put Jelger on a real clock. Mark was a little overconfident now and chumpattacked his 3/2 Gruul Scrapper into Jelger's 4/4 Pride, not realizing that his own Equenaut contributed to the Pride's greatness. Things were not over yet; Jelger refuled his hand with Bottled Cloister and Train of Thought while Pride of the Clouds put Mark down to 7. Debtor's Knell's first trigger revived Pride of the Clouds and Mark added Golgari Rotwum to his force. Mark tried to trade Prides on Jelger's next turn but he also knew that Jelger could use his Prahv, but he was on a very low life total so that was worth the cost. Time was running out for Jelger as Mark stabilized, Mark got back Pride again and played Screeching Griffin. Mark's board was now Debtor's Knell, Rotwurm, Pride, Equenaut and the Griffin, while Jelger only had Bottled Cloister, Pride of the Clouds and a 1/1 Pride token. He traded Prides again and made Cerulean Sphinx, but Mark replied with Protean Hulk. There wasn't really anything Jelger could do anymore to race the Knell; all he could do was use two Plumes of Peace to tap two of Mark's flyings and drew Steamcore Weird to take care of the third while he swung his Cerulean Sphinx in for five. Mark thought long and hard if he had anything to get with his Protean Hulk, to block the Sphinx with, which he could sacrifice to his Rotwurm, but he didn't and took the hit down to two. "10.000 dollar Helix? Well, not quite, but pretty good", said Mark, but Jelger didn't have it and died in Mark's next attack step. Just for value, Jelger flipped over the top card of his deck and it was indeed the Helix. "Ohhhhhhhhhhh, that's almost Craig Jones style", Mark commented.

The third game was very long and tense, and both players got the chance to use their bomb cards but in the end Mark's Savage Twister combined with Debtor's Knell were too powerful for Jelger's two Pride of the Clouds, Cerulean Sphinx and Bottled Cloister. Jelger commented that he might have unnecessarily overcommited the turn before Mark cleared the board with Savage Twister and that he should have kept back his Azorius Herald, but then again, he never saw the Twister before this game so there was no real way he could have known.

Sunday, June 4: 9:51 p.m. - Semifinals: Antonino DeRosa vs. Mark Lovin

"So I heard you're a trashtalker?" -Antonino
"I guess so..." - Mark
"Well if you're trashtalking me I'll trashtalk back. I hope I don't make you cry though..." - Antonino

Their opening dialogue showed the start of a match that might involve more than cards and good plays; they were already trying to get into each other's heads.

"If you're looking for an exciting match, you should look over there, Jon Sonne's match. He's a man of many emotions, my friends call him the chatterbox" - Antonino tried to get rid of some of the crowd, might they be getting on his nerves?

Game 1

Antonino won the roll and kept his hand but Mark sent back Mountain, Mountain, Plains, Hypervolt Gasp, Transluminant, Galvanic Arc and Sporeback Thrull. Mark had a busted sleeve and couldn't replace it, so he had to play without sleeves. "Just buy some sleeves buddy, you've got the money now", Antonino said. "I broke my number of chairs back in the day, wanna guess how many?". Mark replied that he couldn't count that high, and after all the beats were laid, Mark shipped back his six. He went down to 5 and 4 without seeing a land, but his four card hand was reasonably good: Forest, Mountain, Aquastrand Spider and Simic Ragworm. The Spider came down on the second turn but didn't look impressive against Antonino's Civic Wayfinder, Ragamuffin and Seal of Fire. Mark tried Transluminant but his board was cleared by the Seal of Fire and an Electrolyze. Infiltrator's Magemark made sure the Ragamuffin wasn't getting blocked, and Mark didn't have Savage Twister to take care of things so they went on to the second game.

Game 2

Mark played first and said he would keep even before looking at his hand. "I learned my lesson", he said. It was Antonino's time to paris and when he drew his six, he asked Mark, "Are you hoping five?". "Yeah... I guess...", Mark replied. "Some people...", Antonino commented, and Mark admitted that he was a scumbag for saying that. Antonino kept his six and we were on our way. Mark started off by developing his mana with Utopia Sprawl and a Signet, and lead with Aquastrand Spider which traded for Antonino's Civic Wayfinder. Antonino hit five mana and played Streetbreaker Wurm, but when he ran into Mark's 1/1 Scab-Clan Mauler, Gaze of Gorgon destroyed the Wurm. Antonino shrugged and followed things up with a Rotwurm. Over the next few turns, Antonino's Seals of Doom and Fire traded for Sporeback Troll and Minister of Impediments, and while Antonino continued to play some creatures, Mark just had a bunch of lands and a few turns later the semifinals were over.

Sunday, June 4: 10:33 p.m. - Semifinals: Jon Sonne vs. Kyle Sanchez

This match pitted Pro Tour veteran Jon Sonne against amateur Kyle Sanchez, who is making his first Grand Prix top eight appearance. If Sanchez felt any pressure, he didn't show it. He'd already secured the prize as the top amateur when he defeated Jay Z. Jiang in the quarterfinals, so he was already guaranteed to leave Toronto with more money than winner of the tournament.

Game 1

Jon mulliganed to six, but Kyle kept a very mana-heavy hand so being one card down might not matter. Jon led off the game with Squealing Devil. Kyle played a Freewind Equenaut and they started trading damage. Jon tilted the race in his favour with a Greater Forgeling, and Forgeling and the Devil drop Sanchez to 8. Jon added an Entropic Eidolon to the board. Teysa, Orzhov Scion stymied Squealing Devil for a turn

Twinstrike by Jon evened things up, but Sanchez had more creatures, playing out Selesnya Guildmage and Minister of Impediments. Squealing Devil hit for two, and Sonne used Pyromatics to nuke the Guildmage and Minister. Sanchez's Equenaut enabled him to play a bloodthirsty Ghor-Clan Savage, which he traded for Sonne's Forgeling. They traded a few more creatures, but Sonne had no answer for the Equenaut and a Gristleback for Sanchez put the life totals heavily in his favour. Kyle sacrificed an Aurora Eidolon to his Golgari Guildmage and returned Teysa.

With Sonne at seven, Sanchez sent both the Guildmage and Equenaut. Sonne double blocked and Golgari Guildmage pumped itself once, killing both blockers. Sanchez replayed Teysa. Sonne Transmuted Brainspoil for Izzet Chronarch, which he played, returning both Eidolons and Twinstrike. Kyle got in for four with Teysa and the Equenaut, before playing Aurora Eidolon and Orzhov Euthanist.

On his turn, Sonne thought for a while but just played the Entropic Eidolon, leaving up Twinstrike mana. It didn't matter though, since without Hellbent, Sanchez could save one of his creatures with his Aurora Eidolon and alpha strike anyway.

Kyle Sanchez 1 - Jon Sonne 0

Game 2

Jon opted to play first, and both players kept their opening seven. Jon laid a Dimir Guildmage and Kyle played a turn-two Guildmage of his own. Jon had the Last Gasp, and drew first blood. Dimir House Guard joined Jon's squad, but a Freewind Equenaut and Minister of Impediments on Kyle's side meant that racing would be difficult. Squealing Devil would've broken the stalemate but Kyle had a Demon's Jester.

At this point, Kyle had the flyers to enable his big Gruul monsters, but he didn't have any Green mana. Jon's Izzet chronarch returned Last Gasp, and he aimed it at the Demon's Jester, which enabled the Devil to race the Equenaut. Sonne sent everyone but his House Guard, which was still being Impeded by the Azorius Advisor. Kyle blocked and traded his Freewind Equenaut for Sonne's Chronarch. When Sonne played another Chronarch and returned the Last Gasp a second time, Sanchez scooped up his cards.

1 Kyle Sanchez - Jon Sonne 1

Game 3

Kyle chose to play first. After looking at his opening hand, he immediately went to six cards. Then he just as quickly went to five. He kept it: Plains, Forest, Swamp, Gristleback, and Moldervine Cloak. He led off the game with Teysa, Orzhov Scion, and Jon answered that with Rakdos Ickspitter. The Orzhov Guild leader cracked for two, and Kyle played a bloodthirsty Gristleback. One Ickspitter ping and house call by the Orzhov Euthanist later, the beast was finished.

Teysa put on her Moldervine Cloak and attacked for five, but Jon had the answer once again as his freshly played Dimir House Guard let him Ickspit then Euthanize Teysa with the Euthanist's Haunt ability. At this point, Jon started to pull ahead. He played out creature after creature, while destroying the ones Sanchez could play. Kyle eventually got a Moldervine Cloak on a Beacon Hawk, but Jon trumped it with Djinn Illuminatus.

With just one creature back to block, Sonne played Squealing Devil pumping Restless Bones and attacked with everyone, dropping Kyle down to three. He looked at his top card and extended the hand.

Jon Sonne 2 - 1

Sunday, June 4: 10:33 p.m. - Finals: Jon Sonne vs. Antonino DeRosa

Antonino DeRosa

While I was covering this match I had either Morgan Douglass and Josh Ravitz kibitzing and heckling the match or I had fallen through a rabbit hole and Statler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show were in full force. I couldn't bring myself to turn around and see which reality I was living in.

Game 1

The game was fast and nasty affair with Antonino coming out with Civic Wayfinder, Streetbreaker Wurm, and Golgari Rotwurm. Jon Sonne had a Junktroller and Greater Forgling but Ogre Savant bounced the Junktroller and Sonne found himself quickly down to three.

He could not stabilize.

Statler: "How did Antonino get so good at Magic?"
Waldorf: "He pretends it is eating."

Game 2

Waldorf: "Look at Jon Sonne thinking…"
Statler: "He is trying to figure out how he could have won that game."

The players were informed that the trophy and plaque that goes to the winner had not made the trip with the Grand Prix kit.

DeRosa: "I just want to know if I will get my plaque when I lose to Jon."

Jon led off with a Plagued Rusalka. Antonino put his imprint on a Seal of Fire. Jon attacked.

Waldorf: "If this was first blood Jon would have won."
Statler: "Idiot. Antonino has Seal of Fire."

Sonne ignored the puppets in the balcony and summoned and Ickspitter to draw the Seal of Fire. DeRosa did as he was told and made a Silhanna Starfletcher followed by a Streetbreaker Wurm. Restless Bones might have bought Sonne some time but Ant had the trample factor of Fists of Ironwood.

Jon Sonne

Sonne trotted a Euthanist out there. Antonino played a second Seal of Fire and things got a little tricky when Jon double blocked the wurm with Euthanist and Bones. Ant needed some time to figure out the implications of haunt. He decided to Seal the Euthanist and Jon sacrificed it kill to a token and had to resolve his target for haunt. What happened after that was apparently open for debate…

After some fiddling around it was decided that a token was being targeted by the Rusalka and haunt was targeting the Restless Bones. Before the haunt could resolve, Antonino Electrolyzed the Bones and Rusalka. Jon regenerated the Bones, removing it from combat, and Jon took six.

DeRosa was coughing and sneezing. Table judge: "Would you like some Kleenex?"

Antonino: "Nah man…I have a T-shirt."

DeRosa attacked with everyone between sniffles. Jon blocked the Starfletcher and used Twinstrike to hit it and the Wurm. DeRosa was briefly left with nothing but a token. He played a second Streetbreaker.

Jon: "Scoop."

Congratulations to Antonino DeRosa, the Grand Prix Toronto 2006 Champion! (Your trophy is in the mail.)

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