Grand Prix Toronto 1997 Results
August 30-31, 1997
1 Brian Kibler
2 Erik Lauer
3-4 Tony Tsai
3-4 Matt Place
5-8 Dan Silberman
5-8 Steven O'Mahoney-Schwartz
5-8 Michael Turian
5-8 Bruce Cowley
On August 30-31, 1997, Toronto played host to the second North American Grand Prix. Nearly two hundred players flocked to the event from all over Canada and the United States, with a few players making the journey from Holland and Japan. Many top Pro Tour players were present for the event, including the World Champion Canadian National Team.
Organized by Future Quest Conventions, Grand Prix-Toronto was a two-day affair, with players competing in six rounds on Saturday and cutting to the Top 64 players on Sunday. On the line were eight invitations to Pro Tour-Chicago and $10,000 in prize money. Decks were constructed in the Mirage-Visions-Weatherlight (popularly coined "Mirvlight") format.
The first day featured many popular Mirvlight decks, including "Ertog" (featuring Ertai's Familiar and Necratog), "Illusionist" (monoblue with Vodalian Illusionist), and "Sands" (using Equipoise and Sands of Time). After Saturday's matches were complete, a new deck style emerged on top, thanks to Team Deadguy. The three top seeds going into Sunday (Team Deadguy members Tony Tsai, Dave Price, and Dave Bartholow) all played the same monoblack deck, which featured thirty-four creatures including one Mischievous Poltergeist. Tony Tsai shared credit for the deck with Brian Fenwick of Colorado.
In Sunday's quarterfinals, Erik Lauer of Team CMU (playing monoblack hand destruction) swept Bruce Cowley's Ertog deck. Brian Kibler used his Illusionist deck to beat Michael Turian of Team CMU (green-white Maro). Matt Place (monoblue) defeated Dan Silberman, the third member of Team CMU to make it to the quarterfinals. Steven O'Mahoney-Schwartz, whose Ertog deck had defeated three other Team Deadguy members during the tournament, fell to Deadguy Tony Tsai, inspiring Tsai's teammate Dave Price to remark, "It took four Deadguys, [but we] brought down Steve!"
Brian Kibler defeated Matt Place in the semifinal round. Place, who had playtested with Kibler before the tournament, thanked his opponent for showing him the deck over the Internet, saying, "This is the best deck in Mirvlight by far." Erik Lauer narrowly edged out Tony Tsai in three games, with Lauer's Snake Baskets being the key to victory.
The finals matched New Hampshire's Brian Kibler in tie-dye and corduroy against Pittsburgh's Erik Lauer, in Team CMU shirt and cap. After fifteen rounds of play, both players were feeling the effects of fatigue. Said Lauer, "All I wanted to do was cast Agonizing [Memories], I was so tired." In the end, Kibler's Abductions, Vodalian Illusionists, and countermagic outlasted Lauer's Necrosavants, Snake Baskets, Stupors, and Drain Lifes. Winning the match two games to one, Kibler walked away with the Pro Tour invitation, $1,700 in cash, and the title of Grand Prix-Toronto Champion.