After approximately 8 million Magic players were eliminated over the course of 12 grueling weeks, we've finally made it to the Top 8.
Ok, so it might have only felt that epic, but the accomplishment of these eight players to finish at the top of this monumental tournament is something to relish, something to appreciate, and something to hold on to…
…for about 10 minutes, until the photos, the forms, and the congratulations all end and the actual playing begins. Then, it's time to draft, build, and—remember to breathe—start the quarterfinals.
With a second Grand Prix Top 8 happening at the very same time in the very same area, we're going to take a trip around all of the quarterfinals to capture just how eight became four.
Part of that answer starts with “Well, there were three people drafting Blue-White Affinity…”
Eugene Koo (Green-White Tokens) vs. David Heineman (Blue-White Affinity)
“I wish I hadn't been tempted by this Overwhelming Stampede,” Eugene Koo mused, even though he had put together a solid, if unspectacular, Green-White Tokens deck.
His opponent, David Heineman had, unsurprisingly, tried to draft Blue-White Affinity. He had a few powerful fliers in Argentum Sphinx and Swans of Bryn Argoll, but like his other Affinity bretheren, he was scrapping to make the affinity portion work.
In the first game, it was Heineman who had the tokens, however, as an early Spectral Procession was never seriously challenged, and that and a Glint Hawk Idol soared to victory. The second game was much the same, and Heineman made his way to the semifinals in a quick 2-0 victory.
Pedro Carvalho (Black-White Spirits) vs. Scott Markeson (Blue-White Affinity)
Pedro Carvalho, on account of having the Spirits archetype all to himself, had what looked like the most complete deck in the format. He had a plethora of Spirit synergy, bombs with Ghost Council of Orzhova, and even Long-Forgotten Gohei to round things out. He even had a Dark Confidant he decided not to run so that he wasn't getting “greedy.”
Scott Markeson, meanwhile, was one of the three Affinity decks cannibalizing one another. But it worked just fine in the first game where a Cranial Plating and some fliers, combined with Carvalho never finding a fourth land, brought forth an early win.
In the decider, Markeson came out of the gate lighting quick, curving creature into creature into Myr Enforcer before Carvalho could get set up. On the back foot from the start, not even a Ghost Council of Orzhova could dig him out as Markeson dumped multiple artifact creatures on the board each turn, then refilled with Faerie Machinist. He kept dumping creatures on the board and Carvalho simply never caught up, extending his hand to an army of robots.
Simon Kim (Red-white Aggro) vs. Brian Richards (Blue-White Affinity)
Simon Kim had maybe the most interesting deck in the Top 8, with a nearly mono-red build that lightly touched on white for a few key cards. He had multiple Goblin Fireslingers and other ways to bring the pain.
Brian Richards, meanwhile, was merely the first of our Blue-White Affinity players.
Kim stumbled in the first game, never getting to a third land and even finding his second too late. Aethersnipe and Etched Champion made him pay. In the second, Kim found his mana and started flooding the board with small red beaters, all backed by a fifth-turn Battlegrace Angel. However, Richards halted Kim's advance with an Oblivion Ring on the angel, but once Kim hit nine mana with an Inner-Flame Igniter in play, there was nothing Richards could do to hold on.
The third and final game, Kim curved out precisely how he designed his deck to do. While Richards…well, Richard did not. He tried to divert Kim's attack, but it was relentless, brutal, and topped by a bloodthirsty Skarrgan Firebird.
That left Kim as the only one to defeat one of the Blue-White decks in the quarterfinals.
Danny Goldstein (Jund) vs. Shaun McLaren (5-Color Control)
Lo and behold…
He happened to be paired against another multicolor monstrosity from Danny Goldstein, who was, more or less, a Jund deck with Banefire and Hellkite Charger rounding things out. And in the first game, it was Hellkite Charger, backed by a few Bone Splinters, that gave Goldsein the lead.
More removal and a Pelakka Wurm gave Goldsein the advantage in the second game. McLaren dealt with it—he certainly had to—but a Vengeful Rebirth on that same Wurm left Goldsein grinning as a Bonesplinters cleared away an Ulamog's Crusher to cap the quarterfinals win for the Jund player.