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Park's Great Scape in Minneapolis

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The letter C!ongratulations to Jun Young Park, winner of Grand Prix Minneapolis 2014! The collective gasp from the crowd said it all, as Park flipped the Scapeshift onto the table, fresh off the top of his deck. He had burnt through two Serum Visions looking for the game-winning sorcery, but had come up completely empty. Facing down against Canadian Andrew Huska's Jund and its 6/7 Tarmogoyf, Park appeared lost. Yet when it mattered most, Park's Scapeshift deck came through. He had overcome adversity all throughout the Top 8, having to fight through a wave of burn, a cascade of Tectonic Edges, and a Liliana vise grip to take home the title. The Final match against Huska was the toughest of all, and it took all three games and every possible turn and card for him to pull it off.

Park traveled to Minneapolis alongside the rest of the Asian superteam Team MTG Mint Card, and they stood at the sidelines cheering him on as they watched. With Pro Tour Journey into Nyx coming up next weekend, this Grand Prix served as a perfect way for them to make the trip to the United States and get acclimated to the time change before having to buckle down and practice for the Pro Tour. They weren't the only team to show up in force, as most of Team ChannelFireball also made the trip, each member looking for points they desperately needed heading into the home stretch.

The Modern scene this weekend shows a field that is a bit different than the one seen at Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Even Pro Tour champion Shaun McLaren opted to change from the deck he won the Pro Tour with due to the lack of Zoo in the format. His decision paid off, as it helped him secure a Top 4 finish at his first major event since the Pro Tour (and interestingly, his first Grand Prix Day 2 ever!). Other players picked up on the shifting tides and altered their decks, including Finalist Andrew Huska's Jund deck, which he tuned to beat the plethora of Birthing Pod decks around the room. In the end, it was a different combo deck that would take things by surprise.

Congratulations to Jun Young Park, Grand Prix Minneapolis 2014 Champion!




Quarterfinals   Semifinals   Finals   Champion
1 Shaun McLaren   Shaun McLaren, 2-0        
8 Brian Braun-Duin   Andrew Huska, 2-1
       
4 Andrew Huska   Andrew Huska, 2-1   Jun Young Park, 2-1
5 Nathan Holiday    
       
2 Gregory Orange   Gregory Orange, 2-0
7 Taylor Laehn   Jun Young Park, 2-0
       
3 Jun Young Park   Jun Young Park, 2-0
6 Nick Bonham    













  Streaming video coverage of Grand Prix Minneapolis provided by Marshall Sutcliffe, Hall of Famer Randy Buehler, Jacob van Lunen, Rashad Miller, and Shawn Kornhauser. For a complete playlist of all the matches, visit ggslive's YouTube page.


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  • Top 8 Profiles

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Andrew Huska

    Age: 22
    Hometown: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada
    Occupation: Machinist


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    PTQ win, Grand Prix Top 32

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    I played Jund for mostly 50/50 match ups, and Calcano and Ben told me to.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Tarmogoyf (#bigdumbidiot). He allows you to close out games in a swift manner.

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    Mana Confluence which allows aggro decks to compete.

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    Rallying from not killing and opponent with Rakdos Charm and dying.




    Taylor Laehn

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA
    Occupation: Motivational Speaker


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Top 8 Grand Prix Minneapolis 2012, Top 32 Pro Tour Pairs 2011

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    RUG Twin. Brett Yost and Sam Karls were winning games with it, so it must have been good.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Mizzium Skin. Some people thought it was in my deck.

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    I don’t think I know any by name.

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    Punting all of my matches on camera.




    Brian Braun-Duin

    Age: 27
    Hometown: Roanoke, Virginia, USA
    Occupation: Content Producr, StarCityGames.com


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Winner of Grand Prix Louisville. Beat Brad Nelson in a casual draft.

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    Melira Pod. It is powerful and consistent, exactly what you want in a long event.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Phyrexian Metamorph. It does everything, almost literally.

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    Gluttonous Cyclops with honorable mention to Master of the Feast. Can’t top that artwork.

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    I had to Top 8 this event to qualify for the next Pro Tour, Pro Tour Journey into Nyx in Atlanta, by hitting Silver. The hardest prt was convincing myself to not dwell on it and just play Magic.




    Nathan Holiday

    Age: 23
    Hometown: Santa Cruz, California, USA
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Winner of Grand Prix San Diego 2013. Finals of Grand Prix Phoenix. Top 32 Pro Tour San Diego.

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    Melira Pod. It’s the best!

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Reveillark, comboing off with Phyrexian Metamorph was sweet. (Actually Birthing Pod - card’s insane.)

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    Hypnotic Siren. “Gimme dat!”

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    Not punting too many times. Also having to 6-0 Day 2.




    Shaun McLaren

    Age: 26
    Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta
    Occupation: Powerful Magician (shoutout to MTGCanada.com)


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    Won Pro Tour Born of the Gods, played in the 2012 MOCS Championship, 2nd 2007 Canadian Nationals

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    UWR Kiki. Has lots of value cards. It will trick opponents who think I’m running my list from the Pro Tour.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Wall of Omens. It draws a card, it’s an 0/4…what more could you want?

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    Nyx-Fleece Ram. 0/5 has got to be better than 0/4, right? Prepare for savage bleatings…

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    Having three Kiki-Jikis in my hand, nine mana, and topdecking a Restoration Angel the turn before I died.




    Gregory Orange

    Age: 21
    Hometown: Minneapolis, MN
    Occupation: Student


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    I won a PTQ.

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    I played WUR Control because I always play control.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Electrolyze has been sweet!

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    I’m a fan of the 0/5 guy that gains one life (Nyx-Fleece Ram) because it seems durdly.

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    Winning a lot.




    Nick Bonham

    Age: 39
    Hometown: Denver, CO
    Occupation: Telecommunications Project Manager/Magic Podcaster for Djinn’s Playground


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    National Championships 2004, 2008; Pro Tour Washington DC 1999, Pro Tour New York 2000

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    WUR Control. It has great game against most decks in Modern, but mainly because it’s a hoot.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    The miser’s Shadow of Doubt ;)

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    The Temples and Mana Confluence. Having good mana to cast your spells seems good.

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    My opponents. All of them were very good and their attitudes were top shelf.




    Jun Young Park

    Age: 29
    Hometown: Republic of Korea
    Occupation: Company Employee


    Previous Magic Accomplishments:
    2 GP Top 8s

    What deck did you choose to play this weekend, and why did you play it?
    Scapeshift. This deck is good in the metagame right now. Lee Shi Tian gave me the decklist and taught me how to sideboard.

    What card has been your MVP this weekend and why?
    Repeal. This card helped me many times against critical permanents.

    What Journey into Nyx card are you the biggest fan of and why?
    Brain Maggot. It can control an opponent with Thoughtseize.

    What was the hardest part of making the Top 8 for you this weekend?
    When I lost to a good matchup on Day 2.






     

  • Top 8 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Gregory Orange - White-Blue-Red Control
    Grand Prix Minneapolis 2014 - Modern





    Taylor Laehn - Tarmo Twin
    Grand Prix Minneapolis 2014 - Modern






     

  • Top 16 Decklists

    by Event Coverage Staff


  • Affinity - Robert Cucunato










     

  • Quarterfinals Roundup

    by Nate Price

  • Nathan Holiday (Melira Pod) vs. Andrew Huska (Jund)

    The first game of this match opened like you would expect in this matchup. Huska's Jund deck looked to control the early board and disrupt Holiday's Pod deck as much as he could in the early turns of the game. A Thoughtseize stripped a Voice of Resurgence over a Kitchen Finks, Ranger of Eos, and Linvala, Keeper of Silence. He followed that up with a Dark Confidant, which provided him a steady stream of removal spells in the form of two Slaughter Pacts, an Inquisition of Kozilek, and a Scavenging Ooze. Holiday's first-turn Birds of Paradise allowed him to ramp into an early Linvala, but it met an early demise at the hands of Terminate.

    "I actually don't want to Pact yet," Huska explained.

    Nathan Holiday

    He then began his assault, sending a Scavenging Ooze and Dark Confidant to the red zone over and over again. Holiday tried to stem the tide with Ranger of Eos and Kitchen Finks, but Huska's stream of removal and Scavenging Ooze really ended matters quickly. Holiday never once saw a Birthing Pod, and, as a result, just lost to the better creature deck.

    "That was a clinic on how this matchup is not supposed to go," Holiday allowed himself a little laugh at the end of the game.

    In the next game, Holiday was forced to mulligan, but his hand was pretty good for a six-carder. Wall of Roots enabled an early Birthing Pod, and it began turning his creatures into other, better creatures. Voice of Resurgence became Sin Collector, stripping Rakdos Charm from Huska's hand. When Holiday topdecked a Kitchen Finks a turn later, it turned that into Murderous Recap, taking out Huska's freshly-cast Scavenging Ooze. Huska was able to rip a Maelstrom Pulse to get rid of the Pod, but the damage was done. Between the creatures that were already in play and the ones in his hand, Holiday was in complete control of the game despite his mulligan. The final shot was fired by a Shriekmaw, which Holiday cast to get rid of Huska's lone Tarmogoyf.

    Andrew Huska

    The final game was marred by a string of mulligans by Holiday, ending up with five cards in his hand. When Huska had an Anger of the Gods to wipe his board followed by a Thrun, the Last Troll, dying to a Liliana of the Veil, the match was sealed. It took one lone Tarmogoyf for Huska to get the job done.

    Gregory Orange (WUR Control) vs. Taylor Laehn (TarmoTwin)

    This match was long and tedious, but ended with a flash of brilliance. In the first game, Laehn's TarmoTwin deck and Orange's WUR Control deck traded turns playing lands and tossing the occasional Lighting Bolt or Electrolyze at each other's heads. Any time that Laehn tried to get a Pestermite into play, Orange had the Electrolyze to kill it and hit Laehn for 1. After about ten turns of this apiece, things blew up with a massive end step stack.

    Late in the game, with Orange down to 5, Laehn went for the kill, casting a Snapcaster Mage. With the trigger on the stack, Orange Electrolyzed it, but Laehn had a second Snapcaster in his hand in response. The second one got Mana Leaked, which Laehn tapped out to pay for. This gave Orange a free window to cast Sphinx's Revelation for eight, going up to a much safer 13 life and a hand filled with cards. This, in turn, let Laehn have a free turn. If he had the combo in his hand, the game was over. If he didn't, Orange would come out the extreme winner in the exchange. It turned out he didn't and Orange just took over. From that point, Orange's extreme card advantage allowed him to run Laehn out of cards, eventually winning one more massive fight over a Snapcaster Mage before Laehn conceded.

    Gregory Orange

    "I'll give you the game," he laughed after the insane stack resolved in Orange's favor. "You got me."

    For the second game, Laehn made the unorthodox decision to draw in this heavy control matchup. Unfortunately for him, Orange had a trump card in this matchup, and it wasn't one I expected: Crucible of Worlds. It hit play on turn three, allowing Orange to effectively keep Laehn locked down on lands, constantly recurring a Tectonic Edge to kill a land. Whenever he had the chance, he would use it to recur an Arid Mesa, furthering his own mana base. Eventually, Laehn managed to get enough basic lands into play to cast a Batterskull, but Orange had enough control of the game to keep it from attacking. Path to Exile and a Snapcaster Mage made sure it stayed unequipped, despite Laehn's efforts, returning and recasting it. It was almost Mana Leaked, but Laehn had the Spell Snare to force it back into play.

    Taylor Laehn

    Orange almost managed to lock the game up with a massive Sphinx's Revelation, but a Dispel stopped it. This almost allowed Laehn to take control of the game. He had a Threads of Disloyalty and a Tarmogoyf to threaten lethal damage, as the constant fetching and occasional Lightning Bolt had Orange down to 7. Unfortunately for Laehn, it also allowed him enough lands to begin attacking with his Celestial Colonnade. He Bolted his own traitorous Mage, neutering Laehn's attack. One more swing with the Colonnade and an Electrolyze later, and Orange had secured himself a spot in the semifinals.




     

  • Quarterfinals - Brian Braun-Duin vs. (19) Shaun McLaren

    by Event Coverage Staff




  •  

  • Quarterfinals – Nick Bonham vs. Jun Young Park

    by Adam Styborski

  • Jun Young Park one of the many stars of team MTGMintCard that took a detour to Minneapolis before Pro Tour Journey into Nyx. With a Top 8 in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year, and another in Kitakyuushuu, Park is poised to continue a strong season into next week. Winning here would be his first Grand Prix title.

    Nick Bonham is better known by his voice. As the Djinn of Magic podcasting fame, the Denver native has been playing for a long time. With a few Pro Tour and Nationals appearances over the past fifteen years, Bonham's career was longer – if not quite as storied – as Park's.

    Of course, careers are made by wins and losses and it was up to these players to take the next step to the Semifinals.

    The early part of the first game was spent by Park sculpting his hand and mana, increasing his land count as quickly as possible. Bonham, meanwhile, emptied every bit of burn he could into Park's life total, knowing there would be few creatures to fight in the match.

    Putting Park to 8 life, Bonham ran out of burn but held Spell Snare and Cryptic Command up instead as Park continued to search out land. Mana continued to pile up on both sides before Park sprung Snapcaster Mage to draw a card and bounce Bonham's Hallowed Fountain. When Park tried to repeal the Snapcaster Mage, Bonham used his Mana Leak since Park was tapped out.

    Nick Bonham struggled to have the right answers at the right time.

    But with only three more mana to work with on Park's turn proper meant Scapeshift could be cast safely, causing Bonham to start shuffling for Game 2.

    Bonham 0 – Park 1

    The second game developed like the first, with sculpting and land ramping on Park's side with a few defensive counterspells and burn thrown in from Bonham. Eidolon of Rhetoric entered the battlefield for the control player, slowing Park down. Limiting Bonham's opponents to one spell each turn meant protecting Scapeshift – or anything else – would be impossible for Park.

    An end of turn Vendilion Clique put the combat race in favor of Scapeshift, and Park seemed content to keep the status quo by delaying Bonham's board development for several turns. After Bonham passed without doing anything Park broke the peace at the end of the turn with Telling Time, giving Bonham the chance to Lightning Helix the legendary Faerie.

    Jun Young Park's beatdown plan was working as intended.

    Batterskull was part of Park's beatdown plan as well, which Bonham didn't have an immediate answer for. Bonham put his Eidolon in the way of the powerful Germ, unlocking Park to cast Scapeshift with plenty of Islands to back it up. Park searched out two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle and six lands with the Mountain subtype. After confirming with the head judge, Bonham used his two copies of Tectonic Edge to destroy two of the four Mountain lands and nullify the Valakut triggers – the intervening if clause means there needs to be enough Mountain cards in play both when the trigger it put onto the stack and when the triggers try to resolve.

    While he dodged death by triggers, Batterskull was still pressuring Bonham on the battlefield. Trading Celestial Colonnade forced Park to return and replay it, and when Bonham tried to block with Augur of Bolas and save it with Restoration Angel next turn, Park popped relic of Progenitus to draw into the Remand he needed to undo Bonham's plan.

    Izzet Charm countered Bonham's desperation Sphinx's Revelation, leaving the control player just 4 life and Cryptic Command to wiggle out from Batterskull. Snapcaster Mage for Remand was the final piece Park needed.

    Bonham 0 – Park 2




     

  • Semifinals – Jun Young Park vs. Gregory Orange

    by Adam Styborski

  • With one White-Blue-Red Control deck behind him in his Quarterfinal match, Jun Young Park was now facing another in Gregory Orange's hands. With team MTGMintCard watching on (and cheering), Park was already well on his way to his first Grand Prix finals appearance.

    Gregory Orange was in his first Grand Prix Top 8, finding qualification for Pro Tour Magic 2015 and a win in his Quarterfinal match. Matching Park's quiet countenance, you have to really listen to his almost whisper voice call out his actions.

    Stoicism would only go so far: One player's pillar would crumble before it was all said and done..

    Ramping lands and sculpting hands was Park's early plan in the first game, and Orange plied his counterspells to contain the acceleration as best he could. Lands piled up on both sides as Park forced Orange to fight over Sakura-Tribe Elders and Repeals, with Snapcaster Mages repeating the fights and bringing Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt from the graveyard into the action.

    Eventually, Park tried for Scapeshift but met Remand. Even with nine more mana avalable he passed on trying again until next turn when it met Orange's Cryptic Command instead. Park fought the Command with Remand, and a second Cryptic Command from Orange tried to force it through.

    Jun Young Park put patience on display setting up his ultimate turns.

    A Cryptic Command from Park meant Scapeshift would resolve into a lethal number of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers.

    Park 1 – Orange 0

    Like Park's Quarterfinal match, his Semifinal was just as quiet with each player focused on what they needed to do. It was a calming silence, unlike the vociferous Semifinal match next door between Shaun McLaren and he second game started without a hitch, again following the wait, increase lands, and fight over ramping pattern of the last.

    This time, however, artifacts punctuated the quiet: Relic of Progenitus for Park, Crucible of Worlds and Spellskite for Orange. As both players continued to find lands throughout the impasse, it was Park's Obstinate Baloth from the sideboard threatened to speed the game along.

    After protecting the Baloth Park began to beat down, the familiar alternative from his Quarterfinal victory. However, Scapeshift was off the table for the Korean pro: Using Cryptic Command to return Orange's Spellskite to hand, Park tried to Scapeshift only to find Counterflux in wait.

    Gregory Orange had patience of his own. It was answers he fell short on.

    When Park tried again with a second Scapeshift the next turn, Orange used Shadow of Doubt to fight the combo, leading to Swan Song from Park, Mana Leak from Orange to stop the Swan Song, then, finally, the trump Izzet Charm sealed the deal for Park.

    Scapeshift resolved, the stoicism lifted, and Orange extended the hand as team MTGMintCard clapped.

    Park 2 – Orange 0




     

  • Semifinals - (19) Shaun McLaren vs. Andrew Huska

    by Event Coverage Staff




  •  

  • Finals -Jun Young Park vs. Andrew Huska

    by Nate Price

  • The Players

    South Korea's Jun Young Park is one of the newest members of the Asian superteam Team MTG Mint Card headlined by Chinese Taipei's Tzu-Ching Kuo and tenth-ranked Shi Tian Lee from Hong Kong. This is Park's third Grand Prix Top 8, but it marks his first trip to the Finals. Along with the rest of Team MTG Mint Card, Park has made the long trip across the Pacific to acclimate themselves to the time change and spend a few days consolidating their testing efforts in preparation for the Pro Tour.

    His opponent, Andrew Huska, is one of the great crop of fine Magic players to come out of Canada's resurgence in recent years. While he might not be as well-known as Shaun McLaren is now, Huska is still a very good player with a Pro Tour appearance and a Grand Prix Top 32 to his name.

    The Decks

    Both of these decks were in a prime position to win this weekend, especially if Shi Tian Lee is to be believed.

    "If I wanted to win this tournament, I would be playing either Scapeshift or Jund," he said early into Day 2.


    Park is playing the first of those two decks. The Scapeshift combo uses a number of mana accelerants to get up to seven or eight mana before throwing them all away with Scapeshift. This allows them to magically become Mountains and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, immediately killing opponents for the investment of four simple mana. Backing this all up are a number of card-drawing spells and permission, as well as Snapcaster Mage and Electrolyze.

    Huska's weapon of choice is the other side of Lee's coin: Jund. Jund decks of various shapes and sizes seem like they have been a part of Magic for as long as it's been around. This most recent incarnation is based off of work done by team Elaborate Ruse from Pro Tour Born of the Gods. Relying on Courser of Kruphix, Dark Confidant, Tarmogoyf, and every other incredibly efficient red, green, or black card in the format, Jund is a deck that is synonymous with the word attrition. Between Maelstrom Pulse, Lightning Bolt, and Liliana of the Veil, very little survives the board, and Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek also team up with Liliana to make sure that little survives the hand. In the end, the sheer efficiency and versatility of Jund tends to grind opponents into dust.

    The Games

    The first game of the match was about as one-sided as a game can get. Park's deck did exactly what it was supposed to do, using Sakura-Tribe Elder and Search for Tomorrow to ramp up to seven mana early into the game.

    "So I basically need you to brick here," Huska said with a smile.

    Andrew Huska

    On his turn, Park cracked a Misty Rainforest to thin another land out of his deck before casting Serum Visions.

    "Bottom, Bottom," Huska yelled at the cards! "Get down there!"

    When Park put both cards on the top of his deck, Huska knew he was beat. Two Tarmogoyfs and a Raging Ravine made for an impressive attack, but it wasn't enough, as Park simply flipped over the top card of his deck, revealed his Scapeshift, and ended the game.

    The second game was a reversal of fortunes, with Huska jumping out to a very early lead. Tarmogoyf hit the table early and began to attack. Fulminator Mage ran interference, taking out Park's lands, keeping him from the all-important seven. Even an Obstinate Baloth couldn't stop Huska, as he immediately removed it with Liliana of the Veil. Park was able to fog two attacks from the Goyf with a pair of Sakura-Tribe Elders, but a second Goyf really put the hammer down. With one last turn before the lethal attack came, Park managed to clear the board with an Engineered Explosives, but a Raging Ravine was able to pick up where the Goyfs left off and end things before Park could reach seven lands. Park had one turn to draw a Scapshift, but the green card he revealed ended up being a Search for Tomorrow, forcing him to concede.

    Jun Young Park

    The final game went very similarly to the second. Park's attempts to defend himself with Obstinate Baloth were thwarted by Liliana of the Veil, and a massive 6/7 Tarmogoyf began to beat down. Serum Visions dug and dug, but Park was forced to wash his cards to the bottom time and again. It once again came down to one turn. Park was facing a lethal Tarmogoyf as he rubbed his hands together and reached for his deck.

    The crowd gasped as he rolled it over to reveal the lethal Scapeshift. As it settled in what had happened, the collected Team MTG Mint Card behind Park roared, rushing in to congratulate their teammate. It was the one card he needed to win Game 2, and it showed up big time in Game 3, with everything on the line. One card changed the fate of the Grand Prix, giving Jun Young Park his first Grand Prix win and a great way to begin his journey to next week's Pro Tours.




     

  • Top 5 Cards

    by Nate Price and Adam Styborski



  • 5. Crucible of Worlds

    One of the most interesting cards of the weekend, the combination of Crucible of Worlds and Tectonic Edge/fetch lands was responsible for Gregory Orange's quarterfinal victory over Taylor Laehn's URG Delver deck and then again for almost taking out champion Jun Young Park's Scapeshift deck in the Semis. In the heavy control matchup against Laehn, Orange was able to consistently keep Laehn off of green mana and keep him from getting more than five lands in play at a time, essential to winning the many Snapcaster Mage battles that were the hallmark of their match. Eventually whittled down to just five basic lands, Laehn had to sit back and watch as Arid Mesa after Arid Mesa gave Orange a massive advantage, one that eventually gave him the win. While the match against Park ended up in Park's favor, the Crucible was still incredibly potent at keeping him off of the requisite seven lands required for a lethal Scapeshift. Unfortunately for Orange, the larger amount of basic lands in Park's deck gave him the ability to get up around the soft lock long enough for him to take the match.





    4. Electrolyze

    Some card are engines that drive entire archetypes. Others, like Electrolyze, are glue that support multiple decks. Appearing in half the Top 8, Electrolyze is useful to fight the small mana creatures of Birthing Pod decks, fighting the small fries found round Affinity and Splinter Twin, or even just slinging 2 damage to opponents' faces.

    And as if it didn't already do enough, it also draws you a card along the way. You can't ask for much more utility beyond that.







    3. Birthing Pod

    What's the most powerful and consistent deck in Modern? The deck that gets the most arguments in its favor is Melira Pod. As team ChannelFireball displayed this weekend, taking one of the namesake cards out - Melira, Sylvok Outcast - left you with a deck just as powerful. Birthing Pod is an engine that consistently delivers, again putting multiple players into a Modern Grand Prix Top 8.










    2. Slaughter Pact

    A tapped out opponent is almost always an irresistible target to find. What can someone do in Modern if they don't have any mana? Jund and Black-Green Rock players showed you with Slaughter Pact: Interfering with Restoration Angel antics, fighting off man lands with an otherwise empty battlefield, and responding to Birthing Pod being played are just a few of the highlights of the "free" removal spell from the weekend. Andrew Huska's Jund deck even benefited from its interaction with Dark Confident, drawing a needed answer while avoiding a painful payment of life kept him afloat at crucial moments in his march to the Finals.







    1. Scapeshift

    While the flashy options and obvious skill requirement of other combo decks, such as Storm and Pod-types, draw lots of attention it's Scapeshift that's been quietly putting in solid results. Like at Richmond, an undefeated player ran deep in Minneapolis only this time turned it into a march into the Top 8. Jun Young Park's patience in setting up lethal Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle triggers pulled victory through walls of countermagic, and set up Scapeshift for a return to the Modern deck spotlight.






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