2002 Grand Prix Philadelphia Top 8 Draft

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The Top 8 Of Grand Prix Philly sat down to sort out some unopened packs, and grab some cash if they could. Sitting at the table was Pro Jeff Cunningham, for whom this was just another grand prix top 8, sitting on either side of Cunningham were two New Jersey players, both wearing "TOGIT" shirts, and hometown favorites Craig Krempals and Patrick Sullivan. Pittsburg local Nick Eisel, and Virginian Morgan Douglass are opposite each other, Eli Aden, a Knoxville, TN, gamer, Jacob Rabinowitz from Boston and Shawn Doran of Rochester, NY, round out this very young Top 8.

The draft started out with Cunningham, first seeded after the Swiss electing to sit in seat four. I asked Cunningham before the draft what he would try for and he said "I won't draft anything but green/red or green/black." With that in mind, the first pack was opened. Shaw Doran was put into a difficult position being asked to open first, as he wouldn't really be able to safely declare his colors. The pack was laid out and some good cards were on the table, Sparksmith, Serpentine Basilisk and Anurid Murkdiver were probably the best colored cards in the pack. But Doran had a trump card. Riptide Replicator was the rare, and in one pick, Doran effectively negated the disadvantage of picking first, and since the Basilisk was picked by Sullivan, on pick from Cunningham, Cunningham's main draft strategy was shot.

The players shifted who opens and the colors of each deck began to develop. Morgan followed his Sparksmith up with several more red picks. Sullivan continued to take Green cards, including a sixth pick Ravenous Baloth. Cunningham was sticking to black, but trying to make it clear he would fight for green. Krempals went right for blue white, but may be black with a Swat, and Nick Eisel showed tendencies towards a green and red deck. Eli Aden started white and ended up into black as well. Jacob Rabinowitz started taking green and red ingredients and the colored spells in Doran's deck ended up being mostly blue and white, headed by an Exulted Angel opened by Aden.

After the first round of packs the colors came out to...

Cunningham Black/Green
Krempals Blue/white or black
Eisel Green/Red
Aden White/Black
Rabinowitz Green/Red
Doran Blue/White
Douglass Red/Black (Sparksmith, Cruel Revival)
Sullivan White/Green

The second round of packs kicked off in the other direction with Jacob Rabinowitz taking the green common powerhouse Wirewood Savage. Wretched Anurid went to Eli Aden and the Menacing Ogre picked Nick Eisel as an owner. Cunningham, a little frustrated that now black was being overdrafted as well as green, decided to try for a Solar Blast. The players were trying to stay focused on building strong decks, and hate drafting was kept to a minimum. That didn't stop Cunningham from looking a little rattled, as players left and right kept jumping on the good black cards, leaving him with the dregs. Aden solidified himself as Red Black, Sullivan stayed true to green white, but was rewarded by pulling an Akroma's Vengeance. Douglas stuck with Black red, picking up his second pinpoint avalanche. Doran picked up some more fliers and a Combat Medic for his Blue White deck, and Krempals nabbed Blatant Thievery and Tribal Golem for his blue white deck, on the opposite side of the table, and these two made up the blue drafters in the top 8.

The drafters settled into archetypes based on their colors and which ever creature type that those colors best support. The Blue white drafters were taking Clerics and Illusions, the black red players were picking up goblins, while the green drafters were taking beasts and the beasts best buddy Wirewood Savage. The red players were just hopping to open up the sets best common, Sparksmith, eventually. Krempals played red for Lavamancer's Skill in his blue white deck, Rabinowitz had multiple Solar Blasts and Skirk Commandos in his solid red green deck, Cunningham ended up with a Sparksmith and a solar blast but chose not to play them in his green black deck, and Morgan Douglas found double Pinpoint avalanche, double Erratic Explosion, and superstar Sparksmith in his tight black red deck. Eisel went bombalicious in the last few packs, slamming down Gigapede and Silvos, Rogue Elemental. Shawn Doran ended up with Triple Pacifism to go along with his Angel and Replicator.

In the end the deck will shape up as follows...

Sullivan in Green and White
Morgan with a smashing Black and Red deck
Doran has a Blue White deck that could be called a "Ting"
Rabinowitz's Red Green deck could smash
Aden's black white deck is super fast
Cunningham is taking Black Green to town
Krempals is gaming with Blue White red
And Eisel has a Beastly Red Green deck.

I'd expect Eisel's aggressive bombs to carry him to the gold.

  Shaun Doran Morgan Douglass Patrick Sullivan Jeff Cunningham Craig Krempals Nick Eisel Eli Aden Jacob Rabinowitz
Pack 1 Riptide Replicator Sparksmith Serpentine Basilisk Anurid Murkdiver Mistform Stalker Searing Flesh Sandskin Birchlore Rangers
    Sea's Claim Brightstone Ritual Elvish Pioneer Mage's Guile Lonely Sandbar Mistform Mask Nosy Goblin
Pack 2 Screaming Seahawk Pinpoint Avalanche Snarling Undorak Swat Daunting Defender Spined Basher Daru Encampment Vitality Charm
  Fever Charm   Elvish Guidance Accursed Centaur Trickery Charm Kaboom! Aura Extraction Dwarven Blastminer
Pack 3 Disciple of Grace Goblin Sledder Ravenous Baloth Screeching Buzzard Daru Healer Symbiotic Beast Profane Prayers Barkhide Mauler
  Choking Tethers Skittish Valesk   ? ? Lonely Sandbar Nova Cleric Elvish Warrior
Pack 4 Crude Ramparts Spurred Wolverine Birchlore Rangers Sparksmith Profane Prayers Pinpoint Avalanche Battlefield Medic Heedless One
  Disruptive Pitmage ? Elvish Vanguard   ? ? ? Fade From Memory
Pack 5 Shieldmage Elder Severed Legion Treespring Lorian Leery Fogbeast Swat Erratic Explosion Wretched Anurid Barkhide Mauler
  Renewed Faith Airdrop Condor Dive Bomber ?   Slipstream Eel Gustcloak Runner Standardize
Pack 6 Complicate Severed Legion Krosan Colossus Treespring Lorian Misery Charm Symbiotic Beast Gluttonous Zombie Skirk Commando
  Mistform Wall Fever Charm Mistform Dreamer Crown of Fury Renewed Faith   Gustcloak Runner Slipstream Eel
Pack 7 Pacifism Severed Legion Daunting Defender Vitality Charm Sage Aven Goblin Taskmaster Feeding Frenzy Solar Blast
  Trickery Charm Crown of Fury Elvish Guidance Crown of Vigor Complicate Airdrop Condor   Risky Move
Pack 8 Exalted Angel Cruel Revival Daru Lancer Aphetto Vulture Daru Healer Wall of Mulch Profane Prayers Elvish Warrior
  Crown of Ascension Mistform Mask Birchlore Rangers Choking Tethers ? Goblin Sledder Wretched Anurid  
  Jacob Rabinowitz Eli Aden Nick Eisel Craig Krempals Jeff Cunningham Patrick Sullivan Morgan Douglass Shaun Doran
Pack 9 Wirewood Savage Wretched Anurid Menacing Ogre Essence Fracture Solar Blast Sunfire Balm Erratic Explosion Secluded Steppe
    Sea's Claim Brightstone Ritual Slipstream Eel Commando Raid Daru Cavalier Aphetto Dredging Riptide Biologist
Pack 10 Elvish Warrior Cruel Revival Lightning Rift Blatant Thievery Symbiotic Beast Gustcloak Harrier Festering Goblin Battlefield Medic
  Goblin Sledder   ? ? Crown of Fury Leery Fogbeast Lay Waste Starlit Sanctum
Pack 11 Birchlore Rangers Fallen Cleric Pinpoint Avalanche Gustcloak Harrier Spitting Gourna Battlefield Medic Spitfire Handler Fleeting Aven
  Barren Moor Daru Healer   Backslide Trickery Charm Elvish Pioneer Nameless One Supreme Inquisitor
Pack 12 Skirk Commando Fallen Cleric ? Tribal Golem Symbiotic Elf Embermage Goblin Pinpoint Avalanche Ascending Aven
  ? Daru Healer ?   Airborne Aid Syphon Mind Demystify Nova Cleric
Pack 13 Symbiotic Elf Disciple of Malice Lay Waste Shieldmage Elder Screeching Buzzard Glory Seeker Anurid Murkdiver Aven Fateshaper
  Thunder of Hooves Crown of Awe Wirewood Elf Secluded Steppe   Elvish Pioneer False Cure Backslide
Pack 14 Wirewood Pride Frightshroud Courier Skirk Commando Daru Encampment Shepherd of Rot Akroma's Vengeance Erratic Explosion Dive Bomber
  Run Wild Foothill Guide Vitality Charm Riptide Biologist Spined Basher   Syphon Mind Spy Network
Pack 15 Solar Blast Gravel Slinger Treespring Lorian Lavamancer's Skills Frightshroud Courier Pearlspear Courier Undead Gladiator Pacifism
  Spurred Wolverine Crafty Pathmage Nameless One Disciple of Grace Spined Basher Wirewood Herald   Spy Network
Pack 16 Snarling Undorak Nantuko Husk Wirewood Herald Aphetto Alchemist Infest Spined Basher Mistform Wall Pacifism
  Overwhelming Instinct Syphon Soul Backslide Fever Charm Mana Echoes Unified Strike Goblin Sky Raider  
  Shaun Doran Morgan Douglass Patrick Sullivan Jeff Cunningham Craig Krempals Nick Eisel Eli Aden Jacob Rabinowitz
Pack 17 Gustcloak Skirmisher Screeching Buzzard Dive Bomber Wirewood Savage Shared Triumph Battering Craghorn Cabal Archon Wave of Indifference
    Spy Network Piety Charm Shepherd of Rot Sage Aven Spurred Wolverine Thrashing Mudspawn Wirewood Pride
Pack 18 Doubtless One Wretched Anurid Shock Elvish Warrior Akroma's Blessing Threaten Profane Prayers Daru Healer
  Glory Seeker   Defensive Maneuvers Image Crafter Choking Tethers Spurred Wolverine Oblation Nosy Goblin
Pack 19 Crown of Awe Spitting Gourna Whipcorder Wirewood Savage Essence Fracture Shock Charging Slateback Erratic Explosion
  Disruptive Pitmage Aphetto Dredging   Withering Hex Daru Cavalier Slipstream Eel Misery Charm Birchlore Rangers
Pack 20 Ascending Aven Nantuko Husk Leery Fogbeast Gluttonous Zombie Aven Soulgazer Krosan Tusker Cover of Darkness Wave of Indifference
  Choking Tethers Haunting Cadaver Taunting Elf   Information Dealer Gustcloak Runner Renewed Faith Invigorating Boon
Pack 21 Mage's Guile Barkhide Mauler Wirewood Elf Kamahl's Summons Solar Blast Silvos Rogue Elemental Festering Goblin Elvish Riders
  Lonely Sandbar Nosy Goblin Gustcloak Runner Disciple of Grace   Elvish Guidance Accursed Centaur Aphetto Alchemist
Pack 22 Screaming Seahawk Screeching Buzzard Piety Charm Aphetto Vulture Crown of Ascension Gigapede Feeding Frenzy Wirewood Herald
  Profane Prayers Chain of Acid Goblin Taskmaster Tranquil Thicket Secluded Steppe   Brightstone Ritual Elvish Guidance
Pack 23 Daru Lancer Commando Raid Aven Soulgazer Broodhatch Nantuko Grassland Crusader Birchlore Rangers Battlefield Medic Pinpoint Avalanche
  Spy Network ? ? Barren Moor Profane Prayers Skirk Fire Marshal    
Pack 24 Aphetto Grifter Trained Pangolin Gustcloak Harrier Haunted Cadaver Lavamancer's Skills Forgotten Cave Misery Charm Battering Craghorn
  ? Words of Wind Naturalize Foothill Guide Mistform Wall Crown of Fury Crown of Awe  
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