Chicago, Ill. - Big news from the latest "Magic: The Gathering" Grand Prix this weekend, June 22. Jadine Klomparens, 24, of Kalamazoo, MI, joined the short list of female players to place highly in one of Magic's premier events. While her run at the championship fell a little short, her play impressed many who watched and was cheered on by many professionals such as Eric Froehlich and Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa.
Klomparens, who was playing Mono Black Devotion, was the eighth seed heading into the Top 8 of GP Chicago. Her first opponent was Jared Boettcher (who is a current favorite for Rookie of The Year). Both games, Boettcher struggled to produce enough mana to be productive, and Klomparens was not far behind to take advantage of the situation.
In the second game of their quarterfinal match, after both mulled to six, Boettcher cast a Thoughtseize on Klomparens. Her hand revealed Hero's Downfall, Pack Rat, Ultimate Price, and three Swamps. Boettcher chose a Hero's Downfall. The following turn, Klomparens played a Pack Rat which was then dispatched by an Ultimate Price on Boettcher's second turn. However, after drawing her card, Klomparens wasted no time in tapping her mana and slammed another Pack Rat onto the table. Boettcher untapped his mana, drew a card for his turn, and sadly, passed the turn without playing a third mana.
Klomparens, on her next turn, swung with a Pack Rat and made a rat before damage. Boettcher didn't even take the damage, but, instead, extended his hand, conceding the match.
In the Semi-finals, Klomparens was matched against Adrian Sullivan who was playing UW Planar Cleansing Control. Their first game had Klomparens going down to six cards, while Sullivan went down to five cards. After Thoughseizing a Sphinx's Revelation, both players went back and forth with little to no action. Sullivan dropped his fourth land, then cast a Jace, Architect of Thought only to reveal three lands; a Temple of Enlightenment, an island, and a Mutavault. Klomparens split the pile, isolating the Mutavault making sure her opponent didn't have a land that could turn into a creature.
Lacking cards, Sullivan chose the bigger pile. On her fourth turn, Klomparens dropped a Desecration Demon. Sullivan played a land on the following turn and passed. Klomparens swung with her Demon and a Mutavault of her own which she had played earlier. Unfortunately, Sullivan would Last Breath the Mutavault, but still took six damage from the Demon.
The next turns would consist of Sullivan casting a Supreme Verdict to remove the Demon and then casting Planar Cleansing to remove a Underworld Connections. This, however, would leave Sullivan with only one card left in hand and an influx of lands on his board. Klomparens would then cast a Pack Rat. With nothing to deal with it, Sullivan would scoop up his cards, and move on to game two.
Game two had both players starting the game with a full grip. Klomparens would try to get early pressure by casting a Lifebane Zombie, but Sullivan chose to counter the creature. Sullivan then played a fourth turn Jace choosing to reveal three cards off of the top of the deck. Sullivan revealed a Divination, and two other cards. He chose the Divination and passed the turn. Jace would then die to a Mutavault on Klomparens' side.
On the following turn, Sullivan cast Divination, but would only hit lands. Another Lifebane Zombie would be cast, and this time would make it onto the field. His hand was four lands and a Supreme Verdict. Sullivan would continue to flood out until a forced Opportunity would allow him to draw a Deicide, Azorius Charm, and lands. Klomparens would continue to put on consistent pressure with an active Erebos, Desecration Demon, and Lifebane Zombie. The Deicide would remove the Erebos and other copies from Klomparens' deck. Some timely Azorius Charms would buy Sullivan a few turns, but he would eventually succumb to the pressure. He would soon run out of cards and any answers for the onslaught brought on by Klomparens.
The finals of GP Chicago would end up being a mirror match with both players piloting a Mono Black Devotion deck. Klomparens' opponent would be Tyler Blum who was the third seed going into the Top 8. Blum, 24, had played in three previous Pro Tours and was third in the Canadian National Championships in 2005.
Game one had Klomparens taking a double mulligan causing her to go down to five cards. Blum kept his seven and started with a turn two Pack Rat. Klomparens did the same with her own turn two Pack Rat. Blum would then dispatch her Pack Rat with a Hero's Downfall. Klomparens then did the same. Blum would be the first to strike with a Underworld Connections.
Klomparens would not copy her opponent, but instead dropped a Desecration Demon to apply some heavy pressure. The Demon would meet its demise via another Hero's Downfall, but followed it up with her own Underworld Connections. A big difference in the match was that Blum played Nightveil Specter. This was something that Klomparens did not play in her version of the deck.
With two Mutavaults on the board, Blum would begin hitting her opponent dealing four points of damage a turn. A Lifebane Zombie would hit the board on Klomparens' side revealing lands and a Gray Merchant on her opponents' side. Down to only two life life, Klomparens activated her Connections to try and draw an answer. However, she would find nothing and Blum would take game one.
In game two, Klomparens would be looking to even the score on the play. However, Klomparens would take another mulligan down to six cards. Unhappy with her hand, she still decided to keep her hand. As if to punish her for having to mulligan, Klomparens would get Thoughtseized by Blum removing a Bile Blight. On turn four, Klomparens dropped a Desecration Demon. Blum matched her turn four with an Erebos. On her following turn, she would then drop her own Erebos.
Blum followed up by attacking with a Nightveil Specter which would take a Underworld Connections from Klomparens. The Specter was starting to become troublesome and Klomparens' chances of becoming the first female GP winner was quickly fading. Blum had then managed to turn on his Erebos and soon began beating down his opponent. Missed land drops and added pressure from her opponent would be too much for her, and thus ended her run at the championship. Blum would win the match and the championship 2-0.
Something tells us that this will not be the last time people will see the name Jadine Klomparens. By making the Top 8 at GP Chicago, Klomparens and the others automatically qualify for the Pro Tour in Hawaii.
Klomparens had quite the run in the Top 8. Her play was impressive and should be noted by others. There was no hesitation, and her plays were made with confidence like she had done it a million times before. That's how you know someone knows their deck well.
Her match brings up another good debate whether or not it's best to have Lifebane Zombies in the main board of Mono Black. With the popularity of Mono Red based decks, it might be best to start thinking about playing Nightveils in the main again and moving the Zombie to the side. What do you think?
If you were there watching the match, live, on Twitch.tv, you may have noticed some of the chatter happening in the chat room. A topic that was brought up was the change going from a best of five match to a best of three. Some people wanted to see more games being played out. Reason being is that it just doesn't seem fair or right to lose because of mulligans or bad draws. People want to see these matches played out to their fullest potential. Today may have been a good example of why these extended matches may need to be brought back.