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Grand Prix Kansas City October 22, 2008

Posted by ricsta in Casual, Shards of Alara.
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This past weekend a car full of Columbus-ites trekked out to KC for a weekend of Magicking. We headed out Friday morning, stopped for gas like three or four times and memorized all the questions on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” for the Gameboy Advanced, we had ten hours to kill. We all made it in one piece, checked in the hotel and headed to the convention center. A couple of us jumped in a grinder to win three byes. No one succeeded and we all headed back to get to bed early at 11pm.

One side note, the hotel was first class. Or should I say, five stars. It was really funny to see guys in wife-beaters, pajama pants, sweat pants and emo shirts walking among thousand-dollar suits.

Saturday. we all woke up ready to go undefeated, but first to get some donuts and hash browns -obviously. I cracked my pool and was positive Esper splash  Stoic Angel was the way to go. Granted, I tend to go blue no matter what, but this time I swear it was. I had like five fliers, an Oblivion Ring, Terror in a capsule and bounce spells. Therefore I registered Esper deck with Stoic Angel.

I reconvened with my friends and apparently disagreed and said I should have gone Naya. But this was coming from guys with double Nacytls, Godsire, Blaze-dragon, Wolly Thactors and a bunch of red/green/white goodies in their deck. My red all stars were Magma Spray, Skeletalize and 5/5 fire breather.

My first opponent dropped Vein Drinker on turn five game one and turn six game two and killed everything on my side of the board before alpha striking. My second opponent over whelmed me with Titanic Ultimatum. Opponent number three, I could not deal with his swarm of creatures game one and game two blaze-dragon ended my Grand Prix.

If you didn’t already know, the format was Shards of Alara sealed. After two release events, a pre-release, a PTQ and two Grand Prixs I have a thought about Shards of Alara sealed. The games are a bit slow, but end very abruptly. You spend five/six turns fixing your mana and stalling the game, then you either tap out for eight mana to play a bomb to win the game or you have a way to deal with your opponent’s dragon. Obviously having a great pool is not the only requirement to making the second day of a grand prix, but it definitely helps. I had neither the pool nor the skill to make day two. But, I’m not giving up and will be attended the PTQ in Pittsburgh in a few weeks.

After going 1-3, I did have one bye, I dropped and drafted. Those did not go well either. Playing in the side drafts I realized I was undervaluing the cip tapped lands. Being able to tap for three or even only two of your mana and not taking up a spot in your 23 spells is very important. I’d say, unless there is a bomb or really good spell in your shard, you should be picking those uncommon lands. Another important aspect is two drop creatures, those 2/1 first strikers, hasty, flying-deathtouch or vigilant two drops are important for getting ahead of the race. I can’t tell you how many times I saw someone tap out for an obelisk on the draw and then untap the next turn at twelve or ten life. Drafting is so much more faster early on compared to sealed that you don’t need to open crazy rares if you get enough early drops and pump spells.

There were a few cool things that went down over the weekend. It seemed every time I turned around Evan Erwin was either flirting with Patrick Chapin or making out with Cruel Ultimatum (don’t worry  Evin, I won’t tell Chapin _hugs_)

There was a Beta Draft with a first place prize of a box of Alpha. Seven people paid $1200 for the honors and one lucky Grand Prix contestant who failed to make day two was selected for the final 8th spot. No, it was not me (frown town). None the less, the crowd was five people deep, some standing on chairs trying to get a peak at someone opening up a Black Lotus.

I let Ben Bliewiess look through my binder to buy some stuff, he’s definitely a really cool guy and I always enjoy hearing what he has to say. From his old Building on a Budget for Wizards to what the current state of Magic is, he not only has a mind for the game, but also is very gifted at communicating to the masses. Search for some of his older articles he did for Wizards, he’s got some interesting stories there too. It was interesting that he passed over my Mutavaults without making an offer on them, I believe that’s a testament to the fact that people want to cast Cruel Ultimatum on turn seven and Mutavault hinders that plan (shakes fist at Mutavault).

Nothing of note happened on the way home, no parking/speeding tickets, no crashes, just more “Who Wants to be a Millionaire”.

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